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Nader Says a Run Would Benefit Democrats

Mr. Nader would run this year as an independent. (The Green Party will not pick its nominee until June, too late, he says, to mount an effective campaign.)
Common Dreams

Published on Saturday, January 10, 2004 by the New York Times

Nader Says a Run Would Benefit Democrats
by Michael Janofsky

WASHINGTON He is sounding like a presidential candidate again, charging the Bush administration with "messianic militarism and subservient corporatism," and the Democrats with soft-pedaling liberal policies that were once mainstays of their party.

Three years after the election in which Democrats say he cost Al Gore the White House, Ralph Nader is considering another campaign, and says he will decide shortly.

At this point, Mr. Nader said in an interview this week, a run depends only on his ability to collect enough money and volunteers to mount a credible effort. Otherwise, he said, he has a zillion reasons to go ahead including, he insists, that doing so would be good for the Democrats.

"But you've got to have money, and you've got to have volunteers," he said, though declining to specify the levels he would need of each. "The verdict is still out, but I'll decide by the end of the month."

Four years ago, he said he was running for president because he believed that the major-party nominees, Mr. Gore and George W. Bush, were virtually indistinguishable and that the parties were too cozy with corporate America. Now Mr. Nader, 69, says he has seen enough of Mr. Bush's administration to make defeating him and ending Republican control of Congress the chief goals. And those goals are more achievable, he says, if he joins the race.

That may be a hard sell to many Democrats, given the effect he had on the 2000 election as the Green Party's nominee. He finished with nearly 3 percent of the national electorate and won enough votes in Florida more than 97,000 to deny Mr. Gore the state, even in Mr. Nader's calculation that he won half as many votes from Republicans as from Democrats. After recounts, Mr. Bush won Florida by only 537 votes, and with it the presidency.

Mr. Nader would run this year as an independent. (The Green Party will not pick its nominee until June, too late, he says, to mount an effective campaign.) And here is how he says his running could work to the Democrats' advantage:

By hammering away at populist themes like a higher minimum wage, union rights and occupational health regulations, all of which he says have been neglected, he would force the leading Democratic contenders to move left. That, he says, would expand the party's base, drawing out more liberal voters, some angry enough at him about 2000 that they would vote for the Democratic nominee instead, and many who would vote Democratic in close House and Senate races.

At least that is the rationale he offered in recent talks with Democratic leaders, including the party's national chairman, Terry McAuliffe; the Senate minority leader, Tom Daschle of South Dakota; and the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi of California. "They were very polite," Mr. Nader said. "They listened. They were clearly receptive to the spillover vote."

But while they did not tell him outright not to run, he said, they remained "seized by the inaccurate zero-sum mentality" of a presidential field of just two candidates. He called that a limiting dynamic that forced Democrats to hew to the center rather than "expand the electorate with electrifying issues."

That, Mr. Nader maintained, is the real reason Mr. Gore lost in 2000.

"They are a very, very cautious party," he said of the Democrats. "That caution has led to defeats at all levels of government for 10 years against a very extreme Republican Party. They can't even beat an extreme Republican Party."

Democratic leaders are not persuaded by Mr. Nader's logic.

"Anyone who wants to run can attempt to qualify to get on the ballots," said Tony Welch, a party spokesman. "We're still going to reach out to those who voted for Ralph Nader, to independents and to Republicans to try to put a Democrat in the White House."

For all the apparent friction between Mr. Nader and the Democrats, he has far greater disdain for Republicans. To be sure, he still sees similarities in the two parties' support for a political system that discourages alternative political voices. But he levels particular criticism at the Bush administration, over issues like the budget deficit and what he sees as a growing concentration of power in the executive branch, an apparent lack of interest in corporate crime at a time Mr. Bush has raised enormous campaign sums from corporate friends, and curtailment of civil liberties in the war on terror.

"I would not do this if I didn't really want to defeat Bush," Mr. Nader said, calling the McCarthy era "chicken feed compared with what we have now."

