As dissatisfied as I am with the Democratic Party, I've never found Ralph Nader to be an even remotely attractive alternative. He strikes me as a right-of-center, mildly insane megalomaniac. This morning, I saw him interviewed on ABC. During the interview, he talked about a new t-shirt being sold on his campaign website. The front of the t-shirt shows a picture of the liberty bell, along with the word "spoiler." The back reads, "Revolutionaries always spoil corrupt systems." Nader followed this by detailing how the Democrats have failed by allowing the Republicans to win at all levels of government for over a decade. If you're like me, all of this makes your head spin.
The first question I have is, what system does Nader think he is spoiling? No one with 2% of the vote is spoiling anything, and the fact that he may harm John Kerry's election chances in some key states doesn't make him a spoiler of the system, but a participant in it! This is particularly true if you take seriously Nader's point about the failure of the Democrats over the last ten years. The system has, according to Nader, consistently produced wins for Republicans at all levels of government. If Nader, by taking votes from Kerry, perpetuates this, is he spoiling the system, or making it more efficient? I can't see how anyone can believe its the former.
The secon question I have is, does Nader really believe himself to be a revolutionary? Though his anti-coporate ideas are not shared by most candidates from the two major parties, and his stance on Israel is controversial, most of his ideas are hardly new, much less revolutionary. In what world is a man who gets on state ballots through the concerted efforts of the ruling party considered a revolutionary? Is this man living on this planet? Has anyone considered prescribing him antipsychotics?
Why is it that third party candidates are so often strikingly delusional, not about their chances of winning elections, but about the way the world actually works?