Democrats for 2000: And Then There Were Two

  • Share
  • Read Later
Political humorist Will Rogers used to joke at the beginning of the century that he belonged to no organized political party -- he was a Democrat. At the century’s end, the Democratic party seems anything but disorganized. One of the last potential spoilers for the 2000 presidential race, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, announced on Friday that he would not run.”That leaves Jesse Jackson as about the only wild card left,” Says TIME White House correspondent Karen Tumulty, “and at the moment he doesn’t look particularly wild.” The betting is that Jackson will sign on with the Al Gore campaign. Aides of the vice president believe that Jackson would be helpful in getting black support for Gore, says Tumulty, “particularly in the South, where getting the black vote may be Gore’s only chance to score victories in the region.”

Barring unexpected developments, the Kerry exit leaves only Gore and former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley to battle out the Democratic nomination in a relatively gentlemanly manner. “Both candidates hold similar views on the issues,” says Tumulty. And neither is intent on splitting the party -- particularly when it appears that Republicans will be the ones most in need of stitches this time around. The GOP lineup of candidates keeps growing monthly, and the gap between conservatives and moderates, particularly following the divisions exacerbated by impeachment, still needs to be bridged. “For Republicans,” says Tumulty, “the presidential race will be as much a struggle for the direction of the party as for the nomination.”