This One Goes Out to All Those Folks Still Blaming Ralph Nader for Al Gore's Loss in 2000

I’m still seeing conservatives and
bitching and moaning
that the Libertarian Party candidate in
the Virginia governor’s race, Robert Sarvis, somehow threw the
election to the awful Democratic candidate, Terry McAuliffe. Fact
is that exit polls from both
ABC News
confirm that Sarvis took votes from McAuliffe and put
the race within reach of the Republican candidate Ken

But more to the point, trying to fix blame on minor parties when
major-party candidates lose is a category error. Dems and Reps
don’t “own” votes that are somehow stolen by third-party types. And
as I wrote earlier this week at there’s this:

Americans have come to expect if not demand a wide range of
increasingly diverse and personalized choices in every part of our
lives, from coffee shops to clothing stores to bookstores. And yet
in something as important as politics, we allow the two major
parties to systematically rig the system to exclude a range of
opinions extending beyond two parties that were founded before the
Civil War. Is it any wonder that a
record number
 of Americans now call themselves political

Reflexively blaming
third-party candidates when a Republican or Democratic candidate
loses only adds insult to that injury. Despite having every
advantage going in, Al Gore ended up losing in 2000 because, among
other things, he wore bizarre orange
 to one of the presidential debates and came across
as an environmental zealot fundamentally
at odds
 with modern industrial technology. Ken Cuccinelli
lost because, among other things, he failed to assuage fears that
he would bring back sodomy laws, alienated single women, and he had
no connection with
young voters

The major parties already enjoy vast advantages in terms of
money, brand recognition, ballot access, and get-out-the-vote
operations. When their candidates lose elections, especially tight
ones, they would do better to look at what they did wrong rather
than off-loading responsibility or blame on third parties who give
voters more options to express themselves.

Whole thing.

from Hit & Run

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