"Seeking justice supersedes everything," he said, sounding more than ever like a candidate. "Without justice, we have nothing in this world. We can't have freedom without justice. That's what freedom is supposed to be."

homepage: homepage: http://www.commondreams.org/

the truth is not a lie repeated 11.Jan.2004 01:36

alternative press?

"After recounts, Mr. Bush won Florida by only 537 votes"

Saying it a million times still doesn't make it true.

No wonder I don't bother reading commondreams.

the same lie 11.Jan.2004 02:19

whoa!

before i got to the bottom of this article, i spotted a quote that really jumped out at me. i highlighted and cut it, and it is still on the 'clipboard'.

and now i will 'paste' it right here: "After recounts, Mr. Bush won Florida by only 537 votes, and with it the presidency."

see? it is the same quote from the comment above, which i did not see until i finished reading the article and scrolling down.

this tragedy is as big as the republican neo-con elimination of major portions of the us constitution, maybe bigger.

bush did not win the election and everything he has done and will do while pretending to hold that office is illegitimate. the fact that the media and power brokers allowed him to steal the election without comment or examination is a terrible tragedy of epic proportions that will reverberate in american history for generations.

elections have never been fair. elections have been manipulated for most of american history. only, in this case, the people KNOW it and still have no power to do anything about it.

i weep for america.

RUN RALPH RUN! MAYBE WITH KUCINICH, WHOM THE MEDIA HAS DECIDED 'CAN'T WIN' AND MUST NOT BE PUBLICIZED IN ANY WAY.

This article makes me grind my teeth 11.Jan.2004 06:06

Aunt Sam

This article is sooooo very patronizing and soooo very disapproving of Nader. I want Nader to run. I want these bastard democrats scared as shit. Reform is not going to work. Reform has stopped working, maybe she quit her job, and became revolution instead....


Run Nader! Run! Fuck Hillary Rodham Clinton bios, fuck the Ladin/Bushes, fuck these Gore vs Clinton disIRAQtion nominee tactics.... Run Nader! Run WITH CYNTHIA MCKINNEY!!!! RUN AND EXPOSE DIEBOLD! Run!

I will never, ever vote for dean. Neoliberalism is as dangerous as this administration. Just you try and work in a sweatshop with a gun pressed to your head yelling work faster (Walmart sweatshops=Hillary Clinton was lawyer for Walmart)


RUN NADER! Be a symbol of hope for the world!

I'm about done with commondreams they always publish the same lies. They *yawn* bore me.

hillary wasn't a lawyer for Wal-mart 11.Jan.2004 08:56

wb

She was on the board of directors.

check Sam Walton's book, and look at the photos in the middle of the book. she is right up front with in a beautful studio portrait.

In defense of common dreams... 11.Jan.2004 10:03

noteworthy

Many of the stories that common dreams puts on its website are not written by it - they are just newsworthy articles that concern issues that the leftist population is interested in (like Nader running). The article posted was written by the new york times - common dreams is not acknowleding that bush "won" the presidency, corporate media is. Just thought I'd make that clear....

another selective use of facts, here's more to round it out 11.Jan.2004 11:18

me

1. where is the corruption in the Florida vote roster itself, that was OKed by the white supremacists in the Bush administration?

2. where is the mention that voting machines in FL counties that were demographically mostly 'white' got their ballot machines programmed to spit back out faulty ballots, where in 'black' counties the machines were programed to 'eat the ballots' when there was a mistake, thus making them void?

3. where is the story on Volusia county where Gore lost over 10,000 (or was it more) votes that had already been talled, and they 'reappeared' under an obscure socialist candidate?

4. where is the story about how it was Katherine Harris, head of Bush campaign in FL (and simultaneously part of the FL government), who OK'ed the voter lists that would be pro-Bush biased as they were purged of black voters?

5. where is the story about how the Supreme Court, with its Bush I appointees, told FL to stop counting legal votes, even though it was part of the FL Constitution to do so?

