Friday, April 23, 2004

US Elections 2004

Of course, it is best if Ralph Nader, receiving the Green Party endorsement and getting on the ballots in all states, wins the presidential election outright, but short of such a miracle, what would be beneficial for anti-occupation and other social movements? Here's a short list:

1. No terrorist attack on the mainland USA (as American voters are prone to behaving more like Israeli than Spanish voters -- cf. Uri Avnery, "Bravo, Amigos!", March 20, 2004).

2. Resistance to the occupation widens, intensifies, and becomes politically sophisticated in Iraq and Palestine.

3. "The Coalition of the Willing" shrinks further, more nations following the examples of Spain, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic: "The coalition in Iraq is already fraying. Spain, Honduras and the Dominican Republic have announced the pullout of 1,700 soldiers beginning in the next few weeks. Norway announced Friday that it was pulling its 180 troops out after June 30. . . ("U.S. Faces Tough Choice, Rely on Iraqi Security or Send More Troops," April 23, 2004).

4. Vigorous political debate -- about the nature of the Democratic Party, ends and means of the Green Party and other third parties, roles of electoral campaigns in building movements and political parties on the left, disenfranchisement of Black, Latino, and other working-class voters through the "war on crimes," the relation between capitalism and imperialism, etc. -- among activists in particular and the public in general in the USA.

5. The Green Party endorses Nader, with Peter Camejo as vice presidential candidate, at the Green Party National Convention -- Nader joins the Green Party as a member in exchange for the party's ballot lines.

6. Nader runs without shortchanging his potential:
Indeed, whatever his intentions, Nader implicitly gave wavering voters permission to vote for Gore in 2000 with such statements as the Democrats could take back Green votes by going back to their progressive roots, and that one positive result of his campaign would be to create a spillover vote down the ticket to help elect Democrats to Congress.

In 2000 and now again in 2004, Nader seems to be underselling his own prospects by giving the Democrats more credit and import than they deserve. Nader had far more support and sympathy than the final 3% vote on Election Day in 2000 indicated. A Zogby poll found that 18 percent of the population seriously considered voting for Nader. An analysis of the National Election Study data by Harvard political scientist Barry Burden shows that only 9% of the people who thought Nader was the best candidate actually voted for him. If people had not voted strategically for the lesser evil, Nader would have had over 30 million votes instead of 3 million and might have won the election, especially if he had been allowed in the debates. (Howie Hawkins, "There Never Were Any 'Good Old Days' In The Democratic Party," March 1, 2004)
7. Rank-and-file left-wing Democrats' stiff challenge to John Kerry (as well as other pro-occupation Democrats) on the matters of foreign policy, fiscal policy, civil liberties, the equal right to marriage, environmental protection, the "war on drugs," etc., threatening defection to Nader, dogging Kerry at each of his campaign appearances, the platform committee meetings, the Democratic Party National Convention, and all the way to the general election.

8. A high turnout, a hot contest -- anti-occupation candidates winning big, pro-occupation incumbents losing badly, in the congressional elections.

9. The lowest possible overall shares of the popular vote for the two dominant parties' pro-war and anti-working-class presidential candidates, a bigger share for Nader in 2004 than in 2000 + very close contests in all the battleground states, producing the closest electoral college election, clearly as the result of the Nader/Green campaign, shocking and awing the Democratic and Republican duopolists.

10. The "victor" emerges as a weak president, unable to claim a mandate to continue the occupation of Iraq and to exacerbate fiscal austerity -- shell-shocked by the strength of the anti-occupation voting bloc -- and immediately met by protests around the nation and the world demanding withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq.

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