Green Party responds to Stephen Colbert's repeat of the "spoiler" myth, urges Colbert to invite Greens to appear on his show
Why did Gore lose in 2000? Because 13% of Florida Democrats voted for Bush, GOP vote obstruction in Florida, and a biased Supreme Court ruling
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Green Party responded to Stephen Colbert's repeat of the "Nader spoiled" accusation during the Wednesday, May 18 broadcast of "The Late Show" on CBS, chiding the talk-show host for parroting a baseless Democratic Party propaganda myth.
"When you look at the actual numbers in 2000, it becomes clear that the spoiler allegation is the Democratic equivalent of the right-wing fringe belief that Barack Obama was born in Kenya," said Paul Pipkin, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and Green candidate for Congress in Texas, 20th CD ( http://www.newmenu.org/paulpipkin ).
Greens also corrected Mr. Colbert on his claim that Bernie Sanders "is now being courted by the Green Party to join their ticket" and noted that it would be nearly impossible, legally and logistically, for Mr. Sanders to launch a new campaign after the Democratic nomination. The Green Party has its own candidates for the Green presidential nomination ( http://gpus.org/committees/presidential-campaign-support/2016-recognized-candidates ).
Greens have, however, invited Mr. Sanders to help promote the Green Party as a permanent independent alternative to the two corporate-money parties. Mr. Sanders has not responded.
"We know why Al Gore lost to George W. Bush in 2000. He lost because Florida GOP officials conspired with Choicepoint and allegedly obstructed between 50,000 and 90,000 voters, most of them Black; because Mr. Gore demanded a recount in only three counties instead of the entire state; because a biased Supreme Court decision handed Mr. Bush the White House; and because Democrats in the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Mr. Bush's questionable victory," said Audrey Clement, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.
"But the biggest reason for Al Gore's loss is that he ran a weak campaign, failing to win even in Tennessee, his home state. 13% of Florida Democrats voted for Bush instead of Gore -- far more than those who voted for Ralph Nader -- and nearly half of the state's Democrats stayed home on Election Day," said Ms. Clement.
Jim Hightower, writing on Nov. 27, 2000, noted that "[There are two] Florida constituencies that cost [Al Gore] more votes than Nader did. First, Democrats. Yes, Democrats! Nader only drew 24,000 Democrats to his cause, yet 308,000 Democrats voted for Bush. Hello. If Gore had taken even 1 percent of these Democrats from Bush, Nader’s votes wouldn’t have mattered. Second, liberals. Sheesh. Gore lost 191,000 self-described liberals to Bush, compared to less than 34,000 who voted for Nader." ( http://www.salon.com/2000/11/28/hightower )
Green Party leaders said that the Democratic Party and its defenders in the media have used "Blame Nader for Bush" to frighten voters away from alternative-party candidates ever since 2000. Ralph Nader was the Green Party's presidential nominee that year.
The spoiler myth has also made it easy for Democrats to defend unfair ballot-access laws designed by Democratic and Republican lawmakers to hinder alternative-party and independent candidates and to deny qualified Green and Libertarian nominees a place on the stage during the fall presidential debates.
Greens said that voters deserve the right to vote for whichever candidates best represent their interests and ideals, without being told that only two parties are legitimate.
"Those who accuse Ralph Nader of spoiling in 2000 are like the Yankees fan who watches his team play lousy baseball for eight innings in the final game of the World Series and sees the other team cheat -- and then he blames an umpire for sneezing during the ninth inning for the Yankees' loss," said Carl Romanelli, Green candidate for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania in 2006. "Behind the spoiler accusation is a craven mindset that says it's okay for a major-party candidate to steal an election, but not okay for a third-party candidate to run fair and square."
"We know that a lot of Bernie supporters and independents have no intention of voting for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. You can't accuse a Green candidate of siphoning votes from Ms. Clinton if the votes come from people who never intended to vote for her in the first place," said Mr. Romanelli.
Polls have shown widespread dissatisfaction with the presumed Democratic and Republican nominees and a desire for more options on the ballot, especially among young voters ( http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/280329-poll-voters-want-independent-candidate-over-clinton-trump ).
Stephen Colbert, during the May 18 broadcast, read from a book titled "See Ralph Run," blaming Mr. Nader and the Green Party for spoiling in 2000 as a way to discourage Bernie Sanders supporters from voting Green if they prefer the Green nominee to Hillary Clinton after she wins the Democratic nomination ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfUXUqxJctk ).
The Green Party continues to urge those worried about the spoiler factor to support election reforms like Ranked Choice Voting ( http://www.gp.org/green_party_urges_voters_to_demand_instant_runoff_voting_cites_widespread_public_discontent_with_two_party_... ).
"We invite Stephen Colbert to interview Green candidates on his show -- as David Letterman did in 2000 when he had Green nominee Ralph Nader on the Late Show," said Nancy Allen, who has served as press director for two Green gubernatorial campaigns in Maine. "Mr. Colbert has interviewed Republicans several times. Is he more afraid of Greens than Republicans?"