Ralph Nader got a whopping 40% jump in the polls!
October 18, 2000 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Ralph Nader got a whopping 40% jump in the polls! But the american public doesnt know. Michael Moore explains how the polling process is skewed to reflect favorably on the two major parties.
posted by stazen (53 comments total)
Makes sense. I am hearing rumblings all over the tech community from hackers to Web developers that Nader is the man. I plan on voting for him and I hope everyone considering voting for him will not give into the pressure of "a vote for Nader is a vote for X"

posted by bkdelong at 12:09 PM on October 18, 2000

Hell, screw your heart. Vote with your brain.
posted by Doug at 12:17 PM on October 18, 2000

I was talking to my aunt last night during the debates. She, like the rest of the Cohen Tribe, are Democrats and wanted to make sure that I was voting Gore. I told her I wasn't, that Gore--and that yucky wife of his--will never get my support.

"But a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush," she explained.

"No," I said, "a vote for Nader is a vote for the future of a viable Third Party for our children!"
posted by schlomo at 12:23 PM on October 18, 2000

Obviously, the only rational decision is to vote for Kodos! (.wav)
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:23 PM on October 18, 2000

Does anyone know where there's footage of Nader being denied entrance last night?
posted by mimi at 12:38 PM on October 18, 2000

schlomo, you have kids with your aunt? That is totally sick.
It did get Doug's screw your heart image out of my head tho.
posted by thirteen at 12:42 PM on October 18, 2000

“A vote for Gore is a vote for Bush... Wouldn’t you rather have the original?”
— Micheal Moore (I know he can be an ass on occasion, but the best rhetoric is coming out of the Green camp. So quotable.)

Another note on polls: In the NYT on Monday (I can’t find it, sue me) a survey was released highlighting the inherent innacuracy of polling. Pollsters ask the people they call if they’re going to vote. In the last election, 98% of the subjects said they were going to vote when only ~49% actually did.

So polls don’t really measure a candidate’s possibility of getting into office, only his approval of expected voters. By the time November rolls around half of those voters don’t leave the couch.

On a somewhat related note: I don’t suppose anyone saw Dan Savage quaking in his boots.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 1:16 PM on October 18, 2000

I'm definitely not a Nader supporter, but I suppose these pollsters are definitely undercounting Nader supporters since many of his supporters don't fit into the selected demographics of the pollsters and therefore aren't even being polled.
posted by gyc at 1:29 PM on October 18, 2000

From the article referenced my His Royal Crackpipe:

"If Ralph Nader hits 5 percent of the vote (which isn't gonna happen), the Greens will indeed get federal matching funds the next time out. Nader supporters would have us believe that these funds will magically transform the Greens into a viable third party. But if federal matching funds have that power, how come the Reform Party, which got millions in federal dollars in the last two presidential elections, isn't a viable third party?"


True though.
posted by ethmar at 1:41 PM on October 18, 2000

Oh, you don't suppose the Reform Party's rousing success has anything to do with its candidate?

Just a thought.
posted by RakDaddy at 1:55 PM on October 18, 2000

Adam, who's to say some left-wing extremist loser won't glom onto the Green Party once it gets its matching funds and completely invalidate it?

That's the thing. I keep hearing this "If Ralph gets 5%, then the Green Party gets matching funds!" Well, whoop de shit! Again, the Reform Party did MUCH better in 1992 and 1996 than Ralph will do this year. Granted, that's because ol' H. Ross has his legions, but look at this way: when the strong leader took a back seat, the party went to hell.

Who's to say that in 2004 Nader'll run again? And who will be the candidate then?

Is it the person or the party?
posted by solistrato at 2:10 PM on October 18, 2000

The reform party is a mess. When Ventura drops out of your party, you are in trouble.
posted by john at 2:17 PM on October 18, 2000

gyc: Good point. New voters, like voters who’ve registered recently aren’t polled, because pollsters don't have their phone numbers. So all the newly registered college students aren’t represented in these polls. The difference that makes on a national level probably ain’t much, admittedly.

