A Philosopher's Blog

The Nader Dilemma

Posted in Politics by Michael LaBossiere on February 25, 2008

Rumor has it that Ralph Nader plans to run for President once again. As most people will recall, Nader is often credited with keeping Al Gore out of the White House by “stealing” away votes that would have otherwise gone to Gore. Naturally enough, many conservatives are pleased that Nader is running. They know that although he might cost McCain a few votes, he is more likely to pull votes away from the Democrat’s candidate.

The Nader situation presents something of a dilemma.

On one hand, there is good reason to think Nader should run. By doing so, he provides a third party candidate and brings a greater degree of choice to the election. America has long had a two party system, thus leading to a feeble joke I recall from my undergraduate days:

Q: What’s the difference between Soviet and American politics?
A: One party and one candidate.

For those who grew up in a post Soviet world: the Soviets had a one party system in which everyone up for “election” was a communist and there was only one candidate per office.

While some independents do get elected from time to time, the United States is effectively a two party and two candidate country when it comes to many elections. You can pick anyone you want…just as long as s/he is a Democrat or a Republican.

It is ridiculous to believe that even most Americans fall neatly into one or the other parties in terms of their political views. As such, the two party system does not really provide Americans with a proper range of choices and representation. As such, having more alternatives seems desirable.

Obviously, building an effective party takes time (and money). Nader and any other third (or 4th) party candidate will certainly not win the upcoming election or any Presidential election for quite some time. But, without that building up period, there can be no viable 3rd (or 4th or 5th) party. Hence, it could be concluded that Nader should run.

On the other hand, since Nader has no chance of winning perhaps he should not run. By running, he will no doubt be pulling votes away from the Democratic candidate and thus aiding the Republican candidate. Thus, by voting for Nader, people are more likely to help McCain get into office-something his supporters would presumably oppose. After all, Nader’s views are generally closest to the Democrat’s party line. Thus, ironically, by voting for what they believe in they could end up helping put someone in office they disagree with. Of course, the Republicans will probably think Nader should run-for exactly these reasons.

7 Responses

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  1. dune23 said, on March 1, 2008 at 3:11 am

    Just as in 2000… and we saw who we got then!!!

    A vote for Nader was a vote for Bush.

    And now:
    A vote for Nader is a vote for McCain!


    If ya’ like going to war in the wrong country for no apparent reason vote McCain.

    Uhhh…lemme see… terrorists from Saudi Arabia flew planes into buildings on the direction of another Saudi in Afghanistan…. soooo….OBVIOUSLY… we should invade Iraq.

    Yep! Lemme have some more of that logic…. Maybe Bush can run as Vice-President…. Is that allowed? Because he and his staff are real geniuses.

    Remember folks, the ONLY reason Bush got the White House was because of Nader. Thus Nader can be blamed for: The Iraq War, The economy, The price of oil, and possibly even 9-11.(one can only guess on that last one) McCain is just as nutty as Bush but smarter which makes him more dangerous.

  2. magus71 said, on March 1, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Hey dune23, you forgot to mention the 16 UN resolutions that Saddam Hussein violated, not to mention the fact that one of the resolutions passed stated that Iraq would be subject to invasion if they violated ANY of the resolutions…

    Oh yeah, and then there’s this:

    “UN weapons inspector Blix expressed skepticism over Iraq’s claims to have destroyed its stockpiles of anthrax and VX nerve agent in Time magazine. Blix said he found it “a bit odd” that Iraq, with “one of the best-organized regimes in the Arab world,” would claim to have no records of the destruction of these illegal substances. “I don’t see that they have acquired any credibility,” Blix said. “There has to be solid evidence of everything, and if there is not evidence, or you can’t find it, I simply say, ‘Sorry, I don’t find any evidence,’ and I cannot guarantee or recommend any confidence.”

    Tell the families of the 180,000 Kurds that Saddam killed that you don’t care. Go ahead. Tell them that several thousands including little babies weren’t exposed to VX nerve gas and that they didn’t die in their mother’s arms in the middle of dirty streets.

    After you do that, go watch an Inconvenient Truth for the 40th time…

    But…since you’re a leftist I won’t hold you accountable for facts that don’t support your position.

  3. dune23 said, on March 2, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Funny thing is, we have been there for how many years and still no stockpiles of WMDs. The US approach to the UN was basically that we were going in, like it or not.
    In the meantime we now will be faced with Shiite Iraq uniting with Shiite Iran once we leave Iraq. Forget about Bin Ladin, what we did was destabilize the region forever. Even Rumsfeld said exactly that on a talk show in 1994 when he was asked why we didn’t plow into Bagdhad in Desert Storm.
    BTW….never saw Inconvenient Truth… I think for myself after weighing the facts.
    Since when are we the world police? What part of the lessons of Vietnam did we ignore? You cannot fight a war inside of a country’s borders and expect anything that even resembles victory. Heck, we got out of Vietnam and now tourists go there for a vacation.
    Going into Iraq was STUPID STUPID STUPID….oh yeah…did I say it was STUPID?

  4. magus71 said, on March 2, 2008 at 12:52 am

    1) Most countries in the UN backed a US invasion. The members of the security council that dissented were most notably France, who sold huge amounts of weaponry to Iraq, and Russia. Yup, good ol Russia, who was aiding Saddam right up until the beginning of the war, and who very likely helped Saddam remove WMD from Iraq. Look at this(it isn’t the only story like this) http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/2/18/233023.shtml

    2) Shiites uniting is destabilizing? You agree with Rumsfeld here because it serves your purpose. And, have you ever heard of the Iran/Iraq War? It was the longest mid-intensity war in modern history 1980-1988, so stability isn’t something that region is known for. Oh yeah…Saddam used WMD there too. Even though the war ended 20 years ago, since you predictably brought up Vietnam, which ended 33 yrs ago, I feel justified.

    3) I can see that you do a lot of thinking for yourself after reading your insinuations that Nader is in some way responsible for 9/11….

    4)We have been the world’s police since WWII.

    5) Vietnam and the Iraq War have one thing in common: They were both wars. Other than that, they are different in almost every respect, ranging from reasons for the invasions to terrain and outcomes.

    Combat Deaths in Vietnam: 47, 369
    Combat Deaths in Iraq War: 3,976

  5. magus71 said, on March 2, 2008 at 12:55 am


  6. dune23 said, on March 4, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Thanks for the story…it is quite interesting. I printed it so others may peruse it.

  7. magus71 said, on March 4, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    You’re welcome.

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