July 14, 2004
Nader Defends Mexican-American War
Okay, not exactly, but he defended a prime cause of that war, namely the third party spoiler candidacy that helped elect a pro-war Democrat. Nader was quite annoyed that the Congressional Black Caucus condemned his run for the Presidency and wrote the following letter to the Caucus, including this line:
can you imagine if the Abolitionist Party was told not to run against the pro-slavery Whigs and Democratic Parties in the 1840s!Aside from the chutzpah of Nader lecturing black leaders on that point, it's actually not hard to imagine people criticizing the Abolitionist Party-- actually called the Liberty Party.
William Lloyd Garrison, the most prominent Abolitionist in the period, strongly condemned abolitionists running candidates. It wasn't that he supported the Whigs-- the more anti-slavery party-- but that he thought playing spoiler roles was hardly a recipe for recruiting support to the cause.
And the result in 1844 was that the Liberty Party tipped the election to the pro-slavery, pro-war James Polk.
The result was the war with Mexico that pro-slavery Democrats saw as a tool to expand the number of slave states into the Southwest.
So just as the Liberty Party candidate of 1844 tipped the election to a rightwing racist who would launch an imperial war, so too did Nader's candidacy in 2000 tip the election to Dubya and the war in Iraq.
So to answer Nader's question, many anti-slavery people at the time and today see the Liberty Party Presidential candidacies as misguided and ultimately contributing to rightwing government.
Posted by Nathan at July 14, 2004 12:06 PM