[Marxism] A close shave: in reply to Howard Ryan

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Fri May 28 00:48:50 MDT 2004

Removing Bush has become such a universal and passionate goal for
progressives that a rather amazing transformation has occurred. In 2000,
Nader ran primarily on the now famous "Tweedledum and Tweedledee" argument:
that there was no significant difference between Gore and Bush. With that
position no longer viable in the face of four stunning years of George W.
Bush, Nader has adopted a dramatically different campaign premise. He says
this time around, he'll help beat Bush. (...) Of the 37 polls reviewed, 32
show Nader hurting Kerry, while 1 shows Nader hurting Bush (and that by a
scant 1%). 4 show no effect. Faced with such overwhelming and objective
evidence, we call on Ralph Nader to stop making what must be called, at
best, the disingenuous claim that he'll help beat Bush. The truth is quite
the opposite.

Here's what Nader actually said:

WOODRUFF: I hear what you're saying, but the practical effect -- if you're
saying, in essence, there are other reasons, beside actually going to win
this election, the practical effect is to help or hurt the other candidates.
And as you know, practically every Democrat who's got vocal chords today is
out there saying, "Ralph Nader, you're making a mistake." NADER: Well, first
of all, they're wrong. I mean, I've seen the assertions that New Hampshire
was lost, you know, because of my vote. I got more Republican votes than
Democrat in New Hampshire in 2000. So if CNN does a poll for my supporters,
and breaks them down in the next few weeks, how many come from Republicans,
how many come from independents, how many come from Democrats, very few are
going to come from Democrats, because the out-of-power party members come
back into the fold, as Senator [John] Kerry said quite correctly two days
ago. WOODRUFF: So you're saying you think you will be drawing as many
Republicans as you are Democrats in this campaign, given your positions on
the issues? NADER: Yes, because look at the overlap of concurrence here. The
conservatives are furious with Bush over corporate subsidies and the energy
and Medicare bill. OK? Now, I agree with that. They're furious with him over
the Patriot Act and big brother and surveillance. I agree with that.
WOODRUFF: But why would they turn to Ralph Nader rather than some other
conservative who's running? NADER: Because there isn't any other
conservative. They're either going to vote for an independent or stay home.
And, by the way ... WOODRUFF: But aren't they more likely to stay home,
which is what a lot of analysts are saying? NADER: They can be encouraged to
stay home by an independent candidacy. You see, I can probe that area,
because there's so many overlaps. They don't like the idea of Congress
increasing their pay regularly. They don't like the idea of softness on
corporate crime, the Enron thing. They're very upset by that. They hate the
deficits that are growing. There's a real revolt brewing in conservative
circles. And then there's the liberal Democrats -- excuse me, the liberal
Republicans, who never liked Bush to begin with. WOODRUFF: Essentially,
you're arguing that the White House should be worried about your candidacy.
But they're not saying anything negative about it. They're saying it doesn't
affect anything they're doing. NADER: Well, that remains to be seen. But I
think we have ways to take the Bush administration apart that the Democrats
are either too cautious or indentured through their financial contributors
[to do]. For example, President Bush is raising $200 million. Now, he's
raising it from all the corporate fat cats who've got business before the
Bush administration: contracts, grants, deregulation, things they want,
right? Why aren't the Democrats exposing that? Because they're dialing for
the same dollars. I'm not dialing for those dollars.

And in a previous interview:
CARVILLE: Mr. Nader, while I admire much of your career prior to 2000, as
you're well aware, I was not an admirer of your presidential campaign and
its effect. And tell me why I'm wrong that you're not more responsible for
the election or the selection of George W. Bush than anybody else? Convince
me why I shouldn't hold everything -- you responsible for everything in this
country. NADER: Here we go. Twelve times more Democrats in Florida voted for
George W. Bush than voted for Nader/LaDuke ticket, number one. He was
sabotaged by some Democrats in south Florida during the recount, number two.
He couldn't even get his home state of Tennessee, which would have made him
president, number three. He couldn't get the state of Arkansas, number four.
And he didn't do well on the debates. Not only that, he didn't listen to
you, Jim. (...) CARVILLE: I can tell you that you've done many good things
in your life. Giving Bush the presidency is not one of them. All right? And
I'll admit that you have many accomplishments which I think make you one of
the most distinguished people -- until the year 2000. And I got to tell you,
Ralph, I just will never get over it. I just can't get over it. NADER: Jim,
you just finished saying Gore won the election. CARVILLE: No, if you
wouldn't have been in there, they wouldn't have been able to -- the Supreme
Court wouldn't have been able to select him. NADER: It's amazing how he
doesn't go after the 12 percent -- 12 times more Democrats voting for Bush
in Florida. http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0307/01/cf.00.html

As regards the numbers in the 2000 election:

