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More on the Nader Non-Factor

Peter Dizikes had an excellent article on the sputtering Nader campaign yesterday in Salon. This excerpt from his article provides a nice summary of Nader's woes:

As those of us who have seen Nader in person this month know, his campaign is a relatively low-energy, low-interest affair. Crowds are down. Campaign funds are minimal. The candidate who drew about 3 percent of the popular vote in 2000 is at 1 percent in this year's polls and could finish lower.

To see just how Nader is struggling, consider the trajectory of his campaign in 2000, and contrast it to his 2004 effort. On Aug. 25, 2000, Nader drew 10,579 supporters, who paid $7 each, to a "super rally" at the Portland Coliseum. There followed a string of "super rallies" with five-figure attendance numbers: 11,500 in Minneapolis, 12,000 at the Fleet Center in Boston, 10,000 in Chicago, and about 15,000 inside New York's Madison Square Garden, at $20 a ticket.

In 2004, Nader events are far smaller. On Oct. 5, for example, Nader spoke to about 65 supporters in Portland, Maine, before moving on to the University of New Hampshire event, where just over 100 supporters showed, and finishing the day speaking to an audience of about 500 at the University of Vermont. Nader's largest crowd of the month appears to have been about 800 in Berkeley, on Oct. 11, but I counted a more typical 225 in the audience last Saturday as Nader spoke on the Rutgers campus in Piscataway, N.J. Nader will end October having held over 30 campaign events, yet his total audience for the month could comfortably fit inside Madison Square Garden. At many events, anti-Nader groups protest outside; inside, former supporters often confront him during the question-and-answer sessions.

Meanwhile, the celebrity supporters who adorned Nader's campaign in 2000 -- including Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon and, yes, Michael Moore -- have jumped ship. A long list of academics and public figures from Nader's 2000 "Citizens Committee" -- Noam Chomsky, Studs Terkel, Cornel West and dozens more -- now back John Kerry. Even Winona LaDuke, Nader's vice presidential candidate in 2000, endorsed the Democratic candidate this month, saying, "I'm voting my conscience on Nov. 2. I'm voting for John Kerry."

But check out the whole article. It's full of juicy stuff including Nader's current fundraising strategy (begging penniless college students for money).


And yet they refuse to ask about the the Libertarian, even though whenever he's mentioned Badnarik gets over 1% and in a couple cases as high as 3%.

Ralph is headed here to Alabama. Apparently, he thinks that we feel like "pariahs". That's his word. Maybe he thinks that a fellow pariah would make an attractive candidate.

The real mystery to me is why the polls continue to give the Nader campaign more attention than it's earned while ignoring the Libertarian ticket. I believe that the LP could play a major spoiler role as disaffected conservatives (like me) conclude that no candidate could possibly be a bigger friend of Big Government than the incumbent president.

I lie -- it's not really a mystery to me. Nader has name recognition, and in the media name recognition equals legitimacy. The real mystery is why more Democrats/Kerry advocates aren't outraged at this biased coverage gap among the minor candidates.

Well, "outraged" is a strong word. "Baffled" would put it more acurately, at least from my point of view.

As you said, Nader has more name recognition since he's famous and was revered once (before he wacked out, pardon me) and since he was the most important spoiler since Teddy Roosevelt.

But still, as we know, the echo chamber out there is conservative. So why didn't Badnarik attract more attention? After all, the libertarian community on the net is considerable, and there are many disappointed conservatives. So this had to have been THE year of the libertarians.

The only explanation I can come up with is that said right wing echo chamber is so disciplined that it collectively understands that talking about Badnarik, even in scathing terms, is helping him. They just ignored him. And the rest of the media - what you would call the "liberal media", Philip - is just not capable of bringing things up on its own. The news is driven by the Bush campaign, by the conservative media and thankfully by the Kerry campaign.

The liberal and centrist media is dormant. Which means Badnarik is either ignored or lost.