6. where is the 5 to 4 decision of the Supreme Court, basically appointing a presidential candiate WITHOUT TALLYING THE FLORIDA VOTE?

7. Where is the story of Bush appointee Ashcroft, white supremacist supreme, refusing to investigate the Florida vote fraud or the loss of civil rights in Florida (the faulty 'purged' voter lists) that continues well past the 2002 election in that state, further making those elected to Congress in this period (like Katherine Harris herself!?) personally aided by her own fraud two years earlier?

8. Where is the story that Bush refused United Nations electoral observers? The UN observers were REFUSED entry into the United States to observe the Florida 2002 elections.

9. Even the independent tally after the election said that Gore recieved the Florida vote.

10. Where is the story or concern about Diebold machines in the upcoming elections?

11. Where is the concern that a Democratic Governor in Georgia went to sleep after he won his election, though he wakes up the next day and finds that the vote totals had been changed overnight (even though they had already been certified complete), and a Republican coup had occured in that state? And the courts refused to hear his challenge? First Republican governor in over 100 years in Georgia...

12. Turn off your damn t.v. Stop reading the useless corporate media rags. The whole history they propose is a huge empty lie built by the fascists who dominate the United States. Nader running can only help America come to terms with the fact that the Democratic elite WANT TO AVOID widening their base--that the Democrats are as much a part of the corporate state as the Republican camp. See for yourself about the funding:  http://www.opensecrets.org/

Please Ralph, Run (away) from the Democrats! 11.Jan.2004 11:19

tracy

"By hammering away at populist themes like a higher minimum wage, union rights and occupational health regulations, all of which he says have been neglected, he would force the leading Democratic contenders to move left. That, he says, would expand the party's base, drawing out more liberal voters, some angry enough at him about 2000 that they would vote for the Democratic nominee instead, and many who would vote Democratic in close House and Senate races.

At least that is the rationale he offered in recent talks with Democratic leaders, including the party's national chairman, Terry McAuliffe; the Senate minority leader, Tom Daschle of South Dakota; and the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi of California. "They were very polite," Mr. Nader said. "They listened. They were clearly receptive to the spillover vote."'

Huh? Why Ralph, Why? Why do you think the Democrats would "move left" in response to your campaign? Wouldn't they have done that in 2000, when you were actually running independent of them and inspiring people like me to vote for you? In reality Gore and (yawn) Lieberman became the Bush echo on, among other issues, the Death Penalty, support for Israel's occupation, status quo on health care, etc. By promising to deliver votes to the Democrats in November, you've basically assured the Democrats that they don't have to do ANYTHING to earn your votes. Sadly, you've failed the last test of credibility if you cannot run a truly independent campaign. If you do run, make sure its away from Daschle, Pelosi et al. Fast!

why can't we all just agree that job 1 is defeating Bush? 11.Jan.2004 11:33

Dean Admirer

Why can't we all just agree that defeating Bush is the top priority and stop wasting time trying to reform the Democratic party. Once Bush is gone then we'll have time to look at the party platform. Dean is the only candidate who can beat Bush. Nader will only confuse things.

thanks, interesting observation on Nader, ideas 11.Jan.2004 12:28

hmm

>>>>>>>>Huh? Why Ralph, Why? Why do you think the Democrats would "move left" in response to your campaign? Wouldn't they have done that in 2000, when you were actually running independent of them and inspiring people like me to vote for you? In reality Gore and (yawn) Lieberman became the Bush echo on, among other issues, the Death Penalty, support for Israel's occupation, status quo on health care, etc. By promising to deliver votes to the Democrats in November, you've basically assured the Democrats that they don't have to do ANYTHING to earn your votes. Sadly, you've failed the last test of credibility if you cannot run a truly independent campaign. If you do run, make sure its away from Daschle, Pelosi et al. Fast!

