Ralph Nader: The Unchallenged Hero of Muslims
March 26, 2004 4:18 PM   Subscribe

Ralph Nader: The Unchallenged Hero of Muslims Before you jump to note that the magazine this appears in is Right of Center, what you need to ask is how well documented is the case being made. For me, what is of interest is that if Nader is in fact liked by Muslims, as this suggests, then Muslims may vote for him and take votes away from Bush or would they take votes from Democrats? [...]Nader must have made quite an impression, because the next year, ICNA's former president invited him to headline an Islamic conference in Florida with none other than Shaikh Abdur-Rahman Al-Sudais, a top Saudi cleric who has called on Allah to "terminate" Jews -- "the scum of humanity" and "grandsons of monkeys and pigs" -- while urging Muslims to shun peace with Israel.[...]
posted by Postroad (28 comments total)
Well, I guess Nader's no better than a European.
posted by donfactor at 4:29 PM on March 26, 2004

Sorry about that, I just finished reading the Bush Joke thread.
posted by donfactor at 4:31 PM on March 26, 2004

I don't know of a single person that is even considering voting for Nader. I don't think he'll get even 1% of the vote this year.
posted by mathowie at 4:42 PM on March 26, 2004

maybe less than 1% nationally will be enough Matt -- just imagine a little damage to Kerry in swing state A, a little damage in swing state B...
posted by matteo at 4:48 PM on March 26, 2004

I think this says it all: And it's why Nader will likely draw even more votes this election from the energized Muslim community, which feels betrayed by the Bush administration for the Patriot Act and the Iraq war, both of which Nader opposed.
He garnered nearly one-fifth of the Muslim vote in 2000, according to exit polls by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR. That's more than double the share for Al Gore, who miffed Muslim leaders for failing to address their concerns about secret evidence in deportation hearings. Bush met with Muslim leaders during the last campaign to at least pay lip service to their concerns, and walked away with 72 percent of the Muslim vote.

And Kerry's done nothing to get them--they're really up for grabs this year.
posted by amberglow at 5:14 PM on March 26, 2004

You're damn right Kerry's done nothing to get our vote. Most Muslims I know were enthusiastically backing Dean and/or Kucinich, and when Kerry emerged on top, there was a collective sigh.

And I wish people would stop it already with those sensationalist "X-degrees-of-separation" lines (Nader -> Islamic conference -> some Wahabbi -> anti Semitism!). I really love "unindicted co-conspirator". What the hell does that mean? "We'd indict you, but we don't have enough evidence"? Aren't we all "unindicted co-conspirators"?

It's really getting tiresome.
posted by laz-e-boy at 5:34 PM on March 26, 2004

You're damn right Kerry's done nothing to get our vote. Most Muslims I know were enthusiastically backing Dean and/or Kucinich, and when Kerry emerged on top, there was a collective sigh.
I'm surprised by him not courting you guys, but think that they may see courting the Muslim vote as something that would immediately invite attack from Bush and his ilk (as in that "Mohammed Horton" image they already ran).
posted by amberglow at 5:48 PM on March 26, 2004

Hard-core Naderites probably wouldnt vote for anyone in the two parties.


Assuming that they're secretly democrats and would vote democratic if they 'saw the light'

nah, they may be many things but "closet Democrat" is pretty low on the list, I think. and it's not about "seeing the light", it's about voting for the (hopeless) guy you really really like or choosing the dreaded "lesser of two evils". it's all about how many people are willing to trade the (admittedly nice) frisson of voting according to their principles with the actual, realistic chance of sending Bush back to Texas, Rice back to her oil tanker, Rumsfeld to SNL, Ashcroft to an abortion clinic stakeout, and Cheney back to the Halliburton CEO desk he never really left anyway
posted by matteo at 6:37 PM on March 26, 2004

I mean, I have a hunch that Nader's "Tweedledee and Tweedledum" 2000 routine won't be as catchy this year as it was four years ago. but maybe I'm wrong.
the sheer thought of Justice Stevens' age, and the very realistic chance of three or even more SCOTUS vacancies to fill during the next Presidential mandate would be enough, in my mind, to scare a female or generally pro-choice Naderite into voting -- defensively yes, even obtorto collo, whatever -- for Kerry. but I may be wrong again

posted by matteo at 6:43 PM on March 26, 2004

I don't think he'll get even 1% of the vote this year.

It's not how he does nationally, it's how he does in certain key states. And he could take significant portions of the Arab-American vote in the key battlegrounds of Ohio, Michigan, Pa and Fla.

See this recent Zogby poll that says Nader gets 20% of the Arab American vote in four key states (and if you read the details (pdf), it's 26% in Pa and Mich. More of the votes come from Kerry than Bush, which could end up tipping a close state.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:11 PM on March 26, 2004

If the voter registration drives pan out, and i think they will (altho mistrust of the government is running high, which could limit it), then it's bad for Bush, even if some new voters go for Nader.

