Ralph Nader: Back in the Saddle Again?

Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2004 12:04 pm
Don't misunderstand me, I will vote for the Democrat candidate to get rid of Bush and his cronies.

I don't live in California any longer where it was safe to vote for Nader the last two elections. In New Mexico, the vote was much closer in 2000 and in 2004 I'm forced to vote with my brain instead of my idealist heart because of the damned Electoral College system.

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Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2004 12:15 pm
Nader runs because it's the best way for him to get an audience. Who hears much from or about him in between election cycles? Yet in today's NY Times there's an editorial about him.

He says he runs because there's no (or little) difference between the two main parties. As if that's the most significant problem in the country right now. Is there also no difference between Bush and Kerry (or Edwards)? Aren't those the people we'll be deciding between in November?

He's gonna run, so the best outcome will be his drawing something like <1% of the vote this time--and that not determining who the president will be for the next four years!
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Craven de Kere
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2004 04:43 pm
ebrown_p wrote:

Let me clarify my position here.

First, I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Democratic party.


I am an independent (and an idealist) and that is how I vote.

Fair enough, but I think that sometimes idealism is best served in ways that aren't "matrydom".

I think you can agree with that even if you might not agree that this particular case is matrydom.

When you use the phrase (cost the election) you are assuming that I am partisan (since if I were a Repubican than I would have *won* the election). I am neither Democrat nor Republican and resent the implication that I owe my vote to anyone.

1) I didn't use that phrase (though I used a similar one)

2) I have never implied that you owe your vote to anyone except whomever strikes your fancy.

All I have done is to counter the implication that the "whining" about Nader matrydom is undemocratic. Said "whining" is just as much a part of democracy.

Secondly, people keep saying that Nader cost the election for Gore. This charge is simply ridiculous.

I disagree, but this isn't a big issue with me.

You are asking me to support a weak candidate because of Bush?

No, I've not asked you for anything. Personally, I think you should vote for Nader. I don't think it'll come down to one vote and I think you should vote on your principles because it'll make you feel good.

Perhaps you have a point, but this type of thinking is problematic. The fact that "electibility" is one of the top reasons for supporting Kerry leaves a bad taste in this voters mouth.

I agree, but I think the flip side is that idealism and pragmaticism need not be mutually exclusive.

But I am an independent and I vote indendently. Nader is doing a great service to those of us who think independently and for the country as a whole.

I disagree, while I agree with much of his positions I think he does little except to play to the self-described free-thinkers and romantic idealists but does little except put himself in the spotlight with the campaigns.

I don't think we'll ever agree on subjective issues like the characterization of his motives but again it's not a subject that is that important to me so I won't push it.

The idea, expressed here and elsewhere, that this makes me or Nader in cohoots with the other party is pure foolishness.

Depends on how you look at it. I'd say a fair case can be made that you are helping Republicans by voting for Nader. But I'd agree that it's not "in cohorts". I'd consider it "idealistic matrydom" that plays to the Republican party's favor.


"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
- George Bernard Shaw

One of my favorite quotes. I think it captures a lot of the essense of a Nader vote in terms of romaticism and idealism and "reasonableness". Twisted Evil

If I had to use one word I'd call it quixotic. Which is something I can easily identify with.

I guess where we differ is that I'd rather this point be made at a windmill's expense than in a presidential election.
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Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2004 06:24 pm
If I see a funny or Not-so-funny, link again, Im NOT gonna post it.
E-brown- (in regard to your reaction to my link)neverspeak words on behalf of others unless they spake them first. then you may quote. otherwise, youre making things up
I personally wont welcome naders presidency, I think hes made his poiltics way too simplistic. i suggest you listen to him a bit, hes scary. Because Naders done a fine job battling for consumer rights and safety, he assumes that whatever he says is correct and its not.

I have no concern about him running at all, I merely posted a web site that was sent to me. In the privacy of your own home you may do with it what you wish.
I care little. I do political cartoons for an avocation and my opinion (FWIW), is, ya cant have an election without creating a bunch of extreme poles on issues. Thats great fodder fer the pen and ink.
I have to agree with Nader on one thing, the parties are really very similar. However, in 2004, we have an incumbent who's broken about 200 laws , rules, or dietary restrictions and who's Millenial armegeddon driven policies are getting weird enough for even me to sit up and take notice and to count.
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Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2004 07:55 pm
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Reply Tue 24 Feb, 2004 01:30 am
Governor Dean's statement on Ralph Nader
Monday, February 23, 2004
Governor Dean's statement on Ralph Nader

When I announced last week that I am no longer actively pursuing the presidency, I urged my supporters not to be tempted by any independent or third party candidate. I said I would support the nominee of the Democratic Party, because the bottom line is that we must defeat George W. Bush in November, whatever it takes.

This year, our campaign has made the case that, in order to defeat George W. Bush, the Democratic Party must stand up strong for its principles, not paper over its differences with the most radical Administration in our lifetime. In order to win, the Democratic Party must aggressively expose the ways in which George W. Bush's policies benefit the privileged and the most extreme ideologues.

