How the GOP Lost Its Way.
April 22, 2006 9:57 AM   Subscribe

How the GOP Lost Its Way. And they should be worried (pdf) about November, according to Charlie Cook. But don't underestimate the Democrats' propensity to blow it, says the Economist.
posted by js003 (130 comments total)
 
Nice post js003. Both pieces illustrate how Dems and Repubs are really, really flailing about these days. I'm biased, but I've got to give an edge to the Dems--"fecklessness" (Shirley's term) is entirely appropriate, and it will hurt them in November if they don't get together on two or three simple messages (a viable plan for Iraq including, yes, a time-table for withdrawal, reducing foreign oil dependency, and a sensible immigration policy that offers some sort of amnesty provided they pay taxes into the Fed). The Republicans' problems are harder to overcome, however, given that the ball is in multiple prosecutors' hands in DC (Rove, Cheney, and friends), Florida (Abramoff and friends), and Texas (Delay and friends).

This is like a fat person telling an ugly person they can lose weight, eventually, but there's no time like the present for the Dems. The "stopsign" strategy has been fine until now, but November is coming quickly--get a message together, people, and keep it simple and positive. Winning back the House is key for a lot of reasons, if only for getting some substantive investigations into the cherry-picking of intelligence leading up to Iraq. And forcing Bush to have to meet with Democratic legislators to get anything done (however, I'm convinced Bush doesn't want to accomplish any meaningful legislation in his last three years--he just wants to keep his head above water and pray for some sort of impossible miracle in Iraq to vindicate his idiotic foreign policy).
posted by bardic at 10:19 AM on April 22, 2006


If there was ever a time for a third party, or even fourth and fith parties, this is it.

Stop voting against something and vote for something. By voting for the lesser of two evils you still support evil.
posted by nyxxxx at 10:22 AM on April 22, 2006


Ridiculous. The whole reason Bush is president in the first place is people like nyxxxx voting for a third party candidate. Thanks a hell of a lot for the last 6 years, Nader voters!
posted by Justinian at 10:26 AM on April 22, 2006


nyxxxx, I couldn't disagree more. America is on the brink, and the opposition doesn't have the luxury of thinking non-strategically right now IMO.
posted by bardic at 10:29 AM on April 22, 2006


The elephant in the room in that first piece is the Republican's crack-like addiction to religious wingnut "values" issues that have become a deal with the devil. Tell people for enough generations that you'll be their guy regarding irrational bullshit, and eventually they'll expect you to enact their irrational bullshit, no matter how damaging it is. Now the Republicans are painted into a corner because enough of the ones in power know they can't enact the extreme elements of the religious whackjob agenda without completely torpedoing their own hold on power and their own finances, but their power depends on keeping the whack jobs thinking that the payoff for generations of blind support is just around the corner. And the whackjobs are getting impatient.
posted by NortonDC at 10:32 AM on April 22, 2006


a viable plan for Iraq

I;m not sure one is possible, is it?
posted by Artw at 10:36 AM on April 22, 2006


More evidence that a two-party voting system doesn't work.
posted by j-urb at 10:37 AM on April 22, 2006


Gore in 4 + 4
posted by furtive at 10:48 AM on April 22, 2006


More evidence that a two-party voting system doesn't work.

Aaaahgh! We have a two-party system and have had since the civil war. That's just how the system is setup here and short of changing the constitution to allow a European parlimentory system, that's the way its going to be. I'm sorry if you don't like only having two parties to choose from but a third party is never going to do anything but split the vote and cause the other side to win a plurality. Didn't we learn anything from 2000?
posted by octothorpe at 10:49 AM on April 22, 2006


The Post piece is nothing new. Since the days of Goldwater and Buckley if not before, there has always been a tension in the GOP between 'Main Street' and 'Wall Street.' The business elites do have to throw a bone to the social conservatives ever now and again to keep them happy. But their not doing so won't translate into support for the Democrats. The GOP may be split down the middle on immigration reform that penalizes illegals, which is something that the majority of Americans favor, but the Democrats will have nothing whatsoever to do with it. And while a few abortion opponents like Bob Casey may (or may not) get the nod in the primaries, they are rarities even in districts where such a stance is necessary for electoral viability. Sure, the social conservatives might choose to stay home, which Rove famously fretted over in 2000, but Bush still managed to eke out a victory when he really shouldn't have done so.

I'm not saying that the Democrats need social conservatives to win, but right now they're a significant electoral body that has no real choice who to vote for: Republicans or nobody. If the Dems want to pick them up, they either need to swallow their pride and follow the GOP in making vague campaign promises about injecting ('Judeo-Christian') morality into the political sphere (not gonna happen) or finally remember that most of these people are members of the working class, and that people tend not to be excessively preoccupied with the hereafter when they have something tangible they can be proud of. But that would require the Democrats to become something more than the other, less successful pro-business party.
posted by Makoto at 10:52 AM on April 22, 2006


Also nice to see Markos and Schweitzer getting favorable press in the Economist, my favorite newsweekly that is sound on everything except economics, as that article amply demonstrates.

Reminds me of the story last year about Howard wanting to eliminate the minimum wage in Australia, which the Economist cheered as a wonderful opportunity for former minimum wage-earners to 'leverage their productivity.'
posted by Makoto at 10:56 AM on April 22, 2006


If there was a political party that represented my views on domestic, foreign, and social policies to a tee, I'm pretty sure I'd be the only member. Instead of whining for one, I'll stick with the party that represents most of my views and is in opposition to the one actively fucking over my country and my world.
posted by bardic at 10:57 AM on April 22, 2006


that is sound on everything except economics

Hehe. I like that summation.
posted by bardic at 10:58 AM on April 22, 2006


Thanks a hell of a lot for the last 6 years, Nader voters!

Yes, it is urgent that we let the GOP off the hook for stealing the vote from the rightful winner, and the Supreme Court for handing it to them! I mean, my god, how dare anyone vote for anything but an established party, even if it doesn't represent your interests or values. Against the death penalty? Well, the Democrats aren't, but you have to vote for them anyway. Believe in a living (say $10 or $12/hr) minimum wage? Well, the Democrats aren't, but you have to vote for them anyway. Want a party who will stand up to corporate interests in the interest of such urgent public needs such as health insurance? Dream on if you think the Democrats will do it, but you have to vote for them anyway. Disgusted by the fact that we stood "shoulder to shoulder" with BushCo after 9/11 and gave him goddamn carte blanche to invade Iraq with nary a peep? Hmm. Interesting. You still have to vote for them anyway.

Yeah, I just really admire how they think that they can fake right all these years and still be entitled to every single vote from every single voter to the left of Arlen Specter. It couldn't possibly be this combination of arrogance and contempt that's part of the fucking problem the Democrats have created for themselves, right? This reluctance to actually take a goddamn stand? This perennially neurotic ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Nah. It's because a few million people in the largest democracy on earth dared to vote for the candidate that they actually wanted to vote for -- they're the ones to blame.

Blaming Nader voters for the debacle of the past six years is like fishing with a peculiar sort of net -- you snag the minnows, and let the sharks right on through.
posted by scody at 11:01 AM on April 22, 2006


By voting for the lesser of two evils you still support evil.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the greater evil is really fucking things up.

Where would 2006 look like if a few thousand people in NH or FL had voted Dem instead of throwing their vote away?

Would we have cut taxes and driven the national debt from from $5.8 to $8.3 trillion like the Bushies have?

Would the Clinton/Gore admin have totally ignored the growing AQ threat like the Bushies did, or would they have been able to roll up the 9/11 plotters.

Would low interest rates, the tax cuts (putting more money in buyers' pockets and stimulating REITs), and creative lending practices been allowed to drive down home affordability (something like 10% of the households in California can afford the median-priced home now)?

Would Gore have appointed two good Catholic apparatchiks to the SCOTUS?

The Dems don't do much for me, but as a citizen I feel they offer the most to work with.

I could be a Republican should they ditch their lunatic fundie base, but that Republican party died 30+ years ago.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:14 AM on April 22, 2006


I think too many voters, and both the right and left are just plain stupid. So it has been a choice between wimpy Democrats with no credibility on foreign policy and defense issues, and Republicans, apparently beholden to primitive Christian types. One has to chose. A more hawkish Bill Clinton with integrity who was an environmentalist, who wasn't beholden to corporations would be perfect.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:19 AM on April 22, 2006


America is on the brink, and the opposition doesn't have the luxury of thinking non-strategically right now IMO.

There's an opposition?

I registered for the Democratic Party the week I turned 18, but I've been Green for many years now (voted for Kerry in '04, though), for all of the reasons scody just eloquently described. There is nothing I would love more than to come back to a Democratic party that represents my interests. Hell, I'd consider coming back to a Democratic party that stood for anything outside of "We're the party that's 30% less evil than the Republicans." But in order for me to consistently vote Dem again they would have to start, you know, acting like an opposition party.

I'm not holding my breath.
posted by the_bone at 11:20 AM on April 22, 2006


Also, blaming Nader voters is simply ahistorical. Pat Buchanan cost George W Bush more electoral votes than Nader cost Gore Remove both of them and distribute votes with any reasonable frequency and you still have Bush winning. Sure, it's easy to remove just Nader and think that Gore won, but it's like arguing that if the Steelers hadn't had the unfair advantage of four downs per play, the Seahawks would have won, using all four of theirs.
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:21 AM on April 22, 2006




The Democrats are not going to make any gains this November. And they're not going to understand why.

The U.S. now has a center-right party, the Democrats, run by people like Joe Lieberman (vice-presidential candidate 2000; 18 years in the Senate; pro-war, conservative, pro-censorship, endorsed by National Review) and Harry Reid (Senate minority leader; conservative anti-abortion Mormon), and a right-wing party, the Republicans, run by, well, you know who.

