Response to Gail Collins' NYT Column
To the Editor:
Gail Collins is a gifted satirist, but shouldn’t she take the voting rights of millions of Americans more seriously than, say, Mitt Romney driving to Canada with his dog on the roof?
Collins writes that we would be “better off without” third parties and that people vote for them to “feel superior” or “dodge responsibility”. Would she say the same of the abolitionists who formed the Free Soil Party when neither major party would oppose slavery? Or the Progressive Party when it pushed for women’s suffrage and other reforms the major parties wouldn’t touch?
Collins also takes a swipe at Ralph Nader, who ran for president against the invasion of Iraq, for single payer healthcare and a crackdown on corporate crime long before Democrats came around on those issues.
Does Collins really want to squelch these voices of dissent? The White House is currently occupied by perhaps the most illiberal president in history. Liberals who oppose him would do well to remember that resistance neither begins, nor ends, within the major parties alone.
The author is founder and legal counsel of Center for Competitive Democracy, a non-partisan non-profit dedicated to strengthening American democracy by increasing participation. He has also represented Ralph Nader in private practice.