by Abigail DeRoberts
Special to iVoryTowerz
As the current election progresses, the similarities between the two ruling parties are growing increasingly clear. Many leftists are feeling disillusioned with the ever-more-conservative rhetoric of today’s Democratic party. As a result, they run, unsuspecting, in the other direction, and are greeted by the comforting embrace of Ralph Nader. However, upon closer inspection, it is soon evident that Mr. Nader is far from able to quell our concerns or fix the system.
Ralph Nader consistently runs on a platform of saving America from corporate interests. Yet his vaguely anti-capitalist rhetoric is only against “big” capitalism — capitalism in the forms of multinational corporations — while he touts the virtues of capitalism that is smaller scale yet can be equally devastating, such as small business owners who often become wealthy local elites. And despite his harsh words for big capitalists, a significant chunk of Nader’s funding in the past came from some of George W. Bush’s most prominent donors. These are wealthy Republican funders, corporate advocates who support the Iraq War. When you look into the funding game, it becomes clear that in the past they supported Nader simply to take votes away from the Democrats. Now, I’m perfectly fine with votes being taken away from Democrats, but it is evident that these donors saw Nader as nothing but a pawn in their political game.
Although Mr. Nader opposes the current manifestations of the country’s political structure, he actually strives to maintain it. He firmly believes in maintaining the so-called democratic system, and he thinks this can be achieved by returning to the Constitution and a grassroots citizens movement. He continues to be a proponent of a representative democracy that uses voting as a method to elect a Congress to make decisions on behalf of its constituents. Even if representatives believe they have the interests of the people in mind, they are still speaking for the people and not allowing them to speak for themselves. This results in a structure that is authoritarian and paternalistic, not a system that liberates individuals from elite rule.
By participating in the political spectacle that is voting in elections, you are recognizing the legitimacy of the state and its current system. Voting for Nader does nothing to oppose the system, and supporting his hypocrisy is just as bad as supporting that of the Democrats. You’re not making a statement; you’re sustaining the state.
For more background on the 2008 campaign, please see these archival posts:
- "Barack Obama & the Overconfident Democrats;"
- "John McCain and the Republican Right;" and
- "Wolf Blitzer: Is Human Rights More Important than American National Security?"
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