In most parliamentary systems these two factions would be closely allied and would work together on most issues, and indeed we find that in the U.S. Congress.

The perfect solution is this: the idealistic leftie bloggers, instead of throwing their weight behind a center-right party, would start their own party - from nothing - and invite some of the leftie Democrats to join it, and run candidates against the rightie Democrats. This cannot be that hard. Will it result in massive success in very next elections? No. Will it result in success over 2-3 elections? Yes, yes it would.
posted by jellicle at 11:28 AM on April 22, 2006


We have a two-party system and have had since the civil war. That's just how the system is setup here

and the system hasn't worked worth a damn for a generation ... i don't want to hear a bunch of crap about how "our" bozos will run a better circus than "their" bozos, because we need a government, not a circus

the democrats are still failing to give us progressive meaningful goals and leadership ... they're more interested in making sure they have their seats at the pig trough than actually fixing the problems we have

scody has it right ... the democrats have to EARN our votes not just stand around mouthing platitudes and saying that they're entitled to them
posted by pyramid termite at 11:28 AM on April 22, 2006


Where would 2006 look like if a few thousand people in NH or FL had voted Dem instead of throwing their vote away?

What would 2006 look like if the Democrats had mounted a proper challenge to the stolen Florida election results on behalf of the candidate who actually won? (I mean, I know that would have entailed finding a spine or two amongst them, but surely they could have cobbled something together with the help of SCIENCE.)

I registered for the Democratic Party the week I turned 18, but I've been Green for many years now (voted for Kerry in '04, though) [...] There is nothing I would love more than to come back to a Democratic party that represents my interests. Hell, I'd consider coming back to a Democratic party that stood for anything outside of "We're the party that's 30% less evil than the Republicans." But in order for me to consistently vote Dem again they would have to start, you know, acting like an opposition party.

Oh my god, the_bone is the male analog of me. The very first thing I did when I turned 18 was register Democrat -- even before I bought beer! (This was in the Dark Ages when Colorado's drinking age was 18.) They're the ones who've let me down, not the other way round.
posted by scody at 11:29 AM on April 22, 2006


oh, yes, while we're pointing fingers at who's responsible for certain people "throwing" elections to the other guy, what about the tens of millions of people who are so disgusted with the system that they don't even vote?

get them involved and it's a different ball game
posted by pyramid termite at 11:30 AM on April 22, 2006


The GOP are ripe for retirement: George 'The Decider's' continuing malapropisms, Cheneys laughable incompetence in shooting his hunting buddy and falling asleep during a major state function, Rummy's increasingly absurd and disconnected defense of the Iraq debacle... how bad can these guys be and still be taken as serious competition for leaders of the free world?

All the Dems need to do is think a little harder about the middle class: move toward center, distance themselves from the fringe social issues, look semi-reasonable, and they're in.

And yes, anyone who choses to nullify their vote on another Nader is an idiot.
posted by scheptech at 11:35 AM on April 22, 2006


The Democrats are not going to make any gains this November

Exactly. They won't fight. Alas, it is far too late to either turn the party around or create a new one. The upcoming economic debacle -- spurred by transportation costs that will make you cry and interest rates rising as the nation tries to finance the staggering debtload -- is going to destroy the US.

At best, there will be three countries here by 2010, and the war between them will be pretty cold, with just border flareups -- unless the religous south gets nukes, in which case, we're all fucked.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of us -- including the fucktards who voted for Bush and made less than $500,000 last year -- are going to be living in desperate poverty, if not simply dead, and there's nothing anybody will be able to do about it.

And the Democratic response is Hilary Fucking Clinton?
posted by eriko at 11:36 AM on April 22, 2006


I think the main problem with the Democrats is not that they are consciously avoiding standing for anything, but that their 'leadership' is composed of second-stringers sorely lacking in the intelligence and vitality departments. No one active in the upper echelons of the party right now will be remembered after they're gone, with the possible exception of Dean, and only because his being chosen to lead the party represented a recognition (for better or worse) of the power of the 'netroots.'

The Democrats have some good people, but as I've mentioned before, they're either too young and/or inexperienced to carry the party standard (like Obama and Schweitzer) or have given too many hostages to fortune to be palatable as national spokesmen (like Kennedy and Hillary Clinton).

I have some hope for Warner in 2008, but I can easily see him slipping into the bland, unimaginative centrism that killed Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004. And this in an election that should prove more difficult to tackle than either of those two.

All the Dems need to do is think a little harder about the middle class: move toward center, distance themselves from the fringe social issues, look semi-reasonable, and they're in.

But the Republicans took control of the government by doing exactly the opposite.
posted by Makoto at 11:39 AM on April 22, 2006


And the Democratic response is Hilary Fucking Clinton?

but at least as our kids are living in cardboard boxes and playing video games from outdoor outlets, they won't be playing "adult" ones ... hilary fucking clinton will make sure of that

by the way, where's our anti-war party?
posted by pyramid termite at 11:40 AM on April 22, 2006


I think the first thing I did when I turned 18 was legally purchase pornography, but registering to vote was the second thing. This just proves that scody is a better person than me.

jellicle writes: The U.S. now has a center-right party, the Democrats, run by people like Joe Lieberman (vice-presidential candidate 2000; 18 years in the Senate; pro-war, conservative, pro-censorship, endorsed by National Review)

That's a good point. I don't know of any Democrat who hasn't disparaged Lieberman's righty politics at some point in the last few years... but people seem to forget that he was on the goddamned ticket in 2000. And yet, unabashed leftists like myself are castigated because we voted for Nader instead of the senator even centrist Democrats everywhere love to hate?
posted by the_bone at 11:41 AM on April 22, 2006



All the Dems need to do is think [full stop -ed.]

Aye, there's the rub.
posted by Drastic at 11:42 AM on April 22, 2006


I think the first thing I did when I turned 18 was legally purchase pornography, but registering to vote was the second thing. This just proves that scody is a better person than me.

Naw. I was too busy posing for pornography to purchase it.

Yeah, senior year of high school: good times.
posted by scody at 11:46 AM on April 22, 2006


blaming Nader voters is simply ahistorical

I don't "blame" them. For what? Excercisng their right to vote? More power to tehm.

I just question their judgement at the ballot box.

The historical fact remains that Bush's margin of victory in both NH and FL in 2000 was less than the number of Green voters, and either state would have put Gore in the WH.

I don't call for hairshirts or anything, and I respect in some way the argument that 'it's gotta get worse before it gets better'.

could start their own party - from nothing - and invite some of the leftie Democrats to join it, and run candidates against the rightie Democrats. This cannot be that hard. Will it result in massive success in very next elections? No. Will it result in success over 2-3 elections? Yes, yes it would.

LOL. This sounds like the B Ark plan from HHGG. Thanks to the Repub's Southern Strategy, there's a lot fewer buttheads in the Dem party than their are bright lights like Feingold.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:03 PM on April 22, 2006


Will it result in massive success in very next elections? No. Will it result in success over 2-3 elections? Yes, yes it would.

Have you stopped to consider whether we'll be having elections in 2-3 more cycles? Or, if the current rate of policy deterioration continues, the kind of trouble we could be in?


All the Dems need to do is think a little harder about the middle class: move toward center, distance themselves from the fringe social issues, look semi-reasonable, and they're in.


And one more thing: start talking like real people rather than political caricatures.

Which is why this:

And the Democratic response is Hilary Fucking Clinton?

Will never work. Hilary already is a caricature publically.

But the Republicans took control of the government by doing exactly the opposite.

Hardly. Republicans realized that social conservatism -- even some of the scarier dogmatic kind -- isn't actually fringe, and they learned how to talk to a good chunk of the socially conservative middle class.

Dems could do it too. Wish I could find that article about the southern guy talking up conservation issues to his hunting and fishing buddies. That's how it has to be done.
posted by namespan at 12:08 PM on April 22, 2006


I find it amusing that people think I voted for Nader in 2000.

It's all left vs. right to you people, isn't it? A false dichotomy, founded during the French revolution still has an iron hold on politics to this day. That's because people can only think in terms of good/bad, black/white and there can be no nuances, nothing that dosn't fit into these little holes.

I'm neither a Girondin nor a Montagnard so I don't think the terms left and right apply to me.
posted by nyxxxx at 12:10 PM on April 22, 2006


The two-party versus multi-party system gnashing of teeth is a canard anyway. It may be more emotionally satisfying to the fringe groups to have one or two representatives as in a parliament, but the actual policy results are little different.

In a two-party system, the coalitions are formed before the elections with compromises between disparate groups in order to weld together a single "party" ticket. In a parliamentary system, coalitions are formed after the elections with compromises between disparate groups in order to weld together a voting bloc. Either way you end up with compromises between disparate groups.

The reason the united states has two major parties that are further right than the parties in many other western countries is that the United States electorate is further right than the electorates in many other western countries. It is a not the result of a two-party system.
posted by Justinian at 12:22 PM on April 22, 2006


Any word on state ballot initiatives for this November? Gay adoption, illegal immigration? Given that only about 40% of the electorate bothers to vote in midterm elections (see here for 2002 and 1998 breakdowns), if only 35% approve of GWB at this point, getting two-thirds of these people to show up at the polls would be enough to forestall any (severe) GOP losses.

There's also the axiom (that I first read here) that Americans hate Congress, but love their own Congressdroids. Even the 1994 Republican retaking of the House relied to a large extent upon picking up a large number of vacant formerly-Dem seats. How many GOP vacancies will there be this fall?
posted by hangashore at 12:22 PM on April 22, 2006


Republicans realized that social conservatism -- even some of the scarier dogmatic kind -- isn't actually fringe, and they learned how to talk to a good chunk of the socially conservative middle class.

