As an active and engaged American citizen whose political views run to the left of center, I have something to tell you.
Get out. And stay out.
Sorry to open so bluntly, but I believe that anything short of a clubbing on the head will have no impact on you whatsoever. Certainly, reality doesn’t.
I’ll be the first to admit that the Democrats aren’t perfect. I’ll be even faster to concede that Al Gore was an uninspiring candidate in 2000. But there is a reality of the American political scene that I believe you’re (deliberately?) overlooking. Greens, Libertarians, and the Natural Law and Reform parties aside, we live in a two-party system, Ralph. Whether it’s right or wrong, there are only two major political parties in our country, and with a few notable exceptions during the 19th century, it has been that way in America for 220 years. Your quixotic tilting at that windmill isn’t going to change it – at least any time soon.
But Ralph, my point isn’t to try and bury the idea of a third party; I’d actually like to see a viable one emerge. Rather, my point is to question why you would entertain the notion of running again in 2004. You’re a smart man – or I assume smart enough to be able to read history books, polls, and assessments of political reality – so you must know that you can’t win.
If you know going in that you can’t win, then there must be another reason you’re running. I can only think of two: either you are trying to “get your issues on the table,” or you are arrogantly making a vanity run for office with no regard for the consequences of your self-serving actions. I believe it’s the latter; but let me address the former.
Getting your issues on the table and into the scope of the public debate is an admirable goal, whether I agree with you or not (often I don’t, but that’s beside the point). But running an outsider campaign for the Presidency that is destined only to siphon 3 or 4 critical percent of the vote from the non-Republican candidate is a folly that harms the chances of any candidate not named Bush from winning in November.
And don’t hand me the crock you fed people the last time about the Democrats being no different than the Republicans… like I said at the beginning, the Democrats are admittedly not perfect, but given a choice between someone I agree with 70% of the time (or 50%, or 40%, or even 20%) is better than someone I agree with 0% of the time. And the political reality of America dictates that those are my two choices – never mind the idealistic arguments about the choices I ought to have, because we need to deali in reality, not the Perfect World. Voting for anyone else is simply throwing my vote away.
So let’s get to the other possibility – or in my view, the probability. You’re running for President as some kind of vanity project.
What did that get us in 2000? Well, it got you 3 whole percent. And it gave the rest of us George W. Bush. Yes, I know that Gore ran a remarkably lackluster, uninspiring campaign, and that he & his people frankly just flat out screwed up in 2000, blowing a race that should have been theirs to win. And I will always believe that the Bush machine engaged in some level of fraud in Florida… and that Antonin Scalia chose the President in 2000, not the American people.
But… they wouldn’t have had the chance in Florida if Al Gore had received even half of the 97,000+ votes you siphoned. And Florida itself wouldn’t have mattered if New Hampshire had gone to Gore in 2000. You siphoned off 22,188 votes in New Hampshire – a state Bush won by a scant 7211. Even if only a third of the Nader voters had chosen to vote Gore, New Hampshire would have been Democratic – and we’d all have been spared George W. Bush.
Gore, in my opinion, would not have been a great president. But he would have to have been better than Bush, who has given us a $500 billion budget deficit that threatens to balloon to a trillion plus; the first administration since Herbert Hoover to preside over an overall loss of jobs during a four-year term; statements about job creation that are so misleading that even the president has to scramble to disassociate himself from them; tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans under the tired old theory that if the rich are given more, they’ll spend enough to provide better table scraps for the rest; no-bid contracts being given to private sector bedfellows like Halliburton; denials of scientific proof of global warming that are so out of step with accepted research practices that 12 American Nobel laureates signed a letter accusing the president of politicizing scientific research at the expense of American scientific credibility; invasions of civil liberties under the guise of national security (the Patriot Act); and of course, the invasion of Iraq and the great hunt for WMD that was undertaken under pretenses that were at best incorrect, were most likely exaggerated, and at worst were a direct lie.
Bush has $150 million in the bank and is adding to it every day. It’s going to be a formidable challenge to defeat him in November. So why are you helping him? Do you want to see four more years of the same – with the added side benefit that whoever wins in 2004 will likely select the next two or three members of the Supreme Court?
Like I said at the beginning, Ralph… get out. And stay out.Powered by Sidelines