[sixties-l] To Nader or not to Nader

From: TODD JONES (tjones@nevada.edu)
Date: 10/30/00

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    Dear List members
    I thought it would be useful if some of the discussion on this list in
    this last week were on what the legacy of the sixties should tell us about
    whether or not to vote for Nader.
    For myself, I am leaning strongly against voting for Nader.  Here is my
    thinking so far:
    1. There is no doubt that voting for Nader would help George Bush get
    elected.  In Washington, Oregon, and California Bush has a real chance of
    winning, largely because of Nader's support. 
    2. A Bush Presidency would have tremendous costs, and cause a lot of
    damage to things progressives hold dear.
       Polluters would write major environmental bills.
       Gun violence legislation would stop.
       Progressive health care legislation would stop
       There would be oil drilling in wilderness areas
       Right wing judges would dominate the supreme court....etc. 
    It's fair to say that many lives would be lost because of Bush's policies
    3. At the same time,  strong support for Nader, and a Bush win might be of
    some help to the progressive movement.
       A. A strong showing for Nader shows people how many progressives there
       B. A Bush White House would energize people in the progressive movement
    and help Unite them.
    4. The main question then, is whether the gains that would be made by the
    progressive movement are enough to offset the costs of a Bush presidency.  
    And I don't see the evidence that it would.  The progressive movement,
    however large, can't be much more than a minor annoyance to corporate
    forces unless it is willing to make alliances with the Democratic party --
    a group far less virtuous than progressives would like them to be, but a
    group that is willing to listen to progressives AND is in a position of
    political power that enables them to actually do something that can help
    I think one of the important lessons of the sixties is that an unallied
    "pure" independent progressive party can help the people in the movement
    feel virtuous, but it does little good beyond that.  What did the Peace
    and Freedom Party, the Progressive Labor Party, or the Liberal Party every
    Actually,  let me qualify that -- such groups can certainly accomplish a
    lot.  Protest and dissent can help put pressure on people.  To help change
    hearts and minds and all kinds of tactics may be useful. But the question
    I am considering here concerns voting.  Voting is one of the tools in our
    arsenal.  How can progressives  best use the VOTING tool to help the
    causes they hold dear.  
    One of the most direct way to help the least well-off people in society is
    by passing legislation that protects them.    Such legislation will never
    be pass unless progressives use their power, not just to condemn loudly,
    but to help elect representatives that share some of their agenda.  
    So, as far as I can see, a Bush win would be horribly costly. And even if
    voting for Nader helps the progressive movement grow, a larger progressive
    movement can do little unless its willing to make alliances with
    Democrats.   But if the way progressives can help people is by helping
    Democrats get elected, then the time to start is now, by  voting for Gore. 
    I'm interested in hearing others' thoughts.
    							Todd Jones 

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