Nader Gives Up On Challenging Obama

Ralph Nader, the man who helped give us George Bush and the Iraq War, has conceded defeat in his activities which would increase the chance of making Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, or Newt Gingrich our next president. The Hill reports that Nader has given up on his attempt to launch a primary challenge against Barack Obama. “I hate to say but it’s over,” Nader told The Hill. One can only hope that this applies to Ralph Nader’s involvement in politics and not only his current activities.

Nader held the naive view that challenging Obama would move the country towards the left. The Hill commented on this fallacy:

Presidential history, however, suggests that a primary challenge would have weakened Obama.

Presidents Ford, Carter, and George H.W. Bush all faced primary challenges during their reelection campaigns and all lost in the general election. Some political analysts also attribute Vice President Al Gore’s defeat in 2000 to former Sen. Bill Bradley’s primary challenge.

Others have also pointed to Nader’s 2000 bid as a spoiler for Gore. In the swing state of Florida that year, Nader received 97,488 votes. Gore officially lost the Sunshine State by 537 votes.

Nader was also naive enough to be surprised by opposition to his efforts from the White House. The move of the New Hampshire primary to early January is also cited as  interfering with Nader’s efforts, but I doubt they would have been successful even if this was not done.

While some on the left have also considered a challenge to Obama, others realize the folly of such efforts:

While parts of the left are dismayed with Obama, there are many leading progressives who believe a primary challenge would be political suicide.

The co-chairmen of the House Progressive Caucus, Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), have both said the Democratic Party needs to be 100 percent behind Obama.

Ellison in September claimed a primary opponent would “undermine our unity, and we need everybody in the same boat.”

Former Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) this week said that Nader “bears a lot of the responsibility for George W. Bush for eight years” and scoffed at the effort to challenge Obama from the left.

Obey told The Hill, “I mean let’s get serious: We have the gravest threat to progressive government that I have seen in all the years I’ve seen in politics.

“And if Obama can’t win in the next election, progressivism will take a huge, huge hit. Anybody who wants to nitpick with him as the nominee of our party is smoking something that isn’t legal. It’s ridiculous. I mean we will rise or fall based on how Obama does.”

The best way to bring about liberal change would be to consolidate the reforms made by Obama and attempt to achieve more in the future. There are no faults in the actions of Barack Obama which would be improved upon by helping a Republican become our next president.


  1. 1
    Larry says:

    Nader Gives Up On Challenging Obama #p2 #p21 #topprog

  2. 2
    sonnje says:

    “@RonChusid: Nader Gives Up On Challenging Obama #p2 #p21 #topprog”

  3. 3
    Gaius Sempronius Gracchus says:

    Mostly, that was Big Al’s fault.

    Such an arrogant dick.

    And he let Bush play the peacnik against his defense of Clinton’s intervention in the Balkans.

    That was just weird.

    Particularly given the results.

  4. 4
    kim carsons says:

    The idea that Nader lost the election is a fallacy created by the two party system who want to retain power, and narrow the debate to a purely neo-liberal agenda. In Europe three+ party systems are the norm, and in Australia the Greens are in a position of holding the balance of power in the Senate. Mostly because we have a preferential system rather than first past the post, which consolidates power to the major “oligarchies”.
     Gore lost by 540 votes, so conceivably any party on the ticket could have sucked his oxygen, not to mention the 1000’s of Democrats that voted Bush.
    The idea the it’s Nader’s fault we had Bush’s wars is a smokescreen for an entrenched military industrial complex that has infiltrated the major parties. Who should we blame for OBama’s wars and the rise of the mercenary (blackwater) armies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    Quite a bit of rationalization. It really isn’t this complicated. Nader ran spreading the false argument that there was no difference between Gore and Bush. His votes in Florida were enough to give Bush the election. After the election we saw that there was a difference, leading to Bush’s wars and Blackwater armies. By voting for people like Nader and allowing people like Bush to win, you strengthen the “military industrial complex.”

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