Nader will take votes from Kerry


    Ralph, just what do you think you are doing?

    In the 2000 election, you were the difference between winning and losing. While you constantly repeated the notion that the two main political parties are essentially saying the same thing, you nonetheless helped elect a neo-conservative (a man who fundamentally believes strongly in everything you hate) into office.

    As Howard Dean wrote in response to your recently announced campaign, “If George W. Bush is re-elected, the health, safety, consumer, environmental, and open government provisions Ralph Nader has fought for will be undermined.”

    There are many reasons that Nader should not be running in this campaign. With no Green Party supporting Nader, no third-party entity will be benefiting from his campaign. In addition, as columnist Michael Albert points out, Nader is strong (for liberals at least) on issues such as economics and foreign policy but remains very weak on issues such as gender, race and sexuality.

    I believe Nader squandered his support base by running away from criticism after the election about him, effectively helping George W. Bush win office and he has not remained a consistent public voice denouncing many conservative policies (even though this might be the media’s fault as much as Nader’s).

    Do I really think Nader will critically affect who wins the election this time around? Not really. However, I do think it is important for the liberals, moderates and classical conservatives who are angry with George W. Bush to get every vote they can get. In other words, I think many of us would be best served by taking an ‘anybody but Bush’ approach to the election.

    Nonetheless, the decision to support John Kerry was a very difficult one for me. I was not sure if I could vote for a man I disagree with on many significant issues and still look at myself in the mirror in the morning.

    Then came the constitutional amendment, a proposed billion and a half dollars earmarked to promote ‘marriage’ and an article that reminded me of Bush’s misuse, in his famous aircraft carrier speech, of a verse from Luke (a verse that announces the coming of the ‘Son of God’) that actually suggests that one can liken the United States’ presence in Iraq in the same light. Stated simply, I have many reasons to want Bush (and the conservative religious right) to lose the 2004 election.

    Yet, I readily admit that I might be a bit naive about this.

    A Democrat might very well be elected and then proceed to commit war crimes, mismanage the economy and succumb to corporate lobbying just like a Republican would. However, I can safely say that I am more frightened by the policies and ideology of Bush than I am excited about Kerry, so I think it is a risk I am willing to take. Thus, I will vote for John Kerry. I hope fellow liberals will do the same and avoid the Nader temptation.