As per Bad Advice Savage: It looks like Nader will get at least 5% of the votes based on (flawed) polls. But I do agree with him that money from the government doesn’t make a political party. A jackass and an elephant make a political party! (rimshot, softshoe, hook)

Hey there Solis. My understanding is that Nader is building a political party that will stay together after he leaves. He’ll probably have to run again ’04. I just don’t think there’s anyone out there that could take the leadership position he’s in. The Greens are, however, actively recruiting big names to the party. Ventura and McCain most notably. Whether they’ll commit is anybody’s guess.

So yeah.

my His Royal Crackpipe. eh? Yes, come. Gather ’round the royal crackpipe. Toke. Toke and be merry.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 2:19 PM on October 18, 2000

I should’ve qualified that statement by saying “Nader is trying to build a political party...”

[sic] me.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 2:33 PM on October 18, 2000

The reform party was created in 1992 by Ross Perot, primarily as a vehicle for Ross Perot. Without Ross Perot, it's floundering.

The green party, while definitely benefiting from Ralph Nader's 'celebrity', existed before he started running for office. The modern day US green party came into being in 1989 when the first fully delegated green congress met in Eugene, Oregon. That was preceded by the GcoCs network that formed in 1984.

The green party existed without Ralph Nader, and will continue to exist if he leaves. What's important is after the national election, the state greens parties (the greens are still loosely organized) capitalize on whatever momentum is built and start running aggressive campaigns for local offices and congress. Then in the next election, maybe the green candidate will get 10% of the election, which will raise more awareness and build more momentum. Etc. etc.

Sure, it's a long shot, but it's better than letting cynicism set it and accepting the unlubricated shaft from the corporatecrats. (hey look, I made up a lame word, just like Georgey!)
posted by alana at 2:36 PM on October 18, 2000

You have to admit, though alan, that the Greens are getting a hell of a lot of help from Nader. The Reform party is still around in two parts. Just being around hardly creates enough momentum to get things done. Had Nader not fully committed the Greens would still be a marginalized citizen’s coalition.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 2:43 PM on October 18, 2000

Right. What alan said.

While there's the possibility that the Greens could split up due to infighting (there's the whole tug-o-war that goes on between the hard-core lefties and the centrists in the European Green parties), I don't think the American Green Party will implode the way Reform did because the Green movement doesn't depend on a Charismatic Leader. It's a grassroots organization that's been around for a bit and wasn't founded so one guy can get into office.

It helps that Nader doesn't have loose screws like Perot and Buchanan have.

If Nader's high profile gets more people to look at the Green platform, great. If it attracts all the people who are turned off from politics and don't vote any more, all the better. And, Allah willing, Greens make some serious headway in the coming elections and get more people into local, state, and national offices, hot dog.

And, yes, in case you're wondering, I'm a Republican.
posted by RakDaddy at 2:58 PM on October 18, 2000

"Sure, it's a long shot, but it's better than letting cynicism set it..."

We should recall how, mainly because the left neglected to participate in 1968's election (Humphrey did not move far enough away from LBJ for their taste), the nation was rewarded with the Nixon presidency.

Yes, it's a long shot. And I have two more words for you: Supreme Court. The Supreme court is very important for people on the left, too. Do we want it to lean even more to the right?
posted by Bootcut at 3:00 PM on October 18, 2000

I live in canada, and I find your main candidates absolutely hilarious. You have Gore, who, and I quote last night said "I promise you america, you ain't seen nothing yet!" and tried to smile, with a dramatic closeup on his face. Then you have Bush thanking everyone for having him there, enforcing his rustic values...I guess you have to be there to understand...
posted by starduck at 3:40 PM on October 18, 2000

Well, until a charismatic political leader is assassinated I'm not going to start comparing this election to the one in 1968.

Besides which, as has been mentioned elsewhere, in a good seventy to eighty percent of the states, the presidential election is a moot point. Example. Gore has a twenty percent lead in New York, Bush isn't bothering to campaign here. Thanks to the 'Oh shit, what if the masses do something we don't like College', a vote for Nader isn’t going to give GWB any more votes. Yes, it's a rather cynically pragmatic view of the election, but less so than voting for vice-president not bush out of fear.

