September 13, 2004


Anti-Nader crusade could backfire (ROBERT NOVAK, 9/13/04, Chicago Sun-Times)

The party's limitation of Nader's ballot access has been most successful in non-battleground states. That keeps the independent candidate away from states where either President Bush or Sen. Kerry will win easily. Nader then is free to concentrate on closely contested states where he could take away enough votes from Kerry to carry them for Bush, conceivably giving him a second term.

The Democrats have been able to keep Nader out of Arizona, California, Illinois, Mississippi, New Jersey, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia (with only Arizona in the battleground category). Because Nader is not running to be elected but to preach a left-wing gospel that he feels Kerry neglects, he would have campaigned in all these states were he permitted on their ballots. Until thrown off in Texas, Nader planned heavy campaigning against the president in his own state. [...]

Despite Democratic obstruction, Nader definitely will be drawing votes from Kerry in these contested states: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire and West Virginia. Besides Florida, Nader expects also to get on the ballot in the battleground states of New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In addition to forcing Nader to concentrate on contested states, the Democratic Party's ballot attack permits criticism of the party's undemocratic methods liable to have resonance with left-of-center voters. ''By pushing the Jim Crow methods of denying our ballot access,'' Nader told me, "they are violating the sense of fair play by the American people.''

Why, then, would the Democratic Party deploy its legal brigade to keep Nader off the ballot everywhere? Because animosity toward Nader by Democratic activists is so intense that it approaches the anti-Bush hysteria. His lifetime of left-wing advocacy is forgotten, as Democratic loyalists can only remember the votes they claim he took away from Al Gore in 2000.

You'd also have to think that many of the kinds of folks who would vote for Mr. Nader just won't bother to show up if he's not on the ballot and they'd seem more likely to vote Democrat downticket than Republican if they turned out.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 13, 2004 10:50 AM

Mr. Nader will be on the ballot in NJ as far as a I can tell. Anyone have a link to suggest he was disqualified since Aug. 31?

Posted by: Mike at September 13, 2004 12:29 PM

With the courts in New Jersey, does it really matter? They could look at the final weekend tracking polls before the election and decide to disqualify Ralph on Nov. 1 if the results are within the margin of error.

Posted by: John at September 13, 2004 1:02 PM