All Articles Tagged "third party"
So Ralph Nader and Cornel West have teamed up yet again to sabotage the Democratic Party. They’re currently canvassing the country for Democratic opponents to challenge Obama in the primaries. According to Nader, “Without debates by challengers inside the Democratic Party’s presidential primaries, the liberal/majoritarian agenda will be muted and ignored.” And he goes on to say, “The one-man Democratic primaries will be dull, repetitive, and draining of both voter enthusiasm and real bright lines between the two parties that excite voters.”
If my grandfather was still around he’d say, “These two fools have more nerve than a brass-A$$ monkey.” And he would be right. I’m shocked that either of them have the nerve to even open their mouths, because the last time they teamed up during the 2000 election to “excite the voters,” they excited the Democratic Party right out of office. I used to joking tell friends that after Bush was sworn in, his very first act as president was to take down a picture of George Washington and replace it with a picture of Ralph Nader in the Oval Office.
Admittedly, many of us are frustrated by President Obama’s lack of assertiveness toward the GOP, but the point of an election is to vote your interest, not your frustration. If you were Jewish in pre-Nazi Germany and frustrated with the administration in office, would you squander your vote to vent your frustration at the sitting administration, or would you vote to make damn sure that Hitler didn’t win the election? That’s the situation that we’re currently in here in the United States.
I’ve written several articles criticizing of Barack Obama, but I’ve always tried to remain constructive, and I’ve limited my criticism to specific issues instead of launching unsubstantiated attacks on his overall character. As I see it, that’s the difference between attempting to have a positive impact on policy, as oppose to engaging in the destructive practice of pursuing a personal agenda.
Obama has caused me tremendous frustration on several issues, but simple common sense dictates that my being frustrated is far preferable to allowing the GOP to come into power and turn the United States into a nation of corporate fuedalism. That’s a level of common sense that Ralph Nader, Tavis Smiley and Cornel West seems to be lacking. Tavis seems to be keeping a low profile in this effort, by the way, but somehow I still visualize West sitting on his knee with Tavis’ hand in his back.
Isn’t it curious how all of their criticism is directed at Obama while, this point, it has become abundantly clear that the GOP has turned into a group of radical lunatics with absolutely no sense of limits, or any respect for the United States Constitution?
The GOP literally stole the 2000 election, invalidating the votes of literally millions of Americans; they invaded an innocent country, killing over a million Iraqi citizens – the majority of whom were innocent women and children; they’ve thrown away the lives of thousands of our troops in pursuit of corporate greed; they ravaged our economy and are using it as a pretext to abolish Social Security and all other elements of the social safety net; their radical Supreme Court has given multinational corporations more control over our electoral system than American citizens, and they’ve effectively turned the state of Michigan into Michighanistan by taking away the citizens’ right to self-determination. Yet, Nader and West would risk turning the nation over to these people, yet again, because they’re personally irritated with Barack Obama?
Anyone – and I do mean ANYONE – who would do that is either stupid, insane, think they’ll benefit from a GOP victory in some way, or are so blinded by an oversized ego that they’ve lost all connection with reality. It is clear to most thinking people that President Obama, flaws and all, is our best defense against turning the nation over to a GOP who want’s to drag us back into the Middle Ages. If that wasn’t the case, Nader and West wouldn’t have to mount a talent search. Thus, it’s one thing to have individual principles, but placing the entire nation in jeopardy to indulge those principles suggests an egomania that, at the very least, borders on psychosis.
It’s time for Nader and West supporters to realize that neither of these two individuals are grounded in reality. They both have a proven track record of being politically naive, at best, and delusional at worst. They both fail to recognize that while it’s an admirable ideal to want to vote one’s conscience, that’s all it is – an ideal. Politics is about being practical, and the inescapable fact is, their consciences can’t hold political office – and even if they could, I wouldn’t want to rely on the consciences of men with such poor judgment in the first place. So while they might want to fall on their swords in the name of political purity, the rest of us would rather settle for a functional democracy.
Again, this is not the first time that Nader and West have engaged in this failed strategy. West supported Nader in his self-serving and childishly petulant campaign during the 2000 election that led to the appointment of George W. Bush. So while West is running around claiming to be so outraged over the economy and lack of jobs for the poor and middle class in this country, he’s partially responsible for it. In a previous article,
The Tavis/West Poverty Pimp Tour, I point out the following:
“Those of us who are students of political history have seen this Tavis/West demagoguery before. They’re following directly in the footsteps of Ralph Nader, one of the worst turncoats in American history.
“Nader should have pushed his agenda during the Democratic primaries, then if his position was rejected, he should have fallen in line and supported the Democratic candidate, if for no other reason than to support the public good. But instead, when his position was rejected, he took it as a personal rejection and acted like a petulant child. He ignored the greater good and purposely sabotaged the Democratic agenda – along with all of the causes that he was supposed to be so passionate about all of his life – and took his ball (and votes) and went home.
“By doing so, Nader negated everything that he ever accomplished in his life. He also betrayed the fact that everything he ever accomplished was done purely for self-promotion and not for the public good, as we had previously assumed. His miserable act of treachery during the 2000 election was purposely designed to help George Bush to win that election in order to deny the Democrats after rejecting him as a candidate. That makes him just as culpable as Bush and Cheney for the death of over a million Iraqi citizens, the maiming and death of thousands of American troops, and even the nations current economic condition, which is a direct result of the Bush administration’s purposeful plundering of the United States treasury. Nader supporters would say that he stood on principles, but his “principles” have led to the death and misery of literally millions of innocent people. Thus, Ralph Nader should be remembered as one of the most miserable and self-serving snakes in all of U. S. History.