It's social conservatism that is killing the GOP, though they don't recognize it - and I sincerely hope they continue to miss it.

At a time when gas is topping out at $3 per gallon in most states, the AP has reported that in seeking to retain control of Congress, the GOP will focus almost entirely on hot-button social issues like abortion and gay marriage.

There's a very good case to be made, and Democrats are starting to make it, that if you think gay marriage is the biggest issue facing the country right now, you aren't paying attention.

This is why I think that even though the Democrats don't have their act together, they'll kill the GOP this fall - in staying "in touch" with their base, the GOP is going to appear dangerously out of touch with the rest of the country.
posted by kgasmart at 12:24 PM on April 22, 2006


I don't "blame" them. For what? Excercisng their right to vote? More power to tehm.

I just question their judgement at the ballot box.


By that reasoning, you are suggesting that Nader voters known that A) Bush & Co would steal the election, B) the Democrats wouldn't mount a proper challenge, and C) would then stand there like deer in the headlights, as Bush plunges headfirst into vast economic and political recklessness. Seriously, by continuing to berate Nader voters as the alpha and the omega of the past six years, you are conceding the Democrats' political impotence and passivity. And that's the party you think we ought to all vote for? That's the party you think can motivate millions of non-voters in the electorate to vote for? That's the party you trust to outwit Karl Rove?
posted by scody at 12:28 PM on April 22, 2006


gah! read: "Nader voters should have known..."
posted by scody at 12:29 PM on April 22, 2006


It's all left vs. right to you people, isn't it?

Uh, no. I'm a "centrist democrat" or something here, refugee from the "right" who can't really settle comfortably in the left but knows there are huge problems with the Republicans right now.

If there were the possibility of creating the perfect third party overnight, sure, I'd happily sign on.

In the meanwhile, I think the best advice is to try and reshape one (if not both) of the two parties towards greater sanity, not wander in the wilderness for a decade or two, and the Democrats, depending on who you pick, seem marginally but measurably closer to sanity to me.

Unless they nominate Hilary Clinton. No, I don't believe the Rush-bio, but enough people do it will be a big problem. And there are other choices who have better policy visions, less baggage, and probably more charisma.
posted by namespan at 12:30 PM on April 22, 2006


allen.spaulding sez: Pat Buchanan cost George W Bush more electoral votes than Nader cost Gore.

I don't believe this for a second. Buchanan received 448,895 votes, Nader received 2,882,955 votes. I'd like to see some proof about this, but I'm guessing that you are, in fact, way off on this one. I mean really off.
posted by I Foody at 12:31 PM on April 22, 2006


I think the best advice is to try and reshape one (if not both) of the two parties towards greater sanity

The easiest way for the Democrats to kill the current GOP majority dead is to pound on the wedge that's already been driven between the pro-business "elitists" and the populist wingers.

In the first link Shirley characterizes the "elitist" view as "anti-intellectual" - which is hilarious. It is the populist fundie/"Rush is right!" crowd that is profoundly anti-intellectual, knee-jerk in its support of "values" and nativism. We already know the economic conservatives are getting more and more mistrustful of the social conservatives - witness John Danforth's broadsides against the religious right in the New York Times - and now the immigration debate splits this rift wide open.

Democrats need to convince the economic elite that, look, we're the party of sanity here. It pisses off the base, but the end result looks a hell of a lot more moderate than the GOP majority looks these days.
posted by kgasmart at 12:44 PM on April 22, 2006


A decision to nominate Hilary would be the height of hubris. Monica toasted Hilary way ago. Half the women in America dislike her for not divorcing Bill, the other half would have disliked her for divorcing Bill. Meanwhile half the men wouldn't vote for a woman in any case whether they'd admit it or not.
posted by scheptech at 12:46 PM on April 22, 2006


A decision to nominate Hilary would be the height of hubris

?
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:53 PM on April 22, 2006



All the Dems need to do is think a little harder about the middle class: move toward center, distance themselves from the fringe social issues, look semi-reasonable, and they're in.


Ah yes, the Democrats don't need new ideas or leadership, they just need to wait for the extreme right to fuck up bad enough and then they can win by attrition. They wouldn't even have to do anything! And this coming midterm, when things are worse than they've ever been, this strategy is finally gonna pay off. Thank god for the two party system.

Where is the goddamn leadership? It's certainly not coming from Pelosi, Kennedy, Reid, and Hillary. My Nader vote was the best vote I ever cast. Because all of the reasons why the dems lost my vote in 2000 are still in place and are at least partially responsible for the crap Bushco has gotten away with. It's also why the dems are going to lose the midterms.

And also, everything that scody said.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:54 PM on April 22, 2006


Democrats need to convince the economic elite that, look, we're the party of sanity here.

It's an interesting strategy, but how're the economic elite going to align with the interests of the Democrats? The most redeeming features of the party to me are the ideas of social responsibility, of having the values of community on par with the values of commerce. I have a hard time thinking that's all gonna go down great with people who make more money than God.

And yet, there's George Soros and others like him. Maybe I'm wrong.
posted by namespan at 12:57 PM on April 22, 2006


I hope your personal satisfaction about the Nader votes is worth the mountain of corpses it is built upon, Slarty. No worries, most of them are Iraqi anyway!
posted by Justinian at 1:01 PM on April 22, 2006


It's an interesting strategy, but how're the economic elite going to align with the interests of the Democrats?

They really won't, which is why it will piss off the Democratic base and why the base will fight it tooth and nail, maybe bailing in the process.

Bottom line is that country club Republicans - think Nancy Reagan - absolutely despise the great unwashed populist conservative base, have managed to find them very politically useful over the past few decades but are growing more and more uneasy with the Frankenstein monster they've created. In my little town the old money "economic elite" are actually some of the biggest financial supporters of Planned Parenthood. They're Methodist or even UCC, not fundamentalist megachurch. My guess is that the situation is the same nationally; as long as economic conservatives can control things they're happy to let the wingers make all the noise they want. But now they're at the point where the wingers are demanding the wheel, insinuating that they're going to take it if it's not relinquished.

Economic conservatives are ready to bolt, and some already have; in one of the wealthiest enclaves in my community, John Kerry actually got more votes than George W. Bush in 2004. That trend will continue.

But in order to appeal to the economic elite, the Democratic Party is going to have to downplay its traditional antagonism toward the moneyed interests. But again, I think economic conservatives are willing to listen to ideas on things such as a national health care program - because their businesses are getting killed on insurance costs.

At the same time, though, Democrats may have to abandon its "tax cuts for the rich" mantra, etc. For this realignment to work, the Democrats may have to actually embrace the prospect of the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer.

As you might think, that's not going to be real popular with those who have opposed this idea most of their political lives.

But socially, an alliance between the Democratic party and the moneyed elite would be far, far more moderate. And personally, I'm at a point now where I think I would even support the permanent obliteration of the inheritance tax if I thought I might, say, save some sort of amended pro-choice rights in the process.

This would be a pragmatic pairing, not an ideological one.
posted by kgasmart at 1:12 PM on April 22, 2006


Democrats need to convince the economic elite that, look, we're the party of sanity here.

While there are indeed some business conservatives who are uneasy about the federal budget mass, the 'party of sanity here' is still the one that feeds more political concessions to corporations and the most affluent. Do you really want the Democrats to precipitate a race to the bottom where both parties try their best to sell the national interest to economic elites?

Furthermore, the economic elites aren't really all that valuable. It's the populist base of the GOP that wins elections, not the portion of the party that wants to open up the national parks to logging, eliminate capital gains taxes and make it more difficult for people to file for bankruptcy. The Republicans are elected in spite of their 'Wall Street' wing, not because of it. (Though the deep pockets do help.)

And if populists hate anything, it's the 'elite' working against the interests of average Joes and Janes like them. If the Democrats can convince them that their trust is being abused in order to line the pockets of men and women who sit in their mansions and laugh at the rubes who think God is more important than Mammon--if they can recapture how 'elite' is defined--the modern Republican Party collapses like the house of cards it is.

But it won't happen. Letting the common people feel their political power is scary and dangerous, and affluent Democrats will always share more common ground with affluent Republicans than they will with working class people of any stripe.
posted by Makoto at 1:23 PM on April 22, 2006


I don't believe this for a second. Buchanan received 448,895 votes, Nader received 2,882,955 votes. I'd like to see some proof about this, but I'm guessing that you are, in fact, way off on this one. I mean really off.

The popular vote isn't what matters, it's the electoral vote. Buchanan would have made the difference in WI, NM, IA, and OR, adding up to 30 electoral votes. Nader made the difference in NH and FL, adding up to 29 electoral votes.

Also, when it comes to distribution, this article points out that Nader votes weren't necessarily Gore votes and the same for Buchanan.
posted by allen.spaulding at 1:25 PM on April 22, 2006


Democrats need to convince the economic elite that, look, we're the party of sanity here.

Economic conservatives are ready to bolt, and some already have

Some, maybe, but I think it's sheer folly to believe that this might be the winning ticket for the Dems in lieu of a signifcant shakeup in leadership and strategy. I have no doubt that many members of the economic elite see that Bush & Co are nuts and may not be inclined to vote GOP in 2006/08. I have serious doubts, however, that that will translate into an equal (or even significant) number of new votes for the Dems.

Anecdotally, I was just talking to a friend about this very situation a few weeks ago -- his parents, lifelong Republicans (in the classic fiscal conservative, small government model), are certainly part of what would be considered the economic elite, and they loathe Bush. Absolutely hate and despise him on just about every front you can think of -- the war, the economy, the anti-gay-marriage hysteria, you name it. So he asked them point-blank: will you vote for the Democrats in 2006 or 2008? And they flatly said not in a million years -- they'd sooner sit out the election entirely than vote for (in their own terms) the "spineless" Democrats.

