Kevin Zeese

commented on A Hard Look at Where We Are After the 2016 Election 2017-08-10 16:11:14 -0700 · Flag
Excellent analysis. It is not clear who the author is.

I agree with almost all of it, but the Nader analysis is mistaken in a couple of ways. First, after 2000 Nader did more than 40 fundraisers for Greens around the country. So, he did not immediately abandon the party. But, there were many Greens infected by the ‘blame Nader for Bush’ attitude and they ran away from Nader. Ohio Greens told him to stay out of their state. Texas Greens, Cobb’s state, said they would not nominate anyone who did not register Green, knowing Nader would never register with any party.

Nader still sought the 2004 Green nomination as part of his plan to create a unity campaign with all third parties coming together to challenge the duopoly. If the Greens had chosen to be part of this who knows what would have happened. The Greens certainly would not have shrunk as they did in 2004 and after due to the ‘safe states’ or ‘strategic states’ campaign of Cobb whose strategy was to not challenge the Dems in battleground states. The Greens choosing Cobb over Nader raised lots of doubts about the party and the strategy Cobb campaigned with undermined the Greens as an independent party (as did Stein’s recount in 2016 where she sought to flip the election for Clinton and was funded by Democrats, used a Democratic PR firm and Democratic lawyers).

Nader did receive a lot of votes in the 2004 primary, indeed Cobb only received 12% of the primary votes. See this article written right after the 2004 convention to understand how he pulled of the nomination with such a small vote total,

If Nader had come to the Green convention he might have won the nomination. But, the risk was too high as a handful of Greens protesting Nader or having a confrontation with him would have made national news and undermined Nader. He took the Eugene Debs approach and stayed away, Debs never went to the socialist conventions.

The Greens killed the goose that was laying golden eggs for them because they feared the power Nader and the Greens showed in 2000. The Greens showed they could impact the outcome of an election and if they had built on that rather than running away from it, who knows where they would have gone. Also, showing the ability to join with other third parties, would have been an important demonstration of their seriousness about winning power, The party was recovering from that error until the recount in 2016 where Jill spent more to flip the election for Hillary than on her entire campaign. Cobb was a major part of that decision as well as her campaign manager at the time.

Just so people know, I worked on Nader 2004 first developing a ballot access plan, then writing issue statements with Nader, then as is press secretary and spokesperson.