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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Sunday, February 22, 2004


Dean Should Comment on Nader Run

posted by Christopher at Sunday, February 22, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Ralph Nader has announced that he will run as an Independent for President in 2004. After being urged by many to run as an Independent himself, Howard Dean declined noting that his overwhelming priority was to see George W. Bush defeated. Dean speaks to many independent and progressive voters, and a statement from Dean pointing out the obvious disadvantages of a Nader run would not only demonstrate that Dean continues to be relevant in this election cycle, but that everyone must work together to defeat Bush.

As Vermonters can attest, Independent candidacies have destroyed progressive hopes of maintaining gains in our state - our current Governor and Lt. Governor are both Republicans elected by pluralities of 40% (or less) of the vote because third party candidates split the votes on the left. Democrat Doug Racine - himself a good old fashioned liberal Democrat lost his bid for the Governorship, and Peter Shumlin lost the Lt. Governorship both by narrow margins. If the Democrat and Progressive/Independent votes are combined however, those would be overwhelming victories for progress in our state. Instead we have conservative "caretakers" in office (our GOP Lt. Gov. is anti-choice, the first in a long, long time to have that unpopular position and win office). In 2004, the Progressive Mayor of Burlington, Peter Clavelle has merged his candidacy and is bringing the PC (progressive coalition) and D's together by running unopposed as a "fusion candidate" on the Democratic ticket. Together, we should win back the governorship.

A Dean statement repudiating Nader's run and encouraging progressives and independents to work for change from within the party - and at the local level - would go a long way to helping to continue the focus on defeating Bush.

** Finally, on a personal note I happen to believe that third parties can be valuable, but at the local level primarily, and then working up - Burlington has a long, proud tradition of Progressive Coalition control at both the mayoral and city council level and they have done some very good things for the city. And, Bernie Sanders is now the only self-proclaimed socialist Independent in Congress. He started out as Mayor of Burlington, literally winning by a handful of votes. Our cause is not helped by diverting crucial votes at the top. Why not start small at the grassroots (mayors, legislators, congressional seats) and build the base and the movement up, rather than trying to control is top-down? I just cannot understand what Nader's agenda is at this point.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.