US Election 2008: Nader will not defeat the Democratic Party. Only the Republicans can pull off that trick.

By | March 29, 2008

Source: ShutterstockAs the US election draws nearer, the Democratic Party of the US is preparing for defeat, and laying the groundwork to sweep itself out of power, out of office and off the radar for another few years with the pre-emptive tagging of Ralph “The Grinch” Nader as the reason for their loss.

It’s baffling to someone familiar with multi-party contests. The presumption that Nader voters would automatically attend the polls and vote Democratic in the absence of Nader is would work in a compulsory voting scenario with only two candidates. Pity America runs voluntary voting, so it doesn’t really hold water. A vote for Nader isn’t a misplaced vote for someone else, it’s a conscious choice to show up to the voting booth and vote for the Independent. No Independent, no reason to get out and vote.

Ralph “One Man Band” Nader’s run for president will not be the reason for a Democratic candidate to lose in 2008, unless and until you’re caling Ralph Nader “Mr President”. In which case, fair point, Democrats were schooled by Nader (along with the Republicans).

If McCain wins in 2008, it’s McCain who caused Obama or Clinton to lose. Not Nader. If more people voted McCain than voted Democratic Party, then the Democratic Party should blame the Republicans for the loss. They mobilised more people, voted faster, better and more frequently (and with better technology).

If you want to beat the Republican, get more votes than the Republican guy. Do that by mobilising more Democratic voters who vote Democratic, and not by presuming that you have a moral entitlement to the votes for any of the third party candidates – . That’s the equation. Stick to it.

Footnote 1: In Florida, in 2000, 138067 voters chose to vote for people who were neither Bush nor Gore. Nader’s 97,421 was the lion’s share, but that’s only 71% of the third party votes. Given Gore lost Florida by a fraction of the 40646 votes that went to non-Nader independent votes, Nader’s not the deciding issue. More people voting Republican than Democratic was the deciding issue.

Footnote 2: If Gore had taken his home town, Florida was never an issue. Failing to capture a home town win cost Gore the election. If he’d taken his home state, he’d have taken the country, even with the Florida loss. When the VP running for President can’t win their own home game (or the outgoing President’s home state either), they’ve made bad tactical blunders somewhere. Gore should never have needed Florida if the Democratic Party had done the job back in Tennessee.

  • Bush 271 to Gore 266 (Final Score 2000)
  • Bush 260 to Gore 277 (Tennessee 11 point difference)

Footnote 3: Stolen or not, the election should not have hinged on Florida. If it was stolen, the election should not have been graciously conceded, it should have been a bloody and bitter battle until the last ballot. Either way, the losses came from being monstered at the ballot box, and/or being monstered in the post-election recounts.

Footnote 4: If the US elections used a real electoral system, it wouldn’t matter if there was more than two choices at the ballot box.

This post brought to you by reading Wolfrum’s post over at Shakesville, and more than a few posts around the blogosphere bemoaning a democratic election for President of the USA being contested by more than two candidates. The solution is preferential voting people. It’s the only way.