More Ralphing

More Ralphing
: Rep. Mark Cohen leaves this note in the comments on the Nader post below:

Ralph Nader has every right to declare his candidacy. Voters have every right not to sign his nomination petition, not to contribute to his campaign, not to listen to his speeches, not to vote for him. He has done, and led others to do, great things. But helping George win is not one of them. Nor will helping Bush win a second term be one of them.

Right. Don’t give me any freedom-of-speech crap about telling Ralph that he shouldn’t be running — and he should take responsibilty for the consequences of running. We’re just as free to complain as he is to campaign. That is free speech.

  • Jaybird

    The consequences of running.
    Heaven forbid people leave the democratic reservation and vote for someone they think actually would represent their principles!
    As if the democrats were entitled to the votes that went to Nader.
    I honestly do not understand the anger… well, maybe I understand the anger. I don’t understand the unashamed verbalization of it.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    It’s simple: Splitting the vote.
    Why is this hard? It’s not a matter of legal rights. It’s a matter of likely social results.

  • http://www.hiphopmusic.com Jay Smooth

    The “freedom of speech” angle is such a cheap tactic.. I had the same reaction as Jeff when Nader ran that line on Democracy Now a few months ago:
    Suggesting that anyone who says you shouldn’t run is attempting to curtail your freedom of speech is a cheap, disingenuous tactic. I’m used to getting the ‘criticism=censorship’ dodge from conservatives, but it’s very disappointing to hear it coming from you. I’d think you are smarter than that, and I’d hope you know we are too.
    Nobody is questioning whether you have a right to run, the question is whether this campaign, at this moment, would be in the best interests of the constituencies you seek to represent.

  • Jaybird

    Perhaps if Kerry were a hair more appealing to Nader voters, they might vote for Kerry instead of Nader?
    Or is that oversimplifying things too much?
    Should the Nader voters be thankful that they have the opportunity to vote for someone as magnificent as Kerry?
    Exactly how much do I, as someone who voted Nader in 2000, owe Kerry?
    Should I sell my bike in order to give money to his campaign?
    A few bucks if I can afford it?
    Or is he entitled to nothing more than my vote?

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Jaybird: You should decide how much you value defeating Bush. That’s up to you, of course. However, one key aspect in this, is dealing with the effect that voting for Nader is very likely, as a structural consequence of the configuration of the US voting system, to be counterproductive to that goal.
    The unpleasantness of this effect, the ickyness, the counterintuitive nature, all don’t change it.

  • Jaybird

    I certainly do not want Bush to win the election.
    But I don’t want Kerry to win it either.
    I don’t see why I shouldn’t be allowed to not want both of these things at once.
    The fact that Kerry is not Bush is insufficient reason for me to vote for him. I have to wonder about those for whom it is sufficient.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Sadly, the case is that one of your two wants will go unfulfilled. Because while they are not contradictory in the abstract, they are in practice, to virtual certainty, in conflict.
    Dealing with this practical conflict fuels the criticism of Nader. Because the conflict is real.

  • paladin

    As Americans, we demand choices on every front – deodorant – schools – abortion – TV channels- whatever. But God forbid that we should have voting choices beyond Democrat and Republican.

  • billg

    Let’s all put “Not Nader” on our bumpers. Nice meme, too, if you’re into memes.
    Nader’s decision to run must be based purely on his ego because he’d otherwise recognize that his action will only suffice to weaken the chances of the candidate who will do his causes the least harm.
    Nader, like so many other ego-driven people, is putting the purity of his own beliefs above doing the most good for the most people. In Ralph’s case, he is about to do harm to millions of people.

  • Jaybird

    Here’s the part that seems to confuse other people: I am *WILLING* to deal with the fact that one of my two wants will go unfulfilled.
    Yet they, for some reason, seem to think that Gore or Kerry or whomever is entitled to my vote just because I agree with them that I don’t want Bush to be (re-)elected.
    Somewhat ironic tangent: After spending so much time explaining that people who supported the war were “DINO”s (Hi Jarvis, Totten, and Simon!), so many (Hi Oliver!) are upset that people on their (supposedly) same side are unwilling to vote for Kerry.

  • billg

    Jaybird, unless you’d stay home rather than vote for the Democratic cadidate, the only thing your vote for Nader would do is add one effective vote to the Bush column.
    You are entitled to vote for anyone you wish, but since there is no chance of Nader winning, voting for him strikes me as deliberately avoiding reality and giving your own wish to stay faithful to your beliefs precedence over the general welfare. It tells me you’d rather feel right than not have Bush in the White House.

