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Ralph Nader for President

For those Democrats upset by another Nadar run for the presidency let me remind you that it might have been avoided if you'd had the wisdom to vote for John Edwards. I haven't donated money to either Hillary or Barack though I did contribute both to the Kucinich and Edwards campaigns. I'll be sending some money to Ralph, not because he has any chance to win, but that I want his voice heard during the campaign, and please don't deluge me with counter-factuals they aren't very persausive.

The transcript




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Comments

I want his voice heard during the campaign...

Norm, Where and when do you expect that Nader will have a greater voice during the 2008 campaign than if he weren't running? If Nader were to write careful, factually supported editorials that persuasively argue his position on selected progressive issues, he might have a chance of being published in some major print media outlets - and subsequently interviewed on television. As a candidate, he less likely to get that kind of platform now. As candidate who is running for president for the 5th time, I think he will get all the media respect and attention (fairly or unfairly) that used to be accorded to Harold Stassen.

As a candidate, he less likely to get that kind of platform now.

I disagree, I think being a candidate enhances his chances of getting a platform.

oh boy, here we go again!

Let me make it clear - Ralph does a great job here - I agree with lots of what he says. I just don't think he will have a voice in corporate media after this interview.

Good for You!

Why is it that in the US Ralf Naders policies are regarded as extream, but over here they are mainstream (Scotland, but I speak for all Western Europe)

He will get a huge platform from Fox, they will use every opportunity to try and split the Democratic/Independant vote

Just listen to the man. If you vote for the Democratic nominee, in a state that overwhelmingly gives 100% of its electorates to the candidate, he or she will have zero incentive to affect change on your issues. The Dems are complacent. In states like MA, NY, or CA, the left gets disregarded proportionally to the inevitability of a Democratic victory. If you want to waste your vote, fine. But if you live in a deep-blue state, why not throw your support to Nader and get them their five-freaking-percent? It only helps in the end.

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Let the Nader-whining commence. As we all know (because the so-called "liberal" blogs tell us so), it's all Ralph's fault that the Party of Roosevelt has been turned into a bunch of sniveling, gutless waterboys for the likes of George W. Bush.

Here's an idea: instead of complaining about a guy who is worth about one percent of the vote, why don't the Democraps go out and nominate a truly progressive, truly anti-Bush candidate (rather than these two corporatist tools they've settled on) and win this damn election that is sitting there for the taking?

Oh, screw it, even when they win they let the Republicans steal it from them, and then instead of fighting for it, they turn around and cry about Mr. 1%.

..then florida..florida, florida. As you remember George Bush "won" florida by 537 votes...

Oh really? I can't beileve Timmy had the nerve to say that given all the facts.

i dont know what kind of support he will get, but i do know that he will get mine

I'm quite pleased with this decision on your part, though I'd be much happier if Cynthia McKinney were the Green's candidate. (Hopefully, she'll be his choice for VP.)

I think being a candidate enhances his chances of getting a platform.

If he continues to sound as good as he does here, I hope you're right Norm.

Even Meet the Press should recognize that Nader has given them a great idea: as purely a matter of business, they really should have Nader and Gore on together to discuss the 2000 election. It would be interesting.

Ah, he's running as an Independent. Even better.

Norm, I'd appreciate it if, at some point, you could lay out your reasoning for why you're supporting Nader (as opposed to any of the other 3rd Party/ Independent candidates).

Can't Ralf find a more effective method of getting his views considered than a quixotic run for presidency?

"For those Democrats upset by another Nadar run for the presidency let me remind you that it might have been avoided if you'd had the wisdom to vote for John Edwards."

As someone who voted for John Edwards, I somehow doubt that Norm. Ralph's repeated run for President is more about getting his Green Party some national exposure, more so than anything else. That being said, I still might vote for Nader in November, I certainly prefer him over Obama, and Hillary, that's for sure.

and please don't deluge me with counter-factuals they aren't very persausive.

Okay.

He gets no argument from me whatsoever…go man, go!

erm... does this mean mccain has a better hance to win? :(

If the U.S. got rid of its antiquated voting system and you wouldn't have this problem. STV would be my choice.

One line of Ralph's was annoying:

Let's get over it and try to have a diverse, multiple choice, multiple party democracy like they have in Europe and in Canada.

C'mon Ralph, you know very well why we can't have a multiple choice, multiple party democracy like they have in Europe. For better or worse, they have parliamentary systems in Europe. If you vote Green in Germany, the social democrats have the option of forming a coalition government with some Greens in the government.

So who is funding Ralph Nader this time?

From the SF Chronicle 7/9/2004.

"Among those who have recently given to Nader are Houston businessman Nijad Fares, who donated $200,000 to Bush....Richard J. Egan, former ambassador to Ireland..who raised $300,000 for Bush, Michigan developer Ghassan Saab, who has given $30,000 to the RNC since 2001, and frozen food magnate Jeno Paulucci and his wife Lois who have donated $150,000 to GOP causes since 2000 alone."

If he cant run without taking the Republican welfare check, then- because of his supposed principals-he should not run at all. Otherwise he is a hypocrite.

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Will Republicans be funding his campaign again? Just curious.

I would vote for him.

hey champ, it's spelled nadEr.

Tim, I don't get it. Can you elaborate on your comments?

Also, what about electoral reform, such as using STV to vote for president.

I want to move to Western Europe. America sucks.

Good luck to Nader.

Why is he running? Nader was a clueless loser in the last election he destroyed, and he still is a clueless loser, who will only server to be a pain in the rear. He needs to get behind a mainstream candidate and stay there. Sure, we all love to think there's more than 2 parties in the US, but, there are not. It is IRRESPONSIBLE to vote for the Ron Pauls, Ross Perots and Ralph Naders because you WASTE your vote. If you do, YOU are responsible for 4 more years of a dying economy, a huge budget deficit, the poor and middle class who will die without medical care, nature preserves sold to oil interests, the Poles melting while we're told Global Warming does not exist, mature forests completely logged out, homeowners subject to unregulated mortgage lenders, human lives wasted in a pointlessly directed 'war on terror' that still hasn't caught Osama bin Laden, while our own civil rights are removed under our noses, and a government that supports dictatorships yet still manages to give itself a black eye in world opinion.

Tim, check out this website: http://www.fairvote.org/?page=2

"Achieving our goals rests upon bold, but achievable reforms: a constitutionally protected right to vote, a national popular vote for president, instant runoff voting for executive elections and proportional voting for legislative elections. As a reform catalyst, we develop and promote practical strategies to improve elections for local, state and national leaders."

Norm, this kind of game doesn't "get your voice heard" or make any statements.

You don't make independents or third parties viable, or break the two party system, by announcing a run for president on Meet the Press in February and then getting 0.1 percent of the vote. You have to start a gradual process - why hasn't Nader run for any other office? Why does he just do these pointless presidential runs? This is a waste of time and a waste of a vote.

I would never knock a 3rd party candidate mere because he entered the race. It is his right to do so if he feels some issues are not being well represented.

But insofar as the suggestion is that one, as a voter, might support Nader because it will somehow give him a "voice," I am unpersuaded. It is more important to me that the U.S. get out of Iraq, that it get on the road to universal health care, that it get lobbying money out of politics as much as possible, and much, much else. Obama will do all of that: and has the demonstrated experience of having done so in the past, whatever Clinton's silly canards. http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/clinton-obamapillowfight.html

As for Obama’s list of his accomplishments, he’s right on every count. A Washington Post editorial credited Obama for helping to create "the strongest ethics legislation to emerge from Congress yet," and the Coburn-Obama Act created a new Web site, USAspending.gov, which allows anyone to see where federal contracting and grant money is being spent. Moreover, it was an Obama-sponsored amendment that ended Walter Reed's practice of requiring outpatient military personnel to pay for their own meals. And as a state senator in Illinois, Obama championed a bill requiring the police to videotape prisoner interrogations. Although initially controversial, the measure passed the Senate unanimously; even Republicans conceded that the turnaround was largely Obama’s doing. Finally, while Obama didn’t mention this one, we think it’s worth noting that the Lugar-Obama non-proliferation initiative provided funds for destroying nuclear weapons and for intercepting weapons of mass destruction.