Interesting observation. Yes, Nader talks in terms less of running as a Green candidate and in terms of still considering the two party Democratic/Republican framework legitimate. Sometimes he talks green and green policies and about wanting multiple parties--though when he talks strategy he talks like he is only using greens as something to pressure Democrats to go left. Perhaps he is being pragmatic, as we are all trapped presently in this 'first past the post' voting here in the US, where getting 50% or above (of whatever low totals of voters) means winning, and where getting 49% can mean loosing. Nader seems to picture himself strategically less as an 'alternative' option to the collusive Democrats and Republicans, and more as delivering or taking away a few percentage points above or below than half to the Democrats, as reward or punishment. As a green, it makes me feel used instead of appealed to. I would much prefer a green running as a Green candidate, instead of someone like Nader who sees themselves working for the Democratic party!

Overall, if I was a green candidate I would talk about the faulty way America votes. Let's keep in mind that FPTP is a faulty way to vote and that it means in practice that the 'largest minority' gets to win, instead of some majority ever being appealed to. In practice, all political parties have learned to be less interested in appealing to voters, and more interested in dividing their opposition: it is easier to win in a FPTP context if you can cut into your opposition than appealing to more people. Sick though that is how American strategies are working--even Nader's!

The whole basis of voting somehow is legitimated as 'majoritarian democracy' in the United States when it is in practice 'minority rule' through a divide and conquer FPTP context. the FPTP context of England was invented before parties, and it is unsuited for party based politics, because parties learn to manipulate it to win by large minorities instead of by majorities. Change it.

Back to Nader. It is interesting despite this that instead of 'talking Green' Nader is talking merely using the Greens as a tool--as a way to pressure Democrats to go left. However, yes, that is just what I thought: the Democrats refused to go left in 2000 when he did this, why should he expect them to do it once more?

Yes, he should run as a Green--and popularize Green values--instead of simply running traitorously as a "Democratic Party Pressurer" in the Green party. Personally, I would like to see Nader run as a green for the CONGRESS, and use that as a platform for green values and policies, then do presidency runs much later.

RE: originally posted article 11.Jan.2004 14:20

-

it's ***not*** a Common Dreams article (although it is reposted at their NewsCenter site  http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0110-01.htm ),

take your time to ***read*** the identifier above the headline:

- Published on Saturday, January 10, 2004 by the New York Times -


An article Link! 11.Jan.2004 14:49

Aunt Sam

Praise Uncle Sam and pass the 18p an hour
Observer, London
Sunday, June 20, 1999

 http://www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=60&row=1

all about walmart filth.

Yeah, Hillary Clinton wasn't their Lawyer and the WTO is about Taxes and tariffs. Bullshit. They were doing some pretty sneaky slimy dealings when Hillary was on BOARD. That's why she was on board. A white maggot of a human she was to be a distraction for neoliberalists like yourself to debate not what walmart does but who is who in walmart.

Hillary was walmart's lawyer because Hillary is first and foremost a lawyer.

Oh did you notice the 40 hour week gone. That couldn't be a democrat!

Neoliberalism is as bad as neoconservatism! Getting Bush Out is not a long lasting solution and fails to attack the heart of the disease that is killing us. As long as you shop at Walmart I do not believe you.


I think that Nader actually helped people to see what was going on. I do not believe you should vote as if you need a leader, vote as if you respect a leader, otherwise LEAD YOURSELF! How hard is it for people to learn to look for respect and give respect? Why must you hate someone and vote for them? Is that how you feel about yourself? If you like them why do you try to convince me to hold my nose and vote for someone I disrespect? Do you really think that is wise? Why do you respect a party that works to set up sweatshops with Prison labor in foreign countries, a party that is profiteering off of the misery of others including yourself? What is it about you that makes this something you try to make me respect?

