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Nader's positions deserve airing and respect, Nader himself deserves respect for his accomplishments as a consumer advocate and corporate critic, but Nader the candidate has hurt the causes he espouses.

Running for president and failing to capture anything more than sliver of the electorate makes his views - so many of which are completely reasonable and sensible - seem to be out on the fringe as well.

I honestly don't know the way out of this predicament, but Ralph should spend his energies from here on out connecting with practical people who agree with many of his views - and those who don't - but who share his correct assessment of the way that our system shuts out almost any ideas that threaten corporate power.

Absolutely, I care about every issue Nader talks about but find myself hard pressed to see how his presidential runs have done squat to advance them. On the other hand, look at Ron Paul. There is a guy with a legion of supporters that if he had chosen to leave the Republican party could have been a solid third party. But he didn't because he new that he would just have flung himself back into the margins and as an R he can run for a state wide office or push his issues with his current legions.

Nader has become the crazy old man that complains about how he isn't in debates. He's 80+ years old, we all know he isn't really running for president, why should we have someone running an issue campaign in a presidential debate.

80+ what's that some new kind of math you're using. For the record he was born in 1934 two years before John McCain.

The first step in advancing an issue is education. You can argue about whether running for president is the best way to provide that education, but to say it has does "nothing" is an exaggeration. It's a little like saying a 74 year old man is 80+.

Your response seems more emotional than rational to me. I understand, you're one of those that believe Nader is "the reason" Al Gore lost.

Sorry about the error on age. And perhaps I am a bit emotional on Nader because I think he channels the very real concerns of a group of people into an activity that doesn't really educate anybody on anything. He only gets the camera when he is promoted by the republicans, and even they have stopped doing that for the most part.

My point on age is that I have never seen an argument from him or about him as to whether he is actually fit to serve as president. How is his health? who are his allies that he would have in his administration. Does he have realistic compromises on any of his policies that he would be unable to pass through our congress in their entirety?

Why should he be in a debate or covered if he has no answers to those things?

Al Gore was a sucky candidate and that is why he lost that race, but any close race could be thrown by a third party and that risk should be weighed against the benefit of non viable campaigns.

Nader could go be a productive part of the netroots community or media reform or even help build the green party, he does none of those things. I interpret that to mean his motivation is more emotional then rational.

There is certainly a good argument that he should work from within the party. I think it was dende who made the point that we have liberal Democrats and that they have greater influence because they are part of the party.

There is just a part of me that dislikes the two party system, I do think it tends to limit the discussion. The solution is so easy just change the voting system to something like approval voting and I'll be happy. The problem is the two parties see that as diminishing their power and so work against it. I don't understand the reasoning however, since changing the voting system would eliminate the problem of spoilers, something that both parties have complained about. Ross Perot in 1992 and of course Nader in 2000.

The solution is so easy just change the voting system

Isn't the Louisiana system essentually one of these potential fixes. AN open primary with a runoff witht eh top to vote getters from the primary.

It hasn't elected alot of third parties. Candidates still put a letter by their name and try to build out from that base.

The weight against third parties is more then just the rules of voting, partisan registration, ballot tests requiring 50 state grassroots campaigning, the offices and staff of the party, plus the fundraising potential.

All these are stacked against the third party candidate in a general election. The laws it would take to tear all that down would be numerous and difficult to pass.

On the other hand look at global warming an issue pushed by organizations and a man(Al Gore) who has not run for office in the last 8 years. Its a good model for moving ideas and advocating solutions.

Okay it's not quite that simple, but if approval voting had been used in Florida in 2000, George Bush wouldn't be president today.

I get your point, but changing the voting system so that third parties aren't spoilers only makes the parties stronger if there is still no way a third party can win.

I know that I should be more philosphical and high level and shit. But right now, at this moment in time, I am just on pins and needles hoping that Obama and his fellow Democrats will be occupying the White House instead of McCain and Phil Gramm and John Bolton and the rest..

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