Third Party & Independents Archives

Nader and the Patriot Act?

Should the Patriot Act be considered a direct consequence of 2.8 million people voting for Nader in 2000? According to a Viveca Novack article on the Green Party , that’s what a provocative reporter asked at a national Green Party meeting.

Green Party officials of course disagreed, pointing to Gore's loss in his home state as a reason for Gore's loss. Like it or not, Ralph Nader's percentages now mean that the Democratic Party can no longer ignore the progressive wing anymore. In Texas, voting for Ralph Nader was a no brainer; George W. had already won the state, and Ralph Nader needed 5% to be considered a "viable candidate" nationally. But in other tossup states, a vote for Nader reflected a conviction that even Gore wasn't good enough.

The article hints that Kucinich might be a good Green candidate if he loses the primaries. The interesting question to me is whether the candidates for third parties are "kidnapped" from the two dominant parties (Buchanan, Anderson) or whether these candidates start out in the third party (Perot). The implications are enormous. If a candidate running for a Democratic Party primary jumps ship to the Green party (for example), it is suggesting that the dominant party is being torn asunder by divisions. But when candidates spring out of nowhere (Ventura, Perot, Nader), it suggests that Third Parties have something positive to run for, and are not merely putting pressure on the big cousin to be nicer.

I am reminded of the Saturday Night Live "Weekend Update" sketch where Jane Curtain reports (bogus) election poll results showing a quarter of respondents say they "don't know" to any poll question asked. If a third party candidate (or any candidate for that matter) ever convinced a large number of these "don't know" or "don't care" voters to vote, the US political landscape would be forever changed.

Posted by rjnagle at July 23, 2003 1:42 PM