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Thursday, June 10, 2004

Stop Me Before I Nader-Bash Again 

I am almost willing to admit that Ralph Nader isn't the worst person in America. Almost, but not quite. And an article in Salon today provides some more grist for my mill:
Nader insists his Republican backers are real. To find out more, I spent a good chunk of time over the last few weeks talking to Nader supporters in New England. I attended Nader meetups, Nader volunteer meetings, Nader campaign events and Nader press conferences. I spoke with Nader supporters who are still in high school, and Nader supporters with gray hair. I talked to people who have admired Nader since the 1960s, and others who first heard of him last year. I found Nader supporters who have voted for him multiple times, Nader supporters who have never voted, and Nader supporters who voted for Al Gore in 2000.

What I did not find, however, was a single supporter of Ralph Nader who voted for George W. Bush in 2000, or who had been planning to support Bush this year before Nader entered the race. After a while, I felt like a stymied naturalist stalking a rare species. Sure, Naderus Republicanus must exist somewhere, but it is an unusual creature, capable of eluding human observation for long stretches of time.
Okay, this sort of journalistic methodology (you know, talking to actual people) wouldn't make the grade at the American Political Science Review, and I don't actually think that people should go around taking journalists' word for the existence (or non-existence) of trends. But this is just one more piece of evidence militating against Nader's claim to support from the political right. Clearly, Nader isn't interested in evidence: he makes decisions based on faith and self-righteousness, just like George W. Bush. Nader supporters should realize how much they have in common with the Bush voters they despise.

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