It has been said that politics makes for
strange bedfellows. In yet another odd pairing of political
agendas, Ralph Nader, with substantial help from the Republican
Party, has conjured up enough votes to hoist himself onto
Michigan’s ballot for November’s election. The Michigan
Republican Party successfully aided Nader in gathering 34,000
petition signatures so that he could be placed onto the ballot as
an independent candidate. In addition to physical resources,
Republicans are also making sizeable financial contributions to the
third party candidate. Continuing to receive such backing will only
jeopardize Nader’s long-term credibility as well as undercut
his very ideals and the democratic process itself.

Mira Levitan

After an unsuccessful run for the presidency in 2000, Nader
remains convinced that his participation in this year’s
election is needed. Seeking to infiltrate the two party system,
Nader advocates a restoration of democracy to the people and away
from political parties that are dominated by corporate special
interests. Certainly Nader’s accusations regarding the two
party system have merit. Our country’s veil of free elections
is often frayed away by the interests of the elite. Furthermore,
the two party system places severe limitations upon constituents,
forcing utilitarian choices and a decision on which candidate is
the lesser of two evils. As Nader often boasts, third party
candidates are intended to offer an inviting alternative to
insincere parties and offer the ability to vote for a party based
on ideological reasons instead of pragmatic ones.

While Nader’s cause appears altruistic in nature, his
associations with conservative interests contradict and undermine
his own message. In spite of having a solid reputation for
attacking both Democrats and Republicans for trading money in
exchange for political influence, Nader’s dependence on the
resources of Bush campaign financiers seems hypocritical at best.
In a bizarre, ironic twist, the corporate monster that he so
passionately assaults is responsible for his existence as a viable
candidate.

On the flip-side, Republicans are using Nader as a weapon of
destruction to detract votes away from Democrats. Though he gained
a mere 6 percent of the popular vote, many fault Nader for costing
Al Gore the 2000 election. Today, Republicans supporting Nader do
not view him as a realistic candidate nor are they enamored by his
progressive efforts to disband the seemingly corrupt party system.
The Republicans hope that their support for the independent will
yield the same results as the last election. Thus, Nader is a
convenient pawn for self-interested Republicans. By acquiescing to
such a role, Nader is undermining his political message; through
his hypocrisy, he is impeding his effort to revive democratic
values and principles.

It is in Nader’s best interest to reject such blatantly
disingenuous donations from corporate America. By continuing to
accept such campaign funds, Nader only exacerbates the problems in
the very democratic process he is trying to save. Even if declining
GOP contributions will send his campaign sputtering into oblivion
due to a lack of resources, he will not have compromised the
principles he claims to ardently defend.

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