Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Kodos


New at Reason: Jesse Walker sticks a pin in the anti-Nader liberals.

NEXT: Above the Law

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  1. I fully believe Jesse when he says his affection for Nader’s candidacy is not born of partisanship. In fact, based on what Jesse has written previously, I would say it’s more like it’s more due to his utter lack of partisanship as well as because he really does more or less see elections as being little different than performance art, if I’ve read him accurately enough. And he’s got a point there, too. I think people get too worked up over elections myself. But then, I don’t think elections are meaningless, and unless one does, it’s easy to see why Democrats are displeased with Nader’s threat to run, even if their mouth frothing over it perhaps goes a bit far.

    BTW, I wouldn’t say Nader is being criticized simply “because he’s not willing to endorse a candidate whose platform he opposes,” but rather because he’s working to the detriment of the party that he has, I’m fairly certain, admitted that he prefers. Working against one’s own interests may make for more interesting and entertaining performance art, but it understandably opens you up to criticism from those who share those interests.

  2. I’m a little concerned about Jesse’s indifference towards voting.

    If everyone had this attitude, states would never change from one majority to another.

  3. If Nader were to run a campaign based on growing the size of the Green Party, I really wouldn’t hold it against him. But the man chose to play the spoiler by concentrating his efforts in the fall of 2000 in the closest swing states, which led him to ignore those states, like New York and California, where he had the greatest potential to maximize his vote total and grow his movement.

    Jesse does a good job of defending a campaign that never existed.

  4. It doesn’t matter which one of us you vote for. Either way your planet is doomed!

  5. As a right-leaning Libertarian, I support G.W. in the next election.

    It seems now that the best way to support G.W. is to send money to Ralph Nader!

    Perhaps Ralphie will be tricky this time and pull out of the race at the last moment and give John Boy a strong endorsement.

  6. Ben Stein apparently donated to Nader. Stein is a Republican.

    Now Nader and I have something in common: We’ve both won Ben Stein’s money! 🙂

  7. As long as we’re talking about spoilers, here’s my ultimate dream for an LP Presidential candidate:

    A few weeks before the election go to the closest swing state, and announce that if either Bush or Kerry will endorse a list of reforms then the LP candidate will cease all campaign activity in that state and encourage his supportes in that state to vote for whoever endorsed the reforms.

    It need not be the whole kit and kaboodle. (If it was it would be ignored.) Maybe he could even make the list flexible (e.g. list 5 reforms, and demand that Bush or Kerry endorse at least 4 of them). Whatever. Point is, the LP candidate should go to a place where his share of the electorate has a lot of clout, and try to leverage that clout.

    Yes, I know, it’s unlikely that an LP candidate would do that. And yes, I know, it’s unlikely that Bush or Kerry would actually endorse the reforms, let alone follow through on such a promise. And yes, I know, Libertarian voters are prickly sorts who would be apt to ignore the advice of the candidate and vote their conscience anyway.

    However, there’s a decent chance that the LP candidate would get some serious publicity for it. A lot of people who had never heard of libertarianism would hear about it. Also, if Bush refused to endorse some reasonable reforms it would provide a damning indictment against the GOP, and ammo for libertarians the next time somebody says “Don’t throw your vote away by not voting for the Dem or the GOP.”

    My list of reforms? It’s modest, but significant:

    1) End all farm subsidies.
    2) Repeal a handful of federal gun laws and not replace them with any sort of comparable measure. (Not knowing much about guns I keep this one vague, somebody else here can fill in the blanks.)
    3) A 10% cut for ALL income tax brackets.
    4) A 10% spending cut.
    5) End the federal ban on medicinal use of marijuana.
    6) Repeal the Patriot Act.
    7) Halve all tarriffs.

    If I were the LP candidate I’d demand that Bush or Kerry endorse at least 5 of these 7 items to get me to stop contesting swing states.

    I steered clear of foreign policy and stuck to areas where most self-described libertarians agree. Compared to what most libertarians demand this is incredibly modest, but in the present political climate it would be bold.

    OK, I can dream. Point is, it would be interesting to see an LP candidate try to wield some clout in a close race. I heard of a state LP chapter in WA or OR (forget which) threatening to run a spoiler against any GOP state legislator who voted for a tax increase, so I think such strategies have their place.

  8. thoreau’s little thought experiment runs up against the reality that, in many states, achieving a certain minimum percentage in the presidential election popular vote will guarantee the local LP access to their state’s ballot as an “official party” in the next election cycle. Discourage enough of the already too-few voters willing to vote for the Libertarian candidate, and activists in such a state will have to spend precious time and money to get back on the ballot. Ballot access already consumes too much of the LP’s resources, as I’m sure many reading this are already well aware of.


  9. I think it is time that Hit and Run officially retire that quote, that’s like the millionth time I have read it here.

  10. kevrob-

    Good point. I guess that any such experiment would have to be done in a state where the Presidential vote isn’t a factor in future ballot access matters. I don’t know how many/few states there are.

    Factor in the requirement that it be a strongly contested state, and as we increase the number of criteria the list of candidate states quickly diminishes…

  11. Nader is NOT getting his due.

  12. Yep, $850. My episode aired in October of 2001. I made it to the final round with $850, but Ben beat me 5-4.

  13. thoreau, you won ben stein’s money?

  14. I blame George Bush, Ralph Nader for everything wrong in our society.

  15. I blame George Bush, Ralph Nader for everything wrong in our society.

  16. I blame George Bush, Ralph Nader for everything wrong in our society.

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