It begins.
December 2, 2003 9:53 PM   Subscribe

Ralph Nader forms 2004 exploratory committee. As Josh Marshall notes, the web site appears empty but has most of its information hidden behind a blank index page, including the FAQ which, of course, addresses the... incident... in Florida.
posted by XQUZYPHYR (55 comments total)
 
I supported Ralph in 2000, and don't regret doing so at all. I firmly believe he's a man that possesses intelligence, conviction, and a lot of beliefs that I can get behind. But if he's going to parody himself with such simplistic statements on his website such as:

Why is the United States the only western country without national health insurance? Why does the Pentagon's budget continue to balloon out of control? Why aren't we moving after all these years of delay, systemically, quickly from fossil fuels to a renewable energy economy? Why are we continuing to ship our good jobs overseas? Why aren't more crooked corporate CEO's in jail?

Because the two-party system is bankrupt. Both parties are dominated by giant corporations. We need to return politics to the people.


then his goose is cooked. I agree with him, but only because I know more about where he's coming from. He's only going to lose some of what he had three years ago and gain nothing unless he can round up a more cogent argument than a two-sentence explanation of five major questions.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:20 PM on December 2, 2003


(and by "I know more" I was implying "I know the background information" not, " I know more than others/ralph/you")
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:21 PM on December 2, 2003


I don't quite agree with Marshall's "he's a villein of the blackest sort" take. The man has the right to run, even if it's a waste time and resources.
posted by moonbiter at 10:40 PM on December 2, 2003


I supported Ralph in 2000. It was the right thing to do then. It's the wrong thing to do now. If Nader cannot understand the necessity of putting all the progressive eggs in one basket for the 2004 race, then it's clear to me that the Left is too hopelessly fragmented to get their act together for a pragmatic incremental takeback of government. Karl Rove is no doubt laughing his ass off.
posted by ed at 11:06 PM on December 2, 2003


I voted Nader in 2000, it was a safe vote in Illinois and an attempt at building a third party. It failed.

The real downside here is that if Nader runs this year he's going to be far more marginalized than even Lyndon LaRouche, thus elimitating any chance of a viable third-party for a long, long time.

He has the right to run of course, but I don't think he'll get much support as Dean is stealing a lot of thunder. He more or less copied and pasted Nader's "corporate accountability and transparency" rhetoric.

I've seen how the numbers played out in Florida and read all about the voter list Harris has made up to block black people from voting and don't for a second believe Nader cost anyone any election, but the Greens will simply be hurting if they try hard next year with Bush's popularity hovering at 50%. At the very least it will fuel more conspiracy theories about being a spoiler, and again giving us the same outcome: no real third party for a long, long time.
posted by skallas at 11:12 PM on December 2, 2003


I voted for Nader in a state, which was, believe me, a completely safe bet. I'd consider doing it again, but I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed here about the need for progressives to focus and the fact that if he pushes, he'll destroy momentum for a third party rather than create it.

I'd also be interested to know how many of Nader voters in 2000 would have pulled out if the man had actually stood a chance of becoming president.
posted by namespan at 11:20 PM on December 2, 2003


I voted for Nader in 2000, not because I think he'd make a good president (he wouldn't) but because I wanted him to get above 5% so a third party would qualify for federal funds in 2004. I also wanted to endorse a progressive voice.

However, I lived in Georgia at the time, where I believe Bush was ahead by 27% in election-eve polls, so I didn't exactly hurt Gore by not voting for him. If it'd been at all close, I'd have voted for Gore.

(the "Nader's Traders" movement always intrigued me...)
posted by Vidiot at 12:13 AM on December 3, 2003


ah, finally a MeFi thread full of people who voted for Bush in 2000...

