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Clancy Sigal, novelist and author of The Secret Defector
I want to vote for a Democrat, not two Republicans running against each other. It seems to me Nader is the only candidate that embodies the ideals of the New Deal and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Hes got the guts, the wiliness, the strategic competence and the élan, above all the élan. Im not voting for him because I agree with him; he agrees with me. Im a citizen; I dont play Russian roulette with my vote, I use it wisely and for the future, and thats why Im voting for Nader. I dont care whos electable; thats playing the Republicrats game. Im not a member of the cult of winning and losing. I want to cast a vote for building future coalitions. Gore is gutless. Its a lot of fun to vote for a guy with courage. I vote third-party a lot, and I have the sense this is the first time its not a protest vote. Im voting to build something from the ground up. I spent time with the kids down at the Convergence Center during the DNC, and I have the sense there is a vast parallel America growing out there and growing very fast. Something is going on out there in the country that hardly ever gets reported, but its alive, its electric, and its the future. Gore is yesterdays man, and Bush is years past. My union friends are staunchly pro-Gore. I hate to part from them, but I want to build that coalition of students, street radicals and union people based upon an enhanced consciousness that neither Gore nor Bush has added to. Nader has. Probably the Gore people have terrific arguments, but people of good will can disagree. Theres no point in any of us name-calling or pointing the finger. I do think the whole winner-loser syndrome is a cult. I should very much doubt Ive ever voted for a presidential candidate who won. Thats not my deal.
Cornel West, professor of Afro-American Studies and Philosophy of Religion at Harvard University and author of Restoring Hope: Conversations on the Future of Black America
I supported my dear friend and brother Bill Bradley, as did Paul Wellstone, and we had a good time. I love him dearly. But I am an independent. And Im a free black man; I speak my mind and heart and soul. And thats why Im for brother Ralph Nader. Not because hes a perfect candidate no candidate is perfect. But for me on personal grounds, I reached a point where working people and poor people are so disregarded and disrespected by a corporate-dominated Democratic Party that you have to begin a new cycle somewhere with somebody. And this broadens the discourse and broadens the engagement. And maybe we can see a little leftward leaning in the Dem ocratic Party. We shall see. We shall see.
(Cornel Wests remarks are reprinted with his permission from a speech at the Shadow Convention in Los Angeles last August.)
Jon Wiener, professor of history at University of California at Irvine and author of Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files
The central conflict in America today is between the people and the powerful thats what Al Gore said at the Democratic National Convention. Hes right but in his entire career, hes never taken a stand against the powerful. Fortunately, there is one candidate whos been fighting undemocratic corporate power for the last 30 years: Ralph Nader. Al Gore seems to want to forget the last eight years, but we shouldnt. Clinton, Gore and Lieberman led the move away from the partys traditional (if limited) social concerns to embrace policies that previously had been the Republicans. The lowest point in the Clinton-Gore years came with what they called welfare reform. With that, Clinton and Gore did more to hurt poor women and their children than any Republican administration ever did. This is the lasting legacy of Gores years as vice president. But isnt Gore better than Bush? Yes. And isnt a vote for Nader really a vote for Bush? The race is close in only six or seven key states, and fortunate ly for us, California isnt one of them. In those states, progressives should vote for the lesser evil recognizing that, while Gore may be less bad, he still represents an evil.