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October 19, 2000

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Why am I voting for Ralph Nader? It's the issues, man! Nader stands for several things that neither Bush nor Gore stand for:

· A real commitment to campaign finance reform
· Ending the drug war
· Ending the death penalty
· The right to choose
· Ending the rule of corporations in our culture

And for the shallow: Ani DiFranco, Eddie Vedder, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Ben Harper, Phil Donahue, and Michael Moore all support Nader. That covers the dykes, the loser dropouts, the intellectual film fans, the hippies, the housewives, and the unemployed. With Nader in this race, we don't have to choose between the lesser of two evils!

Nader fan in NYC

Ralph Nader is not "in this race," and no celebrity endorsement or kick-ass position on drug legalization is going to put him in. While it may not be much fun having to choose between the lesser of two evils, that's the choice adult voters are faced with this year. Ralph Nader is a vanity candidate running a vanity campaign for a Potemkin party, the Greens. And while Al Gore may not be perfect, he's better than Bush. If Nader voters manage to put Bush in the White House next year, some of your fellow citizens (women, queers, the poor) are going to pay a high price for your refusal to grow up and make the real choice you're faced with--which, again, is a choice between Bush and Gore. You may have to grit your teeth when you vote for Gore, but that's a small price to pay to keep the environment, the poor, and the English language from the harm George W. Bush will surely do all three.

Yes, yes, I know: Ralph is better on the issues. So's my mom. Actually, on some issues, my mom is better than Ralph. But my mom isn't a serious candidate for president, and neither is Ralph "Vanity Candidate" Nader.

It's my hope that if Nader gets a significant number of votes, Gore and the Democrats might shape up and move to the left.

White Boy with Clean and Luxurious Hair

How sad that such luxurious hair is wasted on so empty a head. Let's pretend it's the day after the election, and the votes are in. Bush got 49 percent, Gore got 46 percent, and Nader hit the five-percent jackpot (not gonna happen). Do you really believe the Democrats are going to smack their foreheads and say, "Oh, my God, let's move to the left and snap up that five percent!" Don't be an idiot. The Dems will look at the numbers and say, "Let's move to the right and try to peel some of that 49 percent off Bush." If Gore loses the election by less than the percentage Ralph picks up, we'll all be watching the Dems run right, not left.

The point of voting for Nader is that if he gets at least five percent of the vote, the Green Party will receive federal funding that will put it on more equal footing with the Democrats and Republicans. Ralph, bless his heart, doesn't have a chance of getting elected, but I'm not voting for Ralph. I'm casting my vote in hopes of creating a viable third party.

A Half-White, Half-Latino Boy Without Dreadlocks and a Texan Who Loses Whether Bush Stays or Goes

If Ralph Nader hits five percent of the vote (which isn't gonna happen), the Greens will indeed get federal matching funds the next time out. Nader supporters would have us believe that these funds will somehow magically transform the Greens into a viable third party. But if federal matching funds have that power, how come the Reform Party, which got millions in federal dollars in the last two presidential elections, isn't a viable third party? That money didn't keep the Reform Party from imploding, nor did it prevent it from nominating Pat Buchanan. As for federal matching funds putting a third party "on equal footing" with the D's and the R's, tell me, did that money get Pat Buchanan in the debates this year?

I think most of the people who will vote for Nader will do so on the grounds that the political system needs to change. These people hope that the Green Party will start this needed change. The U.S. needs a third party. The people of Minnesota knew this when we elected Jesse Ventura.


Let's talk about Jesse Ventura. Ventura made a long-shot bid for governor of Minnesota as a Reform Party candidate, and won. According to the logic of Nader supporters, Ventura's victory should have transformed the Reform Party into a viable third party, at least in Minnesota. But the Reform Party in Minnesota imploded, just like the Reform Party did everywhere else, and Jesse Ventura isn't a member anymore. While Ventura's victory demonstrated that voters will elect people who aren't D's and R's, it also proved that electing one person to a big job will not turn a bunch of kooks and losers into a viable third party. And I should also point out that Nader the moaning prig is a far cry from Ventura the upbeat populist.