Voting for Nader will not achieve any of these goals because he will never win, and having given him a "voice" in the past doesn't seem to me to have put the main issues he cares about front and center, at least, not as a result of his running for president, at any rate.

Politics ought to be the practical business of picking better over worse, not the making of purely symbolic gestures which have no demonstrated effect whatsoever on the real world.

The claims Ralph makes are absolutely valid and should be heard by as much of the electorate as possible.

So no argument from me. Good luck to him - and may the truly best man win.

Christiaan,

I probably should have more properly said that in Europe a proportional voting system is used (they are parliamentary systems too) and it is common that no single party gets a majority of the votes. This leads to the formation of coalitions between parties to achieve a majority. In any case, a vote for a Green party candidate is less likely to help out a right wing party because the social democrats will likely end up including the Greens in their coalition in order to achieve a majority.

Electoral reform is of interest, but not relevant for Nader's case, of course, since the system by which we select a president is Constitutionally mandated and a change would require Constitutional changes I think.

His voice heard? Where was his voice the last four years? Where was he the last eight years? Did he ever take a stand, organize a campaign against the kind of government we had since 2000?

No. He just waits three years and pops up in the fourth year threatening to run and then, every fourth summer, he runs. Sole purpose of that: to be a pain in the a** for all the people who might have been susceptible for his views - until he started to work with the Republicans. It worked in 2000, it almost worked in 2004 - and who knows, it might just work in 2008. Because every Democrat who thinks this thing is already in the bag, is kidding him/herself.

No counter-factuals? Sorry, Norm, I couldn't help myself. I'm with you on a great many things. But I just don't get your Nader position, I just don't. This man - and not his policies, mind you - is beyond contempt.

Tim, what do you see as the barriers to coalitions, or even affiliations within Congress?

Also, it's my understanding that using STV, or more specifically IRV, to elect the president would not require Constitutional ammendments.

I will vote for Nader if (and this is likely) Obama will have the WA State vote wrapped up. I did the same in 2000 when Gore clearly was going to win against Bush in this state.

What a perfect summation of his position. The guy is a truth-teller.

I hope this time Nader is willing to encourage his supporters to vote Democratic in states where the popular vote is going to be close. This is the big thing he failed to do (he was asked to do this) in 2000. I hope he has learned.

I met Nader at a gathering I organized back in college. In person he was truly amazing -- funny, passionate, smart. I'll never forget it.

Clearly Obama can win, and of course Nader cannot and he knows it. I think if Nader doesn't viscously attack the Dems for their positions as he pushes progressive causes, his candidacy will be very positive for this country.

votenader.org

His voice heard? Where was his voice the last four years? Where was he the last eight years? Did he ever take a stand, organize a campaign against the kind of government we had since 2000?

He has written numerous essays and been interviewed countless times on these important topics. That you are seemingly unaware of this fact makes my point. Today he was heard by millions that wouldn't have heard him if he wasn't running for president.

Name 1 thing Nader has accomplished or even done in the last 8 years besides make money for himself. He has been totally absent from any meaningful discussions, efforts at change or movements for peace during the last 8 years. Between elections he never speaks out against Bush, the war, unfair tax breaks for the rich ( He is rich you know) All he does is show up every 4 years take a bunch of money from the repubs and idealistic fools and draw attention and money away from REAL viable candidates.

Tim, what do you see as the barriers to coalitions, or even affiliations within Congress?

If there are single issues or a complex of issues on which members of different parties agree, you can get coalitions, of course. The 'dixiecrats' long voted as a conservative bloc before they jumped as a group to the GOP (a proud development for Republicans everywhere). But for the most part, third parties are excluded by the fact that if they don't win majorities, then are completely shut out. No power, no way to build a record of achievements, little way to do grass-roots party-building - organizing is tough when you don't have visible office-holding leaders. So coalitions with third parties are unnecessary because they have no one with whom the majority parties must deal.

When I write some essays even less people get to know of them. Come on, Norm, he knows how to get heard, how to get things done. Do you or does Ralph Nader claim that showing up on Meet the Press every fourth february or so announcing that you run for prez is the only way for someone like Ralph Nader to get heard? Seriously?

Where was he in 2002 or 2006, for instance? Why doesn't he try to get a seat in Congress? Why doesn't he seriously try to build the infrastructure of a third party? I mean, it's not like he was a poor man, too. Lightyears ago he even knew how to get donations for a political purpose.

You really think showing up every presidential election making everything from 0.1 to 2 percent of the vote and thereby pissing off some two-thirds of your potential voters who share your ideas and pleasing two thirds of the voters fighting your ideals tooth and nail - you really think that is furthering Naders goals?

Maybe it is. Depends on the goals.

Sorry, I still don't get it. If the people elect a Congress of multiple parties giving no one party a majority, then a coalition would have to be formed to pass legislation.

Further more you say that "third parties are excluded by the fact that if they don't win majorities, then are completely shut out." But that's my point... which is to reform your electoral system to stop this.

He has written numerous essays and been interviewed countless times on these important topics.

Nader is a rather smart man, that used to be listened to.

Presidents used to have him come by the whitehouse and tell them about all of his smart thoughts. Unfortunately the flagellation came to an end when carter got his ass handed to him by Ronald Reagan.

So Ralph got airbags installed in every car and anti lock breaks put in every last Chevy Lumina and waited for democrats to come back and invite him back to the throne to regale them with his wisdom.

Enter the Clinton's, who I guess didn't find Nader as wise as he finds himself.

SO he got pissed and ran for president.

Then he lost is such a way that he indeed helped a terrible man get elected. THat man moved every issue Ralph has smart opinions about in the wrong direction. Ralphie had zero remorse and ran again. He didn't go on a campaign to fight global warming like Gore or Fix the Healthcare like Micheal Moore, or highlight Poverty like John Edwards. Instead he wrote some brooding essays and moved in with his sister.

Four years later the Green party is pretty much fully funded by the republican party and Ralph fights on without them but is also fully funded by the republican party.

He will never stop running for president until he can get a weekly lunch with a president of the United States.

Joe Lieberman and Ralph should go on an arrogant Ass tour so together they can piss on every issue they have ever pretended to care about.

Sometimes its fun to flame.

I love how people love to blame bush on nader instead of blaming the real losers, al gore, and the people who voted for bush.

You know, Red, we may have our issues when it comes to Hillary. But with Nader you're just so totally spot on!

He's a much better candidate than any of the other bought and bribed guys.

I love how people love to blame bush on nader instead of blaming the real losers, al gore, and the people who voted for bush.

When a campaign is lost and lost by small margins there are 100 things that have done differently that would change the outcome.

Nader is one of those 100 things. Gore has fault for the other 99. Gore grew a beard and got fat over what happened to the country after he screwed up that campaign. Nader marches on lost in his own reflection.

You know, Red, we may have our issues when it comes to Hillary. But with Nader you're just so totally spot on!

Maybe if we can't work together to convince norm to vote for obama together, we can at least get him to vote socialist, so as not to feed the Nader ego.

my cat just announced he's running too. as his manager, i demand equal time.

Or maybe you should all grow up and stop blaming Nader for an antiquated electoral system none of you seem prepared to criticise?

Your electoral system sucks. So stop bitchin and moaning about its skewed outcomes and instead change it.

But that's my point... which is to reform your electoral system to stop this.

