Saturday, March 22, 2008

Greens Don't Spoil

Letter to the Editor of the Sacramento News & Review from Starlene Rankin

Greens Don't Spoil

Re "Spoiler alert" by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, March 6) (

I appreciate Bites pointing out that "the spoiler system is built into our election system." The only real democracy is multiparty democracy. Don't voters have a right to a choice of more than two candidates and the choice to vote for whichever candidate best represents their own needs and ideals?

The spoiler accusation is dishonest and an affront to the right of voters to have such a choice. It's a defense of an election system limited to two parties (both of them approved and funded by powerful corporate interests), which is one step away from systems that only allow one political party.

The Democrats have had many years to implement Instant Runoff Voting, but they'd rather lose elections to Republicans than tolerate the presence of third-party and independent candidates on the ballot. They'd rather blame Ralph Nader and the Green Party for "spoiling," so they can cover the botching of the 2000 and 2004 national elections with awful candidates and campaigns. If they wanted to win so badly, why didn't they take action after the obstruction of votes by the GOP in 2000 and 2004 and the 2000 Supreme Court decision that put Bush in the White House?

Bites calls the last eight years a "humiliating nightmare" and, I agree, it has been a nightmare, but it's not the fault of Nader and the Green Party. Please don't make assumptions that, without Nader in the 2000 race, the same number of voters would have voted and they all would have voted for Gore. According to exit polls, Nader's support came from Democrats, Republicans, independents and many others. Many would not have voted for Gore if Nader hadn't run, and some voters might not have voted at all. Al From, chair of the Democratic Leadership Council, wrote in Blueprints magazine in 2001 that, according to their own exit polls, Bush would have beat Gore by one percentage point if Nader hadn't run in 2000.

Third parties change the whole dynamic of an election in unpredictable ways that may have nothing to do with pulling votes from one side. Let's vote according to our consciences and hopes, not our fears and misconceptions!

Starlene Rankin media coordinator
Green Party of the United States

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