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Citizen Voices

Party Crasher

With Ralph Nader announcing his presidential candidacy , the embarrassment of holding him partially responsible for Al Gore’s loss in 2000 crept up like a forgotten nightmare. I don’t like admitting this — although many in my party don’t mind — because I believe what Mr. Nader has said about bipartisanship is true.

The two-party system is choking civic involvement. Labeling oneself as either a Democrat or a Republican feels stifling now as more and more voters claim their independence. 

I don’t think Ralph Nader’s run for office this time will siphon votes the way I begrudgingly believe it did in 2000. That’s because Dems have heard his message earlier this year, and mostly rejected it.


When John Edwards’ campaign message featured big corporations versus the little people, it was a prelude to Mr. Nader’s meat-and-potato policy initiatives. Edwards’s message was mostly rejected by early primary voters. So unless former Edwards’ supporters jump ship from backing Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton to go third-party for a day, Mr. Nader is competing for undecided Democratic and Independent voters.

Personally, I think Mr. Nader’s work has made a huge impact on America’s view on the important role of independent voters, the environment, and big business’ relationship with regular consumers. However, his days of running for office are irrelevant and will likely be ignored by most voters this time around. Then again, maybe Ralph Nader is as much a "miracles guy" like Mike Huckabee when it comes to victoriously ending this election.

-Citizen Voices blogger Alma Sove has spent most of her life in San Diego and is currently attending law school. 

Chuck from Escondido, CA
February 25, 2008 at 10:07 PM
I think you're overestimating the role of Nader's message and underestimating his role as a symbol. Just by running he becomes the most recognizable None of the Above, potentially having even more name recognition than my preferred None of the Above, Ralph Wiggum . That said, really enjoying watching the Democrats running around starting the blame game in case they do find a way to lose the Presidential Election. Wasn't it just a year ago that it was unthinkable that America would let a Republican back in the White House?


aaryn b. from san diego
February 25, 2008 at 10:16 PM
This election is the democrats' to lose, with or without Nader and sadly, I feel confident that they'll do just that. However... Ralph Nader is a megalomaniac who cannot stand NOT to be in the spotlight. By jumping in the race now---as he did in 2004, as he did in 2000---he detracts from all of the important work he's done in his life. True, the two party system is deeply flawed. But that isn't changed by some aging narcissist throwing his name into the running 9 months before a general election, slinging a few sloppy mudpies at the other candidates, and then ducking back into his batcave for another four years until his need for attention once again gets the better of him. If Nader were a true patriot---and I believe he's the opposite---he would have run for a seat in the senate, where he could possibly have an impact on policy and reform, or he would have been working tirelessly to change the system we have. The fact of the matter is that Ralph Nader is all about Ralph Nader. As a US emporer sans clothes once said, "Fool me once, shame on...shame on me....fool me but you can't get fooled again!"

Dave from Oceanside
February 26, 2008 at 03:12 AM
I've said this before... Third partys should run .. it's important to have other partys getting some footing.. but the week before the election the MUST give a speech supporting a candidate with a shot.. anything else is irresponsible.. I know.. I know.. the party gets some federal money if it reaches certain a certain amout of votes (this is from memory.. not a checked fact).. but I might actually donate to a third party that bowed out in the final week stating the candidate that will do least harm to their cause.. Nader is unsafe at any speed...

Matthew C. Scallon
February 29, 2008 at 06:23 AM
First of all, let's correct the record. Ralph Nader didn't "ciphon off votes." Votes are not something someone can steal like gasoline from someone's gas tank. Votes are earned. If Gore did nothing to earn the votes, he didn't deserve them. Now, if anyone could be called a "ciphoner" of Democratic votes in 2000, it would be Pat Buchannan, if only as an "accidental ciphoner." Mind you, whatever else can be said of Pat Buchannan, he didn't make Democrats in Dade County vote for him accidentally.

aaryn b. from san diego
February 29, 2008 at 09:11 AM
Actually, Matthew, votes can and have been stolen quite like the ciphoning of gasoline from a gas tank. See Diebold voting machines or Google Bev Harris and Black Box Voting. And whole entire elections can be stolen, too. See 2000 U.S. Presidential election. Thievery is alive and well in many forms here in our democracy.

Alma from San Diego
March 01, 2008 at 03:53 AM
I understand where Matthew is coming from in his apparent frustration that votes are not stolen or siphoned; votes are earned. I happen to know more than a few people who voted for Nader in 2000 because he was the candidate who best represented them. But let me retort by saying, when the candidate's purpose was to rattle the system, and the election can likely be explained by those intentions, the end result was neither Nader voters nor Gore voters got what they wanted. The effect of that election lingers but it's still a voter's prerogative to vote his or her conscious. It's Nader's possible egotism in the process that rankles many. The NYT had a good perspective on why Dems are still unnerved by the 2000 election, if anyone is interested or hasn't already checked it out:

Matthew C. Scallon
March 01, 2008 at 06:10 PM
Dear aaryn b., Apples, oranges, mangos. They're all fruit, but they don't grow on the same tree. Diebolt wasn't used in the 2000 election. Ergo, no one's vote was "stolen." The 2000 Election comes down to simple math. Florida Democrats are too stupid to know how to vote. Florida Republicans are too stupid to know how to count.