Hey, I'm not disagreeing that electoral reform might not be a very good thing. I'm just saying that until that happens, Nader should know that his third party run for the presidency doesn't promote "a diverse, multiple choice, multiple party democracy like they have in Europe and in Canada". It didn't do that in the past and it won't this time either.

Christiaan, the most likely way to change our electoral system is a bloody revolution... and that is something virtually everyone wishes to avoid.

Unless you're volunteering to free the shit out of us like we're doing to Iraq and Afghanistan...

Or maybe you should all grow up and stop blaming Nader for an antiquated electoral system none of you seem prepared to criticise?

What exactly do you mean by that? The electoral college? Is that all this is about? Or the office of the presidency?

I'm not bitching and moaning about its outcomes. The 2000 election had a predictable result: predictable from Rove's dishonest campaign, Gore's effing-up of the debates and that little factor you seem to ignore: That a certain Ralph Nader chose to campaign in exactly those states where the outcome seemed close, thereby helping Bush. This is a historical fact and has nothing whatsoever to do with a so-called "antiquated electoral system".

The system and its rules were clear. They are not better or worse than in other democracies: a first-past-the-post presidential democracy with 50 districts (the states). It's a system that almost by definition tends towards two parties which are essentially coalitions. Primaries allow you to get the nomination of either.

This in and of itself is neither good nor bad. It's not the system's fault if progressives have a hard time getting the nomination and winning the presidency - it's democracy's fault. The majority is just not that progressive. That's life.

So, again, what do you want to change? And what has all that to do with an old man on an ego-trip?

My only voting regret... Was not voting for Nader in 2004. I held my nose and voted for Kerry. The idea behind Democracy is that you vote for someone who represents your interests and priorities. The presidential candidate, in my lifetime, who has come closest to this is Nader. Voting for him in 1996 and 2000 was my RIGHT as an American. Anyone of you who says that he should stay out of the race so that MY vote isn't "stolen" by Nader can go to hell. Who are you to say that some platitude-spouting corporate-lackey "deserves" my vote? I absolutely resent that. Absolutely.

If I have the anti-Nader argument right, it is: "Ralph Nader shouldn't run, because people that think he represents them will vote for him. The consequence is that the greater of two evils will get elected."

I have this to say in reply: Who the hell are you to suppress who I get to vote for? YOU HAVE NO RIGHT. My vote is mine, and it is my voice in a Democracy (or at least whatever is left of the one that used to be here).

And before you get on your "pragmatist" high horse, think about this - if you always go for the lesser of 2 evils, you still get more evil, just a little more slowly. If you vote for what you think is good, then you may lose most of the time - but your voice, and your values are recognized. When that odd time when your views pull through, you've done a small good, rather than perpetuated a lesser evil.

All of you who are posting here or reading these comments should buy or rent An Unreasonable Man, a balanced documentary about the career of Ralph Nader.

Nader is an American hero. He has more integrity in his magnificent schnozzola than McCain has in his entire stumpy little body.

I voted for him in 2000, but it was a safe vote since my state was safely for Gore.

This is a free country in which anybody can run for the presidency. Ralph is exercising that right. Of course, if he is not your candidate, you will see him as a spoiler.

I am an Obama supporter, and I regarded Edwards as a spoiler and now I see Hillary as a spoiler. If Hillary wins the nomination and goes on to lose to McCain, then I could blame her in retrospect for spoiling Obama's presidency. But that would be a rather stupid attitude, wouldn't it?

And before you get on your "pragmatist" high horse, think about this - if you always go for the lesser of 2 evils, you still get more evil, just a little more slowly.

Now, who's on the high horse here? I think you have a problem with democracy. There are primaries, you know. On the Democratic side there were a number of progressives running. They lost, eventually. That's how things go sometimes. Now, there are two candidates left, and in the end it will be one of them against an even less progressive nominee from the other side.

Of course, it's your right to vote for a third party spoiler. But it's my right to call that stupid. If you're living in Utah, okay, maybe voting Nader isn't such a big deal. (Although he won't set foot there because that's not where he can cause a stir and he doesn't give a damn about the progressives there; mark my words.) But if you are in a 50:50 state and would rather help the Republican (by voting Nader) who is even further away from you politically than simply vote for the Democrat who is a little bit closer to you - you are, ahem, not smart. And you are on a horse that's considerably higher than mine.

if you always go for the lesser of 2 evils, you still get more evil, just a little more slowly.

Sometimes people vote for spoilers and we get the Greater of two evils. You may have noticed.

If Nader was not an "evil" himself he would have gone off and run for congress and built a viable third party ages ago.

Instead we get to have this moronic discussion every 4 years about what is more importat; Nadar's Ideals or thousands and thousands of american lives killed in pointless wars, Katrina, etc..

Nader could do all his lovely issue shit from some congressional seat and not help the right divide and conquer the left.

The left doesn't get divided by Nader, he simply separates those that like to think themselves leftists (what are you guys calling yourselves these days? Oh that's right "progressives") from actual leftists.

You Americans -as well as most people in the world- will still get the government you deserve. Everyone's too comfortable for real change.

Many of you are missing Norm's point. If Edwards or Kucinich were the likely Democratic nominees, Nader would not be running. Instead, we have two center-right candidates (check their voting records) who are not discussing the issues. Nader can bring back the Kucinich/Edwards issues--good for him.

If the Democratic party could accurately represent the wants of the progressive/leftist community adequately, we wouldn't be voting for Nader in the first place. Lets place the blame firmly where it belongs.

Re: Frenchie "I think you have a problem with democracy. There are primaries, you know."

Primaries are fundamentally not democratic, for several reasons. 1) You have to be a member of the party to vote in their primary, 2) The candidates can be whittled down before you see them, 3) The party isn't 'bound' by the popular vote (creation of superdelegates, etc).

"But if you are in a 50:50 state and would rather help the Republican (by voting Nader) who is even further away from you politically than simply vote for the Democrat who is a little bit closer to you - you are, ahem, not smart."

If I were to only vote once in my life, this would be true. But actually, over time this voting for the lesser of 2 evils is a poor strategy. In this regime, the pool of Democratic candidates who win are consistently shifted to the right, because their winning strategy is to gain new voters without worrying about alienating anyone from their base. Basically, you wind up with candidates that are as close as they can be to their Republican counterparts without being Republican, because they're always 'not quite as bad'. The reason that jesusland actually got some of the crazy stuff they want, as a minority of the population, is because they realized this and implemented it, and now every repiglican candidate pays homage to them. If people thought like me, and apparently not like you, Democratic senators wouldn't have thought they could have bent over for BushCo's all of these years without holding their seats. They only fear reprisal from the centrist voters. If they feared reprisal from progressives, we would have been out of Iraq a long time ago. That is why you vote for Nader, because then your voice is heard where politicians listen. If you vote for Obama or Clinton, your voice says "sure, I'll vote for you just because you're not a repig", and you'll get another mediocre candidate, just like them, next time.

We NEED Nader to be in the debates. No one else will address the issues he raises. For the other candidates to not mention third party voter access limitations is a crime. He's also right. If the republicans win, the democrats have no one to blame but themselves. I'm registered as a democrat, but only so I can vote in the primaries for people the networks won't even let debate. Ralph has my vote! Run, Ralph, run!

Is it me or did Ralph only blink his right eye?

Adam - It is more important to me that the U.S. get out of Iraq, that it get on the road to universal health care, that it get lobbying money out of politics as much as possible, and much, much else. Obama will do all of that

Can I quote you on this in four years when we're still in Iraq, on the road to nowhere with healthcare and lobbyists are lined up around the block making sure those exact issues remain eternal?

