Several Hundred Votes


Our Endorsement for Hillary

Al Gore acknowledges the crowd at Web 2 Summit, November 2008

One of the most indelible images of my career was backstage at the Web 2 Summit, the day after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. I was in the wings of the main stage at the Sheraton Palace hotel in San Francisco. Out in the ballroom, a thousand of technology’s elite stood roaring and jubilant, delivering a standing ovation to the man who had just walked on stage.

Al Gore strode to the podium, grasped it on both sides, looked out into the lights and the crowd, and suddenly — it hit him. Eight years before almost to the day, several hundred hanging chads fluttering in the Florida breeze had stolen his Presidency. The Supreme Court then delivered it to George Bush.

If only those several hundred votes had swung the other way, if only the Supreme Court had ruled in his favor, if only … he would have been President those past eight years. A disastrous war in Iraq, a terrible terrorist attack that crippled our national psyche, the most destructive financial crisis since the Great Depression — these could have been avoided, or at the very least, they could have been managed by someone more well suited, someone more highly qualified, someone…like him.

As he addressed the crowd, Gore was overwhelmed. He began to perspire — he was clearly a pro, but the moment was electric and fraught with history, and the audience knew it. I wrung my hands in the wings, feeling his emotion and the sympathetic reaction of the assembled tech elite. But he eventually went freestyle, connecting the financial crisis, climate change, and the internet into a call for action rallying the core values of our republic. Ten or so emotional minutes in, he looked to the wings, locking eyes with me and my partner Tim O’Reilly, and indicated it was time to sit down, and just talk.

I think about that moment every time I consider the outcome of today’s election.

And that’s why NewCo endorses Hillary Clinton for President, and we entreat you to go vote, no matter where you are, or even who you might vote for (but Trump? C’mon). Because the fate of democracy can hang on the voices of just a few hundred citizens. And your voice — it matters.

Thanks Hayley!

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