I've got to think that this has to be a fairly common attitude among the old guard Republicans who are disgusted with Bush's policies, no matter who the Dems run.

On preview: Furthermore, the economic elites aren't really all that valuable. It's the populist base of the GOP that wins elections, not the portion of the party that wants to open up the national parks to logging, eliminate capital gains taxes and make it more difficult for people to file for bankruptcy. The Republicans are elected in spite of their 'Wall Street' wing, not because of it. (Though the deep pockets do help.)

Also an excellent point. If you're talking sheer numbers, there's tens of millions more middle-class and working-class voters who vote Republican than voters in the top economic 1%. When it comes to winning elections, the relies on the money of the elite and the votes of the non-elite.
posted by scody at 1:33 PM on April 22, 2006


read: "the GOP relies..."
Time to step away from the computer and get out of the house!

posted by scody at 1:35 PM on April 22, 2006


I've got to think that this has to be a fairly common attitude among the old guard Republicans who are disgusted with Bush's policies, no matter who the Dems run.

It's a good point, and a reason why the Democrats need to undergo an ideological renaissance as well - which I believe is happening, in fits and starts, right about now.

Or, it's an opening for a third, moderate party; let the extremists have the Republican and Democratic parties. A new party, a new movement backed with real money - with fully funded think tanks and a media apparatus and maybe some viral marketing to ratchet up the credibility among the likes of MeFi-ites - that would gain some traction.

Where would conservatism be if Rupert Murdoch hadn't decided that his economic interests were best served by shilling for the GOP on Fox?

But as for this:

Furthermore, the economic elites aren't really all that valuable. It's the populist base of the GOP that wins elections, not the portion of the party that wants to open up the national parks to logging, eliminate capital gains taxes and make it more difficult for people to file for bankruptcy. The Republicans are elected in spite of their 'Wall Street' wing, not because of it. (Though the deep pockets do help.)

...let us not forget that history is one long, mostly unbroken tale of the moneyed interests running things, occasionally punctuated by populist uprisings - which, incidentally, have furnished some of history's bloodiest periods.
posted by kgasmart at 1:38 PM on April 22, 2006


...Far from being driven by xenophobia and intolerance, conservative populists are motivated by a profound respect for the rule of law and by a patriotic regard for America's sovereignty and national security....

My ass.
posted by 517 at 1:46 PM on April 22, 2006


>Also, blaming Nader voters is simply ahistorical. Pat Buchanan cost George W Bush more electoral votes than Nader cost Gore Remove both of them and distribute votes with any reasonable frequency and you still have Bush winning.

Shhh. The nader fiction line is supposed to make everyone believe that no one in their right mind but "religious nutters who will be the fall of the GOP" voted for Bush so there must be a villain here somewhere. Liberals refuse to say that people like Bush, like the GOP policies, and are stupid enough to believe everything on Fox news. They like to think everyone is this liberal urban dweller who listens to NPR and gets duped by Nader now and again.
posted by skallas at 1:49 PM on April 22, 2006


Quoth nyxxxx:

I'm neither a Girondin nor a Montagnard so I don't think the terms left and right apply to me

So you're a Mugwump, then?

And on a serious note--Do not blame a Democratic lack of will for the debacle of Florida 2000. The votes were going to be counted until the United State Supreme Court intervened, rejected the State's right to control its own elections-- and fucked us all. But if a thousand fewer Florida voters--my fellow citizens-- had thrown away their franchise by casting their ballots for Nader, the future of America would never have been subject to a judicial coup d'etat.
posted by rdone at 1:51 PM on April 22, 2006


Considering the party's treatment of Paul Hackett, I have no faith that the Democratic party will ever become a legitimate opposition party. The number of Iraq veterans running for Congress on the D ticket would be enough to secure a majority if they all did well. And they have credibility to speak to the big issue many voters are confused about, (something Democrats who let the war happen will forever lack). Is the leadership embracing this movement? Nope. Harry Reid should be shoulder to shoulder with every veteran who announces a new campaign. He's not.

And if the political fixers can't stand to see Paul Hackett even make a fair fight for the Democratic primary, a different agenda is in play. I don't trust 'the party,' and I won't bother voting for anyone if the standing candidates are all hopeless.
posted by airguitar at 1:53 PM on April 22, 2006


>but I'm guessing that you are, in fact, way off on this one. I mean really off.

How about breaking those numbers down? How about the fact that you will always have 1+ mil or so chronic 3rd party voters no matter what? How about how these votes came from blue states anyway? etc etc

The more you guys complain about Nader (or whoever the next 3rd party candidate will be) the less time you're spending looking at Kerry and the democrats. Thus the more you will lose.
posted by skallas at 1:55 PM on April 22, 2006


But if a thousand fewer Florida voters--my fellow citizens-- had thrown away their franchise by casting their ballots for Nader, the future of America would never have been subject to a judicial coup d'etat.

And yet again, the Dems fail to see how such sneering, condesceding contempt for progressives who dared break from a moribund party mysteriously doesn't motivate us to race right back into the Dems' arms. I guess you just aren't blaming us hard enough.

Here's a hint: try consistently aiming your firepower at the GOP and respecting/addressing progressive interests for a change, and see if that doesn't get some of us to at least consider coming back to the Democratic Party.

okay, now I really am going to the gym. scody out!
posted by scody at 2:02 PM on April 22, 2006


I voted for Gore and then Kerry, but I would have voted for Bush before voting for Nader. I will never understand why anyone would vote for or even respect Nader, but whatever.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 2:28 PM on April 22, 2006


allen.spaulding: Also, when it comes to distribution, this article points out that Nader votes weren't necessarily Gore votes and the same for Buchanan.

I'm a liberal arts major, which means even basic math is beyond my understanding, so bear with me.

Per the results, Bush would have won Oregon only if 96% of Buchanan voters (6765 of 7063) had voted for him instead of staying home. In Iowa the figure is 72%. It's 50% in Wisconsin and 26% in New Mexico. Assuming that no one stays home and the Buchanan vote splits 90/10 in favor of Bush, Bush wins New Mexico, Iowa and Wisconsin, but not Oregon: 23 electoral votes.

If 32% of Nader voters in New Hamsphire voted for Gore and the rest stayed home, Gore wins New Hampshire; the figure is less than 1% in Florida. Any split of the Nader vote greater than 52/48 in either of those states results in a Gore win: 29 electoral votes.

In other words, Nader probably 'cost' Gore more electoral votes than Buchanan did Bush, as it seems unlikely that 95%+ of Buchanan voters in Oregon would sooner have voted for Bush than someone else or no one at all.

Of course, this leaves out the Libertarian candidate, who garnered nearly as many votes (384,516) as Buchanan (449,225), as well as various fringe candidates (another 236,385).

Unfortunately, I don't have any figures on how many votes were lost because of Clinton lying about a blow job, or Al Gore being a Bob Dole-like figure in the annals of uninspired campaigning.
posted by Makoto at 2:33 PM on April 22, 2006


hope your personal satisfaction about the Nader votes is worth the mountain of corpses it is built upon, Slarty. No worries, most of them are Iraqi anyway!

The lack of political will shown by congressional Democrats in the run-up to the Iraq war is more responsible for that "mountain of corpses" than any Nader voter.
posted by the_bone at 2:45 PM on April 22, 2006


I guess you just aren't blaming us hard enough.

Where's the blame?

If you feel satisfied with your (throwing away your) vote in 2000, more power to you & good luck with that.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:46 PM on April 22, 2006


The lack of political will shown by congressional Democrats in the run-up to the Iraq war is more responsible

They could have lodged a protest vote, but there was not sufficient actual opposition to the idea of taking Saddam out to stop the war wagon.

But IMV the Nader voters in NH and FL do have something to answer to ... their own conscience wrt the role they played in moving W into the seat of power.

As I said above, if they're fine with this -- broken eggs & omelets, or not supporting the lesser evil -- good for them.

Me, I'd like to be able to vote for a rational republican, like I did in 2000 (Tom Campbell), and not have that contribute to putting insane people in power.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:50 PM on April 22, 2006


Yeah, I just really admire how they think that they can fake right all these years and still be entitled to every single vote from every single voter to the left of Arlen Specter. It couldn't possibly be this combination of arrogance and contempt that's part of the fucking problem the Democrats have created for themselves, right?

Well said scody.
posted by delmoi at 3:12 PM on April 22, 2006


You know, it would be lovely to always be able to vote for a candidate who represents your core beliefs and whose character, ability and record you admire unconditionally.
But I really think the idea of voting against the greater of two evils is getting short shrift. Sometimes, that's far more important.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:23 PM on April 22, 2006


Also, this New York Magazine story paints an interesting if rosy picture of the Dems' chances of retaking the Senate.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:32 PM on April 22, 2006


Since the Democrats are hoping to make 2006 their version of 1994, and since most experts seems to regard the "Contract with America" as the main force behind the Republicans' achievement of such massive electoral gains in a midterm election, maybe it's worth keeping in mind that the Republicans didn't introduce their manifesto until six weeks before the '94 election.

Is it naive to assume that the Democrats might be biding their time until they can introduce a comprehensive platform without having to face being bombarded by a year's worth of Republican attack ads? Can they really not be planning anything big?
posted by stemlot at 4:04 PM on April 22, 2006


sneering, condescending

No sneering or condescending from this old yellow dog, my friend. Just "realisming."

Al Gore was and is a man of decency, character and intelligence. I was proud to vote for him in 2000. Any self-professed "progressive" who rejected him in favor of Bush-by-default helped put us into the nightmare we're in, and that's not progressive at all.

