02/26/04 — Nader: He gives us another choice. Not a good one, but a choice.

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Nader: He gives us another choice. Not a good one, but a choice.

Most Democrats are coughing and choking and carrying on about Ralph Nader’s announcement that he will run for president as an independent.

They fear that he will take votes from the Democratic candidate as he did in the last election four years ago. They believe the 97,000 votes that he filched in Florida rightly belonged to Al Gore, and that Gore would be sitting in the White House right now if Nader had minded his own business.

Elsewhere on this page, columnist D.G. Martin makes a case that Nader won’t hurt the Democrats this time. His premise has something to do with backlash from negative advertising. But it’s Martin’s theory; check his column and let him explain it.

Nader is a whining liberal whose political reasoning is almost as contorted as the borders around a congressional district, and he seems to suffer from chronic egomania. But he raises one excellent question, which is:

What’s sacrosanct about a two-party system?

Nader makes the point that a vibrant political system should accommodate a third-party candidate or an independent, and it certainly should.

Third-party candidates, or even fourth- or fifth-party ones — why not? — offer ideas to voters that the Republicans and Democrats don’t. Let them give the voters the opportunity to approve or reject them.

There might be small-party candidates or independents out there whose ideas are more rational than Nader’s. Maybe someday a candidate with true devotion to the Constitution will run. Stranger things have happened.

Besides, there is nothing more American than pursuing your dream. If your dream happens to be to live in the White House, go for it.

Published in Editorials on February 26, 2004 11:25 AM