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July 20, 2004


Arthur O'Keefe

Hello, Luke, I read your comment re Nader and the apparent Republican support he is getting. It's a common perception that Nader "screwed up" the 2000 election for the Democrats by drawing left-leaning, independent voters away from Gore, and that it may happen again this year to Kerry's candidacy.

I read an interesting interview of Ralph Nader by Pat Buchanan in the June 24 issue of The American Conservative. The following portion is worth quoting to address the concern you voiced:

Buchanan: If you had not
been in the race in 2000,
who would have won?

Nader: That requires me
to be a retrospective
clairvoyant. If I wasn't
in a race, would the
Democrats have gone all-out
to get out the vote in certain
states because they were
worried about the percentages
I was drawing? And if I was
not in the race, would Gore
have made populist statements
day after day-"I am for the
people, not the powerful"-which
polls showed brought him more
votes than if he went to
Lieberman's semantic route?

Nader also claims (I have not independently verified this) that exit polls showed that had he not run in 2000, 25% of his votes would have gone to Bush, 38% to Gore, and the rest (37%) would not have voted.

Unless Nader is completely wrong or is lying about the above, it should be obvious that voter suppression in Florida by the Bush camp was what really "screwed up" the 2000 election. Examples of this include seeking to qualify all overseas absentee ballots for Florida counties won by Bush while simultaneously seeking to disqualify such ballots in counties won by Gore, and compiling a list of over 42,000 "possible felons" ineligible to vote which had the effect of disqualifying NON-felons with similar sounding names to the felons--but only if such non-felons were black. Whites with similar sounding names (and who were statistically much likelier to vote for Bush) were allowed to vote. (Who was the governor of Florida, again?) For more details,see the book "Banana Republicans" by Rampton and Stauber (Tarcher/Penguin 2004). Not as funny as Franken's "Lies", but more detailed, and the lack of jokes and irony means nobody can use those in a desperately pathetic attempt to "expose" the authors as "liars".

Anyway, even if the Democrats do lose the election because of Nader votes, the leadership has only itself to blame. How about pledging to STOP supporting vicious brutal dictatorships and oligarchies immediately after taking office? How about bringing back the principles of true capitalism instead of corporatism and corporate welfare? How about stopping sovereignity-violating institutions like NAFTA and the WTO? Has Kerry promised any of this? (If he has, I'll stand corrected, but I've heard nothing about it.) The Democratic party says, in effect, "We know a lot of you independent voters want this, but we won't do it. But we expect you to vote for Kerry anyway". (Yes, I know, it's not as bad as the Republicans saying "Screw you, John and Jane Q. Public. This is government of Halliburton, by Halliburton, and for Halliburton, and if you don't like it you're a dirty un-American traitor who loves terrorists.")

If you think I'm being unreasonable, consider this: In the same Nader interview I quoted above, Nader recounts trying in 1995 to find any member of Congress- Democrat or Republican- who had read the WTO agreement before voting on it. He couldn't find one. (Senator Hank Brown did, in response to Nader's search.) Now think about how much WTO affects the world's economy. But before voting on it ALMOST NONE OF THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS EVEN BOTHERED TO READ IT FIRST! If the Democratic party is REALLY worried about getting those swing votes, they had better start addressing stuff like that. Fast. Instead of ignoring it and then blaming Nader when they lose.


It's really hard for me to understand the rationale that you are providing for the value of a Nader vote.

Arthur, do you think that a vote for Nader is going to have some longer-term effect of bringing the Democratic party further to the left? Are you sure that re-electing Bush mightn't have the effect of bringing the Democratic party further to the right in an effort to capture more of the Republican base?

Why vote with long-term objectives and ignore the consequences of this specific election? Who becomes President in 2004 surely affects the future in the most direct way. Imagine the consequences of several more Republican administrations, based even only on what damage Bush has done in the last 4 years....

Surely you can understand, especially from the Republicans' efforts in helping Nader onto the ballot, that a vote for Nader in 2004 is a vote for Bush!

