« Kerry and Bush "Career Patrons" | Main | "Another Negative Consequence...Of Marijuana Trafficking" »

Me to Nader: Bring. It. On.

Ralph Nader's announcement that he will run for president again -- for the third time -- took up a news cycle, and perhaps a few more, that might have more productively been used to showcase the Democratic candidates Kerry and Edwards, or further unpack the economic dishonesty of, for example, the Bush administration's job-creation predictions.

But that's the worst damage his campaign will do. There's no need to worry that this will be a repeat of 2000. Nader's campaign will be irrelevant by November.

Now, I take a back seat to no one in my contempt for Nader's descent into destructive presidential candidacies. I don't even feel the need to genuflect to Nader's pre-1996 consumer-activist career. I thought Eric Alterman distilled Nader's politics -- both presidential and non-presidential -- to their vacuous essence in 2000, writing in The Nation that

To listen to the Naderites--many of whom I admire--you might believe they were constructing a diverse, representative progressive movement with the possibility of one day replacing the Democrats. How odd it is to note, therefore, that this nascent leftist movement has virtually no support among African-Americans, Latinos or Asian-Americans. It has no support among organized feminist groups, organized gay rights groups or mainstream environmental groups. To top it all off, it has no support in the national union movement. So Nader and company are building a nonblack, non-Latino, non-Asian, nonfeminist, nonenvironmentalist, nongay, non-working people's left: Now that really would be quite an achievement.

I would also recommend my friend Micah Sifry's comments on his blog. Micah is the author of Spoiling for a Fight: Third-Party Politics in America, and by nature much more sympathetic than I am to the idea of alternative parties, to the Greens and to Nader himself.

But with Nader running without the established structure of the Green Party, one has to ask, how many states' ballots does he expect to be on? Who is going to get him on? In 1996, remember, Nader ran before the Green Party was as well established as today, and only appeared on the ballot in 26 states, winning 0.7% of the vote. His backers in Ohio couldn't even come up with the 5,000 signatures necessary to get him on the ballot in that state. Here's a link to a chart from the remarkable newsletter, Ballot Access News, published for years by Richard Winger, showing the specific signature requirements in each state. In some of the swing states, it's quite formidable for an independent candidate. And in most states, the requirements are complicated, and if Nader's signatures are challenged, enough are always going to be invalid for one petty reason or another that one generally needs almost twice as many as required in order to have just enough good signatures.

So, if anything, Nader's campaign this year is likely to be a repeat of 1996, rather than 2000. Naderites will claim that 1996 wasn't a real test, because Nader didn't campaign, he merely offered himself to the people, and spent less than $5,000 on his campaign. Bullshit. He didn't spend less than $5,000. He claimed to have spent less than $5,000 because if he admitted spending more, he would have been required to file a report with the Federal Election Commission and a financial disclosure. He didn't run television ads, but he traveled the country, speaking as a candidate, and someone paid for those trips. Those someones are contributors, and their spending is the cost of his campaign. To me, the lie about 1996, almost as much as 2000, is disqualifying: You can't be the candidate of reform, and of ending big money politics, if you simply refuse to comply with the most basic of campaign finance laws, as if they don't apply to you.

In 1996, Nader finished a fraction ahead of the Libertarian Party candidate, Harry Browne. 2004 seems like a perfect year for a Libertarian to make a leap forward -- at least into the 1-2% zone. Imagine the potential appeal to conservatives who really don't want to see federal spending increased, or entitlement programs expanded, who don't want a federal role in education, who are deeply concerned about surveillance and other threats to individual liberties, and who also don't like to see the catering to the religious right, who think that people should be able to live and let live and marry whoever they love. I'm pretty sure there are a lot more people with that constellation of views than there are potential Nader voters, and everything about the Bush administration has been an affront to them. This should be the best opportunity in decades for a Libertarian, who might pull significant support in swing states like Florida, Arizona, and Wisconsin (where a libertarian got 10% in the governor's race in 2002) away from Bush. And yet, the media is obsessed with Nader's threat to the Democrats, and pays not a moment's attention to the Libertarian threat to Bush. (Although I admit, the threat is purely conjectural at this point.)

