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  • Writer's pictureOliver Hall

Professor Etzioni Responds ... and CCD Replies

CCD published an open letter to Professor Amitai Etzioni in response to his letter in the New York Times asserting that "[a] few thousand votes for Ralph Nader cost Al Gore the 2000 election." Here, Professor Etzioni responds, and we reply.

Dear Mr. Oliver Hall,

I much agree that American voters face an extremely momentous choice in the next days.

We agree that arguments for progressives to vote for Biden should be grounded in facts and that are ample reasons to favor his election without mentioning Nader.

As you yourself point out, the question of what effects Nader had on the Gore race, has been and is open to different interpretations. I am hold with those who find that third party candidates undermine the party from which most of their voters come, even if the party somehow make up for the loss.

This is surely not the right time to argue for any progressive to even consider such candidates.

Amitai Etzioni

Oct 30 2020

Dear Professor Etzioni,

Thank you for your considered response.

It appears that we continue to disagree as to whether there is any justification for the claim that votes for minor party or independent candidates "come" from one major party or the other. With respect to Ralph Nader's Green Party candidacy in 2000, however, we think the available facts and evidence undermine that conclusion.

More generally, we believe that votes do not come from anyone except the voters who cast them, and consequently neither major party is entitled to a presumption that votes cast for a minor party or independent candidate otherwise would have been cast for that party.

As a non-partisan organization, we do not argue that voters should support or oppose any particular candidate or party. Nonetheless, we believe that now is always the right time to support the right of all citizens, regardless of partisan affiliation, to participate in the political process. And if the system cannot accommodate their participation, then the system is in need of reform.

Thank you for the opportunity to have this dialogue.


Oliver Hall

Founder and Legal Counsel

Center for Competitive Democracy

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