  • Jaybird

    I would rather vote for someone I felt represented me than vote for someone I thought had a chance of winning.
    Otherwise, why not vote for Bush, right?
    At least I wouldn’t be “throwing my vote away.”
    Right?
    I personally think that a democratic primary process that would result in a John Kerry candidacy is doing *FAR* more damage to the “general welfare” than my vote for someone other than the two major parties.

  • billg

    Wrong, Jaybird. There’s every indication that this year’s election will be as close as the last one. The Democratic candidate has an excellent chance.
    You’ll need to explain how a Kerry candidacy would do more damage than a Bush victory. I know that isn’t exactly what you said, but a vote for Nader is an effective vote for Bush.
    And, I did not say you were throwing your vote away. Far from it. I said a vote for Nader has real consequence: It helps reelect Bush.
    Again, people who vote for Nader value their own sense of moral purity over the general welfare.

  • http://www.licquia.org/log/jeff Jeff Licquia

    This is silly.
    If he is truly able to siphon off enough support from the Democrats to decide the election (like he did in 2000), then the Dems have fundamental problems they need to address. It’s not Nader’s fault that Nader can split the Dems; rather, it’s the Dems’ fault.
    Pat Buchanan also ran in 2000. Did he “spoil” the Bush candidacy? Why was Nader so much more of a spoiler for Gore than Buchanan was for Bush? If Buchanan, Perot, or someone else runs a third-party conservative ticket in 2004, will they “spoil” Bush’s run? Why isn’t there a credible third-party conservative candidate running?
    And I say all this as a conservative leaner who supported Perot in 1992, knowing full well that my support worked towards a Clinton first term instead of a Bush second term. I said the same thing then: if Perot is strong enough to split the Republicans, then the Republicans need to figure out why he’s got such power.

  • http://christianlong.com Christian Long

    OK all you Bush-booters out there; Ralph Nader is running. Get over it. A Nader run puts a leak in the Anybody-But-Bush (ABB) theme for the Dem’s campaign this year, and that’s a good thing. ABB is not a strategy that works beyond the borders of Democrat-land. “We want to kick their <epithet> politician out and put our <epithet> politician in, so we can do our stuff for a change.” That is not a winning message, especially with Kerry as the candidate.If America can’t be swayed by a well-run campaign that differentiates itself from Bush on the issues, America deserves four more years of Bush.

    At CBS News, Dick Meyer has a reasoned piece in favor of a Nader run. He looks at the fear driving the vituperation against his candidacy. This fear shows up all over the leftosphere, and causes even stalwart free-speechers to clamp down on debate that “won’t be good for America”.

    Even Mr. Marketplace of Ideas himself, Lawrence Lessig, wants Nader out of the Big Dance. Here’s Larry:

    But we live in a nation which [would not] reward Nader’s views with enough votes to make him president. Instead, they would reward them with enough votes to make Bush president again.

    and a representative comment from the Lessig Blog (as written):

    if nader runs for president he is a shill for the republican party ..he knows he cannot win and will only take votes away from the democratic party thus insuring bush’s reelection. he cost gore the election and thus every thing bush does to hurt the evironment it is naders fault

    I say this is representative because all the anti-Nader arguments I have heard thus far, even the nicely-formatted ones, share this irrational fear of Nader’s bid. Seriously, it sounds like people are thinking, “Kerry has high hypotheticals, the White House is ours if we can just get that Ralph Nader pebble out of the way of our bandwagon.” First, if you’re worried about a pebble, you’re not riding much of a bandwagon. Second, don’t whine about the pebble, roll it downhill with you.

    The amazing thing is how quickly the high-minded belief in the power of freedom and innovation in the creative sphere dissolves when thinking about political debate. Quoting Lessig again

    Upon this [Internet] architecture of openness; upon this ecology where practically all was within a commons, the greatest innovation and growth we have seen was built.

    Only the ideals of the open source and free software movement can resist this change. Only the values expressed here can show something different.

    Only this movement will resist this closing. But to resist it, we must speak beyond the efficiencies of software, or beyond the significance of those efficiencies. To resist it, we must show how its values, the values of this movement, are the values of free society generally.

    It is a poor service to the ideal of creative openness to shut down on political openness out of fear.

