Editor’s Note: This article was posted to Ralph Nader’s blog on March 16th, 2023.
By Ralph Nader / Nader.org
This is the full letter I wrote to the New York Times responding to Gail Collins fact-deprived diatribe. Unfortunately, due to space limitations by the Times, the letter had to be cut in half. I have urged the Times over the years to expand their letters to the editors space from the current two column allocation. Huge photographs take up great amounts of space in the newly renovated Times and replace much content.
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Gail Collins’ fact-deprived diatribe scapegoating me and the Green Party for the Democrats’ loss of the Presidency in 2000 and 2016 might have been tempered by consulting Al Gore. As a constitutionalist, he has respected third-party candidates exercising their first amendment rights to offer more voices and choices on the ballot.
Democrats know well the many sine qua nons that sabotaged Gore’s popular vote victory. Two were the anti-democratic Electoral College and the flawed Florida election process. Under Governor Jeb Bush’s administration, the voting process in Florida was rife with problems: such as flawed ballot designs (recall the hanging chads) disenfranchising many voters.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights said “Florida’s overzealous efforts to purge voters from the rolls, … resulted in the inexcusable and patently unjust removal of disproportionate numbers of African American voters from Florida’s voter registration rolls for the November 2000 election.”
Then came the 5 to 4 U.S. Supreme Court majority’s judicial coup stopping the ongoing statewide recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court and giving Bush the White House.
Even without a win in Florida, if Gore won either his native Tennessee or Clinton’s native Arkansas, he would have become President.
As for the invidious assertion blaming Greens for the Iraq War in 2003, Collins, seized by retroactive clairvoyance, omits that Senators Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden voted for the war and that their Party had the votes to have blocked Bush/Cheney’s unconstitutional criminal invasion of Iraq.
Third Parties have had a profound and positive influence on our country from the anti-slavery Liberty Party in 1840 to the Women’s Suffrage Party, labor, and farmer and populist parties which pushed the major Parties to adopt more humane and equitable economic policies. Collins ignores how a competitive democracy can help deossify a grid-locked two-party duopoly. Nothing obstructs the major parties from adopting important, popular 3rd party issues to win more votes. Harry Truman did this in 1948 to diminish Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party turnout. Votes are to be earned, not owned.