Nader and the Greens in 04: what will they do?

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by sebakoole, Nov 12, 2003.

  1. sebakoole

    sebakoole New Member

    Jul 11, 2002
    Interesting read from the Nation:

    With a combination of irritation and amusement, Nader has watched Howard Dean adopt the style, if not the substance, of his 2000 campaign, no doubt aware that a Dean nomination would seriously hamper his ability to gain traction next spring and summer. While he recognizes that many Dean supporters may well have been Naderites in 2000, he calls Dean a "middle of the road" Democrat too friendly to corporate demands, and dismisses progressive enthusiasm for Dean's candidacy with this metaphor: "Everybody is starved. If you have a garden and if it rains, you're not excited, but if you're in the desert and it rains, you're delirious. But you know what rain in the desert produces? A mirage." Repeating an old refrain, he says it doesn't even matter if Dean is for real: "He can't deliver--he can be George McGovern on steroids, but when he gets into the corporate prison called the White House, he can't deliver."

    "I don't think Ralph should run," he [Robert McChesney, co-editor of Monthly Review] e-mailed me a few weeks ago. "It would be bad for him personally; I doubt he would get half the number of votes he got in 2000. And it would be bad for the Greens.... Core elements of progressive constituencies, exactly the groups that the Greens need to build upon, will revolt with open contempt--far worse than 2000--to anything that helps keep Bush in office." McChesney concludes, "Running a presidential candidate in 2004 for the Greens is probably a quantum leap off a cliff. It is the Greens' Jonestown."

    Right now, the Green debate over 2004 breaks into three distinct camps. There are those, a definite minority, who don't want the party to run any presidential candidate at all. There is another group, also a distinct minority, that backs Nader as the party's best spokesman and wants him to run an unconditional national campaign, though their motivations run from hard-core oppositionism to wanting to maximize their leverage in the event the race is close. The third group wants some version of a "safe states" strategy, and holds all shades of opinion as to whether Nader is the best candidate for it.

    Well, former/current Naderites, Dean supporters, other assorted Democrats, what do you think he should do? What do you think the Greens should do? What is the measure of Green success? The number of elected officials and/or the ability to pull the Dems to the left? Short of some cataclysmic political event the Greens will never take the place of the Dems so what should their strategy be? The US is not about to switch to a system of proportional representation so aren't the Greens doomed to linger in third-party obscurity? At what point will they reach a plateau or have they already reached it?
  2. joseph pakovits

    joseph pakovits New Member

    Apr 29, 1999
    fly-over country
    From a cost/benefit standpoint alone, running Nader again would be a mistake for the Greens. The only purpose for running Nader in the first place was to gain publicity. Nader's previous candidacies have accomplished that by making the Greens nationally known. To pursue the strategy further would be to waste energy chasing seriously diminishing returns.

    It would be better for the Greens to go back to putting their resources into the building of a true grassroots movement. They do this pretty well and it's in their best interests in the long run. The attempt to make a national splash was as successful as could be reasonably expected given a hostile corporate media and a broken political system. It's time to take the gains from Nader's previous runs and translate them into action at the local and state level before trying the national stage again some time down the road.

    And the Dems aren't going to go back to the center-left as long as corporate money effectively monopolizes our political system. The Dems' move to the center-right is permanent. The days of a semi-liberal Dem party are over. Trying to pull the Dems back to the center-left is also a waste of resources.

    The period of time between the excitement of the attention-grabbing national campaigns and the first legitimate national campaign for Congress that might actually win will be a long and frustrating time for the Greens. But unless you have the backing of a billionaire or three, political movements are built from the ground up and that just takes time, committment and patience.
  3. GringoTex

    GringoTex Member

    Aug 22, 2001
    1301 miles de Texas
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Nat'l Team:
    I agree with Joe, except that I think the Dems have moved a bit to the left with the candidacies of Dean, Kerry and even Edwards, and I believe Nader's successful run had a great deal to do with this. After all, without Nader in 2000, Gore wins easily. The Dems paid a real price for their move to the right and they realize this.

    Nader won't run again. It's too important that Bush not be relected.
  4. Malaga CF fan

    Malaga CF fan Member

    Apr 19, 2000
    Fairfax, VA
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm just wondering if Nader might be able to sway some democratic policies by threatening to run. Comments have been made that the Dems are now more center-right than center-left, but by Nader at least throwing his hat in the ring, maybe Greens could get the Democratic party to adopt and address more progressive issues in return for Nader bowing out early. Of course, maybe, as Gringo Tex said, we are seeing that with the candidacies of Dean, Kerry, and others as a result of the heavy price the Dems paid in 2000.

