Why not to vote Nader in 2008

Ryan Day

To me, Ralph Nader is something of an anomaly. I mean, like any good liberal, I have a fair amount of contempt for the two party system. I am far from agreeing with the Republicans on most anything, and most of the time the Democrats don’t look so hot, either. Give me real governmental reform over all of the political pandering to the center any day of the week, but this is not about that.
I also consider myself something of a realistic person. As much as I can theorize about a workers’ revolution and a Socialist, worker-driven state, I know that it won’t happen any time soon. And while I’m certainly open to discussion of radical politics — indeed, I feel it is of utmost importance — I also know the value of small steps.
That brings me back to Ralph Nader, who recently announced that he might run for president in the 2008 election. He’s not sure if it is conceivable yet, but he has set up a committee to research the plausibility of this bid. He stated that his reason for his possible candidacy is that the candidates of the Democratic Party are just not up to the task of changing this country. Well, Ralph, I agree.
On the other hand, how many of you out there remember the 2000 election, the election that liberals go on and on about having been stolen by George Bush? Look back and remember the whole Florida debacle — how Gore was stated as having won, then the statement was taken back, how Gore privately conceded to Bush, but then took it back and awaited recount while the citizens of the U.S. could only sit tensely and wait. And finally, remember how Bush won Florida by only 537 votes, giving him the electoral votes of the state and ultimately the presidency.
Ralph Nader got 97,488 votes in Florida, and I think I can safely say that most of those votes were of the liberal persuasion. If those votes had gone to Al Gore, perhaps we would be looking at a very different U.S. It is because of Nader’s candidacy drawing liberals away from supporting the Democratic candidate that Bush is in the office right now. If you’re reading on the fence between voting Democrat or voting Nader, I’m sure I don’t have to explain the difference.
I’m also sure that I don’t have to explain why John McCain poses the same threat to change in the U.S. that George Bush has for the past eight years. Whichever Democratic candidate gets the nomination, be it Clinton or Obama, that person may not be the ultimate instrument of change to this country, but at least, in my opinion, they won’t cause the country to regress into something worse, either.
As a realistic liberal, a believer in small steps, I don’t think that we can afford another 2000, and given the general atmosphere of the presidential campaigns, the 2008 election is going to be close. Maybe Nader won’t run — perhaps he will see the importance of letting this one go — but if he does, I urge you not to vote for him. There is no room for another term of Republican presidency.