[EM] Kerry-Nader negotiation initiative

Paul Kislanko kislanko at airmail.net
Thu Sep 2 14:32:57 PDT 2004

Is this another one of those republican tricks that have been going around?

If Kerry were even to ACKNOWLEDGE Nader, Bush would win in a landslide
because most of the reluctant Kerry voters still blame Nader for "electing"

The RNC has been starting a lot of Yahoo! Groups labeled "non-partisan" to
try to get "intelligence" about the politically-aware electorate. I know
this because I've somehow gotten on to the republican "leaders weekly
reader" because I joined one of those "non-partisan" groups using an email
address that had never been given out for any other purpose.

It's really cool to get the weekly updates on "these are the lies that you
need often and loud enough to make the voters think they are truths", but
I've been unsuccessful at getting anti-SPAM laws enforced or Yahoo!'s terms
and conditions enforced.


And anyway, election-methods is the wrong list to promote partisan politics

-----Original Message-----
From: election-methods-electorama.com-bounces at electorama.com
[mailto:election-methods-electorama.com-bounces at electorama.com] On Behalf Of
RLSuter at aol.com
Sent: Thursday, September 02, 2004 3:46 PM
To: election-methods-electorama.com at electorama.com
Subject: [EM] Kerry-Nader negotiation initiative

Dear election-methods subscribers:

The following is a draft message I'm planning to begin
distributing tomorrow. The initiative involves a new
KerryNader Yahoo list focused on the goal of getting Kerry
and Nader to negotiate. As explained on the list page, I'm
looking for both strong Nader supporters and strong Kerry
supporters to serve as co-moderators to help edit list
messages. It will be basically a news list with no more
than a few messages per day.

If you have any thoughts (pro, con, or otherwise) about
this initiative or about the following message or if you
are interested in being a co-moderator of the KerryNader
list, please let me know or post your thoughts on this
list. I'd especially appreciate feedback from people on
this list about the section on "the need to reform
presidential elections."

Also, please let me know if you are interested in
helping distribute this message. I'm in the process of
moving from Illinois to Ohio and won't have much time to
devote to this till next week, so any help anyone could
offer would be greatly appreciated.

Ralph Suter


Kerry and Nader must negotiate


 Please help distribute this message
 to both Kerry and Nader supporters

John Kerry and Ralph Nader must negotiate with each other
for mutually beneficial concessions. If they do, both of
them will be much more likely to achieve their goals. If
they don't, both could fail badly, with Kerry losing the
election and Nader failing to either have a significant
impact on public opinion about major issues or improve
the prospects for urgently needed political reforms.

Because they are unlikely to begin negotiations on their
own, their supporters must urge them to do so. A new email
action/news list has been established to enable people
to express support for efforts to get Kerry and Nader to
negotiate and to keep informed about such efforts. For
information about how to subscribe, see the end of this
message or go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/KerryNader/

The list will be moderated, with messages limited to no
more than a few a day. In addition to news about efforts
to get Kerry and Nader to negotiate, the list will serve
as a forum for discussing concession proposals, including
those described below and others that may be submitted to
the list's moderators. The more subscribers the list has,
the more influence it should have on both Kerry and Nader,
so if you would like them to negotiate, please subscribe
even if you don't have time to read all the messages.

Why negotiations are so promising

Kerry's primary goal has always been to win the election.
Nader, on the other hand, apparently has never believed
he could win. His primary goals have been to advocate
domestic and foreign policies that differ significantly
from those of both Kerry and Bush and to challenge our
"badly broken" political system.

The reason Kerry-Nader negotiations are so promising is
that both candidates can achieve their primary goals if
they agree to help each other in ways that most of their
supporters are likely to approve of.

What Kerry most needs from Nader is his help in closely
contested swing states. Nader could provide such help by
asking his supporters in swing states to vote for Kerry
in exchange for concessions from Kerry. While many Nader
supporters will dislike the prospect of voting for Kerry,
most of them will be very willing do so if Kerry makes
major concessions to Nader.

What Nader most needs from Kerry is help in getting his
policy views more widely heard and help in achieving badly
needed political reforms. Kerry could provide such help by
urging that Nader be included in the presidential debates
or by agreeing to debate Nader separately; by pledging to
support efforts to achieve political reforms, especially
reforms in how presidential elections are conducted; and
by urging Kerry supporters in states that Bush is sure to
win to vote for Nader so Nader will get 5% or more of the
national vote and qualify for 2008 campaign funding. That
would help ensure Nader's continuing political impact
between now and the 2008 election.

