Nader Nader Nader Nader Mushroom!

By Stephane Massinon

For the last three and a half years, American liberals have been eagerly anticipating the upcoming presidential election and the opportunity to show George W. Bush the door. Yet, as many of them have been figuring out, all is not well in the world of democracy.

As the jockeying for position to become the next candidate for the Democratic Party began, liberals had something to look forward to. They believed they could offer up a candidate who would drastically differ from the abhorred policies of the current president. Angered liberals, hungry for a change, looked at the menu of presidential hopefuls and knew they could choose someone would represent them. However, this became quite the democratic quagmire, as liberals forced themselves to make a difficult decision.

If you vote for someone that is too far left, you risk alienating a substantial portion of the vote. Meanwhile, the other option is to vote for the person that most closely resembles Bush and risk four years of status quo governance.

So far, the latter seems to be the preferred path of the Democratic voter.

As presidential-hopeful John Kerry continues to sweep the primaries state by state, his biggest asset is his perceived electibility. Liberals seem willing to overlook his record because they believe he stands the best chance of actually winning. Should he actually do so, will he be all that different than Bush? That’s debateable.

Two of his biggest criticisms of the current administration are its close ties to big business funding, and the never-ending problems occurring in Iraq.

However, both of these criticisms have a definite air of hypocrisy since Kerry also has special interest connections responsible for a sizeable portion of his fund-raising, and he also voted in favour of authorizing the President to go to war. As a veteran and decorated war-hero, Kerry believes he is better suited to lead the military effort in the Mid-East.

If these two issues were that important to the democratic voters, then the obvious choice would be to look elsewhere. For instance, Howard Dean’s funds came mostly from average Americans contributing less than $100. And he opposed the war in Iraq from its earliest stages to boot.

But Dean just didn’t look presidential enough, and voters are going to the Kerry camp, regardless of his record. So, in November, Americans will have the option to vote “right” or “right lite.”

Interestingly, it gets even more complicated.

Sun., Feb. 22 saw the well-known consumer advocate Ralph Nader announce he is throwing his independent hat into the ring, despite passionate pleas from Democrats to stay away, in order to give voters a real option. Now this may sound like a refreshing dose of democracy at work, but should he run again, it is believed he could take enough votes away from the Democratic candidate to give important states to the Republicans, as many people believe he did in 2000.

So, to recap, liberal voters who want to defeat George W. Bush should not vote for Nader, no matter if he’s the most appealing candidate, and should stick to someone who most closely resembles the very person they want to kick out of the Oval Office. If this strategy works, the best they can hope for is a new president who is only marginally different than the last, while the people who they really want to govern the country, and who most closely resemble their personal views, are left in the margins.

Funny how democracy works–or doesn’t.

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