    Let’s face it. A Kerry administration would be better than a Bush administration on some issues the left cares about, but there is a whole world of issues where the differences are small. In four years of Kerry, you are still going to have media consolidation, pressure on civil liberties, and a failure by Americans to realize that the problems of climate change and conflict with Islam cannot be solved without changing our own consumption of resources, especially oil.

    That debate can’t happen in a two-way race.

  • billg

    Jeff, you’re still engaging in reality avoidance. Even if you are correct, your votes for Perot/Nader only serve to elect the candidate most hostile to what you stand for. It’s selfish.
    There’s not a credible third-party candidate because most people don’t want one. In any case, a viable third-party candidate would almost certainoly throw the election into the House.
    There’s no indication that a vote for Nader will mean increased credibility for any third party, espeically since he’s running as an independent.

  • Tom (American Voter)

    Dean was the first sign the Democrates were split on many issues and Nader is just more of the same.

    …and he [Nader] should take responsibilty for the consequences of running.

    But what about the Democratic leadership taking responsibility for positions that have split the party to the point where someone like Nader is going to appeal to a significant portion of Democratic voters? When Nancy and Tom both lead towards an anti-war platform they made it almost impossible for Dean and Nader NOT to happen.

  • MountMan

    The support given Nader by the voters proves that there is a faction of the Democratic voting block that is NOT represented by the Democratic candidate, or maybe even by the Republicans. If the Republican votes then outnumber the Democratic votes and also the Nader votes, the Republicans should then win, which is how it is supposed to work, isn’t it?
    Tell me again why Nader shouldn’t represent the views of his voters. Shouldn’t your vote be FOR your ideas and candidates and not AGAINST others? Maybe Nader voters are above the “Anybody but Bush” obsession…

  • http://www.shunralphnader.com RichM

    To repair our busted leadership, Democrats and progressives need a laser-like focus on beating George W. Bush. Nader’s crackpot vanity campaign can only siphon critical votes away from the Democratic nominee. This is America, so Nader is free to run and state his case without “censorship” (Nader’s ridiculous charge against those who criticize his Quixotic, nutbag effort). The rest of us are free to marginalize his campaign and escort Wingnut Ralph off in a corner with the candidate from the UFO Abductee Party.
    Shun Ralph Nader

  • MountMan

    RichM
    This is an attack on the man, Nader, and not on what he stands for. “Crackpot” “Ridiculous” “Quixotic” “Nutbag” “Wingnut” “in the corner with the UFO Abductee Party” Don’t you have any better arguments than name calling? You seem panicked and angry. Do you know what he stands for? Why not argue issues?

  • tim

    Well, I welcome ol’ Ralph into the campaign. Because if he sticks with it all the way, he’ll just increase the severity of the coming democrat train wreck.
    But I don’t think he’s really in this to run. I think he’s a bright man who knows that now that he’s declared, he can get some serious media attention to his claims about the selling of both parties to the highest corporate bidders.
    Before today, he was just a marginalized, wacky voice. Now he’s a bona fide presidency-seeking wacky voice. He’ll energize the fringe and, I believe, wave-off at the last minute, urging his backers to swallow hard and vote for the lesser of two evils.
    He thinks this is a great strategy to give voice to the (now-candidateless) Dean voters and get them to the polls using the last-minute bait-and-switch. Fine, if it works. But I think it’ll just expose the widening rift between the left-wing of the party and the rest of the democrats and backfire.

  • Andy Freeman

    > To repair our busted leadership, Democrats and progressives need a laser-like focus on beating George W. Bush.
    The above is why the Dems will lose in 2004, and deserve to lose.
    “Beat Bush” gets you to 40-45%. It’s guarantees that you won’t win, because, well, you figure it out.
    No, it doesn’t matter if you can prove that Bush is Satan.
    I am amused that the self-proclaimed “smart folk” haven’t figured this out. (Then again, they’re also self-proclaimed “good people” who don’t seem to do much good.)

  • http://www.hiphopmusic.com Jay Smooth

    Tom (American Voter): To whatever extent that “Dean was a sign”, it was the groundswell of support he received that made it so, not the mere fact that he decided to run as he did. Nader’s decision cannot, at this point, be taken as a “sign” of anything whatsoever, other than his opinion of himself.
    It remains to be seen whether “Nader is going to appeal to a significant portion of Democratic voters” ..I’d bet against it this time around.

