Unsafe in any state.
October 30, 2000 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Unsafe in any state. Salon trashes the Nader campaign big time, mainly claiming that his run for the Presidency is "reckless" and "dangerous". In an alleged democracy, doesn't any candidate who passes muster with the entry requirements have the right to run for the office?
posted by ethmar (38 comments total)
 
As saturated with election hoopla as I am, I find this particular article a) interesting and b) galling.

This election does pose an interesting quandary. Vote for Nader to "send a message", or "engage in party building" and one of the main party candidates will surely win, regardless of what you think. Vote for Gore or Bush, and a viable third party waits another 4 years to emerge, and meanwhile, your particlular views may not be represented.
posted by ethmar at 8:29 AM on October 30, 2000


i don't think the point of the article was that nader didn't have the right to run for office. i think it was more along the lines that by tipping the election to bush in swing states nader is doing alot of damage to causes that he supports.
posted by saralovering at 8:34 AM on October 30, 2000


I can't find a single House race where the Green Party is running a candidate who has a credible chance to win, despite the fact that 74 House incumbents are running unopposed this year. If the Greens can't put a single person in Congress, even in a place like Vermont where an independent has been elected to the House for more than a decade, how are we supposed to believe that Nader is building a strong third party? It isn't happening.
posted by rcade at 8:39 AM on October 30, 2000


It's insane that people are so brainwashed by the two party system that they think the only people with the right to run are the republicans and the democrats. The author of this article makes it seem as if we should accept the table scraps Gore will give us because Bush will give us less. How stupid. And more than stupid, it's short sighted.

But I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said here a million times, and will be said a thousand more times today.
posted by Doug at 8:41 AM on October 30, 2000


Building, Rcade, not built. And the Green party is much stronger than it would have been had he not run.
posted by Doug at 8:43 AM on October 30, 2000


It's insane that people are so brainwashed by the two party system that they think the only people with the right to run are the republicans and the democrats.

Indeed, which brings us back to the quandary. On the one hand, there is no viable third party. Voting Nader may finally bring one about (or not). On the other hand, a Bush victory is rather scary. Call it the lesser of the evils or whatever you like, but there will be negative consequences to a Bush victory next week.

Are we prepared to sit through 4 years of crap while the Green Party waits for their matching funds check?

Then again, I suppose it can (and no doubt will) be argued that if Bush or Gore does not reflect your views, then a victory for either candidate will be "4 years of crap".
posted by ethmar at 8:50 AM on October 30, 2000


If the Greens can't put a single person in Congress, even in a place like Vermont where an independent has been elected to the House for more than a decade, how are we supposed to believe that Nader is building a strong third party?

Completely agree. If you look at the growth of Green parties across Europe in the past 20 years, it's always been from grassroots campaigns, at a local government level. For instance, Oxford City has 8 Green councillors, who now hold the balance of power. The result: a greater emphasis on environmental issues, such as Oxford's atrocious traffic situation.
posted by holgate at 8:50 AM on October 30, 2000


Here in New Mexico, the greens are pretty active. There are a couple of Greens on the Santa Fe city council, and I think there's even a Green judge. The Green party *is* a grassroots movement. That means that party building starts at the local level.

The Greens are running Dan Kerlinsky for U.S. Senate, even though he doesn't have a shot at winning. But that's not the point. The Green party is introducing issues that neither Democrats or Republicans will touch, and expanding political discourse in this country. And win or lose, Green candidates are doing a service to everyone by campaigning on these issues.
posted by snakey at 8:51 AM on October 30, 2000


Um, if a crucial-enough set of voters is indicating that they prefer Nader's views to Gore's...

Shouldn't he maybe adjust his stance to win them over? I mean, the elected officials are supposed to represent the will of the people, aren't they?

I don't see how bashing Nader because some people want to vote for him makes any sense. Fuck that.

It's so refreshing to have someone decent to vote for this time around. As a voter, I am insulted by the idea that I should vote for Gore just so we don't get stuck with Bush.

