HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » A Letter to a Bernie-or-B...

Tue May 24, 2016, 09:48 PM


A Letter to a Bernie-or-Bust Voter from Slate [View all]

By Darby Saxbe:

I get it. I was just like you once. In the year 2000, fresh out of college, I cast my second-ever presidential election vote for Ralph Nader. Later that night, I watched in horror as the contest between Al Gore and George W. Bush ended in an unprecedented electoral college toss-up, leading to a messy recount battle and the infamous Supreme Court decision Bush v. Gore. The chosen successor of a popular incumbent administration, Gore should have sailed to victory on the strength of the economy alone, yet he conceded the election to Bush, a candidate initially considered too unserious to be a true contender.

Gore lost Florida by 537 votes. Nader received almost 100,000 votes in Florida. And he actively campaigned in swing states, including Florida, in the lead-up to the election. If Nader had quit the race and thrown his support to the Democrats, we might be reminiscing about a Gore administration right now.

And I share the blame. Now, before you post mean things in the comments, let me clarify: I voted in New York state, which went blue in 2000, so my individual vote did not help swing the election. But I still feel complicit. I jumped on the Nader bandwagon and bought into a set of beliefs that seemed right to me at the time but were proven very wrong over the eight years that followed.

Chief among them, I thought that Gore and Bush were essentially indistinguishable. Carbon copies of each other. Both corporate insider candidates, beholden to big-money interests and out of touch with people struggling at the margins of the economy. I’m from the Rust Belt—I grew up near Cleveland—and I had seen factory closures turn a once-vibrant part of the country into a series of ghost towns. I blamed NAFTA and the Clinton administration’s failure to defend unions and stem the tide of outsourcing. In this and on other issues—welfare reform, prison sentencing—I thought the Clinton administration had bent so far backward to win over the right that it had lost its progressive conscience. The economy boomed during the Clinton years, but the gulf between the rich and poor, the haves and have-nots, only widened.

Nader voiced the discontent I was feeling. I was young and idealistic and wanted political revolution. It felt good to back a rabble-rouser, not the stiff, robotic Al Gore. I was annoyed with the Democrats for picking a predictable, incremental candidate who played not to the left, but to the mushy middle. I went to a Nader rally in NYC: Bill Murray, Michael Moore, and Susan Sarandon spoke. Eddie Vedder sang. I felt inspired, part of a movement to bring about real change, ready to cast my protest vote.

Alarmingly, some Sanders supporters seem to welcome the chaos of a Trump presidency.


Chaos? Naw! Just nuclear war, is all.

18 replies, 2180 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply A Letter to a Bernie-or-Bust Voter from Slate [View all]
Brother Joe Observes May 2016 OP
Trust Buster May 2016 #1
Cobalt Violet May 2016 #2
merrily May 2016 #3
Brother Joe Observes May 2016 #5
merrily May 2016 #6
Brother Joe Observes May 2016 #8
merrily May 2016 #9
Brother Joe Observes May 2016 #11
Doctor_J May 2016 #13
guillaumeb May 2016 #4
merrily May 2016 #10
SCantiGOP May 2016 #7
1StrongBlackMan May 2016 #15
Doctor_J May 2016 #12
1StrongBlackMan May 2016 #16
SCantiGOP May 2016 #18
MisterP May 2016 #14
world wide wally May 2016 #17