Sunday, September 21, 2003

The RED Pill or the BLUE pill?

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

-Morpheus, The Matrix

Red Pill or Blue? Nader supporters chose “none of the above,” and took the Green pill instead. Like Neo in the Matrix, they now find themselves wishing they took the Blue pill.

Had they chosen differently, a lot of the issues besetting the country would likely have happened anyway. The market would have crashed. Terrorists would have attacked. Many of the corporate scandals would have erupted just the same (although I think Ken Lay of Enron would have been indicted by now). The CEOs of Tyco, Worldcom, Enron, et. al. would have been shown to be the same nefarious gang of thieves they turned out to be. (yeah, Grasso would probably have been forced out just the same).

But many other issues would be different: We probably wouldn’t be losing soldiers in Iraq on a near daily basis, and the budget deficit would likely be much smaller. From tax cuts to corporate reform to the environment to judicial appointments to the Partriot act, even to Tom Delay fooling the department of Homeland security into tracking quorum fleeing Texas Democratic state legislators, an entirely different agenda would be dominating the headlines. The world would be a very different place.

The Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

What's changed the most for the Greens is their raison d'etre. The underlying philosophical pillar supporting the entire political structure of the Greens has been demonstrated to be but a myth. That’s something plainly visible in the alternate universe we now live in. If Gore was President, the Green's could have still kept on believing their mythical premise -- their belief that there is no difference between the the two parties could have safely endured. They would have been in a position to snicker: “See, we told you so. It was a choice between tweedle dum and tweedle dee.

The end result was the same. The actual Gore administration would have been pretty similar to their imagined, Bush administration. No difference between the Red Pill or the Blue Pill.

Not only was that thesis factually wrong, the law of unintended consequences reared its head. Of course, the actual Bush administration turned out to be nothing like what a Gore presidency would likely have been. And, its only going to get more so. If you thought the two parties were the same before, consider this: now that the GOP has shifted so radically to the right, the Democrats will move to the center -- and still be called leftists. The void left in the middle, and to some degree, the middle right, might very well be filled by Democrats.

Thus, we can argue that the Naderites not only helped W become President, they helped tilt the entire political spectrum rightwards. It would be funny, if it wasn't so sad.

In the comments on 3rd Party Candidates, Mike implies a loaded question:

“Is it worse to attack the mistakes of one's 'natural' political allies, or to make excuses for the crimes of one's political 'adversaries'?”

I neither excuse the crimes of my enemies nor attack the mistakes of my allies. Indeed, I try to have neither politcal enemies or allies. Instead, I point out facts that some people find inconvenient:

It's a fact that 3rd party voters have an impact on elections; It's a fact that their impact often results in an electoral victory by the party furthest away on the politcal spectrum from the minority 3rd party. These are facts. Rail against them, tilt at windmills, blog deeop into the night; It won’t change the political reality of what 3rd parties do in America.

I do not disagree or deny with many of the accusations that have been made; they are valid and true regarding all the dirty politics and constitutional crimes that took place. But I am also aware that these things have been going on forever, and by both parties (Chicagoan Democrats can tell you what “vote early, vote often” means).

OK, I admit it -- the system has been corrupted by bad people. But that doesn’t change anything about politics in America. It's too late to go back down the rabbit hole.

You have two choices and only two choices; Pick one: The Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

"I know what you're thinking, 'cause right now I'm thinking the same thing. Actually, I've been thinking it ever since I got here: Why oh why didn't I take the BLUE pill?" -Cypher, The Matrix

Posted at 07:27 PM in Film, Politics | Permalink


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I think it's amusing that the blame for Bush's presidency is continually pinned on the small portion of people who voted for Nader, rather than the large group of idiots that voted for Bush.

Posted by: wanderingstar | Sep 25, 2003 11:32:10 AM

As I mentioned, its not a matter of assigning blame of credit -- its an issue of numbers.

This was a very closely contested election. There's a long and storied history behind how 3rd party candidates impact elections.

The GOP had their candidate, and Republicans voted for him. The Dems had their candidate, and Democrats voted for him.

The issue I raise in regards to third party voters was how forseeable was it that their vote might determine the outcome of the election, and to a lesser degree, how valid was the argument that their was little or no difference between the candidates or parties . . .

Posted by: Barry Ritholtz | Sep 25, 2003 3:49:08 PM

Nice dissertation. Really enjoyable viewpoint, I like reading what I don't agree with or get pissed off at. It's just a shame about 3rd parties being such a crime, whether in end results or political attitudes. I think the best thing to do is teach the 'dead zone' of 18 to 24 year old voters how easy it is to become involved in the political system and that they could have any I-want-it-now dream they want in about 10 minutes if they'd just mobilize.


Posted by: Jason | Dec 17, 2003 11:37:28 AM

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