The Intersection

So. Ralph Nader’s running for president… again.

i-f4f99679e8871dc799be7057e2bc640d-770-11web-NADER-1-CC.standalone.prod_affiliate.91.jpgSure, it wouldn’t quite feel like a proper election without him–Nader’s been on the ticket ever since I was old enough to participate. But the thing is, he generally appeals to young voters seeking change and this time around, Clinton and Obama fill that already crowded niche. Yes he brings another voice to the campaign trail, but really–in terms of a run for the presidency–seems to me that ship has sailed.

From CNN:

Nader also wrote off any suggestions that his entry into the race could draw enough votes from the Democratic candidate to help the Republican win. “If the Democrats can’t landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form,” he said

i-b9dc606a728acc82beaca307332e199f-forrest gump running beard.jpg

Comments

  1. #1 Linda
    February 24, 2008

    I’m still angry at him for the Gore defeat. All he seems to see is himself. With three ‘more than decent candidates’ on board, inflicting himself again makes no sense, except for his “EGO”.

  2. #2 IanR
    February 24, 2008

    “If the Democrats can’t landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form,”

    Wasn’t he saying something like that in 2000, when he played a crucial role in Bush’s victory? And isn’t that pretty much what the Dems did after 9-11…give up the idea of being an Opposition? Based on current polling, McCain would actually beat Clinton. If he seriously thinks a Dem landslide is inevitable, then the man is clueless about American politics.

    Josh Marshall got it right “Bush’s enabler in chief”.

  3. #3 chezjake
    February 24, 2008

    Last time around there was talk (I don’t remember seeing documentation, but it might exist.) that most of Nader’s funding came from Republicans. This time, someone really needs to keep an eye on that and publicize where his money is coming from.

  4. #4 iRobot
    February 24, 2008

    The Pennsylvania chapter of the greens was funded by major republican donors in 2004.

  5. #5 AdrianJC
    February 24, 2008

    Was Nader mostly to blame for the election being stolen from Gore in 2000? An interesting question of attribution

    Arguments for blaming Nader:
    http://www.mikehersh.com/Did_Nader_Help_or_Hurt_Al_Gore.shtml

    Counter argument:
    http://www.cagreens.org/alameda/city/0803myth/myth.html

  6. #6 decrepitoldfool
    February 24, 2008

    I have a nagging worry that our elections aren’t honest anymore; they’re engineered in various ways to produce a close result with a slight but difficult-to-detect advantage to the Republicans. See: gerrymandering, Diebold, voter ID requirements, swiftboating, misinformation capaigns, and dirty-tricks funding.

  7. #7 Chris C. Mooney
    February 24, 2008

    Funny post, Sheril.

    I can’t believe that Nader will be able to mobilize nearly the same following as he did in 2000. For Democrats/the left, the stakes seem so much higher now, you know? 2000–those were the days of political innocence for a lot of folks, for whom Nader’s argument about the two major parties not being very different might have resonated.

    After 8 years of the Bush administration, I think that’s not going to convince anyone.

  8. #8 pwkik
    February 24, 2008

    It is starting already; all the Democrats blaming Nader for anything that might happen in 2008, just like 2000. Except that Nader is absolutely right: why are the Democrats worried about him? If they don’t bury McCain, they should just shrivel up and wilt away. Anti-war sentiment is running 2-1 AGAINST the Iraq occupation, and the Dems are only beating McCain heads up by 2 or 4 points? Clearly, they are not seen as the anti-war party. They are seen as a party with no clearly defined principles. I welcome Nader into the race; someone will speak real truth in politics this year.

  9. #9 Mark P
    February 24, 2008

    “If they don’t bury McCain, they should just shrivel up and wilt away.”

    Wonderful attitude. That’s what used to be known as “cutting off your nose to spite your face.” I don’t want the Republicans to win again under any circumstances. A third party candidate like Nader is always a spoiler, whether he’s left or right. Only idiots or Republicans would think his candidacy is a good idea. But I repeat myself.

  10. #10 D
    February 24, 2008

    Sigh…not Nader bashing again. In 2000, he was Evil for attempting to form a party more liberal than the center-right group that is the Democratic Party, because these were the most important elections ever. In 2004, he was evil again, because now these were the most important elections ever. Now of course 2008 rolls around, and it’s deja vu all over again. Apparently election-importance is a monotonically increasing function.

    To those who oppose this Nader bid, will there ever be a sufficiently unimportant election, do you basically oppose any effort to form a third party that outflanks the Democrats from the left?

  11. #11 Wants to be independent
    February 24, 2008

    D-
    It goes like this:

    Third party candidate-GOOD
    Ralph Nader running yet again-NOT HELPING

    We need a viable alternative with new ideas who defines herself/himself from the other mainstream candidates. Not Ralph Nader as our only alternative option every four years.