    The Greens would be wise to sit this one out for the shared goal of defeating Bush in '04, but they might be able to gain some political capital with Nader running early and then throwing an endorsement behind whatever candidate the Democrats nominate.

    NER_MCFC Member

    May 23, 2001
    Cambridge, MA
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  6. sebakoole

    sebakoole New Member

    Jul 11, 2002
    Joe, I agree that a Nader candidacy would be counter-productive for the Greens. But do you think Dean is showing that there IS a way around the corporate stranglehold on our political system? What about all the money he's raised from non-corporate individual donors?

    You say it's a long, hard slog (hmm, where have I heard those words before) to get to the point where we see a Green in congress, but do you really think they'll make it that far? At what point before that happens will the Dems wake up and realize the Greens are a force to reckon with and need to be either crushed or co-opted? Maybe it is worth the resources to pull the Dems to the left asbent a viable, third party alternative. Or, maybe, as GringoTex says, that's already happened.
  7. Richth76

    Richth76 New Member

    Jul 22, 1999
    Washington, D.C.
    Who's Ralph Nader? ;)
  8. joseph pakovits

    joseph pakovits New Member

    Apr 29, 1999
    fly-over country
    How much $$$ does Dean have? How much does Bush have?

    Heck, how much will Gephardt likely have?

    I don't know.

    The Dems fear a loss of corporate $$$ more than the loss of liberal voters.

    At best, they'll continue the Clinton/Gore tactic of "fake left, run right".

    If the Greens ever look like they'd threaten the interests of the corporate overlords, they'll be co-opted or, more likely, destroyed. The tolerance of the power structure will likely depend on how secure the power structure is at any given time.

    Are the Dems to the left of Bush and the radical Right? Yep. Do they have a few platforms that might be considered "center-left"? Yep. On the whole, though, in the objective scheme of things they have moved to occupy the place once held by moderate Republicans on the center-right and driven the Reeps to the far right. It is important to remember that the Bushies are probably to the right of even the rank-and-file Reeps just as the Dem leadership is to the right of the rank-and-file Dems. Not all Reeps are ovine Bush-worshippers like the ones who post here.

    The Dems have not "moved left" in any significant way. At best, they've learned to spout pseudo-liberal platitudes and proffer seductive reassurances to liberals that they have not the slightest intention of actually acting on in a meaningful way (rather like the "country club Reeps" and the Religious Right). At least, that's what Gore so obviously did in the last election when his poll numbers started to show many Dems planning to vote Green. Then, suddenly, Gore magically began spouting firebreathing faux-populist rhetoric. That rhetoric, however, was as authentic as Bush's WMD claims.

    Overall and with certain exceptions, however, when you ignore empty rhetoric and look at substance, there is still more difference between the Greens and the Dem leadership than between the Dem and Reep leaderships and most (but not all) of those differences between the Dems and Reeps occur in the realm of hot button social issues and not strategic economic or political issues.

    Not much will change if Dean is elected, especially if Congress and the governorships remain Reep. Maybe - maybe- there would be small changes in our healthcare system. We wouldn't see real campaign finance reform, the US would still seek neoliberal policies at home and overseas, we would still maintain our huge and costly military presence overseas to prop up the empire, all the problems of our broken political system from the flawed election process to the revolving doors between industries and the regulatory bodies supposedly watching them would continue unabated, etc. Yeah, we'd pull back to the left of the Bushies, but that's not saying much. A vote for Dean is still basically a vote for the status quo.
  9. christopher d

    christopher d New Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    Weehawken, NJ
    A Nader candidacy would be counter-productive for the GP for many reasons, primarily that the only candidate that runs three times in a row for the same office is Lyndon LaRouche. The lack of support (registration, anyone?) for the party at large is, at best secondary, and is mostly spearheaded by those who were put off by Nader's rather uncommunicative style, and those who can't see the good it did to have a very high-profile candidate in a national race.

    Possibly the only candidate that would be worse for us in '04 is Cynthia McKinney. The merits of her railroading notwithstanding, we really don't need to be saddled with her baggage at this early point in the party's history.

    Barring a Kucinich defection (weather report from Hell, anyone?) we're going to throw up a sacrificial lamb that'll get ~1-1.5%; just those of us who'd rather cut off their fingers than punch the Democratic ticket. More's the pity, honestly... All that the Dems have done with the opposition party bully pulpit is, um, nothing. We might not have gone to war at all had they mounted anything like united opposition.

