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COLUMN

Ralph Nader: The Principled Vote

Michael J. Ring

It is easy for me to vote for Ralph Nader. I am a registered voter in Massachusetts, a state that Al Gore will win overwhelmingly. My vote for Nader is not going to cost Gore Massachusetts’ 12 electoral votes.

But what should a Democratic voter dissatisfied with Gore do in a state like Oregon or Minnesota, where a strong Nader showing could tilt the vote to Bush?

That voter should do the very same thing I have decided to do: cast a vote for principle and cast a vote for Nader.

The Gore campaign wants swing-state voters to believe that although Nader pledges to act more quickly and fervently, the vice president and consumer activist share the same goals. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nader represents the working-class economic populism that was once the cornerstone of the Democratic Party and should be its bedrock again. Gore is one of the leading figures of the race-to-the-center, abandon-our-principles, do-anything-to-get-elected wing of the Democratic Party that must be rejected.

On the issues that matter most to working Americans, the Clinton-Gore administration has stood with George W. Bush and the Republican Party and against the interest of Americans. Gore has sold unions out many times over with his ardent support of NAFTA, GATT, WTO, and MFN for China. Gore was also one of the strongest supporters of the welfare “reform” bill that in actuality shredded the New Deal safety net that any true Democrat should hold dear.

On several other issues, Gore marches in lock step with the conservative right. His strong support for the death penalty, and his silence on Texas’ death-row assembly line, is morally troubling. And on what was once Gore’s signature issue, the environment, the vice president has pursued tactics of accommodation and has ruined his reputation as an environmental warrior.

Al Gore has abandoned the principles of the Democratic Party on too many issues. He has participated in the destruction of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s great legacy to the party and to America. Al Gore is not worthy of Democratic support. He does not deserve to be elected president.

As a Democrat, I am casting my vote for the candidate who best represents the ideals of the Democratic Party, and I urge fellow Democrats to do the same. This candidate is not our own nominee but the nominee of the Green Party, Ralph Nader.