February 20, 2004

Nader-Factor

Nader will announce on Sunday whether he plans to run. Some fear that this spells doom for the Democratic candidate, and equates to 4 more years of Bush. This is an uncertain race, and Ralph is a wildcard.

Do I think he should run? Probably not. However, I don’t fear his run as much as some. I just discussed this with Chuck, and here are the reasons I gave him.

If you assume many people see Nader as a spoiler in the 2000 elections, they are going to feel the same way about him in the 2004 election. Presumably, if they think his spoiler role is a bad thing, they will not vote for him.

The sort of voters who are most likely to agree with Nader are also the more liberal end of the Democratic spectrum. After 4 years of Bush, a lot of those people are very unhappy. Exit poll after exit poll has shown that a focus of these voters has been electability (this is a code word for “I want Bush out of office.”) People in 2004 are willng to put aside some of their idealism and try to reach a common goal.

I voted for Nader in 2000. I didn’t see him as a spoiler at the time. However, before the Bush II years, I saw Gore as a lot similar to the Republicans as I do now. Also, Gore is not running in 2004, so we are looking at a very different race.

I don’t think there is a reason to panic if Nader decides to run. Unless you can get a whole bunch of other people who weren’t planning to vote to panic, too. If Nader does whip people up into a panic, it may even get out the vote. At this time, things are too uncertain to know what effect we will be seeing. We don’t even have a nominee from the Democrats yet.

2004 is not 2000. We’ll see what happens.

Ralph Don’t Run

Posted by James at February 20, 2004 5:43 PM
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Comments

Nader also helps to cast Kerry as a centrist.

Posted by: James at February 20, 2004 5:57 PM

I agree. Folks who are urging Nader not to run aren't gonna vote for him anyway, and folks that will vote for him this time around are not going to vote for Kerry no matter what. If Nader doesn't run they'll either vote for McReynolds (the socialist party candidate), a write in vote, or stay home.

Tho I don't think "casting Kerry as a centrist" is a good thing. I think the reasons Dems have been getting their asses handed to them for 20 years is their centrist "I don't stand for anything" crap. No matter how "centrist" they are, simply having a D in front of their name is enough to make Rabid Republicans hate them, so there's no point in trying to appease those folks. I think the hardest battle Kerry has is against his own wishy-washy record of being "forgainst" everything.

Because he'll win easily if Dems come out to vote, but if he's super uninspiring and people *mean* to get out to the polls on e-day but don't actually make it, he'll lose.

Posted by: David Grenier at February 20, 2004 6:00 PM

I don't think Nader running will make Kerry any more centrist. I think he'll just look more centrist in comparison. He'll look that way to swing voters. People on the left will still have "get Bush out" on the mind.

A candidate seems to naturally gravitate center after the primaries, anyhow.

Who knows - we may end up with Edwards after all is said and done. But if it is Kerry, he hasn't done enough to articulate his vision. I'm really hoping we see some of that (whoever we get) once the primaries are over.

Posted by: James at February 20, 2004 6:08 PM

Blame for the way the 2000 election turned out should start and end with the Bush family's influence. Some seriously crooked things happened in Florida especially.

Nader was not the only third-party candidate, and I don't believe he even got the most votes of any third-party candidate. Buchanan didn't do too badly.

I want Bush out and I will vote for whoever I have to to make that happen. But I am also one of the growing number of voters who believe that Democrats and Republicans are just two sides of a single nasty corporate coin. I believe there are still enough ideological differences between them to matter a little. But I don't know how many of those differences are sincere.

If enough people cast "protest votes," it wouldn't be a protest any more - it would be reality. That's how votes are supposed to work.

But for now, I am still scared enough to keep voting for the lesser of two evils.

Posted by: julie at February 20, 2004 6:13 PM

That's what it amounts to in the end. Not only the lesser of two evils, the lesser of two fears.

Posted by: James at February 20, 2004 7:39 PM

If Ralph running was anything more than a giant ego trip he would have spent the past 4 years making sure his name was out there and trying to establish the legitimate 3rd party he claims to want. He hasn't he disappeared a couple of days after the election was handed to Bush and didn't reemerge from his hole (was he sharing it with Saddam?) until Sunday. Hey Ralph groudhog day three weeks ago spare us anoth 6th months of Ralph Nader winter.

re Buchanon in Fla. - Yes funny how Pat won the elderly jewish vote. Maybe I should say t he confused, eldery jewish vote. What me bitter. Nah!