;)

just kidding -- almost.

we all know that third party candidates usually do worse the second time they run, and the "a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush" mantra is going to resonate less in '04, so Ralph's going nowhere fast. but what's really interesting to me is ed's comment: "then it's clear to me that the Left is too hopelessly fragmented to get their act together for a pragmatic incremental takeback of government."

problem is, the extreme right has managed to grow the fuck up and successfully took over the Party they were once a marginalized part of -- and now, very simply, they're calling the shots (check out the many MeFi threads about fundys being happy that the Bush WH calls them all the time, asking what their position on a certain issue is). they already got the faith-based initiatives funding, stem-cell research ban, the "AIDS funds-abstinence propaganda" linkage, the scary (scary because it's just the appetizer waiting for the big "overturn Roe" juicy steak) ban of "partial-birth" (bullshit issue if there ever was one), there's a long line of anti-Roe SCOTUS candidates lined up waiting for poor old Justice Stevens to retire (so let's all pray -- yes, you too, skallas, for once -- that Ginsburg and Breyer and Souter stay healthy for a loooong time. or just prepare your home-abortion DIY kit if you lack the funds for travel to Mexico like in the good old women-with-punctured-womb times)
the extreme wing of one party understood that it could either spend a long time patting itself on the back for its righteousness and screaming proudly about waging "cultural war" (ie the Houston 1992 Republican National Convention disaster), or they could be more pragmatic and start calling the shots Machiavelli-style.

heh

liberals instead, frustrated with DLC politics as usual and pandering to the right, responded to marginalization by developing a taste for third party "let's change the system" Big Plan. which is all very noble, but it's also the perfect way to stay out of power for a long, long time and seeing John Ashcroft calling the shots. not to mention that now, if a Democrat ever gets elected to the White House anytime soon, he'll/she'll just triangulate only with the right, like Clinton did.

liberals in America are between a rock and a hard place, I agree, one of the reasons being that they live in a basically conservative nation.
but they could learn a lesson or two from Christian fundys in how to influence govt policy
posted by matteo at 1:38 AM on December 3, 2003


is going to resonate less in '04


is going to resonate _more_ of course, sorry
posted by matteo at 1:40 AM on December 3, 2003


obviously, you meant 'resinate'.
posted by quonsar at 1:50 AM on December 3, 2003


When Al Gore sent Tipper out to keep his name in the news with the PMRC nonsense, I knew he was shamelessly exploiting a trendy hot-button issue for a presidential run. I vowed to never vote for him in any way, shape or form. He cemented this promise when he humped the V-chip and Clipper project.

I supported Nader in 2000.

Just as people were put off by Dole's arrogant attitude that the '96 nomination was his birthright, I despised Gore's smug and implicit assumption that Nader's votes belonged to him. No way was he getting my vote.

Indeed, I have not voted for ANY Democratic candidate since they allowed (and encouraged) Nader to be blackballed from key 2000 debates.

We'll see how it goes this year. If they got the message legions of people tried to send, I may vote Dean. If they sell us out again, I'll invoke my "two strikes" rule and drop them off my radar screen for good.
posted by RavinDave at 3:41 AM on December 3, 2003


I wish those who dislkie the two paritews now fying for party would simply get a bit more realistic: Ralph dislikes lobby groups and big corporations running things etc etc. How does he plan then to toss them out, what with a congress that is in place because of the very groups Ralphy dislikes? It takes more than one guy (or woman)--at least in a democracy--to change the money changers from the temple steps. And note: I have a friend (lawyer)_ who quit working for Ralph. He doesn't even give benefits to those who work for him! And this is the guy who will bring about a better world for Americans?
posted by Postroad at 4:12 AM on December 3, 2003


obviously, you meant 'resinate'.

dong resin?
posted by matteo at 5:27 AM on December 3, 2003


I'm tempted to insert my standard "Nader handed Florida and New Hampshire to the GOP (and cost the Greens any chance at matching funds)" rant, but lately I've been enjoying an irony of 2004: A lot of the criticism about Howard Dean and his supporters from Democratic centrists sounds like what we were saying about Nader last time around. You can't even run a progressive campaign from inside the Democratic tent without being accused of crashing the party.

Basing your voting strategy on electability can lead to votes just as ugly in hindsight as a Nader vote in 2000 (such as my vote for Bill McBride in Florida).

The Greens should nominate one of their own, instead of a faux Green gadfly like Nader who isn't even a party member. They'll lose a lot of credibility by letting that Democrat-bashing glory hound represent the Greens again.
posted by rcade at 5:34 AM on December 3, 2003


liberals instead, frustrated with DLC politics as usual and pandering to the right, responded to marginalization by developing a taste for third party "let's change the system" Big Plan. which is all very noble, but it's also the perfect way to stay out of power for a long, long time and seeing John Ashcroft calling the shots

Thanks matteo, that pretty much nails it.

