To ABB from Nader
Source Dan Scanlan
Date 04/11/06/02:38

Dear Anybody But Bush Liberal Democrats

... Let's face the facts. Our country has serious problems. The world
is not doing very well. We need every source of energy inside the
electoral arena to turn harmful, costly and cruel trends against
billions of innocent people into just and healthy directions.

  The electoral system in our country is rigged in many ways against
third parties and independent candidates having a level playing field
chance to compete. This leaves the two major Parties to regenerate
themselves internally without external pushes and jolts. The
Republicans generate themselves with corporate batteries while the
Democrats try to play catch up in the corporate money-raising
sweepstakes. So it is not surprising that many people are left with the
least of the worst choice and TAKE it, assuming you are not in a single
party district. After all, they know they are all hostages to this
winner-take-all electoral college strait jacket. They realize that the
political terrain is rigged to leave them as of now with just that
choice if they want to be with a possible winner, which most voters
want to be. A modern full representation system to make more votes
count should become part of our national political debate. One version
? multi-seat districts ? elected the first woman, Jeanette Rankin, to
Congress from Montana in 1916.

  Apart from their ways, the Democrats need to be shown additional ways
-- strong, rational, emotive ways to defeat Bush and the Republicans.
Why? Because their leaders and consultants are either too cautious, too
unimaginative or too indentured to vested interests to even conceive,
not to mention field test, these vulnerabilities of the Bush regime.

  Enter an independent candidacy in a duopolized system that does not
believe the election has to be totally enclosed by zero-sum gaming
among the major candidates. Instead there should be various strategies
and probes and anticipations inside the electoral arena that in
important ways escape the zero-sum mind so as to more likely achieve
the common goal of ouster.

  Here is what I mean. Campaigns must have distinct approaches -- not
only to get more votes on one's side but also to depress the votes on
the other side. The latter voters either stay home or switch to another
candidate, other than the major opponent, as a protest vote. In 2000,
exit polls showed that 21% or 25% of my vote would have gone to Bush,
38% or 41% to Gore, and the rest would not have voted.
Counter-intuitive, isn't it? Not if you know that conservative and
libertarian Republicans have not been happy with the corporate
Republicans who dominate the party and concede to their right wing the
verbal platforms to keep them in line. Now, many conservative or
libertarian Republicans are furious with Bush over the massive
deficits, taxpayer-funded, corporate subsidies, the Patriot Act's
invasion of privacy and undermining of civil liberties, the impaired
sovereignty issues in NAFTA and GATT, uncontrolled corporate
pornography beamed to their children in violent commercial
entertainment -- to name some points of serious disappointments. Not a
few of them are outraged over the corporate looting by executive greed
and crimes, exemplified by the Enrons, World Coms and Tycos (they lost
jobs, 401K?s and investments too) and believe that Bush/Cheney are too
close to these companies to launch a crackdown that will convict and
jail these executive crooks. This is why they like CNN?s Lou Dobbs'
regular reminders about these crooks *not* being sent to jail.

  The Democrats need to be shown in the field how to appeal to the
millions of voters whom they have turned their back on because many of
them are against abortion and gun control. It is one thing when litmus
paper tests are applied to candidates by groups or voters, but
candidates are foolish to do this in reverse -- after all even your
friends don't agree with you on everything.

  Moreover, an independent candidacy that generates more political and
civic energies by the American people helps to generate more
understandings and support for major new directions for our country --
realistic long overdue directions. You want to be reminded of them?
Here's a short list -- full public financing of public elections --
merits not money should rule here; universal health insurance -- 55
years after President Truman proposed this to Congress (overdue?); a
serious drive to abolish poverty (Nixon proposed one preliminary way to
Congress); a living wage for tens of millions of workers making under
$10 an hour (adjust to inflation and even the 1968 federal minimum wage
could be $8 an hour today, not $5.15); strong enforcement against
corporate crime, fraud, and abuse that has looted or drained trillions
of dollars from innocent workers, their pensions and investors; a
non-lip service, comprehensive nurturing of the physical and
educational needs of children who require more time with their parents;
reforming the criminal injustice system and strengthening our civil
liberties, civil rights and civil justice remedies now being
restricted; a redirected federal budget for the crucial priorities of
our country, away from the massive waste, fraud and redundancy of what
President Eisenhower called the "military industrial complex" and away
from vast corporate subsidies; shifting the incidence of taxation to
the polluting, stock speculation and addictive industries; sustainable
economies with environmentally benign technologies that respect the
Earth's biosphere; a multi-faceted foreign policy to wage multilateral
peace, promote arms control; and using our enabling assets with the
creative genius in the Third World to lift prospects for impoverished
billions abroad; addressing the crisis from big agri-business
domination of food production and processing that spells extinction of
the small family farm economy with far-reaching consequences: for
nutrition, land, water and bio-manipulation here and around the world.

