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Is Nader Right?
September 6, 2001 7:03 AM   Subscribe

Is Nader Right? Or is he just fooling himself? I mean, even I can tell the difference between Democrats and Republicans. Apparently, the best Ralph can ever hope for is to ruin the Democratic party. If I were a Republican, I'd be donating to the Green party right about now.
posted by Jart (69 comments total)

 
Ahh. It's been too long since we Ralphed.

Tim Robbins wrote an interesting piece for The Nation last month about why he voted Nader. I don't agree with a word of it and would like to throw Robbins and all other Nader voters off a bridge, but it's an interesting piece nonetheless.)
posted by rcade at 7:10 AM on September 6, 2001


I just keep wondering why Nader can't at least be amusing, like Ross Perot... He's so godawful dull, I could drift off to sleep just thinking about him. I don't mind a third party, but I absolutely demand that they be entertaining - where's that damned Jesse Ventura gotten to, anyway?
posted by m.polo at 7:16 AM on September 6, 2001


There's a noticable difference between Coke and Pepsi. But maybe some people don't like cola.
posted by Doug at 7:44 AM on September 6, 2001


Damn you Nader....Damn you to HELL!!!

*shakes fist angrily*
posted by thewittyname at 7:49 AM on September 6, 2001


Well put, Doug.

I voted for Nader. And if he wasn't running, I most likely wouldn't have voted for Gore. I just don't buy that "lesser-than-two-evils" pitch. Dems should be ashamed for blaming him for the election, and for asking him to withdraw. There is one person to blame for Gore losing, and that is Gore. He is way more competent than Bush, had the administration incumbency, and still couldn't beat that bumbling fool?
posted by adampsyche at 7:55 AM on September 6, 2001


Nader is far more interested in securing his own place in history than affecting real social change. He is a fabulous consumer advocate, all the rest is a desperate grab for attention.
posted by whatnot at 8:06 AM on September 6, 2001


What pissed me off about Nader is that he focused his negative attacks on Gore, rather than Bush. That just seems bizarre to me. Fine, say that the parties are the same...say that they've sold out, whatever. But how could Nader think that we are better under Bush than Gore? What point has he proved?

Back to the article: Nader is certainly wrong about what the American public wants from a national leader. They want integrity (thought they realize that's hard to get in a president), but they also want a candidate that is a compromiser. A moderate. They don't want the economy to plunge because an administration is drastically to the left or right. They don't want to hear everything that's wrong with us and our values -- they want to hear about America's problems and how the candidate is going to fix them. They want to feel good about themselves and safe at the end of the day.
posted by jennak at 8:10 AM on September 6, 2001


Whatnot, why isn't it possible that he actually wanted to run for office in order to change things? Do you assume that Bush and Gore ran for office only for attention? Or even McCain or Bradley, for that matter?
There is an absurd assumption that we should only have two political parties, and any attempt at a third is evil and misguided.
And Jennak, do you think Nader had a chance in hell of taking any votes away from Bush? Left leaning Gore supporters could be swayed to swing a little farther to the left and vote for Nader.
posted by Doug at 8:17 AM on September 6, 2001


I love how Nader voters are so unwilling to give their guy credit for turning the election to Bush. The votes Nader received in New Hampshire and Florida clearly changed those states to Bush victories. Late in the race, Nader chose to focus on swing states like Florida where he was the least likely to get votes, rather than campaigning in places like New York and Texas where people knew the state was a lock for one candidate already -- a decision that destroyed the Greens' chance to qualify for matching funds in 2004.

If there's no difference between Bush and Gore, as Nader and his army of uncompromised liberals told us all for months, Nader voters should be happy to take the credit for what they accomplished.

Could it be possible that Nader voters now recognize, 10 months too late, that Bush is worse than Gore after all on every single issue that matters?
posted by rcade at 8:18 AM on September 6, 2001


Nader voters should be happy to take the credit for what they accomplished.

The only accomplishment may have been sending the message that the Dems should not forget their liberal roots. Gore getting defeated was his own accomplishment.

Bush is worse than Gore.

Granted with 100% agreement. But I don't agree with either, and I voted my conscience. Again, the theft of the election idea rests on the presumption that a Nader voter would have voted for Gore. May be true in some cases, but not all.
posted by adampsyche at 8:35 AM on September 6, 2001


I don't think Bush is all that much worse than Gore. He's just muddling along doing a few stupid things and occasionally a few less-stupid things. He tinkers with the status quo in minor, annoying ways, which is basically the same thing Gore would have done.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:42 AM on September 6, 2001


The only accomplishment may have been sending the message that the Dems should not forget their liberal roots. Gore getting defeated was his own accomplishment.