How sad that a relatively left-leaning person would consider voting for Nader instead of voting for someone who can actually get Bush out of office. In refusing to think realistically, you insure that your vote actually works against your objectives.

Arthur O'Keefe

Pete, thanks for responding to my comment.

The anxiety about Nader's candidacy is based largely on startegic, practical concerns, and I understand that this has to be considered in politics. In fact, I haven't decided who to vote for yet, except that it will definitely NOT be Bush.

Now, you seem to take it as a given that Nader cost Gore the 2000 election. Please let me add a little more information from the 2000 Florida vote suppression to illustrate how that was almost certainly what put Bush in the White House:

Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, in the book "Banana Republicans", cite such factors (besides the hanging chads) as:

*The famous "Brooks Brothers riot" in stopping the Miami recount of ballots (the rioters then got jobs in the Bush administration).

*Deliberately blocking the count of overseas absentee ballots in counties with strong support of Gore while simultaneously seeking to count such ballots in counties with strong support for Bush.

*Creating a "felon database", allegedly to deny voting to felons, but with the effect of denying the vote to African American NON-felons with names that were similar to those on the felon list (White people with names similar to those on the list were not turned back at the polls. Of course, blacks are statistically more likely to vote Democratic.)

The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago concluded, after an exhastive study of every rejected ballot in the state, that under six of nine different recount scenarios, Gore would have won. This is, I assume, taking into account that Nader was in the race.

Do you see what I'm saying, Pete? The real reason Gore isn't in the White House is because of Republican voter fraud, not Nader. And now they've got the federal government to back them in their activities instead of just Jeb Bush in the Florida governor's mansion. It would not surprise me at all if the supposed collusion between the Republicans and Nader is a decoy tactic to keep attention off another attempt at voter suppression. If I were John Kerry, I'd be more worried about that than Ralph Nader.

Thanks again for responding to my comment. Here's to a Bush-free government!



Thanks for the information about the Florida elections. It is plausible to me that the Florida debacle would have had a more significant effect on the election outcome than the Nader candidacy.

I have read that Kerry's legal representation is already preparing various cases regarding election fraud, preparing for the possibility that they may need to be filed as a result of the November election.

The lower George's ratings get, the harder its going to be to convince the American people that he has won the election legitimately, and that's probably one of the things that the Republicans are worried about.

We can't afford to squander our opportunities in 2004 to get Bush out. If you want Bush out in 2004, vote for Kerry. A vote for Nader is *not* a vote to get Bush out of the White House. Even if you live in a "Strong Blue" state, vote for Kerry.

Arthur O'Keefe

Thanks for your feedback, Pete. It's nice to have a civil discussion about ISSUES that, unlike far too much political discourse on the net, doesn't degenerate into name calling (e.g. "You disagree with government policy therefore you are an elitist, terrorist-loving commie blah blah blah...). Have you noticed how some people resort to that once they're faced with (Gasp!) relevant facts? I will take your advice under serious consideration. Ciao!

Arthur O'Keefe

Here's an interesting link re Nader:


Arthur O'Keefe

As I promised in my August 7 post, I have taken Pete's views under serious consideration. I am still going to vote for Nader, just like I did in 2000, which, despite what G.B. Trudeau would have you believe, I am NOT ashamed to say. If anyone wants to try and talk me out of it (assuming anyone is checking out the archives), I request you read the link in my previous message first. And please consider this: When we have a candidate who, as a Senator, voted in favor of the Iraq war, and now says that invading Iraq was the right thing to do, how (in terms of this issue) is voting for him any different than voting for Bush? Nader detractors like to say "a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush." I say a vote for Nader is a vote for Nader for the policies he advocates, and a vote for Kerry is a vote of approval for the Iraq war. Unless, of course, opposition to the war is not one of your primary reasons for opposing Bush.

Arthur O'Keefe

And for those of you still convinced of the alleged Republican plot to aid Nader:

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