Backing the winner

I’ve been talking to a few people about the shambles in Florida and one of my friends said “Well, if all those people hadn’t voted for that no-hoper Ralph Nader this whole mess would be sorted out by now”. Now the way I see it you cannot blame an outside candidate for ‘stealing’ votes from a larger candidate. The whole point of Democracy is to vote for the person you believe in. This is an election not a football match, and the electorate are not punters in a bookies looking to see which one’s most likely to win so they’re not on the losing side. That’s just my view. I know there have been other threads which have touched upon this but my specific question is this:

Do you think that it is right to begrudge Ralph Nader (or any other outside candidate for that matter) the votes they fairly won just because they took away votes which almost certainly would have gone to a candidate you support? Also, do you feel that Nader was being hypocritical by not urging people to vote for Gore? After all, many people who would vote for Nader would put Al Gore as their second choice because they are more similar than, say, Nader and Bush. If he knew he had no hope of winning then shouldn’t he have

a) Dropped out


b) Started to support Gore?

If he had done then he would be helping the majority of his voters ‘second choice’ get in. So was he wrong not to?

I’ll check on this thread tomorrow, I’m off to bed.

FWIW, there were about a bazillion threads (give or take) on this topic in the week or so before the election. I’m too lazy to search for 'em all, so I’ll just link my own.

Hope that helps.

before the election, before the damage was done. Oddly enough, I haven’t even thought about him since. Sort of a case of the damage being done.

(Except when I saw James Carville speak of him with contempt over the weekend, saying that if Nader entered the room, he’d leave it.I love James Carville, btw. I could listen to him talk all day, and I’m sorry we don’t see much of him. I would also be fascinated to know how the hell he and his wife keep that marriage happy…)


Yes. Al Gore and George Bush, as the duly appointed candidates of the established parties, are the only legitimate choices.

Yes. Seeing as how the Democrats are the sole arbiters of liberal thought, anyone who claims to be liberal yet does not support the Democrats is a hypocrite.

Yes. It is completely up to major figures in America, such as Ralph Nader, to make decisions regarding political strategies. The American public are incapable of making these choices on their own, and bear no responsibility for their own actions.

VoiceofReason - Cool, another voice of reason. I was starting to get a little lonely. :wink:

The thing that’s really, really disturbed me about all the propaganda about a vote for Nader being a vote for Bush" (which it isn’t, as I’ve already explained twice, but it’s old news so I’ll let it drop) was the implication that Gore was entitled to a victory. Gore himself urged Nader voters to switch, which I feel was incredibly galling (in a campaign that had plenty of galling moments on both sides).

By any objective measure, Nader was a FAR better choice than either Gore or Bush. But because he didn’t have the big money…i.e., refused to be bought off by corporate interests…or media exposure, and because he was fighting the entrenched attitudes of “wasted votes” in the minds of too many voters (never mind the actual 100 million votes which were wasted because they were not cast) AND the single most despicable smear campaign in my memory, he didn’t have a chance. Despite this, however, he received over 2 million votes, which goes to show you that there are some voters out there with some courage.

Now that both major parties are quickly racing to the bottom in their winner-take-all Florida slugfest, I am more convinced than ever that neither Gore nor Bush deserves the time of day, much less my vote. No, I will not blame Nader supporters if Bush wins. No, I will not blame Buchanan or Browne supporters, either. Yes, I’m disgusted at how “stealing votes” was allowed to become an issue at all.

Hey, now, that’s a bit of a reach. I disagree (strongly) with that statement, and I doubt I’m the only one.

The “Anybody who votes for one of the major party candidates is a silly, mindless sheep,” dogma is just stupid, IMO. I’ve maintained, as have others in the other (numerous) threads on this topic, that valid reasons exist to vote for either Gore or Nader, should one find himself torn.

What third parties seem to do these days is keep the two major parties from straying too far from their corners. Head too far to the center, and those on the extreme will get pissed and try to branch off. They likely won’t succeed, but they will hurt you with their efforts. The major party will feel some desire to try to recapture those it lost. I don’t really see a problem with that.

Hmmm. Well, objectively, the best candidate should oppose gun control, be in favor of increased military spending, return education policy to the states, support internatioal trade, and lower taxes.

Since Nader did not support any of these issues he is, by any objective measure, a worse choice than either Bush or Gore.

brad - I never claimed that major party voters were all mindless sheep (although I’m pretty sure someone did). I honestly looked at the candidates, considered the consequences of each gaining the highest office in the land, and in the end I decided that neither Gore nor Bush deserved it. And I happen to think that preventing the major parties from drifiting too close to the center (which happened long before now) is an admirable goal. Call me un-American, but sometimes there are some things more important than just winning.

Lemur - Objectively, you should consider all the policies that each candidate is going to bring to the office. Sorry, but you’re voting for the whole man no matter what. Bad things happen when a candidate’s few good qualities are allowed to overshadow his bad ones…heck, look at Clinton.

Listen…we all made our decisions and, however this election turns, we’ll live with them. That’s all we can do at this point.

You’re right, and I’m sorry if it looked like I was accusing you of that - it wasn’t my intent.

I agree with you that keeping the parties from drifting so close that they’re indistinguishable is admirable. I think we may be more or less on the same side of this debate, except that there’s no way I’d ever vote for Nader or someone of his far-left ilk. :slight_smile:

And, yes, there are things more important than winning. I do not fault those who chose to vote for a third-party candidate. The process of dragging one of the major parties back closer to its side seems to involve doing it some damage (read: alienating enough of its voters that the party loses an election it might otherwise have won). Best way to get the attention of a major party that I can think of…

I also do not fault those who liked Nader, but wanted to have a say in who is President from 2001-2005 and thus voted for Gore. The correct answer for any given voter depends on whether now or 8-12 years down the road is more important. Either conclusion is valid.

What really got my gander up (and, again, I apologize for appearing to accuse you of this) is the haughty “third-party attitude” that some extremists seem possessed of (majority party voters == stupid). Being in the minority is hardly a guarantee of correctness, despite what some would have you believe.

DKW said:

Um, what is so galling about one candidate urging people to vote for him instead of another candidate? Isn’t that kind of what campaigning is all about?

I don’t blame Nader himself for anything - he’s just one man with an oversized ego.

Certain groups of Nader’s VOTERS have things to answer for, though, and I’d love to get a reasoned rebuttal from any of them.

The groups I mean are:

  • Those who thought they were applying pressure to bring the Dems farther to the left. They’re naive in thinking they had the popular support to do it, in thinking that a non-centrist party can win in the first place or can get a non-centrist agenda implemented if it does.

  • Those who agreed with his platform that the 2 major parties are hopelessly corrupt and interchangeable. They’re naive for thinking that shrill ideologuism can get anything changed, and that anything can get done without going through the compromises that are an intrinsic part of the political process. Fixing the system requires working within the system. Nader and this group of his supporters were essentially standing outside and yelling “You suck!” at the people trying to get work done.

  • Those who simply wanted Nader to get 5% of the vote, or were otherwise trying to game the election, so he could get federal funding the next time. How does that square with “reforming the system” ? They’re both naive and hypocritical. And what good did federal funding do Buchanan, while we’re at it?