WHY VOTE GREEN?
Remarks made by Ralph Nader to the National Press
Club the morning after election:
The Green Party is alive and well.
This campaign has established the Greens
as a viable political force. We are now third largest party,
supplanting the Reform Party as the major competition to the Democratic
and Republican parties.
We would have liked, of course, to
have garnered the five percent that would have made the party eligible
for federal matching funds in the 2004 election. That would have
been a bonus. But, across the country we attracted enthusiastic
supporters who intend to remain committed to the party's progressive
agenda. The party will only grow in the coming months and years.
The Gore campaigners pulled out every
stop in an attempt to peel off our voters. They were successful
in many states with reducing our total, but these voters will be
back with us in future elections.
There will be a lot of finger pointing
about the poor showing of Gore. Gore had all the advantages of an
incumbent Administration, but he never generated enthusiasm and
many voters cast ballots for him out of pragmatism, not conviction.
In the end, the Democratic party
must face the fact that it is has abandoned its progressive roots.
The party has been seized by its conservative-moderate pro corporate
wing. And the leadership of that group produced a candidate and
a platform that simply did not excite the voters.
Progressives in the Democratic party
must decide whether they want to remain a captive of the Democratic
Leadership Council and its love affair with the big corporate money
that fills the party's coffers or whether it wants to be a party
that represents people. Democrats now must either find their progressive
roots or watch the party wither away. If Democrats are disappointed
with the returns, they need to take a close look at their party
and the empty campaign waged by Al Gore in this campaign.
The Green Party is up and running.
We invite the progressives who are shut out of the Democratic Party
to join us in a crusade to reform the campaign finance system which
leaves control of our government in the hands of the highest bidder.
We urge Democrats and Republicans,
alike, to join the Green Party in its effort to end child poverty,
to give workers a true living wage, to wipe out restrictive labor
laws like Taft-Hartley that make it difficult for workers to organize,
and in its efforts to establish an accessible, affordable health
insurance system that reaches everyone. We urge Democrats and
Republicans who are interested in the environment to join the Green
Party, which calls for action, not rhetoric, to preserve our earth.
Similarly, we urge people to join us
who believe in full civil rights and equality for everyone regardless
of race, ethnic background, gender or sexual orientation. We
believe that there are many people in both parties who agree with
us that the drug war is a colossal costly failure that has filled
our jails with non-violent crimes. We also believe that there are
millions who believe as we do that the death penalty should be abolished
and its discriminatory use against minorities be ended now. We urge
citizens to join us in effort to provide affordable housing and
in a crash effort -- Marshall Plan -- to revitalize our inner cities
America can do better. The two major
parties have abdicated their responsibility to lead, to advocate
solutions and to promote true democracy from the city halls to Congress
and the White House. We can do better.