How big an impact will Ralph Nader have in the 2004 Presidential Election?
Regardless of whether you think Nader cost the Dems the last election, or that Gore simply ran a mediocre campaign — it was his to lose, and so he did — one thing is apparent: the Kerry camp is looking to avoid a repeat of 2000. And the Democrats, through a combination of pressure and legal challenges designed to keep Nader from getting on the ballot in as many important states as possible are the modus operandi.
WSJ: “The Nader foes agree on one thing: Vice President Gore handled the Nader challenge poorly in 2000, when he and the Democratic Party largely ignored Mr. Nader and the issues he raised. “Everyone looks back and says if we had done a campaign [to woo Naderites], there’s a very good chance George Bush would not be president,” says Toby Moffett, a former Connecticut congressman.”
“Mr. Kerry is keeping some distance between himself and the anti-Nader organizing. Indeed, Mr. Kerry made a public show of respect for Mr. Nader by meeting him for a one-hour session recently, a favor Mr. Nader repaid by calling the expected Democratic nominee “very presidential.” But one Democratic official involved in the anti-Nader effort says there is an “intense” debate within the Kerry camp about how to confront Mr. Nader. Some argue that one meeting was sufficient. Others believe Mr. Kerry ought to engage Mr. Nader as a way to compete for Nader supporters.”
And the worm turns . . .
Note: Back in March, we looked at the Projected Impact of Nader on Close States, 2004. The focus of that discussion was hte tight race in Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon and Wisconsin.
For a more recent state by state analysis, see the table of our May 26th entry: “Battleground States.”
Nader garners no more than 3% in his strongest states, and a remains a less than 2% candidate in most places. That’s enough to cause some mischief in a tight race — but not much more.
UPDATE: June 4, 2004, 10:50
I rarely find Jay Leno all that funny — but this throwaway line made me laugh:
“Attorney General John Ashcroft said today that Al Qaeda is determined to attack the United States sometime this summer. He said the terrorists may do it to try to influence our Presidential election. So Al Qaeda is basically like Ralph Nader, only with more followers.” -Jay Leno
Democrats Remember 2000
Grass-Roots Groups Don’t Want Nader to Be Raider This Time
By SHAILAGH MURRAY
WSJ, June 2, 2004; Page A4