  • http://www.licquia.org/log/jeff Jeff Licquia

    billg:
    Jeff, you’re still engaging in reality avoidance.
    Why? I know why I voted for Perot, and I got my vote’s worth (more, in fact, than the typical party voter).
    There’s no indication that a vote for Nader will mean increased credibility for any third party…
    All that tells me is that you don’t have any idea why people vote third party/independent.
    I didn’t vote for Perot because I actually thought he’d win. I voted for him because he was focusing on an issue I thought important, and a high vote count for him meant a high vote count for that issue. And it worked; both parties took the budget seriously during the ’90s, and Perot’s 20% take in 1992, despite his ineptness, played a part in focusing them.
    Not being a Democrat, I couldn’t tell you what Nader does for Democrats that Kerry (or Gore) doesn’t. But the Dems need to focus on that question, not the question of who won Florida in 2000, or who has more medals on his chest, or whatever it is people are whacking Bush for this week. That is, they need to focus on that question if they want to win.
    Which is why this Nader hate-fest looks to me like “reality avoidance”. Again, name the serious credible threat to Bush from the right. You can’t? I wonder why that is?

  • Anonymous

    In 00 Bush beat Gore (and Nader and Buchanan and 3 other candidates) by a total of 56,000 votes in Gore’s home state.
    IF Gore had carried his home state Florida wd be recognized as only the SECOND closest race in the election (with New Mexico being #1 — funny how no one demanded a recount there — oh that’s right, Gore “won” it).
    Blaming Nader for 00 and setting him up for the fall guy in 04 is a weak position.
    Nominate losers (Gore, Kerry) reap what you sow.

  • http://www.licquia.org/log/jeff Jeff Licquia

    RichM:
    To repair our busted leadership, Democrats and progressives need a laser-like focus on beating George W. Bush.
    That’s exactly backwards, I think. How do you expect to get laser-like focus with a busted leadership?

  • billg

    Unless Nader’s supporters actually believe he might get elected, they are engaging in selfish and delusional behavior by voting for him.
    It’s selfish because a Nader vote is only a deliberate exercise of one person’s right, with no consideration of that vote’s impact on others. Since Nader cannot win, the only impact a Nader vote will have is a negative impact, especially on issues and people who support Nader’s issues.
    It’s obviously delusional because a vote for Nader is a vote for fantasy.
    Protestations that a Nader vote will help make thrid parties viable is also delusional. The only way new parties (both the Republicans and Democrats were once new parties) have been successful is by building a base of elected local officials, displacing an existing major party, and assuming the mantle as one of the two major parties before they seriously contended for the presidency. In other words, by ceasing to be a third party. Where’s Nader’s party? Where are the Nader Party board of education members? The city council members? The state legislators? They don’t exist, and they never will, because the only thing supporting Nader’s campaign is Ralph Nader’s substantial ego and the selfish gullibility of his supporters.
    Yes, everyone hasa right to vote for who they please, but sometimes mature judgement tells you that the better course is not to exercise that right.

  • Jaybird

    Funny, I don’t think that Kerry can win. He strikes me as someone who will turn into Dukakis once he gets asked to speak on a national level night after night after night.
    You know Kerry’s position on the war? Still want to vote for him?
    You know Kerry’s position on gay marriage? Still want to vote for him?
    You know Kerry’s position on the legalization/decriminalization of marijuana? Still want to vote for him?
    “But at least he isn’t Bush!”
    Only works if he is substantially better.
    It seems like the only upside to a Kerry presidency is that we’ll have a divided government again. While that’s no small thing, I’m not certain that I want to vote for a party whose tagline is “We’re the ones who aren’t Republicans.”
    Give us a candidate we can be proud of voting for and maybe we’ll vote for him.
    If all you’ve got is someone that we can use to vote against Bush, despite the fact that he won’t win?
    Well, thanks but no thanks. I’ve got one of those already.

  • billg

    Jaybird, Kerry is not yet the Democrat’s candidate. And, hard as this may be for you to understand, a candidate’s position on the war, gay marriages, and marijuana are not that important of some of us. If those issues determine who you support, you must be living an idyllic life.
    It’s good that you can be proud to support Nader, because it seems that’s the only thing you’ll get out of his candidacy. But, since he will draw votes from the Democratic candidate, he might as well be in the backpocket of Karl Rove.
    Please consider viewing politics as an exercise in reality and compromise, not as a religious experience.

  • Andy Freeman

    > It’s selfish because a Nader vote is only a deliberate exercise of one person’s right, with no consideration of that vote’s impact on others.
    I admire the consistency. We’ve seen the “selfish” argument used to “prove” that ordinary people can’t be trusted with other decisions. It’s clearly applicable to voting as well.

