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Going Along with the Donkey as Long as the Elephants are Worse


#1

Going Along with the Donkey as Long as the Elephants are Worse

Ralph Nader

When the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) has its annual howling convention in the Washington, DC area, the mainstream mass media expands its coverage like an accordion from the weeks leading up to the gathering to the analysis of the aftermath. Why? Because a demanding CPAC summons all the Republican contenders for the presidential nomination and woe be the potential candidates who excuse themselves.


#2

In answer to your last question Ralph, Yup!

What I cannot understand is why, at this point, any serious person in their right (left) mind would suggest that progs waste any more time, energy or money on Dems ...


#5

We need to expand and support the Working Families Party. I would like to see candidates like Cornell West, Richard Trumka, Elizabeth Warren or Robert Reich but we are not going to see the Dems run them. The working class majority needs a political party of our own. If no alternative candidate challenges the Dems this year, I will write in Cornell West. We do not need another corporate Democrat who will be no better than Obama.


#8

The Working Families Party is a front group for the Democrats. WFP claims that they pull Dems to the left, but their actual function has been to tether progressives to the Democratic Party as it gallops to the right. Just look at WFP's support for corporate Dems like Andrew Cuomo.


#9

Nader's analysis is as spot-on as ever. The Democrats are not going to save us. Progressives need to build an independent national party to advance an agenda of grassroots democracy, social and economic justice, peace, ecology, and ridding politics of corporate money entirely. Those are the principles of the Green Party - a grassroots movement that is surging across the planet.

Stop pouring progressive energy and money into the corporatist DP, and start building the party that actually shares your values and your vision. There are Greens running at all levels, but if you're looking for a presidential candidate who stands for people, planet and peace over profits, check out Jill Stein at jill2016.com.


#11

So...We can all learn how to win elections from Ralph Nader??? The Election of 2000 ring a bell for anyone..Nader is stuck in a rut...a rather deep one that leads to Republican Victories...
Progressives have one option only...Take over the Democratic Party, or sit back and bitch about Republicans and Democrats...mostly Republicans...they're the ones who know how to win elections..
Nader needs to be reminded how well his "thinking" worked out in the past and progressives need to accept the reality of what IS...
I'm 73...kinda been there and done that when it comes to Elections and if you want to get your ideas in put into practice...avoid Nader's advice, it ain't worth squat!


#12

Hippie socialist? Damn that's funny.


#13

This is a reply to "Armybrat."

The Working Families Party has worked in coalition where they were not running a candidate to defeat the right. That is called mature politics and doesn't make them a "front." What party are you a member of or what are you doing to build a progressive alternative party? As Gus Hall once pointed out, there are those who do the work and there are those who merely criticize. Any progressive alternative candidate faces the scathing criticism of do-nothing leftists seeking a saint but the question that comes to my mind is; "are you running?" Sometimes we have to get behind and build on the best opportunity we have, shaping it in the process.


#14

Just as competition is needed for a well-functioning economy, competition is needed for a well functioning politics - in both instances, the American system fails. Our economy no longer functions properly, arguably because lack of government oversight has allowed all serious competition to be swallowed up in corporate mergers. And our electoral system never really has allowed much competition, but what competition there once was has been abandoned since the League of Women Voters stopped controlling the debates.

A free-market economy requires freedom of entry for new competitors - but today's American economy makes that a rare exception, not the rule; it is nearly impossible for a new competitor to enter an established marked controlled by an oligopoly as nearly all of our markets are. Likewise, it is nearly impossible for a new party to establish itself given the two-party duopoly that is so firmly in place.

But the way we vote is what enforces that two-party structure. Given the spoiler effect, voters feel locked into voting for one or the other of the two major parties - for otherwise they help elect someone they view as absolutely unacceptable.

But this is a problem that we could solve fairly easily. There is nothing in our Constitution that locks us into the way we currently vote; in fact that is something under the control of our state governments. Making this change does not even require an act of Congress.

Electology.com provides some good presentations related to the topic and I've written some articles on the subject but, unfortunately, this site will not let me post a link. You can probably find them using a search for "Balanced Voting" at OpEdNews.


