WASHINGTON - July 9 - At this moment, Ralph Nader and Howard Dean are debating the role of progressives in the presidential election, for National Public Radio's "Justice Talking" program. Neither side, in either rhetoric or actions is taking serious steps towards creating a cooperative political environment for progressive voters. With both sides desperate to forward their political agendas, both Nader and Dean are making misleading statements about their positions on important voting reforms that would stop the so-called "spoiler" problem. On several instances, Ralph Nader stated that he was in favor of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), when the reality is that he has taken a spineless position on the issue, as his official position is that: "Instant Run-off Voting (IRV) is an approach that needs to be tested at the local level and, if successful, applied to state and national elections as well." This position is weaker than Howard Dean's long-standing full support of IRV, and it evidences the typical non-position on an issue that we are accustomed to seeing from the major political parties. IRV allows voters to vote their conscience without helping candidates they abhor, thereby promoting positive campaigning, coalition-building, and eliminating the so-called "spoiler" problem. Greens for Impact fears that Ralph Nader does not fully embrace IRV, as he seems to be more interested in maintaining the power to threaten Democrats than he is in promoting democratic solutions to the spoiler problem.
At the same time, Howard Dean also reiterated his support for IRV and maintained that the reform would fare better under a Kerry presidency than a Bush presidency. Unfortunately, Dean is not the Democratic nominee and his belief is undercut by the fact that Kerry has not yet addressed this issue, in spite of its ability to solve the spoiler problem once and for all. Greens for Impact has deplored the mere lip-service paid by the Democrats to the idea of spoiler-free elections through IRV and is now disappointed to see Nader engaging in a similar dodge of the issue. As former Independent presidential candidate, John Anderson, asked during the debate, will the Democratic Party make Instant Runoff Voting a plank in their party's platform? This is a question that has gone unanswered by the Democrats, as well as Senator Kerry. Greens for Impact believes that left-of-center politcal parties need to forge cooperative solutions, rather than waste resources attacking each other. IRV would provide for such a solution.
Responding to this "spoiler" problem, members of the Green Party of the United States (GPUS) formed Greens for Impact (GFI) and launched www.GreensforImpact.com in order to encourage a strategic voting plan in the upcoming presidential election. In a bid to remove George W. Bush from office while growing the Green Party and the progressive political movement, GFI actively encourages voters to vote for John Kerry in battleground states and to support Green Party nominee David Cobb in the remaining "safe" states, while pushing both sides to support long-term, cooperative solutions through electoral reforms that would avoid "spoiler" problems. Today's debate ignores the fact that Nader will be appearing on few states' ballots, thus making David Cobb a potentially larger factor in the outcome of the presidential race. More importantly though, Cobb's exclusion from the debate will prevent progressives from hearing a third, and more reasonable strategy than Nader's, as Cobb has pledged to an alternative electoral strategy, whereby he would focus his energies on the so-called "safe states," thus avoiding potential spoiling issues. Throughout the presidential campaign season, Cobb has served to blunt Nader's rigid view of the electoral process, thereby presenting liberal voters with more reasoned perspectives.
In spite of this, Greens for Impact agrees with Howard Dean's sentiment expressed today that we cannot let the perfect defeat the good. GFI supporter Dave Chandler (Chair of the Jefferson County, Colorado Greens and former candidate for Congress) adds, "I believe this republic is in the greatest jeopardy since the Civil War. I will not do anything that will lead to another four years of Bush running this country."
Minority leader of the Providence, RI City Council and Chair of Greens for Impact, David Segal, said, "as an elected official in an urban center, I feel an obligation to ensure Bush's defeat because his domestic agenda is so terribly destructive. I owe that to my constituents. But I also have loyalties to my party and want it to grow. For me, a strategic 'safe states' voting plan, where we encourage swing state voters to support Kerry and safe state voters to support Cobb - will not interfere with Bush's defeat. At the same time, an earnest and energetic commitment to electoral reforms, such as Instant Runoff Voting, will help the Green Party flourish, while solving the so-called spoiler problem."
Greens for Impact is not associated with any presidential campaign. Its supporters include Rep. John Eder of the Maine House of Representatives, syndicated columnist Norman Solomon, Madison, WI Alder, Austin King, and other prominent Green Party officials.