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Even though you can't see, I'm on my knees begging. Please, for the love of God, don't vote for Ralph Nader. I know he sounds like a great guy, and he made an impact in 2000, but this is the 2004 version and sanity isn't standard in this model.
While Nader was supported by the Green Party in his last election endeavor, the party shied away from nominating him again and decided to go with Texas attorney David Cobb. Part of the reason is Nader decided he wanted to run under more than one banner.
The simplest explanation for the change in plans is Nader decided he didn't want to go to every dance with the same girl and went with every girl he could find. Then he expected his old flame not to go out with him, but for them to still be friends with privileges.
This hasn't stopped Nader yet. He still has his grand dream of breaking down the walls of the two-party system. Guess what, Sunshine? That's not happening anytime soon.
"Why?" you ask. "It works so well in England." Well, things are run slightly different in the United States. Our presidents must graduate from the Electoral College. This college is decided by delegates who we hope will vote along the lines the people did. A separate vote is taken to decide who gets to be in the Senate and House.
In England, they use some crazy formula where the voters choose a party to vote for and the party that receives the most votes gets to choose the Prime Minister (British for president) Then Parliament (British for people that like to vote a lot and quibble, or just the last part) is decided by the percentage of votes each party gets. Both the executive and legislative are done with one vote.
That's all fine and well in a smaller country with rational people who can change their minds, but in America, we frown on flip-floppers even if we're the ones doing it. In order to properly frown, shake our fist and say, "For shame, good sir," we must be able to address them directly through videotaped commercials and little signs on the side of the road that somebody else made. After enough of these parallel battles, the voters will be able to decide which candidate has the best hairpiece...I mean, platform.
Thanks to these head-to-head battles between the two major parties, a third-party candidate may have a chance to sneak in by calling the other two "too commercial" and "out of touch" with the real fans of voting. As a result, they may be able to get three or four votes. With the current trend of voter apathy, you have just found the new congressperson from your district (they thought the old gender roles sold out too).
The odds of a third party candidate being elected president are astronomically worse. They have to get a higher number of the voters in more than a couple of states than everyone else just to get partial credit (OK, some states are crazy enough to split their votes, but New Hampshire's always been kinda creepy). This system just wasn't made for a third party. This could probably be all reformed, but where's the fun in that? Plus if you're voting for Nader just to spite the system, you're giving in to The Man who is least likely to respond to a call for reform. He'll be too busy playing with his action figures in Iraq.
After the debacle in Florida in 2000, it's more than simply debatable - it's a fact that Ralph Nader votes handed the election to Bush. Despite my best efforts to prove otherwise, Republicans are not stupid and they've caught on to this (OK, they are stupid; they're just crafty enough to hide it).
In Oregon, this fact has been elevated to an art. The Oregon Family Council and Oregon Citizens for a Sound Economy are both euphemisms for right-wing special interests that tried to help Nader accumulate enough signatures to get on the ballot. CSE spokesman Matt Kibbe has even stated, "Our goal is to see Bush's agenda become the agenda for the next four years." Oregon has kept him off the ballot. Pennsylvania just threw him off because of legal problems with his papers, such as petitions "rife with forgeries." Of course this would be another attempt by activist judges to disenfranchise Pennsylvania voters like Mickey Mouse, Fred Flintstone and John Kerry, all of whom appeared in the paper work with other random names that lived at nonexistent addresses.
But that's not all the fun in voter land. In Colorado, one man has admitted to registering to vote not once or twice, but 35 times. How in the name of all that is holy and holding back my profanities do you manage to register 35 times for a single election? Also "Ben Affleck" and "Pancho Villa" (voting as himself) are newly minted Colorado citizens ready to vote. Whoever registered him is either a complete moron or they're getting paid for each voter they bring in. The latter is a new and wonderful trend to get people to vote, and may beat out Amway for the easiest way to make money while screwing people over. Take, for instance, Nevada. Voter Outreach of America, a private voter registration firm, managed to get so many people to register that they threw out and/or destroyed the ones filled out by Democratic voters. Apparently, the $500,000 they got from the Republican Party didn't cover the tab for voters on the other side. This would be one of the few reasons I am for the death penalty. When you make that many people's opinions cease to matter, you should cease to matter. In our round world, everything must come back to a beginning, and it ends back in Oregon where the same un-registration practices are under investigation.So for those of you who have actually been counted and registered, realize you haven't done anything yet. Sure you've registered, but now you actually have to fill in the bubble or punch out the card or chisel in the stone your preference. Then you get the sticker that says, "I voted and I'm an American, dammit."
Just make sure you don't vote for the Bush/Nader, Republimoron ticket if you want to see change.
Kyle Buis can be reached at