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Merritt BS: 3rd Party Presidential Spoilers (26) RE: BS: 3rd Party Presidential Spoilers 27 Jun 03


I go in 3 (long-winded) directions on the spoiler issue:

1. A look at the detail behind the 2000 exit polls here in Wisconsin suggests that a) 2/3 of those who pulled the lever for Nader in 2000 didn't vote at all in 1996 (too young? disaffected? we don't know) and b) for every 3 potential votes that Gore "lost" to the Green Party candidate, Bush lost 2 potential votes. The assumption of many Dems with whom I've spoken is that Green Party people are wayward Democrats, pure and simple. IMO this is a simple assumption that ought to be looked at a bit more carefully.

Also, while the two major parties may not be identical - and I've met few Greens who say they are - for many GPistas they are close enough as >national political organizations< on a number of core issues/policy arenas - "free" trade, telecommunications/media, welfare "reform," energy, environment, etc. - that many Greens like me see the Green Party as a fundamentally different long-term values/policy choice. I'm not talking about individual DP members or leaders here, but a national party that's consciously pursued a Dem Leadership Council-led strategy of win by stealing center- and center-right issues from the RP since the mid-80s. This DP trend prompts some folks to ask "What's the point of winning?"

On a basic level, many verdistas see the two major parties, again as >>national political organizations<<, to be grounded in the last century, to continue to believe that we'll "grow our way out" of our problems. In contrast, the Green Party sees growth as one of the basic problems we must confront. We understand the serious stress placed on the planet's finite resources and offer a different vision and different solutions.

2. If Democrats really want to build a progressive alternative to the Republican Party, go for it!! Re-engage those Dems who've left for whatever reason. Create a left-leaning politics that is irresistable to the 48% of eligible voters who don't vote. Target constituencies, pound the pavement, work the phone bank, make it happen!

3. Meanwhile back at the thread, Perot in '92 was a huge factor, but not anymore responsible for Bush's loss than Nader is somehow to blame for Gore's 2000 loss. I'm not a Perot fan, but he brought new and "alienated" people into the political process - some of whom are now Greens. He had just as much a right to run as anyone.

It's difficult to build a new politics to replace the two-party box that so many folks live inside of. Some of the barriers & potential solutions for this are laid out above. And every two years, and particularly every four years, there will be a clamor for the Green Party to "get back in the 2-party box." If we listen and buy into that mindset, there will never be a viable multi-party system in this country. And there will never be a viable Green Party alternative to vote for.

Thanks. I needed that.

- Merritt


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