SNL alum Tim Meadows, from an interview with Kam Williams:
KW: You've done tons of impressions. Are you working on Barack Obama?
TM: Yeah, I've been working on Barack Obama a little bit. I'm waiting for him to win. I'm not going to waste my time if he's going to lose.
KW: Are you supporting him?
TM: I'll support him if he wins. I won't support him if he loses. [Laughs] No, I don't support anybody. It's not my thing. And if I did, I wouldn't say who it was publicly. I'll give you a hint who I'm voting for in November. It rhymes with Seder.
KW: Oh, Ralph Nader. You don't worry about possibly wasting your vote?
TM: No, I sort of disagree with people who blame him for taking votes away from Gore in 2000. Gore still won the popular vote. Nader wasn't the reason why he lost the election. The Supreme Court cost him the election. Plus, you don't know that all those people who voted for Nader would've gone for Gore. I've met Ralph Nader and I like him. And I've met John McCain, and he's a great guy, too. I haven't met Barack, but I have met Oprah Winfrey. I would love to see some change, and whatever the country decides, I'm behind it.
Tim is correct: Nader did not cost Gore the election in 2000. Yes, Nader did get 97, 488 votes in Florida in the election and yes, George W. Bush beat Al Gore by an anemic 537 vote margin, but seven other presidential candidates received more than 537 votes in Florida, too:
Pat Buchanan (Reform) -- 17, 484 votes.
Harry Browne (Libertarian) -- 16, 415 votes.
John S. Hagelin (Natural Law) -- 2281 votes.
Monica Moorehead (Workers World) -- 1804 votes.
Howard Phillips (Constitution) -- 1371 votes.
David McReynolds (Socialist) -- 622 votes.
James E. Harris (Socialist Workers) -- 562 votes.
I doubt any of the 1000+ socialist votes would have gone for Bush. Had even half of those gone to Gore, he would have won. But no one makes that argument. Of course, Nader's detractors have always been eager to point out (without any real evidence), that many of the Green Party's votes would have gone to the Democrats had Nader not run in the millennial election. And, of course, some of Nader's many votes would have probably gone to Al Gore. What the anti-Nader crusaders (Michael Moore, Eric Alterman, Fat Mike, etc.) don't mention, however, is that many of Nader's votes would have gone to George Bush or another (or no) candidate. Interestingly, a recent AP poll
provides the following food for thought:
In a three-way race, Barack Obama would pick up 47 percent of the vote, John McCain would get 43 percent and Ralph Nader would get 6 percent. But the real kicker is that "[i]f Nader, the independent, is not included, Obama's lead is 49 percent to 46 percent." So, if Nader were not in the race, the six percent of the vote the consumer advocate might expect to pick up would disperse as follows:
1% would not vote for either the Democrats or Republicans
3% would vote for the Republicans
2% would vote for the Democrats
In other words, the GOP would benefit from Nader's exclusion while the Democrats would suffer.
Interesting, huh? I suspect some of Nader's critics would suggest that many of the people who voted for Nader in 2000 did not vote for him in 2004 because they were voting anti-Bush, and that the same demographic would be hesitant to "give" the White House to a Republican again by voting for Nader in 2008. Still, is it possible that maybe the Democrats have been spreading propaganda because Al Gore lost the election and they needed a scapegoat? In a word, yes.