Is Nader's campaign going to argue that there's no real difference between Dean and Bush?
posted by fuzz at 5:47 AM on December 3, 2003


Let's hope Nader reads this thread before he takes the cloak off his new website...
posted by spilon at 6:14 AM on December 3, 2003


The FAQ is gone. Anybody grab a copy before it disappeared?
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:27 AM on December 3, 2003


Dear Ralph Nader,

Can I please have my vote from the 2000 election back?

Love,
wfrgms
posted by wfrgms at 6:33 AM on December 3, 2003


crap. hang it up, Ralph. You are far more powerful as an advocate than you are as a candidate.
posted by whatnot at 6:55 AM on December 3, 2003


The removal of this FAQ taught me a neat Mozilla trick. If you know a page has been removed before you click its link, turn your browser to offline mode (File, Work Offline) and click it. You'll see the last copy you read.

Hence, here's a cached copy of the FAQ.
posted by rcade at 6:56 AM on December 3, 2003


I think IE will do the same thing, rcade, but it's something I always forget about. Thanks for caching that page.
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:08 AM on December 3, 2003


Politics is a zero sum game. It was in 2000, it is in 2004, it will always be so until (ha) we get instant runoff voting. Those who voted for Nader yet hate Bush have only themselves to blame for putting one man's ego trip above the country's good. Fortunately, I think most people who voted for Nader have wised up since then.
posted by norm at 7:16 AM on December 3, 2003


Those who voted for Nader yet hate Bush have only themselves to blame for putting one man's ego trip above the country's good. Fortunately, I think most people who voted for Nader have wised up since then.

Another way to say this is: Those who voted for Gore yet hate Bush have only themselves to blame for supporting a lackluster candidate who seemed embarassed to represent his party's traditional beliefs in the mistaken notion that the electorate wanted him to be GOP-lite. UNfortunately, I don't think most people who voted for Gore have wised up since then.
posted by RavinDave at 7:27 AM on December 3, 2003


Care to quantify the notion that Gore wasn't eagerly representing core Democratic beliefs? His convention speech and many subsequent appearances were an unexpectedly strong embrace of working-class populism, which I think is the largest reason why he gained so much on Bush and ended up winning the popular vote by half a million (and, arguably of course, the electoral vote). I never bought Nader's simplistic accusation that Gore was indistinguishable from Republicans, a notion that in hindsight is certifiably insane.
posted by rcade at 7:37 AM on December 3, 2003


If you figure Gore was lackluster for getting only 49% of the popular vote, then just imagine what a universally unappealing candidate you'd have to be to only get 2 1/2%.
posted by boaz at 7:44 AM on December 3, 2003


Grazie, rcade. Nothing ever dies on the Internet...
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:34 AM on December 3, 2003


What Nader has in common with Dean is that their candidacies feature prominently in Karl Rove's wet dreams.
posted by sacre_bleu at 8:47 AM on December 3, 2003


Boy, I think the last time I really read Metafilter was when arguments about the Nader candidacy were filling up pages here. There's a dead horse in front of me, so I guess I've got to beat it: Nader supporters are deluding themselves if they still think there was no difference between Gore and Bush. That much is obvious today. Folks who discount the Democrats because there are unelectable options they like better are also deluding themselves. Sure we shouldn't base our votes on electability. But we also need to recognize which fights are worth fighting. If the Green party wants to make any advances in this country, they're going to have to start smaller than the presidency. If we don't like the job Bush is doing, we need to think carefully about the best strategy to make a change. I don't think a Nader candidacy fits in with that strategy.
posted by owen at 8:50 AM on December 3, 2003


rcade, that is an extremely cool trick, thanks.



Nader voters....grumble...grumble....fume....
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:54 AM on December 3, 2003


Those who voted for Nader yet hate Bush have only themselves to blame for putting one man's ego trip above the country's good.

I've always found the "ego trip" accusation amusing, as in really stupid. Say what you will about Ralph's political views, suggesting that he would subject himself to massive media ridicule, near-constant exhaustion, and risk alienating friends and allies all in the service of his "ego" is patently ridiculous.
posted by Ty Webb at 8:56 AM on December 3, 2003


I'm sure, of course, that those of you laying on the anti-Nader-voter vitriol are keeping clearly in mind the fact that the electoral college system meant it simply didn't matter which way you voted in most states, and that if Nader's candidacy had anything to do with the result of the election, it only concerned the half dozen or so states where one or the other major-party candidate had not already locked in a victory...

