Super Tuesday Analysis (posted March 8, 2000)
The rousing victories of Democrat Al Gore across the country and Republican George W. Bush everywhere except New England clear the way for what should be the closest presidential general election since Carter and Ford in 1976 and Kennedy and Nixon in 1960. Evenly matched in many different respects, both candidates will try to position themselves in the political center where the bulk of undecided voters sit. Bush will characterize a Gore presidency as merely a third term for Bill Clinton, while Gore will try to tie the Texas governor to extreme Republicans on the right.
If the election night interviews with the two likely nominees are any indication, you can expect a nasty and negative campaign from both sides. Already, George W. Bush has invoked Gore's infamous line in the 1996 Democratic campaign finance scandal of "no controlling legal authority" to remind voters that Gore is no John McCain style reformer. Gore has suggested that Bush's income tax cut is risky and irresponsible.
The man to watch in this election is Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and the national economy. Greenspan already has raised interest rates four times and is expected to increase them a couple more times. Three to six months from now, the economy should be slowing down. If the economy this fall is as strong as it is now, that would be good news for Gore. However, if the economy starts to weaken, that would be a winning recipe for George W. Bush.