I value my vote more than that. I respect myself more than that. I respect the process more than that.
posted by beth at 8:57 AM on October 30, 2000


at a local government level

Bingo. The President does NOT make the laws. As far as the Green Party acting as a "watchdog", I couldn't disagree more. A Green local government, state government, and ultimately Congress would be worlds more effective than "just" electing a Green president.

Don't get me started on "making statements", "sending messages", and other such rot. "The Bums" are still in office. The Congress is deadlocked for the 2nd time in eight years on spending bills. A Republican Congress, ladies and gentlemen. But dollars to donuts says that the culprits will be back again and again.

Is this "getting it done"?

And IF Nader did win the election (I did say IF), do you expect less of this nonsense, or more?
posted by ethmar at 8:58 AM on October 30, 2000


Did the Republicans and journalists fuss this much over Perot his first time around? I really do not remember there being this much castigation, or moaning about owned votes being drained away. I voted for Perot that election because there was no way in hell I was going to vote for Bush the senior. It stung the morning after, and I blamed myself for Clinton the first time around. I got over it. I would not change my vote if I could, and I know Perot lost that election for the Republicans. As much as you hate Bush Jr. now, I hated Clinton then.
Get over it Democrats, if you cannot attract vote without scaring people you don't deserve their votes. There is no delusion about the Greens chances for winning, and that is the most attractive thing about the party for me. If only everyone would vote like this, how exciting that would be. I would so love a 100% voter turnout, even if it revealed that 90% of all Americans were hardcore socialists, at least we would know. I am so sick of everyone spinning the numbers, I just wanna know where we stand. Let the people vote the way they want.
posted by thirteen at 9:08 AM on October 30, 2000


I mean, the elected officials are supposed to represent the will of the people, aren't they?

No, this is a republic. You elect the person who you feel will vote they way you would like, they do not and should not take a poll of the populace before deciding an issue(someone should have told Clinton that).
posted by Mick at 9:11 AM on October 30, 2000



This is probably the best chance the Greens will get to spread their message at the national level.
For the first time in a long time, we have a third party candidate who is credible, and has the fortitude to bring up the issues that Gore and Bush would rather ignore.
In the wake of the WTO protests and the demonstrations this summer, what better time will their be for the Greens to make a run?!
Its not a certainty that Gore would win the election on his own anyway!
The fact that PDC wouldn't even let Nader attend the debates just goes to show how arrogant and out of touch the two major parties are. If the democrats are running scared, they have no one but themselves to blame.
Most of my friends are certainly weighing their other options this election. Maybe we can get Bradley to switch to the Greens in 2004.
If someone who does not belong to the DNC or GOP gets elected anywhere, its step in the right direction. Why? Because the citizens (who are the supposed to be the source of political power in this country) will have had a real choice.


posted by black8 at 9:19 AM on October 30, 2000


Did the Republicans and journalists fuss this much over Perot his first time around?

Big time.
  • "They want to make a statement -- a statement of anger or a statement of support for a guy that'll stand up, open the hood, fix it. You know, I mean, people like that kind of thing. But when they go into that booth, they're going to say, 'I'm not going to waste my vote.'" -- George Bush, CBS This Morning, 10-22-1992
  • "Sen. Al Gore echoed Bush's words about a wasted vote, almost exactly, in an interview on NBC's "Today" show. " -- Newsday, 10-23-1992
  • "You are being told that if you vote me you are throwing your vote away. You are throwing your vote away unless you vote your conscience. Don't waste your vote on traditional politicians who promise you anything to get elected but never deliver." -- Ross Perot TV ad, 10-22-1992
posted by rcade at 9:34 AM on October 30, 2000


I'm an idealist in heart, but realist in mind. I believe in EVERY single point Nader makes. But now that I'm 20, and voting in my first Presidential election, I'm voting for Gore.

Why?

I'm not ready, as ethmar *perfectly* put it, "to sit through 4 years of crap while the Green Party waits for their matching funds check." This is politics, people. The good people...the right people don't get elected.

