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corporate dominance | government selection 2004

The Nader Question

And now the Green Party is actively debating whether or not to endorse the consumer advocate during its National Convention in Milwaukee Wisconsin in June. With no high profile candidate of their own, and a ridiculously late start, many Greens feel throwing some weight behind Nader could be their most resourceful option.
CounterPunch

March 18, 2004

The Nader Question
Third Parties in a Fractured Democracy
By JOSH FRANK

Things may be shaping up nicely for Ralph Nader, who could very soon receive an unlikely endorsement from the Ross Perot founded Texas Reform Party.

This may prove to be a huge victory for Nader's solo candidacy, as the support from the conservative Reformers could help him gain ballot access for the upcoming November election.

As you well know, Texas is not renowned for its democratic virtues or integrity (remember Tom Delay's legislative redistricting?). And now Nader faces numerous hurdles as he attempts to get his name on the state's ballot. Texas requires over 64,000 signatures by its May 10th deadline, and nobody who cast a vote in its presidential primary can sign his petition. But that's where the Reform Party may lend a helping hand.

Un-registered Third Parties are required to garner only 45,540, with a slightly later deadline of May 24th. Independents are not currently recognized as a Third Party, and in Texas only Democrats and Republicans are reserved special access to the state's ballot.

Nader would of course openly embrace the Reform Party's support, but claims he is not seeking it out. And now the Green Party is actively debating whether or not to endorse the consumer advocate during its National Convention in Milwaukee Wisconsin in June. With no high profile candidate of their own, and a ridiculously late start, many Greens feel throwing some weight behind Nader could be their most resourceful option.

The Greens and the Reform Party's added funds could shove Democratic loyalists, who continue to wrongly blame Nader for their 2000 defeat, into the emotional deep-end.

A poll released by the Associated Press on March 4th showed Nader coming in at a strong 6%, with Kerry and Bush in a virtual tie. However, we all know the popular vote doesn't mean as much as we'd like, as it's the Electoral College that really counts.

This could mean good things for the Nader camp, as the alienated classes of American voters could unify behind his candidacy. Such an alliance could force the Republicrat controlled Federal Election Commission to allow Nader to pass through the locked doors of the televised Presidential debates. If this does happen, one can expect that the "Nobody But Kerry" crowd will chastise such an invitation wholeheartedly_for they won't care to hear the real deal about their beloved Bush slayer, John Kerry. The good liberals will claim that including Nader would be far too much for our democracy to handle.

With that said, a never before seen progressive loathing has set in across the US, and it is split right in two. Faction Number One utterly detests Nader, and anyone for that matter, who dares stand up to the Democratic Party. If said person does raise a few qualms, they are typically labeled as a maniacal egotist, or worse yet, a Republican plant. And then there is progressive faction Number Two, which loathes not only Bush, but also the broken system that continues to fail Americans year after year.

This group sees Bush not as the embodiment of all that is evil, but as a product of a fractured democracy that's been on its last leg for too long.

Sure Nader's run could sift vital resources away from grassroots activism, and waste it on the "lose-lose" electoral game. It is also true that Nader isn't beholden to any progressive ideology but his own. However, at least we can conclude that Nader is not in the back pockets of the power elites like Kerry and Bush.

Democracy is for everyone. And if liberals and progressives do decide to hold their nose and pull the lever for John Kerry, they better be able to consciously handle the ramifications of their pragmatic choice if he's victorious. Here is a short list for which they'll need redemption:

* A continued US endorsement of Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.

* A US supported occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

* A continued adherence to neoliberal policies throughout the free market world.

* An American health care system controlled and run by private corporations.

* An increase in the level of income disparity among rich and poor citizens in the US.

* And an almost exponential decline of the natural environment and endangered species of North America. And much much more.

It is true that Ralph Nader may not be the answer to all that ails us, but he is at this moment the only Presidential candidate willing to challenge the status quo we call American politics. A vote for John Kerry may amount to a vote against a vile Bush administration, but it is also a vote cast in support of a degraded structure that continues to ignore the majority of the American people.

Perhaps the Green and Reform Parties are on to something, and their support of Nader's candidacy could be done more in protest than solidarity.

Regardless it would be wise for us to realize that Kerry is part of the problem, not the solution.


Josh Frank can be reached at:  frank_joshua@hotmail.com

homepage: homepage: http://naderoregon.org/

I agree! 18.Mar.2004 18:21

Delila

Good points - especially re: Kerry and the system. One missing point is that not only does a poll mean little due to the Electoral College, but especially this year because of electronic voting. The chance for ffraud is GREAT - don't trust it! This is a real shot in the arm to anything we have left of a 'democracy'.