  Do you want to see another mandateless, dreary Presidential campaign
that ignores these critical subjects, that doesn't take seriously the
necessity for solar energy, affordable housing, modern public transit,
repeal of laws that obstruct trade union organization by millions of
workers mired in poverty by wages that cannot meet their minimum family
livelihoods? Advocacy groups that have long supported these sensible
policies should make demands on the Democratic Party and its candidates
to ensure these necessities reflect vigorous mandates. They should not
give them their support without making such demands.

  What all this boils down to is the resurgence of powerful civic values
which subordinate the dominance of commercial values that are taking
down both our country and the standards of democratic, honest
governance that Americans crave and deserve.

  You can agree with all this and still say that this candidacy will
take away votes from the Democratic candidate. If so, you also have to
assess how many more votes the Democratic nominee will receive by (a)
being pressed to appeal more forcefully for the interests of the people
and (b) how many effective modes and critiques he can pick up from the
independent candidate to improve the prospects of defeating Bush and
(c) a more exciting campaign that brings more progressive voters out
which, in a rigged, winner-take all system unfortunately would go to
the Democrats in large percentages. By the way, there are astute
political observers who believe that the Greens pushing Gore to more
populist rhetoric allowed Gore to get many more voters.

  Now what about the Senate and the House? In 2002, the Republicans won
the Senate by 41,000 swing votes and the House by about 100,000 swing
votes. This was not supposed to happen in an off election year. That it
did happen was due in no small part, leading Progressive Democrats in
Congress tell us, to their Party narrowcasting that election toward the
few contested districts instead of also nationalizing the election, (as
Newt Gingrich did in 1994 to a stunning success), on the daily front
page issue of the corporate scandals and the corporate crooks who were
very close to top Republicans, including Bush and Cheney, in the
present Administration. By turning Bush into a "wartime president,"
with the open-ended, unconstitutional war resolution of October 2002
against the Iraqi dictator, the Democrats made it easy for the
President to campaign against Democrats in state after state without

  Do the Democrats need a spillover vote produced by an independent
candidate? Some top Democrats have said they would welcome this *part*
of the strategy. (Also see The Hill, January 29, 200, for what
Congressional Democrats secretly hope for.) If they need their
conventional ?what if? reinforcement, they can ask Senator Maria
Cantwell how the very large Green spillover vote in 2003 helped elect
her by a narrow margin of 2,229 votes over her incumbent opponent.

  So, in summary, our approach can help defeat Bush, strengthen the
progressive forces inside the Democratic Party by successfully
amplifying ways to end this regime, while simultaneously furthering the
*longer range expansion* of the forces of peace, justice and democracy
in future elections and nourishing a more vigorous civic movement as

  After thinking about this, you may still judge that the infinitesimal
risk that is worrying you is too important to take compared to the
higher risks that the Democrats on their present path will not only
lose the election to Bush, but maybe lose near the scale of a Dukakis
or Mondale defeat and destroy their chances of recovering even one
house of Congress, with accompanying losses on the state and local
ballot lines.

  We believe that two fronts are better than one if conducted
collaboratively on those objectives held in common, without
compromising either candidacy. To wallow in the squabble of "spoiler"
is to plunge into second-class citizenship scapegoating which will get
the Democrats nowhere. Think strategically out of the box and you will
have three arenas to block Bush -- evict him from the White House or,
helped by a spillover, recover one or both of the Houses of Congress
not to mention affecting state and local races. Generally speaking,
with a few luminous exceptions, the Democrats have been on a losing
team for ten years -- the House, the Senate, the state legislatures and
the state Governorships. Their language is stale when it is candid, and
servile when it is bought and paid for. The alternative in a rigged
political system to defeat Bush is to respect small candidacies that
can demonstrate high standards and big ways to defeat Bush as well as
produce a spillover vote to recover at least one House of the Congress.

  From our viewpoint, a renewed respect will be accorded the civil
liberties of third parties and Independent candidates to exercise their
right to reform the political system and not be told to remain silent
and not speak by not running. It is a sad day when the electoral
Republican thieves cause the Democratic blunderers in the Florida 2000
election to lead some prominent or active liberals to take it out on
future candidates who might help jolt their beloved but stagnant Party
into the minds of more voters.

  At the very least, kindly consider withholding judgment and wait and

Ralph Nader

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