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12-Nov-2004 - Quick Update

1-Nov-2004 - Election Eve News

1-Nov-2004 - Endorsement

1-Nov-2004 - Latest Polls

31-Oct-2004 - Words of Encouragement

31-Oct-2004 - Vote for Kerry Even in Safe States

31-Oct-2004 - Halloween Election News

30-Oct-2004 - Today's Political News

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28-Oct-2004 - John Kerry's Historic Endorsements

28-Oct-2004 - 25 Years Combating LGBT Violence

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28-Oct-2004 - How You Can Protect Your Right to Vote

27-Oct-2004 - The Last Straw

27-Oct-2004 - Conservative Quotes for Kerry

27-Oct-2004 - Breaking Political News

27-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 5

26-Oct-2004 - Another Look at Taking Back the Senate

26-Oct-2004 - Breaking News of the Day

25-Oct-2005 - Breaking Political News of the Day

24-Oct-2004 - Can the Democrats Regain the House?

23-Oct-2004 - Early Voting Trends

23-Oct-2004 - Bits and Pieces, Volume 4

22-Oct-2004 - Bush OKs New Corporate Tax Cut

22-Oct-2004 - Beware Fox News and MSNBC

21-Oct-2004 - Gymnast Paul Hamm Gets to Keep Gold

20-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 4

20-Oct-2004 - Bits and Pieces, Volume 3

19-Oct-2004 - Movies Released in 2004

18-Oct-2004 - Bits and Pieces, Volume 2

18-Oct-2004 - The Crystal Prison

17-Oct-2004 - What If There's a Tie?

16-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 3

15-Oct-2004 - Endorsements for John Kerry

13-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 2

13-Oct-2004 - Bits and Pieces, Volume 1

12-Oct-2004 - Ranked Choice Voting Hits San Francisco

7-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 1

7-Oct-2004 - Prince Adares Shows Signs of Royal Affinity

7-Oct-2004 - Controlling the U.S. Senate

7-Oct-2004 - Key Battleground States

6-Oct-2004 - Democratic Hopes for the 2004 Elections

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October 31, 2004


Vote for Kerry Even in the Safe States

In 2000, many Al Gore supporters in safe states - states like New York that were overwhelmingly going to vote for him, or like Texas that were inevitably going to back Bush - made alliances with Nader supporters in battleground states. The idea is that they would trade their vote and support Nader's effort to increase his popular vote in exchange for the Nader supporters to back Gore in the battlegrounds.

In 2004, we cannot afford that strategy. There are a number of reasons why Kerry needs your vote no matter where you live.

1. Kerry needs to win the popular vote.

Yes, the national popular vote isn't the most important thing - Bush lost it in 2000 but still became president. But if many states are contested after the election, Kerry can use a popular vote victory to help build momentum and establish legitimacy in the eyes of the electorate. (Gore failed this in 2000 because he conceded early and then retracted his concession. Kerry won't make this mistake.) The electoral vote battle may end up in the courts, but popular opinion regarding Kerry's legitimacy will be a factor in helping him continue to fight. In addition, if Kerry wins a majority of the popular vote rather than a simple plurality, he can use the perception of a mandate to help advance a progressive agenda in Congress.

2. Safe states may not be all that safe.

Polling is expensive, and most of the pollsters have focused their attention on the swing states that are likely to change. Most of the states considered to be solidly behind either Bush or Kerry have been ignored for awhile, and movement in those states may be undetected. Hawaii, for example, was assumed to be in the bag for Kerry until a recent surprise poll showed it to be competitive. Could there be other unpolled states in a similar situation? How awful would it be to discover on November 2 that Nader's vote would have been enough to give Kerry a victory in a state that Bush takes - any state, Republican or Democratic.

3. Nader's campaign can't help his stated objectives.

Nader claims that he's campaigning as an independent to help strengthen third parties and break the two-party system. But unlike 2000, there's nothing about his campaign that will do that. In 2000, Nader was the official candidate of the Green Party. A higher popular vote for Nader could have strengthened the party by helping others see it as a viable national alternative, and could have helped it in terms of qualifying for federal matching funds and other factors.