Move your mindsets back to reality, and ask yourself if you're ready to compromise health care, the environment, corporate warfare, civil rights, international issues... for Nader. The point's already been made that the laws are set in Congress. (And if a Green can only get 5% in the PRESIDENTIAL election, I'd love to see one win a congressional election, where incumbants almost always win, and which few people vote/pay attention to...)

Rant off.
posted by gramcracker at 9:40 AM on October 30, 2000


rcade: I remember there being some, but I don't remember the mantra that I hear today. I was not quite so interested in politics back then tho. I recall a few spoiler warnings, but I do not remember the panic I am seeing.
posted by thirteen at 9:52 AM on October 30, 2000


"This is politics, people. The good people...the right people don't get elected. "

Well, if you're not voting for Nader because you don't want Bush to win, why not consider one of the voting exchanges that will match your Nader vote in another state if you vote Gore?

That way you can still help the Green Party along towards Federal funding while insuring that Gore doesn't lose out to Bush.
posted by bkdelong at 9:59 AM on October 30, 2000


I don't remember the mantra that I hear today.

Then again, where was the internet in 1992 relative to today?
posted by ethmar at 10:13 AM on October 30, 2000


This thought isn't exactly all the way cooked, but one of the most fascinating things about the Nader candidacy and debate is how it cast in sharp relief the "altruistic" basis of progressive (left-liberal voting).

More or less, we can assume that most Republicans who vote are animated primarily by fairly direct self-interest (and I say this as a Republican).

Much of the Democratic base (civil servants, public school teachers, organized labor, beneficiaries of affirmative action, the poor) vote similarly from a predominantly self-interested standpoint.

However, the highly-educated, upper-middle-class or just plain well-to-do, overwhelmingly white "progressive" voters are often out of step with what one might think is their direct interest, since they have much more in common in terms of their native interests with Republicans, or at least with swing / moderate voters.

Now, with Nader, we see that these voters ARE starting to vindicate their self-interest -- except, its not ECONOMIC self-interest, but their ideological / spiritual / whatever appeal of voting for the progressive purist. Bottom line is that they lose more, in self-interest terms, if they fail to vote for Nader and send a message, than they lose if Bush is elected.

The fury of the Democratic self-interested core is because they are losing a critical "free" voting bloc -- those who contributed to their (the Demo self-interested core) interests without demanding anything substantial in exchange.


posted by MattD at 10:27 AM on October 30, 2000


In the present political climate, I think Nader is inadvertently proving the same thing that Perot did: it's impossible to build a strong third party. The Dems and Reps just won't let that happen. We're missing the big picture here. It's not that Nader is causing trouble for Gore or Perot caused trouble for Bush Sr. The situation is that the people's vote is not being properly calculated.

There are people who believe we need to abolish the Electoral College. An examination of the history of our Electoral College, as well as an understanding of how it works is key. First off, we cannot abolish the Electoral College outright. It's a part of the Constitution. However, how the Electoral College works and how elections as a whole in this country are performed has repeatedly been under scrutiny and embellishment.

It's what amendments are for. The 12th amendment was made in 1804 to affect Article Two Section One of The Constitution. In 1868, the 14th amendment was added to insure any male citizen of the U.S. had the right to vote: not just landowners and the wealthy but also the common man. In 1870 the right to vote was extended to all men regardless of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude" thanks to the 15th amendment. This was extended to women in 1920, by way of the 19th amendment. And there have been other slight revisions of our Constitution, in keeping with the spirit and nature of inalienable rights for all U.S. citizens. So the ground work has been laid already. We simply have to learn from our past. Throughout history, remarkable changes and improvements to our government have been the direct result of radical reform.

That time has come again.

The Constitution does not allow a straight popular vote. The Electoral College is there for a reason. You think it's a dog and pony show now? A popular vote would turn our political system into the ultimate of beauty pageants for men in suits. Not pretty. However, the population of this country has reached proportions those crazy radical white-haired hippies of the 1770s couldn't have dreamed possible. The way the Electoral College functions still retains elements that may have made sense to Jefferson and Hancock, but are totally outdated and futile today.