As for the Supreme Court, at the beginning of the election it was one or two justices being appointed. Now it's up to three or five. By November 1st I expect they'll be saying the whole damn court is stepping down. Conservative judges are going to step down during a conservative administration. Progressive judges are going to step down during a progressive administration. That leaves illness and extenuating circumstances as the only other way to remove a judge. That's something you can't predict.

Besides, even if a conservative president appoints a judge, that doesn't dictate how they'll vote. Case in point. Anthony Kennedy was appointed by Bush Senior, yet in 1992 he was one of the justices who upheld Roe v. Wade., (which is what most people are talking about when they mention 'the supreme court').

Yes, the Supreme Court is an issue, but it's one issue and not as black and white as it's portrayed. More like a nice eighteen percent grey.
posted by alana at 3:52 PM on October 18, 2000

Yes, yes the Supreme Court issue. This is coming up more and more lately, with a devastating lack of history. Okay, let me ask you something, my friend. If the Democrats truly cared about the political sway on the Supreme Court why did no Democrat vote against Scalia’s nomination?

Gore, a rightous Democrat would’ve never voted to appoint Scalia to the highest court in the land!

So sorry. The Presidential Candidate Al Gore Jr. whom you believe holds your philosophical views doesn’t. He thinks Scalia is a fine justice. Otherwise, Gore wouldn’t have voted to put him on the Supreme Court.

To clarify: No Democrat voted against the appointment of arguably the most conservative Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia.

A vote for Gore is a vote for Bush.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 4:16 PM on October 18, 2000

Fair enough, capt. crackpipe. Still, I never claimed that Gore was a model of liberal ideology. My point was: George Dubyah presents a bland facade of moderate conservatism while we know he will revive the Christian conservative flank of the party. I disagree with Gore on many issues... but I disagree on Bush on even more. Yes, they are both incredibly conservative... but could it be argued that at least part of the reason we have centrist candidates is that the country is .... centrist? Better to tip the scales a little leftward when you can.
posted by Bootcut at 5:17 PM on October 18, 2000

There's no way I'm voting for Bush, but I highly doubt he will try to "revive the Christian conservative flank of the party"

Maybe I'm wrong but when I look at this guy, I don't see someone with ideological ambitions. His only ambition is to be popular, and that's not going to happen if he comes out as Senor Jesus Lover.

posted by s10pen at 6:01 PM on October 18, 2000

Nice link to Savage Love, Captain. I gotta say, that it is pretty convincing ...
posted by sylloge at 7:03 PM on October 18, 2000

I know that this is going to come as a shock to a lot of you, but I am voting for Ralph Nader because (are you sitting down?) I want Ralph Nader to be president.
posted by donkeymon at 8:01 PM on October 18, 2000

Hey man.

Just to be sure, convincing of what? He threw out every possible arguement to keep the status quo and support a candidate who doesn’t support Gay marriages. He even says he doesn’t like Gore and calls the election a vote for the lesser of two evils. If I can borrow more rhetoric, the lesser of two evils is still evil.

Why would he want to support a candidate that sees him as a second class citizen? He says he’d support a party that would abandon him for political expediency. What does that say about his faith in the system? I see cognitive dissonance motivated by fear of change.

The vanity candidate stuff is just insulting.

Ditto, donkey, but. you know, uh... he isn’t going to be.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 8:17 PM on October 18, 2000

I actually saw Rader Nader speak at a rally today here in Dallas. Pretty entertaining. Beats Precal.
posted by Satapher at 8:27 PM on October 18, 2000

My only real problem with the Green party is their website...didn't really like it. Came across as being a bit too fluffy.
Other than that, they are the closest to my views...and Ralph would make a great president, because he doesn't want the Power...he is a different type of zealot.

