WASHINGTON - September 9 - Greens for Impact, a committee of elected officials and Green Party leaders, is dismayed to see that Ralph Nader's campaign schedule for September consists almost completely of battleground states, where his presence could aid in re-electing George W. Bush. From September 11th through September 18th, Nader will be stumping in the swing states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Colorado. This route cannot be coincidental and it in fact belies claims he made when first announcing his presidential candidacy: "This is a campaign that strives to displace the present corporate regime of the Bush administration."
On September 3, 2004, Ralph Nader's campaign issued a press release deconstructing President Bush's spin machine, entitled "Bush Rhetoric and Reality Are Two Different Things." Following this model, Greens for Impact seeks to figure out what could possibly motivate Nader to visit every swing state. Our analysis indicates: "Nader Rhetoric and Reality Are Two Different Things."
1. Will Nader Take More Votes from Bush than Kerry?
Rhetoric: Nader continues to claim that there are enough conservatives distraught over Bush's fiscal irresponsibility that he will receive more voter from potential Bush voters than from potential Kerry voters.
Reality: Polling data from throughout the summer - in line with data from four years ago - has consistently shown that more potential Nader votes would go to Kerry than would go to Bush, and that Kerry's electoral vote total would be significantly higher were Nader not in the race. (See: http://www.theunitycampaign.org/battleground/). The Libertarian Party's candidate, Michael Badnarik, is also on the ballot in almost every state and is a much more logical choice for disaffected Bush voters. In addition, on September 8, 2004, after weeks of denying that Bush supporters were aiding his candidacy, Nader submitted 45,000 signatures collected by the Michigan Republican Party to put him on the state's ballot and hurt John Kerry.
2. Is Progressive and Green Party Cooperation with John Kerry and the Democrats an Affront to our Principles?
Rhetoric: Nader states that cooperation with Democrats for the purpose of defeating Bush is tantamount to voting your fears over your hopes. He decries "safe-states" strategies that call for voters to support Kerry in swing states and progressive candidates in safe states as "schizophrenic politics."
Reality: Nader has himself allied with political parties whose views differ from his own, only he has done so out of sheer convenience. He will appear as the xenophobic Reform Party's candidate on several state ballot lines, and at that party's recent nominating convention he declared: "No one's ever going to agree with everybody.... You don't always agree on politics with your own family." Oddly he only applies this logic of accentuating political similarities over differences to his drastic leftwing-rightwing alliance, but deems it unacceptable for those seeking a more logical Green-Democrat alliance. The Reform Party nominated the right-wing Pat Buchanan for president in 2000 and this July its Chair, Shawn O'Hara, stated "I'm doing everything I can to make sure John Kerry never gets around the White House." O'Hara ran for Governor of Mississippi on a rightwing platform and in the past even defended the Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard against charges of fire bombing a voting rights activist. The Reform Party advocates a halt of almost all immigration, the retraction of many immigrants' rights, and the end of automatic citizenship for those born to non-citizens within the United States.
3. Don't Bush and Kerry have the Same Positions on the Iraq Situation?
Rhetoric: Nader decries Bush's unilateralism and unaccountability to the United Nations and world citizenry, while simultaneously chastising Kerry for "letting down the widening anti-war movement and like-minded citizens in the U.S.A."
Reality: Nader's presidential run is itself unaccountable and unresponsive to the larger progressive and antiwar movements, including left-wing Democrats, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Green Party, and many activists who supported his candidacy four years ago, including Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and others. Nader recognizes the tremendous influence that the United States has over international politics, but continues to campaign in the specter of polls that show that worldwide sentiment overwhelmingly favors a Kerry victory. (See: http://news.ft.com/cms/s/474450a6-01ce-11d9-8273-00000e2511c8.html). In doing so, Nader is himself acting unilaterally and against the wishes of the global community, who overwhelmingly want to see the self-proclaimed "War President" defeated.
4. Won't Nader's Campaign Help Highlight and End Rules Rigged to Ensure a Two-Party Monopoly?
Rhetoric: Nader laments that "barriers to full participation of candidates proliferate making it very obstructive, for most third party and Independent candidates to run."
Reality: Nader still does not support the immediate implementation of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), which would mean an end to the so-called "spoiler" problem. His campaign only minimally addresses electoral reforms that are needed before third parties and independent candidates will ever flourish in the United States. Nader could make use of the significant cache he accrued through his 2000 presidential run to forward IRV and other systemic changes that would have a long-lasting impact, but instead seems to relish the power that comes with the spoiler threat.
5. Isn't Nader the Victim of Dirty Tricks by the Democrats?
Rhetoric: Nader decries Democratic attempts to keep his name off of state ballots as undemocratic "dirty tricks" by corporate attorneys.
Reality: Nader and his supporters have themselves been playing "dirty tricks" by working to replace Green Party nominee David Cobb's name with Nader's name on several state ballots, including those of California, Utah, and Vermont. This would have the effect of overturning the democratically produced results of the Green Party's nominating convention, where a majority of delegates rejected Nader's attempts to receive the Green Party's presidential endorsement. This unprincipled maneuver begins to mirror other "anything-goes" tactics coming from the Nader campaign and undermines his claims of wanting to give voters greater choices.
6. Isn't Nader Helping Build the Progressive Electoral Movement?
Rhetoric: Nader claims that he wants to build a progressive electoral movement, and motivate the Democrats to end corporate dominated politics. His website states that "Someone has to be in the race to keep the two parties responsive and make sure that the issues the Washington insiders don't want to address get raised all the way to election day.."
Reality: Nader's campaign has polarized the left and has yet to articulate any coherent strategy for actually advancing progressive issues. He has dismissed talk of using his campaign to extract concessions from Kerry and has pledged to stay in the race through the end. Nader credits himself with pushing Gore to the left in 2000 but discounts the fact that his campaign also helped prevent Gore from getting elected, making this "influence" meaningless. You cannot advance your issues if the person you are attempting to influence does not win. Nader refused to vie for the nomination of the Green Party - the only viable progressive party in the United States. In many states, Nader will be in direct competition for votes with the Green Party, lessening the chances that the Green Party will maintain its ballot status in several of those states, or attain new ones. In some states, where Nader is running as the Reform Party candidate, a vote for Nader will be a vote for a stronger Reform party, and further that party's ability to voice its right-wing and xenophobic agenda. In addition, Nader and Camejo continue to attack Green Party nominee David Cobb, and lie about his stances on issues such as the Iraq war, claiming he is not a serious anti-war candidate. This sort of misleading spin is intellectually dishonest, and parallels the tactics Nader decries when used by the Bush administration, Kerry campaign, Democratic Party, corporate media, and "liberal intelligentsia."
According to Greens for Impact Chair David Segal, "taking all of these inconsistencies and hypocrisies together, one can only conclude that Nader's commitment to defeating Bush is a ruse - just more spin and rhetoric - and his visit to swing states this month will only give aid and comfort to the enemy: George W. Bush."
Greens for Impact PAC (GFI) is an organization of principled and pragmatic Green Party leaders and elected officials. Its supporters include John Eder (Maine legislator), Norman Solomon (syndicated columnist), Austin King (Madison, WI Alder), and others. GFI recognizes Kerry's serious failings, but also that distinctions between him and Bush are real and significant. It hopes foster a unified left in order to defeat Bush. GFI asks voters to support Kerry in the swing states, Cobb in the safe states, and electoral reforms like instant runoff voting nationwide. For more information, visit www.GreensforImpact.com.