2008/02/23

Heads up on Nader

Looks like Nader will be announcing a presidential run when he appears on Meet the Press tomorrow.

The vitriol from the liberals has already started. I doubt that Nader will have much of an effect on this election, since the Democrats will go all out to keep him off ballots and smear him in public, while the media will only talk to him about his chances for acting as a spoiler.

Nader will be the only high-profile candidate addressing hugely important issues like the need for single-payer healthcare, the ridiculous size of the military, and the continuing domination of corporate power over our lives. Yet I've become very disillusioned with him since the 2000 election. Certainly not for "costing Gore the election" (Gore won the election - the Supreme Court and electoral college were the real forces that cost him the election). The problem is that Nader never followed up with the real strength of his candidacy - getting disaffected people organized and involved in grassroots struggles. In 2004 Nader didn't even run on the Green Party ticket, further weakening the effort to build a real electoral alternative.

Even so, in the arguments that will follow Nader's announcement I'll definitely be defending his right to run and the importance of raising the issues he'll concentrate on. And most important, I'll remind those who hysterically condemn Nader that they should be spending their time instead demanding instant runoff voting, a simple electoral reform that would eliminate the spoiler problem and make our political system more democratic.

4 comments:

SystemsThinker said...

The question is why isn't Nader using his campaigns to HELP those of us pushing for Instant Runoff Voting by actually talking about it! He doesn't even mention the phrase when asked directly about the issue of spoiling.

Check out this post about Nader's failure to discuss election reform widely.

Jake said...

that's a good point. i just watched nader on meet the press, and he didn't even mention instant runoff voting. nor did he mention the electoral college, which is by far the biggest reason gore lost in 2000, and what very nearly cost bush the election in 2004. it's simply shocking to me that after 2000 the electoral college wasn't immediately abolished.

still, it was kind of exhilarating and more than a little surreal to hear nader raising issues on meet the press that are consistently suppressed in the mainstream media. unfortunately that's probably the last time we'll get to hear them, since other media outlets won't give him nearly as much time to talk about anything other than the spoiler issue.

Patrick said...

It's not just the "liberals" who are lobbing vitriol at Nader; the good candidate himself has also tossed vitriol around at many people on the left, most memorably heaping public scorn on enviros who made the "pragmatic" decision to support Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004. I'm sorry to say it, especially as someone who pushed hard for Nader in 1996, but I've lost most of my old faith in the man. In both 2000 and 2004, he was insulting toward people who considered voting Democratic - while doing basically nothing to support the Green Party or the movement once he'd exploited them as an electoral expedient; and while never mentioning electoral reform, the single step that could do more than almost any other to accomplish his stated goal of diversifying the issues and perspectives represented by this "one-party system".

Nader has a uniquely privileged position wrt the issue of electoral reform; the fact that he's been (unfairly) pilloried as a "spoiler" means that the media might actually pay him some mind on the subject, and he's more likely to get attention on that issue than any other. Ironically, that may be the reason why he won't even mention it...but his obstinacy on this point is deeply disappointing.

Patrick said...

I should clarify, re. my earlier comment, that Nader has talked about electoral reform in terms of ballot access. I've simply never heard (or been able to find any reference of) him talking about alternative voting systems.

Btw, altho IRV is clearly an improvement over the current system, I've read recent papers showing that Preference Voting does an even better job of reflecting actual voter intent and more completely avoiding a possible spoiler effect.