Saturday, October 30, 2004

A Vote for Peace

I’ve been advising like-minded citizens everywhere that there are no "safe states" and hence they should vote for Kerry for president, as the far lesser evil. But in New York I urge them also to the saintly pacifist David McReynoilds, for Senate. They can’t be called spoilers because there is no contest; the Republicans have named only a token candidate against Chuck Schumer, and indeed Mayor Bloomberg has publicly endorsed him for re-election.

Sadly, so has the so-called Working Families Party. So-called, because it is just a line on the ballot, controlled by a few nominally progressive trade-union officials who have worked for years to stave off efforts to build an effective labor party. Their interest is obvious: it is to continue to control their huge pension and welfare funds, which would shrink or vanish if we enacted universal single-payer health care and other reforms.

What is harder to figure is the stance of our leading left-liberal weekly, the Nation. By and large it agrees with McReynolds on the issues, but it has shown an inexplicable allergy toward the Greens, especially in New York. Under the influence, perhaps, of the "pragmatic liberal" Mark Green, it blackballed a Nation colleague running for governor. As a result, the Green party lost its line on the ballot by a few hundred votes, while the so-called Working Families Party squeaked by. Now it is too late for the Nation to endorse McReynolds -- assuming that it might like to. It is not too late, though, for it to re-examine its positions.

However the election turns out, the Nation will have achieved one obsessive goal; its final issue gets in one more poke at Ralph Nader. He wasted resources fighting to get on the ballot, and he never did face up to how much damage a Bush victory would bring. But he did keep his agenda alive. In states that are safe for Kerry, I’d recommend a vote for Nader -- but from where I sit, there are no safe states.