Here's the important difference to keep in mind. The Electoral College is constitutional. We can't get rid of it. However, as best as I can tell, the idea of a two-party system is not constitutional. In fact, it can be argued that it is very UNconstitutional. Heck, George Washington himself railed against it when the Tories and Whigs first began forming. ANY American who fits the criteria of president should be eligible for that office. Your best friend. A parent or relative. The criteria is very specific, but it should allow for two million potential candidates or more; not just two. The president must be a U.S. citizen in the legal sense. He or she must have been resident of this country for a minimum of fourteen years prior to nomination. He or she must also be at least thirty-five years of age. Those are the only requirements.

Our constitution says nothing of a president having to have access to great wealth or influential friends or organizations, although this appears born out of necessity: only if you have great financial, political and social influence can you get enough people to even notice you, much less remember your name long enough to walk down to the voting booth. It is the fact that only wealthy and influential people can affect the run for the presidency which is causing our problem. It means that despite the efforts of previous amendments to the Constitution, the power of this country still remains with the landowners: the rich and powerful. It has been this way for a very long time. Perhaps it has always been an illusion that the common man is truly heard in this country.

Despite 200 years of struggle, the vote is not done in the voting booth, but with dollars and cents. Today, the common man has no truly effective voice. Why do less than 20% of Americans vote? Because the only two choices we really have are working for the people with money and power. So common people rightfully believe that their voice is not being heard.

We need to reform the Electoral College. How can we reform the Electoral College? Well as usual, I have a bit of a radical idea.

The executive and legislative branches are obviously influenced strongly by the wealthy elite and would never even consider reforming the Electoral College. It's not in their best interest. The judicial branch is influenced by that as well, but their job is much more cut and dried: the supreme court must objectively interpret the actions of political parties in this country, and weigh them against our Constitution. To do otherwise would spark rebellion. Furthermore, the judicial branch of our government is not directly affected by the Electoral College. The "third parties" out there could band together and take the case to the Supreme Court, charging the "two-party system" with performing actions that are unconstitutional. The republicans and democrats have repeatedly committed actions which restrict the inalienable rights of any other individual who seeks public office. Such things as not allowing third party presidential candidates into the debates, and many other actions. Together, the two-party system has the equivalent of a monopoly. It's like if a few large corporate entities selling the same kinds of widgets got together and agreed on prices in order to squeeze out the smaller companies that refused to play ball with them.

I believe if third parties banded together and threatened to take the two main parties to court, it would start a chain reaction which would result in, among other things, having the Electoral College constitutionally revamped. If only sixty percent of a given state votes for one candidate, only 60% of the electoral votes should go to that candidate. Not 100%. In this way, the voice of the common man is being heard. How is this different from a straight popular vote? Good question. I'm still working on that. Hopefully somewhere after the supreme court decision and before the amendment reforming the Electoral College, people much smarter than me would figure that out.

Third parties joining forces and suing the republicans and democrats? Pretty radical idea? Don't think it would work? I'm sure that's been said before. Desperate times call for desperate measures: or in this case, radical measures.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:44 AM on October 30, 2000


MattD:
However, the highly-educated, upper-middle-class or just plain well-to-do, overwhelmingly white "progressive" voters are often out of step with what one might think is their direct interest, since they have much more in common in terms of their native interests with Republicans, or at least with swing / moderate voters.

It's an interesting theory, but I think you're looking at it with too short term a focus. In the long term, peace, justice, and a clean planet are in all of our best interests. I don't think what you're seeing is altruism; I think it's people looking beyond their immediate needs and voting for things they'll need in 10 or 20 years.

The ability to look and act in the long term is a luxury more readily available to those with full stomachs; perhaps this accounts for the class-difference you describe.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:46 AM on October 30, 2000


If the Green party does get their matching funds, it will mean that they can play the spoiler against the Democrats in 2004, 2008, etc. Instead of getting federal money to continually punish the Democratic party for going the DLC route, why not just re-take over the Democratic party, a la what Ralph Reed and his trogolodytes did to the Republican party in the 80s and 90s?

posted by norm at 11:13 AM on October 30, 2000


Or what Pat Buchanan did to the Reform Party in 2000?