Dean and the DemocRATS can never be reformed ! 11.Jan.2004 14:50

thevoiceofjustice

"Why can't we all just agree that defeating Bush is the top priority and stop wasting time trying to reform the Democratic party. Once Bush is gone then we'll have time to look at the party platform. Dean is the only candidate who can beat Bush. Nader will only confuse things"

Reforming the DemocRATS is not the issue. It is the author of this quote and those of his/her ilk that are trying to confuse the issue. The DemocRAT Party has run off the rails and a substantial constituency is disallusioned to the point of defection. The grim reality is Dean Admirer is in denial of the fact that justice and the hope of advancing a progressive agenda will not be advanced one iota by the election Dean, Clark, Dean or any other "Mainstream" DemocRAT.

The fact that Kucinch and Sharpton are non entities before the first vote in the Iowa Caucuses indicates that the DemocRATS did not get the message of Nader' s and the Green Party's 2000 Campaign. The DLC is firmly entrenched with a stranglehold grip on the party's decision making process.

All of the major DemocRAT Candidates have announced publicly that they will forego Federal Matching Funds so that they can get down into the mud with Mega-Billionaire George Soros.

This is suppose to be an alternative to George W. Bush ?

Republican v. Democrat, Coke v. Pepsi, etc... 11.Jan.2004 17:36

Dean Admirer

Dean is electable versus Bush, Kucinich and Nader are not. Coke kills unionists in Colombia, that's why I drink Pepsi. You don't expect me to swear off ALL soft drinks do you? Radicals expect the world and as a result get nothing. All I want is a Democrat in the White House. I have brand loyalty. I don't care if Satan is elected, as long as he is registered Democrat. Anyone who doesn't get behind Dean now will have only themselves to blame for four more years of Republican brand leadership. It's time all you radicals recognized just how weak you are and hop on the Dean bandwagon. You can never win on your own. You need Dean.


Hurt them more 11.Jan.2004 18:22

George Bender

Someone wrote in a Green newsletter, "The problem was not that we hurt the Democrats in 2000, the problem was that we didn't hurt them enough." So let's do it again, harder. Either Nader or a Green candidate. I think there are 2 goals: (1) force the Democrats to move left and (2) try to build a third party.

Unfortunately the Greens seem to be unable to get it together. I think Nader has a point when he says that June is too late for the Greens to choose their presidential candidate. Apparently that is why he has opted out of the Green presidential nomination. If he runs it will be as an independent. So no, he's not using the Greens. I'm wondering though if he can get on the ballot in all the states without the Greens. And an independent run will not build a party. But maybe what we're seeing is that a national leftist party can't be built, because the left isn't smart enough or together enough. The only organized American left I see, albeit lukewarm liberal, is the Dean campaign. Sad but true, as he has said himself.

I'm wondering if the Greens are falling apart. Seems like too many of them are unwilling to fight the Democrats. They got slammed for helping defeat Gore -- yes we did, and rightly so -- and now they've gotten all apologetic. They're talking about only running a presidential candidates in safe states, where Bush has no chance. That isn't real. You've got to either do it or not do it. I won't support a fake campaign.

The Greens were invisible in Oregon in the 2002 campaign, except for supporting initiatives. No candidates except one in southern Oregon. No attention in the press. I don't know why they did that, but they better not do it again if they expect any of us to stick with the party. You can't have a political party without candidates. Incumbent Democratic state legislators have been doing a bad job and should be opposed. They aren't defending the safety net.


Unite for The Common Good 11.Jan.2004 18:57

CJ Luverboyz6969@aol.com

We had three years to mount a serious third party campaign and we didnt. Time's up. Our only hope now is to unite behind someone who is not as bad as Bush and who can win. That person is Howard Dean or Wesley Clark. Instead of infighting now, lets stand up to the Bush Regime and show that we count. Lets be honest, Dean, Clark or the eventual Democratic candidate would MUCH better than Bush and the Neocons. Now is the time to stand up to Bush and his abuse of America and to show that we will not be silenced.






We will always have time for internal changes, but this is our only time To Stop Bush.




For a good read I recomend Micheal Moore's new Bestseller, "Dude, Where's My Country".
Micheal Moore is a supporter of Nader but believes that it is time to unite behind a formable oppisiton to Bush.

uh, watch corporate media much 11.Jan.2004 19:06

wesley who?

