Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Winning with less (votes)

Sometimes when you ask a question publicly, you can be very surprised where the answers come from.

Last week I wrote about my thoughts on why Carl Paladino was running for office … especially knowing he was going to lose. I mean, why would someone do that?

A few short days after that question ran in the paper, I picked up the phone to find none other than Ralph Nader on the other end. He wanted to promote a visit he is making the Buffalo today in support of another gubernatorial candidate; Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins.

If someone knows about running uphill against the two-party system, it's Ralph Nader. He's run for president four times with no chance of winning. But as he explained to me there are victories that come from winning even when you lose at the ballot box.

“I'll tell you a few,” he said. “One is there are voters are conscience. They want to vote for someone they believe in. Not for the least worst of the two majors. And you always should have an opportunity for voters of conscience.

“The second is, you can't emerge full fledged if you're going to build a political initiative. You've got to usually start small. If you're not willing to start small, you'll never get bigger. That's the lesson of billions of seeds now fermenting in soil around the world.”

He went on to explain that in Hawkin's case there's a particular initiative that his candidacy is hoping to bring to the light of day. And that initiative, Hawkins and Nader claim, could close the state's budget gap and save hundreds of state workers' jobs.

The initiative is called the “Demand that New York State stop rebating the stock transfer tax to Wall Street.”

“Now this is an amazing situation where they collect $16 billion from the stock exchanges and then electronically rebate it immediately,” he said.

Nader said the working class doesn't get tax rebates on things they buy out of necessity, so there's no reason Wall Street should have their taxes rebated, especially since the tax that's rebated from the stock market is a fraction of a percent as compared to 4 percent state sales tax and approximately 4 percent county sales tax, depending on the county, of course.

Nader and Hawkins will be in Buffalo tonight to discuss the transfer tax rebate and Hawkins' campaign. Nader will also be signing copies of his new book, “Only the Super Rich Can Save Us.”

The event will be held at 7pm at the Dnipro Ukrainian Cultural Center, 562 Genesee Street in Buffalo. For more information on the event, call (716) 479-2351.

Noteworthy: Nader was not the only politician to respond to my column last week. Libertarian candidate Warren Redlich also sent me an email saying he liked the column, pointing me to his website (http://wredlich.com/ny) if I wanted to hear more about him.

“Maybe I can draw attention to some issues (like the budget instead of the mosque),” Redlich said in his email.

I'll share more from Hawkins, Redlich and other candidates who believe they can “win” without becoming governor (those not named Cuomo) in future columns.