Recently, independent candidate for president Ralph Nader
appeared on Bill Maher’s new show, “Real Time with Bill
Maher,” along with Michael Moore, former Canadian Prime
Minister Kim Campbell and Congressman David Dreir (R —
Calif.). Toward the end of the show, Nader, who wasn’t
actually on the panel, made his appearance as a
“special” guest. After Michael Moore and Bill Maher got
down on their hands and knees and begged Nader not to run, Campbell
gave him sound advice: “A vote for a third party here does
not translate into any seats, into any say … and if you help
somebody win, then you’re still a player. And the people who
look to you get to be players.” In parliamentary systems that
exist in countries like Canada, France and a host of others, the
people cast votes for political parties, not candidates. Enough
votes for a single party entitle that party to gain seats in that
country’s legislature. In countries like that, people like
Ralph Nader are beneficial to democracy. Votes for a third party
can allow that third party to gain seats in a parliament and affect
change, just the kind of involvement Ralph Nader wants here.
Here’s the problem: our electoral system does not favor third
parties. In our country, we elect candidates, not parties. Unless a
third party gets a majority of the votes, the votes for that third
party are wasted. They do not get third parties seats in Congress.
If the goal is to send George W. Bush back to Crawford, Texas, then
Ralph Nader should heed the advice of Michael Moore and Bill Maher
and not run in this election.

Nader’s flirtations with anti-Semitism aside, he has a
message many Americans understand. He has spent a good portion of
his life as a consumer advocate, challenging the corporate world
and its vast corruption. He has staunchly called for the
prosecution of corporate criminals and believes both the Democrats
and the Republicans have become lap-dogs for corporations and the
corporate elite. Those in power need to respect the views and the
will of the people they govern, not just those with money. Back in
2000, Nader’s campaign for president was a useful one and
provided an interesting alternative to the two parties.

Four years after George W. Bush was appointed by the Supreme
Court, all have seen the terrible mess that he has left in his
wake. He sent our country to war based on false information, has
proposed adding a gay marriage amendment to the Constitution and in
effect discriminating against ordinary Americans simply because of
their sexual orientation, has withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol
which could be disastrous environmentally, pushed the
Bill-of-Rights-crushing Patriot Act through Congress and gave the
rich a tax cut in the hundreds of billions of dollars in the middle
of the war, among other incredibly bad things. We no longer have
the luxury of choosing the lesser of two evils. Because of our
electoral system, votes for Nader are not beneficial to the
ultimate goal of making George W. Bush a one-term President. I
hereby give my own personal request to Ralph Nader: You and Bill
Maher are right; the Democrats can be just as bad as the
Republicans sometimes. But, in order to beat George Bush, we need
all the votes we can. So I beg you. I implore you: please do not
run for President. Unless you want another four years of GW, I
suggest you heed my advice as well.

Goldberg is an LSA junior and a member of the Daily’s
editorial board.

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