Maybe I'm just a pessimist about the centrist element of the Democratic Party but it's not without reason. The only reason I'm still planning on voting for Obama (or Hillary) in the general election is because they are the much lesser of evils. (Like the South Park episode where the moral was in elections your only choice is between a giant douche and a turd sandwich). It's not a sure thing they'll attack Iran, agitate China, Russia, North Korea, Pakistan, the Palestinians and anyone else that won't let us take their resources and build bases without making a peep as McCain and his party will. Doesn't mean I'm getting my hopes up that Barack or Hillary will drastically change course on Iraq, just as Hillary has shown, and Barack pledges to keep insurance companies deeply involved in any healthcare discussions, and neither of them would have mentioned the poor once in this entire campaign for fear of being criticized of "class-warfare" by the MSM if it hadn't been for Edwards.

I may be wrong but if the past 27 years of American presidencies is any indication I'm pretty sure I'm not. The Democratic Party is afraid to elect real change. That's why Nader's voice is important, his presidential runs are important too. It keeps people aware of the concept of multiple parties - something this country had in droves until about a hundred years ago.

KJM,

This is the best line of the entire thread.

"They only fear reprisal from the centrist voters. If they feared reprisal from progressives, we would have been out of Iraq a long time ago."

Thanks for your words.

They only fear reprisal from the centrist voters.

Those vengeful centrists. I think they fear the wealthy more.

Nader's a great candidate, but I'm not going to pretend for a second that voting for him maximizes the expected utility of my ballot. I live in this two-party winner-take-all country, where Nader's presence on the ballot tends to increase the likelihood of a Republican victory. In some alternate reality where we have instant runoff voting, Nader stood a chance of winning, or my vote had no expected impact on the election outcome, he'd have my vote.

In this country, my vote is a tactical decision, fairly decoupled from my actual preferences. The impact it makes depends highly on where I live and how other people vote. I make it based on incomplete information, much of which is based on estimates provided by the media. Most of us likely do the same.

If you plan to vote for Nader, strongly prefer Obama to McCain, believe the election will be close, and live in Maine, Nebraska, or a swing state, then either you're voting irrationally or I've missed something here.

The Democratic Party is afraid to elect real change. That's why Nader's voice is important, his presidential runs are important too. It keeps people aware of the concept of multiple parties - something this country had in droves until about a hundred years ago.
[Democratic politicians] only fear reprisal from the centrist voters. If they feared reprisal from progressives, we would have been out of Iraq a long time ago.

These are both true statements, but you are drawing the wrong conclusions from them, I think, if you vote for Ralph Nader. A vote for a candidate who polls a few percent or less doesn't make Democratic politicians fear your voting power - it makes them ignore you. If you want change, you have to make centrist voters not afraid to vote for it. Centrist voters have to be convinced that change is better than not changing. The GOP's disastrous performance in office has opened the door to that - Nader is certainly right about that. KJM - you argue for a long-term view. In the long term, politics in America is about winning over enough of the centrist voters to win elections, not about sitting on the fringes and disdaining them. The GOP managed to bring in just enough of people who don't really share their corporatist core 'values' by cobbling together a coalition with religious absolutists. The coalition is being held together with fear and ignorance: fear of immigrants, gays, and ignorance of just who the "terrists" are and of what it will take to control them and reduce their threat. The best hope of pulling the country and the Democratic party back from its careening rightward plunge is in the hard work that lies in taking grassroots control of it, not in voting for protest candidates - even if you do share more of their views.

Nader's a great candidate

-He is 74 -Has never held Elected office. -Doesn't care if his action lead to republicans getting elected. -Takes funding from republicans. -Preaches about the value of third parities, but has done zero to build the party that supported him.

He is right on the issues, but he is also a hypocrite.

He is right on the issues, but he is also a hypocrite.

Conceeded. I guess my endorsement (albeit somewhat hypothetical) was not entirely informed.

Voting for Nader is about making a statement.

That vote is self-defeating if you live in a swing state.

As several people have already pointed out here, it makes sense to vote for Nader and the sane ideas and proposals he represents if and only if you're not helping McCain to win in your state with your vote. It's all about the Electoral College, not the popular vote, unfortunately.

I'm in Washington State, and Obama is going to beat McCain here; I have the luxury of being able to vote my conscience and still know I'm not hurting the Democratic nominee and helping the warmongering party to another four-year nightmare.

I believe it can be that simple. It would help a lot if Nader releases his votes (encouraged his supporters to vote Democrat) in swing states, something he did not do in 2000. We should all encourage him to do this.

The guy's not perfect, but I'm not going to knock him too hard. He's done far more for this country than every commenter in this thread times ten. He's imperfect, but he's an American hero.

And his reasoning in his interview with Russert was honest and accurate.

wow, some great comments on here today.

i'm in agreement that it's ridiculous to tell someone they're wasting their vote, or voting for their enemy by "throwing away" their vote. that's a personal choice that is at the very root of the experiment that is our democracy, and i strongly disagree with anyone who faults someone for voting for the candidate of their choice, even if he's a longshot or a potential "spoiler."

that said, i will vote for obama.

  1. because i think he's the better candidate, as much as i admire and appreciate mr. nader.

  2. because i feel personally that i do not want to throw MY vote away, and i DO feel that nader may weaken the democratic vote more than the republican vote, and if that happens, i do feel it would be another disaster.
    and that is my right, too.

Ralph Nader wants to Shock and Awe bomb the corporations. Ralph Nader thinks that talking and negotiating with Corporations is idiotic and useless. Ralph nader has the same view of corporations that GWBush has of "Forners" and "terraists" He thinks that anybody that tries to work with corporations is a corporate traitor. Ralph Nader is idealistic and Quixotic.

His run for presidency is hardly a spoiler this year. Everyone has stolen his "fix the broken government and make it work for people again" slogan, and they actually have more that 1% support.

Soooo, at the IA caucus I was busy swaying voters, vying for the undecideds as the Clinton campaign was doing. They scoffed when I said supporting Clinton was a vote to bring Nader back into the election. I can't say I'll greet them with "I told you so" if I run into them at the grocery store, but i might mention this edition of "Meet the Press."

I have to agree with Theowne and Frenchfries on this one. Nader DOES have great ideas, but this quart-annual run for the presidency belittles them. Yes, run for congress, damnit, and put some legislation on the table. You HAVE been a fine consumer advocate; that's where your strengths lie.

Sorry kjm, I'm not with you. You use Nader's lesser of 2 evils still begets evil maxim. Even if that were completely accurate, I'd much rather have had Gore or Kerry over Bush. A baby step in a progressive direction is a step in the right direction. As Tim said, getting the centrists on the liberal side will do more to strengthen the progressive cause than allowing yet another destructive presidential administration.

During primary season, I am about voting for the candidate that represents my political philosophy; thus I caucused for Edwards. During the showdown to and during the actual election season, I do support the electable one. Perhaps I would not if the electable were incompetent; we don't have that problem this year. I also consider whether I think a candidate is a good match for president. Kucinich? Like his ideas, but think he's too new-agey for this leadership position. Keep his politics alive - keep voting him into his congressional seat. Nader - again good ideas, but he's more of a flame thrower, and no hard, consistent work to genuinely support a third or multi party system.

I participated in an online debate with someone bearing the screen name "Nader." Turned out it really was Nader. He lost me as he cut down a member of the military via the guilt by association argument. The guy posting wasn't at Abu Ghraib -at least it's highly unlikely - but Nader blamed him for the ills of the current war. Screw that. While I understand Nader's frustration with the war, that kind of rhetoric turns me off to him as a potential president.

I will say that Gore should not have run a campaign that made the election that close, and Kerry basically spent his campaign responding to Rove, basically. Neither election should have been that close, given that Bush was the opponent. In this case, we DO have a chance for real change, and a chance for real progress if we go with a Democrat. I had hoped it would be Edwards. I'll still vote for Clinton if need be, but I'm supporting for Obama.

