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Did Nader Make the Right Choice?

I think in reference to a running mate the answer is a definite yes. My last post, Democrats and Spoilage, has a video of Matt speaking at the Green Convention in 2004. I remember watching it on C-SPAN and saying to myself, he is the next canidate the Greens should put up for president. I think Nader made an excellent choice in choosing Matt Gonzalez as his vice presidential canidate.

Where I think Nader’s choice is questionable is his decision not to run as a Green. He stated on C-SPAN today there is enough room in progressive politics to have two different campaigns. He then made a perplexing comment that the Green Party was only on the ballot in 31 states and he wants to run a 50 state campaign.

I found that last comment interesting because Cynthia McKinney has stated on more than one occasion she wants to run a 51 state campaign (DC statehood). I am having a hard time wrapping my head around why Nader is so dead set against seeking the Green nomination for President. Unlike other political parties, the Greens have no rules against fusion, so Nader would be free to on other political lines.

With all that said, I do hope when July comes around the Greens choose to nominate Nader / Gonzalez for President. It, of course, would be much easier to do this if Nader expressed his interest in the Green nomination.


6 responses to “Did Nader Make the Right Choice?

  1. jody

    I suppose cynics and Nader-Haters will say that it’s because of Nader’s “massive ego”. I don’t know if he has one or not, but I wonder if that will be a theme. (Though I suspect talking as little about Nader as possible will be first choice on how to “handle” this.)

    Do you think it’s because Nader doesn’t want to personally “own” the public images that various factions of and players within the Green Party have built up? That by beiung an independent he is simply Not That – nas in Not a Democrat, Not a Republican but simply,and perhpas pointedly – Other.
    Maybe Green-ness has baggage? A kind of group identity that status as Independent does not. Nader has enough baggage of his own maybe?

    Or maybe it’s more personal, yes when you attach yourself to a group of any type you have support and resources, but the group then also owns your ass in return. You have to include more people in your decisions, have to worry about if you do things that harm the group in anyway,etc.

    I know some people who had a Nader Birthday Party earlier this week. Actually got together and drank beer for Ralph. None of them are Greens (though some are active Democrats, ssshhh!) .
    So who knows maybe Ralph senses them out there, drinking on his behalf.

  2. I think it comes down to what we may call “pressure politics” and “party building” for lack of better names. Or the Hegelian “for itself” and “in itself”.

    Nader in many ways is the father of pressure politics. A view that campaigns serve a similar function to interest groups in that they pressure politicians or political parties in this or that direction. Nader view of third parties is “for it effect, impact, or influence” it can have on structures of power, in this case the duopoly.

    The Socialist Party, Green Party etc are not as concerned of pressuring the major parties this way or that. In many ways they resent it and in fact see it as the power structures co opting their message and members. They see the worth of third parties “in themselves” irregardless of their effect on the duopoly.

    I tend to lean more towards to value of third parties “in themselves” view . But as a student of Marx, I do believe there are these historical moments. I think 2008 may very well be a perfect storm.

    You have angry conservatives who might be willing to give Nader a try. What I think many liberals miss is, cultural conservatives can and do have left of center economic views. About half of the Nader comments on CNN’s web page are Hillary supporters promising to vote for Nader if she does not get the nomination. You then have a lot of angry folks pissed off how the Democrats blew their public trust in 06.

  3. Rita Silver ⋅

    While a good portion of registered Greens are Nader loyalists, MANY in the Green Party have asked for three criteria in the selection of their next candidate:
    that (s)he be a member of the party
    that (s)he be a person of color
    that she be a woman.

    Ralph’s being independent is not something new. There are just those in the party who want Ralph to focus his abilities/resources on building the party, not just using it as another third party to support his issues.

  4. dune23 ⋅

    Just as in 2000… and we saw who we got then!!! A vote for Nader is a vote for McCain! DON’T VOTE NADER!!! If ya like going to war in the wrong country vote McCain. uhhh…lemme see terrorists from Saudi Arabia flew planes into buildings on the direction of another Saudi in Afghanistan…. soooo….OBVIOUSLY… we should invade Iraq. Yep! Lemme have some more of that logic…. Maybe Bush can run as Vice-President…. Is that allowed? Because he and his staff are real geniuses.
    AGAIN— Do Not throw your vote away on Nader!!!

  5. dune23,

    You are a political bigot, pure and simple. If I remember correctly it was the Democrats who voted for the war. Even after 2006, they refused to change direction.

    If you have a problem with plurality voting, support IRV. You will notice that Democrats were all on board with a National Popular Vote, when in fact that would change little about plurality voting. If you are truly concerned with spoilage, which I don’t think you are, you should be screaming for IRV and proportional representation.

    What is political bigotry is saying you do not have a right to vote, you do not have a right to run. There is no difference from your rhetoric and the Republican campaign of using fear to keep African Americans at home on election day.

  6. Rita,

    Yes, I have ended up coming to the same conclusion. I just remember in 04, some of the back and forth was less than pleasant. In many ways both campaigns did and did not run safe state campaigns.

    What separates the camps is not safe states strategies, but the role of third parties.

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