Did you read the article? I'm all for liberal candidates running for local and state offices, but that just doesn't work on the presidential campaign trail. The states Gore lost, he lost because he was generally viewed as too liberal. (Although I'm not sure if we couldn't have done a better job getting out our base in Arkansas. But Tennessee was definitely going to go Republican regardless.)
posted by jennak at 8:44 AM on September 6, 2001


I just keep wondering why Nader can't at least be amusing... He's so godawful dull
He's a boring speaker, but do you guys remember his TV ads (the Visa spoof for example?). The best in the whole campaign -- all ideas by the same guy who worked for Ventura in Minnesota
posted by matteo at 8:54 AM on September 6, 2001


Yes I did read it. If offending the coal and tobacco industries is too liberal, then I am at a loss as to what to say.
posted by adampsyche at 8:58 AM on September 6, 2001


If one man can 'ruin' a party by talking about actual issues and by being godawful dull, and spending no money... you have to wonder where the problem really is.

Also, what Jennak said. Nader's impact on the election was only meaningful because neither major candidate could offer a truly compelling reason for many people to vote for them. As far as 3rd party candidates go, he's one of the minor ones, even in recent memory.
posted by cell divide at 9:01 AM on September 6, 2001


I hold Ralph Nader responsible for the mess that ended with the Supreme Court appointing Dubya to the presidency. I don't know how he sleeps at night. To say that the Gore presidency would have been exactly the same as the Dubya one is self-serving and wrong.
posted by waffleboy at 10:14 AM on September 6, 2001


I am against capital punishment, as are many people. The only candidate also against it was Nader.

Executions would have continued under Gore as well.
posted by panopticon at 10:22 AM on September 6, 2001


Nader didn't discuss the issues, he just insulted the major parties and their candidates. Even though I was glued to the TV during the 2000 campaign, I had to check the internet to find out what Nader's stance on non-environmental issues were. He didn't even TRY to stand on anything except his own outsider status, which makes him, in my view, just as bad as all the Republican candidates who ran solely on the fact that they weren't Bill Clinton.
posted by Hildago at 10:26 AM on September 6, 2001


You're blaming the television media for not letting you know about Nader's stances on the issues? If there was a Nader soundbite, it was, "oooh, check out the third party candidate make mean comments about bush and gore" - they didn't invite him nor would they let him join in the debates/
posted by panopticon at 10:31 AM on September 6, 2001


Unfortunately, the situation with Nader is indicative of a larger weakness within the left in general. We seem to be all to eager to attack our friends for minor differences in ideology while allowing our real enemies to remain relatively unchallenged.

Nader focused on states where Gore and other Democratic legislators were under threat - the swing states. He has said that he and the Green party will employ the same tactic in future elections. This is the dream situation for the Republicans, and in the end actually ends up pushing the Democratic party to the right instead of the reverse. It is much easier for Democrats to court the middle, moderate ~20% that can fall either way, than to try to reclaim Nader's 2-3%.

The Democratic party is truly flawed, but it is at least salvageable. That salvage, given the current political structure of the U.S. party system, remains the best hope for a progressive movement. A third party is a long shot at best, and, at worst, actually serves to undermine the stated goals of those who are its most passionate advocates.

Lefties: Stop the infighting and start FIGHTING.
posted by theMargin at 10:33 AM on September 6, 2001


There will be a fight in DC on september 29 for the World Bank and IMF meetings. 100,000 (leftist) people can't all be wrong.
posted by panopticon at 10:39 AM on September 6, 2001


100,000 (leftist) people can't all be wrong
But they can sure as hell be misguided...
posted by owillis at 10:43 AM on September 6, 2001


But how could Nader think that we are better under Bush than Gore? What point has he proved?

I like to think of it this way, would you rather have some body make you feel real good before they reamed you, or would you rather they just whip it out and bend you over the table? Either way, it's going to hurt. Sort of like peeling off a band-aid. Fast or slow, it's still going to rip your arm hair off. I just think people need to have the bs that both parties would put them through shoved in their face, and Bush will do it a lot faster than Gore would have. Do I have to mention the running start Duh-bya got with the abortion gag rule, ANWR, arsenic,.....?

I love how Nader voters are so unwilling to give their guy credit for turning the election to Bush.

Last time I checked, this was a democracy, and we had the right to vote for who we think. I didn't vote against anybody, I voted for the person I felt would do the best job. Maybe it's time you all did too.
posted by themikeb at 10:45 AM on September 6, 2001


Unfortunately, the situation with Nader is indicative of a larger weakness within the left in general. We seem to be all to eager to attack our friends for minor differences in ideology while allowing our real enemies to remain relatively unchallenged.

Agreed.

I hold Ralph Nader responsible for the mess that ended with the Supreme Court appointing Dubya to the presidency.

That's the good-ol' American way, pull out the blame-thrower when your boy doesn't win.