He's done far more for this country than every commenter in this thread times ten.

LOL, I am not done yet!

Can I quote you on this in four years when we're still in Iraq, on the road to nowhere with healthcare and lobbyists are lined up around the block making sure those exact issues remain eternal?

Sure, quote me. But my claim is not that these changes are somehow inevitable, but that they are more achievable, and possible, if Obama (or Clinton, for that matter) becomes president. With that much at stake, I do not see the motivation for voting 3rd party, other than perhaps out of spite, or misguided idealism (although, again, I have not suggested that Nader ought not run, just that I see no good, practical reason to vote for him).

Amorphousblob. We agree on a lot. We do not agree on this:

that's a personal choice that is at the very root of the experiment that is our democracy,

Every voter is entitled to cast a vote--that is democracy. But this does not magically exempt them from rational criticism or inquiry into the grounds of that decision. I am mystified by the highly emotional reaction, such as KJM's, to the effect: "You have no right to tell me how to vote." I'm sorry but no one denied this right, we only criticized how you chose to use it. And criticism, argument, and persuasion are the stuff of democracy.

A democracy without rational criticism is a mob.

(Feel free to quote me on that too).

So just let me say, flat out: for the reasons I've offered above, I think a vote for Nader is a waste. Feel free to do so--it is your "right". But it does not exempt you from charges of irrationality if the only grounds for it are spite, or tremendously vague hopes about having more than two party elections. (The latter is a wonderful goal; but no one has yet explained to me the mechanism by which a small minority of 1-5% of the U.S. population voting for a candidate somehow magically furthers this goal).

By contrast, Tim and others have started a wonderful and stimulating discussion on how to get there; so far as I can see, the main participants do not assume that merely voting 3rd party, by itself, helps.

that's a personal choice that is at the very root of the experiment that is our democracy,

How do I get to be part of the Control?

Somebody forgot to tell you, this is not a test, this is actually our country.

"irrationally or I've missed something here."

yes, you have missed something. it is called the democratic process.

it drives me mad to read it again and again that nader's voters are wasting their vote. and that they should shut up and fall in line, which is assumed to be behind the democratic candidate. this is so ludicrous, it really is appalling to hear such anti democratic vitriol.

even more disgusting was the efforts (of the political party that calls itself democratic) legal wrangling to try and keep nader off the ballot in 2004, and their whining about nader "stealing their votes". nader certainly did not steal gore's votes. votes are (should be) earned, and for whatever reason gore failed to earn the nader votes. the presumption that any left minded person's votes automatically belong to the demcratic candidate does not belong in a democracy.

in democracies in the rest of the world, a free election means that you vote for the person whose platform optimally matches your ideals. whether they win or not, at least your voice has been heard and your vote counted.

if the democrats (or any party) can not secure the white house on their own merits, without preventing others to run, without coercing people to vote against their convictions, then they simply do not deserve the presidency.

personally, i would love to see nader get more votes and attention. his platform appeals to me a lot more than either the democrats or the republicans. i am too much of a realist to dare hope for him to win. my only reservation regard his age and his stance on nuclear energy (i don't think it deserves the condemnation -a separate issue) but my opinion of the anti-democratic stance that is euphemistically called "strategic voting" also applies to any candidate.

but do not worry, i am not a going to mess things up for the democrats. i am not a us citizen, but i have lived here for 7 years as a student.

Nader is an American hero. He has more integrity in his magnificent schnozzola than McCain has in his entire stumpy little body.

yeah, but obama'll win because he's TALL.

:)

Adam: "I'm sorry but no one denied this right, we only criticized how you chose to use it. And criticism, argument, and persuasion are the stuff of democracy."

Yes, if Nader is pressured out of the election, (like Biden, Edwards, Dodd, and Richardson were because of the party prom court process) my right to vote for a candidate who reflects my values (even a little) has been denied me.

I whole-heartedly agree that criticism/discussion of fellow citizen's decision making process is an important part of the process. I wouldn't be here discussing this with all of you if I didn't. I only wish that 80%+ of the population weren't so ignorant about the candidates and issues that they actually could have discussions about it. The mob is what we have :(

Adam: "The latter is a wonderful goal; but no one has yet explained to me the mechanism by which a small minority of 1-5% of the U.S. population voting for a candidate somehow magically furthers this goal."

If the margin between the two "main candidates" is anywhere near 1-5%, we see how it furthers the goal - The main candidates are forced to address and integrate the platform of the 3rd individual to tip that margin in their favor. That is the gift that Edwards gave us by staying in: Both candidates have been arguing about health care, which was forced into the discussion by Edwards. (Incidentally, both Obama/Clinton have much better (and more concrete) health care plans now than they did a year ago.

So, what does Nader buy me in the election? Well, at the least, if more than 4% of Washingtonians vote for him, a carbon tax (or repeal of taft-hartley, etc) becomes an issue that my senators, congressmen, and especially governor (which was triple recount close last time) will know they have to adopt if they want to win a close election.

At the most (if he can get on the ballots, etc), it buys a voice of sanity in the debates (if he isn't blocked out.) It buys the whole process a little more substance and a little less show.

KJM, you said:

If the margin between the two "main candidates" is anywhere near 1-5%, we see how it furthers the goal - The main candidates are forced to address and integrate the platform of the 3rd individual to tip that margin in their favor. That is the gift that Edwards gave us by staying in: Both candidates have been arguing about health care, which was forced into the discussion by Edwards. (Incidentally, both Obama/Clinton have much better (and more concrete) health care plans now than they did a year ago.

The claim about Edwards is certainly correct. But, first, I do not see the evidence for the analogy that Nader, as a third-party candidate in a general election, rather than as a candidate in a main party primary, has had that profound influence in the past, or can be expected to in the future. Do you have any evidence that Nader's previous runs have directly contributed to other elected officials at either the state or the national level taking a substantially different position on key issues of national significance as a result of his candidacy? Second, your claim does not seem to me to address Tim's central argument:

A vote for a candidate who polls a few percent or less doesn't make Democratic politicians fear your voting power - it makes them ignore you. If you want change, you have to make centrist voters not afraid to vote for it. Centrist voters have to be convinced that change is better than not changing.

One reason I support Obama is because this is essentially his strategy: to move the center to the left and mobilize the political will necessary to enact serious change (and he does have a record of making such changes by bringing people over to his side, not going over to theirs. See link above).

You also said:

if Nader is pressured out of the election...

Actually, I thought his argument on Meet the Press justifying his run were articulate and smart. My argument is not that he ought not run but that the grounds for voting for him are tenuous--as R7 pointed out, he has no experience in national elected office, has never tried to run for Congress (surely easier to achieve than the Presidency), and has not really further developed the Green party so that other members might do so. A vote for him is a vote against important policies that could be enacted by a Democratic president, which might begin to repair some of the damage done by the Bush administration. Perhaps I have a more sanguine view of the mainstream than you. Or perhaps, I share many of the same values as you, while prioritizing them differently.

