Scout at And Then... has a first-hand account of Day 1 of the Maine State Democratic Convention, plus political commentary. Here's some insider info for potential Nader voters on how not to count:
Campaigns look at those who are registered to vote to trim down the number of people (and amount of money) they have to spend. Following this cut, they then look at people who actually voted. These are the people who get phone calls, who get surveyed, who get the political literature and who get encouraged to come out. It's simply a matter of economics. And so when I, as a Nader supporter, voted Green in 2000 as a way to get Democrats to pay attention to me- I failed completely. All I did was tell the Democrats that I wasn't interested, and they went after Joe Moderate who sincerely can't decide if he is a republican or a democrat. (I never understood these people, and I especially do not understand them now.) But if you are considering voting Green or for Nader as a means of teaching Democrats a lesson, and that they have to come after your vote, you're barking up the wrong tree.
Let hear that last bit again:
...if you are considering voting Green or for Nader as a means of teaching Democrats a lesson, and that they have to come after your vote, you're barking up the wrong tree.
As it turns out: vote third party, get ignored
by the Dems. Good to know.
I also voted for Nader the last time around, not as a Nader supporter per se, but as an active Green supporter. I believed that voting Green -- building the Green Party -- was a way to achieve real reform of the political system. I had given up on the Democratic Party all together and had no interest in sending them a message -- I wasn't thinking much about them at all. I just wanted the Green Party to get the magic percentage of votes (5%, if I recall) to qualify for matching funds, so that it could run an even bigger and better campaign the next time around, and then we would have a lovely multi-party system and everything would be all better.
Here's what was wrong with that: we have a two party system
. Pretty obvious, right? Well, in 2000, and even for a while after, I thought we could change that. With more parties, there would be more seats at the table, representation of more of the diversity of American views. A more democratic-with-a-small-d system.
It finally sunk in that if it wasn't going to happen in 2000 -- with a nationally recognizable candidate*, a concerted effort from the Greens**, what seemed like a safe election to many*** -- it wasn't going to happen at all. Nader got what, 2%, 3%? Political reform in this country will not by achieved by establishing a multi-party system. And that's a practical conclusion.
So, what will work? Sending the Dems a message by not voting for them? Well, no. Now we know that won't work either. But Scout has the solution: vote Democratic. The good news is, if we vote for Democrats in the general election, the Party will
notice. Our job is make sure that they respond. That's a ray of hope.
*A lot of folks respected him way back in 2000.
**Ralph Nader is not running as a Green this year. A vote for Nader this year is pure protest, not Green Party building. And sorry, but the Green Party isn't going to get 5% or whatever in 2004.
***OK, this is another huge, sticky topic.
UPDATE: Day 2 of the Maine State Democratic Convention
at And Then...