#16

Too bad the rank and file of the AFL-CIO couldn't just kick Richard Chumpka to the curb and set up a debate between the 2012 presidential candidates, (excluding Slick Oily and Mittens of course), who received more than 100,000 votes in the 2012 presidential election, but were not given airtime because they weren't members of the two corporatist parties! They would be Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green), Virgil Goode (Constitution) and the rank and file workers might even decide to invite Mr. Nader and Mr. Ross Perot to participate. Then the workers could send out invitations to Hillary Clinton and any republican presidential candidate with a double digit standing in the top national polls to participate in the debate. Then invite the League of Women Voters to mediate the debate! Both public TV and C-SPAN should be willing to televise such a debate!
Stand by and wait for the high pitched squeals from the republican and democratic national committees as they try to claim that they have exclusive rights to the presidential debates!
You can bet none of the repug's or dumbs would dare show their faces for such a debate!


#17

The bad news:
Green Party,
Ralph Nader, 2.74 percent of the vote, 2000
Jill Stein, 0.36 percent of the vote, 2012

The good news:
Socialist Alternative Party, Seattle Washington,
Kshama Sawant, 50.67 percent of the vote, 2013

Think globally, act locally.


#18

Actually, the Working Families Party has a record of supporting right-wing Democrats over left-wing Democrats. Their support for Cuomo over Zephyr Teachout is just the latest and greatest example. True progressives have been fleeing the WFP ship, but it's kept afloat by money from the Democratic Party. Just look at the NYPIRG report on funding sources for NY political parties.


#19

Progs take over Dems? Been there, tried that, ain't gonna happen .....

Avoid that advice, it ain't worth squat ...


#20

"Spoiler" effect - a pejorative meme that simply reinforces disdain for 3rd parties - actually the D/Rs are the "spoilers" of our economy, ecology, education and all the other letters of the alphabet ... Language colors perception so let's start identifying who the "spoilers" really are ....


#21

Beat me to it ... (smile)


#22

The Greens ...

When the WFP "prog" candidate choice didn't win the Dem nomination - the logical thing to do, if they were indeed a prog party, would have been to back the Green, Hawkins - but they chose the Rep-alike, Cuomo ....
Their loyalty, when push comes to shove, is to the Dem Party, not progressive politics ....


#23

Act at all levels -


#24

You are correct - to date the only org. to my knowledge that has attempted to include all parties is the fledgling Free and Equal ..... I think the League of Women Voters should throw their hat into the ring again - and if the duopoly refuses to participate, publicize that decision far and wide ....


#25

The state of Maine has now twice elected a Governor who was actively disliked by a majority of voters. This, quite simply was because those votes were split between two candidates. Of course those voters will disagree on which of those two was the spoiler candidate, but that is not important. There is little doubt that the fact that there were two of them splitting the vote opened up the opportunity for the one that was elected. And that is the spoiler effect - the fact that the election is spoiled. It is not that one or the other similar candidates spoiled it for the other it.

The spoiler effect is quite real and it is widely understood as quite a real phenomena that is a consequence of the way we vote. Third parties traditionally downplay the effect and urge voters to ignore it because they think that is in their interest, but they are spitting into the wind on this - voters know that the spoiler effect is all too real a problem. Ignoring a problem or pretending it doesn't exist will not make it go away.

But it is not a necessary problem; it is an artifact of the way we vote. There are a number of alternative voting systems that would avoid the problem entirely, but somehow the people who scream the loudest about the problem seem oblivious to the opportunities for a solution. The solution is not to denigrate the voters who choose to vote strategically; it is to work to change the voting system.


#26

No, i understand the issue - but i object to the term "spoiler" to describe it - the fact is a plurality of voters wanted that governor - to argue that a majority didn't, well apparently even a smaller % wanted either of the 2 alternatives - i.e. more folks wanted that dude than either of the others, and one could well argue that in any election where less than 100% of eligible folks vote, even the "majority" winner is not endorsed by a majority of the folks (s)he purports to represent ...

Yeah, there are a number of reforms that would be useful to minimize that effect - but they require that we put folks in office who will institute those reforms, (one of which, in your case, might be to require run off elections between the top 2 candidates) - and that is where we the people have to discipline ourselves to unite to put non-corp candidates in office - but even if we don't win, if we can amount enough numbers to pose a credible threat to TPTB, they may determine it in their best interests to institute such reforms ...