I watched "An Unreasonable Man" in a theater, with a videoconference with Mr. Nader that followed. I've always been a big fan of his and am very grateful for his service to this country. I've really listened to him and tried to get my head around these presidential runs. But I simply can't. If what he truly cares about is getting a hearing for the ideas, why was he not showing up with Kucinich or Edwards everywhere all last year, the way Chuck Norris has stalked Huckabee? His ideas, which a lot of us support, have gotten presented over the last year. Certainly more prominently by Edwards than they will be by Ralph. Norm, you say "it might have been avoided if you'd had the wisdom to vote for John Edwards". Might have been. But a comparative few voted for Kucinich, not enough voted for Edwards, and the 2004 results demonstrated that not many are likely to vote for Nader. In 2000, he talked a lot about building a party. When he did so much worse 4 years later, that rationale kind of fell by the wayside. If Obama is the nominee, we'll have the option of someone who is currently being mentioned as the most liberal member of the Senate last year. Apparently not liberal enough for all the commenters here, but certainly a clear choice over Sen. McCain. Plus, (for whatever reasons) he excites independents in a way that Mr. Nader could only dream about. On the war issue, he presents a very dramatic contrast to Mr. Hundred-Year War. Other than the fact that he's too popular and that makes him seem suspect to some, it seems to me that the cup is way more than half-full with him as the candidate. The problem, in the end, won't be that he's not liberal enough -- it'll be that he's so liberal and thoughtful and willing to not wear a flag-pin on his lapel that he'll be mercilessly pilloried in a general election as "unpatriotic." That's why the euphoric popularity he inspires in many may end up not being such a bad thing after all. As for Nader, I remain convinced that running for President yet again is definitely NOT the best thing he can do to serve either his agenda or his legacy.

Nader has made a couple of very interseting statements concerning elections in this country: 1) There are no opportunities for third parties to get elected. If we had elections like they have in Europe, if you voted Green, and they got 10% of the vote, they would get 10% of the seats in Congress. This is a real problem in our country: ruling by 51% is just one kind of democracy... 2) First and second ballot choices. 1st Nader, 2nd Gore. Guess what? No vote splitting spoiler candidates! We need more choices, not less. Look what Edwards did by just being in the race - all of a sudden candidates were making poverty an issue.

I think Nader will have a positive effect on the issues and zero effect on the outcome. Like Nader said if the Dems can't win now, they should just pack up shop (become Republicans or retire). Move out of the way and let a real progressive party be formed.

I'm voting Democrat - Nader would be a lame duck right out of the starting gate...

hmm. adam, my point is, and maybe experiment isn't the right word, but i think that it's important for us to respect each others' reasons for voting as we choose. maybe that's a dull point, but i think in the face of the utterly vindictive and hateful rhetoric of rush limbaugh and his ilk, it's wise to remain respectful of the choices of other voters even if we fervently disagree with them. some of the comments on this site have made me re-examine my own position, and though i am and will probably remain a strong obama supporter i undertsand clinton voters' motives better, and respect them more than i did before some of this discussion. in my humble estimation, that's progress. and i certainly understand a nader vote ESPECIALLY in a state that is NOT a "swing" state, but even in a state that is a swing state, if the voter feels strongly enough about it. why not? democracy is an experiment, and the petris dish has been fouled of late by the very cynical and self serving forces of faux conservatives. we should seek a higher ground and respect one another. so i do believe a vote is a personal choice, and that not everyone can be expected to use it in what i might consider a pragmatic way. if someone wants to use their vote "symbolically" the that's their right and i can't fault them for that. i can urge them to vote differently, but i can't judge them. that's all i was trying to convey. that said, i really do hope to see obama elected, and i will try my best to make that happen. i feel it is in the best interest of the nation, and the world. peace and love all.

Please, Nader supporters explain me one thing:

Why is it so off limits for Ralph Nader to run for the Democratic nomination? (Or the Republican, if you insist.)

As I said before, the two American parties historically are coalitions of factions that in Europe are separated in several parties: Classic liberals, socialists, christian-democrats, conservatives, right-wing populists, you name it. The jesus-freaks got this, sent their gurus (Robertson etc.) to run as presidents and today control the GOP.

By running during the primaries Nader's message would reach ten or twenty times more people than by being a spoiler whose only message is: I'm not a spoiler!

Is it money? It can't be since first, he's rich. And second, he knows how to raise money.

Is it his message? Can't be, neither. Since his whole point of political existence is: There's a whole lot of people out there craving for the things I stand for.

Is it his aversion to being with some party? Why then did he accept the nomination of another party (the Greens) and accepts plenty of money from the second traditional party, the Republicans?

Isn't it only because he'd have to fight for the nomination first? Instead of just parachuting into an existing party structure where he's the instant grand moff? Instead of just being able to call Tim Russert and parachuting into Meet the Press as an instant candidate, competing with the two big ones instead of competing with, say, Denis Kucinich?

Isn't this all about himself and not about his issues?

GO NADER!!!!!! NOW I CAN VOTE MY CONSCIENCE!!!! Everyone needs to back NADER so that Obama will take on some of these serious issues. If we ignore Nader, the candidates will ignore the major issues and only discuss what the Republicans choose to discuss.

I want to correct a statement by Tim on European political systems. First of all, not all of Europe has a parliamentary system. France does not. It has a hybrid system with most of the power residing in the Presidency. Then once you cross the Elbe, it starts getting more and more Presidential. Belarus, Russia, Croatia come to mind.

Nor are they strictly proportional. Many are but many are not. The UK has a first past the post system. Ditto for Ireland and Malta. If Britain had a proportional system, the Liberal-Democrats who get 20-25% of the vote would have greater representation and probably would have been a coalition partner by now.

Germany has a hybrid model, so do Sweden and Spain.

Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland and Italy are proportional. Not surprisingly, they also have rather unstable governments or in the case of the Belgians no government since June 2007, a record for a caretaker government. It does not really matter though for governments set policy in Westminster systems, the bureaucracies actually govern. That's the beauty of a Westminster system, it's run by professionals.

Whoo-hoo! A guaranteed Republican victory! Four more years! It worked in 2000 and it will work again because the only people who will vote for Nader are Democrats and Independents assuring we will have John "Hundred Year War" McCain will be president - and probably Huckabee as vice president. So McCain is already at the statistical age limit for a white male and probably won't live through his first term. President Huckabee will have plenty of support in his effort to change the Constitution (that old meaningless rag!) to better represent God's law like it should. The endless focus on Iraq, tax cuts and the transition to a theological government should throw the USA into the dark ages and run it finally into bankruptcy. The next four to eight years are perfectly clear... but who would want to live here?

A few things to point out on this suggestion that Nader should just run for Congress:

The Democratic Party is driving Kucinich out of office. He's likely to lose his primary for the Democratic ticket this year. They did the same thing to Cynthia McKinney.

The media is owned by a small handful of corporations.

The Primary system selects for Conservative candidates, since the Democratic Leadership Council is only barely less conservative than the Republican Party. Both parties are the party of business.

Just as Nader doesn't have a chance to get elected President, he has no chance of getting elected to Congress.

The game is rigged.

Now...

Don't forget about the ongoing cowardice of the Democratic Party. After the 2006 Elections, the Democrats were told they were -not- going to cut off funding to Iraq and -not- going to go for impeachment.

Even when a mainstream Democrat is defeated in a Primary, that is no assurance that one gets to vote the bum out... example: Lieberman.

Whoo-hoo! A guaranteed Republican victory!

Nader Doesn't pull enough votes to do any such thing.

The only person to build a successful coalition, get people into office, etc. in the last 100 years is Eugene Debs... and we all (should) know what they did to him and his Party.

Zombie Debs for President!

Cynthia McKinney.

She was taken out by republicans, whom crossed over into the democratic primary.

Just as Nader doesn't have a chance to get elected President, he has no chance of getting elected to Congress.

Tell it to Senator Bernie Sanders.

No doubt that Nader has no more chance of winning the democratic Primary then then general election. But he could push all his issues and be in 18 debates and not threaten the Nov win of a progressive candidate.

Cynthia McKinney was taken out -once- by Republicans and -once- by Democrats, and -never- supported by her party... then she left her party.

Bernie Sanders is an exception because -Vermont- is an exception. I suppose Nader could move to Vermont and run there, yes... and they'd pay about as much attention as they do to Sanders.

Also (sorry for the multiple posts, but I missed your last line RedSeven)...