Because [forget where this is from] Obviously, someone who wants control over millions of people shouldn't have it.

but, uh, yeah capt.crackpipe...we know. I can't fake a vote for someone else though.

posted by th3ph17 at 9:46 PM on October 18, 2000

I found this convincing:
It's my hope that if Nader gets a significant number of votes, Gore and the Democrats might shape up and move to the left. —White Boy With Clean and Luxurious HairHow sad that such luxurious hair is wasted on an empty head. Pretend it's the day after the election, and the votes are in. Bush got 49 percent, Gore got 46 percent, and Nader hit the 5 percent jackpot (not gonna happen). Do you really believe the Democrats are going to smack their foreheads and say, "Oh, my God, let's move to the left and snap up that 5 percent!" Don't be an idiot. The Dems will look at the numbers and say, "Let's move to the right and try to peel some of that 49 percent off Bush." If Gore loses by less than the percentage Ralph picks up, we'll all be watching the Dems tack right, not left.
I don't like the tone, but there is something too
Hey, lefties, why do you think Buchanan isn't getting any traction on the right? Because hard-right wackos can tell the difference between Bush and Gore, and they would rather see Bush in the White House. If the right-wing wackos think there's a difference between Bush and Gore, how come the left-wing wackos don't?
And I definitely agree that no matter how many votes Nader gets in this election, it won't make a viable party out of the Greens. It's not a real invesment in the future, since there is no real return (at least as far as I can tell).
posted by sylloge at 11:09 PM on October 18, 2000

sylloge: what WOULD make a viable party of the Greens, then?

posted by Mars Saxman at 11:22 PM on October 18, 2000

Well, a guess I don't mean "no matter how many votes Nader gets" — if he got 22% or something, that just might make them a viable party.

Honestly, I think the Greens would have to change their name if they are even going to appeal to as broad a base of opinion as the big parties. They automatically appear, even to those who would tend to support their policy proposals, as a single-issue party. (And there are lots and lots of Americans who'd be freaked out by their foreign policy proposals, as laudable as they are.)

I think the only thing that will make a viable party of the Greens is a long and profound change in popular opinion. I hope that this change will also make a few other parties viable, and it will also change the culture of politics so that opposition parties are constructively involved in the development of legistlation. That would kind of be ideal, and I'd do what I can to try to create that.

Something is really fucked up here, but I suspect it is more involved than just the presence of corporate money. And neither is it whether you have a two- or three-party system. In the UK, they have three parties, and there is just as much hypocrisy and just as many off-limits topics. And Canada just went from three to five or six, with no benefit to be seen.

The social dynamics of politics in the examples of liberal democracy which we have today is crazy out of control and crazy counter-productive (at least it seems to be; maybe they need to be for some reason?). Politicians obey the squeal coming out of the microphone of our media held up to the speakers that are our millions of tiny mouths. I have no idea how to change that (but I think it's democracy).
posted by sylloge at 1:56 AM on October 19, 2000

Dan Savage, remember, is the guy who gleefully reported in Salon that he tried to infect Gary Bauer with influenza by licking doorknobs in Bauer campaign HQ. Pathetic.

In any case, regarding his ill-informed "Nader bashing", there are no new arguments there, and they've all been knocked down elsewhere.

Here is my considered judgment: Clinton-Gore have done more harm in the last eight years -- to the environment, the poor, race relations, everything -- than George Bush Sr or Bob Dole could have done in the same period. Why? Not because their intentions differed, but because Clinton and Gore, as rhetorically-sophisticated Democrats, have been exceedingly effective in implementing the corporate agenda. I'll save rehersing the laundry list of misconduct for another thread. But just consider Gore's big issue: the environment. Measured however you like (pounds of particulate matter, carbon emissions, etc), the development most damaging to the environment in recent history has been the creation of the WTO and, generally, the unfettered expansion of corporate-driven trade (not "free trade") under the Clinton administration. Ask yourself: would the WTO exist now if Bush Sr (or Dole) had been elected? And re: the poor, ask yourself: would "welfare reform" have been enacted under Bush or Dole? In both cases, my answer is: I highly doubt it. Only a Democrat -- in particular a clever Democrat like Clinton -- could have pulled it off; indeed, years later, millions of loyal Democrats apparently still do not understand that they've been had.

In this election -- if you restrict yourself, perversely, to the duopoly of Democrats and Republicans -- the choice is similar: the bumbler (Bush) vs the panderer (Gore). Bush is clearly an idiot, and it is questionable whether he would be able to achieve the kind of bipartisan malfeasance that his platform promises. Whereas Gore, like Clinton, would tranquilize much of the left, and would therefore be much more effective in pushing through the corporate agenda -- an agenda which, if adopted, would result in further environmental degradation, domestic racial inequality, and third world impoverishment (to name but three areas of concern).

