Jeb bush puts Nader on the Florida ballot

I’m in shock. But I’m not surprised.

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader’s name can appear on Florida ballots for the election, despite a court order to the contrary, Florida’s elections chief told officials on Monday in a move that could help President Bush in the key swing state.

The Florida Democratic Party reacted with outrage, calling the move “blatant partisan maneuvering” by Gov. Jeb Bush, the president’s younger brother, and vowed to fight it.

In a memo to Florida’s 67 county supervisors of elections, Division of Elections director Dawn Roberts said the uncertainty of Hurricane Ivan, which could hit parts of the state by week’s end, forced her to act […]

“I’m in disbelief,” said Scott Maddox, chairman of the Florida Democratic Party. “This is blatant partisan maneuvering on the part of Jeb Bush to give his brother a leg up on election day.”

bush may win this election. But I know that America doesn’t really want politics to be handled like this. They don’t want this to be the new standard. Whenever shrub goes, be it now or in another 4 years, America will breathe a huge collective sigh of relief.

Vis Kos

The Discussion: 29 Comments

It’s interesting how you didn’t mention any of the legal maneuvering that resulted in the court order to keep Nader *off* the ballot.

September 13, 2004 @ 9:43 pm | Comment

I just got my California ballot and was surprised to notice that Nader is NOT on the ballot. Not that I’m disappointed, but it does seem odd, doesn’t it?

September 13, 2004 @ 10:13 pm | Comment


Please explain to me the justification for preventing Florida voters who support Nadar from being able to vote for him.

A justification other than the fact that he hurts your guy.

September 14, 2004 @ 12:44 am | Comment

I want Bush out of Washington to, but I’m with Conrad on this one. As the current electoral system is set up, Florida voters have every right to choose between Bush, Kerry, or Nader.

Don’t forget the bigger picture here. We could do much better than Bush, but we could do a lot worse. Just look over to Russia and see what Pootie Poot is up to, trying to eliminate elections for governors. Bush plays dirty as hell but at least he is committed to free elections.

What I would like to see is a major overhaul of the way we elect a president.

This is what I would like to see. Make the presidency non-partisan, like the Nebraska legislature, to reduce the parties’ influence in the elections. Make those running for the presidency compete in a run-off election with all issues on the table from every political perspective.

Take the top two vote getters in the run-off election and have them go head-to-head in the presidential election. Whoever gains over 50 percent of the vote is president.

As flawed as it is, I’d still keep the electoral college.

September 14, 2004 @ 3:02 am | Comment

So Conrad, do we put him on every ballot, even if he doesn’t fulfill the requirements? I never complained about him appearing on the ballot in any state where he did it the right way. But for Republicans to ignore judges and stretch rules to put him on — that’s wrong.

September 14, 2004 @ 7:39 am | Comment

Ros, legal maneuvering is legal and is done all the time. Is there anything wrong with that?

September 14, 2004 @ 7:43 am | Comment

Brian, I totally reject your argument that bush isn’t so bad beause Putin is much worse. It is not an either/or. We used to have sane government here, where you could go to see the president speak without having to sign an oath of loyalty, where you didn’t accuse your opponent through surrogates of incredible crimes, where going to war was based on true issues of national defense and not grudges, where the constitution was kept free of discriminatory legislation. So I disagree — bush is just about as bad as it gets, at least within the possibilities of the US system. About your overhaul plan, it sounds interesting, but I’d need to understand it better before endorsing it. As for the electoral college, I simply see no need, and never did.

September 14, 2004 @ 7:56 am | Comment

Richard, I never made that argument that Bush isn’t so bad because Putin is worse. I said we could do a lot worse and gave Putin as an example.
I really don’t think Bush is as bad as you make him out to be. I vigorously disagree with him but he’s not a Hitler, Stalin or a Mao and probably wouldn’t be even under a less constitutionally constraining system.

Even if Bush had the power, I don’t think he would go into the Middle East and wipe out whole races of people. I don’t think he would build dungeons under the White House so he could hear his victims scream at night. He’s not a monster.

He is incredibly competitive and determined to win, and he has always been that way. He does win and probably will win.