If Nader said one right thing the whole campaign, it was that you have to earn your votes.
posted by adampsyche at 10:53 AM on September 6, 2001


That's the good-ol' American way, pull out the blame-thrower when your boy doesn't win

The blame thrower....a truly American invention.
posted by themikeb at 11:01 AM on September 6, 2001


Problem is, our voting system really only makes sense for two-party elections. In 2000, neither Gore or Nader were accurately represented; and that is a serious issue. Better systems do exist.

The Approval Voting system is probably our best chance at getting multiple-candidate elections. It's simple, can be implemented with existing equipment, and always elects the Condorcet candidate (the candidate who would win in pairwise elections against each other candidate).
posted by skyline at 11:08 AM on September 6, 2001


I've been to Nader rallies and have many friends who are hard-core Greens. That being said, I am always amazed by the US Greens' absolute refusal to face political reality. They see what they believe instead of the other way around.

For instance, there is no way that Nader will ever win the presidency. Never. Sure, he MIGHT get a noticeable percentage in a few states, but you can rest assured that the great "unwashed masses" in between LA and NYC won't buy his act (barring some kind of massive economic and social upheaval a' la The Great Depression 2.0).

If this is true then NADER CANNOT WIN. If he can't win, then the only purpose behind his campaign must be to "raise consciousness" or "make a point." All of this while the liberal vote is split in a fratricidal conflict that only benefits the real right wing. This means more than a grinning idiot man-child in office, it means another 20 years of a judicially-activist conservative bench, executive orders favoring big business uber alles, "faith-based" initiatives, a neo-isolationist foreign policy, and other wonderful policy decisions. That is a hell of a price to pay to make a point.

This is a democratic republic (although sometimes I have my doubts) and we can all vote for whoever we like or think will do the best job. However, pragmatism and compromise are the key to political action, like it or not. It's time that the "Visualize World Peace," and "Visualize Industrial Collapse," crowd wake up, accept this, and get to work salvaging the democratic party.

But it will never happen. Rightous indignation is just too powerful of a drug.
posted by estopped at 11:14 AM on September 6, 2001


I can't buy the argument that Nader shifted votes in New Hampshire, Florida, or anywhere else. Who is to say those voters would have gone to the polls at all if Nader wasn't on the ticket? Also, Nader voters brought more liberal voters to the polls. In races where there wasn't a green party candidate they probably voted with the democrats. I'm glad there was a voice in the election saying things I believed in. The two major candidates weren't talking about issues I cared about. I happily supported him and would do it again. Eugene V. Debs said, "I'd rather vote for something I want and not get it than vote for something I don't want, and get it."
posted by pb at 11:17 AM on September 6, 2001


The point that people seem to be forgetting is that there's more to politics than a single left-right spectrum. Nader wasn't campaigning "to the left of Gore" in some simpleminded way, he was campaigning on a group of issues (mostly related to globalization and corporate power) that simply aren't addressed by either of the major parties, and that are important to significant minorities in both parties. The function of his campaign (apart from the laughable dream of making the Greens a viable third party) was to show both parties that there are votes to be had by bringing these issues to the table.

Judging by the people I know (admittedly a limited group, but one with a good range of Nader supporters) his support came from three main groups: moderates with no particular fear of either major-party candidate, who felt safe drawing attention to Nader's issues; voters on the far left or far right who nonetheless rated Nader's issues as relatively more important than those on which Bush and Gore disagreed; and voters so far from the center that the only question was which third-party candidate they would support (either Libertarian or the whole Socialist/Green/Natural Law/Peace and Freedom spectrum).

As for Nader turning the election, I seem to recall polls at the time indicating that, in Florida in particular, Nader drew almost perfectly evenly from Gore and Bush voters (as opposed to states like Oregon where his supporters were overwhelmingly liberal), and this is worth bearing in mind. However, I do give him partial credit for Bush's victory, and I do consider this a (qualified) success. (The rest of the credit goes to Gore, for a pathetically poor campaign, and to Bush, for a very strong one.)

(Sorry to have gone on so long--I've thought a lot about this issue, and it's important to me.)
posted by moss at 11:17 AM on September 6, 2001


Hey, in case any of you forgot, by sheer votes, Gore actually won the election, despite Nader.

