John Rensenbrink explores the relative merits of Nader and McKinney. The article is also relevant to other ideological perspectives in the past and future which see one candidate running as an independent, and another as part of a political party whose views are similar at the same time.
There is this notion that progressive-minded people, who canâ€™t see voting for Obama, have a choice between two outstanding candidates, Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader. I agree that they are both outstanding candidates. But I firmly disagree that a vote for one or the other is of equal value.
Allow yourself to think beyond the present power structure. Envision a different situation in which the present power structure has been dismantled. Surely, no power structure is permanent. The present one is dominated by megacorporate predatory giants and their Democrat and Republican minions. It will not last. It is not permanent. Please savor that thought.
With that firmly in your mind, ask yourself what is needed to reach beyond the present power structure. Ask yourself whether what McKinney brings and what Nader brings are the same or different. No, I am not talking about â€œthe issuesâ€, that favorite of liberals and progressives. On â€œthe issuesâ€ the two are pretty similar.
Where they are not similar at all is on the question of power to change the power structure. Here we must confess that Naderâ€™s campaign begins and falls with him, begins and falls with just this current campaign, good for this day and train only. On the day after the election in November, thatâ€™s all done. Nor is there any reason to believe that there will be any impact of any kind on the existing power structure.
Now take another look at McKinneyâ€™s campaign. She is running not as an Independent like Nader. She is running as the candidate of a proven political party. The Green Party has been in existence since 1984 and is well established in almost all parts of the country. It has a courageous past and a promising future. It is dedicated to contesting for power.That meansâ€”given the Green Partyâ€™s values and principlesâ€”that it is dedicated to altering fundamentally the existing power structureâ€”ending the stranglehold on public policy by the megacorporate giants and their Republican and Democratic minions.
Cynthia is running full tilt as a Green. For the Green Party. She has stated that her goal is to get at least 5% in November. This will qualify the Green Party candidate for President in 2012 for millions of dollars in public funding. It will make the national Green party a substantial force and lay the basis for greater victories in the future. Now, thatâ€™s really thinking! Even if she does not get the 5%, her campaign will strengthen the Green Party and give it greater internal fiber and exposure to the public. This will help all future Green campaigns for all offices, including for president.
Hooray for Cynthia! She really gets it. She knows that the powers-that-be are a power structure â€“ and a bad one to boot. And that it must be dismantled if the issues people hold dear are to get a chance at being resolved. She puts first things first. Cynthia will not win the White House in November, but she is helping to lay the groundwork for â€œpainting the White House Greenâ€ in the future. Thus a vote for her is a vote for our future. It carries far more value than a vote for Nader, however fine a candidate he is.