Thursday, October 21, 2004

Are Nader voters up to something?

The following tasty bite comes from the latest addition to the Teammate blogroll, Advice for Lefty. Odd Todd 88, who is apparently about to get married, is a fan of mine; I've also become a fan of his. In his latest entry, he illustrates perfectly the problem with people who vote for Ralph Nader in 2004.

I voted for Nader in 2000. I don't regret it for a second. The 2000 Nader vote did exactly what it was designed to do: to throw a monkey wrench into the comatose Democratic Party's gut. It woke up the Left.

Here I think I should interject my own Nader story. Throughout most of 2000, I was ready to vote for Nader. Three things, however, changed my vote to Al Gore:

1) I met some Nader voters. Nice people be sure, but as time wore on their genuine interest in the issues melted into an active campaign to ruin Gore. I even heard several say they'd much rather have Bush in office than Gore! Screw that.

2) I realized that the fix was in. Nader was never going to win. He wasn't even going to put up Perot-level numbers. I saw well ahead of time that Nader's campaign became more and more about Nader himself instead of what he purported to stand for.

3) I began hearing about the Republican Party funding Nader's campaign. It turns out that, beginning around October 2000, the GOP began pouring money into the Nader camp, even paying for TV ads. Just this year, Nader found himself about 2,000 signatures shy of ballot qualification in Michigan. The state GOP stepped in and got them for him in no time. What does this say about the man? He's a divider, not a uniter. His most fervent rivals know it. Why can't his fans? Back to Odd Todd:

A vote for Nader said to the Dems: "Hey! If you're going to ignore our issues (no war for aggression, war on drugs, corporate crime, etc.), we're not going to vote for you or the Republicans!"

It was dubious enough to say this in 2000, and is fucking DANGEROUS to say in 2004! Todd knows this, but unfortunately some people still don't.

When I voted for Nader four years ago, I knew full well that he wasn't going to be elected. I was more passionate about scolding the Democrats than getting Nader into office.

I'm sorry, but for all of the good Ralph Nader has done for all of us in his career as a consumer advocate, he sure is making this election harder than it needs to be. I seriously don't think, at this point, that the Democrats lack any motivation whatsoever. I'm just going to say it straight up: if you vote for Nader in this crucial election, then you are absolutely spineless. Why? Because you are refusing to take a stand where the stand really counts. If you can't decide that saving this country is preferable to making a self-defeating statement, then your priorities are severely skewed.

To use a sports analogy, you don't send in your untested backup quarterback when you're five points behind with five seconds left on the clock. You wait until you're in a game with a comfortable lead before you risk that chance. Otherwise, who knows what could happen? So, Naderites, don't give up your dream of political reform; it's our dream too, believe it or not. But some things take stages, and right now we have to relearn how to crawl before we can walk. I, for one, am not willing to put up with four more years of Bush just so we can make statements. That's just as reckless as the mentality of the man we're all trying to beat. Let's all work together so that no one has to point fingers anymore. If there's anything I despise, it's internal conflict.


Emily said...
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ThomasMcCay said...

There was a time when I would have strongly disagreed with what you've said here. That time is gone.

I do not see Kerry as the man that is going to sove all of Americas problems. I don't see the Democrats as the standard bearers for constitutional democracy in America.

But, the nation and the world may not survive another Bush term. George Bush is a dangerous man. His Administration is built of dangerous people with dangerous ideas that they are not really talking about.

Lies, destruction, massive debt, an idiots war and non stop attacts against the rights of Americans, is the real legacy of this Presidency. The danger to world peace, represented by the Bush administration, is too great. The danger to America is too great, to consider a third party candidate in this election.

Every vote actually counts. Bush won on stolen votes last time. may win that way again. But, literally throwing your vote into the political black hole that Mr. nader has become, in this election, is silly. A dangerous silliness considering the enormity of the stakes.

Ian, it is true, you don't seem to be Right about anything but sometimes you are correct.

Murph said...

Lucky for me, as someone who did vote for Nader in 2000, it doesn't look like I have anything to worry about because he doesn't appear on my sample ballot in California.

However, despite people's political problems with Nader, I think it's going to be more damaging in the long term to discourage third-party candidates from running. Although it's part of a semi-unified effort to oust the current president, one can't look at democracy (read: letting people vote for who they want to) as a threat or as something that needs to be put down. That kind of thinking isn't all that different from the kind of thinking the Dems are trying to defeat this year.

But, I understand your points and I think you make them very well. I just think that the two-party system in recent years has revealed itself to be part of the problem and not part of the solution.

Phillip said...

i loved what howard dean said about not trying to rearrange the furniture while the house is on fire.

we need more than two parties, but right now we need to ensure that we have a democracy at all upon which to improve.

Ian McGibboney said...

To use another analogy, a medical one: if you're going to the hospital to get your overbite corrected, and while on the gurney you suffer a heart attack, I think the priority should be halting the heart attack. Because what's the point of fixing your teeth if you're dead? Yes, it's that bad.

Flamingo Jones said...

Michael Moore made a wonderful Nader/Sex analogy today:

"most people vote for Ralph because it feels good. He has all the right positions on the issues. He's not a typical mainstream politician. You walk out of the voting booth feeling pure and euphoric. BUT as everyone's parents no doubt told them as teenagers, sometimes 5 minutes of personal pleasure can lead to a life-time of dire consequences."

Nader analogies are the best. I'm going to miss them after the election is over. I may keep looking for them, just as an entertaining hobby.