Nader Begets Better Democrats

There is one thing that people must like about Ralph Nader: his courage to stand up between two behemoths and pursue a lost cause. The chances of him winning any meaningful votes are slim. However, one cannot discount the meaning of his candidacy. Ralph Nader gives voice to the citizens who, without being part of special interest groups, fail to get the attention they deserve from the duopolist American politics.

Before Nader came into the race, people were banking on Howard Dean, the upstart New England democrat who had struck a chord with the silent majority of the population. The large following of Dean’s campaign was a sign that people are tired of old-fashioned irrelevant political games. They want issues resolved, quickly and painlessly. What they are looking for is not a person who hears them, but rather someone who listens to them.

Now that Dean has disappeared as a credible Democratic candidate, Kerry and Edwards are simply readying themselves to run on the same ticket against Bush and Cheney. Besides some polite exchanges of ideas between Kerry and Edwards, real issues are now off the table. There is no scrutiny of political agendas by either parties of their candidates. Kerry is being given a free ticket to November, and Bush is resting in the VIP lounge waiting to throw his darts.

The trouble is not that there are not enough important issues to discuss. Rather, the campaigns are being skewed to satisfy the fuss that the media is making on a war that is decades old. To give credit where credit is due, Kerry did great things in life and death situations that most ordinary men cannot imagine themselves doing. That said, a war hero will not be guaranteed to get people jobs, and someone who had never been to a battlefield does not necessarily not know how to keep the country healthy. To exaggerate war record as a significant election issue lets down the American public, who would much rather talk about a bright future for them when they retire than remembering a war that should not have occurred in the first place.

Nader comes in at the exact right time to save politics. The Republicans are ready to write him off, but the Democrats are on their toes. They are still bitter about losing the election that they won four years ago. Last thing they hope for is to have Nader running on a left-wing platform and steal Democratic votes. How different is Nader’s from the Democratic platform?

Most probably a lot. And that is the suspect point. In order to be successful, the Democrats need to present a platform that is unique and workable enough to attract the public’s interest, and Nader’s involvement in the democratic process will force them to garner and present concrete ideas quickly. So far, Kerry and Edwards have promised much in their speeches, but none have shown that they can be counted on to deliver better than other presidential hopefuls. The involvement of Nader will have both Democratic candidates not only appeal to the left wing, but eager to please everyone else in America.

The chance that Nader will ever become the president of the United States is next to zero. However, contrary to the unpatriotic discouragement from the Democrats against Nader running, his involvement in the democratic process will hopefully wake up the Democrats and make them focus on the real issues that will win this crucial election.