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Nader in '04

I see that Ralph Nader has officially entered the presidential race (and washingtonpost.com just lost a link to their story about it because when I tried to put it in this entry, it linked to a "sign up for access" page). The only way to look at this is that it's good news for Republicans. Even the Green Party, who ran him last time, is distancing themselves from him:
"It's of absolute, utmost importance that George Bush is not re-elected." -- Pat Lamarche, Green Party candidate for Maine governor in 1996, in calling for the party not to field Nader or any other candidate in 2004.
Nader will be unable to successfully even come close to winning the White House. The only votes he'll succeed in picking up would likely never vote for a Republican candidate anyway. Everyone knows all of this. The only winner in this situation is Nader's ego.

Republicans, of course, welcome Nader into the race:
"We're happy that Ralph Nader's joined the fray. Good. Bring some more on. Maybe Jesse Jackson can run, and Justin Timberlake will get on the ballot. Who knows? Bring in all of them ... because we're solidly united behind George Bush." -- Arkansas Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Hrmmm, a Jackson/Timberlake ticket? It's got a good beat and you can dance to it! Oh, that's Jesse Jackson, not Michael? Well, you can still probably dance to it.

The Democrats don't seem very happy about it, and I don't blame them:
"I think that Ralph Nader is proving that the only master that he serves is his enormous ego." -- Scott Maddox, chairman of the Democratic Party in Florida
Maddox is absolutely correct. Attempting another run at the White House in '04 proves that Nader does not truly believe in what he preaches. If he did believe in it, he'd wake up and smell the roses and realize that if he seriously attempts another run, it will only serve to hurt what he says he believes in.

All of the above quotes are from Quotations about Ralph Nader's candidacy for president, a piece that ran in today's edition of SF Gate. My appreciation goes out to my favorite advocate for copyright reform and public domain law, Lawrence Lessig, who mentioned it in his blog. Previously, he raised two questions for Mr. Nader, which really brought out the only way a Nader candidacy could be beneficial for people who suport Nader's causes:
So two questions for Mr. Nader:

(1) Do you agree that even if it would be best if you were President, it would be second best if a Democrat were President rather than President Bush?

(2) If so, then will you promise that if 2000 repeats itself -- if it is clear that you are not going to be elected president, but probable that votes for you will deny the Democrat of the Presidency -- then you will ask your supporters to vote for someone else?

Because if Mr. Nader can answer both questions "yes," then I’m all for his candidacy. His views, his integrity, and (except for one important gap) his judgment certainly deserve to stand on the stage with any Democrat, and with President Bush.
Judging by Nader's past behavior, I seriously doubt he'll ever consider answering "yes" to the second question. Like I said at the top, Nader's candidacy is nothing but good news for the Republicans. For that reason alone, I heartily welcome him!


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 23rd, 2004 08:31 am (UTC)
Nader will have neither the Greens, activist celebrities, nor I-don't-like-Bush-but-I'm-tired-of-hearing-about-Clinton's-blowjob people supporting him this time.

If Kerry (or Edwards, if he pulls off a miracle) makes a better veep choice than Lieberman, the prodigal Dems who voted for Nader in 2000 will return. Since a bottle of Tabasco sauce would be a better veep choice than Lieberman, this shouldn't be difficult for them to do.

Feb. 23rd, 2004 09:32 am (UTC)
I'm fascinated that in recent election cycles 3rd party candidates are being asked to not run "because it's so important" that this or that happens. It's interesting to me that even in light of such obvious and widespread voter dissatisfaction that the two major parties are still running the "same old same old" candidates instead of what voters want.

This is all just more reason why I support Condorcet voting.

On the topic of Nader, I particularly liked his comment about how he expects to gain votes from dissatisfied Republicans. Scott Maddox is right. A Republican voting for Nader - he must be on crack or something.
Feb. 23rd, 2004 10:13 am (UTC)
Many claimed that Nader cost Gore the election in 2000, which may well be true, but it is a claim largely founded upon the assumption that Nader votes would have gone to Gore had Nader not run. Again, that may well be true.

Interesting to note, though, is that Nader's website claims that "25% of his votes came from Republicans, 38% from Democrats, and the remainder from people who would not have voted." It's also pretty explicit in the claim that Nader didn't cost Gore the election in 2000 and presents numerous arguments to back up the claim. I don't think one can simply assume that Nader's votes would have gone in any particular direction had he not run. After all, around 250,000 self-identified Democrats voted for Bush in Florida.

Anyhow, whether any of that's true in any notable sense is up for grabs, but I did think it at least interesting to take a closer look at this very popular notion regarding Nader's candidacy and the 2000 election.


Your Local Non-Voting Monarchist
"You don't vote for kings!"
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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