To preface, I will state for the record that I do not blame Ralph Nader for Al Gore's losing the electoral college in 2000. The simple fact is that we would be sitting here bitching about Gore's record as President today if he simply campaigned four years ago as if he desired the Presidency. As it stood, he ran as though he deserved the office for eight years of loyal service keeping his mouth shut under Bill Clinton.
Had Al Gore campaigned with a sense of urgency, voters would not have been so turned off by the prospect of choosing between him and George W. Bush that the Florida shenanigans that ultimately cost Gore the election would have resulted in a Federal Election commission investigation into the mass disenfranchisement of 95,000 Florida voters.
Yet people still blame Nader for the Bush Administration. Talk about revisionist history.
It seems hard to believe that Ralph Nader was once a respected consumer advocate whose tireless work led to dramatic improvements in consumer safety. Eventually Nader became a caricature of himself, jousting at windmills he thought were injustices and becoming a relic of a bygone era.
This is what makes his Presidential campaigns hard to digest for me. The time for Nader to run should have been in 1980-88, when the GOP was in the beginning stages of a courtship of the Christian Right that now threatens the basic tenants accorded to us in the Bill of Rights.
There is too much at stake this year to simply vote for Nader as a means of protest, although ultimately you may cast your vote however you choose. That is, if you agree with Nader's thinking. So far it seems as though Nader is trying to court the apathetic voters: the "Chicken Little Progressives" who sit at home and don't leave unless there's a protest somewhere; the contrarians who constantly complain about the state of the nation yet sit on their asses and do not try to affect change; anarchists easily swayed by the Nader cult of personality.
If you are thinking of voting for Ralph Nader, I urge you to read this(you may need to register or get a day pass) and think a bit harder. There's too much at stake this year to make a rash decision.