Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ralph Nader = Pat Paulsen

Ralph Nader may be an American hero for bringing safety standards to the US auto industry, but the consumer advocate has a penchant for wanting to ruin things. For the fifth time in a row, starting with a 1992 write in campaign, Nader is running for US President.

He has the right to run, of course. But with each season he becomes more like the late Patrick Paulsen -- a joke candidate. He has the potential to siphon votes off from both parties and become a spoiler, especially if he winds up polling at least 5%.

That would be fine if America had a system like in France, where the top two contenders square the circle in a run-off. The US, however, has an electoral college where the 50 states and DC are allocated a certain number of electoral votes. A narrow split between the GOP and the Dems in any number of battlegrounds could prove fatal.

I am sympathetic to the claim both major parties in the US have lost their way. Short of proportional representation or abolishing the college, no third party candidate will ever have a rats chance of winning; and with so much at stake Nader doesn't seem to care about the consequences.

Obama, the presumed Dem front-runner, should try to reach out to Nader and fast -- and neutralize him before this gets really out of hand. Nader is the new Paulsen, only this time no one is laughing. And people did vote for Paulsen out of disgust for the alternatives.

By the way, Nader turns 74 on Wednesday. Happy B-day, Ralph -- I suppose.

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susansmith said...

Nadar essentially pushes the Dems to the progressive side, and last election, Nadar didn't lose Gore the vote, "hanging chads" did in Florida. So please no scapegoating here.
If you will recall, politician stands for the "art of the possible."

BlastFurnace said...

I can't remember the precise source, but one independent analysis showed that had the hanging chad ballots been included, Bush would still have won -- by only 6 votes, not the oft quoted 537.

It's not that Gore lost Florida, it's that he lost two states that should easily have been his -- his birth state of Tennessee and the neighbouring Arkansas where Slick Willy was from. Either of those would have made the Florida issue moot.

It's also not a question of scapegoating; it's a questioning of a horror story that never seems to end. That's why I suggested an outreach from Obama rather than ignoring Nader as Gore did in 2000.

Blazingcatfur said...

I knew Pat Paulsen. Ralph Nader is no Pat Paulsen.