Nader's hollow promise

By Joe Conason


Letters to the Editor
October 26, 2000 11:09AM (UTC)

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Thanks, Joe Conason, I get it now! If George Bush wins the election, it's MY fault if I vote for Nader, not the fault of the millions of Americans who vote for Bush. Of course I've heard this before, but now I also know that it's my fault if the Republicans control Congress! And how dare those dastardly Nader supporters try to address the split-the-vote concerns? Now I know they're only politicians after all.

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Gee, and I thought that voting for Nader WAS rigorously logical. After all, he is the presidential candidate who best represents my views. But now I know that I am merely making a childish existential statement. If I was a real grown-up, I would vote Gore, to prevent those other little kiddies who can't think for themselves from electing Bush.

Is that how it works in the real world, Joe Conason? You're a real man of the people, aren't you?

-- Marya Janoff

Let me tell you something: I'm voting for Nader because I can, because he makes sense and I agree with him more than with Frick or Frack, and because I am tired of the lesser of two evils. I've got my own long history of voting independently -- remember John Anderson? -- and I watched the worst president in my memory slide into office with massive popular ratings only outmatched by "Survivor." You can't scare me, I'm sticking with the union.

-- Bob Bledsoe

Joe Conason assumes that Nader supporters would be horrified if Bush wins the election, and that we should therefore vote for Gore. But Mr. Conason, I refuse to vote for someone who supports the death penalty, supported the Gulf War, plans to spend obscene amounts of money building up the military, avoids the subject of campaign finance and continues blindly to support the pointless war on drugs. Although I know and love many people who are horrified at the idea of a Bush presidency, I just don't expect that it will be significantly different from a Gore presidency. It seems a small sacrifice to pay in order to support the efforts of an ethical, noble third party. If Nader truly pushes the election to Bush, then perhaps the Democratic Party will do a little overdue soul searching.

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-- Charlie Burrus

The real question in this campaign is why Gore is trying to drain the Nader vote. Sure, Gore says he is an environmentalist and a progressive, but doesn't he see that his campaign is actually helping Bush against Nader? Sure, his supporters talk as if he had a chance of winning, but any time the American people are given a full dose of him, as they were during the debates, they react like an allergy patient to mold spores.

If Gore was honest, he'd admit that in certain states, like New York and California, he is simply blocking Nader's inevitable momentum. If he gets out of the race now, however -- and he could do it in an honorable way, just admit he made a mistake -- we can still keep George W. Bush out of the White House and probably energize enough new voters to elect a Democratic House! Come on, Al, listen to the better angels of your nature and desist from your obviously losing campaign!

-- Roger Gathman

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Being Australian, I imagine I am among the vast majority of non-Americans who cannot quite believe that George W. Bush is being taken seriously as a presidential candidate. Guys, you are challenging my faith in democracy.

Anyway, the very simple solution to the "spoiling" effect Nader might have is to adopt a preferential system of voting. I know you have your electoral college and all, but the increase in minor party support in presidential elections is beginning to make this sort of change a necessity. In Australia we can vote for our favorite party even if it doesn't have a chance, and then direct that our vote flow to whichever major party we support (without any reduction in its value). If America had a similar system, people could vote for Nader safe in the knowledge that they weren't voting for Bush, in effect, as well. (Or if anyone is odd enough to want to vote for Bush after Nader, then that can work out too.)

We also have compulsory voting, but I imagine it's not going to be possible to infringe the average American's right to apathy any time soon, so lest I be considered to be boasting, I'll stop dispensing advice now.

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-- Dominic Knight

A vote for Ralph Nader is a vote for Bush. This is a given. Why is this selfish man continuing this futile run? He will cause the Republican to become president with the small percentage he may garner in the Pacific Northwest and the other battleground states Nov. 7. Where will a Bush presidency leave the environment and the Green Party? I'm afraid the former will be left to the mercies of Bush, and the latter will be left in tatters. As the Republicans cheer, the Greens go about their self-indulgent way. Thanks for nothing, Ralph.

-- Michael Hager

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Thank you for exposing the real threat to this election. Not just the prospect of another Bush in the White House (and a stupid one at that), but that this could happen with the help of Ralph Nader.

Nader is clearly running a campaign to prevent Gore from winning the election in hopes it will boost his own chances in the future. This man has shown his true colors and they are not in the best interest of the people and the causes he claims to support.

I would rather hold my nose and vote for Gore than hand over the nation and the Supreme Court to George W. Bush and right wing of the Republican party.

-- Ronny K. Marshall

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What has been unmentioned in all major media is Nader's real motive for a Bush victory: If Gore wins, he will take more progressive measures on the environmental issues, consumer issues and other Green favorites. And if something is being done about this, what will Ralph's relevance be? To be sure, his fans will remain die-hard, but surely his profile (not to mention his speaking fees) can only be higher under a Bush administration.

Make no mistake: Nader is running a vanity campaign. His future as an eco-celebrity is at stake.

-- Abbey Castle


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