  • Kurt

    The great tragedy of the 2000 election was the fact that Al Gore cost Ralph Nader the White House.

  • Zeyes

    Andy Freeman:
    I admire the consistency. We’ve seen the “selfish” argument used to “prove” that ordinary people can’t be trusted with other decisions. It’s clearly applicable to voting as well.
    I suspect that “Vote for the Democratic nominee because the loony left tells you so, as it’s All About Getting Bush Out Of The White House” won’t make a very compelling argument for the general electorate, no matter how much billg dislikes that people are allowed to base their votes on actual issues, rather than partisan lockstep.
    billg:
    Please consider viewing politics as an exercise in reality and compromise, not as a religious experience.
    Seeing your anti-Bush fervor, I can only conclude that treating politics as a religious experience seems to be fine as long as you’re the one who gets to decide what the gospel is.

  • http://www.licquia.org/log/jeff Jeff Licquia

    billg:
    “Selfishness” in voting? What is voting, if not the imposition of your will on the government in a small way?
    I hear Iran’s elections turned out to be quite “unselfish” in that regard.
    The only way new parties (both the Republicans and Democrats were once new parties) have been successful is by building a base of elected local officials, displacing an existing major party, and assuming the mantle as one of the two major parties before they seriously contended for the presidency.
    Uh, no.
    The Democratic party is one of the two original political parties in the USA, with Thomas Jefferson as its first successful Presidential candidate. The formation of both the Democrats and the Federalists happened to provide structure to the chaos of early American politics.
    The Republican party formed after the 1852 election. It formed to fill a void as well, in this case the void formed by the spontaneous self-destruction of the Whig party. Its first national election was in 1856, in which they fielded candidates at all levels, including the Presidency. In other words, they went from nonexistent to top-tier party in the space of four short years.
    Of the top-tier parties in American history, only the Whig party formed in the manner you describe. It doesn’t bode well for this precedent that the party could not survive the deaths of its founders (Daniel Webster and Henry Clay).
    But, really, only the Federalist and Democratic parties were similar in their formation. The rest of the top-tier parties since then (all two of them) were anomalous. Any third party forming today would nearly assuredly be anomalous as well.

  • http://www.thisamericanblog.blogspot.com Tim Vatovec

    While I would agree that Nader entering the race may dampen Democrat spirits, I would disagree about his apparent motivations. The man is a leading consumer advocate/protector, guarding against, among other things, corporate greed and government failings. The Third Party debate is never truly gone or over when people are continually marginalized and misstreated. We need a more egalitarian political system, end of story, and he represents that ideal.

  • billg

    The Nader groupies posting here are ignoring the fact that they might as well vote for Kermit the Frog as for Nader. Both stand equal chances of winning. Nader’s campaign is an exercise in supreme ego, as is voting for him.
    Under that circumstance, the only motivation I can think of to vote for a certain loser like Nader is the faith that the vote will, somehow, make that point that a few people like Nader. In my book, faith = religion.
    A Nader vote is selfish because every such vote actually damages the prospects for each of Nader’s issues. People who vote for Nader care less about those issues than they do about poking a stick in the eyes of other people.

  • Jaybird

    If you have an ABB platform, you shouldn’t be too surprised when I choose a different A than you do.
    If showing a united front is so important, I’ve got a seat over here next to me.
    Or is showing a united front only important when we’re backing *YOUR* bastard?
    I dunno about anybody else, but from over here it looks like the democrats are failing to build a true coalition. And that will cost them when the time comes.

  • miguel
  • http://hubris.typepad.com Hubris

    I’m not going to address this from the perspective of “rights,” as I think we all agree on Nader’s right to run, the right of opponents to criticize Nader running, and the right of everyone to vote for whomever they choose.
    Let’s look at the practical implications. Voting for Nader has been described above as “selfish” and “delusional.” That is, to put it kindly, based on a short-term perspective.
    No one would pay attention to Nader if, as other independent “crackpots” running for president, he received about 50 votes. He receives a substantial number, if a relatively small percentage. While this might just result in helping Bush this time, maybe a repeat of the 2000 results would serve to encourage the DNC to pay more attention to the issues that are important to Nader voters (full disclosure: I’m not one of them). So in the long run, a vote for Nader can be of benefit if you favor the positions he champions. If you’re not advocating for the growth of an alternative party, you’re at least asking a major party to co-opt you by paying more attention to the issues you care about. And maybe that’s not a bad thing.