Also, when Nader says Gore and Bush are the same, obviously he doen't think that the two have exactly the same views on every issue. What he is saying is that the fundamental problem with American politics is money, specifically big business' money. All these other issues, gun control, stem cell research, missile defense, etc... they are all secondary to the root problem of money. It is the single biggest factor in American politics. And in this regard, Democrats and Republicans ARE THE SAME! They are all tied to the money of big business. All these other little issues are chicken scratch compared to that one fundamental issue.
posted by bob bisquick at 11:18 AM on September 6, 2001


Nader didn't discuss the issues, he just insulted the major parties and their candidates.

uh, wrong.
posted by mcsweetie at 11:39 AM on September 6, 2001


A goal of Nader's run for president was not win, but to get that elusive 5 percent of the vote which would have given the Green Party federal matching funds for the next campaign. With that money, they could have used it raise awareness for their issues (commericals, mailings, etc.) and their candidates. Which could lead to a Green presidential candidate getting the required polled 15 percent to be included in the nationally televised debates. (I think that if Nader had been in a debate with Bush and Gore, he would have trounced them and made them cry.)
posted by panopticon at 11:44 AM on September 6, 2001


I am against capital punishment, as are many people. The only candidate also against it was Nader.

Executions would have continued under Gore as well.


News flash. They would have continued under Nader as well. And Nader wouldn't have broken the backs of the IMF/World Bank affiliates, nor would he have the political wherewithal to get a fraction of his environmentalist initiatives through Congress.

Change in Washington takes place through compromise, not extremism. Which is why our pal Dubya won on a platform of 'working together' rather than stating his true intentions to cater to big energy big business. And now that he's in office, we all see how much he has alienated his Democratic 'partners' in the process.

Still, I'd much rather vote for a candidate that acts moderate and skews left than one that is unable to pick up moderate votes because he's an extremist prick.
posted by dogmatic at 11:47 AM on September 6, 2001


The president can prevent federal executions - Clinton delayed them for as long as he could, and having the ability to nominate (liberal) Supreme Court justices could stop them for a long, long time.

On a side note, did anyone believe Bush when he took McCain's platform and said he'd be a reformer? Has he even mentioned campaign finance reform?
posted by panopticon at 11:54 AM on September 6, 2001


One thing I haven't seen mentioned about the campaign, is that Nader was consistently drawing 4% to 5% in the polls, even though on election day he only received 2 1/2% of the vote. It's been my theory (admittedly unprovable) that the explanation for the discrepancy is that a lot of voters who really preferred Nader nonetheless held their noses and voted for Gore at the end, in order to stop Bush. (I myself voted for Nader, but I was torn in this way between the need to make an anti-corporate statement by supporting him, and fear of Bush pulling me back to Gore despite my extreme dislike of him). If I am right about this, then it might well be that, without Nader in the race, lots of people would have stayed home in disgust & Gore would have done worse.
posted by Rebis at 11:54 AM on September 6, 2001


A goal of Nader's run for president was not win, but to get that elusive 5 percent of the vote which would have given the Green Party federal matching funds for the next campaign.

If all he wanted was the five percent, he could have won it by campaigning in states that were already taken during the last two or three weeks of the election. Instead, he aggressively campaigned in the battleground states that were still up for grabs. The result? Gore lost some of the vote and Nader didn't gain enough.

The man was either a tactical imbecile, or was actively trying to screw over the Dems. I'd vote for the latter. In which case, yes, Nader is responsible for every terribly irresponsible bill that is put forth and passed on GW's watch.
posted by dogmatic at 11:55 AM on September 6, 2001


I guess that depends on what you think is extremism, dogmatic (getting much work done three desks back? ;-)

If not selling out to corporations and taking the stance he did on issues (which apparently bored some people to death) is considered extremism, then Bush and Gore must be great moderates. Still, where is the difference? By the way: both Gore and Bush are in favor of capital punishment.

Nader may not have turned the US into Sweden overnight, but there would have had to have been some progress. He could have at least done enough good as Bush has done wrong.

For his positions to be considered extremist just signifies how far to the right this country has moved. The center seems to move farther and farther to the right, so that anybody left of McCarthy is acceptable.
posted by adampsyche at 12:02 PM on September 6, 2001


Nader didn't discuss the issues, he just insulted the major parties and their candidates. Even though I was glued to the TV during the 2000 campaign, I had to check the internet to find out what Nader's stance on non-environmental issues were.


This dosn't say anything about Nader, just your TV.
posted by delmoi at 12:07 PM on September 6, 2001


In which case, yes, Nader is responsible for every terribly irresponsible bill that is put forth and passed on GW's watch.

Did the Nader mind-control techniques make people vote for him instead of Gore? Nader earned my vote, and if I agreed with Gore on his issues, he would have earned mine. Why not focus on what can be done to improve the Dems' chances of winning elections than crying about the opposition? Gore had every advantage and blew it. Blaming Nader is shameless. Dems should grow up and accept that Gore did a shitty job of riding the coattails of a fairly successful administration and winning over an incompetent nitwit.

By the way, I am unclear on the laws. Did he need five percent of the popular vote overall, or from each state, or what?
posted by adampsyche at 12:08 PM on September 6, 2001


Why not focus on what can be done to improve the Dems' chances of winning elections than crying about the opposition?

