The main issue on my mind as I vote will be future appointments to the Supreme Court; it would be a shame to see the court get larded up with too many right-wing pinheads. In the past eight years, too, I have grown accustomed to turning on the television and listening to an intelligent, articulate president. This is a kind of national pride in the president's statesmanship and aplomb that I would like to continue to enjoy. And if the price for that is putting up with a little animatronic stiffness, then so be it.
David Greenberg, Contributor: Gore.
A friend of mine hails from a mixed marriage: Republican father, Democratic mother. As a child she asked her mother the difference. "Democrats care about people," Mom explained, "Republicans care about money." I know, I know, that's a bit unfair. (Though just a bit.) Yet if I had to define the parties' differences for a small child—and, judging from the post-debate jabber of the undecideds, I do—I'd say something similar. For all my problems with Gore, I have no doubt he'll protect and even bolster those precious American resources that serve us all: public schools, Social Security, Medicare, clean air and water, civil rights laws. The (projected) budget surplus too. Bush—let's face it—would essentially gut them and give tax breaks to the rich and to business, who, if you hadn't noticed, are doing just fine under Clinton. Also, Gore never declared Jesus Day in Tennessee.
Margo Howard, Contributor: Gore.
Though I'm a longtime Democrat, this election has a strong voting-against component for me. Dubya, I fear, would not have the vaguest idea what to do with, or in, the Oval Office. While it is true that both candidates, to a degree, are doin' it for dear old dad, a Bush win would effectively give his old man a second term. From a lack of interest in detail, to put it politely, Bush the younger would of necessity turn into the delegator di tutti delegators. (Yo, Dick Cheney!) I have a bipartisan disdain for Dubya's candlepower, and it is quite clear the guy is lazy. We do not need a president who needs so much sleep that he retires at 9:30 p.m. and tries to work in an afternoon nap. But I'm in a win-win situation, because whichever candidate gets the nod, he will have plenty of problems.
Gore victory bonus: no Lynne Cheney.
Jodi Kantor, Associate Editor: Gore.
Gore, please, on general Democratic principles, and for a reason his ads and speeches have barely mentioned: that by all accounts, he's already been a clear-headed, moderate, energetic, and wise addition to the White House. I wish he'd faced a more distinguished opponent in this race; since Bush has virtually no record, Gore's had nothing to run against but a smile and some sugary half-proposals.
If Bush wins, it really will feel like the '80s all over again for me: Not only will we have a president with Reagan's brand of benign, chuckling cluelessness, but also the triumph of the genial, immature jock over the earnest, intellectual striver will give me the horrifying sensation that I'm right back in high school.
Kathleen Kincaid, Design Director: Gore.
My parents will probably be appalled by this write-up, as they guarded their presidential votes as though revealing them would be a breach of national security and bring down American democracy as we know it. I'm not sure if it was a marital strategy to avoid tension or what. As for myself, I've never been able to shut up about the presidential candidates as well as my political leanings. Previously coming from a state that plans to elect Jesse Helms until he no longer registers a pulse, I've had plenty to yammer on about over the years. I am a bleeding-heart liberal, and even though Gore doesn't measure up to all of my expectations, I do know he will do the hard work necessary and possesses the intellectual horsepower to be a good president. I went to school with too many people like Bush—living off their family name and wealth with absolutely no concern for people below their own socioeconomic class. His lack of passion for the people or the job is too obvious. Gore may have had a similarly privileged background, but he's earnestly using it to make a difference and a significant contribution as a citizen. Bush, I fear, will never see the need to do so.