Republicans in yet another state have begun working to make certain that Ralph Nader gets onto their November ballot. From the AP: “Michigan Republicans are helping gather signatures to place independent Ralph Nader on the presidential ballot in the battleground state.”
The GOP and conservative groups have already mobilized their supporters to help put Nader on the ballot in Oregon, Wisconsin and Arizona. Is this a sign of desperation?
Obviously, Republicans believe Nader will drain votes away from Kerry, so they’re doing all they can to make sure it happens, whether that means gathering signatures or sending checks. One is left wondering how many of Nader’s volunteers are actually GOP operatives.
Of course, the Democrats react angrily. The AP recorded a typical Democratic response to the Michigan GOP’s initiative: “It’s another example of state Republicans willing to try every unethical trick in the book to hold power.” It’s certainly interesting that Democrats think it is unethical to put independent candidates on the ballot. However, shouldn’t they be pleased by the fact that Republicans are out gathering signatures, dollars, and perhaps even registering voters for Ralph Nader, rather than for George Bush? Perhaps the Democrats have slyly, but unwittingly, convinced conservatives that a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush. The Republicans are acting like it is.
One of Nader’s favorite rebuttals to the Democrats’ central criticism of his presidential bid is that he will actually take votes away from Bush. Many find this laughable, and with good reason. Yet, undeniably, Nader is doing a fairly good job of tying up Republican resources, both human and financial, in endeavors which do not directly contribute to Bush’s re-election campaign. The money Republicans contribute to Nader is money they could have contributed to the GOP, or conservative interests. All of the time they spend gathering signatures for Nader is time they could have spent knocking on doors, registering voters for Bush. The Republicans are both desperate and overconfident.