  12. #12 Wants to be independent
    February 24, 2008

    btw-Love the title Sheril came up with and the Gump picture is spot on.

  13. #13 Mark P
    February 24, 2008

    ” …do you basically oppose any effort to form a third party that outflanks the Democrats from the left?”

    No, I don’t. It would be an exercise in futility, but I certainly don’t care, as long as the end result is not more republicans in the White House.

  14. #14 Zeno
    February 25, 2008

    D: To those who oppose this Nader bid, will there ever be a sufficiently unimportant election, do you basically oppose any effort to form a third party that outflanks the Democrats from the left?

    Yeah, I flat out oppose the foolish idea of trying to form a third party that outflanks the Democrats from the left. The two major parties are more institutionalized today than ever before and third-party movements are just a sure ticket to give victories to people you like even less. The way to make progress is to take over an existing party. Got that? The Christian wackos did it with the Republican party. Progressives can do it with the Democratic party. Starting from scratch with a third party is just crazy. [Link]

  15. #15 ponderingfool
    February 25, 2008

    No, I don’t. It would be an exercise in futility, but I certainly don’t care, as long as the end result is not more republicans in the White House.
    ***************************************************
    The way to make progress is to take over an existing party. Got that? The Christian wackos did it with the Republican party. Progressives can do it with the Democratic party. Starting from scratch with a third party is just crazy.
    *****************************************************
    You do realize how that happened in the Republican Party? It was because you had the States’ Rights movement, a reactionary response to the Civil Rights Movement, which took votes away from Southern Democrats. In 1968, Wallace drew 16.8% of the vote. In 1972, Nixon undertook the “Southern Strategy” to gain the support of these Dixiecrats turning the south into a solid GOP stronghold. It is why the Christian Right (which had it origins in the States’ Rights Movement, Bob Jones University anyone) was so strong in the Republican Party. The fear was they could walk out of the GOP and put their votes up again. Over time they have become institutionalized into the Republican Party, less likely to walk out and in this election aren’t the strong force they were before.

    Democrats have to stop blaming others. You have to win votes, convince people you deserve to lead. Being the token opposition to Bush isn’t enough. How many registered Democrats in Florida and New Hampshire voted for Bush? How many lefties who never vote for Democrats voted for Nader? How many who wouldn’t have voted before? Does having an opponent on the left make the Democrat look more conservative? Never really had these question answered by those who blame Nader for 2000.

  16. #16 SLC
    February 25, 2008

    For those poor benighted souls who think it doesn’t matter who gets elected President, I present the following: Breyer and Ginsburg or Roberts and Alito. Period, end of story.

  17. #17 Rev Matt
    February 25, 2008

    I’ve voted for Ralph every election in 92, 96, and 2000. I voted for Kerry in 04 and I’m ashamed of it frankly as I was voting for Kerry because I wanted Bush out, not because I liked Kerry. I liked Edwards and would have gladly voted for him with no compunctions in 04 or 08.

    The Democractic party wavers back and forth between Center-Left and Center-Right, leaning more and more towards Center-Right since I became of voting age. I am without a doubt a Leftist and am not interested in supporting a Center party. Turning out for ‘the lesser of two evils’ simply convinces them that those people actually support the Centrist platform and reduces the power of Progressives.

    I truly wish both parties would splinter and we ended up with 4-5 nationally viable parties that would result in better representation and advocacy for a broader spectrum of viewpoints.

  18. #18 gwangung
    February 25, 2008

    To those who oppose this Nader bid, will there ever be a sufficiently unimportant election, do you basically oppose any effort to form a third party that outflanks the Democrats from the left?

    Perhaps, but Nader isn’t interested in forming a third party. He’s interested only in himself. If he was interested in a third party, he would have done the hard work of grassroots organizing in between presidential elections, to amass a political force–you know, like how Obama did?

  19. #19 Fred Bortz
    February 25, 2008

    Ralph Nader has become “Unsafe at Any Speed,” just like the book that made him famous and killed the Chevy Corvair, an innovative car that had the unfortunate tendency to flip over and kill its passengers in accidents.

    If we do a risk assessment for the U.S.A. about riding in the 2008 Nader political vehicle, we would probably conclude that we need to worry about unforeseen catastrophic failures, just as in the book I wrote that included a reference to Unsafe at Any Speed (click my name).

  20. #20 Eric Juve
    February 25, 2008

    I think we need to go to a different system of voting, that would be Instant Runoff Voting.

    http://tinyurl.com/57frr

    That way participation in the process would not be seen a a spoiler process and would allow more voice to be heard.

  21. #21 daenku32
    February 25, 2008

    You shouldn’t hate Nader. You should hate the Electoral College system.