(although admittedly, some percentage of that party's "leadership" must bear the blame for that)
posted by ethmar at 11:16 AM on October 30, 2000


One thing I'd like to see in the U.S. is a guarantee that at least one third party would be included in all presidential and vice presidential debates. Instead of the "15 percent of the polls" standard, I'd like to see the debates use the preceding presidential election to determine which candidates are guaranteed a spot -- choosing the top 3 or top 4.

This would give third party candidates and their voters something tangible to aim for -- the legitimacy of being included in the debates next time around.

If something like this was presently in place for the top 4, the debates would have included Gore, Bush, Buchanan and Nader. People would have a realistic reason to vote for someone outside of the mainstream parties, and the third-party vote in the election would probably increase as a result.

Third parties will never be able to establish themselves in this country without some institutional guarantees of their inclusion into the political process. Ten percent of voters chose the candidates of the Greens, Reform Party, Libertarians, Natural Law party, and Taxpayers in 1996. These parties should be working together to get at least one or two spots in the 2004 debates.
posted by rcade at 11:23 AM on October 30, 2000


Reforming the Electoral College is much easier than you may think. The Constitution simply prescribes that the President should be elected by Electors appointed by the states, and that Electors can't be members of Congress.

_How_ the Electors are appointed is _entirely_ up to the states. The "winner take all" system is not required, and can be altered in any state by a vote of the legislature of that state. Each state could provide for Electors to be divided proportionally according to the popular vote received by each, or could provide for some other system.

Other possible systems include those used in Nebraska and Maine (2 EVs to the statewide plurlarilyt winner, plus 1 vote for the plurality winner of each Congressional District.) Also: giving all the EVs to a candidate who has 50%+1 of the popular vote, but dividing the votes proportionately among the top 2 [or 3] when no candidate has a majority.

The key thing to realize from a democracy-purist standpoint is that state-by-state reform, to the extent that it makes more likely that a candidate will not have a majority of the EVs, hardly serves democracy-purist goals. This is because such elections would be decided in the House among the top 3 finishers, with each STATE casting one vote. I.e, California: one vote; Alaska: one vote. No state would be obliged to vote according to its electoral vote or popular vote outcomes.

(The VP is elected by the Senate, from between the top 2 finshers, with each Senator casting one vote).
posted by MattD at 12:10 PM on October 30, 2000


Would someone please find out what Zach has been smoking and have a couple of ounces sent up to my room?

The Supreme Court isn't going to redesign the electoral college. It ain't gonna happen. They have the ability to interpret the constitution but they do not have the ability to rewrite it wholesale.

That ability is reserved to the congress and the states.

We've been through this before: the only way that the Electoral college can be changed is through a constitutional amendment, and it only takes 13 states to prevent that. By the nature of the Electoral College, it tends to exaggerate the value of the voters in a state with a low population, and those states think this is a good thing. You only need to find 13 of them to say "no" to prevent any change. Someone recently in another thread posted 16 states who would almost certainly reject such a change. And lawsuits by minor parties against the two biggies won't have any effect on that at all.

Forget it. It's not going to happen.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 12:21 PM on October 30, 2000


Canada is a very interesting object lesson: there the first-two party system has been completely upended in the past 20 years with no enabling constitutional reform ... through the instrumentality of REGIONAL political upheavels.

20 years ago, it was the Tories and the Liberals with a small Quebecois-nationalist party holding some ridings. Then, in the 80's, a simultaneous surge of regionally-concentrated anger with the Tories and Liberals produced (in the west) the Reaganite-conservative Reform Party, (in the urban/suburban middle) the neo-socialist New Democratic Party, and in Quebec the greatly ehanced Parti/Bloc Quebois.