Posted by Mark Schmitt on February 21, 2004 | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341ce8a553ef00d83456186169e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Me to Nader: Bring. It. On.:

» Quick takes. from Electrolite
Short bits from all over. As a Pentagon aide in 1964, Daniel Ellsberg knew the Gulf of Tonkin resolution was... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 23, 2004 1:19:50 PM

» The Lesser of Two Weasels from 50 Minute Hour
The thing is, the Libertarian Party will likely squander this opportunity to gain traction in the system, and it will be for the same reason I've always eschewed the LP. They don't want to be a third party, pulling votes from mainstream candidates and ... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 23, 2004 3:35:48 PM

» How beautiful can a being be? from ALLABOUTGEORGE's a2g
the ladies of m.i.c. have stolen lynne d johnson's good name and slapped it into an interview that never happened and the real Lynne d Johnson is rightfully pissed off about itSteven G. Fullwood's "He Watches.""Break Bread With Brad SXSW 2004 is a go"K... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 24, 2004 12:07:08 PM

» The Libertarian Vote from eTALKINGHEAD
Mark Schmitt says that Ralph Nader will flop in this election, but that this may be the perfect year for a Libertarian Party candidate to make a good showing: "In 1996, Nader finished a fraction ahead of the Libertarian Party candidate, Harry Browne. 2... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 26, 2004 5:34:54 PM

» Bmw. Bmw part bmw motorcycle bmw usa bmw m3 bmw car from Godzik Blog
2005 BMW 5-Series. Competition from Acura, Audi and Mercedes-Benz Make AWD 5-Series Reality... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 24, 2005 7:20:04 AM

» No Worms in this Apple from The Other Corner
Couldn't have said this (or this) better myself. Nowhere in the first amendment does it give someone the right to traffic stolen property... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 25, 2005 1:33:20 PM

» Conspicuous absenc from Crooked Ti mber
Forbes is the latest magazine trying to capitalize on the blogging thing by holding a best blog competition across various categories. It’s interesting to note that no less than 53% of voters say that the best blog on the economy... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 28, 2005 11:12:10 AM

» Email, RSS un Wikis from HIRSCgarden
Reiner Langenhan schreibt auf Handakte Von E-Mails zu RSS, in Reaktion auf meinen Beitrag im KMU-Blog: das kann ich nur best䴩gen! Ross Mayfield hat einen recht 䨮lichen Artikel in seinem Blog zu... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 30, 2005 12:02:24 PM

» Playoff-Bound Wizards Eye Five Spot from be a much more
will certainly be a much more contentious game since the Bucks and Wizards will be fighting for that fifth spot to avoid getting crushed by [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 27, 2006 10:57:11 PM

» New Label Design For Seasilver(R) Dietary Supplement Provides Enhanced Information for Consumers from California, has
located in Carslbad, California, has released a new product labeling and graphic imaging program to upgrade and enhance [Read More]

Tracked on May 24, 2006 3:44:37 PM

» Website Design Doesn't Have to be so Complicated from site builders
builders on the Internet. (PRWEB May 15, 2006) [Read More]

Tracked on May 28, 2006 2:06:04 PM

» Bush honors war dead (Reuters) from National Cemetery
buried at Arlington National Cemetery were a reminder of the importance [Read More]

Tracked on May 30, 2006 1:52:08 AM

» WebPals from Full Catalog
Need some help with your search? Please click on How to search. ... Use the search criteria below to narrow your search. ... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 5, 2006 3:10:13 PM

» Brazil's New Closing Time from has served as
to shut down bars before midnight has served as a model for cutting crime and alcoholism in a nation plagued by both [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 11, 2006 12:34:26 AM

» USPTO reveals updated Web filing system from material get
a XML format. Some applicants complained that this was a burden because of firewall and security issues with corporations. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 12, 2006 7:22:16 PM

» China Theaters to Pull 'Da Vinci Code' from hina Orders Theaters
Orders Theaters to Pull 'Da Vinci Code,' Film Executive Says [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 15, 2006 3:59:37 PM

» U.S. IDs New Iraq Terror Chief from documents seized
said documents seized after in a raid give the government the "upper hand" in its fight against the group. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 16, 2006 5:03:09 AM

» April-June 2006 Issue of ArcUser Now Online from articles illustrate
issue highlights the use of imagery in GIS. These articles illustrate how aerial [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 16, 2006 10:08:44 PM

» Longford show two changes for Decie trip from in the Leinster
from the side that lost narrowly to Dublin in the Leinster Championship for their trip to [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 17, 2006 2:49:21 PM

» consolidate loan student from consolidation loan program student
Loans Home Equity Loans - Home Mortgage Student Loans [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 19, 2006 5:32:11 AM

» Are the Inflation Fears Justified? from The stock market
is spooked. But rising prices aren't the problem; it's the overreaction of central bankers around the world that could set off a bear market [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 21, 2006 5:54:40 AM

» Riley Solicits Van Gundy's Input from basically. He's
''He e-mails me -- we're constantly in touch, and he's scouting all the games,'' Riley said. [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 1, 2006 11:13:38 AM

» CDC-Funded Project Offers Free Colonoscopies To Uninsured Residents In Five States from getting tested
will offer colorectal cancer screenings at no cost for uninsured U.S. residents over age 50, [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 31, 2006 4:59:45 PM

» FDA to Reconsider Sale of Plan B from FDA to Reconsider
Health News Created: 8/1/2006 1:57:00 AM Last Editorial Review: 8/1/2006 1:56:54 AM [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 7, 2006 1:34:56 PM

» Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool from and the frequency
] Enter any one of your keywords into the query field and youll receive a search count of that keyword within the Yahoo network [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 15, 2006 6:11:28 AM

Comments

I agree on the Libertarian analysis (Julian Sanchez and Amy Phillips are two Libertarian bloggers who really dislike Bush, though I'm not sure whether they've reached the point of preferring a Democrat.)

