The Walkerville Weekly Reader

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Walkerville, VA
Monday, November 13, 2017
Carolyn Purcell, Editor

Democrats Lament Nader Entrance

Democrats worry that Nader entrance into presidential race may divert attention away from electability and towards issues.

Democrats, worried that they haven’t addressed the issues important to many of their most active constitutents, have called Nader’s loyalty into question. The Democratic leadership are worried that Nader is placing issues and action above party loyalty and fighting George Bush.

While Nader supporters blame the Democrats for ignoring the issues that lost them the 2000 elections, Democratic front-runner John Kerry disagreed. “We didn’t ignore anything,” said Kerry while campaigning in California. “We made it illegal to talk about the issues before an election. We’re pretty sure that what Mr. Nader is doing is against the law.”

O. Ricardo Pimental of the Arizona Republic wrote “For years, Nader has been urging us to pay attention to issues instead of party. And yet now, when the only true issue is whether or not the Democratic Party will win, it is quite evident he doesn’t believe it really applies to him.”

“I used to be a fan of Ralph Nader’s,” wrote Norman Donchin of the Boston Globe. “He aroused the conscience of America. But I’m not a fan anymore. In 2000, he knew that a Democrat who had already turned his back on important liberal and environmental issues would make a far better president than a Republican. Yet he insisted on staying in. His 2.7 percent of the vote made the difference. Now he claims that the Democrats didn’t learn from their mistake and he’s doing the same thing again, trying to force them to take on the issues. Nader knows that a vote for issues is a vote against the Party.”

Newspaper pundits have vilified Nader for turning this into an issue-oriented campaign. “Issues require us to do research,” said one columnist. “We prefer party or character-based campaigns.”

According to the Miami Herald, the real problem isn’t that Nader is running, but that the outmoded electoral system allows his candidacy to affect the issues. “A more sane electoral system would not allow issues to overtake a presidential campaign,” wrote Herald columnist Robert Steinback. “Nader makes the argument that issues should matter in a presidential campaign. But there isn’t any way to contort the numbers to suggest that ignoring the issues would not have reversed the outcome” of the 2000 elections. “While Nader speaks well to the issues, he has failed to fill a gaping void in party loyalship.”

Many Greens agree. Green Party member Pat LaMarche, who ran for Maine governor on the Green ticket in 1998, said, “there are Greens who want Nader on the ballot so they can vote on the issues. But to me, voting the issues is stopping George Bush--a cold, calculating, heartless man. If the only people who have the remote possibility of stopping him are the Democrats, who cares about the issues? I can vote for Nader if all I want is for the Democrats to pay more attention to the environment, but that’s not a priority.”

Green Party organizer Larry Klay of Great Barrington agreed, saying, “The first priority is to defeat Bush. Environmental issues are no longer part of the Green Party platform. The Green Party has matured. Our platform is loyalty to the Democratic Party.”

Other journalists downplayed the importance of issues in presidential politics in general. “The fact that socialists took a million votes while their candidate was in prison in 1933 had nothing to do with the Democrats adopting socialist party planks,” said Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect, “and Lincoln never managed to get his fledgling Republican party past the dominant Whigs. He was a marginal candidate who never mattered.”

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