Nader's not on the ballot, and that's a shame
Bulldogs hold their ground. So long as there are unrepresented citizens, unprotected consumers, uninsured Americans, abused workers, and corporate militarism, the Nader/Camejo campaign will fight. We will vigorously challenge the corporate power structure in this country and demand that the American government serve the public interest before commercial demands further erode our weakened democracy. Nader/Camejo 2004 will not back down from this struggle.
ON THE NADER-FOR-PRESIDENT Web site, the American map features states in five colors: blue, red, purple, yellow, and gray--on the ballot, off the ballot, off the ballot (write in), off the ballot (in court), on the ballot (in court), and no chance whatsoever of being on the ballot. For Mr. Nader's third-party candidacy, just getting in the game in 2004 is an uphill battle.
Which is a shame. For whatever else you might say about Ralph Nader, he is, at least, a different voice. Both major-party candidates are sons of the upper economic class. Both have emerged from the ethereal world of corporate interests. Both have a vision of American life skewed by privilege.
Not so Mr. Nader. The of-the-people, by-the-people, for-the-people consumer advocate--and now two-time presidential candidate--runs on a platform that is environmentally sound and promotes the welfare of common American workers. But in Virginia and many other states, voters won't have the chance to add a resounding "Yes!" to Naderism. Thanks to a vigorous campaign by Democrats fearful that the Nader candidacy will spoil a John Kerry victory, the third-party candidate is being denied a place on the ballot, and his campaign war chest is being bled dry by the legal costs of defending his right to run.
In Virginia, the candidate needed 10,000 signatures to make the ballot. Although Naderites submitted 12,900, state election workers could verify only 7,342. The rest were in some way illegible. So the State Board of Elections refused to certify Mr. Nader.
But the situation in Virginia is sunny compared with those in some other places. The campaign had to take its case to the Supreme Court in Florida, and in Ohio, another battleground state, the feud is being fought down to the last signature on the last petition. As we write, 29 states have allowed Mr. Nader to enter the November race, but in 17 states his staff is fighting 21 separate legal battles to get on or stay on the ballot.
Of course, Mr. Nader must follow state election rules. But how philosophically traitorous of the Democratic Party, which for decades has crowed that it's the party of the people, to refuse to allow the people to vote for the era's leading anti-plutocrat. The "party of the little guy" suddenly plays duopolist plug-ugly when there's a chance the little guy might not fall into line.
Mr. Nader's quixotic campaign still has some snap. The Washington Post says he called national Democrats "a gutless, spineless, clueless, and hapless party." What's more, "We must never tolerate a Democratic Party that turns its back on the very people it depends on to win elections," Mr. Nader says, champing down hard on the donkey's leg. If the Democrats hate George Bush so much they're willing to scuttle a centerpiece of their heritage, what exactly does the party have left to offer?
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