Feb 242008
Authors: Sean Reed

Some people never give up.

Democratic presidential candidates received sour news Saturday when former consumer advocate Ralph Nader announced that he will again run for president — as an independent.

According to CNN, Nader told reporters he was entering the race because of “big money and the closing down of Washington against citizen groups,” which he said prevent us from trying to improve our country.

And he wanted to make it very clear that he wants to improve our country.

However, his candidacy is likely to do anything but.

The five-time presidential candidate — counting his 1992 write-in candidacy — is best known for two things: a scathing consumer report on the Chevy Corvair titled “Unsafe at any Speed” and for ruining the Democratic Party’s chances in the 2000 election when he ran as the Green Party candidate.

Nader, of course, denies his reputation as a spoiler, and is especially certain he will not have too big an effect in this race.

“If the Democrats can’t landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form,” he told NBC on Sunday.

Of course, Democrats and Republicans alike are not so sure.

“Obviously, it is not helpful to whoever our Democratic nominee is,” said Hillary Clinton, echoing the sentiment of many within her party.

Republicans, too, sense the impact a Nader candidacy could have, but theirs is a more optimistic view, as was expressed by former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee.

“I think it always would probably pull votes away from the Democrats and not the Republicans, so naturally, Republicans would welcome his entry into the race,” Huckabee told CNN.

For all his denials of being a presidential spoiler, that’s exactly what his candidacy is about.

Ralph Nader will not be elected president of the United States. A Nader presidency is about as likely as President Larry Penley announcing tomorrow his undying love of Student Media.

And Nader knows it.

Instead, his bid in 2008 will be about the same thing it was in years past — stirring the political pot and reminding Americans and the major political parties that there are Americans that do not fit into the Republican/Democrat mold. And the only way to do it is by stealing voters from other parties.

The only reason either party will see the error of its ways and change to better suit the American public is if its dominance is challenged.

Unfortunately for the Democrats, the hit from a candidate like Nader is going to fall squarely on their shoulders.

However, the likelihood of his candidacy affecting Democrats’ chances is much smaller than in years past.

This time around, the Dems have a few things going for them that they didn’t the last couple of times around.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are, arguably, better and more inspiring candidates than the party has seen in years.

Currently, the Republican Party is fractured, struggling to reconcile frontrunner John McCain’s moderate politics with its conservative base.

Add to the mix the fact that George W. Bush’s approval is the lowest in American history, and things are looking pretty good for a Democratic victory.

However, Nader could still have significant swing.

Hopefully, though, the Democrats will take the time to learn from his candidacy, rather than denouncing it.

This is a perfect opportunity for them to see, firsthand, the dissatisfaction within the party and then to take steps to remedy it.

If they take this approach, there will be no stopping them in November.

Editorials Editor Sean Reed is a senior political science major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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