Nader's Faders


Roger Simon, who spoke to Ralph Nader about 15 minutes before I did, is getting gobs of attention for an interview in which Nader said he might run in 2008 and he thinks Hillary Clinton is a coward. Shocking! And both things that Nader has said before without much hesitation. In Mother Jones, from March:

I think Hillary Clinton is a militarist. She is a political coward.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, from February:

Asked specifically if he would run in 2008, Nader said it is "too early to say. … (I'm) considering it. We're going to see what the Democrats come up with."

And the question of whether Nader will run in 2008 really isn't that interesting. His moment was in 2000. The left wing of the Democratic base was fractured, angry, let down by the Clinton administration. Nader was able to raise millions of dollars and run with the support of hardscrabble political strategists and a raft of lefty celebrities. He got 2.9 million votes. Four years later he tried to run again, and it was a meltdown: He fell off the ballot in a bunch of states, the lefty establishment stuck their shivs in him, and he got less than 400,000 votes. Not only did he fail to spoil any states, his vote plummeted in safe Dem states like Vermont: 20,374 in 2000, 4,494 in 2004.

I just don't see a scenario where Nader affects the 2008 election. The disgruntled voters on the right and in the middle are going to be looking at Bloomberg or, if the LP or a right-wing third party nominates a real candidate, one of those parties. (Someone who ran on the Constitution ticket with a few million and Pat Buchanan's message from 2000 could play well with the irate anti-immigration sector of the GOP base.) If Cynthia McKinney actually runs and wins the Green nomination, there's no doubt she'd get more votes than Nader.