it's heating up

Nathan Newman nathan at
Wed Oct 25 09:39:42 PDT 2000

----- Original Message ----- From: "Jacob Segal" <jpsegal at> To: <lbo-talk at>
>Those who think a Nader "spoiler" role will be an argument for the Dems
>moving left will be sorely mistaken. DLC types in the party will actually
>be able to use the Nader campaign as a handy scapegoat. And a heck of a
>of unionists, environmentalists and womens groups will join in the attack.
>My guess is that such a Nader success will probably kill any potential
>support for the Greens or other third party efforts in a lot of areas.
>-- Nathan Newman

>Even if all that is correct, in what ways does someone voice opposition to
>the Clinton-Gore right wing control over the Democratic Party. I don't
>want Bush to to win, but I sometimes feel that perhaps the only way to rid
>the party of Clintonism is by the Democratics losing.

The simplest way to register vocal opposition to rightwing DLC policies is to make vocal opposition to those policies - march, organize, et arrested and speak out against them. Lesser-evil pragmatism is all about walking and chewing gum at the same time - ie. yanking the lever for a Clinton or Gore while preparing for the next protest rally to denounce their support for the WTO or welfare reform or other bad policies. This is only contradictory if you think political organizing is about effecting the actions of the elite. If you recognize that organizing is about effecting the hearts and minds of the general population, then the lesser-evil vote is a recognition of the balance of voting inclinations TODAY while mounting the organizing to shift public sentiment so that down the line, we can get a better set of political choices.

As for ridding the Dem party of DLC types, the first step would be to run a non-DLC type in the primary. If you didn't notice, Gore's only opposition was his near-clone Bill Bradley. If the left doesn't even try to mount an opposition within the party, it is pretty silly to complain that the DLC won the fight. If folks want a real challenge to DLC-style politics at the national level, we should begin building a grassroots network to run a progressive candidate in the Presidential primariy in 2004.

>Incidenentally, what do you think of Nader's claim that he is bringing in
>new voters who may help elect a Democratic House of Representatives?

It's his best argument. And if he was spending his time campaigning in the twenty marginal districts, I would be impressed. However, it is the unions, womens groups and NAACP who are pouring the real grassroots efforts into those races, so I doubt Nader will make the difference on turnout where it counts.

Like most things about the Greens, it is the lack of strategy that continues to annoy me. If Nader did concentrate on those districts, ostentatiously and consistently, he would walk into next year's Congress and be able to play serious political pressure politics on Speaker Gephardt. But instead, Nader is spending this week in the midwest where there are only a couple of marginal Congressional districts but a real chance to throw the election to Bush. Just by his campaigning in the Northwest, he is pushing Gore to spend time there instead of battleground areas. With or without the actual election day throwing of the election to Bush, Nader is forcing Gore to waste resources that could have been used to reach undecides in places like Penn, Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida.

-- Nathan Newman

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