It is a truism that the perfect is the enemy of the good: it is also true.
posted by rdone at 4:34 PM on April 22, 2006


Al Gore was and is a man of decency, character

He certainly didn't look like it going into the 2000 elections. He was a long time political insider that was involved in a considerable number of fundraising scandals. And he certainly didn't articulate very clearly the differences between himself and Bush. He had a considerable advantage going into the election: He was riding on the coat tails of a popular 2 term president, he was dealing with an electorate that had voted for a Democrat in the last two presidential elections, and to top it off, he was running against an idiot. There was no way that the race should have been close enough for the GOP to pull their electoral tricks. But it was. And it's easy to see why. I voted for Gore, but I certainly wasn't proud to do so, and neither were most other people I knew. He was the triumph of the strategy of opposites, that you have to vote for the Democrat purely because he's not the Republican. That isn't good enough for many people, and it wasn't good enough for Nader's supporters. Don't misunderstand me. I would never have voted for Nader, and I think that those who did made a big mistake. But the Democrats are also making a mistake to blame them for their loss. Liberals don't owe the Democratic party their votes. The Democrats have to earn their votes. Being luke warm Republicans and not standing firm on any issues isn't the way to do it.
posted by unreason at 5:06 PM on April 22, 2006


Can I just point out that nobody who voted for Nader voted for Bush? Millions of people voted for Bush. Millions upon millions of your countrymen voted for Bush and you're focusing on some of the few who didn't? The only people responsible for electing Bush are the ones who voted for him.
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:08 PM on April 22, 2006


It is a truism that the perfect is the enemy of the good: it is also true.

other truisms that are even more applicable

fool me once, shame on you ... fool me twice, shame on me

sometimes the best way to punish people is to give them what they vote for

i might remind you that our last democratic president was a two faced shill who allowed the decline of the working class and poor to continue ... who took the idea of a national health plan and drove it into the ground with bureaucratic proposals ... who made proposals that would have eroded our civil liberties and looked on blankly as federal agents murdered children in waco and decided that two people, all by themselves, managed to blow up ok city ... who twiddled his thumbs as osama ran amok and iraqi bodies piled up from disease and bombs ... who got us involved in a few minor and ridiculous foreign adventures himself ... and finally, who made an ass out of himself and the whole country a laughing stock because he couldn't keep his pecker in his pants in the oval office

i might remind you that al "my wife thinks rock and roll ought to be regulated" gore was his vice president and hardly said a peep while all this was going on

i might remind you that john kerry voted for this war we're in and that hillary hasn't spoken against it either

i WILL remind you that when one of them, or someone like them does get elected in '08 and our country continues down its pathetic path to corporate serfdom, venal incompetence, make believe empire and bankruptcy, that i warned you this would happen and you've gotten exactly what you've voted for
posted by pyramid termite at 5:09 PM on April 22, 2006


allen.spaulding I agree with your thesis that Nader wasn't the problem but in practice I think you are dead wrong. In WI which Bush lost 1,237,279 to Gore's 1,242,987 there were only 11,471 votes for Buchanan but 94,070 for Nader if both were eliminated that would not make Bush the winner. That's CRAZY. In NM Bush had 286,417 Gore had 286,783 Buchanan had 1,392 and Nader had 21,251. In fact in none of the states that you sited would Nader and Bush both being absent favor Bush at Gore's expense. My point is not that we should blame people that supported Nader for all things Bush my point is that you are either lazy or a dishonest with your claims that it would have been a wash either way.
posted by I Foody at 5:22 PM on April 22, 2006


The only people responsible for electing Bush are the ones who voted for him.

This is incorrect.

Inactions have the same moral sequents as actions, though to the extent one is "responsible" for them is debatable.

The result of NOT voting for Gore in 2000, in FL or NH, was that Bush was elected because he had more votes, according to the official tallies, than Gore, in those states.

The population potential voters of in this category of responsibilty is quite large; lazy people, confused people who couldn't operate a decrepit type of voting machine, old people who can't read a ballot, and of course those who willingly voted for Nader.

If a given NH or FL Nader voter is still happy with the results of his vote, then there is no "blame" to be apportioned by me or anyone else, or at least no more blame than those due to Bush voters themselves.

My line of argument is just exploring how NADER VOTERS THEMSELVES, in FL and NH, feel now about their vote in 2000. For the one thing that FL taught me is that one's friggin' single vote CAN make a difference.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:23 PM on April 22, 2006


In fact in none of the states that you sited would Nader and Bush both being absent favor Bush at Gore's expense.

I never said take both away and Bush wins, I just said that if you applied the analysis of 'take Nader votes and give them to Gore, everything else held constant' and applied to Buchanan and Bush, it would give you an equally large discrepency.

I just get the feeling that some posters, Haywood in particular, don't really get democracy. You may as well ask all 50 million Gore voters how they feel about keeping Nader out of office (or Lyndon LaRouche for that matter). Maybe America just isn't ready to choose it's leaders.
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:29 PM on April 22, 2006


and maybe I'm just not ready to post with grammar that atrocious. ack.
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:30 PM on April 22, 2006




Al Gore was and is a man of decency, character

He certainly didn't look like it going into the 2000 elections. He was a long time political insider that was involved in a considerable number of fundraising scandals.


Ex-vice president Al Gore certainly is a man of character, but also a smart man, with ideas, who is able to speak out and call a spade a spade. Candidate Gore was a reactionary, pander-to-the-lowest-common-denominator politician who was too chicken shit to run on his principles. I am quite convinced that President Gore would have been much more like Candidate Gore than Ex-vice president Gore. In fact, I'm not even convinced the U.S. would be involved in any fewer foolish foreign wars than we are now, judging by the dickless democrats who stayed behind in Washington.

Continuing to vote solely for the lesser of two evils is going to be responsible for a much higher stack of bodies than my Nader vote. And if this is ultimately the Dems' midterm "strategy" they'll deserve to be tried and jailed along with the rest of the Bushies.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 5:44 PM on April 22, 2006


Sorry, I can't accept the Green party running Nader against Gore, when, on EVERY stance the Green party held dear, Gore was, by far, the better candidate.

Every. Single. One.

Instead, the Nader Voters listened to the two great lies.

1) Gore is a liar.

2) There's no difference between the Democratic and Republican Parties.

That's you're choice, and your vote. I'm not about to argue it -- because, to be honest, I don't know how I can. This was obvious in 1998, much less 2000.

The fact that we live in a two party system sucks. I hear that. The fact that the Democrats frequently suck is very real -- no argument from me.

But the idea that a vote for Nader would improve things is so beyond my comprehension that I'm convinced that only stupidity, ignorance or insanity could have brought anyone to do so.

I could understand it if it was Clinton/Bush/Nader, or even Kerry/Bush/Nader. But Gore? DID YOU EVEN LEARN ABOUT THE MAN?

BTW, save the PMRC stuff until you acknowledge what Tipper did after the hearings. Hint: People make mistakes. Hint #2: She was called a traitor by the other members of the PMRC, because all she wanted was a lousy warning sticker.

So. Because you bought lies and hate Tipper, you helped Bush destroy this country.

Somehow, I just can't bring myself to understand this. The one mistake I know Gore made was Joe Liberman, but somehow, that's never an issue.
posted by eriko at 6:04 PM on April 22, 2006


If you voted for Nader, your vote was meaningless. I wrote in "A Dragon" and had exactly as much effect on the world as your Nader vote had.
posted by I Foody at 6:06 PM on April 22, 2006


Continuing to vote solely for the lesser of two evils is going to be responsible for a much higher stack of bodies than my Nader vote

I can respect that assertion, even if I think it's likely to be proven false; arguing hypotheticals is rather pointless, but you're already ~$3,000,000,000,000 in red ink and 3,000+2,400 dead americans in the hole with this course of (in)action.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:10 PM on April 22, 2006


My line of argument is just exploring how NADER VOTERS THEMSELVES, in FL and NH, feel now about their vote in 2000.

No, your line of argument is continuing to blame progressives for the faults of Republican voters and Democratic strategists. That being said... in 2000 I was able to vote for a candidate who was opposed to war, who was opposed to corporate influence in the political arena, who was opposed to the death penalty, who supported gay rights, and who supported nationalized health care... in short, someone who publically took a stand for things about which I feel very strongly. I voted for Kerry in '04, but I cast my vote for Nader in 2000 while living in Broward County FL and would do so again. Let the flames begin!

After the catastrophic Kerry campaign, I'm reluctant to compromise my vote again. Some friends of mine who did grassroots work for Dean are getting involved with the Draft Russ thing, and I'm going to check that out. If the Democrats nominate someone like Feingold, I will work my ass off to help get him into office. If, God help us, someone such as Senator Clinton gets the nod, I will vote third party yet again.
posted by the_bone at 6:12 PM on April 22, 2006


I want to know how Gore voters feel about voting for Gore. After all, if Gore had stayed out of the race and thrown his support to Nader, Nader would have won. Clearly Nader would have been much better than Bush.... all those goddamned Gore voters ought to be ashamed for keeping Nader out of office with their wasted votes. Shouldn't they be ashamed for wasting their franchise and electing Bush, by sapping support from Ralph? If the fucking Democrats hadn't run a candidate we'd have had a real liberal for President!

How d'ya like them apples?
posted by jellicle at 6:16 PM on April 22, 2006


$3,000,000,000,000 in red ink and 3,000+2,400 dead americans

An amount of both money and bodies that would have been impossible to rack up without the active complicity of the overwhelming support from the Democratic Party for the war. Sorry, you can parse it any way you want, but the Democrats were active, willing accomplices in both the lead-up and the execution of this war. To continue to pretend otherwise is a denial of reality of Bushian proportions.

