American Marxists have always been ambivalent about electoral formations arising to the left of the Democrats and Republicans. On one hand, they view such third parties as a necessary alternative to the two-party system; on the other, they inevitably regard them as rivals. Even when Lenin urged support for reformist electoral parties, he couched this in terms of the way a rope supports a hanging man. Needless to say, this outlook almost condemns Marxists to irrelevancy when a genuine electoral initiative like the Nader campaign emerges.
Unless revolutionaries are committed in their heart and soul to grassroots movements, electoral or non-electoral, such begrudging tokens of support are bound to lead to missteps.