I will do everything I can to ensure that the 2004 Democratic nominee runs as a true progressive, as a champion of working Americans and their hopes for a better future. I urge my supporters, and all other Americans committed to progressive values and honest government, to stick with us, and stick with the Democratic Party, so our cause can prevail in 2004.

Ralph Nader has made many great contributions to America over 40 years. But if George W. Bush is re-elected, the health, safety, consumer, environmental, and open government provisions Ralph Nader has fought for will be undermined. George Bush's right-wing appointees will still be serving as judges fifty years from now, and our Constitution will be shredded. It will be government by, of, and for, the corporations - exactly what Ralph Nader has struggled against.

Those who truly want America's leaders to stand up to the corporate special interests and build a better country for working people should recognize that, in 2004, a vote for Ralph Nader is, plain and simple, a vote to re-elect George W. Bush. I hope that Ralph Nader will withdraw his candidacy in the best interests of the country we hope to become.

Many of my supporters urged me to run as an independent, but I judged it the wrong thing to do. There is still time for Ralph Nader to stand with those in the Democratic Party who are building a progressive coalition to defeat George W. Bush. But time is running out. We can win only if we are united.
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Reply Tue 24 Feb, 2004 01:44 am
The Lone Ranger Of Righteousness
The Lone Ranger Of Righteousness
By Paul Loeb, AlterNet, is the author of "Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time."
February 22, 2004

It's my right to run.

This is Ralph Nader's core case in announcing his 2004 presidential candidacy. Yes, Nader has a legal right to run. He also has a legal right to donate $100,000 to the Republican Party and become a Bush Pioneer, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea.

So much of Nader's career has been built on reminding us of our common ties. It's wrong, he's argued, for companies to make unsafe cars, pollute our air or pillage shared resources. Actions have consequences, he's pointed out with persistence and eloquence.

Now, he's taking the opposite tack, fixating on his own absolute right to do whatever he chooses, while branding those who've argued against his running as contemptuous censors, who "want to block the American people from having more choices and voices." This argument would seem familiar coming from an Exxon executive. Coming from Ralph Nader, it marks a fundamental shift from an ethic of responsibility to one of damn the consequences, no matter how much populist precedent he tries to dress it up with.

The reasons to defeat Bush escalate daily. The administration enacts regressive tax cuts; wages pre-emptive wars and lies about their justification; hacks away at civil liberties and appoints hard-right judges to shut down challenges; and undermines the union movement. The Bush administration attacks root structures of democracy by disenfranchising tens of thousands of Florida voters, redistricting dozens of Texas, Pennsylvania and Michigan Congressional seats in raw power grabs, and jamming Democratic phone banks in New Hampshire. It brands those who oppose it as allies of terrorism.

That doesn't even count global warming, which (as sources from Fortune Magazine to the New York Times and a Pentagon study have recently warned) now brings the potential for melting polar ice caps to shutting down the Gulf Stream and plunging Europe and northeastern North America into a man-made ice age.

How can Nader know this and still run? He says he'll raise the otherwise buried hard issues. He says he'll bring disenchanted citizens back into politics. He offers Byzantine explanations of how he'll actually help defeat George Bush by raising fresh subjects and approaches, opening up "a second front of voters against the regime," and offering an alternative for moderate Republicans. But he can raise the issues on his own, as he has throughout his life. He can do it without critiques of the "two-party duopoly" that may discourage some for voting for the Democratic nominee. He can do it without offering the illusion that a purely symbolic vote will do anything to get Bush out of office.

Nader seems to have forgotten his own historical contribution to a different, more hopeful path, where he encouraged thousands of citizens to join in challenging illegitimate actions of power. He once recognized that progressive politics gathers its strength from the breadth of citizen movements. Now he acts with an almost messianic fervor, a Lone Ranger intent on holding onto his own moral purity whatever the pleas of his compatriots. By denying the real choices we face, he betrays the best of his legacy.

Will Nader's candidacy ultimately matter? Maybe not. Many of his supporters have bolted. He may not get on the ballot in every state. But if the 2004 election is as close as it was in 2000, his candidacy could still have a devastating impact. The Nader vote made the difference in New Hampshire and Florida, and his support in states like Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, New Mexico and even California forced Al Gore to divert time, money and resources away from other close races he might well have otherwise won.

Assuming the admittedly flawed John Kerry becomes the Democratic nominee, progressives do not have to support him blindly. We can work to unite historically separated progressive movements and keep raising core issues no matter who's elected in November. But this election we're faced with as critical a choice and challenge as we've experienced in our lifetime. It's too bad that by prizing his own righteousness over the risks of his actions, Ralph Nader has just made that challenge a little bit harder.
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ebrown p
Reply Tue 24 Feb, 2004 09:47 am
[From http://www.tcgreens.org/gl/articles/20021115062623324.html]

Run, Ralph, Run!
Friday, November 15 2002
Contributed By: Howie Hawkins

Ronnie Dugger's proposal ("Ralph, Don't Run," The Nation Nov. 14, 2002) for populists and progressives to enter the Democratic Party is as old as the Populist/Democratic fusion campaign for William Jennings Bryan that killed 19th century populism. Now he wants the Greens to commit suicide by making the same mistake.

