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Posted: 9/28/2004 21:17
Last Updated: 9/15/2008 11:12

Nader 'The Shepherd for the Political Left'
Trae Dorn
Originally Appeared in The Flip Side Volume 2, Issue 2 - September 29 - October 12, 2004
What Ralph Nader is Really Hoping to Achieve

On Thursday, Sep. 16, Ralph Nader appeared before a packed Schofield Auditorium. Campaigning in his seemingly umpteenth presidential bid, Nader presented an interesting, educated, and most of all energizing speech. Some have asked, "If he can't win this election, why is he bothering to run?" though, and that I hope to answer.

First off, if you think that Ralph Nader is running out of an attempt to win an election, then I'd have to say you're incredibly naive (or just borderline retarded). This campaign is not about Nader winning. It's about restoring the Democratic Party to its principles. Now, I know, you may be saying "Trae, you frickin' weirdo, what the heck are you talking about?" but stay with me.

Some people may be foolish enough to claim that Nader caused Gore to lose the 2000 election, but polling data shows that significantly more Democrats broke party lines and voted for Bush than Independents and Democrats who voted for Nader combined. Remove Nader from that equation, and Gore still loses.

The Democratic Party has slowly swung itself more and more to the center over the last thirty years. As this has happened, many left-wingers have been effectively taken for granted by the Democratic Party. And while the true leftists keep voting for Democrats, their views are wholly under-represented in American policy and government.

The longer this group feels under-represented, the more the level of voter apathy within this group will increase. The more this apathy increases (and therefore turnout decreases), the more the Democratic Party will shift to the center to pick up more votes.

What Nader does is take these disenfranchised voters and give them a cause again. He's unapologetic, throwing out phrases like "Wal*mart is the most unpatriotic company in America," and says that we shouldn't be "a government of the General Motors, by the Exons, for the DuPonts." He gives people hope for a progressive government.

And this scares the crap out of the Democrats. The Democrats, not being without intelligence, realize that this message could start draining their voter base. In reaction to the Nader campaign, the Democratic Party must slide back to the left to prevent the votes from leaving their camp.

And that, my friends, is exactly what Nader wants. The whole point of the Nader campaign is, again, not winning, but instead restoring the political left.

Ironically, as Democrats sit and fret about the so-called "Nader Effect," the most damage it may be doing is instead to the Republican Party. While most people are aware of Republican support for Nader as a candidate, most think it's due to ulterior motives. While that may be partially true, there has also been a growing rural movement towards Nader in typically Republican areas. And where Democrats are reacting in some degree to recapture lost votes, the Republican Party has not responded themselves.

Nader will not gain the title of President of the United States of America at the end of this election, but that doesn't mean he will not have won.

Trae Dorn
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