If polls following the debates show that Kerry and Bush
are still close, Kerry would be wise to agree to all of
these concessions, including the last one. If he wants
Nader to urge Nader supporters to vote for him in swing
states, it would only be fair for him to reciprocate by
asking his supporters in states he is certain to lose to
vote for Nader.

Even if polls show Kerry to be comfortably in the lead
after the debates, making these concessions to Nader could
greatly increase his lead and help insure that he defeats
Bush. First, Nader is more critical of Bush on most issues
than he is of Kerry, so Kerry's help in enabling Nader to
get more media attention would hurt Bush much more than
Kerry. It would also benefit Kerry by showing him to be
more willing than Bush to seriously consider and respond
to opposing views. Second, Kerry's support for reform
efforts would win him much additional support, especially
from undecided voters and people who are alienated from
the political system and are now inclined not to vote.
Third, Kerry's willingness to negotiate with Nader and
make major concessions could be promoted by the Kerry
campaign as evidence of his political competence and
his commitment to being fair to independent and third
party candidates. Efforts by the Bush campaign to spin
Kerry's concessions in a negative way could backfire
and further damage Bush's election prospects.

The need to reform presidential elections

Never has there been a greater need for a third party
or independent presidential candidate who can seriously
challenge the two major party candidates on what should
be by far the most strongly debated issue (the Iraq war)
but probably won't be because Bush's and Kerry's views
about it are so similar and Nader's views are likely to
receive little media attention unless Kerry agrees to
debate him.

There are two ways election laws could be changed to
enable third party and independent presidential candidates
to more easily and effectively challenge the major party
candidates: (1) presidential electors could be delegated
to candidates according to their vote percentages in each
state, or (2) the plurality voting method now used by all
states could be replaced by other methods.

Neither of these options would require any constitutional
amendments. They would require only changes in state laws,
because under the Constitution, states are entitled to
delegate presidential electors in whatever ways they wish.

The first option would enable even minor candidates to get
some electors. It therefore would be fairer to third party
and independent candidates. In California, for example, a
candidate would need to less than 3% of the state vote to
get an elector. If no candidate won a majority of electors
nationally, candidates could offer concessions in exchange
for additional electoral votes, or they could offer to
pledge their electors to other candidates in exchange for

Given the importance of winning the presidency, such a
proportional system would create powerful incentives for
negotiating. In addition, such a system would encourage
presidents to be less partisan and more open to dialogue
and compromise.

The second option would not enable as many candidates
to get electors, but it would at least allow people to
vote their true preferences with little or no worry that
they would be wasting their votes or helping spoil an
election. The voting methods most often proposed as
alternatives to plurality voting are:

  (a) holding conventional runoff elections when there
are no majority winners in initial elections;

  (b) "instant runoff voting" (IRV), where voters rank
candidates from most preferred to least preferred and the
ballots are interpreted in a way that simulates a series
of runoff elections;

  (c) "Condorcet voting" (named after its 18th century
inventor), where voters rank candidates just as they do
with IRV but the ballots are interpreted in a way that
simulates one-to-one contests between each candidate and
every other candidate; and

  (d) "approval voting" where voters may vote for as few
or as many candidates as they find acceptable.

While each of these methods has defenders and detractors
among political reformers and voting experts, all would
have enabled Nader to strongly challenge Kerry and Bush
without seriously threatening to spoil the election. As
a result, there would have been little or no pressure on
Nader to drop out of the race, and he would have had a
much easier time raising money and recruiting volunteers.
His views and proposals would also be getting much more
attention, and there would be a much more vigorous debate
about the Iraq war and about many other issues.

If Kerry pledges to strongly support efforts to reform
presidential elections and then wins the election with
Nader's help, a reform movement could quickly gather
momentum after the election (or even before) and succeed
in obtaining major election law reforms in all or most
states by 2008.

How to subscribe to the KerryNader list:

If you have an account with Yahoo, the easiest way to
subscribe is to click on the "Join this group" button on
the list page at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/KerryNader

If not and you don't want a Yahoo account, you should
subscribe by email by sending a blank message (or any
message) to KerryNader-subscribe at yahoogroups.com. You
will then receive a reply message from Yahoo that will
ask you to confirm your subscription by either clicking
on a link in that message or replying to it. If you reply
to the message, you will just get a final confirmation
message. If you click on the link, be sure to check
"Join the mailing list" rather than "Join the group"
or you will be taken to a Yahoo registration page.

Please note, however, that Yahoo groups have "Members
Only" features that are available only if you register
with Yahoo and become a group member rather than just
a mailing list subscriber. If you'd like to register,
click on "sign up" to the right of the Yahoo!Groups
logo on the list page.
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