What can be done to improve the Dems chances of winning was already discussed here. Your contention is that a more leftist Democratic Party would have won the election. Unfortunately, the Dems do not see things that way, and will continue to swing right to capture the Middle America voters they couldn't grab in the last election. It's just plain easier.

Maybe you voted for Nader because he was against the death penalty. I tend to think that an across-the-board trillion dollar tax cut, big business special interests, and clearly anti-environment policies were more pressing matters. Note: these were all issues in which Gore and Bush differed, and you may have noticed that if you didn't buy Ralph's tripe that the two other candidates were the same.

Oh, and I don't consider Ralph's views on the issues extremist. I think that he ran his campaign in an extremist fashion. Which, in a year like last year, was a foolish thing to do.
posted by dogmatic at 12:27 PM on September 6, 2001


Your contention is that a more leftist Democratic Party would have won the election.

Not the election, per se, but maybe my vote.

Maybe you voted for Nader because he was against the death penalty. I tend to think that an across-the-board trillion dollar tax cut, big business special interests, and clearly anti-environment policies were more pressing matters.

It wasn't the death penalty, it was the issues you just put forth. I agreed with Nader on those issues, and found the Dems and Reps to be too similar. Time did a cover article regarding their striking similarities (just committed MeFi sin of not posting link, but you need to buy archives. correct me if I am wrong) Explain how they differed on big business special interests. I tend to think that they are the same on that.

If Nader's campaign was so extremist, then it shouldn't have hurt Gore, now should it? So why blame him if his campaing was so extremist and unpopular?
posted by adampsyche at 12:38 PM on September 6, 2001


I can't buy the argument that Nader shifted votes in New Hampshire, Florida, or anywhere else. Who is to say those voters would have gone to the polls at all if Nader wasn't on the ticket?

Nader received 96,000 votes in Florida. Gore lost by 537 votes. Even if half of those Nader voters stayed home, Gore would have received the remainder by a 2-to-1 margin, according to the post-election reports I've read.

Also, Nader voters brought more liberal voters to the polls. In races where there wasn't a green party candidate they probably voted with the democrats.

Not in Florida. From The American Prospect: "Even in districts where no Green candidate was running, Nader's trickle-down approach to aiding Democratic congressional candidates never worked. Florida is a prime example. Although Nader easily drew enough votes--97,000--to cost Al Gore a victory on election night, supporters of the self-styled reformer were unable to elect Democratic candidates to any of the four House seats that political experts believed were among the most winnable in the country."
posted by rcade at 12:38 PM on September 6, 2001


Once more, briefly this time: Nader got votes from both Republicans and Democrats. Some of his supporters preferred Bush to Gore. Some of us would have been satisfied with either Bush or Gore. Some of those who would have preferred Gore still don't see an important difference on the issues they care about.

That said, I will agree that those arguing "vote your conscience", in complete denial of all political reality, were being foolish.
posted by moss at 1:00 PM on September 6, 2001


get to work salvaging the democratic party

Die, dinosaur, die.

rcade, Could it be possible that Nader voters now recognize, 10 months too late, that Bush is worse than Gore after all on every single issue that matters?

Hagelin got 2,000 votes in Florida — are you angry at him too? No chance of winning, campaigned in Florida, more than likely siphoned off Democrat voters. Lynch that Natural Lawyer.

I’m certainly not the average Green, but I’ll take your bait.

Let’s see, Gore supported what Bush calls a “Faith-based initiative”; they both want to increase punitive sentencing (more 3 strikes style punishment); they both support a proxy war in South America — oops, I mean the Drug War; increase the military budget; expand the anti-worker, anti-enviro agenda; Gore, as Clinton’s front-man on the environment, postponed signing Kyoto for eight years, not sure when he was going to get around to dealing with it; they both supported the death penalty. Their foreign policy was the same, while they used different logic to get to their conclusions.

Neither of them talked about the hundreds of billions of government services for corporations, so I suspect they weren’t going to do anything about it. Gore was dodgy on campaign finance — he got around to really pushing it at the tail end of his campaign.

The difference is plain. Nearly a year after the election and Gore looks better in a beard.

Nader's trickle-down approach to aiding Democratic congressional candidates never worked

What?!? When was Nader supposed to help Democrats get elected?! No one owns votes.

Die, dinosaur, die.
posted by raaka at 1:06 PM on September 6, 2001


dogmatic, after work, in the parking lot, you and me!
posted by adampsyche at 1:08 PM on September 6, 2001


rcade:

Talk about hard feelings!

Who's to say that, you lost because you put all your money down on black, while everyone around you went with red and won. Of course, you had the choice to not play at all, the money safely tucked away in your pocket. Yet, how could you have known either way?

