Al Gore Warns Hillary Supporters In Miami About Complacency: 'Your Vote Really, Really Counts'

Oct 11, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Al Gore spoke in Miami on Tuesday, and -- as might be expected in the area that's described as ground zero for sea level rise -- the focus was almost exclusively on climate change.

"We've got to address this issue for our sakes, our children, our grandchildren," Clinton said towards the beginning of her speech. "Leadership can make a difference."

Close to 1,600 people, according to Secret Service estimates, gathered at the Kendall Campus of  Miami Dade College to hear Gore and Clinton talk about climate change. Enthusiastic crowds waited almost two hours in line under the sun. Not even the chanting of Donald Trump supporters protesting nearby deterred those wanting to hear the former vice president and the presidential candidate speak.

"The clean energy super power of the 21st Century is probably going to be Germany, China or us. I want it to be us," said Clinton, who dedicated much of her speech to underlining the effects of climate change on South Florida. 

"The impact of climate change has become a daily reality here in Miami," said Clinton, adding in a reference to Donald Trump: "We can't risk putting a climate denier in the White House."

Gore, a well-known environmentalist who received a Nobel Prize for his efforts in spreading knowledge about the effects of climate change, echoed Clinton's message.

Hillary Clinton supporters waited up to two hours in line to get into the auditorium.
Credit Kyle Holsten / WLRN

He emphasized how climate change -- and the higher temperatures, sea level rise and heavy rains it brings -- impacts South Florida residents. He made references to flooding in Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale and major hurricanes like Matthew.

"The climate crisis worsened Hurricane Matthew," said Gore, pointing out the effects of the unusually warm Gulf Stream and  increased water vapor in the air in strengthening the storm. 

Gore also said that since Hurricane Andrew, in 1992, the seas have risen three inches and expanded inland four  to eight feet. And higher temperatures and more water make it easier for Zika-carrying mosquitoes to reproduce, he said.

"The changing climate conditions change the places where these tropical diseases become endemic and put down roots," he said.

Gore made direct reference to his failed bid for the presidencyin 2000  and warned audience about being complacent. Responding to crowd chants of, "You won! You won!" he said, "I don't want you to be in a position years from now where you welcome Hillary Clinton and say, actually you did win."

Public school teacher Lauren Schuster decided to go to the Hillary Clinton rally because she is concerned about further cuts in public schools if Donald Trump wins.
Credit Kyle Holsten / WLRN

"Your vote really, really, really counts a lot... you can consider me exhibit A of that," he added, using his experience of losing the 2000 presidential election by 537 votes in Florida as a cautionary tale for Hillary Clinton supporters in Miami.

That was a fear echoed by Kendall resident Jeannie Necessary, a longtime Hillary Clinton supporter. Outside the rally, she said she worried that third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein could cost Clinton votes, even the election.

"The younger generation doesn’t remember the Al Gore election and what happened" in the 2000 presidential race, Necessary said. But she said she was more concerned about what could happen if Republican candidate Donald Trump were elected.

"I was scared when George W. [Bush] got elected, but at least he was a politician and he had been in office and he had run a state [Texas]," she said.

Gore's speech was received with enthusiasm by the participants. "I got what I expected: an intelligent, well-versed person pointing out with great clarity why anyone in their right mind is not going to vote for Donald Trump but will vote for Hillary," said voter Martin Motes after the event.

Others also  favored Hillary Clinton: "I really can relate to her and I have admired her for years, so I was just so happy to be here to support her and be part of history. Our First Madam president!," said Anja Vie.

Credit Teresa Frontado / WLRN

While hundreds of Hillary supporters surrounded the stage to get a picture with the candidate,  Gore sneaked out discreetly after shaking a couple of hands. By the time the crowds made their way out, the Trump supporters had also left. Only the sunshine of the Miami afternoon was there to greet them.