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
February 12-14, 2016
Andrew Levine
What Next in the War on Clintonism?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Comedy of Terrors: When in Doubt, Bomb Syria
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
Paul Street
When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein
Rob Urie
The (Political) Season of Our Discontent
Pepe Escobar
It Takes a Greek to Save Europa
Gerald Sussman
Why Hillary Clinton Spells Democratic Party Defeat
Carol Norris
What Do Hillary’s Women Want? A Psychologist on the Clinton Campaign’s Women’s Club Strategy
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Election: Any Good News for Palestine?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget
Michael Welton
Lenin, Putin and Me
Manuel García, Jr.
Fire in the Hole: Bernie and the Cracks in the Neo-Liberal Lid
Thomas Stephens
The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective
David Rosen
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Will Parrish
Cap and Clear-Cut
Victor Grossman
Coming Cutthroats and Parting Pirates
Ben Terrall
Raw Deals: Challenging the Sharing Economy
David Yearsley
Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Formation: Form-Fitting Uniforms of Revolution and Commerce
David Mattson
Divvying Up the Dead: Grizzly Bears in a Post-ESA World
Matthew Stevenson
Confessions of a Primary Insider
Jeff Mackler
Friedrichs v. U.S. Public Employee Unions
Franklin Lamb
Notes From Tehran: Trump, the Iranian Elections and the End of Sanctions
Pete Dolack
More Unemployment and Less Security
Christopher Brauchli
The Cruzifiction of Michael Wayne Haley
Bill Quigley
Law on the Margins: a Profile of Social Justice Lawyer Chaumtoli Huq
Uri Avnery
A Lady With a Smile
Katja Kipping
The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room
B. R. Gowani
Hellish Woman: ISIS’s Granny Endorses Hillary
Kent Paterson
The Futures of Whales and Humans in Mexico
Michael Howard
Hollywood’s Grotesque Animal Abuse
James Heddle
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
Steven Gorelick
Branding Tradition: a Bittersweet Tale of Capitalism at Work
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West
Patrick Bond
World Bank Punches South Africa’s Poor, by Ignoring the Rich
Mel Gurtov
Is US-Russia Engagement Still Possible?
Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown Receives Cold, Dead Fish Award Four Years In A Row
Wolfgang Lieberknecht
Fighting and Protecting Refugees
Jennifer Matsui
Doglegs, An Unforgettable Film
Soud Sharabani
Israeli Myths: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud
Terry Simons
Bernie? Why Not?
Missy Comley Beattie
When Thoughtful People Think Illogically
Christy Rodgers
Everywhere is War: Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
Ron Jacobs
Springsteen: Rockin’ the House in Albany, NY
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“The Martian”: This Heroism is for Chinese Viewers Too
Charles R. Larson
No Brainers: When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail