In a 2.26 N.Y. Times opinion piece called “Mr. Nader’s Unforgivable Wrong,” Ron Klain reminds that “the Ralph Nader presidential vote in the 2000 election was larger than the Gore-Bush margin of difference — not just in Florida, but also in New Hampshire — is grating and significant.
“So let’s just put it this way, as neutrally as possible: while there are several reasons why Al Gore was not sworn in on Jan. 20, 2001, one of them certainly is because Ralph Nader drew votes that would have given Mr. Gore the election — in not just one state, but two — making Katherine Harris, dimpled chads and the Supreme Court wholly irrelevant.
“But, some Nader sympathizers object, who could have known back then that Mr. Nader’s campaign would help throw the presidency to George Bush? Who could have seen it coming? The answer is that Mr. Nader did, which is why he initially promised supporters that he would not campaign in swing states or take other steps that might make him the ‘spoiler’ in the race — a promise he inexplicably broke, to the chagrin of many environmentalists, in the final weeks of the campaign.
“The risk that Mr. Nader might cost Mr. Gore the election was so well understood that one of the country√ɬ¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢s most creative progressives, Jamin Raskin, hatched an elaborate plan to try to minimize this risk while preserving a chance for Naderites to make their voices heard — a plan that Mr. Nader refused to back. There’s simply no escaping the fact that Mr. Nader knew the risks he was taking, and did not care, believing that a vote for Mr. Gore was a vote for Mr. Bush, and that there were ‘few major differences’ between the two major party candidates.”
I fully agree with this response from N.Y. Times reader Shoji Suzuki, to wit: “I firmly believe that Mr. Nader had already proved his point in 2000. A minute drop of toxin in our environment can destroy the balance of nature. He was the toxin in the political nature then.”