Jesus christ, Bush could go on live TV and eat a baby and there'd be Dems afraid to condemm him for fear of being labelled anti-protein. The moral cowardice, ideological bankruptcy, and increasing political irrelevance of the Democrats cannot be put at the feet of 1000 Nader voters. They have no one but themselves to blame. 2000, 2002, and 2004 were all screaming wakeup calls for the Democrats. That they (and their enablers/apologists) continue to hit the snooze button is either farcical or tragic, depending on your point of view.
posted by scody at 6:17 PM on April 22, 2006


it's really naive to think that all we need is a third party, and that it's only because there's not a strong left party that we haven't had such a prez. This is a gigantic country, and a lot of people in it do not think like you do. Even now, when almost everything looks like utter crap for Bush, one in three citizens think he's doing a good job.

if there were going to be a third party, it would be have to be more right wing than the dems. the split of our country is just more conservative than europe. a ross perot style party could make a dent, but Your Dream Candidate is unrealistic in America.

Some people think the dems need to be more socialist. some think they need to be more free market. some think they need to embrace religion & cultural conservatism more. some think they need to stand apart from that and support personal freedom and diversity more. basically, everyone has a different idea about what we 'ought' to do for votes, as well as what would be the perfect party. (A lot of people in this thread have already described their vision of the ideal, and those descriptions have not all matched up even on this self-selecting community board.) But the candidates do actual research about what voters are looking for, which we all hate because it seems so calculating, but basically, they know exactly how many viewpoints they have to throw a bone to in order to get into office. Sure, design your perfect platform and find a charismatic person to preach it, but if you want a chance on a national level, you'll end up having to make compromises. Your perfect world is not going to make everyone happy.
posted by mdn at 6:21 PM on April 22, 2006


I will work my ass off to help get him into office. If, God help us, someone such as Senator Clinton gets the nod, I will vote third party yet again.

"Gets the nod"? You mean win the Democratic Party primaries, right?

your line of argument is continuing to blame progressives for the faults of Republican voters and Democratic strategists

It's your side throwing the alleged "blame" around. I think voting for a 3rd party is questionable, but I can't say it wouldn't work in the end. I just dispute the miniscule difference between Dems and Republicans I see being asserted in this thread, eg:

Sorry, you can parse it any way you want, but the Democrats were active, willing accomplices in both the lead-up and the execution of this war

That may be so (no point in arguing it), but the fact remains that it was Republican war-mongering, not Democratic pressure, that launched the country to war. Had Gore been president, or the Dems in the majority in both Houses, I assert that he would not have tried to "take out" Saddam.

The facts on the ground were that Bushists and their Mighty Wurlitzer warmongers were pushing the country to war with Iraq in 2002, and there was little the Dem party could have done to stop it, given their razor-thin (one vote, remember?)hold on the Senate in 2002.

After all, if Gore had stayed out of the race and thrown his support to Nader, Nader would have won

Wrong. My argument is that had VERY few NH and FL Nader voters voted for Gore in 2000 he'd have been president. Nader got 100,000 votes in FL, and Gore lost by under 1000. Do the math, please. I think more than 1% of Nader voters in FL regret their tossing away of their vote like that, given the course the Republicans have put this country on 2000-4.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:33 PM on April 22, 2006


If the fucking Democrats hadn't run a candidate we'd have had a real liberal for President!

People are free to form parties, and vote for whom they choose.

I'm just interested in analyzing the wisdom of one's vote in 2000, given the real-world results of the vote tally at the end of Election Day (or last appeal, as was the case in 2000).

At the end of the day we have to recognize that the electorate Just. Isn't. That. Liberal, and it never really was.

As a atheist left-libertarian I don't find much that inspires me about the Dems. But as mdn argues above I recognize that the existing Dem party has the closest match to my principles, and that a more ideal party would not have degree of political muscle to effect change in our present system of government.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:40 PM on April 22, 2006


Jesus christ, Bush could go on live TV and eat a baby and there'd be Dems afraid to condemm him for fear of being labelled anti-protein.

wrong ... they'd be making long speeches about how they like to eat babies, too, but the president doesn't know how to cook them properly and if they're elected they will not only publish a baby cookbook at the government's expense but hold congressional hearings on how the baby cartel has jacked up the prices of babies for ordinary americans
posted by pyramid termite at 6:43 PM on April 22, 2006


"Gets the nod"? You mean win the Democratic Party primaries, right?

That is indeed what I mean. What's the point of your pedantry?

It's your side throwing the alleged "blame" around.

Upthread, you said "there is no 'blame' to be apportioned by me or anyone else, or at least no more blame than those due to Bush voters themselves." That's not just blaming, it's doing so in a bizarre passive-aggressive way.

and there was little the Dem party could have done to stop it, given their razor-thin (one vote, remember?)hold on the Senate in 2002.

It's weird to hear that coming from someone who, in reference to Nader voters' supposed culpability in the Bush Follies, said "Inactions have the same moral sequents as actions."
posted by the_bone at 6:43 PM on April 22, 2006


and for all the people who continue to insist on the wisdom of voting for the "me, too, but not as much" party known as the democrats

a truism - insanity is doing the same thing time after time and expecting different results
posted by pyramid termite at 6:46 PM on April 22, 2006


Are the Dems really that bad, pt?

Here's some history.

November 2002 was a pretty low point in American Politics. Ho we forget.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:50 PM on April 22, 2006


What's the point of your pedantry?

If Hillary wins the Primaries then she will have earned her party's nomination for President. There's not some back-room cabal choosing candidates, it's the american people.

that's not just blaming, it's doing so in a bizarre passive-aggressive way.

I don't blame anyone. People are free to vote as they will; and if they think their vote for Nader in 2000 was not a mistake, then great; I'd like an explanation that I can understand, given the immense damage the Bush Administration has done to this country 2001-now, but I don't demand it.

"Inactions have the same moral sequents as actions."

the_bone: the point is that the Republican caucus was voting for war authorization, and enough Dems were voting for war authorization that a vote against it would not stop it in 2002.

See my post-gazette link in my post immediately above.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:57 PM on April 22, 2006


I'm not sure why people are still arguing over the 2000 election. After all, Bush won in 2004, so at least half of those who voted (if not half the country) thought he was doing something right or at least better than what they though Kerry might do.

Leaders lead. They don't wait for the stars to align or their party leader to say "lead" to do it. They risk something, because in their bones they believe it's the right thing to do.

Not many Democrats voted against the Iraqi War. They willingly shirked their job as Congress to declare war and instead passed it on to Bush Jr.

For that and that alone everyone of them should be fired, tarred, feathered and traded for illegal immigrants, who will at least work their ass off.

Anyone with half a brain knew the administration's story was full of holes. Anyone with a bit of courage would have called bullshit on it. Only one did (Russ Feingold), so screw'em. I didn't expect much from the Repubs, but I expected a lot from my party and they let me down. Again.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:03 PM on April 22, 2006


Anyone with a bit of courage would have called bullshit on it. Only one did (Russ Feingold), so screw'em

Let's not forget the good doctor. Wonder where he went to.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:05 PM on April 22, 2006


I'm not sure why people are still arguing over the 2000 election.

because the future's too scary to fight about?
posted by pyramid termite at 7:05 PM on April 22, 2006


If Hillary wins the Primaries then she will have earned her party's nomination for President. There's not some back-room cabal choosing candidates, it's the american people.

Insert eyeroll here. I wasn't implying that some cabal was selecting the candidate. It's a little thing called a "figure of speech."

I don't blame anyone.

You have said, at length, that you believe that Nader voters are responsible for Bush's ascent to power. In what universe is this not considered "blame?"

enough Dems were voting for war authorization that a vote against it would not stop it in 2002.

And yet, these are the guys that I, as a non-Republican, am supposed to vote for. As you said WRT Nader voters, good luck with that.

and with that, I'm done here... it's a Saturday night and I'm not going to waste it bickering on the Internet when I live in West Hollywood. At least one good thing came of this thread; I learned that scody, who I deeply admire, is basically me with breasts and a vagina in terms of politics. Sweet.
posted by the_bone at 7:18 PM on April 22, 2006


My argument is that had VERY few NH and FL Nader voters voted for Gore in 2000 he'd have been president. Nader got 100,000 votes in FL, and Gore lost by under 1000.

And if VERY few Bush voters had voted for Gore, he'd have been President. And if VERY few Buchanan voters had voted for Gore, he'd have been President. And if Gore had dropped out of the race and thrown his support to Nader, Nader would've been President. And if all the votes in Florida had actually been counted according to Florida law, Gore would've won. And if the Democrats had run a 1% better campaign, Gore would've won. And if Gore and Lieberman hadn't come out against gay marriage, they would have won. And if space aliens had come down from space and altered the ballots, Perot would've won. Shouldn't you blame, you know, Bush voters? Or Gore voters? Or the space aliens? What's your point? Oh right, there isn't one. You're just someone who's happy with the center-right Democratic Party and dislikes that idea that there could be actual liberal voters out there who want to vote for a candidate that supports their interests. Bully for you. But blaming voters for voting according to their desires is, dare I say it, un-American and not only un- but actively anti-democratic.
posted by jellicle at 7:27 PM on April 22, 2006


because the future's too scary to fight about?

I hope people remember this info about the 2004 USA election:

"Although Bush received a majority of the popular vote: 50.73% to Kerry's 48.27%, it was—percentage-wise—the closest popular margin ever for a sitting President; Bush received 2.5% more than Kerry; the closest previous margin won by a sitting President was 3.2% for Woodrow Wilson in 1916. In terms of absolute number of popular votes, his victory margin (approximately 3 million votes) was the smallest of any sitting President since Harry S. Truman in 1948."

My point here is that with a sorry campaign and sorry candidate, the Dems came close to winning. Imagine the possiblities if they actually shot even halfway straight.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:33 PM on April 22, 2006


responsible for Bush's ascent to power. In what universe is this not considered "blame?"