From the Green perspective 18.Mar.2004 18:21

Jeff Cropp

There's a lot misinformation here from the Green Party perspective:

1.) Yes, the Green Party is debating on whether or not to nominate Nader as our candidate. Most likely we will not. Nader is not a Green and has not expressed interest in building a progressive third party movement this time. He has also publicly stated that he's not interested in seeking our nomination. Some Greens still want to draft him as our candidate after that - many of us do not.

2.) Mr. Frank references the Greens' "ridiculously late start." Sorry, but we actually have a contested nomination this year, even if Nader decides to enter the fray. Our Nominating Convention is actually several months before either the Democratic or Republican Conventions. They were fortunate enough to remove all challengers to their front-runners early.
Info about the Green Party Presidential candidates and the 2004 Nominating Convention can be found at: www.gp.org/convention/index.html
In addition, David Cobb, the current frontrunner for the 2004 Green Presidential nomination, will be in Portland on April 16. More details about that event will be posted to Indymedia soon.

3.) Finally, Greens are far less concerned with the Presidential race in 2004. It's highly unlikey that Nader or the Green Party candidate will achieve the 5% threshold necessary to receiving FEC matching funds for 2008. However, Greens have many opportunities to win important races on the local level throughout the country. That's where Greens can be truly effective and that's where members of the Pacific Green Party of Oregon will be putting their focus in 2004. The growing list of 2004 candidates can be found at www.pacificgreens.org


So, let Nader tilt at windmills and rattle the Dems nationally. Greens have more important efforts to work on.

hey 'Jeff Cropp' 18.Mar.2004 21:16

what if

the Greens *do* end up nominating Nader as their party candidate?

Democrats Consistently Lose... 19.Mar.2004 11:58

History Buff

...when they lean to the right.

If Nader is nominated... 19.Mar.2004 12:28

Jeff

...then probably not much will change. We'll put the Green Party's Presidential nominee on the ballot in Oregon, but we're still going to focus most of our time, energy and volunteer resources on local races. In 2000, everything was about Nader, to the complete exclusion of all of our local candidates. That's not going to happen again.

I just don't get it! 20.Mar.2004 06:22

Dunc

I am totally at a loss as to why a party supposedly dedicated to the environment, human rights etc would contribute to helping re-Select Shrub. This is the only possible outcome of another Nader run. Do you think this political statement will help anything except Ralph's ego? Why not work to change the current system. Vote out the congresspeople that have passed all of the vile bills since Shrub began his reign.

Kerry may be part of the problem, but will certainly not trash our country and the world as Bush has. Please, please use your brains on this one instead of trying to make an ultimately pointless and destructive gesture against "The Man".

I assume that the support for Nader is in the hope that he can actually be elected? Assuming he is, do you think congress will let an aging, pro-consumer, pro-environment, anti-big business activist get anything done? As usual, we have a choice of the lesser of two evils, but Bush is the ultimate evil and helping Nader is helping Bush. You can bet the neo-cons are rooting for Nader big time!

A rational explanation from someone would be cool! Like I said, I just don't get it!(but I bet someone will enlighten me!)

no you don't 20.Mar.2004 12:38

but many of us do

"Vote out the congresspeople that have passed all of the vile bills since Shrub began his reign."

You mean like Kerry; that's what voting for Nader is doing.

I will not vote for a Bush supporter anymore than I'll vote for Bush.

re: no you don't 20.Mar.2004 17:48

Dunc

So, what you are saying is that you would rather have Shrub in office again than vote for Kerry? This is way too important to our whole country to stand on principal, vote for Nader and simply watch the march toward privatization, authoritarianism, a degraded environment etc to make a point. What would be the point? That your principals are simply too high to vote for the lesser of two evils and help re-install a mean spirited, greedy, hypocritical scumbag?

"You mean like Kerry; that's what voting for Nader is doing".

How do you figure that voting for Nader will change anything? I wish to hell someone would explain that to me! Ralph is a great man, but what will it actually accomplish except to help get Shrub re-Selected? Certainly you Green folks must despise the man as much as I and want him out of the White House. Isn't that a disgusting thought having that vile human being in the oval office for another four years? Will one of you thinking Indy people (not sarcasm!) please give me a truly rational,logical explanation? Because I still don't get it!