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February 22, 2004

Over Reacting To Nader

i don't understand why everyone's freaking out about Nader's announcement to run for president as an independent.


Nobody's gonna vote for him this time. i mean, the democrats may be stupid, but they're not idiots. And the left wing wack-jobs who voted for him last time may be idiots, but they're not stupid.

People who voted for him the last time recognize they made a mistake, and they won't do it again,' predicted Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who is chairman of the Democratic Governors' Association. 'He won't have the resources to mount a major campaign, and people are focused on solutions, not symbols.'
So just calm down freakazoids, have a latté, hug a tree, or whatever. Better yet, take a bath, i promise you'll feel better.

Posted by annika, Feb. 22, 2004 |
Rubric: annikapunditry


"i mean, the democrats may be stupid, but they're not idiots. And the left wing wack-jobs who voted for him last time may be idiots, but they're not stupid."

I beg to differ.

We aren't talking about mainstream Democrats here.
We are talking about the Democratic Underground Lunatic Fringe types. They will cut off their noses to spite their faces.

For a (brief) moment I considered casting a vote for Ralphie in the last election - not because I supported anything he stood for, but because I like the discussion that third parties generate (oh I wish there was a William Jennings Bryan lurking in the wing!) - I was, after all, a resident of the People's Republic of Maryland which was going to be solidly in Gore's camp no matter what I did. But then Nader seemed to concentrate his last minute campaigning in the swing states. He repudiated the vote-swapping schemes in which a pro-third party person would vote for Gore or Bush in a contested state and a "swapper" who was in an uncontested state would cast the Nader ballot necessary to move toward the 5% showing the Greens needed for 2004 matching funds. Nader was actively seeking to throw the election to Bush.

This is the Lenin stategy - try to get the worst possible person (from the Green point of view) elected so that the "oppression" will rile up the party faithful and create converts. Unfortunately, while Ralphie may be a good consumer advocate, he appears to have failed U.S. history -- if conditions get so bad that a third party gains significant support, one of the major parties tends to co-opt their ideas. It was the Republicans, not the Free-soilers or Liberty Party that ended slavery.

If Nader truly cared about his causes, he would stop and consider what the impact of his entry would be.

I'm not sure what Ralph's motivation is this time. Perhaps it is ego. But whatever the motivation, he could have a serious impact on the race if things are as close as they were in 2000.

Karl Rove is dancing today.


P.S. Loved the Newsom/Moore discussion. While I mostly agreed with Coyote, I really enjoyed seeing the other side laid out in a thoughtful way. If only all citizens could debate public policy differences with as much erudition and civility - .

Posted by: Smallholder on Feb. 23, 2004

you may call it over reaction, but some of us are passionate enough about removing bush from power that we don't even want to take a chance at a repeat of the events of 2000. looking at the analysis it's obvious that without nader in the picture, bush would never have been close enough to put himself in the position of being a possible selectee.

many of us would LOVE to see a real viable 3rd party be born from the middle of the two that currently exist. the greens never had a chance, just as the kkk wing of the right will never be popular enough to gain a true VIABLE 3rd party status.

but think for moment that if 10% of the house and senate came from a 3rd party that was carved from the middle of the big two, a party of social liberal finacial conservatives.. in an evenly divided bi-cameral (sorry for the big words redneck)legislature, this 10% could make a huge impact.

anyway- to get back on topic, nader can be seen as a spoiler, as he did for bush in 2000. many of us find that unacceptable.

like it or not, there are a great many americans who want to be rid of bush and the neo-conservatives and nader in the picture is indeed a threat that can siphon off enough votes from whomever the opposition candidate might be to again create a situation where the supreme court can once again select our next president.

nader has to know that having his name on the ballot can only benefit bush by dividing the true majority of people opposed to his leadership.

just like 2000.



Posted by: coyote on Feb. 23, 2004

I'm amused at the reaction that Nader will "steal" votes away from Democratic candidates. That sentiment reflects an attitude of vote-getting-as-entitlement. i.e., "these votes belong to X."

If Nader wants to run, that's his choice to make. If voters want to vote for Nader, that's their choice to make. And if Democratic candidates feel that they should be getting those votes, perhaps they should work at appealing to that demographic.

Just a thought.

Posted by: Tony on Feb. 23, 2004

Indeed, I don't blame Ralph Nader for the vote I (most unfortunately) cast for him in 2000. But he won't have my vote again, and he will head off into the sunset of history, having done much in recent years to tarnish his once impeccable reputation.

Posted by: Hugo on Feb. 23, 2004

good point Tony, but i think it's a bit more complex than that.

the votes will always belong to the person who casts them, and even the most far out nader person would never ever ever consider voting for bush, so in reality they can only make a statement by casting a vote for nader, a statement that has gone unheard in every election that has featured a 3rd party candidate..

nader can only server to divide a group who's main goal right now should be to unite to defeat what they consider to be a president who does not have their goals and values in mind. i read many websites, and the idea that strikes me as most close to reality is that nader really just wants the democrats to go on record as supporting some of the things that are important to the greens.

all well and good, as long as if he indeed does influence the democrat's platform, he turns around and withdraws from the race while endorsing the candidate who does indeed have a chance to win the general election.

is this a bit of a BS power play? sure it is, and it's almost extortion in that nader can use a very small percentage of the vote to influence the outcome of the general election.. he is forcing the democratic party to capitulate to the desires of the green party or risk a loss in the general election.

all in all it's an interesting delvelopment that im pretty sure wont amount to much.

i think i just hate the additional element of uncertainty.



Posted by: coyote on Feb. 23, 2004

Well, if you want a mirror image, remember the 1992 election, and the grumbling about Perot "stealing" votes away from Bush? Sure, uncertainty sucks, but that's the way life is.

Posted by: Tony on Feb. 23, 2004

Nadar will definitely bring NEW voters out - those who are tired of the professional politics of the 2 mainstream parties.

However, I agree with Coyote, you just have to look at Dean's web site to see support being thrown Ralph's way...ie "anything to stop Kerry".

So yes Annika, they are that stupid.

Posted by: jim on Feb. 23, 2004

Can they be so stupid that they are only concerned with beating someone (Bush)? What about the person they elect to substitute for him (Kerry)?

Perhaps it makes some sense to examine the choices rather than just concentrating on winning.

Be careful what you wish for...

Posted by: Shelly S. on Feb. 23, 2004