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Why competing for the "swing voter" will LOSE the election for the Dems.

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Devils Advocate NZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 12:01 PM
Original message
Why competing for the "swing voter" will LOSE the election for the Dems.
I have been browsing a few threads today and have seen that there is another "anti-Nader" campaign going on. Now this strikes me as hilarious because, once again Nader is being blamed for Gore "losing" the last Presidential election to Bush.

The logic behind this claim (that Nader "lost" the election for the Dems) is that he siphoned off votes from Gore. This is true, but WHY it is true is what these people REFUSE to even consider.

These SAME people are the people who believe that the Dems should move into the center (which in fact is to move to the right - the "center" in the US is in reality on the right end of the spectrum) as a way of picking up the "swing voters".

In fact this is what Gore (and Clinton before him) did. It worked - at first. But in 2000, reality came crashing down on the Dems. Prior to 2000 the many leftist Dems were giving them the benefit of the doubt. But by 2000 they had had enough, and voted for Nader out of protest at the rightward shift of the Dem party.

Guess what? The center DIDN'T win the election! That is the complete OPPOSITE of what these so-called "moderate Dems" claimed. They said that the center was how they would win. But the reality is that there are LESS VOTES in the center to be gained by a rightward shift, than there are VOTES LOST on the left.

Yet these same people are STILL demanding that the "fringe left" be ignored in favour of the "moderate center"! Worse still, they INSIST that THEY are the logical ones for wishing to alienate a significant proportion of their "natural supporters" in favour of a small minority that doesn't seem to care which party gets in.

So tell me "moderate Dems", if Nader lost the election for Gore DESPITE his shift into the "center", how will repeating the SAME tactic win the election this time?
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GodHelpUsAll2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 12:28 PM
Response to Original message
1. Very good question
But I somehow do not think you will get a logical rational answer. It's standard MO to "Blame" someone else for your own shortcomings!
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lancdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
2. Nader got less than 3 percent of the vote in 2000
Edited on Sat Feb-21-04 12:30 PM by lancdem
and he won't even approach that this time because he's doesn't have the Green Party organization backing him. Besides, there's widespread evidence that a lot of Nader voters won't vote for him this time because they want Bush gone. I'm sorry, but sucking up to Nader would be suicidal for the Dem Party. Swing voters are already moving in our direction, thanks mostly to Bush. Let's keep it that way.
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Raya Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. Presidential Elections have often been determined by LESS THAN 3%
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Frances Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
3. Nader got 3% of the vote
so go with him if that is what you want to do.

Kucinich who is a very decent man whose views match mine is polling about that number or less in the primaries.

Dean, to whom I contributed money, polled below Kerry and Edwards.

Now I could be writing the same kind of letter you are.

I am NOT stupid. I will concentrate my efforts on defeating Bush, not whining.
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Indiana Democrat Donating Member (718 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
4. What part of...
..."Pander to the fringe Greens and Nader supporters and lose the SIZABLE moderate votes", don't you people understand?
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Ramsey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. I think that premise is incorrect
None of the candidates, not even Kucinich, who is widely considered the most progressive person in the race, even comes close to "pandering to the fringe Greens". So that is the wrong comparison to make.

Frankly, I agree with the argument being made in this topic. Statistics show that so-called swing voters, those muddy middlers who truly cannot or do not bother to figure out what the difference between the Dems and Repubs are, make up only about 5% of the electorate. There are vast swaths of people, about 50% of those eligible, who don't vote.

I think it is highly likely that the majority of those nonvoters could be convinced to vote Democratic if a candidate reached out to them and spoke to their issues. That's because the Democratic platform should be one that champions the average person. Unfortunately, in a misguided attempt to woo right-leaning voter support and too beholden to corporate campaign donors, too many Washington Democrats have sold their souls and lost their voice, along with the people's support.

Democratic issues are, or should be, the progressive values that champion the right of every person to a decent living, health care, education and individual rights, in contradistinction to the Darwinian, winner-takes-all policies of the right wing (mixed in with their desire to legislate an evangelical christian "morality").

The problem has been for some time that the Democratic Party is paralyzed with fear and inactivity in the face of an better organized and better funded Republican Party that has been more effective at getting its message out. They attract support, as we all know, by lying to people. Every single policy of the Bush administration, from "Clean Skies" to the Iraq War, is a lie, a misnomer, institutionalizing the exact opposite of its purported purpose. The Democrats should be able to make hay out of them, yet mostly they do not.