Each of these parties worked from their bases, established Provincial governorships, and by the mid-90s were able to go election which reduced the formerly-governing Tories to 2 seats in the entire House of Commons. (Liberals won, but no doubt this has been a VERY sobering example of what could happen to them, and in fact this _did_ happen to them writ small in losing many of their formerly-safe Quebec ridings.)


posted by MattD at 12:21 PM on October 30, 2000


And despite the fact there are 5 major parties here in the Great White, not a single one does anything to encourage me to vote for them. I'm happy to vote against the Canadian Alliance (formerly known as the Reform Party), the NDPs and the BlocHeads.

All I really know is that during the current round of advertising, I've seen Chretian smile for the first time ever, and it really, really creeped me out.
posted by cCranium at 1:15 PM on October 30, 2000


Its like we've never had a Republican president before. The Democrats record is almost as bad. Again Salon is going a shitty job shilling for Gore.
posted by skallas at 1:40 PM on October 30, 2000


Having already responded to this article in a few e-mails and my weblog, forgive me from cutting and pasting directly from the latter:

If one more reprogrammed member of the old New Left tells me I'm destroying the Progressive movement by not voting for Mediscare Al, I think I'm going to be sick. Gitlin is so off in this piece...let me count the ways:

1. As an historian, Gitlin should know better than to say that third parties "have never -- never -- delivered." To the contrary, almost every time a third party has mounted a challenge to the reigning two-party system, they have succeeded in getting their mobilizing issue addressed. Ex: Republicans and abolitionism in 1856-1860, Populists and the gold standard in 1896-1900, Perotistas and a balanced budget in 1992-96. Nader's issue is the overwhelming influence of money in the political process - and it's such a crucial topic that it by itself justifies going Green.


2. Gitlin ridicules the Nader movement as a failure because it's "non-minority, non-envionmentalist, non-working people etc." etc." You couldn't have asked for a clearer example of the difference between liberals and progressives (as I noted in my 10/12 post.) In attacking Nader's civic republicanism on these grounds, Gitlin betrays his New Left bias. Could somebody please explain to him that, so long as Bush and Gore are forced to beg for money like it's going out of style, minorities, environmentalists, and working people aren't going to get diddly from the Gore Left?


3. Gitlin insinuates that Nader voters are hopelessly naive about the realities and compromises of politics, and then spends the lion's share of his piece dispensing hopelessly naive statements about the horrors of a Dubya administration. The Texas record shows that Dubya is more moderate than conservative. And this presidential campaign has illustrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that Bush is less an ideologue than he is an idiot (or, to borrow from Al Hunt, "a strikingly incurious fellow.") In sum, Dubya will be a goofy, bumbling one-termer...he will not augur the demise of the progressive movement, particularly if he is faced with a Democratic Congress (a goal, I might add, which Nader is only helping.)


4. Would somebody please put this Supreme Court abortion canard to bed? It is not borne out by the facts. Once again, Republican appointees O'Connor and Souter are reliably pro-choice, and Republican appointees as a rule have been better defenders of constitutional rights (search and seizure, etc.) than Democrats. Meanwhile, Gore voted for Anton Scalia's confirmation and Lieberman said only yesterday he would have voted for Bork. C'mon, people.

I could go on and on. I'm sorry, but I just can't abide these Nader-dissing ex-radicals -- who long ago traded in their tye-dyes and VW mini-buses for power ties and Ford Explorers -- telling America's youth today that they might as well not bother trying to change the system because it didn't work out for them. What Gitlin's doing in this piece isn't quite David Horowitz, but it's the same freakin' ballpark. Grrr...


posted by kevincmurphy at 1:46 PM on October 30, 2000


I read just read the kevincmurphy trilogy and it got better each time!
posted by capt.crackpipe at 2:06 PM on October 30, 2000


go Kevin. Seriously, if I have to hear this bullshit about the danger of Nader to the wonderful Gore by another ageing baby boomer who sold out just short of Republicanism, I'm going to be sick.
posted by s10pen at 2:42 PM on October 30, 2000


The Texas record shows that Dubya is more moderate than conservative.

If anything, the Texas record shows that Dubyah sits in his desk waiting to be told what to sign and what not to.

