Ralph Nader has once again decided that he must heed the will of the people by running for president. Or more precisely, he wants to launch a “Jeffersonian revolution,” which, given his platform, might surprise Thomas Jefferson.
At any rate, Republicans might be giddy at the prospect of Nader ’08. Mike Huckabee has already announced that the consumer advocate will take votes from the Democrats. Maybe, but probably not many. Nader’s share of the vote collapsed from 2.7 percent in 2000 to 0.38 percent in 2004, even though the 2004 Democratic ticket featured two episodic supporters of the Iraq war. In absolute numbers, Nader received a little more than half as many votes as he did in 1996, when he wasn’t on the ballot in most states, mostly refused to campaign, and spent just $5,000.
Liberals who voted for Nader in 2000 mostly felt burned after George W. Bush won Florida and then the presidency. Relatively few will want to make that mistake again. In 2000, Nader also won some nonliberal voters of the kind who were tempted by Ross Perot. Within four years, this group had mostly found better things to do. In 2008, such voters are more likely to pine for Michael Bloomberg or Ron Paul than be unsafe at any speed. Nader’s raiders might nibble at Hillary Clinton’s November vote totals, but St. Barack would have nothing to fear from the morose crusader.
UPDATE: This Matthew Yglesias post is probably pretty representative of how liberals will feel about Nader’s presidential campaign.
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