Ralph Nader entered the presidential race again days ago. And, as usual, the Democratic candidates are not happy. Calling Nader’s move “very unfortunate”, Hillary Clinton said, “I remember when he ran before. It didn’t turn out very well for anybody — especially our country.” Apparently the Democrats blame him for taking away votes for Gore, which eventually put Bush into the White House. Now they fear that he might do the same thing again.
Nader’s response was: “I think the Democrats are taking away MY votes.” Exactly. Why don’t the Democrats blame that the Republicans are taking away their votes? It is unfair and definitely childish to blame Nader for putting Bush into the White House and eventually led the US into Iraq. Those who see a third party bidding on presidency as evil don’t know the first thing about democracy and the Constitution, which they often claim to be proud of. Take Michael Moore for example: in 2000 he was a strong supporter of Nader. In a rally, he said “the less evil between two evils is still evil. Vote with your passion!” Four years later, after the war, he made fun of people who were going to vote for Nader, and he urged people to vote for a Democrat candidate. Did Nader do anything to change his mind? Was Nader responsible for the policy of the Bush administration? No. Nader couldn’t foresee 9/11 or war on Iraq. The only reason for Moore to switch side is because he is scared and had a really bad high school education. That’s also the reason for Clinton and Obama to attack Nader: they are not even confident enough that regardless of Nader’s influence, they can still get enough votes and win against McCain. Can’t they even say “yes, you did damage before. But I think you have the right to run. And I will still win the race no matter what.” Now that’s a real president.
Ultimately, if Nader can get enough support required by the law, there is really no problem for him to run. The Constitution never mentions that the US is a two party system after all. One has to realize that there has to be some sacrifice to maintain a democratic system. One of the downside is that it can be slow to respond to problems. Take Bush’s bad policies for example. In some countries, there is one easy solution to them: a coup. Then the next leader can quickly switch policies, getting troops back or whatever. Is it profitable for a short term? It could be. But such system is definitely detrimental in a long term. Applying to this case, for short term benefit, the American people can simply amend the Constitution to only let two parties compete; or they can simply assassinate Nader. Problem solved. And quick. But is this country going in the right direction? I seriously doubt it.
Let’s face it: Nader is not going to win. He might bring some damage. But he simply can’t be responsible for whatever done by the next and the last president. Because after all, it is the American people (well, a great portion of them if not all) who put the president into the White House. There is a price to pay for democracy, and no system is perfect.