CNN exit polls show that [in 2000] only about 47 percent of the Nader voters
would have voted for Gore in a two way race, while 21 percent would have
voted for Bush and 30 percent would have abstained from voting in the
Presidential contest altogether. This is significant, especially in New
Hampshire and Oregon, where some are saying the Nader vote was the
difference. Looking at New Hampshire first, it is true that Bush's margin of
victory was only about 7,500 votes, and that Nader received about 22,000
votes there. But based on the exit polling data, if Nader hadn't been in the
race, only a little less than half of those Nader votes would have gone to
Gore, and a fifth would have gone to Bush, so that in the end, Bush would
have still won New Hampshire by about 1500 votes in all. In Oregon, where it
is a virtual article of religious faith that Nader is to blame for the Bush
victory, the hype is once again overblown and flatly wrong. Yes, Bush won
the state by a margin of only about 23,000 votes, and Nader received the
votes of 54,000. But once again, based on the exit polls, had the race been
only between Gore and Bush, Gore would have gotten 47 percent of those
54,000, for a total of around 25,400, Bush would have received 21 percent of
those 54,000, for a total of about 11,300, and in the end, Bush would still
have squeaked out a victory, by about 8,000 votes. Which brings us to
Florida. If ever there was a case to make that Nader had been the spoiler
for Gore, it would be here, where the election will likely be decided by
less than 2,000 votes. Clearly, one could look at Nader's 97,000 votes there
and say, with a degree of certainty approaching definitive, that had Nader
not been in the race, Gore would have beaten Bush among Nader voters by a
two to one margin, and that would have been enough to capture Florida's 25
electoral college votes and catapult him to the Presidency.(...) Gore lost
in Florida among white women (many of those soccer moms who Clinton carried,
and many of whom would normally have been reached by a Democratic candidate
talking about education, health care, abortion, and other key issues) by a
52-45 margin, with the Nader factor being negligible among this group. And
he lost among seniors, a group that rightly should have been concerned about
Bush's plans to partially privatize social security: a plan that twelve
years ago rendered Pierre DuPont (the only Republican willing to float the
concept) an asterisk in American political history, and a laughingstock.
Here too, among the traditionally Democratic constituency of seniors, the
Nader factor was negligible. Even more to the point, Bush received the votes
of 12 times more Democrats than Nader did, and 5.25 times more
self-identified liberals than Nader did in Florida, indicating that
progressive voters and those who might have been seen as a natural lock for
Gore, actually were stolen not by the Greens, but by the Republicans. Now
folks, when your base is more likely to vote for George W. Bush than Ralph
Nader, this not only is bad news for Nader, but also makes quite clear that
Gore - not Nader - is to blame for his loss in Florida. In all, 19 percent
of voters there described themselves as liberal. If Nader got 3 percent of
these, this represents a little less than 6/10ths of the overall popular
vote that could have been "taken" from Gore by Nader voters on the left:
those who are being blamed for Gore's defeat. But if 16 percent of liberals
voted for Bush (which they did, for some reason), this represents 3 percent
of the total popular vote "stolen" from Gore by Bush voters on the left.
That 3 percent is more than the Nader total in Florida, which was 2 percent.
The same thing happened in Oregon, where Bush outpolled Nader among
Democrats by a margin of 3.5 to 1, and where Bush took 43 percent more of
the self-described liberals than Nader. And in New Hampshire, where Bush
took six times more Dems from Gore than Nader did, and twice as many
self-described liberals. So don't believe the hype. If you voted for Nader,
don't feel guilty or conflicted for one minute. And don't mourn, organize!


I sit at my table,
And wage war on myself,
It seems like it's all for nothing.
I know the barricades,
And I know the mortar in the wall breaks,
I recognise the weapons,
I've used them well.
This is my mistake,
Let me make it good,
I raised the wall,
and I will be the one to knock it down.
I've a rich understanding of my finest defences.
I proclaim that claims are left unstated,
I demand a rematch.
I decree a stalemate.
I divine my deeper motives.
I recognise the weapons,
I've practised them well,
I fitted them myself.
It's amazing what devices you can sympathise,
This is my mistake,
Let me make it good,
I raised the wall,
and I will be the one to knock it down.
Reach out for me,
Hold me tight,
Hold that memory.
Let my machine talk to me,
Let my machine talk to me.
This is my world,
And I am the World Leader Pretend.
This is my life, and this is my time,
I have been given the freedom to do as I see fit.
It's high time I razed the walls that I've constructed.
It's amazing what devices you can sympathise,
This is my mistake,
Let me make it good.
I raised the wall,
And I will be the one to knock it down.
You fill in the mortar,
You fill in the harmony,
You fill in the mortar.
I raised the wall,
And I'm the only one,
I will be the one to knock it down.

More information about the Marxism mailing list