Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


joshcryer's Journal
joshcryer's Journal
July 1, 2014

"we want to punish the Democrats, we want to hurt them, wound them"

I suggested a Bush victory would be a disaster for everything that Nader has worked for and believed in all his life, just as Ronald Reagan's had been. "With all due respect," I said, "Ralph's Tweedledee and Tweedledum argument isn't true and most people know it. By saying that the two candidates are the same, Ralph undermines his own credibility. Ralph has spent his whole life telling the truth. He doesn't need to say things in this campaign that aren't true."

Tarek interrupted me. "People get that point wrong. Ralph doesn't say there is 'no difference;' He says there is 'no major difference'." Tarek also said that lots of environmental groups say it would be easier to fund raise and increase membership under Bush than Gore.


I then turned to my favorite argument. I said: "There are those who say at the end of World War Two, that instead of dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the U.S. should have taken the Japanese high command out to some island and shown them what this new bomb could do. The U.S. could have demonstrated their destructive weapon without actually taking hundreds of thousands of civilian lives. Ralph could do they same thing. The large vote in the 40 or so safe states would send a real political message; the low or non Nader turnout in the close states would show that Nader sent people to Gore and that he had that kind of power. If he did this, he would be someone to be reckoned with. If Gore won, Nader would have real influence for progressive causes, and he could continue to build his movement and the Green Party. If Gore lost, Nader would have substantial credibility and power within the Democratic party. By holding back in a handful of states now, he could demonstrate his capacity to cause real damage in the future, and gain much in the short and the long run."

Tarek did not disagree with that at all. Instead, leaning toward me, with a bit of extra steel in his voice and body, but without changing his cool tone and demeanor, he simply said, "We are not going to do that." "Why not?" I said. With just a flicker of smile, Tarek said: "Because we want to punish the Democrats, we want to hurt them, wound them."


OK, so I really don't need a lecture about votes, about people sitting at home, about more Democrats voting for Bush than people who voted for Nader. Those arguments are fine. But that's not how it went down for us junkies.

I remember that campaign and I remember the vote switching campaigns that were happening, where Nader voters would promise to vote for Gore in swing states while Gore supporters would vote for Nader in safe states. This was pretty damn unprecedented.

The fact is there was a concerted effort by Nader's campaign to stick one to the Democrats. One of Nader's biggest philosophical talking points was that it "must get worse before it gets better," or something to that effect. He went on the attack, calling environmental supporters of Gore "servile." Don't forget the Tweedledee and Tweedledum crap.

Whether you want to remember this or rewrite history or whatever, just know that Nader focused on swing states. States where he wasn't going to get as many votes as other, safe, states. This arguably caused the Green Party to lose its ability to get federal funding for the next elections and caused the party to fall into obscurity. We had our chance and we blew it.

Nader broke his promise to not campaign in those swing states. We wanted to create a new liberal party, one that might actually have sway, like the teaparty / Libertarians have sway now. Instead what we got is a rock in a hard place and it sucks.

So please don't lecture me about that time, what matters that we got screwed over, first by Nader breaking his promise and trying to do a scorched earth strategy (which worked, btw), then by Gore doing selective recounting, then by the election board stopping the count, then the final blow by the SCOTUS that left an * stain on our history. A million or so dead Iraqi's. Billions lost to bankers. No significant climate change mitigation. The erosion of rights, NSA spying, Citizens United, Oligarchy United, and todays decision, Citizens United Against Women Health Care. We got royally screwed.

Profile Information

Name: Josh Cryer
Gender: Male
Hometown: Colorado
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 62,259

Journal Entries

Latest Discussions»joshcryer's Journal