Pilkerton's Prognostications

This blog contains some of my past articles for the school newspaper and other musings I feel like posting. Beware liberals!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Nader Effect


What's that in the distance, friends? That baked-out bus with the Vermont plates belongs to former Democratic front-runner, Howard Dean. After another pitiful showing in Wisconsin this past week, Dr. Dean has finally decided to call it quits. After starting his campaign with a bang, Dean has done nothing but fade since he snapped after losing the Iowa Caucus to John Kerry-Heinz.
In Dean's announcement Wednesday afternoon he stated he was no longer "actively" pursuing the nomination for the Democratic Party. He also urged his supporters to continue a grassroots campaign and not sell themselves or their ideals short. After the required Democrat rhetoric about coming together to defeat Bush, it struck me that Mr. Dean was probably referring to the Nader effect. Discounting the ineptitude of Floridians, the Nader effect is what probably caused Al Gore to lose the 2000 election.
In the 2000 election it was the Democrats who lost votes to consumer awareness guru, Ralph Nader. Nader and his Green Party pulled their votes from the extreme left of the Democratic Party. After losing the election the Democrats appear to be bent on not letting any third party interfere with their shot at the White House. Dean has already sold himself out by warning his followers, most of whom probably voted for Nader in 2000 if they were old enough, to support the Democratic party and not stray from their party allegiance. If this happened the Democrats would face the same situation as in 2000.
An outspoken candidate who champions true reform, Ralph Nader has tremendous credentials and a powerful message. I don't personally think Nader could cut it as President (especially in the wake of 9/11), but I believe men like him could be exponentially more effective and successful if they aimed for the Senate or the House of Representatives. They have good ideas and are progressive, something that is often lacking in the stale atmosphere of Congress. The appearance of Nader in this election could mean trouble for the already shaky stability of the Democratic Party.
One would have to assume that Nader would capture a good number of the under-30 voters following of Dean. Nader would take the votes of the displaced idealists who would otherwise just settle and vote for the Democratic candidate. Essentially Ralph Nader is a protest vote against the monopoly of the two party system. Nader, or any third party candidate, doesn?t run to win, they run to get their issues some time in the spotlight of the national media. While this is a good strategy for raising social awareness, it results in the weakening of the hold Democrats have on the liberal vote. Conversely, Nader entering the race would result in the Bush camp licking their collective chops.
In the last few days there have been rumblings from the political world that Nader is planning on announcing his candidacy relatively soon. This announcement took place on Sunday's "Meet the Press." This means we are in for yet another election where a valid third party candidate will be ignored and eventually suck enough of the vote from the Democrats to have an effect on the end result of the election. Now that Nader has formally committed to the upcoming election, you can be sure the Democrats will plead with him to drop out or attempt to discredit him by paying absolutely no attention to him a la the 2000 campaign, where Gore essentially broadcasted his distaste for Nader by completely ignoring the man and quickly deflecting questions about him and his effect on the race.
So that's it, folks, the Nader effect; when a third party candidate steals enough votes from one of the major parties to make an impact on the election (though usually a favorable impact for the major candidate that is most unlike the third party candidate involved).
Now that Nader is in the mix, keep the Nader effect in mind and you'll sound smart when sipping martinis and discussing current political issues at the local pub. And, as we all know, that's what it's all about.


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