But while legitimate arguments could make made against this (in fact, the Green Party suffered a backlash after 2000 for being perceived as spoilers), it's a moot point. In 2004, Nader's candidacy can't help any specific third party - it can only hurt one party: the Democratic Party. In the states where he's on the ballot, he appears for many different parties: the Green Party in a few places, the all-but-defunct Reform Party in others, and as an unaffiliated Independent in most others. A high popular vote won't help any specific party, and will never be high enough to collectively help independent parties on the whole.

4. Nader is actively seeking to be a spoiler.

If Nader was only seeking a margin of the popular vote, he would be focusing his campaign in New York, California, and Texas - states with large populations that already solidly behind either Kerry or Bush. In those states, he could establish a substantial popular vote without throwing a state to Bush. But he's not doing that. His legal battles to be placed on the ballot are focusing on swing states, not the solid red or blue states. And his active campaigning in focusing in these states as well.

5. Nader has betrayed the trust of his progressive allies.

Nader claims, disingenuously, that he takes votes equally from Democrats and Republicans, and that his primary support comes from those who wouldn't otherwise vote. With all due respect, that's complete bullshit. No one believes that.

When Nader started actively courting and accepting money and assistance from conservative Republicans who are longtime Bush backers, he betrayed the faithful. These Republican stalwarts are using him as a tool to hurt Kerry, and Nader is actively helping them.

6. The two major parties do offer substantial differences for voters.

In 2004, Nader is repeating his mantra of 2000 in claiming that there are no differences between the two political parties. Never in my lifetime has that ever been less true. There are very stark, distinct differences between the two parties and their candidates. Kerry and the Democrats support personal privacy, including making abortion safe, legal, and rare. Bush and Republicans want to stack the Supreme Court to outlaw all forms of abortion, even in the event of rape and incest, and have stifled sex education and medical indepedence to the support where abortion is, ironically, less safe and more frequent. Kerry and the Democrats on the whole support most gay rights issues, and Kerry has always been one of our strongest allies in Congress, including being an original sponsor of gay civil rights legislation; the Republicans oppose them, and Bush has taken more anti-gay and homophobic actions than any president since Ronald Reagan (and even Reagan was more passive in his homophobia). Bush wants to amend the U.S. Constitution to permanently enshrine homophobia by banning gay marriage; Kerry opposes the amendment. Bush and the Republicans want to let tax cuts to disproportionately benefit their wealthy friends; Kerry and the Democrats want to focus tax relief on the poor and the middle class. And even Nader's own consumer rights advocacy is helped by the Democrats and opposed by the Republicans. Which party helped advance the seat belt legislation and other Nader causes? It wasn't the Republicans. And in fact, the GOP is actively trying to curtail the ability of citizens to use the courts to seek redress for consumer problems.

6. Nader's campaign is driven by ego, not issues.

Historically, third party and independent candidates have run to try to shed light on political causes or philosophies that they felt the two major parties were ignoring. Those who failed to make any traction with voters faded away; those who demonstrated a margin of success managed to nudge one party or the other to their way of thinking, and were reabsorbed.

Nader isn't doing that. He had an opportunity after the 2000 election to rebuild alliances with the Democratic Party and work together four years later to defeat Bush. Instead, he stayed aloof and is focusing again on hurting the Democrats to make a point. Some point. We're just not sure what that point is, other than the fact that he wants attention.


In a political cycle as bitter and hostile as this one has been, it's easy to throw up your hands and, quoting Romeo and Juliet, shout to the rafters "A pox on both your houses." The problem is that we still have to live in one of those two houses. John Kerry offers real, legitimate differences and solutions from George Bush. He needs and deserves our votes - no matter where we live.


2004. All original articles and commentaries published on this site remain the copyright of Kevin C. Goebel except where otherwise attributed. You may use excerpts with an attributed to The Imperial Gazette and a link to either or directly to the excerpted article. For additional information, or to be alerted for new articles and updates, please email the Royal Scribe.