Like Kucinich was in all 18 debates?

Like Kucinich was in all 18 debates?

He was in like 16

Hey, I am not saying that the system is perfect. In fact its shitty. My point is only that there are plenty of protest votes that would make significant impacts and would likely build a third party.

Nader does none of that. He just takes his ego out for a spin every 4 years.

Clinton needs to disavow and condemn this garbage or fire some staff right now

Yes she does.

He could be the upset winner. Climates change.

"The seasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unseasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unseasonable man."

I (Andover man and overman) have achieved the actualization I have been prepared for. At l(e)ast, the project has been projected, the missile is missed, etc., etc. Coligation awaits, at l(e)ast, if not religion, coligion anyway.

"I want to move to Western Europe. America sucks."

Excellent idea, a sort of return to Is Real, the land evolution gave you, err, gave to the Neanderthals, but that was a different climate regime, Greenland current and all, uhhh,

Nadir? Nice Arab-sounding name. The name of a terrorist, or...

Norm is right, of course. The Liberals have been the ultimate Neville Chamberlains, appeasers, but, and this is Nadir's point, McClinton, O'Cain, MacBama, whoever, O'bama, (the only real candidate without an Irish-sounding name), can still win, and should be able to easily, unless the system is so corrupt that it doesn't make any difference anyway. And Nadir can Goldwater his way into a future Left movement.

In the case of my own Entwicklung, mit Umdenken, Danke, I have arrived. This is it. The writer Julian Barbour (pour la fin du Temps) was right.

Nadir!

Onwards and upwards!

And who, exactly, has the money and inclination to do that -apart- from Nader?

I'd prefer someone else do the task... but really, in this country, Progressives are left with snouts and entrails.

And who, exactly, has the money and inclination to do that -apart- from Nader?

If progressives want to get elected to anything then they need to get to 51% somewhere. Tying our message to a guy who has repeatedly stuck his finger in the eye of every progressive voter he could find is about as smart as nominating John McCain.

I'll take it, then, that you're a millionaire and you'll be throwing your own hat into the ring, Red.

Well then, who else this election cycle? (I'm quite serious... I'm perfectly willing to have a discussion of whether to support George Phillies* (LP front-runner), Brian Moore (SPUSA), Róger Calero (SWP-US), whomever the Greens run (hopefully, Cynthia McKinney), whatever maniac the Constitution Party runs, etc.

One of the reasons Kucinich, Dodd, and Gravel made so little of a showing is... they didn't have the money in the bank to elbow their way onto the corporate media.

Like it or not, Nader is compatible with the Conflict Narrative, which is a favorite of our media, so he'll get air time because he sells soap.

  • I'm a past student of Dr. Phillies. Not a bad egg at all, for a right libertarian.

amorphousblob: I think we differ only in emphasis. I don't want excises of free speech, in the form of criticism that offers reasons, to be dismissed as somehow suppressing someone's "voice." I think you agree but only emphasize that a vote is ultimately a matter of individual conscience, which is of course correct. (I am also with you on the Clinton point, although I'd say the conversations here have helped me clarify my own views, in the face of often interesting challenges, as much as consider other views).

At any rate, I think I misinterpreted KJM's frustration. I thought she (or he?) intended such declamations as "Who are you to tell me how to vote?" as an implicit reject of criticism that it was not worth it to vote for Nader. But on further consideration, it appears to me that KJM is mostly frustrated--rightly, it seems to me--that Nader might be forced off the ballot, so one is not even allowed to decide as a voter. That is a much more serious issue.

I do disagree with KJM, though, that 80% of the country is somehow hopelessly ignorant about politics. (Maybe? Let me know KJM if I'm not correctly representing what you said above). This is statistically true (e.g., a majority of people favor eliminating "federal entitlement programs" like "welfare"; an almost identical percentage of the same sample supports "federally funded programs to help the poor"). But I think voters haven't been given a good reason to invest time and thought in their votes, and do not feel part of the process. On an optimistic view, that is at least part of the ignorance problem, attention to which may help motivate more people to become better informed.

Finally. Norm: I have a request. This conversation seems to be oscillating between specific issues of whether or not to support Nader, and more general issues of principle regarding 3rd party candidacies and the U.S. two party system. I do not have particularly well-informed and strong views on the latter issue, but would love to hear a conversation about it. Might you consider starting a thread on this (the pluses and minuses of the two-party system), perhaps with some of your own views on the matter, or some questions, to get the ball rolling?

Question: Can you write in a name when voting for president?

no one who visits/admins this blog will vote for Narder if it is close where they live, they just won't. it's like saying you would eat dog poo for $1000. you say you're a poo eater, but when poo comes to mouth, you will vote for Dem. I mean, you're clearly not idiots...

for now it's just silly season in blogotics.

thaddeusphoenix, yes, one may write in a candidate for President, but it is even less likely that a write-in candidate would win as compared to say... Nader.

Micky Mouse and Bugs Bunny are quad-annual favorite for write ins.

PS. Talk of the Nation on NPR has Ralph Nader being interviewed today, listening to it as I post this, so i'll let you find the audio, since it's not up yet.

What I don't understand.

On one hand there are people saying that they hate the 2 party system. That they wish they had more choices and that they wish they could vote for who they wanted and they want their first choice to have a shot.

On the other hand they want to organize for change. Develop networks around issues. Move the public and flex the political power.

And when 2 parties organize for political power. Organize to make changes to the political system and flex their power there are cries of "no fair - my guy didn't make it through your network." Even though you can still write in your candidate if you really want.

You can fool yourself all you want to think that most of the people want you to be president because of your stance on the issues. You can bitch all you want about giving people a choice, or giving them what they really want. But in the end they are backing these establishment people because they are in the network and they see some value in working with that larger network, despite the evils that are there.

Organize a better mousetrap.

I came by this site to see what kind of trash was being thrown at Nader for him running again. I was very happy to see that Norm was endorsing him. Way to go, Norm :)

Thaddeusphoenix, google "Cointelpro"

If we in the U.S. are not pleased with having this two-party system, then this is something which we should all be working to change. I hardly ever read anything at all about changing our system of voting. And then all of a sudden, Nader announces that he's running for president and Americans say that they're voting for him as a way to promote a third party. If we truly want that, then voting for Nader is a rather lame way to bring about that kind of change. If that's what you really want, then work towards that every day, every month, every year, and not just once every four years when you head to the election booth to vote for Nader.

Where are all of the posts and grassroots efforts from those who support Nader in the past four years in some great effort to change the way that we vote? huh?

user-pic

I think the American people are in the mood to move past Nader, just as they want to move past Hillary. I'm not saying that it's altogether logical to dismiss Nader but it's not about logic when factoring in the emotionally-based momentum behind the Barack campaign. That's not going to be easy to stop when facing off with Nader's moribund deadpan.

Also, it just seems wrong that Nader would ever be President. He would then cease to be people's advocate Nader the flying crusader wearing tights role.

Also, When and if Barack wins, will Olbermann address him as "President Obama" without ever defaulting to the NYT style-guide of "Mr. Obama"? Anyone want to make a wager?

For election changes, consider 1. Voter-owned/clean elections 2. Pushing for instant run-off elections (hell, even the Utah GOP does this state-wide) 3. Working for your favored non-traditional party 4. Getting otherwise active in your community to effect change

I do favor the instant run-off system, because you can initially vote your conscience on the 1st go round. As the percentages narrow the field, you can work your way over to the candidate who is closest to your ideas, if your candidate is no longer in the running. The Iowa caucuses work like this a little; you have to be physically present. I'm assuming you can vote absentee ballot for instant run-offs.

There may be strategy for instant run-off just as there is for electoral college system. (the latter is a dinosaur if I've ever experienced one) Since we're in the electoral college system, my preference is to vote in the best way possible given its restrictions. that and pushing the above considerations.