  22. #22 Nomen Nescio
    February 26, 2008

    “If the Democrats can’t landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form,”

    let’s face it, Ralph’s right again — if the democrats can’t win by a landslide, then they can’t win, period. 2000 and 2004 showed us what happens if the democrats don’t manage a landslide, and until they do, those circumstances will not be changed.

    unfortunately, i don’t see how either Clinton or Obama could pull off a landslide. either one of them might just be able to win by a narrow margin, but i’m too cynical nowadays to think a narrow margin for the democrats means anything other than four more years of republican rule. Nader running or not running will not change that fact.

  23. #23 John the Gnerphk
    February 28, 2008

    Party aside, I think Simon & Garfunkel said it best: “Any way you look at it you lose.”

    Does it matter who we elect? No.

    Contrary to popular belief, the problems we have are not going to be solved by putting yet one more career politician in the White House. McCain isn’t a puppet of the military-industrial complex; Obama isn’t a champion of change; Clinton isn’t the progressive protector of the populace. They are all politicians, which means they all work the way the System works. And the only thing they believe in is themselves.

    Friends, the simple fact of the matter is that the System doesn’t work.

    Fifty years ago, a family could afford a house on a single forty-hour-a-week salary. Twenty-five years ago, a family could afford a house on two forty-hour-a-week jobs. Today, two families crammed into one apartment can just about pay the rent and keep gas in the car.

    The System is what’s doing this to us.

    Some folks blame a loss of manufacturing jobs; some the global economy. Some will even say it’s China’s fault for beginning to inefficiently and irresponsibly emerge into the twentieth century a few years too late. A few will say that it is this or that moral or ethical issue that is at fault.

    It is none of these things.

    We live in a competitive society within which the popular vote has been replaced by the almighty dollar, where money is power and riches are the might that makes right. It is cutthroat, such that a form of corporate evolution prevails. The most efficient corporations prosper; these are the corporations that offer low wages and minimal benefits, providing the cheapest products at the highest markups. And it is these corporations which shape our economy — and by direct extension, the very fabric of our lives.

    Whenever we as individuals spend our money, we give power in raw form to those from whom we purchase. This is our only true vote. We buy at Wal-Mart and eat at McDonald’s; by so doing, we endorse those practices that give us less for more. When we pay too much rent to an ignorant and inattentive slumlord, we reward him for his unwillingness to fix that leaky faucet, paint the steps, or resurface the driveway.

    The only thing a good president (and congress) can do about this sort of thing is make more laws, establish new bureaucracy, and generally spend more of our tax money on new, visionary, and ultimately ineffective programs designed to pacify the masses and generate votes for Four More Years.

    This is the System. It is criminal. And yet, to look at us, one would think we like it this way; otherwise, why wouldn’t we just stop it?

    It is our right to change the way things work. More, I suggest that it is our duty as Americans. This should be the Land of the Free, not the State of the Taxed. And only we have the power to fix it.

    How do we change things? you ask. If not the vote, in what way do we have the power?

    I’ll tell you.

    First, stop eating at McDonald’s. Stop shopping at WalMart. Don’t buy a new car. Don’t buy a new outfit. Shop locally where you can and invest the money you save by not driving to the mall in an IRA or CD.

    Put your money where your mouth is.

    Second, if you really want to see change, run for office. I don’t care if it’s the Senate or the School Board – run. (In point of fact, a person can do more good in the City Council than as President.)

    Pledge to go out there and stop spending our money on what we wouldn’t spend it on if we still had it. Cut programs without cutting corners; scrimp and save everywhere you can. Go out and govern, and do it well. Because, if you don’t… who will? Ralph Nader?

    If you’re not willing to sacrifice to make this a better place, than you deserve the country you get.

    If you are willing, then get off your ass and do something about it.

    Well? What are you waiting for?

  24. #24 Mark P
    February 28, 2008

    “Does it matter who we elect? No.”

    I don’t have to read any further to know there is no enlightenment in this comment. There was a nice skit on Saturday Night Live where Al Gore was telling what had happened in the last years since he was elected President. This would have been a very different seven years.

  25. #25 Libertarian Girl
    February 28, 2008

    I absolutely agree with Ralph Nader. This election should be an absolute killing for the Democrats. 70% of Americans want to end the war, even Republicans hate Bush and quite possibly hate McCain even more.

    There is absolutely no excuse for the Democrats not winning. Nader is right that if they can’t pull this one off they probably can never win another election in their current form and might as well give up and regroup somehow. This is a no-brainer.

  26. #26 John the Gnerphk
    February 29, 2008

    Enlightenment is where you find it.

    Nice to see that there are some idealists left; it gives one hope for the future.

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