I don't "blame" eg. my Mom for voting for Bush in 2000. Blame simply isn't apportionable like that. How many times to I have to say that if you, in fact, believe your Nader vote in 2000 was copacetic then more power to you? I think you're fucked in the head, should you have been voting in FL or NH, but that's not a blame game... I'm just interested in how one justifies that position.

yet these are the guys that I, as a non-Republican, am supposed to vote for

Well, living in CA your vote is completely meaningless so you could vote for Tinkerbell for all I care.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:34 PM on April 22, 2006


BB: funny thing is that polling says should the election be held now Kerry would win handily.

The Dems don't need a backbone, they just need a time machine or something.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:35 PM on April 22, 2006


But blaming voters for voting according to their desires is, dare I say it, un-American and not only un- but actively anti-democratic.

Nobody's apportioning blame here. There were many hands in the disaster that this Presidency has brought us.

If you are a swing-state voter and don't want to play the Two-Party game, go for it and godspeed. Who am I to say that this throwing your vote away won't work out? I don't think it will, nor do i think the real-world costs of this course of action -- putting Republicans in power -- are necessarily sustainable, but it's your right as a voter to do with it as you will.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:41 PM on April 22, 2006


Here is a link to the 2000 election results from Florida. Are you sure it is the Nader voters that are to blame? Could it not have been the Hagelin, Phillips, Buchanan, or Browne voters that could've swung it for Gore?

My vote counted.
posted by jaronson at 10:05 PM on April 22, 2006


two more observations

1) people really need to get over the 2000 election

2) did anyone really think in 2000 that bush was this crazy and incompetent? ... like we knew we were going to have a 9/11 and he was going to use it as an excuse to invade iraq ... or that a major u s city was going to be half wiped out by a hurricane and he was going to twiddle his thumbs as it happened

hindsight is easy ...
posted by pyramid termite at 10:12 PM on April 22, 2006


Are you sure it is the Nader voters that are to blame?

"Blame" for what, exactly? Bush winning FL and thus the WH? Why, yes, yes indeed.

Could it not have been the Hagelin, Phillips, Buchanan, or Browne voters that could've swung it for Gore?

Sure. As I've stated above numerous times the credit/responsibility -- given our current 2-party sociopolitical system -- of Bush winning is shared among all who did not pull the lever for Gore.

My vote counted.

Well, in these Diebold times, that's something I guess.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:21 PM on April 22, 2006


people really need to get over the 2000 election

And not learn from our mistakes?

did anyone really think in 2000 that bush was this crazy and incompetent?

I thought it was going to be bad, but the exact degree and modalities have been most surprising. What was worse though was
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:29 PM on April 22, 2006


My point here is that with a sorry campaign and sorry candidate, the Dems came close to winning. Imagine the possiblities if they actually shot even halfway straight.

With a semi-literate chimp, the Republicans won. Imagine if they got someone who could get through a fifth grade english sentence without stumbling.
posted by dreamsign at 12:15 AM on April 23, 2006


Sure. As I've stated above numerous times the credit/responsibility -- given our current 2-party sociopolitical system -- of Bush winning is shared among all who did not pull the lever for Gore.

That's such bullshit. Bush was not the default President. It's not like if no one voted at all for anyone, Bush would become President, and therefore we all had to mobilize to stop him. It was an election, and, in theory, during an election, candidates/parties are supposed to provide reasons for me to vote for them, not expect my vote because they deserve it. They don't deserve shit, the Dems aren't anointed by God or appointed by law for fuck's sake. If I just vote for them regardless of whether or not they support my views in some capacity, there is no chance of them ever doing so.

If all the Dems have going for them is "You don't want a Republican in office, do you? Booga booga!", and people fall for it, then it doesn't matter what they do in office or what kind of platform they have. "Republicans want to send the Jews into camps!" "Say, didn't most of you vote for that measure when it came up in Congress?" "Shut up! It wasn't politically realistic to vote against it. Besides, now we just want to send them east." "Yeah, whatever, I'll pass." "Then it's your fault Jews are killed."

I get strategic voting, and the lesser of two evils, but if you base an entire party on that, then you get a party where they don't need to display any actual ideas or leadership, but just sit around and do as little as possible and pander as much as possible in the expectation of not losing votes. When people decide not to bother voting for them because they don't provide anything actually useful, then they can get petulant and blame the voters for letting the opposition win.

Which is where we are at right now. A Democratic party that has fuck-all for leadership, a dearth of any ideas beyond rhetoric, a desire to push forward progressive ideals that equals their desire to push red-hot needles into their eyes and an inability recognize that people not wanting to vote for them is not a flaw of the people. I mean, the arrogance of that! The even funnier part is, it doesn't seem like this strategy has worked all that well for them.

I mean, at that's why the Bush administration has an popularity at all. They did show some kind of leadership. A horrible, reckless, civil-liberty-destroying, debt-buliding, incompetence-showcasing, people-killing, credibility-destroying, fucked-ideologically-driven case of leadership, but they did something. What did the Dems do, as a party? Diddly shit! When the Iraq war resolution came up, they could've said, "No! Here's what we're going to do about terrorism, and it has fuck-all to do with Iraq." So they get outvoted. But then they can say, at least, come election time. "I tried to do something, at least. I had a plan." (Hell, in some crazy alternate universe, they might even have had some effect on policy. Unlikely, with this administration, but who knows?) But noooooooo. They had to be "politically realistic." Fuck that! They're Congressmen, for fuck's sake! It's their god-damned job to provide political leadership, instead of going with the crowd. This is government, not fucking high school! If they can't fucking handle it, maybe they should go back home and least save me the money of their salaries. And I'll be damned if some passive-agressive apologist for sniveling cowards is going to guilt me into believing that it's somehow my fault that their opposition wins. Hey, if your opponent is winning, maybe it's because you suck at what you do.
posted by Snyder at 4:08 AM on April 23, 2006


Well said Snyder, especialy the anger over the lack of a back bone among them Dems. They've had several moments to stand up and fight, to say "No, this is not a good idea, here's what we should do..." and they failed. Bush is an idiot but at least he risked something and did what he thought was right.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:30 AM on April 23, 2006


And not learn from our mistakes?

i think some of us have learned from our mistakes ... unfortunately, the politicians haven't learned a damn thing
posted by pyramid termite at 6:40 AM on April 23, 2006


What could be worse than what we've got?
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:48 AM on April 23, 2006


It wasn't politically realistic to vote against it.

It makes me want to puke.

You carry realpolitik far enough, make one concession, then another and before long, it becomes falschpolitik (alt. der Schwindelpolitik) a simulacrum of debate where the actual effects of policy bear no relation to the ideology ostensibly motivating it.

Seriously, the "national debate" is now orthogonal to the real-world trends in wealth allocation and influence.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:21 AM on April 23, 2006


But the idea that a vote for Nader would improve things is so beyond my comprehension that I'm convinced that only stupidity, ignorance or insanity could have brought anyone to do so.

Exactly. This is the reason why third-party voters get criticized—they vote for candidates that can't possibly win, and yet they claim that they think they can effect change by voting that way, when they know that that's not possible.

if Gore had dropped out of the race and thrown his support to Nader, Nader would've been President.

Keep dreaming.
posted by oaf at 9:17 AM on April 23, 2006


Snyder, I agree with everything you wrote, up to the last line.

The end result of the FL voters not holding their noses in FL was Bush taking office. Bottom line, but not end of story.

Had Gore been selected, there would have been a different agenda being pushed forward by the Oval Office and a shitload of vetoes.

No Child Left Behind?
Clear Skies?
Healthy Forests?
PATRIOT Act?
Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002?
Jobs and Growth Tax Reconciliation Act of 2003?
Roberts and Alito?

I'm stating facts, that 1,000 Nader voters in FL swung the election to Bush -- while you are just bellyaching that Gore was too craven to support.

WTF is wrong with you? YOUR side is playing the "blame" game here; "Don't blame me ... I'm just voting my conscience!".

Well, to repeat myself, good luck with that. Frankly, being a transnational type with a desire to live somewhere else in the future, having the Bushies trash my country for 4/8 years doesn't really harm me at all.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:51 AM on April 23, 2006


oaf writes "Exactly. This is the reason why third-party voters get criticized—they vote for candidates that can't possibly win, and yet they claim that they think they can effect change by voting that way, when they know that that's not possible."

Well, look what the two parties have done. It almost always works out that you have a choice between bad and worse. About half the time you're gonna get worse. Those are the odds. I don't see the candidates improving until the system can purge itself of some corruption. It's too entrenched for even a decent leader to accomplish anything. Third parites influence the issues and debates of a two-party campaign, which would otherwise be focused too much on posturing and political bullshit.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:30 AM on April 23, 2006


Heywood Magroot: Snyder, I agree with everything you wrote, up to the last line. [Snyder's last line: "Hey, if your opponent is winning, maybe it's because you suck at what you do."]

So Heywood, let me get this straight: you agree (to paraphrase Snyder's excellent post) that the Democrats are pandering, craven cowards who have shown no leadership, who have enabled the Republicans do every single shitty thing they've accomplished for the past 6 years, and whose entire political strategy has been reduced to shredding any modicum of progressivism at the altar of "well, at least we're not Republicans." You agree with that, yes? And yet, when Democrats keep losing elections based precisely on this cowardice and lack of principle (which, remember, you concede), it's not actually their fault?

It's like you believe they've got a perfectly good, winning strategy going on here, if only everyone would just shut up and vote for them. And when they keep losing elections, it's everyone else's fault but theirs. (I'm curious, by the way, how those 1,000 Nader voters in Florida fucked it up again for the Dems in 2002 and 2004. Could you explain that, please?) Jesus, and you want to know WTF is wrong with me?

