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.