Why, exactly, is it a Nader voter's fault that nearly half the voters in the U.S. did not realize that Bush was an uneducated, incompetent lying bastard? Something like 25 times as many people voted for the shrub, but the people who made an honest attempt to break the two-party deadlock are the problem?
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:22 AM on December 3, 2003


I've always found the "ego trip" accusation amusing, as in really stupid. Say what you will about Ralph's political views, suggesting that he would subject himself to massive media ridicule, near-constant exhaustion, and risk alienating friends and allies all in the service of his "ego" is patently ridiculous.

Riiiight. Lots of people have done worse things to themselves for attention.

I'll put it another way, though; those who loudly were supporters of Nader were after their own bit of attention, as nonconformist more-liberal-than-thou types. That bit of ego tripping was on display in spades here in 2000, and I see it still popping up now and again.

"I'm such a bolshevik that I'll put up with four years of Dubya to show you!" Ugh. Next time, work to defeat our enemy, not deliver us into his hands.
posted by norm at 9:23 AM on December 3, 2003


Something like 25 times as many people voted for the shrub, but the people who made an honest attempt to break the two-party deadlock are the problem?

This floors me. In what delusional, fevered universe did voting for Ralph advance an agenda to break the two party deadlock? The best case scenario would be that the Greens could have gotten some federal funding for the next campaign so that the erosion of the Democratic party's base could continue by public financing.

Oh, and both parties are now opting out of this public financing, remember? So it's not like that money would buy elections, just screw Democratic candidates. The only solution is to do some hardwork and work on the party from the inside. Like the Dean campaign, I might add, is doing.
posted by norm at 9:28 AM on December 3, 2003


His convention speech and many subsequent appearances were an unexpectedly strong embrace of working-class populism, which I think is the largest reason why he gained so much on Bush and ended up winning the popular vote by half a million (and, arguably of course, the electoral vote).

However, 2000 was supposed to be the campaign that Gore just could not loose. A Gore presidency was sold as a continuation of the Clinton legacy of prosperity. It was a campaign that analysits argued should have resulted in a landslide victory for Gore. So what happened?

There's a dead horse in front of me, so I guess I've got to beat it: Nader supporters are deluding themselves if they still think there was no difference between Gore and Bush.

Which is perhaps as big a wopper as the old conservative line of Gore claiming to have invented the internet. Of course there are key points of difference. However, there are key points of similarity that were pretty much left out of the 2000 campaign.

* NAFTA, FTAA and WTO.
* Campaign finance reform.
* The use of COUNTERINTELPRO tatics to silence activism. (Neither Bush or Gore dared to address the use of selective arrests and the FBI's role in creating a hostile environment for activism in 1999-2000.)

Of course there are differences. Bush is obvious while Gore was subtle. Koyoto was dead by August 2000, drowned in a morass of negotiations that reduced it to little more than running in place very fast. Bush charges head-long into a trade war over steel. Clinton/Gore over GMOs and intellectual property.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:41 AM on December 3, 2003


Riiiight. Lots of people have done worse things to themselves for attention.

True enough, but that proves what, exactly? I haven't seen any evidence to support the idea that Ralph's 2000 campaign was an "ego trip," as you charged. All I've seen are people ascribing various pathologies to him based merely on the fact that they don't like him or agree with/comprehend his reasons for running.

I'll put it another way, though; those who loudly were supporters of Nader were after their own bit of attention, as nonconformist more-liberal-than-thou types. That bit of ego tripping was on display in spades here in 2000, and I see it still popping up now and again.

I think this is true to a certain extent, though it has to do with Nader voters rather than Nader himself. And it is a big problem on the left.
posted by Ty Webb at 9:46 AM on December 3, 2003


Mars: In the last several months of the campaign, Nader intentionally focused on the swing states where each voter mattered most.

If his candidacy was about breaking the two-party hold on politics, why did he adopt the least likely strategy to attain five percent of the nationwide vote and secure matching funds for 2004?

