Nader’s success amid total defeat

The truth is even if Nader would have been a spoiler, he made progress for third parties.

What the Democrats did to stonewall Better Life Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader’s campaign was troubling.

Nader was the unfortunate receptor of the left’s strong hatred for President George W. Bush and anything that helped him get elected in 2000.

Hunter S. Thompson deemed Nader a “Judas Goat.” Others have called him an egotistical madman. To everyone except maybe the candidate, Nader’s campaign was not for the White House itself but to push positions not held by the major parties, including the very proposition that someone should be pushing these ideas. That has proven to be one of the most important issues brought forth by Nader’s quixotic crusade.

Nader has worked to expose some of the obstacles present in the current system, including such legal caltrops as petition signatures needed. He has also exposed the tooth-and-nail lengths at which parties will go to support or abuse a tangential party.

After three trips to the Supreme Court, Nader was only able to get on the ballot in 34 states and the District of Columbia. The complaint against Nader was that he would be a spoiler for the major parties. The truth of the matter is that if Nader was indeed a spoiler, he was only so much as the other third parties.

Ironically, if Nader had gotten more votes, he would have arguably harmed causes he supports in that those votes would have come more often from Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, who is ideologically closer to Nader. He didn’t, not this time anyway.

In the 2000 election, Nader received nearly 2.8 million votes. Numerous studies have shown Nader did indeed take votes away from former Vice President Al Gore and likely delivered Florida’s electoral votes and thus the election to Bush. In yesterday’s election, Nader had little if any effect on any state’s electoral calculation.

The argument that Nader should not have run in in 2004 is seriously troubling. Anybody who is legally allowed to run for president should have the chance to do so. It is up to the voters to decide if the eligible candidate is qualified.

In the end, Nader’s campaign proved one thing: The U.S. political system can be many times better. Clearly, two parties cannot represent the variant viewpoints of a diverse nation with more than 280 million people.