There's that saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. That is, unless you're a Democratic Party operative (or, apparently, Heywood Magroot), in which case it's considered sound political strategy.
posted by scody at 10:36 AM on April 23, 2006


Oh, and also, Heywood, let's go ahead and go back to 2000 for a minute: after you're done explaining how those the 1,000 Nader voters in Florida were responsible for the election results in 2002 and 2004, could you also explain how Gore didn't even carry his home state in 2000? I mean, since every time the Democrats fail to win an election it's obviously not their responsibiity, or reflective of a poorly conceived campaign or anything.
posted by scody at 10:44 AM on April 23, 2006


Frankly, being a transnational type with a desire to live somewhere else in the future, having the Bushies trash my country for 4/8 years doesn't really harm me at all.

Quite frankly, if that's your attitude then by all means leave. Because if you're willing to give up on our country 'cause you're a transnational type (whatever that is), then this country, left, right, green or communist really doesn't have much use for you, you don't belong here and on your way out, please consider sponsoring someone who does want to be here.


It other news: I voted for Nader in 2000, because I wasn't happy with Gore or Bush (and I really wanted to like and/or respect Gore) so I gave it to Nader with the knowledge that he wouldn't win, but in hopes of getting him his 5% so the green party could get government campaign funds. It didn't work out that way, fine, but that's why I voted for the big N.

As for those who feel Nader voters cost Gore the election: I ain't buyin'. Go talk to the people who voted for Bush and get mad at them. Then go yell at Gore and his campaign. But the 2 or 3% that Nader got? Plleeeeeease! There are much larger problems if Bush was able to get as many votes as he did.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:00 AM on April 23, 2006


The only good reason to vote for Nader was that he had the chance to break the two party system. (this was before anyone could even have thought in their wildest dreams how much damage one president could do to our country)

The single worst reason to vote for Nader was that no one actually asked him to run. He didn't have a base of followers that urged him to take charge, he just woke up one day and decided for himself.
posted by shnoz-gobblin at 11:15 AM on April 23, 2006


Of course, in 2004, the Democrats and Republicans colluded to keep all third parties out of the debates. Badnarik (L) and Cobb (G) were arrested when they attempted to enter the debate in St. Louis, iirc.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:39 AM on April 23, 2006


Well of course they were. How do you expect people to vote for the two sanctioned state parties if they get the notion in their silly heads that there are other points of view out there? Those other parties won't win anyway, so it's simply not right to let other people hear them, consider their ideas, and make up their own minds who to vote for. People didn't struggle and even die for the right to vote to be given options beyond choosing for the lesser of two evils! That's the very, very best we can do, and the electorate ought to be grateful and get in line.
posted by scody at 11:51 AM on April 23, 2006


Well, living in CA your vote is completely meaningless so you could vote for Tinkerbell for all I care.

Frankly, being a transnational type with a desire to live somewhere else in the future, having the Bushies trash my country for 4/8 years doesn't really harm me at all.


The contempt that you display for the democratic process in these two sentences makes your pompous "it's the American people" hairsplitting at the beginnings of these comments all the more laughable.
posted by the_bone at 12:37 PM on April 23, 2006


Regardless of Dem failings, the choice was clear in 2000 -Bush vs. Gore. Many Nader voters, in FL clearly enough to swing the election, chose poorly.

I fail to see what is so controversial about this.

And when they keep losing elections, it's everyone else's fault but theirs

Again, you're the one apportioning blame here, not me, in the attempt to smokescreen the fact that had 1% of the Nader voters in FL chose Gore things would be LOT different now.

I'm not saying that ALL Nader voters are idiots, but I think it's safe to say that at least 1000 Nader voters in FL wish they could have that vote back.

The rest of the responses are rather ad-hom so I don't see much else to address. Good day.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:00 PM on April 23, 2006


There are much larger problems if Bush was able to get as many votes as he did.

Oh, I agree with this. All the more reason for progressives to pick their battles. Regardless of keeping the Senate, or retaking the House, Gore was about a "Green" a viablepresidential candidate we're going to see in our lifetime, viability being defined as a non-whack job.

Yes, the present system sucks. Good luck on your crusade.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:03 PM on April 23, 2006


Interestingly enough, the_bone, your vote TOTALLY counted when you lived in Florida, so you're not allowed to vote for the candidate of your choice there -- you are required to vote for the lesser of two evils. When you move to another state that historically tends to swing for that lesser of two evils, however, you are perfectly free to vote for tiny, fictional characters with wings and anger management problems, if you wish. In other words, your political actions should not always be consistent with your conscience and values; they should instead be based on the historical voting patterns for the state in which you live.

I don't understand how these rules of democracy aren't clear to you.

On preview: it's extraordinarly revealing, H.M., how you practically admit your total inability to address direct questions, much less the profound contradictions inherent in your utterly simplistic argument. But beyond what it reveals about you, it actually reveals far more about the insular, petulant, blinders-on-at-all-costs mentality of the diehards in the Democratic Party. The mindset you espouse is exactly what will keep weakening the Democrats as a party over the long-term (even if general disgust with the GOP might lead to short-term gains in 2006, which might certainly happen) and is also precisely what will prevent the Democrats from understanding with any intellectual, political, or historical clarity why it is happening.

Like I said, 2000 (then 2002, then 2004) was a huge wakeup call on not one but two fronts -- first, that there are 3 million voters to the left of the Dems expressed their profound dissatisfaction and disenchantment with the Democratic "fake right" strategy; and two, that the depths of Republican venality are evidently limitless. The fact that the Democratic Party has refused to heed this alarm for six years (and will crush any internal opposition within the party for those who do recognize the problem, as links upthread illustrate) is nobody's responsibility but the Democratic Party's.
posted by scody at 1:13 PM on April 23, 2006


scody, there's also millions and millions of voters who stayed home.

The fact that the Democratic Party has refused to heed this alarm for six years

and Dr Dean leading the party is chopped liver?

is nobody's responsibility but the Democratic Party's

People get to judge their own responsibility with their vote in this mess.

But beyond what it reveals about you

ZZZzzzz.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:20 PM on April 23, 2006


People get to judge their own responsibility with their vote in this mess.

Oh, that's right. Because you're not apportioning blame; you're just saying that Nader voters "chose poorly." (Somehow it seems to escape your non-apportionment of blame to suggest that the Dems "campaigned poorly." But never mind. You've made it abundantly clear you'd sooner eat glass than admit that.) Funnily enough, this "Nader voters chose poorly - SCIENTIFIC FACT" mantra coexists and directly contradicts your previous agreement with Snyder's statement that "Bush was not the default President. It's not like if no one voted at all for anyone, Bush would become President, and therefore we all had to mobilize to stop him. It was an election, and, in theory, during an election, candidates/parties are supposed to provide reasons for me to vote for them, not expect my vote because they deserve it." No, no internal contradiction there. So you go ahead and keep on hitting that snooze button! You seem to have missed it, but many of us in this thread are handing you all the information that you need to understand why your own party is collapsing -- and, potentially, the method by which you could struggle within it to make it viable again. Zzzzzz indeed! Sleep tight!
posted by scody at 1:38 PM on April 23, 2006


(Somehow it seems to escape your non-apportionment of blame to suggest that the Dems "campaigned poorly.

These aren't exclusive things. Looking back on 2000, Gore ran a poor campaign (so people say).

that you need to understand why your own party is collapsing

As a atheist left-libertarian I don't find much that inspires me about the Dems. But as mdn argues above I recognize that the existing Dem party has the closest match to my principles, and that a more ideal party would not have degree of political muscle to effect change in our present system of government.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:50 PM on April 23, 2006


Looking back on 2000, Gore ran a poor campaign (so people say).

You're hilarious, and I apologize for completely missing the completely scathing, satiric subtext of your entire contribution to this thread. It took hitting me over the head with such a blatantly ridiculous aside -- the implication that it isn't evident on the face of it; the nimble sidestep to avoid actually personally laying claim to a position -- to finally get that you've been sending up the entire M.O. of the Democratic Party. Yep, you punk'd me all the way. Kudos!
posted by scody at 1:58 PM on April 23, 2006


er, you're welcome.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:33 PM on April 23, 2006


Heywood Mogroot writes "People get to judge their own responsibility with their vote in this mess."

Futher alienating disaffected voters by directing misplaced blame at them is not going to help bring those people back to the Democrat Party. The problems with the Bush administration are the responsibility of Bush himself and those he appointed, those who voted for and support him and the Republican Party in general, and then the problems with the election in 2000 which brought it to the SCOTUS, and, indirectly, the Democrats were to blame for not putting up better candidates or more of a real fight. Like they thought Karl Rove was going to be fair. But many of the people who voted in 2000 (or other years) aren't necessarily Democrats in absence of a better choice. Many would have stayed home rather than vote for a mainstream candidate who doesn't represent their views. You might as well blame the ~40% of eligible voters who stayed home. I bet a good lot of them are disaffected Democrats, too.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:36 PM on April 23, 2006


One of the ironies of this whole fiasco was the way the Dems were scrambling to keep Nader off the ballot in a number of states, when they could have been using that energy to actually come up with a united strategy, present a platform, and campaign, rather than permanently alienating progressives (and people who understand the definition of democracy) like me.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 10:05 PM on April 23, 2006


Seriously, I can't believe we're still arguing about Nader. Nader, and by extension those who vote for him, have delusions of relevancy. Does the number 3% ring a bell? What kind of a self-respecting democracy is gonna let itself be controlled by a 3% voting bloc. That's a poll's rounding error, not an untapped base. Just be happy you got one chance to swing the arrow from passive irrelevancy (Gore) to active irrelevancy (Bush) and and leave it at that.

(and people who understand the definition of democracy)

Dude, 3%. Democracy called; it wants your definition of it back.
posted by boaz at 11:05 PM on April 23, 2006


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