Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
September 23rd, 2004


Swinging and spoiling

I’ve finally thought about the current political situation enough to blog about it. And you’re about to do a whole lot of reading…


The candidates have been focusing way too much on the “swing states,” as evidenced by the continuing parade of political ads on the local news stations during the six o’clock hour.

Honestly: the candidates, their parties, and their PACs are all missing the point. Swing states are only important because they represent trends and opinions common throughout the country. Merely brown-nosing to the swing states while alienating the rest of the nation is a mistake. Gore lost his home state Tennessee because he was overconfident in the state, and concentrated only on the swing states.

Given, Bush doesn’t stand a chance of losing Texas, and Kerry knows Massachussetts would never vote for Bush. But if they continue to visit states like Ohio excessively, the two could each stand to lose states they overlooked. States that the analysts didn’t think were swinging (if you’ll excuse the horrible pun) months ago.

No pundit worth their airtime will fail to mention that Ohio has carried every Republican winner so far. But there is a lesson behind that statistic: as an analogy, the candidates need to deliver their report to the class, not just to the teacher.

Spoiling the fun

If I had been old enough to vote in 2000, I would’ve voted for Nader/LaDuke. They argued that the two major parties were too similar. And they were right.

This year, they have occasionally used the exact same argument. This time, they couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, the Nader/Camejo platform sounds incredibly similar to that of the Kerry/Edwards campaign. The two major parties are polarized this year (at least on the Presidential front).

I wouldn’t “spoil the vote” this year. I agree with many of Nader’s positions:

Issue Nader’s stance My stance
Affirmative action For Against
USA PATRIOT Act Against Against
Criminal justice reform For For
Death penalty Against Undecided [1]
Tort reform (“tort deform”) Against Against (convinced)
Corporate “personage” rights Against Against
Standardized testing (a là Bush) Against Against
Voting machine scrutiny and paper audit trails For For
Instant runoff voting (IRV) For For (new)
Stock, bond, and derivative taxes For Somewhat for (new)
Pull out of Iraq, replace troops with UN peacekeepers, hold elections, encourage humanitarian efforts For Somewhat for [2]
Charging for broadcast licenses over public airwaves For Undecided
Give public access TV more visibility For Somewhat for [3] (new)
Corporate subsidies Against Against
Protect pension plans etc. For For
Abortion rights For Somewhat against
  1. The death penalty must be replaced by something viable. Nader has a good start in his plan for criminal justice reform, but that reform needs to show its results before the death penalty can be considered useless.
  2. This is what most everyone wants in the end, but how practical is it? This depends on what Nader’s detailed plan for accomplishing his goals is. Cleaning up the mess in Iraq is no longer about just doing the right thing. America and the people of Iraq have to come to a clear understanding (I know how vague that sounds – I’m not the politician, though). And the insurgent attitude and cause must first be marginalized or rendered irrelevant.
  3. Fine, but I don’t have cable or satellite, so I don’t currently have access to public access TV. (How ironic is that?) What is Nader going to do about that?
I’ve changed my position, based on Nader’s explanations.
I previously didn’t have a position on this issue. Now I do, thanks to Nader.
Source: Nader/Camejo 2004 Official Website

(Nader has many more positions, but I’ve noted the ones I’ve thought about enough to post here.) But I believe that the Kerry administration’s goals are very complementary to Nader’s. I believe that Nader’s platform would eventually be absorbed into the policy of the Kerry administration, just as most third-party policies are adopted by one of the major parties.

This is what Nader wanted. He wanted a “watchdog party.” His following – or the Green Party, or the Reform Party – might not end up receiving the share of votes they want. But their viewpoints are already being considered. That’s why I would vote (still reluctantly) for Kerry/Edwards.

I hear some of my peers crying out in pain at reading that previous statement. Honestly, I dislike both Bush and Kerry. But I also dislike Bush’s administration, his policies, his war. Kerry doesn’t have an administration yet, his policies are very fluid (so I may end up liking them), and he didn’t start the war – he wants to take the responsibility of cleaning up the mess.

Of all the people who have aspired to the Presidency in the past few years, I’d choose McCain. But, this year at least, I’m voting for Kerry.

(You do know about Kids Voting, don’t you?)


  1. Eric Meyer eloquently explains the views of all us “liberals with a homosexual agenda” still reeling from that debate more than a month ago.

  2. So at around 11:30 at night, I get to the section where I have to list ten words that would describe me. The first word that my pen could come up with for me was, of all things, maverick.

  3. San Francisco is obviously quite different than Cincinnati, but as I’m starting to observe, it’s exactly the same in one irritating way: everyone thinks that everyone has the same political views.


  1. It's not surpising to see that you list abortion NO WHERE on your list. I see your years of catholic education have done you well. Congrats to St. X!

  2. Jayson, I based that table on the Issues page at votenader.com. This year Nader’s position on the issue was buried in the site, although I know from the previous election that Nader does support abortion.

    First of all, “years of catholic [sic] education” does not necessarily mean the same as “years of pro-life education.” In any group there will be dissent. I’ve had pro-life teachers, and I’ve had pro-choice teachers (or “pro-death,” if you prefer). A real education consists of learning both sides of the argument, and learning from them, not just blindly following whatever position you’re given.

    With that said, I am against abortion to an extent. I support the mother’s right to abort her child if giving birth would cost her life. The Catholic Church takes this stance, if you’ll recall.

    I know many people who speak about against abortion in all its forms, unqualified. I cannot consider this “pro-life,” because it would in some cases force the death of the mother. That’s sad.

    But it was late at night, and I had time only to cover the issues I saw on the Nader campaign’s current site.

    I apologize for making you wait a few days for that crucial bit of information. </sarcasm>