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Hullabaloo


Monday, February 23, 2004

 
At Our Peril


It appears that most of the left blogosphere is on the same page in that we should simply ignore Nader's candidacy. After some thought, I was going to agree, in spite of my post below, until I realized that I had been linked to Dean for America and Kos threads where I found the lost spirit of those Deaniacs who sent me loving e-mails and comments a couple of months ago. And once again I was reminded of how much the Dean campaign had at times reminded me of the 2000 Nader candidacy, especially the earnestness and often blind passion for the cause.

I don't know if this will wear off, but I have a suspicion that a fair number of hard core true believer Deaniacs, especially those for whom the cause was really about "taking the Party back," are susceptible to Nader's message. In fact, it would not surprise me to find that a larger number of Nader voters from 2000 had signed on to the Dean campaign than any other candidacy. Of course, since no data exists to back up this claim, just as no data exists to back up the now apparently certain belief than Dean brought hoardes of new voters to the system, I cannot prove it. Regardless, the arguments, emotion and committment have long seemed to me to be related:


Fellow bloggers: I just listened to Ralph Nader on Meet the Press, and he reminds me of why I am interested in politics in the first place. Ralph is a national hero. He is a hero for what he has done for all his causes over the years, especially on the environment. And he is a hero in my book for standing against the corporate interests that rule our country, rule our media, and run both the Democratic and Republican partys.

I agree with every word he said today, and I will vote for him in November.

My sincere hope is that many Howard Dean supporters around the nation will feel as I do, that a vote for Kerry / Edwards is a vote for politics as usual. Howard Dean averaged 15% voter support in the primaries contested so far. If we all threw our support to Ralph Nader it would send shock waves through the political world, on both sides of the divide. It would begin to change politics as usual.

Let's dream a little.



It is true that on these threads many Dean supporters are forcefully arguing against Nader (hence the link to my post below.) I am not suggesting that Dean voters are a monolith. However, it is obvious to me that the only Democratic candidate out there who has mobilized people for '04 who might switch to Nader is Dean. Kucinich's backers may also be tempted, but because Kucinich has not made a fetish of attacking the political system in the terms that both Nader and Dean employ, I don't think his followers are motivated by the same things. Indeed, Kucinich voters are the true blue liberals in terms of policy and philosophy and Kucinich himself is the living embodiment of liberal politics working within the system, as Paul Wellstone was in the Senate.

I don't know how many possible Dean-to-Nader folks exist. I suspect not very many. However, I still believe that despite Bush's precipitous dip in the polls, this election will end up being very close. Bush is weak, but his organization and war chest are not. And, he has the power of incumbency to shape events in ways that we can only dream of. For all the Democrats' motivation, and it is formidable, I believe that it is more than equally matched by the Republicans' desire to hang on to power. We're going to need every single vote.

So I don't believe that Nader is necessarily irrelevant. After all, the GOP has more than a couple of hundred million burning a hole in their pockets. They can easily siphon off a few to help Nader in selected close swing states and we could be in deep shit. I think it's a very, very good bet (to coin a phrase) "that's exactly what they're gonna do."

Therefore, I'm standing by my call for Dean to use his clout with the anti-establishment grassroots to make the case against Nader. Despite what some of my commenters say, I can't see what Dean is going to do during the rest of this campaign that is more important (although I'm certainly willing to listen if anyone has ideas about what it might be.)

This may be a different time, but if anything the Republicans are even stronger institutionally than they were in 2000. We have to fight them on all fronts. It is stupid to leave anything to chance.

We ignore Nader at our peril.





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