February 4, 2015

Don’t Blame Third-Party Voters

To the Editor [Valley News, Feb. 4]:

If the choice between the two major parties is as clear as a letter of Jan. 8 claims (“Vote for Nader Caused Much Harm”), then why is every presidential election so close? Like Coke and Pepsi, they are both fighting for the same market, and the only difference becomes one of ever-shifting style.

As for substance, however, Gore’s run followed Bill Clinton, whose consistent betrayals of liberal principles included welfare “reform,” NAFTA, repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, promotion of 401(k) accounts over pensions, the Defense of Marriage Act and the antidemocratic Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, as well as neocon pursuits overseas such as sanctions against and continuous bombing of Iraq (where the death of half a million children was “worth it,” according to his Secretary of State Madeline Albright), the deadly fiascos of Kosovo and Rwanda, bombing a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, etc. And to clinch the “new” direction of the Democratic Party, Gore picked the sanctimonious and reactionary Joe Lieberman as running mate. There was no doubt that Gore was to the right of Clinton — pretty much right where George W. Bush was. Just as Gore would have, Bush extended Clinton’s legacy, as Clinton extended Reagan’s and the first Bush’s. And as Obama has extended and expanded Bush’s, putting Wall Street and war first. And who is assumed to be up next, but another Clinton versus another Bush? This is not a choice, but a mockery of democracy and the opposite of progress.

Regarding the Supreme Court, Scalia, Kennedy, Ginsburg and Breyer were almost unanimously confirmed by both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. Thomas and Alito squeaked in with the help of Democrats, who also strongly supported Roberts. And it should be noted that under Obama, access to abortion in much of the country has all but disappeared. The facts belie the rhetoric.

In the 2000 election, in almost every state where Nader did well, so did Gore. It should not be forgotten that organized mobs disrupted vote counting in Florida, the Supreme Court ruled that there is no right to have your vote counted, and Al Gore couldn’t be bothered to worry about it.

It is simply offensive to blame third-party voters as if they have betrayed the duopoly candidates and not the other way around.

Eric Rosenbloom
Joanna Lake