Wesley Clark? The guy with virtually no standing in the polls right now? That plan by the neoliberals to grab votes from Dean so that one of the DLC-approved candidates could win was a miserable failure. Who the hell ever believed that shit about how Clark would be a formidable candidate? (other than corporate pundits, and I don't even think they believed it). Clark and Dean are not in the same political camp and I question anyone that would consider voting for Clark. Though, I do believe Michael Moore was right in supporting Clark's candidacy, for no other reason than watching Clark tear the administration's Iraq strategy apart. But his time is over and he'll be dropping out soon. The neoliberals have to decide whether they're going to run Hillary Clinton or simply sabotage the Dean campaign in 2004 and that should be interesting to watch out for. Maybe Bill Clinton will endorse Nader over Dean; that would be a laugh... no too obvious, but it's a nice thought.

?????!!!!!!!! 11.Jan.2004 19:11

Aunt Sam

"I don't care if Satan is elected, as long as he is registered Democrat." A quote from the guy who said Dean for America

Yes, we know.

Unite to Oppose Bush 11.Jan.2004 19:23

CJ Luverboyz6969@aol.com

For those of you who want to hurt the Democratic Party are hurting yourselves. We should strive for reform, and a serious third party in the off season. Right now we should unite to defeat Bush. By tring to hurt the Democratic party you are supporting Bush and his Cronies. This comes down to a choice of support, would rather support Bush and his Rightwing policys that are destorying lives, and the fundimential rights our slice of freedom was founded on or a reasonable Democratic candidate? Lets Stop Bush While We Still Can! Unite!



This election is a measure of the incumbent, Bush. The choice of four more years is in your hands, yes or no?

Unite to Oppose Bush 11.Jan.2004 19:25

CJ Luverboyz6969@aol.com

For those of you who want to hurt the Democratic Party are hurting yourselves. We should strive for reform, and a serious third party in the off season. Right now we should unite to defeat Bush. By tring to hurt the Democratic party you are supporting Bush and his Cronies. This comes down to a choice of support, would rather support Bush and his Rightwing policys that are destorying lives, and the fundimential rights our slice of freedom was founded on or a reasonable Democratic candidate? Lets Stop Bush While We Still Can! Unite!



This election is a measure of the incumbent, Bush. The choice of four more years is in your hands, yes or no?

Questions for the democrats 11.Jan.2004 19:56

Aunt Sam

I repeat these questions:

Why do you respect a party that works to set up sweatshops with Prison labor in foreign countries, a party that is profiteering off of the misery of others including yourself? What is it about you that makes this something you try to make me respect?

I also say, The democratic party keeps beating us till our blood runs in the streets generation after generation. When will we tire of this? How much blood will the democratic and republican parties shed of yours till you say enough? When will you make your vote count?

If you think Bush/clinton/Dean/Satan are electable go ahead and vote for them, but I am going to vote for someone who when I try to get their attention (because they refuse to talk to me directly even in this electronic age) does not arrest me (like Hillary did to the anti-war protestors) pepperspray me, beat me, gun me down so I lay in agony sobbing on the street next to the bodies of other women children elderly and disabled who had the gall to hold a sign up in a crowd to a high rise building, wondering why.

Are you afraid that they are now hurting you? Well, I'm afraid that your variety of reform only extends to you and your white middle class family in Americaville USA a trademark of Walmart and Wackenhut.


I am very curious do the democrats have any answers to my questions or is it all rhetorical party line nonsense.

Clones 11.Jan.2004 21:38

George Bender

If you want me to vote for Dean, convince me that he isn't another Clinton/Gore clone who will do pretty much the same things they did. I don't want 8 more years of that. How is he different?

At least having Bush in office forces Democrats to become activists, which they refused to do during the Clinton years. How do I know, if Dean is elected, that the Democrats won't just go to sleep for 8 years and let Dean do whatever he wants?