Bob Bisquick points out that, no matter which way you wish to cut it, Gore still, nationwide, garnered more votes.

I'll also point out, that a separation of 537 votes, out of millions cast, is a statistical tie. I could easily proclaim that the difference was 601 votes. And you know what? I'd be right.

Any of this has nothing to do with Nader of course. The election phenomenon of 2000 could have been an auspicious opportunity for a healthy democracy to revamp the system (consider a run-off for instance). The true culprit isn't a "dull", "selfish", "delusional" Lebanese man who fights to enforce corporate responsibility, but sadly, wholsale corruption in this country's highest court.
posted by crasspastor at 1:19 PM on September 6, 2001


The man was either a tactical imbecile, or was actively trying to screw over the Dems.

I don't know how many times this has to be repeated but why do green voters owe anything to the Dems? At best a Nader vote was a protest vote e.g. we don't like the system, and at worst a bet for 5%. Because they're somewhat near in the political spectrum doesn't mean we're all bed buddies.

Assuming that Nader didn't run his 90,000 votes would go to Gore is non-sense. Maybe no one should run except your boy and one competitor? The remaining 3rd party votes: 17k from Buchanan and 16k from Browne could go back where they belong into the coffers of the two party system eh comrade? I'm sure if Gore won, GOP crybabies would be complaining on how those 33k votes lost it for them in Florida too.

Third party candidates play the game just like everyone else - winner take all. If you don't like that you have a problem with American politics not with Ralph. The spoiler argument isn't new and its unconvincing as ever. There will always be third party votes and there will always be short sighted people in need of a scapegoat because their boy/party is more-or-less untouchable.

Personally, if I had to buy a scapegoat explanation I would say all those "I totally agree with Gov. Bush on this issue" quotes from the debates that Nader couldn't even attend let alone participate in confused more plain-folk voters than anything else.

"So which one is the democrat ma?" "Umm, give me a minute"

I hope third parties continue to strive and bring discourse that the 2 major parties don't want to talk about. More choices might be more confusion, but I'm not willing to settle for good vs. evil because someone's golden boy lost and they think they can pin the blame on a guy who got 2 mil votes nationwide. Give it up.
posted by skallas at 1:25 PM on September 6, 2001


Must have been some deluded fools who thought that their vote was a personal choice rather than party gamesmanship.
posted by harmful at 1:43 PM on September 6, 2001


why do green voters owe anything to the Dems

They don't, but they owe it to themselves, because Dems will be that little bit more receptive than Reps, allowing green causes to be slowly embraced more and more. Take a page from the Christian Right's playbook, and you'll see how it's done. Heck, it's how politics and democracy is supposed to work- slowly! Those who have delusions of grandeur that they can change "the system" overnight are either hopelessly lost causes or will actually succeed- and be the kind of reformers that make the "trains run on time", if ya catch my drift. Fast changes in government, whether for ultimate good or bad, are undesirable- the long hard struggle for civil rights, for example, is the price we pay in a democracy to also have a long hard road towards things we won't like but in a few years of national wackiness we might embrace, such as fascism or eroding our own civil liberties. While these things can and do happen, in a democracy they are forced to happen slowly and therefore with more chance to stop them before they get too bad- which also means good change will likewise take a long time, even though historical hindsight will bemoan how long it took. Hey, it took a long time for corporations to be so deeply ingrained in politics- it'll take a long time to get them out.

Likewise, this tilting at windmills notion that Ralph was a realistic candidate is simply asinine- hey, if there were already a decent number of Green party senators and governors and congresspersons, then maybe you have a case that Nader was a legitimate candidate. But there wasn't, so Greens will have to focus on local, state, and federal elections to build a base for the presidential election, then revisit the whole White House thing down the road when Nader or someone else is ready for it. Sheesh!
posted by hincandenza at 1:50 PM on September 6, 2001



I believe this discussion proves that Ralph Nader accomplished what his goal was in the 2000 election. I believe that he knew he had no chance to get the 5% that has been bandied about so much. He wanted the Democratic party to lose the election on votes siphoned into the Green party in key swing states. Why you might ask? I think he understood that, in order to get the Democratic party to address the issues he was raising that aren't dealt with by either of the big parties, he had to extract some pain. So I think that this was his intention all along. Time will tell if this is a good thing or not, but my opinion after less than a year of the bush administration is an angry one. With each additional Kyoto Treaty type decision, I get angrier. With each additional Tax cut that will end up hurting our country financially for the benefit of the very few, I get angrier. With each decision that inches our country's policies on abortion, I get angrier.