As for the electoral college, if it were to be eliminated the presidential candidates would completely ignore the Midwest and the South and just concentrate on California and the Northeast. Those areas have been wanting us Southerners to just piss off for over a hundred years and eliminating the electoral college would be a fine way to do that, wouldn’t it.

September 14, 2004 @ 6:48 pm | Comment

I really don’t think Bush is as bad as you make him out to be. I
vigorously disagree with him but he’s not a Hitler, Stalin or a Mao and
probably wouldn’t be even under a less constitutionally constraining system.

We are in agreement. I do not think he is as bad as Mao or the other two. Never ever said he was and would immediately dismiss as an idiot anyone who said he was.

He’s not a monster.

I disagree. I do see bush as a monster, But we may be using different definitions. Anyone who can do what bush did to John McCain and others fits my definition. Anyone who can lie so casually to win meets my definition. Anyone who would lead America into a major war without adequate preparation or strategy meets my definition.

September 14, 2004 @ 7:01 pm | Comment

Being a silly foriegn person, could you explain in easy to read sentances why Nader wouldn’t have been included without Jeb Bush. I’m not up to speed on this issue and evey time I read something about Nader it turns into a barrage of insults without explaining things clearly.

Why exactly was he not included on the original ballots?

Sure Nader is a bigot, but US law clearly says that all men are equal and that all people are entitled to have their own opinions and to express them democratically as long as they don’t call murder or insurection etc. Being right wing isn’t illegal and neither is being thick.

Remember that much of the world sees Bush as being a trigger happy gun toting right wing rascist and can’t tell the difference between him and Nader except that one is supported by big businesses and the other isn’t.

Maybe putting Nader on the ballot will actually increase turnout, non voters will come out just to vote against him, the protest vote is a powerful tool. You put up a gay candidate and the right wingers and pro family supporterd will come out and vote, you put up a comunist then the anti comunist brigade will get of their butts and vote and if you put up a rascist then the minority groups will turn up.

Nader might actually trigger non voters to do something if only to spite him.

Controversy engages people more than apathy.

September 14, 2004 @ 7:27 pm | Comment

ACB, there was a court order temporarily blocking Nader due to questions raised about his attempts to get on the ballot. I would love to run for president. Please, put my name on the Florida ballot. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works — there is a process. The judge’s order may have been bad (I don’t know) but this was Jeb once again helping subvert the process.

September 14, 2004 @ 7:55 pm | Comment

Here, in a nushell, is what the evil Bush machine has done in Florida:

Florida Democrats, financed by the National Democratic Party sought an order from a hand-picked elected Democrat circuit court (a low level court) judge declaring that the Reform Party is no longer a real national party and therefore its nominee (Nader) should have to go through the petition process to get on the ballot.

The judge granted the order. Meaning that a guy who normally hears local slip-and-fall and bad debt cases, just decided (1) whether the Reform Party is a real national political party and (2) who the citizens of the entire state of Florida can vote for.

All perfectly legal, is somewhat smelly.

So far so good for the Dems.

In response, the Florida Secretary of State (a Republican) appealed on behalf of the state, as his her legal right.

As a matter of Florida law, the Circuit Court judge’s order is automatically lifted pending the outcome of the appeal. Therefore, the judge’s order is of no legal effect whatsoever until the Florida Court of Appeals rules whether the trial court’s decision granting it was correct.

With no order in place, the state has printed up election ballots with Naders name on them. The State of Florida has ordered ballots to be printed with Nader’s name on them, arguing that (1) as of now, he’s on the ballot according to law and (2) if they exclude him, there may not be time to print and distrubute new ballots with Naders name on them if the Court of Appeals upholds the state’s appeal (especiall in light of the hurricane situation).

Again, all perfectly legal.

What Richard is arguing is that the state should leave Nader off the ballot and run the risk that he will be excluded when he should be included rather than put him on the ballot, running the risk that he will be included when he should be excluded.

I suppose one can argue either side but, to try to make this sound like some moral outrage by Jeb Bush is absolutely ludicrous. The bottom line is the the Democrats tried to keep Nader off the ballot by a technicality (which is a morally dubious position if one believes that voters should be able to vote for whom they wish). The Republicans used a technicality to get him back on. And Richard is squealing like a stuck pig because the Republican’s technicality seems to have trumped the Democrats.

It’s laughable.

BTW Richard, weren’t the Democrats arguing last year in New Jersey (after they ditched the crooked Toricelli at the 11th hour) that legal technicalities should NOT be permitted to prevent voters from voting for the candidate of their choice?

What’s the difference?

Again, I mean a difference other than that last time it helped your guy and this time it might hurt him.

September 14, 2004 @ 10:54 pm | Comment

He’s back on the ballot. Justice prevails!

Not sure about the legal details, Conrad. It was reporterd that Jeb was superceding a court order, which would be wrong. If that’s an oversimplification, my apologies and thanks for the analysis.

September 15, 2004 @ 1:56 pm | Comment

Why exactly was he not included on the original ballots?

Sure Nader is a bigot, but US law clearly says that all men are equal and that all people are entitled to have their own opinions and to express them democratically as long as they don’t call murder or insurection etc. Being right wing isn’t illegal and neither is being thick.

Yeah, but there’s only so much room on a ballot, so there are some requirements that need to be met in order to have your name printed on the ballot (keep in mind that there’s a line where the voter can write in anyone’s name, too). The usual requirements (which varies by state) are either nomination by a national political party, or submission of some number of signatures petitioning for a place on the ballot.

ps: I’ve heard a lot of criticism of Nader, but an accusation of bigotry is kinda surprising. What is it based on?

September 15, 2004 @ 7:12 pm | Comment

You know, if the Democrats would put the effort they’ve spent on smearing Nader’s character into, you know, pointing out that the Bush administration has done irrevocable damage to America, they might actually have a chance of winning. Instead, they spend their time bullying a third-party candidate who won’t get a significant fraction of the vote anyway. They whine about not wanting to be confronational or extreme in their rhetoric against Bush, but then they do everything they can to insult, marginalize, and discredit a man who’s never fought anything but the good fight.

Yeah, I’ll hold my nose and vote for Kerry, but this is the last time. The Democratic party is sickening.

September 15, 2004 @ 9:17 pm | Comment

ACB – you seem to have Nader mixed up with Pat Buchanan. Ralph Nader’s been a consumer advocate since the late 60s, and is to the left of the Democratic party, which puts him roughly towards the center of the reasonable political scope.

September 15, 2004 @ 9:19 pm | Comment

Brendan, I feel your pain. If they had asked me how to manage Kerry’s campaign I’d have done it a lot differently. Kerry, however, has never smeared Nader’s name. They are actually long-time friends. Many others Dems have attacked him, but I understand that, too. When things are this tight, they have no choice, especailly with the Republicans spending a lot of money to help Nader in order to siphon votes away from Kerry.

I used to have huge respect for Nader, but not anymore. If he really cared about the state of the nation, he’d have withdrawn from the race.

September 15, 2004 @ 9:29 pm | Comment

Ralph Nader’s been a consumer advocate since the late 60s, and is to the left of the Democratic party, which puts him roughly towards the center of the reasonable political scope.

…in Sweden, maybe. In the US, he’s waaaaay left.

Richard, Mr. Nader believes that the Republicans and Democrats are basically indistinguishable, and that in order for things to get better politically, people in the US have to get fed up with the parties running the place now. IMO, he should be tested for dementia, but that’s how it is…

September 15, 2004 @ 10:22 pm | Comment

That’s bollocks. Nader’s point in running is to draw attention to issues traditionally given lip service and then swept under the rug, like campaign finance reform.

I don’t believe that the Democratic and Republican parties are the same, and I wish the Democrats didn’t either. They seem to think that people want a Democratic candidate to be enough like Bush that he can get votes in the hick states, while still being a Democrat so that he can get votes in the coastal cities. Kerry’s politics as usual, which is fine if you like that sort of thing. I just hate being forced to vote for him by a party that’s long-since deserted its traditional base.

…in Sweden, maybe. In the US, he’s waaaaay left.

No, see, I was talking about the “reasonable” political spectrum, not the “dipshit” one.

September 15, 2004 @ 11:58 pm | Comment

Brendan, your errors- and they are major- are assuming there is such a thing as a ‘reasonable’ political spectrum, and that you’re the one who gets to define what it is.