The economy's really bad in Michigan and other rustbelt states with large Muslim pops, so that'll be a factor.
posted by amberglow at 7:33 PM on March 26, 2004

I can believe that Nader might be a favorite with Arabs (as he is of Lebanese descent and might get some 'bounce' from the 'favorite son' factor), but why should he be a favorite with Muslims (as he is an atheist and the descendant of Lebanese Christians)?
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:36 PM on March 26, 2004

My point, which may have been too subtle, is that Arabs are not necessarily Muslim, and Muslims are not necessarily Arab.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:37 PM on March 26, 2004

I don't know of a single person that is even considering voting for Nader. I don't think he'll get even 1% of the vote this year.
posted by mathowie at 4:42 PM PST on March 26

You know mathowie, they have these things called "polls"? The ones saying nader is getting between 5-7%.
posted by delmoi at 7:44 PM on March 26, 2004

I wonder if the Bush people will send Spence Abraham out again this time.
posted by amberglow at 7:47 PM on March 26, 2004

Polls show Kerry, Bush tied in five key states

Polls from key battleground states -- Ohio, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida -- suggest a fierce contest is under way for their electoral votes. In the 2000 election, Bush collected 271 electoral votes, just one more than he needed for victory. In Ohio, Kerry had the backing of 46 percent, Bush 44 percent and independent Ralph Nader 5 percent, said a poll released Friday. Five percent said they were undecided in the Ohio poll done by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. Bush won Ohio over Democrat Al Gore in 2000 by a 50-46 margin. In Wisconsin, Kerry had the backing of 46 percent and Bush of 43 percent, while Nader had the support of 4 percent and 7 percent were undecided, said a Wisconsin poll released Friday

and a slightly older story:
Nader campaign gives Bush a boost in polls

Democrats who cringed publicly upon Ralph Nader's entry into the presidential race are finding merit to their fears, as the independent candidate is cutting a wide swath into the party's base.
A CBS-New York Times poll released yesterday had President Bush pulling ahead of Sen. John Kerry by three percentage points in a head-to-head matchup, a statistical dead heat. But when Mr. Nader was added to the mix, Mr. Bush's lead bounced to eight points.
The concern Democrats are feeling now will soon be shared by Republicans when Mr. Nader begins tapping the president's base in a noticeable way, a Nader campaign spokesman said yesterday.

posted by matteo at 8:14 PM on March 26, 2004

well, if Nader spoils both, then that's ok (altho i still think Judge Moore should get in the race).
posted by amberglow at 8:17 PM on March 26, 2004

You know mathowie, they have these things called "polls"? The ones saying nader is getting between 5-7%.

incredible! are they from the future?
posted by mcsweetie at 5:59 AM on March 27, 2004

the 9-11 terrorist attacks, which were carried out by 19 Arab immigrants who got substantial assistance from the Muslim community while they prepared for the attacks

Nice definition of "the Muslim community" in the FPP article.
posted by Zurishaddai at 8:42 AM on March 27, 2004

You know mathowie, they have these things called "polls"? The ones saying nader is getting between 5-7%.

Yes, indeed. I hear that President Dewey was a big partisan of those poll thingies. At least that's what Howard Dean, the Democratic candidate, always says.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:44 AM on March 27, 2004

I wonder if the Bush people will send Spence Abraham out again this time.

The economy's really bad in Michigan and other rustbelt states with large Muslim pops, so that'll be a factor.

One of the largest concentrations of Arab-Americans is in Detroit, home to Yousif Ghafari, a Lebanese Christian who came to the United States in 1972 and now heads his own engineering firm. For years Mr. Ghafari donated to the Republican Party, but this year he stepped up the pace, raising $350,000 to become a Ranger. He said that "the 9/11 situation was a bad situation for us" but that he supported Mr. Bush for "taking the initiative" to oust Saddam Hussein and believed that Mr. Bush had the capacity to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
posted by clavdivs at 10:32 AM on March 27, 2004

Wealthy Arab-Americans and foreign-born Muslims who strongly back President Bush's decision to invade Iraq are adding their names to the ranks of Pioneers and Rangers, the elite Bush supporters who have raised $100,000 or more for his re-election.
Wealthy Arab-Americans and foreign-born Muslims becoming Pioneers and Rangers--that's what? 1 or 2 percent of the Arab pop in the US? The article says they're doing it for access and for business reasons. It certainly doesn't translate into a groundswell of support for Bush this time, and that article you linked to goes into that: This new crop of fund-raisers comes as some opinion polls suggest support for the president among Arab-Americans is sinking and at a time when strategists from both parties say Mr. Bush is losing ground with this group. (bold mine)
posted by amberglow at 10:57 AM on March 27, 2004

i would not know that amber concerning percentages and certainly not a "groundswell". Business is what america does I guess? Access at a price? that seems another matter. Is there a precise way to know whom voted for whom concerning statistics and "ethic" background? Certainly polls and other methods to "get these numbers" will indicate the choice amongst the "majority" of "arab-americns/ muslim americans".
posted by clavdivs at 1:23 PM on March 27, 2004

well, here's a Zogby thing from the 13th: Bush losing Arab-American support

I think the amount of rich Arab-Americans mirrors the amount of all Rich Americans in percentages: Very few as a percentage of the total pop.
posted by amberglow at 1:41 PM on March 27, 2004

Some scattered thoughts.