I'm not mad at people who voted for Nader, in this country you vote for who you want to. I will continue to do the same. I do, however, think that Ralph Nader is a deviously smart person who knew what the repercussions of his actions would be. We'll see if any long term good comes out of his "statement." I, personally, doubt it very much.
posted by bump at 2:03 PM on September 6, 2001


Why doesn't anybody blame the insane, antiquated electoral college for Bushes presidency, anyway? Isn't that a lot more logical than blaming a person for....gosh, hold your breath...running on a third party ticket!
posted by Doug at 2:59 PM on September 6, 2001


What has this thread proven?

That as long as you have a place to bitch, you won't take the steps necessary to enact real change. All of you have fully loaded blame-throwers, and your spraying each other.
If you don't like the way things are, go out and do something about. If congress was like this thread, they couldn't decide on what time to start, let alone get the simplest thing like a proclamation done.

We are where we are, and if you're not happy with Nader or the Shrub, go help the Dems, if you are happy with Nader, look into joining the Greens in their fight, if you're happy with a low IQ, low vocabulary chimp in power, cheer every time big business scores.
posted by themikeb at 4:13 PM on September 6, 2001


Heck, it's how politics and democracy is supposed to work- slowly!

Some of us have been voting protest votes for years. No where in my post did I claim that Nader could win nor that a change was going to happen overnight. I really don't know why you quoted from my post and went on about something I didn't even write about.

I do believe that raising consciousness and bringing certain issues to the limelight is one of the slow agents of change. Two things Nader is certainly guilty of.
posted by skallas at 4:23 PM on September 6, 2001


man, have any of you nader supporters read the green party platform? talk about extreme leftism -- these people are completely oblivious to reality.

if you think the economy's slow these days, hand it over to a wacko like nader. we'd all be fucked. their [the green party] answer to everything is socialism, plain and simple.
posted by aenemated at 4:28 PM on September 6, 2001


Ross Perot spent money purchasing his own air time to explain his goals. He ended up with the largest third party percentage in recent history.

Can anyone explain why Ralph spent his money on VISA parody ads instead of something similar?
posted by Sqwerty at 4:49 PM on September 6, 2001


I hope third parties continue to strive and bring discourse that the 2 major parties don't want to talk about.

I don't think anyone has a problem with third parties. I do, however, question the motives behind Nader's campaign. A few staffers that I spoke with said they felt uncomfortable with what seemed to be a vandetta against Gore that emerged towards the end of the campaign. (He had been equally attacking both, not campaigning in swing states, focused on getting 5% of vote from liberal states.)

I think Nader would perform an invaluable service if he were to spearhead a national Green Party grassroots movement, focusing on building their party and electing Greens to the local and state level. Then, in 2008 or 2012, they could have a viable candidate and platform for the presidential campaign.

That as long as you have a place to bitch, you won't take the steps necessary to enact real change.

That's a rather presumptive remark. Who are you to judge how we are or aren't making a change? I, for once, am very politically active. I would assume about half of the members of this thread are too.

I assume you must do soooo much more besides linking to activist websites if you think you're in a position to accuse us of being lazy whiners.
posted by jennak at 5:01 PM on September 6, 2001


My statement was based on the idea that apathy breeds laziness. Yes, I do think that a lot of the people who use the web are politically active, the web is a great enabler of that, but imagine if this conversation were taking place in a pub, or a church, or at a kid's soccer game. Do you think people who aren't as exposed to the web, and therefore many different opinions are likely to go out and use their political voice?
posted by themikeb at 5:16 PM on September 6, 2001


jennak: I think Nader would perform an invaluable service if he were to spearhead a national Green Party grassroots movement, focusing on building their party and electing Greens to the local and state level. Then, in 2008 or 2012, they could have a viable candidate and platform for the presidential campaign. [Emphasis my own]

Exactly, that's what I said as well! My frustration with Nader is that he ran a quixotic campaign and seemed more interested in the odd notion of getting Bush elected so as to "scare" people into voting left down the road than in actual constructive change. It's like encouraging your best friend to cheat on his wife so that later after they divorce you can make your move on her...
posted by hincandenza at 5:38 PM on September 6, 2001



their [the green party] answer to everything is socialism, plain and simple.

Really? Damn. We can't have that! Later Nader!

Agreed on the local and state level thing. It is way more about that then idol worship. Now if the Greens only gave the ticket nomination to Jello and Mumia...
posted by adampsyche at 6:06 PM on September 6, 2001


hincandenza: My frustration with Nader is that he ran a quixotic campaign and seemed more interested in the odd notion of getting Bush elected so as to "scare" people into voting left down the road than in actual constructive change.

One more time: it's not about moving to the left, it's about getting major party candidates to talk about issues that neither party currently addresses.

bump: I think he understood that, in order to get the Democratic party to address the issues he was raising that aren't dealt with by either of the big parties, he had to extract some pain.

YOU GET IT! Thank you! Thank you!

