As the volatile 2008 presidential campaign is already in full swing, students are still hard pressed to believe the late arrival of independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader will have any significant resonance in determining the president.
Despite Nader’s critical comments about Obama and Clinton’s campaigns, most students don’t believe the negative remarks and tension between him and the Democratic candidates will have any considerable effect on the race.
“I don’t think anything he says, unless it is outrageous, is going to make that big of impact,” said Bobby Carson, editor-in-chief of the Ram Republic, a conservative newsletter. “I don’t think the candidates are scared about it; they know his track record.”
Other students say there is little to expect from the man who has run for president five times previously — if you count his 1992 write-in campaign. Nader won 2.74 percent of the popular vote in 2000, then 0.38 percent of the popular vote in 2004.
“I think people already have a set view of who they are going to vote for,” said Ramey Hanna, who is getting his masters in student affairs.
Brianna Scheibel, a sophomore technical journalism major, said she believed the public’s reaction to Nader’s entrance might be hard to predict.
“It depends on who you are as a person, and if you believe in low blows,” said Scheibel. “It could be a positive or negative thing. People could look at (Nader) negatively or they could agree with him.”
Al Leonard, vice president of the Environmental Active Collection, is glad another candidate is entering the race, and hopes Nader will increase representation for other viewpoints.
“It’s the responsibility of the government to appeal to the people and clearly it’s been missing half of the population somehow,” Leonard said. “I think we need more candidates and a less up-front assumption of who is viable. Why are we shoeing in people that are ruling a dynasty?
“I would almost vote for someone with a lower percentage (of support) instead of (voting for) the lesser of two evils.”
Leonard added that he hopes Nader’s entrance will bring more young voters to the polls by focusing on issues like the environment.
“(Nader) has generated some ecological issues that a lot of students are aware of, but I don’t think he has hit the larger population,” Leonard said. “Part of the Green Party’s failings is that people are going to assume it has one angle. You want somebody with a variety of fronts they can work with.”
Senior Reporter Kaeli West can be reached at email@example.com