This is a close race, and no one on either the left or the right has the luxury of tossing away their vote on a vanity candidate. Hey, lefties, why do you think Buchanan isn't getting any traction on the right? Because hard-right wackos can tell the difference between Bush and Gore, and they would rather see Bush in the White House. Gee, if the right-wing wackos think there's a difference between Bush and Gore, how come the left-wing wackos don't? Could it be that the left-wing wackos are... WRONG? Putting Bush in the White House not only won't create a viable third party, but will have devastating consequences for women, gays and lesbians, the environment, the Supreme Court, and the poor--hey, that's everyone and everything Nader voters claim to give a shit about!

Up here in Canada, it is evident that America is in a political crisis. Your two-party system does not allow for real choice. Canadians, on the other hand, have many more choices. Our official third parties are the New Democratic Party (a bunch of socialists who gave us free health care), the Bloc Québecois (a bunch of French separatists who made us bilingual), the Green Party, and CRAP (Canadian Reform Alliance Party, who would like to make Canada safe for fascists). Canuck politics is more accepting of dissent and subversive viewpoints than American politics could ever hope to be. Our elected officials have pushed for the legalization of prostitution, First Nation rights, gay adoption, bicycle lanes, and universal composting. Eat your hearts out, Nader lovers.

Freak in Toronto

Just in case my Nader-loving friends manage to put George W. Bush in the White House next year, would someone up there send me some information about emigrating to Canada? I have solid computer skills, make decent money, and I'm in good health, so I won't be a burden on your health-care system. I'm aware that you have a prime minister, not a president, and I even speak a little French. Is there anything else I need to know to pass a citizenship test?


Commenting was not available when this article was originally published.

Comments (7) RSS

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Your Bush predictions were eerily accurate.
Posted by Lisa on March 20, 2009 at 3:55 PM · Report this
Instituting "Instant Runoff Voting", where you rank the list of candidates instead of voting for just one, would be a great help to overcoming the two-party system. Sadly, a lot of hassle about convincing the current two parties and the typical uneducated voter, counting ballots, and dealing with voting fraud would probably have to come along with that too.
Posted by AK on May 2, 2010 at 7:56 AM · Report this
...and it's 2011 and the Dems continue to ignore and/or actively stiff the left and pander to the right. They obviously have not learned anything from the 2000 election debacle. All I can say is Mr. Obama, you are dissing the left at your own peril in 2012.
Posted by cockyballsup on July 1, 2011 at 12:57 PM · Report this
If only we'd had a Democratic candidate who WANTED the presidency! That's right, one who running at the height of economic prosperity, as the VP of a political genius, didn't manage to win by only a chad-thin margin! Or one, who having won the majority of votes nationally AND IN THE DISPUTED STATE, hadn't played the noble knight and had mobilized his supporters to the streets, as the right would have undoubtedly mobilized theirs had the roles been reversed? (Or don't you remember Limbaugh calling for preparations to delegitimize the election in case Bush won the popular vote and lost the electoral vote, as seemed quite possible in October?)

Oh yeah, imagine if we had a candidate who DIDN'T CHOOSE A CRYPTOREPUBLICAN as a running mate, just because said crypto had been the first "democrat" to call for Clinton's impeachment!!

Or, if we had a candidate who actually encouraged the use of the CONSTITUTIONAL MECHANISM for challenging a state's electoral college vote, instead of quaking at the mere thought of a "constitutional crisis"!

But yeah, it's so much easier to blame the handful of well-informed people who actually thought they were allowed to vote for the candidate they liked best.

Silvio Levy
Posted by codairem on July 6, 2011 at 1:45 PM · Report this
My god! Dan must be psychic!
Posted by I don't know why I worry about American politics. on August 8, 2011 at 1:21 PM · Report this
Don't kid yourself, Dan. We in Canada are also stuck voting for the lesser of two evils. Yes, we have more parties, but few of them have a running chance or are invited to debates, both at the provincial and federal levels. Just like in the US, anyone who votes for the Green party knows they're helping the biggest baddie in. Now if we had the luxury of voting with our hearts on the first run, and then with our heads once we saw who really had a shot at victory, we'd be in much better hands.
Posted by Biev on November 9, 2012 at 7:57 PM · Report this
Allen Gilliam 7
In addition to instant run-off elections we desperately need a constitutional amendment against gerrymandering. The rich have figured out so many ways to corrupt our political process that the US has become a de facto plutocracy.
Posted by Allen Gilliam on August 6, 2013 at 3:03 PM · Report this

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