Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Way of Looking at Nader

I expect Ralph Nader's presidential candidacy will be inconsequential. Any voter genuinely convinced by his claim that there's no meaningful difference between Clinton/Obama and McCain is either a) someone who would not have bothered to cast a vote had the ballot shown only the allegedly indistinguishable major party candidates; or b) a voter who would choose arbitrarily, as by a coin toss, between the allegedly indistinguishable major party candidates, in which case half the coin tosses could be expected to favor McCain. Either way, that's a very confused and ill-informed voter, one whose contribution I wouldn't miss, and either way, it's not a net lost vote for Democrats.

More fundamentally, the most strongly liberal of us are eager to make a change in the White House, and especially having seen the effects of Nader's 2000 candidacy, we will be keenly aware of the pitfalls of throwing support behind Nader in a foreseeably close election. We have not forgotten, and we will not repeat the mistake. Polls show that centrist/moderate voters are also highly motivated to make a change in the White House, and Ralph Nader holds little appeal to such voters.

I hope Nader whores enough attention and hype to pull in large sums of money from hopeful Republicans, and that after his presidential campaign sputters and fades, I hope he uses the influx of funds to promote reforms for the benefit of the environment, consumers, whistle-blowers, and workers.

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