Nader, let’s put this canard to rest…

How many times have you heard that Nader cost Gore his election in 2000? Inherent in that argument is a mathematically flawed premise. We can debate intractable arguments over the historical differences between D vs R, the value of letting the Dems lose in favor of a third party, the importance of voting for conciliatory political expediency vs moral conscience, but… It’s entirely irrelevant, the math from 2000 makes it clear the debate is all theater.

In the 2000 election ~105.5 million people voted while ~104.1 million people did not. The most basic form of the anti — green premise, a vote that wasn’t cast for Gore was a vote for Busg regardless of who one voted for, only seems to focus on Green voters. However it’s quite reasonable to apply this rational to all 104.1 million who did not vote at all, and as such were more of an impact than Nader’s tiny 2.9 million votes.

“Contrary to Democrats’ complaints, Nader was not intentionally trying to throw the election. A spoiler strategy would have caused him to focus disproportionately on the most competitive states and markets with the hopes of being a key player in the outcome. There is no evidence that his appearances responded to closeness. He did, apparently, pursue voter support, however, in a quest to receive 5% of the popular vote.”

In the Florida 2000 race Bush defeated Al Gore by 537 votes. Nader received 97,421 votes, which led to claims that he was responsible for Gore’s defeat. Nader, both in his book Crashing the Party and on his website, states: “In the year 2000, exit polls reported that 25% of my voters would have voted for Bush, 38% would have voted for Gore and therest would not have voted at all.” This comes out to a net a 13%, 12,665 votes, advantage for Gore over Bush, but as we’ll see Nader was wrong.

[voter polling vs disenfranchisement info graphic here]

A study in 2002 by the Progressive Review found no correlation in pre-election polling numbers for Nader when compared to those for Gore. In other words, most of the changes in pre-election polling reflect movement between Bush and Gore rather than Gore and Nader, and they conclude from this that Nader was not responsible for Gore’s loss.

“On the whole, however, our analysis of voters who support third party and independent presidential candidates suggests that these voters, in keeping with the history of third party candidacies as vehicles for protest against the two-party system, would have voted for other independent or third party candidates, or would not have voted, if Nader had not been an available alternative to Gore or Bush.”

Everyone seems to forget that there was more than 3 candidates running for office. In fact, there was TEN candidates that got more votes than the ultimate 537 margin. For instance, Monica Moorehead, the Worker’s World Party candidate, got 1,804 votes. Further David McReynolds of the Socialist Party, who collected 622 votes. We can be certain that people that voted for either candidate wouldn’t have voted for Bush. So why blame Nader and not the dirty–red Socialists?

Democrats need to remember that before the 2000 election then Florida governor Jeb Bush performed or called for a purge of the voter rolls. As a result of that purge many African-American who should have been eligible to vote were prevented from voting because their names were not on the voter rolls.

Let us not forgot that the voter in Florida isn’t choosing the President but the party of the Elector. Those Electors were already appointed for each party before the famed Tuesday vote; there were zero appointed Green Party Electors in Florida. Here is an explanation of the Electoral Process in Florida.

“Candidates for presidential electors shall be nominated in the following manner: (1) The Governor shall nominate the presidential electors of each political party. The state executive committee of each political party shall by resolution recommend candidates for presidential electors and deliver a certified copy thereof to the Governor before September 1 of each presidential election year. The Governor shall nominate only the electors recommended by the state executive committee of the respective political party. Each such elector shall be a qualified elector of the party he or she represents who has taken an oath that he or she will vote for the candidates of the party that he or she is nominated to represent. The Governor shall certify to the Department of State on or before September 1, in each presidential election year, the names of a number of electors for each political party equal to the number of senators and representatives which this state has in Congress.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the popular recount should be stopped, why? Simple because the Electors had already chosen, a choice that was backed by Congress. SCOTUS had no choice but to follow Florida law and the Constitution. Many people have said that if the recount had continued Al Gore would have won the election — but that’s patently false. The winning Electors had been chosen by the bureaucracy and the popular vote was incidental.

If you get through all of the above and still think Nader “spoiled” the pre-ordained crowning of Gore — you’re an idiot.

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