Bits and Pieces

Monday, February 23, 2004

Ralph Nader - Most Influential American?

The first I heard of Ralph Nader was a few years ago while reading Michael Moore's 'Stupid White Men' (I know, I know, but it's an entertaining book). Nader's notoriety never made it across the pond during the last election, and at the time I didn't really read blogs or election news so I missed him.

The way Moore sees it, he had the idea to blackmail the Democrats into moving more left (lefter?) than they were comfortable with. Maybe blackmail is too strong a word. Nader held a fairly minor number of swing voters who were unsatisfied with the fact that the Dems were a little too Republican, and he had the opportunity to deliver these votes to the Dems in return for a few Nader-friendly policies. In the end it didn't pan out and Nader took a little under 2.8 million vote as a Green Party candidate.

At the end of the day there were 12,513 votes registered in Florida for a candidate other than Gore or Bush. The margin between the two candidates was 537. Logic dictates that Nader held at least 537 votes that would have otherwise gone to Gore, so it is not beyond possibility that Gore could have 'bought' these votes from Nader.

So, just as Dean was able to push the Democratic candidates further to the left than they wanted at the beginning of the Primaries, Nader will once again have the power to further his cause in the General Election. Has he learned from his mistakes in 2000? Who knows. What I do know is that the Democrats will be thinking long and hard about Nader's goals this time.
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