“Tavis and West are engaged in the very same sort of treachery as Nader, and it may very well lead to the same result, or worse. Because you see, this time we’re going to be left with a fascist state.”
But if you confront members of the Nader/West coalition with these facts, they’ll immediately begin to obfuscate and engage in intellectual gymnastics in an attempt to avoid responsibility for the horrific fate that they brought upon the country. They’ll say things like, “It’s not our fault that Gore lost. He just didn’t fight hard enough for a recount.” But by using such arguments what they’re actually saying is, “Gore just didn’t work hard enough to undo the damage that we’d done.” But the bottom line is this – Gore lost the 2000 election to Bush in Florida by 537 votes, and the Nader/West coalition peeled off 97,488 votes from Gore in Florida alone. So don’t take my word for it – you do the myth.
Eric L. Wattree is a writer, poet, and musician, born in Los Angeles. He’s a columnist for The Los Angeles Sentinel, Black Star News, The Atlanta Post, and several other publications. He’s also a staff writer for Veterans Today and the author of “A Message From the Hood.”
I really think the Obama Administration should rename the Buffett Tax Bill the “We, -the-people-, have-been-telling-you-Obama-to-raise-taxes-on-the-rich-for-two-damn-years-now-and-now-you-decide-to-listen-only-because-Warren-Buffett-wrote-a-half-way-decent-editorial-in-the-New-York-Times, -basically-saying-what-we, -the-people, -have-been-demanding-for-two-damn-years” Tax Bill. Just a thought.
But it is quite odd that Obama’s core base of voters have been screaming to the raptures about the need to raise taxes on the rich, only to be dismissed by the Administration as “whiners.” But some billionaire comes around, and basically says, “sure Administration. It’s okay to raise taxes on us. We really don’t mind.” And now the Administration has decided to see the light and become more aggressive and principled.
But so goes politics. One minute you are a whiner, the next you’re a valuable registered voter in a heated election season. Which is exactly why I’m not quite jiving with this latest scheme, cooked up by Ralph Nader, Cornel West and over forty other progressive leaders, which seeks to use the momentum of the upcoming election to push Obama back to the left.
The proposed plan, which was introduced earlier this month in the form of an open letter, seeks to enlist a slate of six progressive candidates to run against President Obama during the primaries. According to Nader, West and the other signers of the scheme, each of the six candidates will represent a field in which Obama has never clearly staked a progressive claim or where he has drifted toward the corporatist right.
The letter has been sent to a list of elected officials, civic leaders, prominent members of academia and various non-profit and civic groups in hopes of recruiting prominent leaders within the progressive moment to join the slate of potential candidates. The letter also declares that with the inclusion of primary challengers, President Obama will be forced to seriously articulate and pay attention to many more issues affecting many more Americans.
On the surface, this sounds like a great idea but if the overall goal is to “rigorously debate” his policies than how exactly might this be effective in pushing him to the left?
But before we get into why it won’t work, let’s first dispel the myth that a third party candidate would weaken President Obama chances at reelection (because I know that’s what many of you have already began thinking).
The most common political troupe, which seeks to warn voters about taking third party candidates seriously, is the potential for their inclusion to really screw up the outcome of an election. Many democrats like to cite the 2000 presidential election, where George Bush narrowly etched out a win against Al Gore in the highly contested Florida race. Many diehard Democrats have openly and wrongly declared Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader the reason that Gore lost the election.
For one, there were numerous other factors, which played into the Florida vote-counting debacle including: (1) The seven other third party candidates on the presidential race ballot; (2) the number of voters, who had been disenfranchised by Florida voter’s purging list; (3) voting systems and procedures that failed; (3) the United States Supreme Court, who declared George W. Bush the winner; and (4) Democrats, who weren’t inspired enough by Gore to get out and vote at all.
Therefore, the assertion that Nader’s marginal vote hurt Gore is not only unrealistic but not even borne of any polling data. Yet, Nader, along with other third party candidates, have become easy scapegoats by many Democrats for failure of their candidate to inspire voters to vote for him. And that’s what we are really talking about here: voter inspiration.
It’s no secret that Obama is far from closing the deal with voters of any persuasion. And the reality is that many voters, who had been inspired in 2008, will be probably be so depressed by Obama’s submissiveness to the Republicans in his first term that they might be willing to consider a candidate outside the two-party system.
But Nader’s scheme appears to be more about symbolism, which will amount to more debate and less about actual transformation. Of course, Obama, whose sole goal during an election cycle is to win your vote, will be more likely to mimic the words of the progressive six if it means that he has a chance to win the primaries. But what guarantees are there after the primaries, that he won’t shift again, to appease undecided voters of maybe the more moderate sphere in the general election?
This is not to suggest that dialogue doesn’t need to happen or have validity but at some point, true progressives will have to stop trying to bend Obama to our will and begin to start thinking seriously about the next level of action.
I mean, let’s forget the six candidates and concentrate of developing one candidate, who knows all his/her Isht. One of the biggest criticisms of any third/independent party, particularly on the left, is the inability to put up candidates, who stand a chance of winning elections. As such I would really prefer to see progressives spend the energy building their ground troops for a real campaign to nurture and support candidates, who could help push the progressive agenda. And of course, there is the matter of forcing debates with the incumbents and the only way that could happen is if they are able to get on the ballot. And the last I checked, many states within the union have made that task damn near impossible.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.