How Slatesters Voted
I confess to being one of the 4,719 Louisianans who voted for Ralph Nader in 1996. Four years ago, a vote for Nader was a negative vote. It was a vote against Clinton, against Dole, and for no one. This year, a vote for Nader is a positive vote, a vote for something. It's a vote for an anti-trade, anti-globalization agenda that is bad for Americans and, yes, bad for the Third World. If there were a centrist third-party alternative, a get-out-of-my-pocketbook-and-out-of-my-bedroom candidate like Jesse Ventura, I'd vote for that candidate. There isn't. (I thought about Harry Browne, but I prefer a kinder, gentler libertarianism.) So I'm voting for Gore. His tax cut is laughable, his education plan is inadequate, and his Social Security plan is shortsighted, but he's the least of the five evils—including Nader—on the D.C. ballot. Nader says a vote for the lesser evil still leaves you with evil at the end of the day. I say if you limit evil, you've done some good.
Erik Tarloff, Contributor: Gore.
I have two sets of reasons. The first is based on general principles. I'm a Democrat, and I therefore prefer the range of policies, the talent pool, and most importantly the judicial candidates from which he will make his choices. Secondly and more specifically, Gore, by virtue of intellect, temperament, experience, and breadth of knowledge, is patently the better-qualified candidate. This one's a no-brainer. Which also, incidentally, is an all too apt description of his opponent.
Inigo Thomas, Contributor.
If I had a vote—and I don't because I'm British—I'd vote for the candidate who could cope with a major gas crisis, which seems inevitable; who could address wealth resentment at home and abroad, which seems likely to intensify; and who might make the governance of the country better, not worse. Though I prefer Gore's ambitions to those of Nader and Bush, it is to his great detriment that he hasn't spoken eloquently about issues he does care about. Should Gore lose, neither he nor his supporters can blame Nader: They can only blame themselves for not being brave enough.
June Thomas, Copy Chief: Gore.
Even after 15 years spent lamenting America's lack of a progressive political alternative, in my first presidential election as a U.S. citizen I can't bring myself to vote for Ralph Nader, though my heart tells me I should. My head tells me that with Washington state too close to call, a vote for Ralph might land Dubya in Washington, D.C. Sure, Gore may have spent eight years as the No. 2 in an administration that failed to deliver universal health-care coverage, to follow through on its election promises to guarantee equal rights to gays and lesbians, or to enact campaign-finance reform. But I can swallow hard, blame that on the Republican Congress, and remind myself that if Gore wins, at least I won't be awake nights wondering which choice-preventing, homo-hating fossil Bush will name to the Supreme Court.
Eliza Truitt, Associate Editor: Gore.
I voted for Gore last week via absentee ballot. And I didn't do it out of a reactive fear of Bush's stupidity or pro-life Supreme Court justices. I'm one of those true believers who actually thinks Gore is fantastic. He's experienced, intelligent, and in all cases more in line with my political beliefs than Bush is. I do wish Gore were against the death penalty and against the drug war, but otherwise I'm with him.
Rob Walker, Contributor: Gore.
I live in Louisiana, which is highly likely to go for Bush, so I had planned to vote "strategically" for Ralph Nader, as I did in 1996 (when I lived in New York), because I think it would be good for America if a third party, more liberal than the New Democrats, added its voice to the national debate. I began to change my mind when Nader, instead of defusing the idiotic attacks on his perfectly legitimate reasons for running, opted to up the idiocy, attacking Gore more than Bush, and suggesting that a Bush win would catalyze liberals. I doubt it, and that's not an endgame that I'm interested in supporting. Now, on the question of why it is that Slate employs a Moneybox columnist who is based in Louisiana and would even consider voting for Nader, I'm afraid you'll have to talk to management.
Illustration on the Slate Table of Contents by William L. Brown.