Sunday, February 24, 2008

Another Quixotic Nader Campaign

The entrance of Ralph Nader into the presidential campaign certainly doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Just as predictable will be the howls of indignant outrage from many timorous Democrats and liberals who apparently are so insecure that they actually fear that he might siphon off critical votes in a replay of the 2000 debacle. Nonsense!

As I’ve said before, it’s hard not to have conflicted feelings about his candidacy, especially in light of the dubious motives behind some of his financial backers and promoters, but I believe Ralph is correct in maintaining that if the Democrats can’t pull off a landslide victory in the next election, they might just as well “wrap up” and “close down” for good or merge into some different form because such an improbable rebuke would be proof positive that they’re obviously serving no useful purpose whatsoever.

The reality of the situation is that given the labyrinthine rules of the American electoral system, the almost insurmountable barriers to ballot access and the innumerable bureaucratic obstacles needed for any third-party or independent to mount a viable campaign, there isn’t a hope in hell that Nader will make the slightest bit of difference on the eventual outcome of the election, certainly not any more so than his inconsequential run in 2004 did. Nader is no fool and he most certainly has no illusions that his candidacy poses any serious threat, but that said, it’s still an important opportunity (perhaps the last one he’ll ever have) to air his grievances about the sorry state of democracy in America, the de facto collusion of the Democrats and Republicans to stifle dissent and thwart opposition from independent third-parties, the corrupting influence of corporate patronage, as well as the unconstitutional, criminal recidivism, military adventurism, etc. of the current regime.

As someone who’s incredibly disaffected by the current state of affairs in America and who has been deeply disappointed by the shiftless trimming, waffling and spinelessness of the Democrats over the past eight years (and long before that, actually), I’m quite looking forward to Nader being a nettlesome bother, an outspoken crank and an equal opportunity critic of the status quo.