And as far as the Texas record goes, first of all, have any non-Texas residents bothered to find out what it actually IS? Is anyone actually going to tell me (koff koff) that Bush (hack) has a strong environmental record in Texas (wheeze)? Or will I get the usual song and dance about how he "inherited" the pollution problems from prior administrations? And before you do, think about the national debt. That was handed down from prior administrations as well, but that doesn't mean nobody can pay it down! "Gettin' it done" my ass!

Wanna take me on about education in Texas? Wanna go on for days about the "TAAS" test? This is the shape of things to come!

Will Gore be better? Maybe not. But I personally will take my chances. I've lived the Bush "vision" and have decided that all of the pro-Bush flackery is definitely coming from beyond the Texas borders.
posted by ethmar at 2:44 PM on October 30, 2000


A friend of mine suggested that one way to avoid this "can't vote for Z because X would lose to Y and that's bad" mentality would be to have a run-off election. First election, everyone's in. After that, the top two candidates have a run-off. Granted, there is a large expense attached to this (but worth it to get the best leader, n'est pas?) and I can't speak to the constitutionality of the concept. Oh yeah, and it would threaten the current power structure so fat chance getting Republicrats to vote for it.

As for the Canadian upheaval, it's true that it can be done, in large part because you are voting regionally. Since you are voting for your MP, and not the PM (directly, anyway), you're relying on a lot of small groups chipping away at a party. Mind you, this has problems of it's own, since it segments the country. Look at the last election: the Liberals are in power because they won Ontario and the Maritimes, while the Bloc won Quebec and Reform won the west. So now you essentially have Ontario and the Maritimes running the country.

Not that I mind, being from Ontario and all :O)
posted by mzanatta at 3:06 PM on October 30, 2000


Salon.com is a craven, yellow muck rag.

Its deperate and pathetic scare mongering will be duly punished on April 2, 2001.

Oh yes, mark my words.
posted by lagado at 3:09 PM on October 30, 2000


mzanatta, while it's true that theoretically ON and the Maritimes are "running the country" 'cause we're liberal areas (Ontario boy m'self), since they don't have Quebec it's pretty difficult to say they're actually running the place completely. Ontario + Quebec ~= 53% (numbers from like, 5 years ago, so I may be completely out of whack here) which means to really run the country, you need Ontario AND Quebec. Otherwise you'll have people who aren't from your party nipping at your heels and fighting tooth and nail against any bills you may want to pass.

People say Chretian hasn't done anything 'cept lower cigarette taxes and lie about the GST since he was first voted in as PM. That's true (with a couple of choke-holds and inuit carving weilding wife stories thrown in for good measure :-) but it's mostly because the liberals can't do anything.

Sure, a 5 party system makes for more choices for voting (insert obligatory Alliance bash) but it also makes for a difficult House.
posted by cCranium at 4:47 PM on October 30, 2000


I like Salon. Sure, they just did an anti-Nader editorial, but they've also done anti-Bush, anti-Gore... they're definitely left/liberal, but they let other viewpoints be heard. Example: David Horowitz. Muy conservative.
posted by gramcracker at 6:44 PM on October 30, 2000


Oh (sorry) bullshit, the Liberals could have done anything they wanted. In the last election they had 155 seats out of 301 (and could count on votes here and there from the NDP, Reform or the Bloc depending on the issue). In '93 they had 177 out of 295 seats. More importantly, they knew then that they'd be in power for at least another 10 years (probably 15), no matter what — the PCs and NDP didn't even have official party status — even if some of those years might have been in a minority government.

They had no reason to play it safe, and they played it as safe as they possibly could. I'm glad we have surpluses now, but I'm mad as hell that they won't touch any issue that is even slightly controversial. It goes to show that the party and Chrétien in particular had no vision — they had no reason to become politicians other than the fact they liked being in power. I just find it incredible that someone could work their whole life to become PM and then have no particular ideas about what it would be good to do. I'd rather they did things I disagreed with than just sit on power for so long.

(Of course, like you cCranium, I don't find anything appealing about any of the parties. I wish the Rhino Party would come back.)
posted by sylloge at 7:42 PM on October 30, 2000


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