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PFAW President: Progressives Can't Afford a Bush Victory

Compiled By GayToday

President of the People for the American Way Ralph Neas Washington, D.C.-- Ralph G. Neas, President of the People for the American Way Foundation is asking America's citizens to vote for Al Gore for President. Progressives, he says, cannot afford a Bush victory. Neas, in a letter addressed to friends, writes:

“Polls show that the presidential race is now so close that Ralph Nader could draw enough progressive votes away from Al Gore in nearly a dozen swing states to give George W. Bush the 270 electoral votes he needs to win (OR, WA, WI, NM, MN, MI, MO, FL, OH, CA, ME). The result could be right-wing control of the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of government, with no checks and balances.

“We have worked with Ralph Nader and we admire his lifetime of public interest work. But he is dangerously close to helping put the federal government in the hands of the candidate annointed by Religious Right leaders and their right wing corporate and political allies.

“The consequences of a Bush victory would be disastrous for worker and consumer rights, and would lead to a broad rollback of social justice gains in women's rights, civil rights, environmental protection, and more.

"It is not true that there are no important differences between Bush and Gore. There are monumentally important differences in the kind of candidates that would be appointed to run critical federal agencies, and the kind of judges that would be appointed to the federal judiciary, especially the Supreme Court.

"The next President is likely to appoint two or three new justices to the Supreme Court, which is closely divided on fundamental constitutional questions. Bush has said repeatedly that he would appoint justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

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“The written opinions of Scalia and Thomas make it clear that if they held a majority on the Court, they would weaken workers' rights to organize or challenge abuses by employers. They would weaken governmental and citizen power to protect the environment.

“They are eager to overturn Roe v. Wade and give states the power to criminalize all abortions. And they would weaken civil rights protections for women, racial and religious minorities, older Americans, people with disabilities, and gay men and lesbians. Gore has made it clear that his appointments would uphold individual liberties protected by the Constitution.

“The right wing sees this election as its chance to take control of all three branches of the federal government. If they succeed, progressive activists and organizations will have to devote all their resources to fighting defensive battles against an onslaught of right-wing legislation. Remember, if it hadn't been for President Clinton's veto, Newt Gingrich would have put everything in his Contract with America into law.

“And putting Bush in the White House would not be a short-term defeat that could be remedied by a surge of progressive organizing. If he is able to solidify a right-wing majority on the Supreme Court, where justices serve for life, it could turn back the clock for decades. And it won't matter who sits in Congress and the White House - the Court would knock down most progressive legislation that comes before it.

“We respect activists' desire to support a candidate whose positions most closely align with their own. But there is far too much at stake not to consider the consequences of our votes.

“Please send this letter to friends and relatives, particularly in the key states mentioned above. Ask them to consider what is at stake this fall - the power of this country's right wing to set the legal and constitutional framework in which we will all live and work for decades. Urge them to go to the polls and vote for Al Gore.”

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