Beware the Spoiler Myth

To the editor:

I’m writing because I feel ethically obliged to disabuse fellow Crimson readers at Harvard of Chloe S. Maxmin’s perpetuation of the spoiler myth in her opinion piece published on October 30 (Beware the Spoiler Effect). The record about the 2000 election needs to be set straight once and for all. Those who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 did not steal votes from Al Gore. First, it’s worth noting that Gore’s choice of Joe Lieberman as his Vice Presidential running mate alienated many voters. The fact that Gore distanced himself from Clinton only added insult to injury. Gore won the popular vote by over 500,000 votes but the Supreme Court, which was right-leaning at the time, overruled Florida’s Supreme Court decision to count all the votes. This was the reason Bush was elected. Note that this was the fourth time in U.S. history that a president was elected without having won the popular vote (the first three times were in 1824, 1876, and 1888). Those who voted for Nader were Independents and disillusioned Democrats who most likely would not have voted at all if they hadn’t had another option besides Gore. I will reiterate: Nader did not spoil the election in 2000!

As for Dr. Jill Stein ’73, an alumna of both Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, it’s worth mentioning that she was arrested yesterday for delivering food and supplies to climate activists in Texas. Recently, she was also arrested for merely showing up to one of the mainstream presidential debates. This past summer she was arrested for protesting against foreclosure abuse in Philly. Any discerning reader will see the pattern here. Without fail, every time Dr. Stein dares to be a voice for progressive change in this country, she is thrown behind bars. In what kind of democracy does a presidential candidate get arrested for showing up to a presidential debate?

She may not win the presidency, as the system is rigged against third-party candidates, but if she amasses enough support in this election (i.e., five percent of the popular vote), the Green Party will receive $20 million in public funds and increased ballot access for its 2016 presidential bid. There is no excuse to vote for Obama in uncontested states, red or blue. In our state of Mass., Obama is going to win regardless, so a vote for Jill Stein won't detract from him and would definitely help the Green Party in the future. In a red state, there's no chance that voting for Obama will tip the scale so if you believe in Jill Stein, you might as well vote your conscience. There's strength in numbers and we need to be strong in 2016! The only wasted vote is a vote for Obama or Romney because it will just bring about more of the same. If you’re a U.S. citizen in a non-swing state (whether you're voting here in Mass. or absentee elsewhere) and you consider yourself to be progressive, liberal, or a disillusioned Democrat, I urge you to "waste" your vote on Jill Stein if you want real, meaningful change.

Jonathan Solarte


Ph.D. candidate in Romance Languages and Literatures

Cambridge, Mass.