When did Nader's ego start getting in the way of his message? A Nader run for president is NOT the most effective way to bring about progressive change. If anything, because of the widely held belief that Nader's last run handed the presidency to George Bush Jr., a Nader run makes his ideas look LESS appealing to everyone but his most loyal supporters. He is making a poor calculation here, which is why I ask the question again, since when did Nader's ego become more important than his message?

Gypsy Sister said:

For election changes, consider 1. Voter-owned/clean elections 2. Pushing for instant run-off elections (hell, even the Utah GOP does this state-wide) 3. Working for your favored non-traditional party 4. Getting otherwise active in your community to effect change

I do favor the instant run-off system, because you can initially vote your conscience on the 1st go round. As the percentages narrow the field, you can work your way over to the candidate who is closest to your ideas, if your candidate is no longer in the running. The Iowa caucuses work like this a little; you have to be physically present. I'm assuming you can vote absentee ballot for instant run-offs.

There may be strategy for instant run-off just as there is for electoral college system. (the latter is a dinosaur if I've ever experienced one) Since we're in the electoral college system, my preference is to vote in the best way possible given its restrictions. that and pushing the above considerations.

I agree! The time to effect such changes is between elections, though, not now... sheesh!

(Sorry, GS, this particular comment is not a response to what you said as what you said was well articulated, but rather to those who are all exicted about voting for Ralph Rader right now, right in the middle of of a very important election, and considering that such complex and historic considerations are best addressed between elections and knowing that such a major change would require a lot of hard work... a lot more work than just voting for Ralph Nader! sigh....

Long live Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, and all other Americans who are willing to suffer the endless mockery in hopes of making change. Love em or hate em, these are the true patriots.

I have no interest in Nader's platform, but I'm glad he's running. And to blame him for the actions of the Supreme Court is insane.

Here's hoping that within my lifetime we will see a Libertarian v. Green race, with both the Dems and GOP long forgotten- just like the Whigs and Federalists before them.

I haven't read the comments, but I reckon I can imagine there are many blaming Ralph for egomania and for a disregard for the prospects of people with whom Ralph supposedly agrees politically. Well I would refute that. We have a Democratic Congress and what has happened in the last 14 months? Bupkus (sp?). We have had not any attempts at impeachment-regardless of whether or not it was to succeed, making a legitimate attempt would make a credible claim for the rule of law and accountability in this country; and as you mentioned at the top, I think quite accurately Norm, I don't think Ralph would have entered if Edwards and/or Kucinich was still around. To me, Obama and Hilary are virtually indistinguishable, politically, and not very attractive to liberal Dems (i.e. their base). Repubs, however venal and craven, do not sell their base out with the frequency which the Dem party elders do it to progressive Dems. I'm votin' for Ralph.

JoAnn, just because you only -hear- about Nader every four years does not mean he is doing -nothing- in-between. These are the only points in time when the media feel like putting him in front of a screen, is all.

Changing our electoral system is practically impossible. The powers that be are quite willing to illegally disrupt any effort which might change the status quo. The best we can hope for is to supplant one of the two dominant political parties.

just because you only -hear- about Nader every four years does not mean he is doing -nothing- in-between.

Oh yeah, remember when her campaigned really hard for that Green party candidate in 2006? No me neither.

Every four years when he kicks off his Lyndon Larousse imitation, the press offer him out to see if he is ready to admit he is sorry he had any part in the election of George Bush.

8 years later the answer is still no.

Maybe in 2012. Who knows.

Well I wouldn't get that bumped out about Nader running this year...the Republicans are most likely going to have their own spoiler candidate to deal with this year as well. For one there's the possibility of Blumberg running as an independent, and I wouldn't be surprised if we had another Independent "Conservative" leaning candidate or two jump into the race as well. With so many Conservatives being unhappy with McCain, it's inevitable that some Independant Conservative is going to try and take advantage of that.

On one hand there are people saying that they hate the 2 party system. That they wish they had more choices and that they wish they could vote for who they wanted and they want their first choice to have a shot.

I don't hate the two-party system. What's it with that obsession about the number of parties? Italy has like forty different parties, depending on the election year. And everything they get is Berlusconi over and over again.

It's not about the number of parties but about policies and candidates. "Your first choice" has a shot, Thaddeus, even in American politics. It's called primaries, you know. But even as a sympathizer for Kucinich and as a supporter of Edwards I have to say: there's something like democracy. And probably progressive candidates have a hard time getting a majority.

So, if your candidate doesn't make it don't whine about the number of parties. The two things have nothing in common.

We could talk about the role of money in politics, that's fine with me. Public financing across the board? No problem with me, neither. But as long as we have a winner-takes-all presidential election the system by definition tends to two parties. That's logic, people, not discrimination.

Frankly, we've got -maybe- 1.5 parties. The Democrats won't impeach, voted to support the war (minus a minority of Progressives in Congress), won't de-fund the war, won't support Kucinich (to remain in Congress), won't support single payer health care, present two candidates who both agree that 'making deals with corporations' is the way things -ought- to be...

And then there is the Republican Party.

They're both the Party of business, with a few factional differences. They tap different minorities for support (gays and women on one hand, evangelicals and racists etc on the other).

They have both, in the past, supported government agencies who have violently and illegally subverted efforts to change the status quo... and from what we've seen lately, they're not too shy about infiltrating peace groups these days either.

RedSeven, as you may have noticed, the Greens don't want to have much to do with Nader these days... at least most of them don't. He is running as an independent, and didn't run as a Green in 2004.

I don't particularly like Nader either... so, who else is it? Brian Moore? Róger Calero? Zombie Debs?

Thaddeusphoenix, google "Cointelpro"

Did. What's your point?

If we truly want that, then voting for Nader is a rather lame way to bring about that kind of change. If that's what you really want, then work towards that every day, every month, every year, and not just once every four years when you head to the election booth to vote for Nader.

My feelings too.

To those who don't feel the Dems have done anything with their majority, I only half way agree with you. They need more kahunas, figuratively, but they don't have ENOUGH of a majority to override a veto for any progressive agendas such as ending funding for the war or impeachment proceedings against the administration. I'd be happy to place much more blame on them if they had such numbers.

To those who don't read at least a few of the comments, there are over 120, and most of them aren't rehashing the Nader as spoiler. Most are discussing voting strategies and the dominance of the 2 party system in the U.S. (not that I expect you to read this either)

Now you ought to know 'what happened' to third party progressives in this country.

gypsy sister, do you recall when the Republicans shut down government to get their way? This option was, and is, open to Democrats.

They also have the option of impeaching the President and Vice President, such that the Veto is not a threat...

Except they don't have the votes -in their own party- to do this.

Progressives are only a -plurality- within the Democratic Party... not even a majority.

Nader was wrong about the Corvair and he is just feeding his ego in his Presidential runs.

Why do the Democrats think alienating people is the way to win elections? The more they downgrade Nader his support grows stronger. Maybe the Republicans are right when they say the Democrats don't believe in personal responsibility; they never admit THEY lost in 2000, they blame the 3% guy. Until the Democrats wake up and bring real Liberals back into the party, they will always lose these votes by campaigning alienation.

Sure, the Dems could shut down the govt. for a short-term solution, but in the long run it'll back fire and they'll lose control, as did the GOP.

As for impeachment - yah, I stand corrected. You'd have to push to impeach BOTH prez and veep. Personally, I think a war criminal trial is in order.

gypsy sister, that is roughly my point...

Democrats would rather win elections than do the right thing.

So what is the point of having them win elections?

Something needs to be done to light a match under their ass, and that thing may be Nader. (As noted elsewhere, my personal preference is for others, such as Cynthia McKinney.)

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