    Good luck, Matt.
  10. Finnegan

    Finnegan Member

    Sep 5, 2001
    Portland Oregon
    I hope that Nader decides to go play in traffic. Seriously. I have lost all respect for a man who I once thought very highly of.

    Ralph Nader is an egomaniacal aresehole who will do what is best for Ralph... which makes him no different than most politicians.

    He is not even a Green Party member and the strategy he pursued in the final months of 2000 actually hurt the Green Party instead of helping it.

    If I am the GP I would tell him to *#*#*#*# Off this time around.

    If anything - the 2002 midterms, the Dean candidacy and the resulting aftermatch of the Iraq war has done more to pull the Dems to the left than anything Ralp Nader or the Greens did in 2000.

    Nader may like to think people are thirsting in the desert for him but democrats and liberals were looking for leadership and balls in the party which seemed to be neutred after 9.11 and Dean has provided that in a package that is alot more reasonable than Ralph Nader.
  11. Norsk Troll

    Norsk Troll Member+

    Sep 7, 2000
    Central NJ
    As a member of the Green Party, who thought at the time that Nader shouldn't have run in 2000, I don't think it even has to be said that he damned well shouldn't even think about throwing his hat into the ring in 2004 ... or else someone may just have to make sure his head is still in there when it gets thrown.
  12. argentine soccer fan

    Staff Member

    Jan 18, 2001
    San Francisco Bay Area
    CA Boca Juniors
    Nat'l Team:
    Nader is not going to run. He has to know that he will not get the support he got last time. I think the Greens were upset with the Clinton-Gore administration for not being leftist enough for them, and wanted to send a message to the Democratic Party. But this time around most Greens are probably firmly in the Bush-hater camp and are unlikely to use their vote as a protest statement.

    I think Nader will flirt with the issue to get publicity for his party, and then he will anounce his decision to support the democratic candidate in order to defeat Bush. The Greens will try to concentrate in winning minor posts in liberal parts of the country. That would be the smart thing to do and Nader may be an extremist but he is not an idiot.
  13. mannyfreshstunna

    mannyfreshstunna New Member

    Feb 7, 2003
    Naperville, no less
    Nader and the Greens in 04: what will they do?

  14. NSlander

    NSlander Member

    Feb 28, 2000
    LA CA
    You don't think Dean's average campaign donation is revealing?

    I recently read headlines stating "Bush Signs Late Term Abortion Ban" (sans health exception); "EPA Water Pollution Rules Relaxed"; "Bush Nominates Lucifer for Appellate Bench", and "More Americans Die in Iraq". And those were just from ONE FRIGGIN DAY.

    Politics DO matter, even if fundamental conceptions of economic justice and distribution global power are not realized in our lifetimes.

    I agree if you expect to see changes in your lifetime, you're not thinking big enough. But I would scarcely label the decision to re-elect Bush as insignificant.
  15. joseph pakovits

    joseph pakovits New Member

    Apr 29, 1999
    fly-over country
    Yes, it reveals that he'll probably lose unless he gets more corporate $$$. There's an exceedingly high correlation between the amount of money a candidate has compard to an opponent and how successful that candidate is.

    I never said politics don't matter. In fact, I wish we HAD real politics here in the U.S. instead of the false "junk politics" (for more on junk politics, see this month's Harper's magazine) spoonfed us by the entrenched, codependent duopoly.

    Anyway, who fought for NAFTA again? A Democrat.

    On whose watch was the frightening MAI being secretly negotiated? A Democrat's.

    Who gave the Pentagon more money than even that bloated, corrupt fiscal black hole asked for? A Democrat.

    Who deformed... er, I mean 'reformed' welfare? A Democrat.

    With "liberals" like Clinton, who needs conservatives?

    Like I said, the Dems are still to the right of the Reeps but only because they've pushed the Reep leadership to the extreme right. And this has had sped up the destruction of our democracy that was already well in progress since the Reagan adminstration. But our "choices" now are limited to a moderate Republican party labelled the "Democrats" and a far right Republican party labelled "Republican" unless you want to vote Green. There is a gaping hole in the center left where the Dems used to be.

    If there is anyone thinks that politics don't matter, it's the Dem leadership who steadfastly refuse to give us any real politics because they're too busy chasing corporate dollars.

    The big difference between Bush and Gore would probably be that we wouldn't have invaded Iraq under Gore or we wouldn't have done so in so stupid a manner with no international mandate, no goals and no exit strategy.

    Sadly, it's certainly not as if the Dems provided anything like an opposition while Bush was out lying to America about WMDs and Saddam's supposed role in 9/11. It's not like are Dems providing an opposition while Bush and Ashcroft use 9/11 as an excuse for an assault on civil liberities, either.

    Are there differences between Dean and Bush? Of course there are. I never said there were none. My point is that while they do have certain tactical differences (mostly because Bush is such an extremist) and they certainly feed different rhetoric to the hoi polloi, whoever is elected President cannot go against the wishes of the majority of the ruling elites here. Therefore, no changes to the status quo can be expected to come from within the political system regardless of what "the People" want and regardless of who is President. That's not even "politics", let alone "democracy"

    Like Clinton, Dean's liberal credentials seem primarily limited to his ideas on healthcare and a lack of outright bellicosity in foreign policy. While his healthcare ideas are quite interesting, I'd be interested to know exactly what Dean would do about Iraq now that we're already there. What will he do about the WTO, NAFTA and other embodiments of neoliberal globalist doctrine both at home and abroad? How will he help America's working families and its reserve army of the unemployed who struggle while CEOs loot firms to fund their lavish lifestyles and have orgies in Italy? Will he have the balls to end the insane so-called "War On Drugs" and adopt more rational measures? How would he fix the root cause of our broken political system - the dominance of concentrated corporate power?

    I've been to Dean's website. He doesn't address these incredibly important issues beyond offering a few of the usual platitudes. In fact, go read the "Economy" section of the "On the Issues" area of his site. His vow to repeal Bush's tax cuts aside, that whole page reads like a moderate Republican's wish list. That's your "politics"? If Dean is elected, he'll do what every other candidate would do - tinker around the edges of the status quo but do absolutely nothing to really change it. The most he'll do is reduce the amount of damage being done, which I guess is better than nothing. But he won't actually fix anything, not necessarily because he wouldn't want to but because our political power system is rigged so that neither he nor anyone else can.
  16. Blitzz Boy

    Blitzz Boy Member

    Apr 4, 2002
    The West Side
    This is Spam from another thread, but:

    -Libertarians will vote for Nader because Nader spends less on Welfare than Bush does. (When you combine Corporate, Conventional & Agricultural Welfare)

    -President Nader legalizes pot to thank his Libertarian supporters.

    -But then, the Nader justice department sues Wacky Tabacky farmers & distributors into bankruptcy over the health risks created by pot users Cheetos & Doritos consumption.

    -So Ganja is more expensive & less obtainable than ever.
  17. NSlander

    NSlander Member

    Feb 28, 2000
    LA CA

    The SEIU and AFSCME will send requests to each of their 3 millions members for $100 apiece. If only one third answer that call…

    I take no issue with what you say, as much as the weight you give each element. I don’t think degrees of “bellicosity” accurately gauge relative differences in foreign policy. Its the difference between mere imperial arrogance and pathological narcissism; the difference between thousands of people continuing to live or getting brutally killed. It’s a big as it gets.

    I am loathe to warm fuzzies of bygone political eras. When did we ever really have a “democracy”? How many Presidents would you honestly label “liberal”? Actually, I’ve found that pessimism of history permits optimism for the future; we can only get better. And I owe it all to Karl Keller.

    You chastise the Dems for chasing corporate dollars. But what do you expect them to do? We have a corporate duopoly, and the Dems are bending over for the Republicans precisely because they’re both getting off.

    As to these more fundamental concerns, one shouldn’t expect more from our political system than its capable of delivering. We agree our politicians simply do the bidding of capital. Basic superstructure/ foundation stuff. We all know that items including “free” trade and the Pentagon budget were never on the table. So why should we even entertain the thought that these fundamental relationships of power would ever be addressed through the political system? Its on the captains of industry, who answer only to their shareholders, and the quarterly bottom line. Instead of calling on our elected representatives to address these specific relationships, we’d be much wiser to invest our energies into direct collective economic action.

    I’m an unapologetic lefty. But stereotypically, folks on the left won’t douse a fire on their roofs unless they reach a categorical imperative about the cause of the fire. And no, I’m not suggesting that describes you. But lately, I’ve encountered a good number of people who definitely fit that description. And I honestly believe that what they discard as "tinkering around the edges" would actually effectuate significant change for many people, if only for where the current administration has placed the margins.

    Meanwhile, the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire.

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