NADER: No Green Party run ...
... but may decide later to run as an independent
Huge political news this afternoon: ["Nader Rejects Green Party Backing"].
To start, I predicted that Ralph Nader would not run as a Green on Aug. 15: ["DemPrimPred"]. While the Greens and Nader had a lot in common, Nader was never really a Green.
First, he wasn't registered to vote as a "Green." He has always been registered as an "independent." Second, he isn't as socialistic as most of the rank and file Greens. While there are subsets of Greens - some disenfranchised liberal Democrats; others European-styled left-wingers - most Greens are totalitarian socialists. They want to control every part of a person's life. I have spent a lot of time around Green Party members. There are a lot of good people involved with the party. And for a time, I thought there was great potential for the party to grow. There still is actually.
But the problem is that some factions of the party want to control every little part of a person's life. I nicknamed these people "the no cream in my coffee crowd." They actually think that when someone wants cream - from a cow - and not soy milk, they are assaulting Mother Earth. Such nonsense.
Another faction within the party that will keep them from succeeding are the movement people. These people are so obsessed with so-called "diversity" and marching and protesting in rallies, that they never complete the hard work that is required to win elections. In essence, the movement people are their own worst enemies. They want true and meaningful change but will not put in the time and effort that is needed to implement that change. The diversity issue is a big one, especially since Greens limit their "diversity" plank to gender and race ["No White Men Allowed" or "You are to blame for everything that is bad in the world because you are white and you are male"], while ignoring diversity of religion and opinion. Are white men to blame for a lot of stuff? Sure. But that doesn't mean there aren't good and decent white men - who aren't stupid. While there are some pro-life Greens [as one explained it to me, I'm a Quaker, we don't believe in abortion because it is the taking of a life], Christians - even ones who follow the true path of Jesus Christ, who was a leftist - are frowned upon. And if you differ from the 10 Key Values, look out. You could be stoned in the town square! So much for diversity.
To be honest, some of the movement people have slowly begun to get it: It is OK to march for Mumia so long as they create the Voter's list database too. And other Greens are really busting their asses to compete. Matt Gonzales almost won the San Francisco mayoral race. Other Greens have been victorious at the local level in New York, California, New Mexico, and Massachusetts. But there is a limited landscape where they will be successful.
As someone who has been around politics for a long time, I have learned a few things. The first is that you don't implement political change by screaming in someone's face about the rights of the milk coming from a cow. Yes, candidates can speak [preach? yell?] from the pulpit - that is their job. But it is the job of the political party to get the important work done behind the candidate in order to win elections and, hopefully, make the world a better place.
You also don't implement change by forcing others to do your will. You implement true and meaningful change by living as an example for others to follow. I can't tell you how many times I have been able to affect people's lives by doing nothing but being myself. Sure, I have rebuffed some people with my strong beliefs and have learned that you get more bees with honey than with vinegar. I have also learned that by promoting a different way of life - not through the militaristic forcing of people to follow your rules, but by the action of being a living example of good and worth - you can change a person's mind. And that is the only way you can truly change a person's mind. You can't force people to not eat meat or not drive SUVs. But you can provide alternatives to beef that taste just as good and might be healthier and upgrade SUVs for better gas mileage with hybrid batteries which would cut the pollution down. See what I mean?
However, back to Nader.
I think Nader has made a huge mistake here - unless he isn't running in 2004 which is still a possibility. Frankly, I don't think Nader will run in 2004.
But if he were going to run, he should have stayed with the Greens [or run as a Democrat, as former Boston Phoenix political reporter Seth Gitell suggested he do: "Nader as a Dem in 2004?". However, it is too late to enter the New Hampshire primary and probably others. Plus, Nader has already openly endorsed Dennis Kucinich in the primaries]. Running as an independent is an even bigger task than running as a Green. Nader is almost setting himself up to get even fewer votes than in 2000 [Even though he seems to have delusions thinking that he can beat Bush]. At least the Greens have some semblance of volunteers who could help him get on the ballot in most states. Without that organization, what is he going to do? He had problems hiring people in 2000 to work on his campaign. What is he going to do this time around? Few will work for him because of the stigma around his supposed stealing of the election from Al Gore.
As well, Nader has removed himself as a threat to the Democrats and this action has cost him any leverage he may have had to secure [blackmail?] the Democrats into doing some meaningful reform, like Instant Runoff Voting [IRV]. Nader could have gone to Terry McAuliffe and said, 'Terry, I won't run if you get IRV implemented in Democratically-controlled state legislatures tomorrow.' Essentially, Nader could have forced the Dems to share power by giving up a small pound of flesh. This would have guaranteed the Greens some clout in future elections - and would have been a crowning achievement to Nader's already substantial list of four decades of accomplishment.
Whatever Ralph decides to do, this is good news for the Democrats. With a minimized - or nonexistence - Nader candidacy, liberal and left-of-center voters will have nowhere else to go but to hold their noses and vote for the Democratic nominee. Sure, there might be a socialist candidate [look at the 2000 Florida results: Natural Law Party candidate John Hagelin received 2,281 votes. Worker's World Party candidate Monica Moorehead received 1,804 votes. Even Socialist David McReynolds received 622 votes - enough votes to guarantee a Gore victory! However, no one ever blames them for Gore's loss]. Nader's calls this mentality "the liberal virus": ["Nader vs. the 'liberal virus'"].
So, those candidates could siphon precious few votes from the Democratic nominee. But now there will be a clear shot for the Democrats against Bush. The key now is, Will they do what they need to do to win? And frankly, if they can't beat Bush, the Democratic Party will truly be dead and America will need a competitive Green Party [or other independent party] to compete against the Republicans.
I have emailed some of the political campaigns to see if there is any reaction to this development. I will post anything I get during the next few days.