Kirk: Find a single analyst who believed a sitting vice president "can't lose" when attempting to succeed a two-term running mate. Historically, it's never easy. The public doesn't give veeps credit for the accomplishments of the preceding president, and there's a strong desire among many voters after eight years to change horses.
posted by rcade at 10:14 AM on December 3, 2003


It's too bad Nader's gone so coy on us; here's what he had to say before the election:
"A funny thing is happening in the Democratic Party. Every time they win, they say it's because they took Republican issues away. And then when they lose, they say it's because they are not appealing to the Republican voters. We want them to say they lost because a progressive movement took away votes."
I'm sure he meant to add, '... so I can vociferously deny it and call the people saying that "chronic whiners" once I've accomplished that.', but let's at least be clear on his motivation: He ran because he wanted a party he felt was insufficiently liberal to lose (sure, to a party that was even less liberal, but why quibble).
posted by boaz at 10:23 AM on December 3, 2003


norm The only solution is to do some hardwork and work on the party from the inside. Like the Dean campaign, I might add, is doing.

Which seems to be causing more problems for Dean than actual change.

It also points to a key difference between 1999 and now. Over and over again, key supportive groups procrastinated at length before giving up admittedly reluctant endorsements for Gore. It was decided early that Gore was the candidate, and a continuation of Clinton's administration was the message. Nevermind that progressives concerned about the environment were consistantly frustrated by a lack of progress on the most important issue. Nevermind that labour was concered about declining real wages, benefits and job losses. Nevermind that feminists were concerned that access to abortion actually declined over the 8 years of the Clinton administration (as well as the apparent lack of concern over what appears to have been habitual patterns of sexual misconduct and harassment). Nevermind that many progressives were disturbed by the role of the FBI in providing the information that led to the infamous Philadelphia arrests, and the training that contributed to the violence and human rights violations at Genoa.

Moore had an interesting piece that was right on the money. Gore could have, at any time, neutralized Nader campaign by actually talking about the fact that the Clinton administration was not some happy paradise. Instead, groups that were harmed or frustrated by the Clinton administration, who wanted a Democratic candidate to put their concerns on the table, were told to line up and vote for 4 more years of being treated badly, if only because we might be treated worse by Bush.

This is one of the key reasons why Gore lost. The Republicans have become quite adept at coalition building. Gore seemed to approach the problem of building a coalition with distain. Perhaps we might get a person who can build an effective coalition. I don't know yet. However such a coalition won't be built until someone in the Democratic party opens the door to talk about some of the issues that are of concern to Greens, and were excluded from the 2000 campaign.

rcade: The analysis had as much to do with economics as position. Gore walked into the campaign highly favored because the Clinton administration occured during 8 "boom" years. Statistically speaking, this tends to favor changing hands within the administration rather than a change of administration.

boaz: Well, here is the key. Why should groups that found themselves treated badly vote for a continuation of the current administration? If there are no consequences for a party to repeatedly break its promises, what hope is there for change?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:51 AM on December 3, 2003


I voted Nader in Missouri, and I don't regret it for a second.

Gore was washed up, and completely inviable as a progressive candidate, for the reasons KirkJobSluder outlined above. We should vote on issues that matter to us, right? Isn't that how the extremist right got control of the white house? As such, I wasn't about to vote for a guy who was relying on the progressive vote as a sure thing while silmultaneously selling progressive issues up the river.

Secondly, I did want the Green party to get the federal funding and be allowed into mainstream debate. It's sad when the only party running on a platform of not fucking the people and the land is actively marginalized, their voices kept from reaching people at all. If the Greens seem a long shot, I think it is because people aren't used to their ideas. It's in the interest of a lot of well-monied people to see that those ideas never become common currency in the political debate, to make sure that backbone portions of our society feel isolated and powerless. I voted Nader to start spreading the word, even if at this early stage of the movement, that word is roughly cut. We need to start a process of communication, and my vote was - I had hoped - a way to do that.

And yeah, at the same time, I thought to myself if Bush wins, things are going to get so bad so fast that people won't have any choice but see how hard Washington works against them. And in any person capable of critical thought, I think that is exactly the effect the last four years have had. I'm saddened that it took two wars and some intolerable backwards slides in policy to do it. But, for the reasons outlined above, I don't regret my vote. Better to suffer a bit than sell out.

