Voting Their Calculators

Greens Leave Nader, Back Gore

October 23—Greens for Gore, a group of environmentalists apparently based in the toss-up state of Oregon, are calling on supporters of Ralph Nader to come off it and save the day by voting for the Veep.

The ultraclose race between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush has led to charges from Gore loyalists that heavy voting for Nader will tip the election to Shrub. Now, on their new Web site, Greens for Gore write, "We have decided to put our support behind the lesser of two GOOD men, because we feel it to be absolutely essential for the planet and the nation that one of them WINS this election."

The alliance backs "strategic voting," meaning supporters of the Green presidential candidate would cast ballots for him in states where the race is a clear win for either Gore or Bush, but vote for Gore in the swing states of Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Maine. That way, the Greens hope to avoid handing victory to the conservative Bush while still garnering 5 percent of the vote, enough to qualify for federal matching funds in the presidential race.

The Web site doesn’t list any names or affiliations, but includes this message at the bottom of the homepage: "Note well: We are not the Green Party USA, nor the Democratic Party, and are not authorized by any candidate or any candidate’s authorized committee."

Here’s how Greens for Gore say they propose to carry out strategic voting: "On election night, we are calling for all of us Green voters sitting on the fence, wondering whether to vote for Nader or Gore, in the crucial swing states . . . to go down to their County central Election Office with their unmarked ballots, radio in hand (Or your local polling place if it’s not convenient). At 7:30 on election night determine what is happening in your state or nationally and make your vote count strategically at the last minute! Be sure and hand it in in time, as the offices close promptly at 8 PM on the dot.

"If the last minute exit or public opinion polls in your state show Gore or Bush clearly projected to win, then vote Nader! If it is too close or undecided at that point, then vote for Al Gore! If a winner in the Presidential election has already been realistically called by the exit polls and early returns back east, or conceded, for instance, then by all means vote for Nader. . . . "

Meanwhile, Nader—who only gets attention in the big media when he’s called a "spoiler"—is climbing toward 8 percent in Minnesota polls and scaring the daylights out of the Democrats. In an effort to neutralize him, the Dems are calling in heavyweights like Teddy Kennedy, Paul Wellstone, and Russell Feingold to fight for Gore. This morning’s Washington Post reports the consumer advocate hinted last weekend at his own sort of tactical voting. If Gore is 9 points ahead of Bush the day before the election, the Post quotes Nader as saying, voters "can vote for the Greens and have it both ways. They can help build a watchdog party after November 7 by depleting the vote totals from both parties."

 
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