Sunday, October 03, 2004

No Moore Nader

In fulfilling the 'activist' part of his life as an activist-filmmaker, Michael Moore has pumped out another letter to his huge (and often uncritical) fan base. Moore has decided to unambiguously throw his support behind the Democrats campaign, in particular Kerry for President. True, the thrust of Moore's message is an much anti-Bush as it is pro-Kerry, but the transition that Moore has made from 2000 is stark.

In 2000, Moore's message was that the Democrats and the Republicans were as bad as each other, and that he was largely indifferent between Bush and Gore. Therefore, Moore reasoned, the right choice was the Greens' Ralph Nader. Moore pushed and pushed and pushed for Nader, for whom the magic figure was 5% nationwide, which would ensure public funding the next time around. The Moore/Nader/Green message cam largely unstuck when the election came down to 527 Floridians combined with the realisation that 97,000 had voted Green rather than Democrat. Ouch.

This time around Moore has learnt the the error of pushing for a minor party under a first-past-the-post electoral system. Even though Nader is back in the race, Moore has ignored him and instead getting behind Kerry. This means that either the Democrats have changed remarkably in the past four years (which they haven't) or Moore is acknowledging that he was wrong in 2000 and indirectly cost Gore the presidency.

This is Moore in 2004:

There you have it. Five Simple Steps. I’ll be doing my part as I travel the country to the 20 swing states. Please join with me in this effort. Kerry is doing his part, he won the first debate (stop the kvetching...of course YOU would have done a better job! But YOU'RE not running for president! He beat Bush...Bush must go!!). Remember, what's at stake in this election is bigger than John Kerry, bigger than political parties and all the other noise that accompanies politicians and their elections. This is about that mother from Flint, Michigan -- and all the other mothers from all the other towns in America -- who have lost and WILL LOSE their sons and daughters in Bush’s never-ending war in Iraq.


And this was Moore's message on the morning of the 2000 election:

How many of you can honestly say Ralph Nader is not the best candidate? Don't reach into your bag of rationalizations -- just answer this one question honestly. If you want all the dirty money out of our elections, you HAVE to vote for Nader because he is the only one -- not Bush, not Gore -- who would eliminate it entirely. If you think the minimum wage should go up more than 50 cents an hour in the next year, then you HAVE to vote for Ralph Nader as he is only one who would raise it to a real living wage. If you believe there should be universal health coverage NOW, then you have to vote for Ralph Nader because he is the only one who would sign that bill. Click here ("20 Reasons to Vote for Nader" sorry, no longer online -A.) and look at this list. And if find yourself in agreement, then how can you NOT vote for Ralph Nader?

2 comments:

MelbLefty said...

Eventually one of the major parties will get annoyed enough by losing elections because of their votes being split between like-minded candidates, that they'll get around to supportnig the preferential voting system.

In Australia we only got it because the Conservative government in 1918 suddenly lost a whole lot of safe conservative seats to the ALP because the cosnervative vote was being split between them and the Country Party; so they introduced preferential voting to keep conservative votes for conservatives.

You can't blame Moore for pushing against the two-party system in the US - if people don't start fighting it, then the Dems and Repubs certainly won't change it, and the US will be stuck with a depressing mockery of democracy forever...

Anonymous said...

Yeh, I'd have to say it's a fair stretch to blame Moore alone for the 2000 result. He may be a blatant polemisist but if he's shown us one thing, it's that the people who staged the coup for Dubya had no intention of losing. I truly don't believe it would've made a difference if it was 500 votes or 100,000.

The real villian in that little drama is the US electoral system. Ever see "State and Main"? There's a gorgeous scene where the guy is caught, innocently, in a compromising position. He spins the girl a line. She'd clearly seen through the situation and never doubted him in the frst place and she placidly walks away. He's amazed she's so calm and says "You believed that? But it's absurd!"

"So's our electoral system", she says, "but we still vote".

It seems to me, on this evidence, that Moore is simply being pragmatic. Blind Freddy can see that Nader must do poorly if Bush is to be defeated. Sad, because Moore's 2000 comments are spot on. Ralphie boy seems to be a genuinely ultruistic individual. It's not Nader's fault he lives under a crazy first past the post system.

How a country can call itself a democracy when the system they use is even capable of being exploited in that fashion, I do not know.

Pete B