FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Vote for Nader Is A Vote for Nader

by Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair

“A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush.” How quickly the Gore liberals adopt a totalitarian mindset, sounding like Soviet commissars back in the old days who would urge the voters towards a 98 per cent turn-out for the Communist candidate, arguing that any deviation from absolute loyalty would “objectively” play into the hands of the imperialists.

A vote for Nader is first and foremost a vote for Nader. And since the programs of the Democratic and Republican candidates are pretty much the same on issues ranging from corporate welfare to Wall Street to the war on drugs to crime to military spending, a vote for Gore is actually a vote for Bush, and a vote for Bush is a vote for Gore. It was the same in 1996. Clinton or Dole? Vote for Clinton and you got Dole anyway.

These waning days of the campaign there’s a desperation to the alarums of the Gore people about the Nader. For one thing, they know that the Nader super-rallies in New York, across the upper midwest and in the north-west have had a hugely energizing effect on young people. There hasn’t been anything like it since Jesse Jackson’s populist bid for the nomination back in 1988. Back that time Jackson rolled in behind the Democratic ticket and rolled up his Rainbow, leaving hundreds of thousands of supporters with nowhere to go and nothing to do.

Having spent the past month speaking about Gore and Nader on campuses along the track of these rallies, we can say with certainty that the enthusiasms of these young activists aren’t about to be quelled by lectures from Gloria Steinem or Barney Frank or Jesse Jackson Jr about the need to take the mature view, and root for Gore-Lieberman. For one thing, they watched the debates. Did they take from those labored encounters any nourishment from Gore on issues that they have an appetite for, like trade or sweat labor or the drug war or the growing divide between rich and poor?

Gore liberals such as Steinem, or Patricia Ireland of NOW, or Carl Pope of the Sierra Club have been trading in false currency for so long that they don’t realise that as shills for the Democratic Party their credit was used up long, long ago. When Steinem of all people wags her finger at greens and tells them that poor people don’t have the luxury of voting for Nader, it doesn’t take longer than a second to hear the response: “Then what about the welfare bill. Was that good for the poor?” And only middle class women enjoy the luxury of Roe v Wade since Gore and others voted down federal aid for abortions for poor women long ago.

Listen to Ellen Johnson, an organizer for the Arizona Greens, who
teaches at Arizona State in Tempe. “Since the onset of the Clinton
presidency NOW’s once stalwart support of many women’s rights issues has eroded. While reproductive rights are important, so is quality childcare, a living wage, eradication of environmental toxins, and health care. Although Clinton/Gore promised to address these issues in ’92 and ’96, no acceptable plans for improvement have been implemented.

Why is NOW so willing to give Gore another chance? Oh yeah, we forgot, for abortion rights. What is Roe vs. Wade worth to you, NOW? If it’s the wholesale sellout of a constituency you once pledged to serve then you are on the right track.”

In mid-October, we went to a debate at the Hothouse in downtown Chicago, a great club featuring jazz, blues and political events. Here were ranged advocates of the Nader/Green third party bid against Democratic loyalists. we heard an organizer from the United Electrical Workers (one of the few unions to endorse Nader) put up a strong argument as to why labor should rethink its loyalty to the Democrats. He pointed out that at the stroke of a pen Clinton/Gore could have helped labor immensely by any number of executive orders. No such orders came. After eight long years there’s been nothing on striker replacement.

Despite all the bright talk of New Labor, unions have actually lost
ground in the Clinton/Gore years, simply because the legal playing field is so tilted in favor of the employers. There’s no prospect on earth that a Gore-Lieberman administration would work to tilt this playingfield the other way. Back in 1993 and 1994 when Democrats held the White House and Congress, what did Clinton-Gore do for labor? They pushed through NAFTA.

Nader has actually grown in stature and in political skills these last two months. From a pedagogical style that could tend to the soporific he’s been transformed by the energy of those rallies into an inspirational orator. He’s outcampaigned the man who has most to fear from him. Visions do count . Gore hasn’t offered one and Nader has. Unlike Jackson in ’88 he’s not going to quit and neither, we suspect, are most of his supporters. They’re already thinking about what to do after November 7. CP

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net. Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

Weekend Edition
April 29-31, 2016
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail