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Nader Denied Access to Presidential Debates (Revised)

By Alarmist in News
Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 02:38:11 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)

While making my morning news run, I came across this article on Yahoo! News. Evidently, Ralph Nader was given a ticket to attend the presidential debate last night, but was denied entry by a representative of the Commission on Presidential Debates.

The reason allegedly cited for this was that Nader hadn't gotten up to 15% in a recent public opinion poll, and thus could be safely discounted as a fringe candidate by the bipartisan CPD. In fact, Nader was supposedly told, "Invitation or no invitation, you're not getting in" (paraphrase) by a representative of the CPD who was escorted by three police officers.

So here we have it: unlike the 1992 presidential debates, when Perot showed up to stir things up, this year's debate has, so far, just been a rehashing of the two major parties' points of view. Nader was not allowed to attend, nor was Buchanan (Reform Party) or Browne (Libertarian Party). This is annoying, to say the least: the government has, by this action, branded the non-Democrat, non-Republican candidates as fringe candidates who aren't worthy of serious consideration.

I realize that Nader et al. have other ways of getting their message out. However, they have been denied an easy means of access to a national forum where they could have aired their views for all to see. Instead, they're going to have to use what campaign money they have to fight against the entrenched media presence of the Republicans and Democrats. The average joe will still dismiss third parties as being a bunch of wackos.

The conspiracy theorist in me sees this as an effort to suppress dissent with the popular view and maintain the status quo. Not enough people knew about Nader to turn him into a martyr, so they could safely go ahead with this act. Nader could have pulled votes away from Gore, Buchanan from Bush, and Browne from just about anyone, so they had to be marginalized.

Whatever. It's obvious by now that the United States government is a two-party only system, and that the end result is that eventually, the parties will only be distinguishable by their names. We were warned from the beginning to avoid partisan politics, but nobody listened. What should we do about this?


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Who's your favorite candidate?
o Browne 24%
o Buchanan 0%
o Bush 7%
o Gore 7%
o Nader 39%
o Bozo T. Clown 4%
o rusty 16%

Votes: 171
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
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o this article
o Also by Alarmist

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Nader Denied Access to Presidential Debates (Revised) | 57 comments (49 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
1992 is much the same, actually... (3.62 / 8) (#1)
by TheLocust on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 01:09:53 PM EST

watch that documentary is posted about a week ago, called Spin. It talks about a candidate being FORCEFULLY removed from the debates, with footage of this happening. And while he had been shunned from the debates, and the media (even being cropped out of photos with Bush and Clinton), he still at one time had 4% of the vote. Pretty good considering there were up to 5 Democratic nominees that year.

Oh, +1 to Front Page
.......o- thelocust -o.........
ignorant people speak of people
average people speak of events
great people speak of ideas

Re: 1992 is much the same, actually... (3.60 / 5) (#22)
by techt on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 03:22:09 PM EST

If I remember correctly, he was arrested. The most astonishing part was where the commentator (was it Tom Brokaw?) was saying how the debate would be getting under way once the person shouting was quiet -- he didn't even report who he was (another presidential candidate) or why he was shouting (he wanted to address the crowd.) The incident was swept under the rug.

If Nader had been arrested, I fear it would have been the same.

Proud member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation!
Are You? http://www.eff.org/support/joineff.html
[ Parent ]
Re: 1992 is much the same, actually... (none / 0) (#47)
by Arkady on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 10:22:59 PM EST

I'm not sure whether to rate low for the little "mojo me" request or rate up for the EFF link. Ah, the confusion when I can't tell where the boudry between post and .sig is. ;-)

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

[ Parent ]
It depends on how the internet forms (3.11 / 9) (#2)
by Defect on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 01:12:50 PM EST

As the net grows, more and more options to ditribute messages are formed. Television is still the most common way to spread news to most every household in america, but by the time the next election rolls around, there will almost definitely be a computer hooked up to the internet by a fast connection in every home.

So it all depends on how much control the governments place on the internet. If the net changes in such a way where it costs people more and more to deliver information (which could very well happen), then it will be just like it is today, only the rich and popular can spread their opinions. But if it continues to be as free as it is now, then there will be many more ways for potential candidates to spread their word in the future.

as for now, it sucks but oh well.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
Social acceptance of the web? (3.00 / 4) (#4)
by Alarmist on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 01:17:41 PM EST

As the net grows, more and more options to ditribute messages are formed. Television is still the most common way to spread news to most every household in america, but by the time the next election rolls around, there will almost definitely be a computer hooked up to the internet by a fast connection in every home.

I doubt it. Internet access may be more available, but I don't think it will be in more than 70% of homes by 2004. You have to be able to convince people that the Internet provides something that they need and provides something that they can't get anywhere else. Imagine trying to convince a kid living in a slum that the web is going to make his life better.

Technologically speaking, we can do what you're talking about right now. Socially speaking, we can't. Until we can get people to realize that the Web can provide them with information they can't get anywhere else (easily) and that it can be a way to make your voice heard, it won't reach many of the people who most need that information.

Fight the Power.

[ Parent ]

Do you really think the internet will matter .... (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by 11oh8 on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 08:36:46 PM EST

The internet is a technological revolution, not a cultural or social revolution (not for the mojority of Americans, that is).... Even when 90%+ of the homes in the US have inet access, it won't matter much because most of those people will go to the big .com sites that will only represent the views of the majority (democrats + republicas in this case)....

Unfortunately, the majority of the people want an easy solution to everything...They don't want too many choices because that's too "confusing." So they stick to the majority views because "hey, if other people agree with something, it must be right... right???"

What we need is a social/cultural revolution.. something akin to what happenned in the 60s... we need enough people to believe that the status quo isn't right.. that capitalism is not above democracy.... and sure, the internet can help with such a revolution but it cannot be the sole driving force..... it still has to be a social force....

it's almost depressing seeing the current state of things in this country...


[ Parent ]
vicious circle (4.80 / 10) (#5)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 01:28:48 PM EST

this is reposted from the mighty, mighty alarmist's first version

Third party candidates can't get into the national debates without having popularity, but neither can they get the type of national exposure they need to get popularity without getting into the debates.

The bottom line lies in the bi-partisan nature of the CPD.

bi == two

partisan == strong support supporter of a sect or faction

What we need is not a bipartisan commision to organize the debates, but rather an apartisan commision. Personally, I think anyone that qualifies for matching funds from the government ought to have been included. Perhaps Nader wouldn't qualify this election year, but if he gets enough votes, the Green party candidate at the next election would. Not to mention it would have been really funny to see Pat Buchanan square off against George and Albert.

I don't really understand the CPD's logic behind the way they define who has a "serious" chance to win an election. Not to mention it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If non-Demopulicans are excluded from the national debates, they don't have any chance of winning.

BTW, did anyone else think it really funny that on many issues George and Albert had to strain to find real differences in their platforms when pressed by the debate moderator to be specific about differences?

Re: vicious circle (3.83 / 6) (#10)
by Rand Race on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 01:50:42 PM EST

Remember when the League of Woemen Voters ran the debates? They let Perot in and both parties dumped them like last week's garbage. The very concept of letting the reigning political parties controll the debates is ludicrous. The Dems and Repubs are two sides of the same coin, and they will not let their monopoly on political power go without a fight. I would imagine the reason they fear Nader is the fact that he would bring up the drug issue for which both major candidates stands on are massively hypocritical.

Between this and NBC and Fox not living up to their obligations (by way of 70 million dollars worth of free airwaves), this was the most depressing political event of the year.

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Re: vicious circle (4.00 / 6) (#16)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 02:04:45 PM EST

I would imagine the reason they fear Nader is the fact that he would bring up the drug issue for which both major candidates stands on are massively hypocritical.

Let's see how it breaks down.

  1. Bush and Gore both support the death penalty, Nader doesn't
  2. Bush and Gore both support the war on drugs, Nader doesn't
  3. Bush and Gore both give lip service to campaign finance reform and at the same time continue to accept soft money from special interests, Nader doesn't

During the debate, the moderator continued to push both Gore and Bush to relate significant differences between them and with one or two notable exceptions (such as Bush would nominate more conservative justices to the Supreme Court) the candidates were hard pressed to distinguish qualitative differences in their views.

If Nader had been included in the debate, there would have been some real differences brought to light. Of course the same could likely be said for some of the other more interesting candidates as well (Buchanan and Browne).

[ Parent ]

It makes me sick to think about it (4.15 / 13) (#6)
by intol on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 01:29:12 PM EST

Actually what happened was that Nader was given a ticket by a student to view the debates from an alternate viewing site on campus, not in the debate hall itself.

When I heard about this it made me sick to my stomach. I still can't believe they denied Nader access to view the debate. All he wanted to do was view the debate. What was the problem with that? The man was threatened with arrest if he did not leave the premises. Just thinking about this makes me sick, and I'm not even a Nader supporter! What a slap in the face, I cant imagine how Nader supporters must feel about this.

To "view" the debate? (2.00 / 10) (#8)
by Speare on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 01:41:56 PM EST

If Nader wanted to "view" the debate, he could have just turned on a television and watched it on the many networks that were carrying it live.

Nader wanted to do something that the rest of the audience was carefully instructed not to do: say something. Say anything. The only thing the audience was allowed to do, was to clap at the beginning and end. Is that all that Nader wanted to do?

Nader would have, if let into the building, tried to get his voice heard. He would have thrown a rubber chicken into the camera's views, a prop he's carried to every other media venue, for the sophomoric pun it represents: "You're too chicken to let me speak," he would rant.

At least the other screwballs were civilized about it, and ran their own meetings. Buchanan (the other white supremacist(tm)) just invited people to a nearby hotel to hear his points.

[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]
[ Parent ]
Re: To "view" the debate? (3.20 / 10) (#11)
by kovacsp on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 01:52:08 PM EST


Which word don't you understand?

[ Parent ]
Re: To "view" the debate? (4.33 / 6) (#18)
by vinay on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 02:16:18 PM EST

The other reply to your comment stated that nader didn't try to enter the date hall. I actually have no idea if that's true or not. I do want to address something else you said.
Nader would have, if let into the building, tried to get his voice heard.
What you're essentially saying is that because they thought Nader might make noise, they should permit him entry? Even if he has a legally obtained ticket? That smacks of censorship so much, it makes my head hurt.
Nader wanted to do something that the rest of the audience was carefully instructed not to do
He can want to do anything he wants. I can want to kill the president. If I never actually do anything about it I haven't done anything illegal.



[ Parent ]
re: alternative viewing site on campus (2.14 / 7) (#15)
by Speare on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 01:58:57 PM EST

I hadn't seen that the ticket was for entry to 'an alternative viewing site', but CNN does include that statement.

I still think Nader's going too far with his whining about access to the debates, and it's all a publicity stunt.

His presence in the campus audience would surely be disrupting to the other people who were there to watch the debates. Any word on whether the tickets were supposed to be for campus students only?
[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]
[ Parent ]

Re: re: alternative viewing site on campus (3.16 / 6) (#23)
by speek on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 03:34:09 PM EST

Characterizing Nader as "whining" about access to the debates is base sophistry. Are you saying it's ok that he and Buchanan not be allowed to debate?

If Nader is going to be a choice available to voters when they go to vote, he damn well ought to be in the debates.

al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Re: It makes me sick to think about it (3.00 / 2) (#35)
by dylansnow on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 06:19:45 PM EST

I'm from Washington University in St. Louis which is holding the last debate. Our university will most likely get between 200-300 tickets that will be given to students ONLY. The other seats are for media and the like.

Here is my take on the whole issue:

Student gets ticket.

Student gives ticket to Nader.

Nader is denied access because he is not a student.

I think this is what happened. As a matter of fact I am surprised Nader got as far as he did. Our entire campus is pretty much being locked down and we will be required to carry IDs at all times.


[ Parent ]
Re: It makes me sick to think about it (3.00 / 1) (#42)
by Elendale on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 08:38:52 PM EST

Ok, i'll buy that. Well, i'll almost buy that... i would if that was the reason. The people who refused him access wouldn't tell him the reason. If it isn't that he's not a student there, they could have at least lied and claimed that was the reason. If it was the reason, why didn't they tell him? <paranoia>Smells of evil to me</paranoia> and besides, why would you try to strong-arm the guy? That's like feeding rabid sharks raw meat and then expecting them to stop eating. It won't work, and you will probably be in trouble unless they have no way to hurt you. In any case, why shouldn't the other presidential candidates be allowed to debate? Are the debates only for dem/rep candidates? Are they only for the popular ones? The popular argument is a load of horse____ and doesn't do what the media should be doing: that is, educating the people about the choices they have for who COULD be in charge of their country for the next four


When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

[ Parent ]
...wow... (3.28 / 14) (#9)
by jcterminal on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 01:47:58 PM EST

there was a moment, right there, in which he could of made history, and possibly shake the cage american politics.

can you imagine if he refused to leave and got arrested?

/me ponders the effects...
mind: www.crashspace.org
body: i.jcterminal.com
soul: www.jcterminal.com
Re: ...wow... (3.50 / 4) (#25)
by speek on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 03:40:40 PM EST

Possibly - more than likely though, it would only help the media classify him as extreme and therefor a nut. He probably has better chances to get his message across by not getting arrested.

al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Re: ...wow... (4.25 / 4) (#27)
by ubu on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 03:42:26 PM EST

Actually, that's exactly what happened to Alan Keyes four years ago. The public thought it was hilarious.

As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
OK, so it still blurs some points (3.57 / 7) (#19)
by el_guapo on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 02:20:45 PM EST

but I think the topic is important enough to at least make it to section. Vote Nader or Browne ths election, for goodness sakes!!! MAKE A POINT WITH YOUR VOTE. Perot came close, like 16% IIRC, and they reacted, they just moved the wrong way hoping noone woould notice. Go check him out, he might stike a cord. (I became a card carrying member yesterday, btw)
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
Re: OK, so it still blurs some points (3.00 / 2) (#36)
by Pinball Wizard on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 06:49:15 PM EST

If I felt my vote counted, I would vote for Nader. The problem is, I am highly disgusted with our antiquated and elitist electoral college system. Why do we need it in this supposedly enlightened day and age?

If there is anyone out there who has a coherent argument in favor of the electoral college system over a democratic, all-votes-count system I would love to hear it.

My not voting is a vote against the system.

[ Parent ]

Re: OK, so it still blurs some points (3.00 / 3) (#39)
by el_guapo on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 07:24:14 PM EST

I really disagree - while Nader (my 2nd choice, I like Browne better) may get very few, if actually zero, electoral votes, people are going to start noticing his popular vote percentage. If some third parties start garnering more of the popular vote, then the media will have a much harder time ignoring them, IMHO
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
Re: OK, so it still blurs some points (3.00 / 1) (#46)
by Arkady on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 10:02:40 PM EST

The thing is, not voting isn't really a vote against the system, since it's not a vote at all; it's sort of a "by definition" kind of thing.

Not voting is abstaining, which is fine if that's what you really want to do. I didn't vote for the first 10 years I was eligible (except for the two times I voted for my Mom; always vote for your Mom) because I was operating under the theory that a vote, any vote, was a legitimating act. I no longer think that's true.

Voting is a tool, no more. It's a tool the greedy bastards have left us and moreover it's a tool that hurts no one. In choosing your tools, it seems only reasonable that you should use the least drastic first and escalate as necessary. We may be past the point where voting is the most drastic tool we should be using, and I'd certainly agree with that, but we should still be using the less drastic tools as well.

It's a pyramid sort of thing. More people will use the less drastic of two tools (say, ballots and bombs). So even if you think the ituation is bad enough to warrant bombs, you should still be using your ballot as well, since many more people will be only willing to use a tool at that level of harmfulness. So, even though you think more extreme measures are warranted, you might still win through the less drastic tools, since many more people will support them.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

[ Parent ]
Re: OK, so it still blurs some points (3.00 / 2) (#51)
by Dr Caleb on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 12:18:45 AM EST

This goes back to the "herd mentality" thing we were discussing yesterday.

If people see a poll that Bush/Gore is in the lead, I feel that they will vote with whomever is in the lead, because they a) want their vote to count; and b) Want to feel better about themselves by voting for the likely winner.

Then there are the apathetic type that feel their vote doesn't count, so they don't vote, and concequently the 30% (or insert some other pathetic portion of the population here) of people who do vote decide the fate for the rest of the non-voters.

In my part of the woods, the results of polls are not allowed to be televised until all polls in all timezones are closed.

Perhaps something like this should become broader? No opinion polls should be broadcast for 48 hours before an election? Do you think this may give a fairer demographic when the actual results are posted?

Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Re: OK, so it still blurs some points (none / 0) (#54)
by Alarmist on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 11:33:04 AM EST

My not voting is a vote against the system.

I won't flame this, though I'm tempted to.

Every vote counts. Even if your vote doesn't change the course of the election, you have to look beyond that. People do pay attention to the popular votes, even though it's the EC that decides the race. If someone somewhere sees that, say, Nader got 17% of the popular vote, that sends the message that people are starting to get sick of the bipartisan dictatorship that sits in Washington right now. And if that figure gets propagated and made so that Joe Sixpack can understand it, then the third parties have a better shot the next time around.

We third-party types lose things like this all the time. It takes a certain amount of fortitude to cast your vote and know that your candidate will not win. But I cast my vote with a clear conscience, because I voted for the person that I really thought was best able to do the job, and he might not win this time or next time, but he might win later--all because I and a few other people voted for him this time.

Take the long view. People who tell you that your vote doesn't matter clearly aren't. Your vote matters.

Fight the Power.

[ Parent ]

This is actually confusing two separate issues (4.33 / 9) (#20)
by Tony Tastey on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 02:52:34 PM EST

Nader originally was seeking to be allowed to debate along with Gore and Bush. The CPD said no, since he didn't have a 15% rating in the latest polls. Bastardly, but moderately defensible.

The really stupid thing they did was in not even allowing him in as a spectator. A political science student from Northeastern University gave him a ticket to watch the debates, but Nader was turned away at the door, being told that having a ticket didn't matter. The quote from the CPD rep was "It's already been decided that whether or not you have a ticket you are not welcome in the debate".

So this is the kind of thing the Democrats and Republicans will stoop to in order to retain their stranglehold on the national political system. Good thing I found out now, before I mistakenly voted for Gore.

BTW, a full article from the Boston Globe can be found <a href="http://www.boston.com/news/politics/campaign2000/news/Nader_bearing_ticket_turned_away_at_the_door+.shtml"> here.

You wanna throw things? I can throw things! I'm fsckin' bionic, baby!

Re: This is actually confusing two separate issues (2.83 / 6) (#24)
by speek on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 03:37:34 PM EST

The CPD said no, since he didn't have a 15% rating in the latest polls. Bastardly, but moderately defensible.

Can't agree. Basing it on the polls is leaving it in the corporate media's power - who after all is running the polls? The "poll" here at Kuro5hin.org has Nader running away with the vote. Gore wouldn't be in the debate according to this poll.

How about this for simple criteria - if the candidate is choosable in the voting booth, he/she ought to be invited to the debates.

al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Re: This is actually confusing two separate issues (2.83 / 6) (#29)
by gnulizard on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 04:09:06 PM EST

You can write in anybody at the polling booth, so that doesn't work, but getting on the ballot is another matter. The green party has been working all year to get Nader on the ballot in almost every state. This usually involves getting a requisite number of signatures on a petition for the candidate. I know the Greens are on the ballot in NY State.

That *would* be a good criteria, though: being on the ballot in so many states gets you into the debates. Will it ever happen? I'm skeptical, but deservedly so.
local $_ = "0A72656B636148206C72655020726568746F6E41207473754A";
while(s/..$//) { print chr(hex($&)) }

[ Parent ]

That's what I said (1.00 / 3) (#31)
by speek on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 04:13:53 PM EST

al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

yes and no (2.37 / 8) (#21)
by DesiredUsername on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 02:59:10 PM EST

First of all, we can't let ALL the candidates into the debate--even with only 5 there would be so many turns being taken (and interruptions and so forth) that we wouldn't hear enough different views that way either. And just imagine how many penny-ante candidates ("Dave Barry for President") would show up just to be on TV.

On the other hand, it is partially due to the exclusion from media attention that the candidates shares are so small.

What's fair? I dunno. What I DO know is that I intend to vote for Nader (or maybe Browne)--not because I think they'll win but as a form of protest. Both Gore and Bush (especially Bush, I think) stink as candidates. Hopefully a sizable showing from the "3rd party candidates" will get some people thinking and/or acting.

Play 囲碁
Re: yes and no (3.33 / 3) (#26)
by speek on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 03:42:25 PM EST

There are rules about how candidates get to be on the ballot. If they make that, they should be in the debates. That way, it has nothing to do with the manipulatable "polls", and yet the candidate still has a lot of work to do.

al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Re: yes and no (3.00 / 1) (#45)
by Arkady on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 09:13:25 PM EST

This makes sense. If you're on the damn ballot, you're a candidate and should participate in any public candidate events as an equal with any others. Favoring one set of candidates over another because they're perceived as more likely to win is self-fulfilling. The _are_ more likely to win simply because they're getting more public exposure because they're thought to be more likely to win.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

[ Parent ]
Protesters peppersprayed (4.71 / 14) (#28)
by teeheehee on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 03:50:05 PM EST

I live a few blocks from UMass Boston's campus, and I didn't know this until this morning, but something like 16 protesters were arrested, with more being physically subdued and peppersprayed. From what I could find out, most were Green Party affiliated, and were giving the peace symbol when they were overrun by the riot-prepared police. They were on the wrong side of the barricades and were vocalizing their dissent in the decision not to let Nader in to *watch* the debates. I saw mentioned here that it would have been interesting to see what would happen if Nader allowed himself to be arrested - well, his supporters were arrested in his stead, and that's enough of a message to me that there's something utterly wrong with the way in which things are working right now.

I am a Green Party supporter, and I was almost at the picket line last night, but I stayed home and watched the debate on TV and helped explain some of the topics to my friends who don't readily keep up in the news. Now I wish I had gone and protested too, with a camera in hand. The arrests weren't publicised until today's news, missing the possible live coverage which is greedily sought after by any "respectable" media source after any major sporting event. Too bad... I can see what was going through their heads: "These arrests might actually blemish the debates and draw attention where we don't want it to go..."

It's been mentioned that Nader doesn't accept soft money, that the Republicans and Democrats are tools of commercial businesses... Nader is so centered in his views he took the T (public transportation) in -- did Gore or Bush with their ecological sense of mind do anything like that? Their supporters? Most likely they had a mini motorcade.

This is the first presidential election I'm eligable to vote in, and I'm voting for a third party candidate. After the debates there was a room full of Floridians who had not determined who they were going to vote for, and supposedly made up their mind watching the debates. Two things strikes me about this:
  1. What if Browne/Buchanan/Nader were in the debates as well, bringing topics not even touched by either major party?
  2. One woman showed support for Bush because he accurately described her views of all the numbers Gore was pushing - "fuzzy math" - and she complained that numbers just were too confusing. (so, the example I'm driving here is, if I don't understand it it must not be right and so the other guy has to be right)

I listen to WBUR at work, which is Boston University's NPR station, and over the past few weeks they've been trying to make the third parties known - but who besides people like me look for public-funded, intelligence-oriented media to find out a little bit more than the average Newsertainment show? Even the Internet has it's faults. We sure wish that every home had a high speed connection, and that the oppertunity was there for everyone to use the great alternative resources it provides, but there are a lot of people who resist the Internet for their own reasons. They don't trust it. Other people are too poor or aren't in an adequate area to get reasonable speed. More people just don't care to use it like us technocrats, if they take the time to learn to use it at all (who here has ever worked tech support for an ISP and been asked such questions as "how much hard drive space will I need to download the Internet", or "I'm new to this whole computer thing... what's a window and where's this start button everyone's talking about?"). It's an e-mail box, a word processor, a Napster client, and a 24-hour porno channel - for MOST people...

If everyone had the urge to find out a little bit more about any given topic then K5 would hardly be worried about the overpouring population of slashdotters who came here (of which I am one), griping less about the moderating being skewed, because the influx of 'average users' would be catestrophic to it! Quite simply, average users don't use the Internet in as useful ways as we do, or don't know how to, or don't want to - yet. Who knows if they ever will. With great shows like "The Presidential Debate" or "People's Look at Gore and Bush" around, who needs to look anywhere else? Who wants to wake up and see the exclusion taking place?

Who wants to think for themselves?
(Discordia) :: Hail Eris!
Everything you've just read was poetry and art - no infringement!

Re: Protesters peppersprayed (4.00 / 5) (#30)
by winthrop on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 04:10:57 PM EST

I was there, although I left about 10:00 and from what I here on indymedia, all the interesting stuff happened after I left.

But I was there in time to see people get peppersprayed. They were not members of the local green party; I am, I know. (Although perhaps some greens got peppered after I left; I haven't heard about it if they did.) They were mainly members of the so-called "black bloc," a group of young anarchists who dress in black (hence the name) and who came fully prepared and expecting to get in a confrontation. As I left, there were only a few isolated incidents of people being pepper-sprayed, but you could tell they were itching for something to do. (One of them was completely naked as I left.)

I don't think they support Nader because they don't want to legitimize the state by participating in elections, but they were very nice to us pro-Nader folks and probably would be voting green if they had to vote.

[ Parent ]

Re: Protesters peppersprayed (4.00 / 2) (#44)
by Arkady on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 09:10:08 PM EST

Well, I can't speak for any other anarchists, but I personally will be voting for Nader and probably also for the rest of the Greens on the ticket. We have some interesting ones running here; our current state senator from Oakland is/was a Green.

The decision, for me, was whether to vote at all. This has been a point of contention amongst anarchists for many, many years (Hell, anarchism is like Usenet, _everything_ a point of contention ;-) and is an issue that each person must decide for themself. I decided that a vote is just a tool and not a statement of legitimation, and one which hurts no one. So it's a tool I should use, and I think it should be used before anyone resorts to mure harmful tools too.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

[ Parent ]
Re: Protesters peppersprayed (4.00 / 3) (#38)
by kimbly on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 07:03:48 PM EST

As a previous poster mentioned, the people who were pepper sprayed were waving anarchist flags and dressed in black -- clearly not greens. Also, the police had been provoked, because the anarchists had started moving the barrier forward. There was a significant delay between when the barrier got moved, and when the spraying happened.

Later that night after I got home, I watched channel 5 news and they showed a little segment where they claimed the protest got "tense". What they actually showed was a bunch of gore supporters yelling at one of the anarchists, but what they implied was that the greens were disruptive. They also made no mention of how many people were there. I suspect there were at least 1000 Nader supporters well after the debates started and the gore people had gone home.

Another interesting anecdote from the protest. At one point, a woman dropped the sign she had been carrying on the wrong side of the barrier (accidentally). One of the police, in full riot gear, came forward, picked it up, and gave it back to her. The protesters cheered and applauded the policeman. That kind of incident was much more common with respect to the Green-police interaction.

[ Parent ]

US of A? (2.80 / 5) (#33)
by red_one on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 06:14:01 PM EST

So this is your great "democracy"?

Maybe it's a good thing we don't have "Debates" between the two major parties down here in Australia.
But then again we don't have a President.
Truly pathetic, I think you should all be ashamed of your country... I know I am...
Freedom of speech my !@#$.

Re: US of A? (3.00 / 1) (#43)
by Arkady on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 08:57:23 PM EST

Well, since I didn't have any hand in its design or establishment, I don't think it's reasonable for me to feel shame over it. _I_ didn't do it. ;-) I do agree the U.S. is pretty shameful as a democracy, though. The word we should be thinking of here is "plutocracy": the rule by the rich. The U.S. puts a pretty gloss over it, but this country is undeniabley run by and for the rich.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

[ Parent ]
Re: US of A? (2.00 / 1) (#52)
by Dr Caleb on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 12:34:01 AM EST

We have debates between the two major parties here too, but in Canada we call it "Hockey" ;-)

Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Electoral College (3.40 / 5) (#34)
by joeyo on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 06:15:45 PM EST

Here's a thought for today. If you are not in one of the half dozen "battleground" states, a vote for Ralph Nader (or any other third party) is not a wasted vote. The winner take all system of the electoral-college means that if Bush is going to win your state anyway a vote for Gore is a wasted vote. If Gore is going to win your state then a vote for Ralph Nader won't hurt and you can be free to vote your hopes and dreams instead of your fears.

"Give me enough variables to work with, and I can probably do away with the notion of human free will." -- demi

New party (2.80 / 5) (#40)
by khaladan on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 07:36:35 PM EST

If history is supposed to repeat itself, then there will be another party someday. Soon I hope. I dislike both parties, but it is going to take some sort of disruption to change the establishment of these parties. Anyone who says that a person voting for a fringe party is throwing away their vote is wrong. Only voting for so-called "electable" people when a better candidate exists is a bad mindset. Vote for who you believe in most. One day, those who vote and run for these fringe groups will make a difference.

Re: New party (none / 0) (#53)
by pope nihil on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 01:57:11 AM EST

New parties? There are already parties out there that address virtually every viewpoint. If you have a viewpoint that you don't think is represented by any of the "fringe" parties, I'd like to hear it.

I voted.

[ Parent ]
Spam the Public (3.75 / 4) (#48)
by FFFish on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 10:45:54 PM EST

Perhaps some enterprising hacker should attempt to spam some education to the public. Edu-Spam.

It'd be easy enough. Just make sure that your message doesn't come across offensively. Use a relatively innocuous subject line ("The Full List of Presidential Candidates") and use nice, short sentences in the body text:

"Did you know that Bush and Gore aren't
your only choices for president this year?

Make sure you check out the ideas and
policies of all the candidates. You
*can* vote for someone who really
represents the government you want!

There's Ralph Nader: he promotes yadda
yadda, etc. His website is at www.whatever.

There's wozzname, etc.

All these people are for real. They can
and will lead the government if they are

You *do* have a choice -- you *don't*
have to throw away your vote by choosing
between Bush and Gore!

Make your government a government that
works for you: just do some reading and
then vote with your conscience!

Brought to you by
People Who Care About America.


Re: Spam the Public (5.00 / 1) (#57)
by Pimp Ninja on Tue Oct 10, 2000 at 12:12:40 AM EST

...and for a moment, i felt actual hope spring up in my heart, at the thought that such a message might make a difference...

And then i remembered. Talk all you want, say what you want to people - 9 times out of 10, they've already decided, and all you're doing is wasting your breath/typing

Let's face it, folks, the two-party system in the USA is there ti stay, even if it doesn't officially exist. It's too old, too entrenched, and no well-thought out, intelligent plan is EVER going to get in its way.


If we demand from them without offering in return, what are we but better-
dressed muggers holding up the creative at the point of a metaphorical gun?

[ Parent ]
Nader update... (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by Sheetrock on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 11:29:17 PM EST

I found some more information about this through the Associated Press and tonight's newspaper (it's an AP article, but I can't find it online...) and it looks like he might be planning to take legal action against the Commission on Presidental Debates (article here). My paper quoted him as saying "They'll pay severely for this after the election" about the Commission, something that if I was running for President would probably be the last phrase I'd utter within earshot of the press about anyone.

I'll probably vote for Nader even though I prefer Browne. Splitting the 'non-Demipublican' votes across the third-party candidates might mean a lackluster performance for all of them, and Nader seems to have a better shot at putting up a good show. I just wish he wouldn't get so wound up about what happened with the debates... if he sat back and let the media take the story and run with it, a lot more people would come away with the feeling that the little guy is getting screwed. Unfortunately, it looks like he wants to make a big deal out of it, which could mean that instead of leaving this situation with a decent victory in the press Nader will look like he's taking the sour grapes approach.

When did the election process quit being about the issues, BTW? I wasn't watching a debate; I was watching a couple of rich people with the same agenda (moving dollars from other people's pockets into their own) hem and haw on stage trying to come up with something they can actually argue about...

(3.50 / 2) (#50)
by luethke on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 11:30:26 PM EST

You said the government baned the non-republican and non-democrat population, I am curious if the government is responsible for the 15% rule or the media (I don't know which one but it would seem to me that it would be more the media than government). If it is the government I would assume this would violate the 1'st amendment. If it is the media then it's just another example of thier bias. If it is the govt. then it would seem the media would protest this, I know I would if I was in their position.

I was just watchin the daily show on comedy network and they claimed that nader would be on their show tomorrow, maybe something to watch?

Change the rules (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by Sloppy on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 01:47:25 AM EST

What should we do about this?

If the government has a rule regarding their debates that you don't like, then the answer is to make your own competing debates. They can't actually stop candidates from getting together and arguing, unless they break the first ammendment.

So, host your own debates, and let anyone in that you want. Invite all the candidates.

This has huge problems, of course:

  • most of the candidates won't show up
  • your debates will not be shown on TV
But that's ok, because tearing down the mass media monopolies is on the long-term agenda anyway. Put it on The Internet.

If you can put on enough of a winning smile and you wear a good tie, you'll get a couple to show up. Get the "big" third party candidate to show up (this year, that is Nader, in 92 it was Perot) and you win. I don't know how Nader and Perot managed to get so much attention (I think they both suck), but they did it, and if they debate opposing candidates (Libertarian and Reform) in a presidential race, then it is news and people will find out about it. The mainstream media will probably even report that it happened.

Everyone will laugh at first, and say you're just jerking off and it's pointless, because neither of the republicrats decided to attend. Doesn't matter. You'll still get a little exposure, and it'll help if you encourage the debaters to imply that the noshows are "chicken." It's childish and stupid, but remember that millions of people watch pro wrestling, so when it comes to media, there's nothing wrong with being childish.

If it gets popular enough, then the republicrats eventually have to show up to keep from looking bad, just like they are required to say the word "tragedy" whenever there's an accident where a lot of people die, they're required to kiss their wives in front of the camera, required to state their belief in a judeo-christian religeon, etc. (There's a huge list of requirements for American politicians, and the goal is to make your debate attendence one of them.) Figure out a way that your debate can be spun as "for the children" and you've got a slam dunk.

Then, once you've got republicrats debating in public against the other parties, all hell breaks loose and things get awefully fun. Seeing Bush/Gore try to defend their view of the purpose of government after a Libertarian (e.g. Browne) has had 2 minutes to speak, would be very entertaining.

"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."
Nadar had a ticket no less (1.00 / 1) (#56)
by brent on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 08:45:18 PM EST

From those who ran the debate, I certainly agree you can invite who you would like to the party and limit the number of people attending, so things don't get out of control. So if they only want to show Al or George than fine. However, if the tickets are handed out to the select few and some how Ralph, Pat, or (insert party nominee here) gets a ticket, then why bar them from entering the room? I don't get how or why they can be left out completely.

Nader Denied Access to Presidential Debates (Revised) | 57 comments (49 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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