After LA? Force Nader into Debates!

by Rick Stahlhut Thursday, Aug. 17, 2000 at 5:35 PM 616/373-4149 Kalamazoo MI

We should use the power we've developed and the large numbers who signed Nader's petitions in EVERY state, and create a HUGE HUGE presence to force the Debate Commission to put Nader in.

Before we know it, LA will be over, and the question will be: what next?

Llet's get Nader into the debates using our numbers to force the debate commission to admit their duplicity in keeping him out. I don't mean 20,000 people showing up at the debates in Boston or elsewhere--I mean 150,000. And it think it can be done. The combination of organizing for the protests, plus the massive petition campaigns for Nader in each state, make this a key moment in history for developing pressure to improve the electoral system.

Several reasons why this would be good:

1. It's something most protesters agree is a good thing

2. It targets a real, immediate threat to democracy--the closing of the debates. In 1996, you only had to register 5% in the polls to make the debates. Ventura only had 10% in Minnesota before his debates. Now Ralph has more than 5%--the threshold has been changed to 15%.

3. It sends a clear, single message that the media will find harder to distort

4. We can broaden the coalition. In Michigan, for example, over 50,000 people signed the petitions to get Nader on the ballot.

Now, I don't pretend to know the appropriate tactics. Planning direct actions could get you arrested for "conspiracy to commit democracy". But I'd start by getting our evil leaders to leave their communist/anarchist lairs in Russia and meet with the evil anti-corporate Nader leaders in each state. Nicaragua and Cuba could provide funding for travel and meals. Satanists could be recruited for cruel sacrificial rituals.

OK--seriously folks. I'd suggest this:

1. Movement thought leaders and others contact Greens in each state

2. Massive phone banking to hit signers of petitions to get Nader on ballot--invite them to go to debate cities at appropriate times, with signs.

3. DA is totally optional (maybe not even planned). If you have 150,000 people in a small area, you are shutting the place down by definition. This may encourage more mild-mannered Greens to come.

4. ASSUME THEY WILL MOVE THE DEBATES AT THE LAST MINUTE to escape us. So try driving, not airlines, to get there so you don't waste your money. This may require alerting Greens country-wide so the group can assemble wherever, whenever.

Oh, and one other idea, actually suggested by a rather official looking person monitoring the Philly protests (which shows they aren't all bad)--

"Next time, wear suits."

Original: After LA? Force Nader into Debates!