Monday, October 30, 2000

On the Nader-Gore problem: 1) People who consider themselves progressive are deluding themselves if they think that voting for Nader will bring the Democratic Party back to a more progressive stance. The main 'improvement' Clinton brought to the Democratic Party was full-scale Republican-style fundraising. This entails giving complete control to those who contribute the money, big corporations. Gore hasn't come part way to meet Nader on any of the issues because he can't. The people who tell him what to do won't let him. Once you sell your soul to the devil, he won't sell it back. 2) I see much pro-Nader bad-faith writing on the abortion issue. No progressive can assume that Bush won't do everything in his power to appoint Supreme Court Justices who will curtail abortion rights. Referring to his record in Texas is irrelevant. The Republicans are explicitly running a campaign promising the creation of an almost theocratic state. This isn't hot air on their part. The Republicans have decided that the way to sell the extreme pro-corporate agenda is to disguise it using the term 'compassionate conservatism'. This is just a more sophisticated form of the overt kowtowing to the Christian Right which scared off so many voters to Clinton's advantage. It is certainly possible for a progressive to vote for Nader feeling that abortion isn't the huge issue Gore supporters make it out to be. However, no one should fool themselves into thinking that Bush is not going to be influenced by an extreme Christian Right agenda. 3) It seems clear that Bush would use the veto power and the President's ability to influence the course of public policy in a different way than Gore would. Arguments that the United States would have been quite a different place under some Republican President than under Clinton are certainly correct. This may be particularly so in foreign affairs, where the almost psychopathic approach to the rest of the world taken by
Reagan-Bush is much less likely to be taken by
Gore than by Bush II. Still, a progressive could certainly take the position that the differences between the two parties are grossly outweighed by the similarities, and vote for Nader. 4) So if a progressive doesn't vote for Nader because of a mistaken belief that the soul of the Democratic party can be saved, or because of a mistaken belief that
Bush won't try to meddle with abortion rights, or because of a mistaken belief that there is no difference between the practical effects of a Gore and a Bush Presidency, there is absolutely nothing wrong with voting your conscience. Voting becomes an act of civil disobedience, an honorable position to take when things are really, really bad.