[sixties-l] Re: 1968 and 2000 elections

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (jab@tucradio.org)
Date: 10/28/00

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    In view of comparisons that have been made on this list between the
    presidential elections of 1968 and 2000, and criticisms made of the
    "movement" for its failure to support the pro-war Humphrey in 68, and
    the latest efforts to save the pro-war Gore campaign from the defeat it
    deserves, I think the commentary by media critic from zmag is
    appropriate here.
    Jeff Blankfort
    Will Gore Throw the Election to Bush?
    By Robert W. McChesney
    This past Friday a dozen former "Nader's Raiders" held a
    press conference and told Ralph Nader to drop out of the
    presidential race and throw his support to Vice-President Al
    Gore. Concerned about Gore's faltering numbers in the polls,
    they argued that votes for Nader might well lead to the
    victory of George W. Bush.
    It is not an original argument. But the problem with it is
    that they are asking the wrong candidate to quite the race.
    Had they thought it through, they would have demanded that
    Al Gore quit the race and throw his support behind Nader.
    Think about it.
    Vice President Al Gore has now had three 90 minute mano a
    mano debates with George W. Bush. His campaign and related
    soft money groups have spent hundreds of millions of dollars
    on political ads to convince Americans to support him. He
    has received an overwhelming amount of press coverage, much
    of it sympathetic. He is a household name across the nation.
    Yet here we are less than two weeks from election day and Al
    Gore still is not ahead of George W. Bush, arguably the
    least impressive and most unqualified candidate for
    president in U.S. history. Many polls find him trailing
    Governor Bush. And there is little hope for a turnaround, as
    Bush has twice the money Gore does to bombard the nation
    with TV ads. Were a politician the caliber of Bill Clinton
    running against W., he would mop the floor with Bush's
    carcass, and lead him by 15 points in the polls.
    Al Gore has failed. For whatever reason, people just don't
    like the guy, and the more they see him, the less they like
    him. The voters have made it clear they might not elect him
    even over such a numbskull as George W. Bush.
    It seems pretty clear why Gore cannot expose Bush for the
    fraud he is. Bush is owned lock, stock and barrel by the
    huge corporations and the wealthy. As president, Bush will
    reduce the tax burden on the wealthy and eliminate those
    remaining regulations that protect the environment,
    consumers and workers. He will also give the green light to
    anti-competitive corporate mergers and consolidation. A Bush
    Administration will make the Republican administrations of
    the Gilded Age and the Roaring 20s look like socialist
    But Gore cannot attack Bush on these obvious points. Why?
    Because Gore is pretty much in hock to the same crowd, and
    the Clinton-Gore administration has been pursuing similar
    policies, albeit with a different grade of rhetoric to dress
    it up. So the debate is a lot of  insincere focus group
    tested sound bites or a lot of mumbo jumbo on a bunch of
    incomprehensible policy programs. No one is advocating
    positions that tackle the extreme inequality of wealth and
    power in the United States directly, and the total
    corruption of our governing system by big money.
    Since there is little of substance to debate between them,
    those voters who haven't fallen asleep are making their
    choice between Gore and Bush on the basis of which they
    think has a better personality. On that score, whether it is
    fair or not, Gore is a sure loser.
    Ralph Nader is not the reason Gore's campaign is struggling.
    Gore has has ample opportunity to make his case before the
    American voters. Gore had a ten point lead in some polls in
    September. As that lead disappeared, most of the votes
    shifted to Bush, not Nader. In fact, surveys show that a
    significant percentage of Nader's supporters -- perhaps a
    majority -- either would not vote or would vote for someone
    other than Gore were Nader not in the race. Most of those
    sympathetic to Nader but scared about a Bush presidency have
    already decided to vote for Gore.
    Al Gore, and Al Gore alone, has blown his golden
    In fact, that Gore has laid such an egg is damaging Nader's
    effort to reach the five percent threshold and earn matching
    funds for the Green party in 2004. If Gore were doing as
    well as he should be doing, he would win the election
    handily and Nader could get 7-10 percent of the vote with
    little effect on the outcome. But Gore has indeed laid an
    egg, and party hacks are desperate to find a scapegoat.
    If Democrats are truly concerned about the fate of
    progressive politics, the rational solution would be for
    Gore to quit and throw his support to Nader. Gore can't win.
    Nader can.
    Without hardly any money and worse media coverage than
    Andrei Sakharov got from Pravda in the 1970s, Nader has
    drawn the six largest crowds in the campaign -- ranging from
    10,000 to 15,000 people -- and these were paying audiences
    no less. When people actually hear Nader's message they
    respond, and they respond favorably. Nader can galvanize the
    citizenry in a way Gore cannot. He is the smartest, most
    competent, and most honest figure in public life today. He
    is a national treasure.
    In leaving the race, Gore should demand that George W. Bush
    have three 90 minute debates mano a mano with Nader in the
    final 10 days of the campaign. Without Gore's dreadful
    semi-Republican record, Nader will easily expose Bush for
    the ignoramus that he is. Let's see Bush serve up his
    banalities about favoring "small government" and "returning
    power to the people" in the face of Nader's command of the
    real record of massive corporate welfare that Bush supports.
    Those genuinely concerned about the fate of progressive
    ideals should urge  Vice President Gore to withdraw from the
    race immediately. Only Nader can defeat Bush. All that
    progressives stand for -- the Supreme Court, a woman's right
    to choose, the environment -- is on the line. The sad truth
    is that on November 7 a vote for Gore is a vote for Bush.

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