I just read the open letter by Noam Chomsky, Bill Fletcher, Barbara Ehrenreich, Kathy Kelly, Ron Daniels, Leslie Cagan, Norman Solomon, Cynthia Peters, and Michael Albert calling on the Green Party not to run a candidate this year.
The authors above utilize so many clichés that it’s getting beyond ridiculous and frighteningly dangerous. This is the most important race in our history. You have to vote for the lesser evil. The Democrats and Republicans are not the same. Nader and Stein were spoilers. Democracy is only for the 2 parties. You vote your conscience, interests, and values and you let the Republican win. Can’t they come up with something original by now that can’t be taken apart so easily?
Let’s start off with the original sin of the Green Party. They cost Gore the election in Florida with their 97,000+ votes. With a margin of losing by 543 votes, surely of those 97,000 + at least 544 could have ‘seen the light’ and voted the way they were ‘suppose’ to vote. So do we ignore the fact that 12% of Floridian (about 200,000) Democrats voted for Bush in Florida? http://www.cagreens.org/alameda/city/0803myth/myth.html
Chomsky, et.al. pointed out all the other factors, including the Supreme Court stopping the elections, in which the party accepted without a fight, but no mention of the thousands (57,000 according to NAACP v. Harris) wrongfully purged from the rolls. Where was the Gore campaign or the Democratic Party to fight that?
Bottom line is that the Gore campaign lost because it ran an awful campaign and refused to accept responsibility, much like Clinton in 2016. He lost his state. Bill Clinton was asked to keep a distance and Arkansas went for Bush as well. And it wasn’t until he started to take more progressive positions did he start to eat into Nader’s base. Besides, how many millions of Democrats nationwide voted for Bush? Don’t mess with numbers unless you have them all to work with, not just those you cherry-pick.
So even with the numbers that they shell out to ‘prove’ how the Green Party spoiled the election, overall, it doesn’t pass the smell test.
One of the most insidious, and extremely anti-democratic and nearly authoritarian arguments that Chomsky, et. al. make is the one that how a person votes should be based on who owns those votes. It matters little if a person votes for their interests, values, or their conscience. Party trumps the individual. The ‘founding fathers’ opposed the idea of political parties, but that’s where we are today. Yet it has taken on such a controlling factor over the citizenry that these powerful institutions have supplanted the role of the individual. Together, the two parties represent less than half the registered voters and even less of all eligible voters, yet have a near-absolute control of the electoral process. It is these two parties that control who votes and in particular, which party, which particular point of view for Wall Street, can be represented in an election.
In many ways, the 2016 disaster for the Democrats mirrored the 2000 debacle. There is little doubt that Clinton was a horrible campaigner and candidate, probably even more so than Gore. And like the previous election, it wasn’t their fault they lost to Trump. Chomsky et. al. pin it all on Stein taking votes away from Clinton in Pennsylvania and other ‘guaranteed’ states for her. It is true that if the Stein votes in these states went to Clinton she would have won. Where in the letter does it say if the Gary Johnson votes went to Trump, he might have even won a plurality? Of course that’s not included as it would be too much of a balanced argument to make.
The authors make their best attempt at gaslighting by pointing out the refusal ‘to acknowledge the special danger of Trump’. Clearly, Hillary Clinton was harmless. Hillary Clinton loved all people equally, especially our ‘predators’ and ‘deplorables’. What was the joke back in 1980 about what glows in the dark in the Middle East? The answer was Iran minutes after Reagan is sworn in. How many of us feared the same for Russia with a Clinton win? How many saw Trump as taking on the establishment and corporate power when his opponent exemplified the very same? Sure. Trump was and is dangerous as he marketed himself as the opposite of Clinton when in many ways he was merely an extension of her and so many of his crimes were similarly committed by Clinton and Obama. (Trump’s emoluments; the Clinton Global Initiative. Trump murdering Soleimani; Clinton/Obama murdering Qadaffi and young son, and many civilians through drone attacks. Trump’s open racism; Clinton and her ‘predators’ and support of mass incarceration of people of color. Etc.)
Another problem with the letter is the analysis of the strength of the Green Party. Yes the ‘safe state’ strategy of David Cobb nearly destroyed the Green Party nationwide, but the Stein campaign brought ballot access back to where it once was. The authors acknowledge that if the Green Party plays it safe again in this election, they ‘will pay a price for not running in contested states’. Their gaslighting admonition is that Greens should ‘notice the infinitely bigger price that millions and even billions of people will pay for Trump winning.’ No acknowledgement of how the Democratic Party pretty much gave us Trump through the pied piper strategy, or the rigging of the election against Sanders, and of course their choice being the only person in America who could lose to Trump, but this time, don’t be fooled. The Democrats are the real deal and the antidote to Trump. And with their Democrat to win, there will be peace and love between the bald eagle and the bear. (Even Sanders has proven to be a Russophobe.)
Lastly, this is an election. It’s a way for a citizen in a free country to voice their choice for president. Even though the process is rigged against any choice but Wall Street’s, who the Democrats nominate would be the only factor in who wins in 2020. Choose Sanders, and it’s almost guaranteed many grassroots Greens will vote for him. For example, here in the state of Maryland, we actually had a state chair for the Green Party brag about how he switched parties just so he could vote for Sanders in the 2016 primary. As treacherous as that was, being an actual spokesperson for the Party, the rank and file Greens, here in Maryland as well as elsewhere, are very much in Sanders’s camp, and it’s their right to be so. If the nomination goes to Biden because of the Democrats’ repeated treachery against their own progressive voters, then it begs the questions, ‘Is this even a democracy worth fighting for?’ Trump will win in a landslide, but of course, it will be the Green Party to blame. It always is.