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Please Ralph, don't run.

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Steve_Kow, Feb 7, 2004.

  1. Steve_Kow

    Steve_Kow Banned

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    Please Ralph, don't run.

    From the Sunday, February 1 eddition of the Hartford Courant, hand typed by me, written by John Pearce (who is the creative director of Ralphdontrun.et, a website encouraging progressives to ask Ralph Nader not to run in 2004. He is founder and former CEO of MediaMap).

    As Connecticut native Ralph Nader considers whether to run for president again in 2004, and as the Green party fields candidates on ballots throughout the United States, these dedicated progressive activists should consider one clear fact: They compromise the very causes they seek to advance, and in direct proportion to their success.

    One can entirely empathize with the impluse to vote Gree or another third party. But in the U.S. two party system, that impulse carries with it a cruel irony: Any third party splits the vote on its side of the right/ left divide. The more successful the third party gets , the more it ensures the election of the very people most hostile to its cause. This is an undeniable reality--until, of course, the thirdy party becomes the majority party, a result no rational observer contends will occur in this country for decades at best.

    There could be no more eloquent testimony to this effect that Nader's last race. In the 2000 election, based on exit polls cited by Nader himself, 38 percent of his voters would have voted for Gore and 25 percent for Bush. Gore's net loss of 13 percent of Nader's 97,000 votes in the state of Florida put George Bush in the white house. The result? Looking back at the past few years, progressives can be nothing short of horrified at the Bush presidency's impact on their most cherished issues.

    This hard reality for third party politics in America does not apply outside te United States. In a parliamentary form of government, doezens of parties can each have a few seats in parliament, which then elects a prime minister. In tat political environment, third or even 15th parties make all the sense in the world, and they can wield great power, as European Greens and Israeli religious parties have amply demonstrated. But that rationale is entirely absent in the U.S. context.

    Citing the most fundamental of American values, many Green and Nader supports will at this point in the argument charge that discouraging third parties is a direct assault on democracy, a restriction of freedom of choice. Nader himselfs asserts that calling him a "spoiler" is just such an affront, and that he has every right to run. This response entirely misses the point: No rational person says third parties don't have a right to run, but by rnning successfully, they doom the issues they care about.

    The closest thing to a logical argument for Nader or green candidacies is that they will so villify Bush and the GOP that voters will turn elsewhere. But for that to contribute to Bush's defeat, one must simultaneously accept the contradictory conclsion tha ta voter thus inspired by Nader and Green arguments will then vote Democratic, and not for the person or party they found so persuasive. Effective green candidates will win votes, but to the extent they are successful, they will cost Democrats vastly more elective offices than they gain for themselves.

    Happily, there is a powerful and rational alternative to the purist third-party approach.

    In our two-party system, the best scenario for Green-leaning indepedents is to forge a vibrant, grass-roots "GreenDem" wing of the Democratic party and fight like hell to movilize non-voting Americans, to whom they will have special appeal. Then something great will happen: democrats will be elected nationwide, and progressive activists will be a decisive interest group with genuine leverage over politicians who are actually in power.

    The alternative is the sad spectacle of a group that is ideologically pure but with no influence whatsoever, forced to simply stand in horror as the Bush administration and Congress smugly, gleefully destroy each item on the progressive American political agenda.

    Imperfect as it is, in the two party system, the perfect is the enemy of the good. And the good is crucially better than the catastrophic.

    My main problem (among others) that I see with his theory is: he assumes that the Democrats are owed votes by liberals, many of whom vote for a thirdy party that more closely matches their ideals than the Democrats. Perhaps if they want those votes back, a policy change, rather than this ridiculous scheme, is in order?

    I should also note, that as far as I know the author of this article does not represent the Democratic party in anyway.
     
  2. mouschi

    mouschi IncGamers Member

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    I have to agree. If Nader runs, he will only be damning the issues for which he is running. However, I think things may be different this time around. I think many people out there will vote first for whoever has the best chance at beating Bush. Then they will consider who best fits their own agenda. This is what happened in Iowa and ruined Dean. He was popular before the caucuses but then lost it all when everyone realized he wouldnt be able to beat Bush. Kerry has that ability, so people began voting for him.

    I think Nader would garner even less votes this time around, if he did decide to run. Enough to ruin the Dem's chances of winning? Probably.
     
  3. Nastie_Bowie

    Nastie_Bowie Banned

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    Ross Perot did the same thing to George H. W. Bush in '92.

    I hope Nader runs. Go go Dubya!

    NB :D
     
  4. Smeg Head

    Smeg Head IncGamers Member

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    Oh man I hope Nader runs. A vote for him is a vote not cast for the Democrat and hence a vote for Pres. Bush.

    Nader for Pres. '04!
     