The overwhelming majority of Democrats in Congress voted for Bush's tax cuts, his military build-up, his assaults on civil liberties, and his regulatory and tax favors to corporate interests. But now, according to Dugger, we should rely on these same Democrats to provide the resistance!

Cynthia McKinney, a Democratic Congresswoman who did resist, is what the Democrats do to their progressives these days. When the right (including the Georgia's Democratic Senator Zell Miller and the Democratic Leadership Council) targeted her for defeat, she was abandoned by the state and national Democrats, from Andrew Young and Maynard Jackson to Terry McAulliffe and Bill Clinton.

We can't fight the far right by supporting the moderate right. The left did that in Germany in the 1930 elections and the moderate right they helped to elect soon handed power over to Hitler.

The Democratic Party has been the graveyard of every progressive insurgency since the populists died there in 1896. Reforming the Democrats has been the dominant strategy of liberals, progressives, and even most radicals since 1936. Inside the Democratic Party, the left lost its independent voice. Its analyses and policy proposals disappeared from public debate. The left ended up doing the trench work for candidates who were bankrolled by and indentured to the dominant corporate wing of the Party.

Dugger's strategy has already been tried and tried by the Communist Party and the labor movement since 1936, by the right wing of the Socialist movement led by Michael Harrington and by the mainstream civil rights, women's, peace, and environmental organizations since the 1960s, and by the many liberal presidential contenders like George McGovern, Fred Harris, Ted Kennedy, and Jesse Jackson in the 1970s and 1980s.

As for 2004, by front-loading the primaries to make them virtually a national primary requiring megabucks for a media campaign, the Democratic leadership has all but guaranteed that no Sharpton or Kucinich is going to upset their coronation of a corporate Democrat for the presidential nomination.

Dugger wants to take over the Democratic infrastructure from the precinct level in order to influence the nomination and platform. But he's aiming at an empty shell with little power. The real Democratic infrastructure is the money raising and media buying infrastructure.

Duggeristas can win all the precinct chairships they want and it won't mean a thing. When McGovern stole the nomination from the Democrats' corporate wing, they still defeated him by putting their money and media behind Nixon. The winner of the presidential primaries will write the platform, not delegates to the convention. The Democratic precinct infrastructure, such as it is, is for mobilizing votes in general elections, not for primaries or for debating platform planks. Candidates' campaign organizations have largely supplanted mobilization by precinct organizations in most places anyway.

What is there to show for decades of reform Democratic politics? The left marginalized itself by disappearing into the Democratic Party. And the Democratic Party has moved steadily to the right as it took the votes on the left for granted. The Democrats have retreated on economic class issues since World War II and on racial justice issues since the 1970s. They never had a serious energy and environmental program and have always supported the militaristic "bipartisan foreign policy" to make the world safe for corporate profiteering.

Every presidential cycle we hear this same refrain: The Republican (Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan, Bush, ...) is practically a fascist, so we've got to unite behind a Democrat to defeat him. Well, when we did get a Democrat, we got Johnson and Vietnam, then Carter and the initiation of the regressive tax, budget, and deregulatory policies we call Reaganism, and finally Clinton and the completion of Reaganism.

There's a class basis for the bipartisan policy of austerity for workers at home, imperialism abroad, and lip service for the environment. Both major parties are corporate parties. When progressives enter the Democratic Party, they are entering into coalition with corporate forces who have no interest in empowering workers, retreating from empire, or investing in an ecological transformation of our economy and technology. The best way to fight the right is to build independent political organization and action by the "plain people," as the original populists put it. It is far easier to build that political party independently than it is to try and take over the Democratic Party. Inside the Democratic Party, activists' energy is spent on the internal struggle and the left's program never reaches the public.

Ralph Nader has a far better chance of winning the presidency in 2004 than Dugger does of realizing his fantasy of persuading the Democrats to "fight for instant-runoff voting" (and open the door wide for the Green Party) in return for the support of Greens in 2004. The Democrats will take votes on their left for granted as always ... unless Ralph runs again.

The point of such a campaign is to try and win the office, not influence the Democrats. What the left needs is a Nader/McKinney ticket heading up Green Party slates for all offices, not another self-defeating attempt to fight the right by supporting the moderate-right Democrats against the far-right Republicans.

Run, Ralph, Run!

Howie Hawkins Syracuse NY
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ebrown p
Reply Tue 24 Feb, 2004 09:49 am
<<sigh>> Howard Dean is a big disappointment.
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