Oh, and finally, I was really out to show all of my liberal friends just how liberal I was. I was new on the scene, and really needed to prove myself. The vote was a great way to bolster my ego. My capacity for independent, reasonable thought is clearly nil, so it was a great idea to attach myself to a hip issue. In other words, fuck you, norm. I do campaign work and do work in the field on environmentalist issues. I go to protests. I don't do it to appear hip - I've spent time in jail, been yelled at by legions, and thrown around by cops. I'm not in this for the fun factor, the hip factor, the Starbucks crowd. Get off your damn armchair and go find out what it's like trying to keep toxic waste out of poor neighborhoods, keep people from turning the forests into a monoculture, or keep our government from blowing up half the world. It ain't easy, and you get disillusioned with half-assed solutions like Gore pretty damned fast. Voting as a progressive for Gore wouldn't effect any change - it would lead to the same set of policies, just a couple more years down the line.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:03 AM on December 3, 2003


Glad you can see the benefit of four years of suffering, kaibutsu. I'm sure you'll be twice as happy if Nader doubles our fun.

As for Gore's chances in 2000, there's a big difference between "tends to favor" and "can't lose." Gore's accused of squandering a can't-miss opportunity by Republicans, Greens, and some disaffected Democrats, but I think that's about as true as the "he thinks he invented the Internet" BS. Everybody loves to kick Fightin' Al when he's down.

Speaking as a yellow-dog Democrat, I think it would be poetic justice if the Greens' concerns fell on deaf ears with the Democrats in 2004. Especially if you allow Nader to attempt a repeat of 2000. There are progressives in the Democratic Party who can speak for the issues that are important. We don't need the Shiite Greens who haven't already come back to the donkeys because of the twin forces of hindsight and regret.
posted by rcade at 11:16 AM on December 3, 2003


Gore could have, at any time, neutralized Nader campaign by actually talking about the fact that the Clinton administration was not some happy paradise.

I would have much preferred that he actively embraced the Clinton administration and ditched the rest of his "centrist" moves like Lieberman and the with-us-or-against-us rhetoric he deployed against the left wing when Nader started to get some coverage.

I'm with Vidiot and ufez and those guys: I voted Nader because I'm in a state that was a lock (for Bush - I'm in Texas) and I thought it was a chance to pump progressive politics up a notch. It turned out very badly on this count. I was also exasperated with Nader being shut out of the debates and the previously mentioned with-us-or-against-us rhetoric. The political climate has changed a lot since then, and I don't plan on going Green in nationwide elections anytime soon.
posted by furiousthought at 11:31 AM on December 3, 2003


Glad you can see the benefit of four years of suffering, kaibutsu. I'm sure you'll be twice as happy if Nader doubles our fun.

Bush and the large number of people who voted for him are the problem, not Nader and his small number of supporters. Focusing on vitrol on Nader does nothing. The larger issue is how to convince the large number of working-class Bush voters that the current Republican strategy of "feed the rich by soaking everyone else" is not in their best interests.
posted by moonbiter at 11:58 AM on December 3, 2003


rcade: I think it depends on whether the party actually allows progressives to speak. If we get a repeat of the 2000 wall of silence, then what is the point?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:08 PM on December 3, 2003


ok, just checking, are we saying Kucinich isn't progressive enough?
posted by whatnot at 12:27 PM on December 3, 2003


whatnot: ok, just checking, are we saying Kucinich isn't progressive enough?

The problem as I see it is that the overall reaction to progressives in the party right now is not "what do they have to say that we can learn from" but "how do we shut these guys up before they spoil the election"?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:34 PM on December 3, 2003


The Democratic Party is not the DLC. The front-runner at this point is building a grass-roots organization in active opposition to the DLC. If you'd like to send a message to people who are too centrist, too dismissive, or too whatever, you've got a great chance this year. (You should've had a chance in 2000, had Nader run in the Democratic primaries where he more naturally belonged).
posted by rcade at 12:46 PM on December 3, 2003