  5. axeil

    axeil IncGamers Member

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    Bah. Stupid electoral college votes going all or nothing...

    We should change how that works to make the third party canidates have more of a chance of getting people to vote for them. The current system discourages it because of the "winner take all" setup there is. However, if this changed then we would still have the intent of a majority of the population to vote for one canidate AND we would have the votes still coming from geographic areas AND it would ensure that a vote for a third party is not "throwing away your vote."
     
  6. Nastie_Bowie

    Nastie_Bowie Banned

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    Unless I'm missing the mark, what does the electoral college have to do with the effect of third party loonies. If it was just popular vote, a vote for the loonie would still be 1 less vote for either of the mainstream candidates.

    Without the electoral college, we would now be stuck with Algore as president. *shudder*

    Pat Paulsen for President!

    NB :D
     
  7. guspasho

    guspasho IncGamers Member

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    Uh, didn't Nader already say he wasn't running for President anymore?
     
  8. Steve_Kow

    Steve_Kow Banned

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    Maybe, but this is more a commentary on the whole "stealing" votes concept.
     
  9. guspasho

    guspasho IncGamers Member

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    It's only stealing if you only consider the two-party system. Really though, those people voted who they wanted to be Predent, not some other guy they DIDN'T want because he was slightly less of a bad choice than some other guy. If you don't give a damn about any third parties, then it may be stealing in your cynical view.
     
  10. axeil

    axeil IncGamers Member

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    Well from my wonderfully warped perspective its like this: Under the current system a good third party canidate can mean disastor for either a Republican or a Democrat running for any office. Usually its because they "steal" votes that would normally go to them. Is this really stealing? Eh, not really, but it can certainly feel like it is if the one canidate KNOWS that the votes going to the third party are useless because they won't get a majority.

    The splitting of electoral votes would make it "safer" to have a third party canidate running because the electors from each state would be based on how the % of the state voted. For example, say a state can send 10 delegates and has 10,000 people (for making things easy). If 3,000 vote for canidate A, canidate A gets 3 electors. If 5,000 vote for canidate B, then canidate B gets 5 electors (plus one for getting the majority). The remainder are up for grabs among the third party people. This would allow a campaign for either a "standard" party or a third party to go easier since they wouldn't have to worry about getting a state majority to secure its delegates.

    Sorry bout the ramblin guys.
     
  11. Steve_Kow

    Steve_Kow Banned

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    It seems we're in total agreement then Gus. :)
     
  12. tarnok

    tarnok IncGamers Member

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    This annoys me. I'm more likely to vote for Nader than either of the idiots who will be running under the "major" parties. Don't let this clown tell you that you only have two choices. It's just not true.
     
  13. Intolerance

    Intolerance IncGamers Member

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    The last time I checked, a true democracy had officials directly elected by the populace. But who actually cares about stuff like that?
     
  14. Technetium

    Technetium IncGamers Member

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    He's not going to run. I think I've even heard that the Green Party in general is more concerned with seeing Bush removed than with winning.
     
  15. Nastie_Bowie

    Nastie_Bowie Banned

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    Who actually cares that GWB was duly elected under the laws of the land. Was he the first president elected that lost the popular vote? No!

    If you don't like the laws in the US, change 'em.

    A "true democracy", eh? Have you ever looked at an "average American"? Look around at the intelligence level of your friends and neighbors. Do they have the "gray matter" it takes to intelligently pick a national leader? My Mother voted for JFK because he was "cute". I love my mom, but that is not a presidential qualification in my book.

    NB :)
     
  16. Akira

    Akira Member

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    IIRC, the US is organized politically more like a republic than a democracy. Which is not to say it is without democratic elements.


    i could be wrong though. (About it being more like a republic.)
     
  17. guspasho

    guspasho IncGamers Member

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    Uh, more like appointed by the Supreme Court.
     
  18. Nastie_Bowie

    Nastie_Bowie Banned

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    Gus, are you trying to say the man became president by circumventing some law or something?

    NB :scratch:
     
  19. llad12

    llad12 IncGamers Member

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    Of course he didn't! It's perfectly clear that Bush won ... by a vote of 5-4 ;)

     
  20. Pierrot le Fou

    Pierrot le Fou IncGamers Member

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    No, he's saying what many others also believe, that it wasn't through the merit of election laws that he won, it was through his clever use of preventing them from being carried out that prevented it. He got the state to stop a recount. He was brought into office amid all sorts of not-so-great stuff about many blacks having their ability to vote removed because of list of convicted felons who somewhat matched their info.

    Would he have won all said and done? I don't know. But he was the one who fought to make sure we never would.

    And that bugs me.

    It's easy to say that you never did anything wrong, if you never give people a chance to learn what you did, don't you think?
     

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