Friday, February 29, 2008

An Unfortunate Tactical Error

In an electoral system that makes it all but impossible for independent or third party candidates to win anything, it might not seem to matter much if the already tiny constituency of progressive voters is split. One could even argue that it is a good thing because it means that there will be more progressive voices for voters to hear. But anyone who would use elections to be heard has got to try to win as many votes as possible. Otherwise, why would anyone pay attention? This is especially true in the United States, where progressive voices have a terrible time being heard at all. This consideration speaks compellingly against willfully multiplying campaigns beyond necessity.

Thus I regret Ralph Nader’s decision to run as an independent, not a Green. Not only will this decision not help the Green Party to grow; it will diminish the educational efficacy of both Nader’s campaign and the Green’s. This would be warranted, of course, if there were genuine political differences underlying the parting of ways. But there are not. I don’t know why Nader chose as he did, but I do know that his decision, like the similar one he made in 2004, was unwise.

His mistake is especially to be regretted since, as another Illinois politician, Abe Lincoln, might have noticed, Barack Obama is fooling quite a few people all of the time. To gauge to what extent, consider this analysis by Nader’s running mate, Matt Gonzalez.

1 comment:

dl004d said...

It's interesting that Matt Gonzalez, Nader's 2008 running mate, didn't particularly want Nader to run in 2004.