Gloria Steinem was just one of several prominent feminists who went out of their way to criticize Green Party candidate Ralph Nader for daring to run for president. Steinem and others, including the National Organization for Women, argued that the main effect of Nader’s candidacy would be to elect the pro-life George W. Bush who would appoint people in the mould of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court (ignoring, conveniently, that a Democratic Senate voted to confirm Thomas).
Steinem certainly has the right to share her views, but toward the end of the presidential campaign she penned a “Top Ten Reasons Why I’m not Voting for Nader” letter that was widely distributed via e-mail. Among the ten reasons Steinem wasn’t voting for Nader, number four was bizarre,
4) Nader asked Winona LaDuke, an important Native American leader, to support and run with him, despite his likely contribution to the victory of George W. Bush, a man who has stated that “state law is supreme when to comes to Indians.”
This is a bit bizarre. She’s not going to vote for Nader specifically because he was able to convince a woman to run as his vice-president? As Ellen Johnson noted in a reply to Steinem, she appears to be questioning LaDuke’s agency, as if the Native American activist had no choice in the matter.
I think LaDuke was a bad choice because, like Nader, she’s pretty much wrong about everything, but to argue that feminists should vote against Nader because he had the temerity to ask a woman to run as his vice-president is absurd.