I don't think Savage is the only "frightened liberal" with disturbing personality traits. I think he exemplifies a pattern of pathological thinking that infects many benighted Gore supporters. Phil Agre explains:

"For a lot of leftists, this pattern takes the following dysfunctional form: "there's no use engaging in rational argument, because you'll never convince them anyway", or (exasperatedly) "we've tried rational argument, but the only language they speak is the language of power". You've heard these lines. They are the lines of someone who, at a basic unconscious level, is trapped in a small box that contains just themselves and their oppressor. Living in that small box, it is hard to comprehend, much less act upon, the political imperative of talking in a way that 51% of eligible voters can understand. The box has no third parties in it, no undecideds, no way to imagine the perspective of people who have not been traumatized in that particular way, and who consequently retain their capacity to reason somewhat rationally about the situation."

Everyone agrees that we are living under corporate rule. The question is what to do about it. The "frightened liberals" -- subscribing to the lesser-evil thesis -- want to adopt a defensive posture. Their highest ambition is to "slow the rate at which the world is deteriorating" (or: "how about minimizing the second derivative, if that's OK with you?"). Sorry, but that's the attitude of a loser. If you look at the history of social change, you'll see that nobody ever accomplished anything -- in either the short-term or long-term -- by thinking "let's stick with the status quo because the only alternative I can comprehend -- as defined by my oppressor -- is worse." The world of the Frightened Liberal is bleak indeed -- devoid of optimism, rationality, and hope for popular acceptance of the progressive agenda. Like a battered spouse, they are simply incapable of grasping the idea of a better life ("just don't hit me too hard tonight, honey, pretty please?")

So as to evade charges of cowardice, these people will say they are "just being practical". They will say that if we vote for Nader, then in the next election the Democrats will "move further towards the center". Frankly, this is utter nonsense, and demonstrates the extent to which Democratics have been demoralized and hoodwinked under the corporate system. They have been hoodwinked if they buy into the Orwellian proposition that populism is unpopular. The Green Party platform has some traditional leftist components, true, but the bulk of what Nader talks about -- electoral and campaign finance reform, universal health care, fair trade -- is widely appealing to the American public. Make no mistake: "moving towards the center" means moving towards us, not away from us.

So don't cower in the corner, Frightened Liberal. You will never achieve a better world by adopting a defensive posture, allowing them to label you as "fringe", and ulimately settling for Not-As-Bad.

The truth is, building a progressive political movement in the United States is a process that requires a beginning. This election year we have a strong, growing activist movement -- lively, organized and international in scope. This election year we also have a well-known and deservedly well-respected presidential candidate running on the Green Party ticket. Now if you genuinely believe in Gore's neoliberal agenda (as some Metafilter contributers evidently do), then by all means vote for Gore. But if you are in the least bit progressive, I wonder: If now is not the time to vote Green, then what are you waiting for?

(For impatient readers, here's a lighter, abridged version of the above: Bill Hicks on Bill Clinton, from 1992 (MP3))
posted by johnb at 2:24 AM on October 19, 2000

But the Greens aren't, actually, what I want (that's really the problem). I prefer the Greens over the mainstream parties, but I also prefer the Libertarians over the mainstream parties (and only about as much as I'd prefer the Democrats over the Republicans). I'd still be settling.

If Nader was running for a Liberal-Progessive-Keynesian-True-Member-of-the-International-Community-Libertarian-Pro-Business-etc. hybrid party, it'd be simple: I'd happily "waste" my vote on a third-party candidate. But in this particular election, I'm more interested in Prop 5.
posted by sylloge at 2:49 AM on October 19, 2000

Sylloge, you seem more like an emboldened libertarian than a frightened liberal (in sense of "leftist"). The emboldened libertarian is another species entirely, worthy of a thread by itself.

Naturally, if the LP platform is closest to what you want, then you should vote Libertarian, even if it's not a perfect fit (I didn't mean to suggest that politics wasn't about compromise). Having said that, there are several reasons why I believe true libertarians should vote for Nader rather than Browne. Here's one.