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at February 23, 2004 9:39 AM

He's running a huge risk if Bush is re-elected. He'll put an exclamation point on the conclusion that many had already reached after the 2000 election.

What will the chances be for third party support then?

Ultimately, I don't think his running makes a huge difference. But he's not completely out there when he thinks he'll have an effect on the Democratic candidate. This time around, at the very least, Democrats will probably have to pay more attention to what they perceive as Nader voters -- at least in the states where it will matter.

Posted by: James at February 23, 2004 10:40 AM

I echo Bob's comments.

If he is truly concerned that "Washington is now corporate-occupied territory" and that our current political system is nothing more than a "two-party duopoly," then why did he wait so long to put together a party/platform? Where was he for the past 4 years?

He got the Angry Left vote in the 2000 race. Well, Howard Dean was the outlet for anger this time around (notice how Nader jumped in _right_ after Dean left the race).

Dean forced issues to the table, got the pissed off together as a force, and gave us an outlet and channel for our anger with the Bush administration. For Nader to try to piggyback on that is cheap.

On NPR this Sunday, Nader mentioned that he'd had a call from Howard Dean, who told him he was going to pull out of the race, and it seemed to me that he was trying to infer that he'd received Dean's endorsement. I saw no such information on Dean's website, and I doubt Dean would endorce a proven non-winner like Nader.

Ralph, put your ego in your pocket and sit on your hands.

Posted by: Patti M. at February 23, 2004 12:41 PM

There are two reasons for Greens to vote Kerry. First, by voting for Kerry this year we become more relevant in presidential politics. We become swing voters. Swing voters matter to politicians seeking elected office. Often called moderate voters, swing voters are actually not middle voters but voters on the margins. Marginal voters who will move will be courted. While I see no panacea for the Left from a Kerry victory, I do see benefits in asserting the relevance of the Left - especially this year.

Dean's rise was a victory for the Left. Gore's series of speeches on civil liberties and the brazen lies of the Bush administration were remarkable. Kerry meeting with Nader was better than the Democratic shunning of Greens since 2000. These changes do not count as a transformation of society, but given how little power the Left has we are best realistic about how much of role we have at this time. Letís be swing voters this year and so that others will know that we can help Democrats lose (as in 2000) and we can help Democrats win (as in this year).

But the swing voter argument is not the best reason for Greens vote Kerry. More important relates to why we usually vote Green or independent, which is to send a message about what really matters to us. I voted third party in all of the past presidential elections to send a message to the Democrats. Now I want to send a message to the Republicans.

The message is simple: Go too far and you will lose.

There are limits to how far either party can go. Bush went way beyond these limits. Defeating Bush matters because all politicians need to know that even the radical Left will back a Democrat if things go too far. Bush's radical agenda goes beyond anything any recent president has done. Not Nixon, not Ford, not Carter, not Reagan, not Bush's dad, and not Clinton come close to the hugely radical abuse of power and threat to the Republic of this president. That's why this president must be defeated and why it makes sense for Greens to help do it.

Bush invaded a sovereign state in a war of aggression without even pretense of following international law. Bush lied to the Congress and the American people to take our nation to war. Bush used the September 11th tragedy to restrict civil liberties and to massively expand police powers. Bush used fear of foreigners to push forward a radical domestic agenda. Bush was caught leading a government that tortures and ignores human rights with impunity. Bush suspended habeas corpus, locked citizens in secret jails and challenged the basic tenets on which civil society is based. Bush engaged in massive propaganda, abused the power of the Executive, challenged our Constitutional system, violated international law and pushed an unprecedented militaristic and corporate radical agenda.

Sure, other presidents have engaged in other acts that approach those of Bush - but none have been so bold and brazen as has been Bush. He is dangerous to our Republic and to the world. And we, the far Left, must join with moderates and liberals to send a message to radicals of the radical-Right. We will not tolerate anything that approaches Bush, not now and not ever - even if this means that we'll pause from building our own Green Party. Join me in sending this message because the right to vote matters and this year we can employ our right to make a real difference for America and for the world.

Posted by: Liberation Learning at October 23, 2004 12:49 AM

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