I bloggged a list of reasons for Libertarians to support the Dem this year. FWIW, here it is:
We'll let you sleep with whoever you want to. We won't force you to pray or otherwise interfere with your private religion. We won't force you to pay for other people's religious choices. We still won't let you smoke pot on the public square, but Democrats generally support decriminalization. And we'll do all we can to promote rehabilitation over incarceration. Soft on the drug war remains a damning indictment so there's not much more we can do. Yet. We won't start unilateral wars without evidence of a real threat. We won't spend as much of your money, though still more than you would like. For most Libertarians, those making roughly $100k or less, we'll tax you either no more, or less than the Republicans will. We will generally support free trade, or at least do so more often than Republicans. We will--perhaps surprisingly--run a smaller government and regulate business activities less than do Republicans.
AB

Posted by: Angry Bear | Feb 23, 2004 12:37:43 AM

Nader has never been an organizer and has never represented a movement of any grassroots substance. What he was--and to his credit, very successful at it--is the creator of several very important public interest organizations established to represent certain worthy causes--public health, consumer safety, aviation safety, campaign reform, etc. But none of these organizations have been based on membership or mobilizing masses. They represent interests, not people. I say this as someone who ran one of these organizations in the 80s.

This is fine. We need such organizations and they have accomplished notable public good. So Nader is building a canidacy on a foundation of nothing. He can not tap into an organization's membership, he does not an organizational structure to build a campaign, he does not have a financial structure to supply or raise funds. All in all, he has nothing. I don't think Nader is likely to receive many votes but he will divert precious time and resources the Democrats could effectively use elsewhere, thereby impacting the election indirectly.

Posted by: dmh | Feb 23, 2004 8:03:34 AM

I think you are right in urging a calm view of Nader's prospects this year. He is rather devastating on the subject of George Bush, but I would guess that it will be a huge non-story very soon.

Posted by: BobNJ | Feb 23, 2004 9:24:30 AM

I think the libertarian success in Wisconsin has a few qualifiers.

The candidate was the idiosyncratic brother of a four-term governor and had Jesse Ventura-like appeal, especially among Friday night fish fry types in the hinterlands.

Posted by: Sven | Feb 23, 2004 10:33:02 AM

Kos speculates that Roy Moore might be jumping in. That would mean that Bush faces attacks from both sides of his conservative base. Interesting, but not unexpected given how incompatible the views of libertarian and religious right republicans are.

Posted by: Kennedy | Feb 23, 2004 1:21:59 PM

I couldn't be more pleased that people are noticing that the Republicans aren't keeping the promises they made when they came into office. You're right, though, that most of us libertarians aren't quite ready to vote Democrat. Angry Bear makes quite a good list of reasons a Libertarian should support Democratic candidates. But you see, those aren't the only issues we care about. The fact is, the Democrats are very into federalizing things. When there's a problem, even a very local one, their first question seems to be "what can the federal government do to fix this?" The Violence Against Women Act, their action on abortion, the federal minimum wage, and thousands of other examples show Democrats' contempt for localized solutions or private fixes for the world's problems. Frankly, I see getting the US out of Iraq as a less intractable problem than getting the US federal government out of all of the things the Democrats will try to get them into if they regain power. Therefore, I'm voting for P.J. O'Rourke.

Posted by: Amy Phillips | Feb 23, 2004 2:46:51 PM

Remember what Ralph said about his run in 2000--that it was intended to help establish a viable alternative party? Well, now he's running against the Green Party--on the Ralph Nader ticket. He says he's in the race to offer voters a meaningful choice. And he does; his disingenuousness and ego are unmatched by mere politicians.

Posted by: Mike Johnson | Feb 23, 2004 4:41:32 PM

Interesting point about Libs in Wisconsin but Ed Thompson never threatened to tip the vote in favor of Scott McCallum in any counties but the very craziest of the crazy. Even then, it was for Governor and not president. We may like our politics crazy but usually that love runs up to, and not across, our state line. Still I remember being at he huge Gore rally in Madison and seeing my fellow students listen with one ear to Al and the other to the screaming Naderites penned in one block over. I was struck by the number of people that stuck out the Gore speech only to tell me that they were going to vote for Ralph anyway. It was as if they were making a conscious decision to vote crazy. Gotta love Wisco politics.