To return to your other (weak) point, campaign finance reform is actually a fairly significant issue this time around, as I don’t think the 527s are going to have quite the same freedom of action in 2006 as they did in 2004, and Mr. Nader has nothing to do with it. With that in mind, what issues are Mr. Nader trying to call attention to?

As far as similarity between the R’s and the D’s is concerned, they have one thing in common: both parties are in the business of winning elections. All other principles are secondary, and by that measure, they are exactly the same.

September 16, 2004 @ 6:47 pm | Comment

You’re making a similar error in writing Nader off as “far left,” when his policies are nothing that would be out of place in the majority of democracies. For issues, try .

Anyway, this is getting long and off the subject, and I’m sure Richard would rather we didn’t use his comments. If you’d like to continue the discussion, my email address is my name at my website.

September 17, 2004 @ 3:14 pm | Comment

Please, discuss as much as you want. And I agree about Nader — he is not radical. I was actually tempted to vote for him last time. Unfortunately, I’ve since lost all respect for him for a simple reason: While he cannot win, he could ensure a bush victory in an election where virtually every vote in the swing stakes is like gold. Look at what he did in Florida 4 years ago.

September 17, 2004 @ 3:46 pm | Comment

Yes, but Nader isn’t forcing anyone to vote for him, whereas the Democrats are basically saying “Hey, everybody to the left of Bush – if you’re not voting for us, you’re voting for them!” I really feel that the Democratic party is holding the left hostage and making no concessions. Like I said, I’ll probably vote Dem this time, but it’s the last.

September 17, 2004 @ 5:54 pm | Comment

You’re making a similar error in writing Nader off as “far left,” when his policies are nothing that would be out of place in the majority of democracies.

You keep assessing Nader’s place on the political spectrum relative to the average of the world’s democracies… which would be perfectly appropriate, if he was running for office in some ‘global average democracy’. He’s not doing that, he’s running for office in the US, and in the US’s political spectrum, Nader is far to the left.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but IMO trying to make him seem centrist by saying “his platform wouldn’t be at all controversial in, say, europe” kinda misses the point.

September 18, 2004 @ 9:05 pm | Comment

I think it’s wrong for the democrats to try and railroad Nadar off the ballot. He has a right to run. He is a good man, a good consumer advocate. Although, I am voting for President Bush, my son likes Ralph Nadar and just because Kerry wants to steal Ralph Nadar’s votes because the end justifies the means in his head, doesn’t make it right. People should have a right to vote for whomever they feel is the best candidate, not have their vote silenced. Isn’t that what voting is about??

October 26, 2004 @ 9:47 am | Comment

No one should be allowed to be run off the ballot – if they got on the ballot legally. In Arizona and other places, Nader’s people did some illegal petitioning, misrepresenting what they asked people to sign. In that case, the Dems are right to challenge them. After all, the GOP is financing most of the Nader’s drives to get on the ballot becuase they want Nader to hurt Kerry. Should the Dems just sit back and watch? of course not, this is politics.

October 26, 2004 @ 11:00 am | Comment

Just remember: In the 2000 election, 9,000 people total voted for Nader. However, 250,000 Democrats voted for Bush. Why don’t the Democrats get their own house in order before they start knocking on Nader’s door? This is a democracy–Nader has every right to run. If you take the time to listen to him, he is more eloquent in his speech that the other two, and makes a lot more sense. If the Dems could offer someone more appealing and worthy for the Presidency, Nader wouldn’t have them running scared.

November 1, 2004 @ 10:18 am | Comment

It’s a Democracy, so the GOP shouldn’t stretch the law to ensure Nader gets on the ballot. A Democracy has laws, and Nader shouldn’t be above them. Meanwhile, Nader will not throw the election this time because the Dems have done exactly what you prescribe — they’ve gotten their house in order. And this time we’re going to win.

November 1, 2004 @ 10:24 am | Comment

As far as stretching the laws, do a little research and you’ll find that Bush didn’t even make the September 1 deadline for getting in his paperwork in order to be on the Florida ballot. His paperwork got in September 2. The Dems in Florida are not fighting this issue because as the Florida Democratic Party chair Scott Maddox stated “To keep an incumbent president off the ballot in a swing state the size of Florida because of a techinicality, I just don’t think would be right.” (St. Petersburg Times, September 11, 2004)

November 1, 2004 @ 11:25 am | Comment

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