Saturday, October 18, 2003

To Nader or not to Nader...
That is the question.
Yea: ["Don't let the Democrats frighten you away from voting your conscience"].

The great irony, of course, is that as the DLC moves the Democratic Party ever rightward, Democrats themselves are the losers. Mirroring Nixon's "Southern strategy," Clinton ran hard to the right, emphasizing crime control and distancing himself from blacks and progressives. His calculation? They would have nowhere else to go. Those tactics worked for Clinton, a master politician, but other Democrats have paid dearly for turning their backs on traditional Democratic voters. Let me illustrate. On the day President Clinton took office in 1993, Democrats held an 82-seat majority in the House of Representatives and a 57-43 majority in the Senate, and 30 governors were Democrats. On the day he left office in 2001, Republicans ruled both chambers of Congress and only 19 states had Democratic governors.

Or Nay: ["Don't gamble with your vote in 2004"].

A few years ago, Nader and some others articulated the theory that throwing a scare into the Democrats would move them in a more progressive direction. That theory was disproved after November 2000. As a whole, congressional Democrats have not become more progressive since then. There has been a disturbing tendency among some Greens to conflate the Democratic and Republican parties. Yes, the agendas of the two major parties overlap. But they also diverge. And in some important respects, any of the Democratic presidential contenders (with the exception of Joe Lieberman, whose nomination appears to be quite unlikely) would clearly be better than Bush. For the left to be "above the fray" would be a big mistake. It should be a matter of great concern -- not indifference or mild interest -- as to whether the Bush gang returns to power for four more years.