Once again Ralph Nader is launching a presidential campaign he can’t possibly win. Why? What can he possibly hope to achieve, apart from helping John McCain? The fact is, while Nader can’t win, he could very well deliver us four more years of Bush-Cheney policies.
Not many people aside from his most fervent supporters would call Nader a likeable person, which raises his first problem: To win, he’d need to convince tens of millions of people to vote for him, rather than the candidates of the two main parties. He simply can’t do that. There are too many people who dislike him, and his lack of warmth won’t attract new voters to make up the difference.
Then there’s the arithmetic: No third party candidate has won the presidency since Abraham Lincoln in 1860, and it’s probably impossible for Nader to do so. He’d have to, first, qualify for the ballot in states with enough Electoral Votes to win, and it’s doubtful he can. Then, he’d have to convince at least a plurality of the voters in all those states to vote for him, which I don’t believe he can do (see above).
What Nader can do is siphon off enough votes in close states to deliver those states to McCain and the Republicans, just as he helped deliver Florida to Bush in 2000. But even when he doesn’t do that, he helps to weaken the Democratic nominee by reinforcing Republican propaganda that the Democrats and their candidate are bad. This he did in both 2000 and 2004, helping the Bush campaign again.
Democrats and Republicans alike know all this. Among Republican candidates, Mike Huckabee was at least honest about it when he told CNN "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."
Indeed, in 2004 the Democratic Party worked openly to keep Nader off state ballots and it was common knowledge that the Republican Party funded efforts to get Nader on them. They will spare no expense to help Nader this time, either, because his campaign will help theirs.
If Ralph really cares about America as he says he does, and if he really wants to see the country change as he claims, then he ought to do the right thing and stop helping to elect Republicans. Retire, Ralph. America doesn’t need you, and the people who want to see freedom restored to America don’t want you. But the Republicans do.