"My right to swing my fist stops at your nose" -- if this principle is true, then it also applies to the lethal impact that pollution (particularly the emission of greenhouse gases) has had and and will continue to have on real human beings, especially in the third world. That is, there's a death toll, and those deaths are directly (hence wrongfully) caused by the activities of certain corporations and individuals. And yet for some strange reason the LP platform accepts regulation of conventional criminal behavior via publically-funded police departments, while forbiding environmental regulation of industrial crime. Instead, the LP believes, incredibly, that a sustainable economy can be achieved through the privatization of public land and the wholesale deregulation of industry. What they don't do is offer a sound explanation of why transnational corporations, left to their own devices, would have any incentive to care about the future environmental damage -- particularly human deaths -- caused by their activities.

Consider the issue of land management. According to the LP platform:

If the government sold its acreage to private ranchers, the new owners would make sure that they grazed the land sustainably to maximize profit and yield.

The expression "sustainably to maximize profit and yield" is an oxymoron worthy of GW Bush. It assumes (a) a level of individual (not in-the-aggregate) rationality that is above and beyond what even naive neo-classical economics requires; and (b) no ecological interaction among these privatized portions of land. Both assumptions are clearly false, and lead to a dangerously false understanding of environmental stewardship.

Anyway, to make a long story short, most libertarians would agree that right-not-to-be-killed trumps right-to-property. Therefore, according to the reasoning above, ecological-sustainability trumps "pro-business-agenda" (whatever than means) as a platform issue. And (if the above is right) the only known way to promote sustainability is through tax incentives, emmission standards, and other forms of public intervention favored by the Greens.

In outline, that's why you should vote Green rather than Libertarian, if you are a genuine libertarian.

How's that for doublespeak? ;)
posted by johnb at 4:43 AM on October 19, 2000

>Frightened Liberal

This really raises my hackles. I'm sick to death of the labels of "Liberal" and "Conservative", with no in-between (which for those of you who have never heard of this concept before, is called "Moderate").

Also, I cringe when I see "Liberals" thrown around loosely, as White Supermacists tend to engage in the same thing. I'm not calling anybody here a White Supremacist, I'm just telling you what I'm feeling.

The absolutism in Politics makes me sick. Feh.

And yes, I am a cranky-butt this morning.
posted by ethmar at 6:36 AM on October 19, 2000

I'm a Canadian so it wouldn't matter anyway, but the "wasted vote" argument against Nader doesn't seem that hard to solve. Hypothetically, were I voting in the American election, I'd examine the polls right before the election. If it looked like one candidate had a clear edge, and my vote didn't matter anyway, I would vote for Nader. If it looked as if it would be very close, I would vote for Gore, (with whom I agree on most issues anyway) in case it made any kind of difference.
posted by Jeanne at 7:27 AM on October 19, 2000

Jeanne, the MN Greens are proposing to do just that. It’s a fair compromise for voters scared of change, I think, but anyone who cares to refurbish American democracy wouldn’t vote for Gore.

Johnb = my new hero.

posted by capt.crackpipe at 8:13 AM on October 19, 2000

what i personally find so amusing about all of this is how bush is automatically dismissed as being "stupid." i doubt many of you know anything about gore's past in college vs. bush's. after high school gore when to harvard. there he proceeded to graduate with a record of mostly c's. after that he continued on to graduate school at the esteemed vanderbilt's divinity school. (yes, gore went to divinity school). unfortunately gore failed five of his eight classes and dropped out... and switched to law. he eventually passed with a mediocre record. surprisingly enough (even to me) bush went to yale. he graduated with an excellent record and proceeded onto harvard for his law degree...

anyway.. i am beginning to think people are completely ignorant about most of the 'facts' flying around.. like the 'fact' the gore went to war in vietnam and bush didn't. true.. bush never saw vietnam.. but gore really didn't see that much of it himself. and what he did see he saw through the lens of a camera. gore did not go to vietnam as a foot soldier, or even an officer. he went as a freaking photo-journalist.

and on to nader. have you seriously read his platform? his opinions and plans? they are so incredibly vauge. if we applied that tactic to gore and bush's platform they'd all be the same! pollution is bad. taxes are bad. social security needs help. blah, blah, blah...

now don't take this to mean that i hate gore or nader. on the contrary i think they both have many positive aspects. but personally, i hope that bush is elected then shot and killed.. that way chaney can be president.

posted by epoh at 9:09 AM on October 19, 2000

>i hope that bush is elected then shot and killed..