  • billg

    Jaybird, I, for one, don’t have an ABB position. (It’s seems you’re assuming that an anti-Nader position equates to an ABB position.) I agree with Bush on many foreign policy issues and I disagree with Bush on many domestic issues. I certainly don’t agree with most of Nader’s positions and don’t think he is competent to administer a scout troop, much less the country.
    I haven’t used the words “united front”. That’s your scarecrow.
    I’ve stated that Nader can’t win. Any vote for a candidate who will not win is a pointless vote. That applies to Nader, and to every independent or “third party” candidate who’s run in modern times.
    However, when someone who would otherwise vote for the Democrat is persuaded to vote for Nader or similar candidate, it means one less vote for the only candidate other than Bush who has a realistic chance of winning.
    Beyond self-righteous posturing, I don’t see why anyone would expect a vote for Nader to ccomplish anything. He is so far away from the real life of mainstream Americans that he stands no chance of garnering enough votes to sway the positions of either major party. (He gives every indication of being angry at America and wishing he’d be someplace else.) You and others have provided no reason for me to think otherwise.
    What, exactly, do you all expect voting for Nader to accomplish, beyond making you feel better?

  • http://hubris.typepad.com Hubris

    billg,
    You said:
    “Any vote for a candidate who will not win is a pointless vote.”
    And:
    “He is so far away from the real life of mainstream Americans that he stands no chance of garnering enough votes to sway the positions of either major party.”
    If his positions lack sufficient support to make a difference, why do you care if he runs? The potential for an impact is real, even with only 2% of the vote.
    If it changes who wins the election, isn’t it enough to make the parties examine their platforms?

  • Andy Freeman

    billg writes:
    > Jaybird, I, for one, don’t have an ABB position. (It’s seems you’re assuming that an anti-Nader position equates to an ABB position.)
    Previously, someone else named billg wrote:
    > … the only thing your vote for Nader would do is add one effective vote to the Bush column.
    > … It tells me you’d rather feel right than not have Bush in the White House.
    > Far from it. I said a vote for Nader has real consequence: It helps reelect Bush.
    BillG may not want to appear to be an ABB, but the furthest that he’s gotten from it is “if you’re pro-Nader, you must be ABB”.

  • Jaybird

    I am not ABB.
    I do not like Bush and I will not vote for him.
    However, I do not dislike Bush to the point where I am willing to vote for a Kerry to get him out of the White House.
    Meet the New Boss, same as the Old Boss.
    If the democrats put up a candidate worth voting for, maybe I’ll vote for him.
    In the meantime, I will continue to be “objectively pro-Bush” in the hopes that, one day, the dems will remember what they stand for.
    If the dems want me back, they’ll have to do a better job of reaching out to me (And people like me) than explaining to me how selfish I am.
    Perhaps you should instead be asking “why do they hate us?”

  • http://homepage.mac.com/chasbaudelaire/iblog/B1541229392/index.html charles faris

    listen, we are talking about a country where 50% of the population doesn’t vote. it seems pretty simple to me. register more people by giving them a reason to vote. listen to anyone with a following and recognize the validity of their views, or at least figure out their appeal, and then play to their audience. anybody but bush definitely isn’t going to cut it. quit crying, get to work.

  • billg

    Hubris: Two percent is enough to swing the election. It did last time. As for Nader’s candidacy having any impact on either major party, well..show me the impact he had in 2000. I don’t see any. If he didn’t manage to sway the Democrats in 2000, how can he do that in 2004 when he stands to get even fewer votes? Even if I grant you the fantasy that Nader can influence the Democrats, it won’t do any good if he, once again, is the reason the Democrats lose the election. Change only counts if you’re in power.
    Andy: Telling the truth about where most of Nader’s votes will come from is not taking an ABB position. For instance, I’d happily vote for Bush over Nader in a two-man race.

  • http://mysite.verizon.net/res1uo0x/ A.W.

    of course you are free to complain, but…
    i think that Ralph Nader expects to eventually force the Dem party to the left. and if that is his goal, it is his perogative to say to the Dems, “you cannot take us for granted.” African Americans would be greatly empowered if they did the same thing. The fact is he made a massive difference in the last election, and he might even make a difference in this one.

  • billg

    A.W.: The “massive difference” Nader made in 2000 is that he put Bush in the White House. Nader has been around for decades, has made a habit out of running for President, and has never budged the Democratic Party one inch. If he wants to change Dem policy, he needs to be inside the party. Until he does that, he remains what he has always been: An iconoclastic gadfly who thinks policy without power actually means something.