In my opinion, the solution is not to be like the Republicans only slightly different, the Republican-light tactics of groups like the DLC, but to make our voice and our values heard and understood better. Recall that for many years the Republicans were down and out of power. It took them 20 years, but they built an infrastructure and a media base that has allowed them to regain power in the recent past while the Democrats got lazy and complacent. That is what we need to do now: organize and educate voters. Because if we can communicate to the public, I am confident our ideas will win.

This is beginning to happen. The new progressive radio network will launch in March, and there are plans for a progressive cable news channel as well. How often do we all complain that every single news outlet is biased towards the right? Well, we need to stop whining and do something about that. While I have many issues with DNC chair Terry McAuliffe (he's far too Bush-lite for my tastes), he has been building an infrastructure and a base of operations for the Democratic Party to operate from. It will all be for naught if we cannot regain our progressive voice and stop voting with the Republicans 75% of the time out of fear of being labeled unAmerican or liberal.

Galvanized by Selection 2000 and the disaster known as George W. Bush, progressive organizations nationwide are raising lots of money and running massive GOTV campaigns. We can all support this effort by giving our time or money to these groups, like America Coming Together, MoveOn, etc. This effort is NOT coming from the Democratic Party sadly, but from the grassroots. That is what the campaign of Howard Dean was all about, and why I loved him. He spoke of empowering the people to take back their country from the right wing juggernaut, and many many people were energized and inspired by that. The Democratic party and its nominee would be wise to harness that energy.

But that won't happen by making subtle distinctions between themselves and Bush. Bush is an ultra-conservative megalomaniac, and there are many people in this country who are sick and tired of him and his party. The Democrats meanwhile have moved right of center, the center has shifted to the right, and many many people feel they are totally left out, with no one to represent them. The Democrats need to swallow their fear and speak to those forgotten masses.

I truly believe that appealing to the progressive instincts in the American people is the key to success. There is actually very little in the way of a radical left in this country today. The progressives ARE the moderates, in that our ideals are mainstream and practical. It's time for the pendulum to swing back to the left. The Democratic Party needs to learn this lesson. This is not 1992, and there is no Clinton. The right wing has taken over every branch of our government and we need a bold leadership to reverse that disturbing trend.

So, no more Republican-light! Give us a true progressive who isn't afraid and we will win.
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Devils Advocate NZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. Ding Ding Ding! Give that man the prize!
I knew this bull would be repeated again on this thread!

If the "moderate votes" are so SIZABLE, how did Nader cause Gore to lose the election? Come on, answer the question!
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snoochie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Seems simple, right?
You'd think people might have learned something from Nader's effect in 2000, and from the response to Dems voting with bush in '02.

Guess not!
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Astarho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 12:36 PM
Response to Original message
5. I find it ironic
Edited on Sat Feb-21-04 12:36 PM by Astarho
That people say they will go for the center and basically they don't care about the concerns of the "fringe left" and yet when they lose the election they insist on blaming that same "fringe left" for not voting for them. :shrug:
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ibegurpard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 12:36 PM
Response to Original message
6. Glad to see you weigh in here.
Remember some time ago when you posted about how the traditionally "left" party in New Zealand was co-opted by the right wing? Might be a good time to post that again if you still have it. The board will probably be less receptive to it now than it was then but it will be good to give people something to think about.
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Devils Advocate NZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #6
12. Actually, there is an interesing new ending to that story...
that shows what I meant, so yes, it might be time for a repost in a revised form. :)

For those of you who haven't heard this yet, what I am talking about is the co-opting of the Labour Party (as in the UK, our left wing party) by crypto-rightists who used Labour's popularity to hijack New Zealand for the corporations.

Actually, I might start a new thread on this, because it's a long story and it probably shouldn't be buried in this thread. I will write it up and post it in a few hours.
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snoochie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. God bless you
Maybe it's not too late to wake some people up.

Thanks very much for your efforts. I'll be sending it to some people campaigning for Kucinich in California. :D
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snoochie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 12:42 PM
Response to Original message
7. I've seen this pointed out for a year
but the TV people say otherwise, and the TV people are... well... on TV.
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