>that way chaney [sic] can be president.

That'll fix everything.
posted by ethmar at 9:12 AM on October 19, 2000

Actually epoh, Bush didn't have "excellent record" at Yale, and even he admits he got gentlemen's C's. However, I don't think what you did in college 30 years ago should affect your qualifications to be president. Nader should establish a record of experience in politics before running for president. Maybe he should run for senate, maybe he'd have a better chance of winning and affect the system from the inside.
posted by gyc at 9:52 AM on October 19, 2000

Epoh: You are so laughably incorrect, I'm wondering if your kidding in your snide comments about the people here.

there he proceeded to graduate with a record of mostly c's
Gore received a mix of Bs and Cs. His lowest grade was a D. His highest was an A.

switched to law. he eventually passed with a mediocre record
He does not have a law degree.

[Bush] graduated with an excellent record and
Simply incorrect. Bush's academic record was about the same as Gore’s. His SAT score were lower than Gore’s.

[Bush] proceeded onto harvard for his law degree...
He as an MBA in Business Administration from Harvard.

Think a harder and educate yourself before making silly comments.

posted by capt.crackpipe at 10:19 AM on October 19, 2000

The "wasted vote" argument against Nader doesn't seem that hard to solve. Hypothetically, were I voting in the American election, I'd examine the polls right before the election. If it looked like one candidate had a clear edge, and my vote didn't matter anyway, I would vote for Nader. If it looked as if it would be very close, I would vote for Gore.

Good plan. If the polls look like a single vote could change the outcome of the election, vote for Gore, otherwise, vote for Nader.

Really folks, the decision of who to vote for is really mostly about your own self-expression, about being able to say to people "I voted for Nader" or "I voted for Gore." It doesn't matter who you vote for or whether you vote at all. Your vote isn't going to change the outcome of the election.

Ooops! I forgot that we're not supposed to mention that.
posted by straight at 10:22 AM on October 19, 2000

IMHO third parties will never make headway until they start building a base at the grassroots level and try an get elected to local positions. Shooting for the presidency every 4 years is silly. If third parties get elected at the local level and then eventually to the national level they will then be able to elect a president who will have a fighting chance. if anyone thinks that any of the third party candidates will have a fighting chance of getting anything done with a senate and congress packed full of Republicans and Democrats they are kidding themselves.
posted by terrapin at 10:25 AM on October 19, 2000

Christ, Straight. That was an ignorant statement. The study that comic (you get your information from comics?) refers to is about the chances of someone’s vote breaking a tie in a national election. Not whether a vote matters.

Your vote is important, don’t mock it.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 10:30 AM on October 19, 2000

IMHO third parties will never make headway until they start building a base at the grassroots level and try an get elected to local positions.That what the New Party is trying to do. They are classic progressives, and I believe that if they were national, then Nader would have joined them instead of the Greens. They are only eight years old, yet they've won 126 out of 185 elections (and not just for dog catcher either).
posted by Avogadro at 10:46 AM on October 19, 2000

Nader should establish a record of experience in politics before running for president. Maybe he should run for senate, maybe he'd have a better chance of winning and affect the system from the inside.

Nader does have a record of experience in politics. And that's just the tip of the iceberg that the corporate mainstream media will give us.

But really, fixing the Democratic Party from the inside? That's what Bradley tried to do and we all saw how well that turned out. I, myself, was a huge Bradley supporter. The system and parties are just too corrupt right now to be reformed from the inside.

If you live in a state that is already strongly behind Bush or Gore, you can safely vote for whoever you want to and not worry about influencing the outcome of the election. Unless you live in a swing state (Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin), feel free to vote Nader!

Not only will a vote for Nader will help the Green Party get presidential matching funds in the next election, but it will help them get on the ballot in most states, instead of wasting valuable pre-election time on grueling petition drives.

