February 24, 2004

Should Nader Run?

For those arguing against Ralph Nader's Presidential bid, let me ask: what if Bush wins anyway and Nader is not a factor?

Everybody is saying that Nader and the Greens cost Gore the 2000 election, but you cannot deny that he had a right to run and nobody could have foreseen the consequences. For a start, Bush was positioned as a centrist with a moderate vision. Who knew it would come down to a handful of hanging chads and a shameful decision by the Supreme Court? Who could have foreseen this wildly radical militaristic agenda?

Nader has something very important to say and it's good that he will force environment issues, corporate influence and political corruption onto the debating table during the 2004 Presidential campaign. During normal times, assuming I was a US citizen, I would probably vote for him.

But of course these are not normal times and - whatever reservations I may have about Kerry - it would be irresponsible to vote for anyone but the Democratic contenter, since he is the only one with a real chance of ousting Bush.

But that doesn't mean that Nader shouldn't run. His bid is proof positive that real democracy is alive somewhere deep in the bowels of the USA and it should be an inspiration to all who value tolerance, free speech and genuine democracy. Respect him and applaud his courage. Just don't vote for him.

If Kerry's campaign flops and Bush wins comfortably, what then? Those who now criticize Nader's run may be blaming Kerry (and the rest of the Democratic Party) for not showing such courage. They may be wishing they had nominated the "unelectable" Dean or even Dennis Kucinich. And, if it comes to that, Nader's path may be the only serious option for 2008.


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