The bottom line is that a 2.5% voting bloc isn't gonna get much respect regardless of how it plays its cards (nor should it in an ostensibly democratic country). If Nader had polled even 15%, you can bet every Democrat (and maybe even some Republicans) would be knocking at his door looking for an endorsement. The spoiling-the-election, the "Republicrat" nonsense, all that is eminently forgivable; Expecting to enact a sweeping platform with public support less than the average poll's margin-of-error is Nader's true cardinal sin. And even today, for all the slighting of Gore's coalition-building (which is kinda weird when you consider Gore got more votes in 2000 than Clinton did in either of his runs), I don't see Nader trying to reach beyond his wafer-thin anti-corporate, anti-globalization base to actually grow the Green Party. Where's the coalition being built there? To paraphase Clinton, It's The Democracy, Stupid.
posted by boaz at 4:30 PM on December 3, 2003


We don't need the Shiite Greens who haven't already come back to the donkeys because of the twin forces of hindsight and regret.

And that, my friend, is precisely why the Democratic party is no longer an appropriate party for progressives.

[Deleted: long rant about why voting for people that don't represent your beliefs only to avoid others who do not represent your beliefs ultimately leaves you with a government that does not represent your beliefs.]

When Nader committed to the 10 keys of the Green party he became the candidate that best represented my beliefsā€”as such he received my vote. While I would prefer the Greens to run their own, home-grown candidates, I am really not that picky about the actual person as I am about governing by the 10 keys.
posted by Fezboy! at 5:26 PM on December 3, 2003


Politics is a zero sum game.

Politics may be a zero-sum game, but the makeup of the American electoral system exacerbates these zero-sum tendencies. Duverger's Law explains why third parties cannot succeed in the winner-take-all electoral system that predominates in American elections. Unless the United States switches to proportional representation, instant runoff voting, or some other voting system that levels the playing field for third parties, third parties will be nothing more than an electoral pipe dream in American politics.
posted by jonp72 at 6:16 PM on December 3, 2003


FWIW, I agree with what I had been, for some time, hearing from the Greens: That this year, we should stay out of the Presidential election, and instead focus on winning in state and local elections. Dean is a pretty major force in the primaries, and Kucinich is at least still in there. It means that the Dems have most definitely heard us, and have readjusted in order to keep our votes. It's forward progress, and, the horrible canker in the White House being what it is, I am satisfied with the Dems as it is. Unless Lieberman somehow gets the ticket, I'll be voting Democrat for the presidency this time around, and probably Green for the rest of the election.
posted by kaibutsu at 8:15 PM on December 3, 2003


Really people, if you want to vote for someone who "represents your beliefs," why not just write your own name in? After all, you undoubtedly represent your own beliefs way better than even Nader could, and you have the exact same chance of winning.
posted by boaz at 9:27 PM on December 3, 2003


And that, my friend, is precisely why the Democratic party is no longer an appropriate party for progressives.

I knew there'd be at least one pronouncement of this kind from a Green in response to my post. There are times the common meanings for the word green -- inexperienced, gullible, unsophisticated -- seem particularly apt.

How's the Democratic Party not appropriate for progressives because we don't need the small splinter group of doggedly idealistic progressives who voted Nader in 2000 and will eagerly do the same in 2004?

You're a tiny group of people -- 2.5 percent four years ago, and likely to be considerably fewer in number this time around. You work against your party's long-term interest by supporting a gadfly candidate who'd rather defeat Democrats than build a national party.

Instead of trying to find ways to bring you back in the tent, I think nothing should be done to stop you from rapidly marginalizing yourselves.
posted by rcade at 5:58 AM on December 4, 2003


I can think of nothing in america more consistently contributing to stupid "with us or against us" tendencies than the two party system insured by our current electoral system.
posted by jann at 9:04 AM on December 4, 2003


Instead of trying to find ways to bring you back in the tent, I think nothing should be done to stop you from rapidly marginalizing yourselves.

In case you haven't noticed, the Dems are losing serious ground in every office down to the Pocatello dogcatcher's race. Who's marginalizing themselves again?
posted by RavinDave at 12:52 PM on December 4, 2003


And in any person capable of critical thought, I think that is exactly the effect the last four years have had.

Wow. What an incredible asinine statement.

Basically, if someone disagrees with your almighty critical findings they are incapable of critical thinking?

I think your partisan ways have infected your ego. Some people may not see things your way, and it doesn't result from your superior critical thinking.

Get over yourself.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 10:22 PM on December 7, 2003


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