Maureen Cosgrove, Copy Editor: Gore.
A vote for Nader at this point is a vote for Bush, and I don't think Nader can "reform" Washington the way he thinks he can—there are entrenched inside-the-Beltway practices that would take longer than even eight years to gut. I don't have an economic manifesto to argue why I wouldn't vote for George W. on the basis of his tax and spending plans, but I don't believe in anything that George W. Bush stands for socially. Of the two-hundred-some Texas inmates put to death since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, more than half of those occurred on his watch. His "compassionate conservatism" is an oxymoron—his Texas health-care record shows that covering the uninsured was not a priority. If his Texas record is scary, his international record is nonexistent. The thought of him trying to smirk his way through tense Mideast peace negotiations is too much to take.
Josh Daniel, Managing Editor: Gore.
Gore, admittedly, has not run an honorable campaign. In the primaries he railroaded Bill Bradley with scurrilous scare tactics, and lately he has adopted an unconvincing populist posture. (He says he wants to "return democracy to the people." Where has it been for the past eight years? In a lockbox?) I even voted for George W. Bush's re-election in Texas in 1998. But like Gore, I think we need an active, aggressive government that works to create equal opportunity for everyone. I trust his instincts and think he's got the best presidential résumé since, well, George H.W. Bush. And in this campaign Bush has proved that his dishonesty runs far deeper than Gore's—witness his shameless hand-waving over that $1 trillion hole in his Social Security plan. It's a sham, and either he doesn't know it or he doesn't care. Both possibilities are pretty disturbing.
Susan Daniels, Copy Editor: Gore.
Well, let me see: After eight years of a Democratic administration we have the lowest unemployment rate in 30 years, an economy that manages astronomical growth rates with virtually no inflation, and a federal deficit that's finally been vanquished after decades of escalation—all this, plus the makeup of the Supreme Court at stake. Oh, and the fate of my Social Security funds thrown in for good measure. And I'm seriously supposed to consider transferring the reins of power to an unabashedly anti-choice, anti-gay, geographically and mathematically challenged candidate whose attention span and grasp of detail rivals that of a moderately alert ninth-grader? Or perhaps it's those advisers-to-be-named-later that I'm supposed to trust instead? Thanks for the offer, but I think I'll pass. I'm for Gore.
Jeremy Derfner, Editorial Assistant: Gore.
Because I trust his instincts, and I don't trust Bush's. I get the sense that, despite the rap that he tries too hard to be all things to all people, Gore supports what I support (progressive taxation and gay rights, for example). And he is thoughtful about policy, often to the point of absurdity (tortured metaphors and schematics). Bush, on the other hand, doesn't seem to care about much of anything. He so despises the notion of thoughtfulness that he won't even let the smart aides who do his thinking for him be deliberative in his presence. He cuts them off and demands the answers right away. Contemplation is to Bush what spinach is to a spoiled child. He won't eat it and, worse, he won't eat anything it touches.
David Edelstein, Contributor: Gore.
George W. Bush is a rich, Skull & Bones Yalie who'd like us to believe he's a Dogpatch populist and a Washington outsider. Like his father, he has few discernible political ideals, and also like his father, his garbled syntax seems an objective correlative for an inability to sort out his various, often contradictory positions. He talks out of one side of his mouth about kindness and compassion and out of the other traffics in insult and innuendo. He takes credit for bills he vetoed that passed anyway. He and his scary running mate supported the Vietnam War, but both used their influence to make sure other people fought it. He and his scary running mate decry big government, but both made their fortunes by using that government for their own self-serving ends. The only thing I'm mad at Al Gore about is not doing a better job of exposing Dubya's hypocrisy. Otherwise, Gore is a man of stature and vision who unfortunately comes off slightly less human than Data on Star Trek. I think he's a weirdo, but I'll still vote for him with confidence in his heart, mind, and judgment.
Siân Gibby, Copy Editor: Gore.