Election 2000

My Political Opinions
Election 2000

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In November 2000 I wrote,

If George W. Bush won the 2000 election by honest vote, I would recognize him as President even though I didn't vote for him. If he steals this election, I will NOT recognize him as the legitimate President. I will call him the Pretender (a medieval term for anyone who held the Royal throne unlawfully) for all of his brief four years. Or less.

13 Myths About the Presidential Election


Well, it happened. The Supreme Court itself denied Florida voters their rights as citizens, stopped the recounts, and gifted Dubya with the White House. We have to deal with it.

But those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it. In May of 2002 the Justice Department announced that it would sue three Florida counties — Orange, Osceola and Miami-Dade — for failing to provide adequate help at the polls. A week later the Justice Department backed off and told Congress on Tuesday that no Floridians were intentionally prevented from voting and that problems at the polls caused only a few people to leave without voting. In 2001 the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report that it found "strong and credible evidence of violations of the Voting Rights Act." In May 2002, commission chairwoman Mary Frances Berry noted that the commission found "widespread" problems that went "far beyond" the three counties targeted by the Justice Department.

If we continue to ignore the facts, we will continue to have fraud and violated civil rights in our elections.

Voting Rights Now


I've considered the theory that the deciding votes for George W. Bush came from stand-up comedians eager for four years of free material.

However, the story of one of the best satire sites of the election, VoteAuction.com, is a discouraging comment on our country's irony deficiency.

GWBush.com is still alive. It's nice to know that this parody site has been sued by Dubya himself. He can read.


In every election, hundreds of thousands of voters have been disenfranchised — their votes thrown out as unreadable — because of faulty punchcard voting machines. Most elections, however, had a wide enough winning margin that nobody cared. It wasn't important to any politician to look out for the rights of a few hundred thousand voters.

In the year 2000, that changed. Now both Republicans and Democrats are going to be scrambling in the next two years to make sure the votes of their constituents get counted. The focus on Florida also made the realities of continuing institutionalized racism harder to ignore. Not impossible, but harder. It will take great effort, however, to make change come from this.


Just before the 2000 election, I wrote:

A few months ago I attended the Nader Rally in the Key Arena, and I got excited. I supported voting for Ralph Nader as a step toward building pressure from the people to change politics in this country.

On the eve of the election, I have misgivings. I am going to vote for local Green candidates. I am not going to vote for Ralph Nader.

I expect to catch some hell for this. But I am adamantly opposed to anyone — from a bureaucrat to an idealist — who ignores starving people in front of them to serve "long term solutions." That's the argument the City officials give for opposing homeless camps, or even more funds for emergency shelter. "Keeping people alive tonight has to be skipped, sorry as we are about that, because we have to focus all our energy on jobs and housing, long term solutions."

Ralph Nader's candidacy was presented as a way to build the progressive movement. Instead of building the progressive movement, I see him tearing away at it. He is making no attempt to educate or win over Bush supporters or even undecided voters. He has not demonstrated a marked ability to open a cooperative dialogue with people who disagree with him — a quality essential in a President. He is savaging Al Gore, glossing over true differences between Gore and Bush, distorting Gore's record worse than Bush is doing, and making every attempt to win over liberal Democratic voters — "low-hanging fruit." This isn't winning anyone new to progressive issues. What it is doing is raising a serious risk that George W. Bush is going to win the presidency.

Maybe that isn't serious for you. But I'm looking at the prospect of losing the right to abortion, losing all remaining vestiges of Affirmative Action, losing all that remains of the social safety net, watching the poverty of myself and my friends grow markedly worse, and facing the serious prospect of forced psychiatric treatment becoming public policy. That's for starters.

And what sealed the issue for me was the attitude of Nader that the pain created by a Bush presidency would be a good thing, because it will solidify a progressive reaction.

Ralph Nader is a great human being, but a great human being can do an evil act. Sacrificing human lives for political ends is evil.

The Nader campaign has served to raise the profile of progressive issues. That was good. But it should never have been continued to the point of endangering the very cause that it was supposed to be serving.

In Ralph Nader's speech at the Key Arena, he expressed disgust that Deborah Senn had lost the Senatorial primary to Maria Cantwell. But if Ralph Nader had done any stumping for Deborah Senn before the election, I missed it.

If Ralph Nader wants to be a positive force for change, he can do a great deal of good by using his moral weight and charisma to campaign for local Green candidates and to support forging a broad progressive alliance.

There are many local people who have been working hard to build a progressive movement here. November 30th did not happen as the result of one man orating, nor as the result of a spontaneous popular uprising — nor even because WTO, Federal and Seattle officials were obligingly stupid and vicious. It was the fruit of thousands of hours of effort by thousands of activists — that culminated in a popular uprising and was able to keep it moving.

That's the kind of hard work we need to keep doing. The work will be just as hard under Al Gore as it was under Bill Clinton. But the work would be even harder under George W. Bush than it was under Ronald Reagan.

And more of my friends will die if Bush is elected. I will not contribute to that. I will vote for Al Gore, and local Green and Progressive candidates, and continue to work for radical progressive change — not just campaign for it.

Going On From Here

I have good friends who voted for Ralph Nader — as a protest against the Iraq embargo, against corporate welfare and "free trade" globalization, or for other reasons important to their own conscience. I do not hold them, or Ralph Nader, responsible for the 2000 Election being close, disputed, or dragging on through the courts. Dubya and Gore created that situation all by themselves, aided and abetted by the mass media.

We have a lot of hard work ahead to use the issues raised by the 2000 elections to further social change. We gain nothing by railing against each other. I still believe that Ralph Nader is wrong by attacking Democrats in his efforts to create change. But it would be just as wrong for other progressives to attack Ralph Nader and the Green Party. Let's keep our energies focused on making positive change, not on blame-calling.

Democracy Now!Support Democracy, not necessarily Democrats.

Organize Now!

W. 4 Years
The President We Didn't Elect

Make sure it's only for four years

Music to Campaign By


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