Also, ask yourself, "do you want your Senators and Representatives to vote their conscience in Washington? If your answer is yes, ask yourself why you don't vote your conscience? Do you want to waste your vote on two parties that have been wasting our democracy? Or do you want to vote your hopes, your dreams, not your fears?"
posted by veruca at 10:55 AM on October 19, 2000

you can safely vote for whoever you want to and not worry about influencing the outcome of the election.


Doesn't that defeat the purpose of uh, voting?
posted by ethmar at 10:58 AM on October 19, 2000

IMHO third parties will never make headway until they start building a base at the grassroots level and try an get elected to local positions.

That is, in fact, what the Green Party is trying to do - at least in my area (Seattle). They've started with City Council...

Shooting for the presidency every 4 years is silly.

Not at all. It's a great PR tactic. The presidential race typically gets more news coverage than all local races combined. Your party is much more likely to get mentioned at all if you have someone running for President, and hopefully that will create some name recognition that will stick when people look at the other names on the ballot.

Joe Szwaja's campaign has printed up posters reading "Nader for President / Szwaja for Congress". Nader gets a lot of attention, and they're both Greens, so Szwaja benefits by association.

posted by Mars Saxman at 11:23 AM on October 19, 2000

Mars makes an excellent point...there are a lot of Green candidates locally that people wouldn't even look at unless Nader was on the ticket....and that is extremely important because the organization really is grassroots and volunteer based.
posted by th3ph17 at 11:42 AM on October 19, 2000

Loved the New Party -- I recently moved to Montgomery County, MD, and I'm glad to hear about them. Their strategy reminds me somewhat of what Bernie Sanders did -- built up a progressive coalition on the Burlington, Vt. city council, then won the mayoral election, then won election to Congress.
posted by snarkout at 3:28 PM on October 19, 2000

ethmar, it's true that "liberal" and "conservative" are vague terms, but "moderate" is even more vague. Virtually everyone likes to think of themselves as having "moderate" political views, I would think. Anyway, by "frightened liberals", I just mean "people who agree with Nader on the issues, but who are planning on voting for Gore because they are afraid of a Bush victory". My view is: (a) the fear is unfounded, and (b) the plan is counterproductive (assuming the overarching goal is a more diverse, equitable and sustainable society.) That's just my opinion of course; you can take it or leave it.
posted by johnb at 12:21 AM on October 20, 2000

Christ, Straight. That was an ignorant statement. The study that comic (you get your information from comics?) refers to is about the chances of someone’s vote breaking a tie in a national election. Not whether a vote matters.
Your vote is important, don’t mock it.

This is false. My vote is not important. It makes absolutely no difference whether I vote for Gore, Bush, Nader, Mickey Mouse, or stay home. It's extremely unlikely that my vote could even have an effect on any of the local School Board elections. The results will be the same no matter what I do.

And don't give me this "What if everybody thought that way" crap. No matter how many other people think that way, as long as more than a few hundred people vote, my vote is almost certainly meaningless.

The only reason I can see for voting is the same reason people cheer at a football game even thought their voice is totally drowned out by the 50,000 other people cheering: because it feels good to do it.
posted by straight at 7:19 AM on October 23, 2000

I spent most of my life in Montgomery County, MD snarkout. Now I am stuck in PG ;)

The other night on Democracy 2000 they were looking at third parties and one interesting thing I saw was that the Natural Law Party is trying to get the Reform Party and the Greens to join them to form a stronger party. They state that their positions on the environment are nearly identical to the Greens and their fiscal positions are nearly identical to the Reforms.

After those statements I looked at the Natural Law Party site and found their platform very close to my own views. I had always dismissed them because the party's name actually sounds conservative. I thought they were God Squaders :)

I think it would be wise if some of these third parties would consider pulling their resources.

In the meantime I am still voting for Gore. Politics and politicians aren't perfect, but I refuse to hand someone with the brains of a potted plant the presidency. I don't know where he gets off saying he is a proven leader. Unless he counts how many times he led his fraternity brothers on a panty raid or to the bar. And as for bringing Republicans and Democrats together... Texas Democrats are practically Republicans.

The difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Democrats say WE WE WE while Republicans say ME ME ME
posted by terrapin at 3:20 PM on October 23, 2000

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