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The Daily Tar Heel

DTH Readers Speak Out About Third-Party Candidates' Views and How Voting for Them Will Affect the Future of National Politics


While not as enthusiastic about Al Gore as Matt Jones, I too believe that progressive voters in North Carolina should vote to "Beat Bush," which of course implies vote Gore.

Although Nader has a seemingly more progressive stance on some of the issues (definitely not all), it would not be progressive (nor strategic) to vote for him. The word progressive inherently reaches for "progress." A vote for Nader will not bring progress. To the contrary, a vote for Nader will bring G. "Dub-yah" Bush, who will naturally "regress" national policy. But I won't ramble on about why we should fear Bush, although I think it marginalizes a lot of good working class people to base this fear solely in democratic propaganda. I will address two main points.

1. Nader is not the Great White Hope that the Green Party depicts him to be.

His positions within many crucial areas of gender, sexuality, domestic labor and the issues of people of color lack the progressive interpretation that he applies to the corporate world and the environment. This brings to question why progressives should vote for Nader even if he did stand a chance of winning.

To vote for him based on his progressive stance on two basic issues is very dangerous. In fact, voting for anyone based on single issues is quite self-absorbed. It plays the game of "Oppression Olympics," placing one or two issues as priority above all others. The fact that Nader is good on the environment but bad on hate crimes does not make him any more progressive than the other candidates. It just makes him good on the environment.

2. As a progressive, I've found myself in the uncomfortable position of defending Al Gore, clearly not a favorite.

But when it is guaranteed that either he or Bush will be elected, it doesn't take Democratic National Committee propaganda to know it'd be easier to work with Gore. Though the candidates might seem to be the same to upper-middle-class white students, others have legitimate grounds for fearing Bush.

As a progressive, I am convinced and newly motivated to democratize our country's electoral and overall decision-making processes. There are strategic ways to go about doing this. Voting for Nader simply isn't one of them. Aside from making a statement (we can debate exactly what that statement is), a vote for Nader will not do anything concrete in promoting this societal change. Such statements lead one to question exactly what Nader and the Green Party have done outside of election years to "progress" toward a more democratic electoral system.

The Green Party has made its statement, and it has legitimately shown how corrupt our electoral system is. However, at this point the party is only acting to divide progressives. They have even gone so far as to endorse Bush over Gore if it came down to it! This is not progressive. There are, however, coalitions establishing themselves to prepare for this struggle of democratizing the system regardless of who is elected, the Green Party being merely one of the third parties represented. Progressives should focus on this as a national agenda after the election; after voting for Al Gore.

Erica Smiley


Math and Political Science

The length rule was waived.

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