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Archive for Monday, February 23, 2004

Local Nader support appears weaker

February 23, 2004

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Three years ago Douglas County was one of the strongest support bases in the country for Ralph Nader's Green Party presidential candidacy.

That strength may not be there this time, some of his former supporters think.

"I regret it," Baldwin resident Richard Morantz said Sunday, after hearing Nader was going to make another run for the White House.

Morantz, who has been involved with the Green Party the past few years, doesn't think Nader has a chance to win and that he will have trouble getting sufficient votes from left-wingers who want President George W. Bush unseated.

"There's really got to be a unity of people on the left to remove the current administration -- what is such a destructive administration," Morantz said.

Nader announced Sunday he is running as an independent, third-party candidate and not as a Green Party representative. That doesn't matter, Morantz said. There is no Green Party candidate as of now, and Morantz is throwing his support to Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich.

Morantz said he still liked Nader. But if, as it appears now, the Democratic candidate becomes either Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry or North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Morantz will support one of them and not Nader.

"There comes a time when you have to be more strategic than principled," Morantz said.

Marie Stockett, a former coordinator of the Douglas County Green Party, agreed. She also thinks many of Nader's former supporters will vote for a Democrat to be sure Bush is defeated. The majority of the nation's voters are used to the two-party system, she said.

"That's unfortunate, because people end up having to compromise their vote," said Stockett, a Lawrence resident.

During the 1996 and 2000 presidential elections the Green Party benefited from Nader's candidacy, Stockett said.

"He brought a lot of publicity," she said. "He educated a lot of people about the party."

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