Man Without Qualities

Monday, February 23, 2004

Candidate Nader

Ralph Nader is again running for president. Some astute observers believe it will probably not matter because the chances that the 2004 election will be as close as the one in 2000 are minuscule.

But I disagree that there is only a minuscule chance that Mr. Nader will matter. And I don't think it is right to dismiss Mr. Nader's effort as "monomania" or the like.

Yes, the election will probably not be as close this time out. And, yes, Mr. Nader will likely attract less support this time around. But in some large states - such as California - it is possible that the election could be close - and Mr. Nader's support in some of those states may be enough to make the difference in the state and therefore the entire national election.

That means that there is a reasonable chance that Mr. Nader may find himself in a position to prevent Senator Kerry from tacking towards the center (that is, towards the right). If Senator Kerry wants to co-opt Mr. Nader's natural constituency, the Democrat will have to tack fairly far left right up to election day. Depending on what polls are showing in late October/early November, Mr. Nader may be able to significantly affect the course and outcome of the election.

OK, ... he can't win the election. But he can hope for a reasonable chance of winning other things that matter to him and his constituency. There's nothing so wrong with that.

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