I personally am more inclined to support Nader than you are, but that likely just comes down to a difference in what issues we consider important. I'm thrilled to see someone opposed to Nader who still understands why a vote for him might seem practical.

aenemated: have any of you nader supporters read the green party platform?

Are you sure you're thinking of the right Green Party? I remember there was much confusion during the election over the fact that there are two different organizations in the U.S. calling themselves the Green Party. The Green Party USA is extremely socialist, and seeks major changes to every level of the government. The Association of State Green Parties, though, under which Nader ran, is considerably more moderate. Certainly they could never be mistaken for Libertarians, but they're hardly traditional big-government socialists either.
posted by moss at 6:49 PM on September 6, 2001


I voted for Nader.

And all I can say is, The annoying, patronizing, condescending, and arrogant tone that Gore supporters have taken against 'us' makes me glad Gore lost.

Don't tell me how to vote, I will do so however I damn well please. I don't owe you anything, and I never did.
posted by delmoi at 7:04 PM on September 6, 2001


Well, ok I had an easy time of it here in Indiana. My community lost 2,500 jobs during the Clinton administration due to NAFTA. The EPA spent months hemming and hawing about whether they should move residents away from the toxic waste site they were sitting on. Nader was denied ballot access at the last minute and Gore didn't even bother to campaign in Indiana. Not one 20 minute stump speech at the airport on his way to Michigan. Clinton didn't even campaign in Indiana for Gore.

And you know the funny thing. Gore could of had Nader voters with no problems. Most of us were praying that Gore would actually show some leadership skills and create a coalition. Most of us would rather be a part of a coalition on the inside rather than the outside. However the basic message from the Gore campain was that the issues important to Nader voters were not even up for negotiation.

So lets look at it another way. Gore should have had the election by a landslide. Political science researchers using economic models predicted that Gore had a win just by incumbent advantage, and the good economy added 10 points of comfortable padding. So what happened?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:10 PM on September 6, 2001


Anyone who thinks a sitting vice president has an easy landslide is ignoring history. Vice presidents never have it easy -- the public doesn't give them credit for the achievements of their president. When President Bush was elected in 1988, he was the first elected to move from veep to president since Martin Van Buren in 1837.

I remember there was much confusion during the election over the fact that there are two different organizations in the U.S. calling themselves the Green Party

Which makes it all the more unlikely that the Green Party will ever amount to anything. Did Nader ever actually join the party? Did any of his voters? I think it's great that so many people are willing to hand the country to the GOP while they tilt at windmills. There are more socialists in national office today in the U.S. than Greens.
posted by rcade at 6:41 AM on September 7, 2001


The thing that Nader seemed to skip is that any meaningful change in a democratic society needs to happen from the ground up, not the top down. Maybe his presidential run helped bring awareness to the party, but if change is to truly be affected it's going to need to start at the local and state levels.
How many green party members are in congress today? Any? If Nader were president he would be stuck as a political outsider with no party backing in congress. Unfortuantely that's how the game works, Washington is all about compromise. Walking into town with his agenda would of made him a four year lame duck president.
As for there being no difference between Gore and Bush, I don't think we'd even be considering drilling in ANWR if Gore were in office, and that's just the tip of the iceberg...
posted by ewl at 8:29 AM on September 7, 2001


There are more socialists in national office today in the U.S. than Greens.
Seriously? I have never heard this.
posted by thirteen at 10:20 AM on September 7, 2001


Bernie Sanders, Socialist Congressman from the great state of Vermont.
posted by rcade at 9:12 AM on September 8, 2001


I voted for Nader and am proud that I voted my conscience. I never expected him to have a shot in hell of winning, but I was clinging desperately to that 5% for the Green Party. It's abosolutely ridiculous that as American voters we are basically forced to side on one side of a two party fence. Why are Republicans AND Democrats so afraid of having a third party? Especially one that has no corporate power/money behind it.


And I'm sick of hearing how "Ralph Nader gave us Bush." People, that's so far from the truth. GORE GOT THE MAJORITY. The Supreme Court gave you Bush.
posted by unafaery at 1:21 PM on September 8, 2001


PS: Flame when ready!!!!!!!
posted by unafaery at 4:14 PM on September 8, 2001


Such arrogance to assume that Nader votes took away from Gore. "Smith & Wesson" doesn't make a gun BIG enough to force me to vote for Gore under ANY circumstances. The Democrats can pat themselves on the back for condemning us to Dubya -- if they don't have anyone capable and inspiring to offer, don't blame us if we vote 3rd party or simply stay home.

And heres a newsflash: The Democrats are going to screw themselves again by putting up Gephardt. I'll be voting for Nader again, so start your whining early.
posted by RavinDave at 1:29 AM on September 9, 2001


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