Ralph Nader’s announcement that he will be a candidate for the US presidency at this year’s election has, predictably, polarised opinions.
“The candidate is a brilliant man of the highest integrity,” writes James Wagner in a thought-provoking post on the announcement:
He has been absolutely correct on every issue with which his candidacy has been associated, but the fundamental issue which underlay everything he stood for in each of these elections and which underlies it today is the most important of all: The stranglehold of corporate power over the nation’s political institutions and the economy. Nader is properly disgusted with the Republicans and Democrats equally on this issue.
No other candidate, compromised as they are, can or will ever address this problem, but until it is addressed and resolved there will be no real change, This is the strength of the argument and the campaign identified with a man who, remarkable as it may be, seems to have no personal ambitions for political office.
Not everyone is as happy to have Nader on the Ballot as James. Joe. My. God repeats the bizarre allegation (well, it’s bizarre to me) that Nader’s 2000 candidacy was responsible for Bush’s win.
For those who don’t remember, in 2000 Bush “won” Florida by less than 500 votes after Nader took 97,000 votes. And here we are in this mess.
Most of the commenters on JMG agree. Nader is a “fuckhead”, an “asshole”, an “old fool”, an egomaniac, a “sad, pathetic little man”, a “creepy weirdo”. He’s “dangerous”, “crazy”, a “jackass”, a “psycho” and (this is my favourite) responsible for the death of countless Iraqi children (Nader got Bush elected, Bush started a war, therefore Nader is a baby murderer).
It’s extraordinary to me that, in a country that makes such a hoo-ha about democracy, and where the quaint idea that “anyone can become President” is a commonplace, there can be so much anger over the fact that one of the country’s most talented and extraordinary citizens would have the temerity to seek public office.
(Admittedly, the US presidential election system does leave a lot to be desired, as I outlined in this post in 2000.)