Zinn Won’t be Voting for Obama After All

October 29, 2008


from The Largest Minority:
This letter to Ralph Nader retracts Professor Zinn’s previous endorsement of Obama. He gave the campaign permission to publish it. 

Dear Ralph:

I was wrong in saying I would vote for Obama. I was not thinking of the slam-dunk states, of which Massachusetts is one, and I will vote for you in Massachusetts.

I still think that the electoral arena is one that saps our energy, and gets us nowhere. What you say about civic activity not having a chance to change policy is pessimistic and wrong, and if civic activity cannot be effective then electoral activity will be even less effective.

Civic activity is the only way things can change — you should know that better than anyone because you’ve been so good at it. Such activity affects public opinion which in the long run, when it becomes widespread enough, forces changes in policy. Electoral activity, in a managed political system when the candidacy of third party candidates can only show weakness, will not change public opinion. We are not in a Debs-era situation, when a powerful Socialist movement represented millions of people.

In solidarity,


One comment

  1. Of course Zinn should vote for Nader in a safe state, the electoral college is an archaic outdated system, no point in a 3rd party candidate until there is preferential/instant runoff voting. Its pretty obvious Zinn would put Obama as 2nd preference so his vote would never be wasted.

    geographic districts are also bullshit.
    An Alaskans senate vote should not be worth 50 times more a Californians.

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