I'm thinking of voting Nader. Still might not when it comes down to voting time, but I've been finding Kerry uninspiring, to say the least. And every time I hear Nader speak, it edges me a bit more in that direction.

I saw him on CSPAN last night at something like 4am, giving a talk in North Carolina. Somebody asked him some variant of the typical spoiler question - who should someone vote for if they believe in Nader but don't want to see Bush in office again. and Nader said, "Well, they should vote for Kerry," on the grounds that if you're voting for 'anyone but Bush,' that's exactly Kerry. He acknowledges that he's courting those who aren't going to be voting Democrat. He makes that a part of his speeches.

I absolutely agree with Skalla that he should be working on some kind of party building. Even if he doesn't agree completely with the Greens, I think he should still be doing what he can to work with them, or working to fix up some of the party's weak points. But one of things I've noticed, following the Greens, is that they can't stay in office, even when they are elected, because they get very quickly redistricted out of their seats. Which lends a lot of creedence to the Nader chant that we need some really fundamental changes in the way our country is being run. There isn't an avenue of dissent available anymore. It's two sides both saying, "Hey, if you don't want that other fucker running your life, you'd better vote for me." If I don't submit a vote for my continued oppression, I'm somehow fucking up the democracy? It's a question of lesser evils and greater goods, and how things have gotten so locked up and bloodthirsty on the national level that you're not even allowed to think about the latter anymore.

posted by kaibutsu at 6:23 PM on March 27, 2004

Kaibutsu, what is Nader standing for (other than an end to the two-party stranglehold) that you believe in?

I'm a lifelong independent and I hate the whole Republicratdemocan juggernaut, but I don't find Nader's candidacy this time around to be at all compelling.

Last time, he had the Greens and Winona LaDuke and some good ideas about health care. This time, I haven't been hearing anything interesting, and I've been looking.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:07 PM on March 27, 2004

The platform is essentially the same; he tends to use the corporate political monopoly as the thread that ties everything together, though, so unless you actually listen to a speech, listen to the individual points, I guess one could get the impression that it's a one-issue platform.

There were a lot of worker's rights issues in the speech I watched last night, dealing heavily with living wage, working hours, skewed and dishonest unemployment ratings, what-have-you. Many of the things we were hearing in passing back in the primaries (already seems so long ago...), before all the candidates with cojones left the building.

There was also some great stuff concerning contract law, and how, for everyone but the corporation, contract law has changed from something meant to give us equally footing under the law into a unilateral tool to keep the less powerful in their place. Apartment leases, software lisences, cell phone contracts, and just about any other kind of consumer contract you can think of is, at this point, non-negotiable and often have a clause stating that the company can change the terms at their whim. And if you don't like it, you can take your business elsewhere. Meanwhile, civil lawsuits against companies have been declining steadily since 1850, due to the great corporate power in the court rooms. (This is a pretty close paraphrase of the argument.)

Ultimately, I think it comes down to a dilution of the governmental power. (This is speaking for meself, now.) Breaking up the federal government's power, the corporate power, and spreading it to the citizenry in the form of civil, consumer, and worker's rights. The only way to get rid of bullies is to make sure no one has enough power to be such a bully in the first place.

That's what democracy is supposed to be about - taking the power away from royal families and plutocrats and putting it in far wider hands, and creating a system in constant upheaval to make sure that no one has the ability to hold on to power for long. Unfortunately, in the absence of a lasting political establishment, the main source power has changed from political to economic (which is in turn used to buy political favors). Those with the money try to make sure the laws concerning their misdeeds are kept weak, and then, bam, you've got a new oligarchy, democracy or no. If you want to make people's lives better, then you've got to break up the power. Otherwise, we maybe get four or eight years of Kerry playing nice boy, and then the next Nero comes along and starts using all that well-precedented power to fuck us as he sees fit. Isn't that the pattern we saw with Clinton? We can hope to have benevolent leaders, but unless we reduce their power, we're playing a kind of mob-roulette. (ba dum dum.)

That's what it comes down to: You can talk all the issues you want, but unless you throw out the elephants, you're gonna have to keep cleaning up their shit. If you can find me where Kerry addresses this sort of stuff, I'll vote for him in a heartbeat. Otherwise, my alliances are very muddled, thank you very much.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:57 PM on March 27, 2004

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