"They should realize that the retrospect on Florida concluded Gore won Florida," said Nader, "It was stolen from the Democrats. And they should concentrate on the thieves and the blunderers in Florida, not on the Green Party."
Nader didn’t mention the real factor that would place blame on the actual appeasers; that being the exit polls in Florida indicated more Democrats voted for George Bush than the total number of people who cast their vote for Ralph Nader. That’s right; Democrats gave Bush Florida, or at least allowed it to be so close that the Supreme Court could intervene.
But instead of going after the heart of the issue—why Democrats voted Republican—most have taken the liberty of blaming Mr. Nader and the Greens for Bush’s victory in 2000.
And now Ralph Nader is preparing for another bid in 2004. His presidential exploratory committee’s formation should be announced within the next couple of months. Greens have yet to say whether Nader will be running on their ticket or not. Regardless, the need for a third party in American politics has never been greater.
Some pragmatic progressives say Nader should run a “safe-state” strategy, where he would only campaign in strong Democrat or Republican strongholds—steering clear of any swing states. However, this strategy is counterproductive. The Democratic Party as a whole must be challenged.
This means running a fierce nation wide campaign, in all states.
But why would Nader not endorse the Democrats as they attempt to dethrone Bush? Because he knows the Democrats, even if successful, will not radically challenge the policies of the imperial ruling class they are patrons of.
Nader will point out that prior to 2002, when the Democrats ruled the Senate, they supported some of the most egregious bills team Bush muscled through Congress.
Democrats endorsed many of the policies progressives and some liberals are still denouncing to this day. They supported the war in Afghanistan, Ashcroft’s invasive Patriot Act, Bush’s chainsaw Forest Plan, and the pre-emptive Iraq invasion. Centrist Democrats also shied away from criticizing the Bush administration’s ties to Enron, because they too were culprits in the corporate scandal. And finally they have given Bush a blank check to fund the illegal occupation in Iraq, and hand out precious tax dollars to his buddies at Bechtel and Halliburton. The Democrats as a whole have never opposed Bush wholeheartedly, and there is little reason to believe the status quo will shift if Dems takeover in 2004.
Leadership has more than lacked among these bemused Donkeys. If Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s bid for President is a sign of anything, it’s that progressive Democrats don’t stand a chance of shifting their party’s policies from within.
Howard Dean, John Kerry, Dick Gephardt, Joe Lieberman, and Wesley Clark are all politicians cut from the same centrist cloth. If president, each will have ties to the same corporate elite as the Republicans do now. All will continue the American march through the Middle East backed by the Zionist lobby. All support the inflated Pentagon budget. Democrats will also continue the ineffective and destructive, “War on Drugs.” And they will all continue onward in the neoliberal spirit of their beloved predecessor Bill Clinton.
In 2002, when Democrats lost control of the Senate, they had nobody to blame. No Green handed over the Senate to the Republicans. No Nader candidacy was available to scapegoat their evident inadequacies as an oppositional force. Instead they continued to believe that clamoring to the “right,” was the only way to defeat the Republican stronghold of this nation. And that mentality still controls the discourse of their sheltered ideology today.
Ralph Nader and the Greens will not be stealing any election in 2004. What Democrats don’t get, is that they are not the party of the Left. It is questionable if they ever were. They are hardly their own distinct entity from the Right. They don’t represent us much more than the Republicans.
Rhetoric alone won’t sell a pile of shit. And that’s all the Democrats are shoveling our way. It is well past due for the Democrats to bury themselves out back in the compost bin.
So when Ralph Nader announces his bid, and we all cringe at the thought of another four with George Bush, let’s realize and blame the lot of politicians that ineffectively challenged the Republican junta these past four years. Let’s cast blame where blame is due. Democrats gave us Bush in 2000, and they played a major role in the destruction Bush has dealt ever since. Clinton set the stage, and Bush carried on the act.
The Democrats won’t change unless a progressive third party continues to harp their feeble doctrine. The Democrat’s boat is sinking fast, lost in the Bermuda Triangle of political bargaining. It’s too late for more compromise. The Democrats have all but drowned.
We can’t afford another four with Bush anymore than we can afford four years with Howard Dean. Progressives should be afraid of either possibility. But let us not give up hope that an insurgent candidate like Ralph Nader can alter the course of democracy in America. We must see past the whining of the Democrats. We have to look past 2004, because if we do lose hope—we will drown along side the sinking Democrats, and throw away everything we have been fighting for.
Josh Frank is a writer and activist living in New York City. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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