Posted by: ARON | Feb 23, 2004 7:13:18 PM

Thanks for the plug, Mark. We agree. On the Libertarian point you made, let me share this intriguing post that I got from Steve Dasbach, the LP's national director, in response to an earlier blog post I had written on how unlikely it was for Nader to reach disaffected Republicans:

>>The best way to get George Bush out of office is to have a third party candidate do to him in 2004 what Ralph Nader did to Al Gore in 2000.

>>Ralph Nader isn't the candidate who can attract the small government conservatives and libertarians who feel betrayed by Bush's massive deficits, bloated budgets, the War in Iraq, Attorney General Ashcroft & the USA Patriot Act, etc. However, someone like Libertarian Gary Nolan could attract enough of these voters in swing states and help send Bush back to Crawford Texas.
Posted by: Steve Dasbach at February 16, 2004 06:41 PM <<

Posted by: Micah Sifry | Feb 23, 2004 7:39:42 PM

I'm not so sure that Nader will have as much difficulty as you think getting enough signature to get on to the ballot in most of the states. After all, there is nothing to prevent Republicans from signing, is there?

Posted by: GB | Feb 24, 2004 1:33:36 PM

What a yuk. Libertarians wondering about the impact of Ralph Nader on the elections. Libertarians, Greens, Naderites, Deaniac Zombies all irrelevant pipe-dreamers. Welcome to Ross Perot/David Dukes/Ralph Nader/George Wallace world. Price of admission = 1 wasted vote per patron.

Posted by: Scaramonga | Mar 1, 2004 7:33:24 PM

Nader is a true American hero. His courageous entrance into the 2004 campaign will rank him with
other historic heroes such as Dr. King. By the
way he is not running against the Greens (he
almost certainly be or candidate this year). He
will be a choice and voice for the antiwar movement. Kucinich pointed out that Kerry is even
more pro war than Bush. Never has there been so
little difference between the two pro-war pro-patriot act, pro-Nafta corporate parties

Posted by: Joel Houtman | Mar 22, 2004 12:32:35 PM

deutschland
routenplaner
routenplaner online
europa routenplaner
routenplanung
deutschland -routenplanung
karten
de routenplaner
staumeldung
routenplaner deutschland
routenplaner österreich

Posted by: Ianna | Sep 24, 2004 8:33:21 PM

film porno
porno
tette
sesso orale
sesso anale
sesso gratis
porno gratis
foto porno
hentai
hard
video hard
pornostar
nude
casalinghe
belle donne
foto amatoriali
studenti
appunti studenti
maturita
esami di maturita
esame di maturita
tesine
temi
temi svolti
studiare
appunti per studiare
versioni
riassunti
versioni latino
versioni greco
appunti scolastici
appunti
maturita 2005
esami
dispense
appunti gratis
materie scolastiche

Posted by: ambra | Feb 17, 2005 8:23:52 AM

materie scolastiche appunti gratis dispense esami maturita 2005 appunti appunti scolastici versioni greco versioni latino riassunti versioni appunti per studiare studiare temi svolti temi tesine esame di maturita esami di maturita maturita appunti studenti studenti tesi di laurea playstation 2 trucchi playstation giochi playstation soluzioni playstation playstation trucchi blog blog phone sex anal phone sex domination phone sex cheap phone sex hotline hot line live phone sex phone amateur phone sex adult telephone numbers asian phone sex teen phone sex phone sex numbers phone sex girls free phone sex live phone sex hot phone sex phone sex reviews kinky girls toll free numbers phone girls nasty girls oral phone sex black girls

Posted by: agreca | Mar 28, 2005 5:24:33 AM

http://www.webmotril.com
http://www.webmotril.com/directorio-web/index.html

http://www.foros.webmotril.com
los foros
http://www.anuncios.webmotril.com
http://www.webmotril.com/partners4.html
anunciate ya anuncios gratis
http://www.chat.webmotril.com
ven a chatear gratis
http://www.links.webmotril.com
http://www.love.webmotril.com
http://www.movil.webmotril.com
liens gratuits en dur
http://r.guerrero.free.fr/
http://r.guerrero.free.fr/directory/

web directory

http://www.inmobiliaria.webmotril.com
http://www.richard.webmotril.com
http://www.manga.webmotril.com

http://www.internet.webmotril.com

portal web de motril

http://pages.over-blog.net/
http://tempsperdu.over-blog.org/

http://angifere.over-blog.com
http://laguiaweb.blogspot.com/

Posted by: portal web gratis | Sep 8, 2007 12:49:25 PM