To Name Three: McCain, Hillary, Obama

Who’s Afraid of Ralph Nader?

That leaves 2000, when his performance swelled to 2.7 percent, with 2.8 million popular votes (and a nine-to-one margin over that year’s Libertarian candidate). The 2000 election will almost assuredly be Nader’s legacy: Long ago, a “he cost Al Gore the presidency” narrative took hold, something that — as Russert’s questions on Sunday indicated — Nader will never shake.

As Nader tried mightily to express on Sunday, the “blame Nader” reading of the 2000 results represents a dramatic oversimplification of a complex set of circumstances. There were hundreds of thousands of Democrats in Florida alone who voted for George W. Bush, for instance, just as there was the miserable campaign that Gore waged, which led to his defeat in numerous winnable states, including his own Tennessee. And the presence of several right-leaning third-party candidates — like Pat Buchanan and Browne the Libertarian — could also be blamed for Bush’s narrow losses in New Mexico, Wisconsin and Iowa, the same way Nader is blamed for Gore’s loss in Florida.

But the most glaring problem with this idea is the assumption that Nader’s votes must automatically represent people who would otherwise have supported Gore. Logically, this makes sense, given the audience that is likely to be swayed by Nader’s left-of-center message. But politics is never this rational. (Just consider the hordes of anti-Iraq-war independents who have voted in G.O.P. primaries for John McCain — the war’s staunchest Congressional defender.)

Emphasis added by me.

That’s correct. You couldn’t have paid me enough to buy my vote for those other candidates.

When you grow up, when you become an independent adult, you vote for who you want to see in office.

Children vote with a “who can win” mentality.

Isn’t it time for the American voter to grow up?

I think it’s overdue.

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