Wednesday, January 30, 2008

An Open Letter to Ralph Nader

Dear Ralph,

I have received credible intelligence that you plan to continue your ill-advised quest for the Presidency again this year. Having experienced the consequences of your last several forays into the political arena, I would like to offer you a bit of friendly advice as you begin your campaign planning.

First, and most importantly: you will not win this election. You will not come close to winning this election. You will not even have a color on the electoral college map of the United States in November. The only conceivable outcome of your campaign is the expense of a great deal of money which could almost certainly be put to more useful purposes, and the opportunity for a significant number of idealists to feel a little bit better about themselves for a few minutes at the polling station.

Given these potential outcomes, a second consideration should become all the more relevant. Those idealistic voters, all of whom surely believe you to be the only truly palatable option among a very small field of candidates, would have otherwise voted for the lesser of two evils, the Democratic nominee. I'm sure you're aware of this criticism of your various campaigns. Given that your Florida supporters probably helped propel George Bush into office in 2000, I'm sure you see the potential validity of these claims.

This is the crux of the problem. You are allowing these poor people to vote with their hearts, completely forgoing their minds and the rational outcome of their votes. Therefore, I can only assume two things: either you are driven by egotism and an inflated sense of self-worth, in which case I appeal to whatever small, wretched scrap of humanity remains in your political soul, or, as I believe, you are truly committed to the ideals that you espouse. In the latter case, it must be clear by now that your candidacy is far more likely to help elect the party more ideologically opposed to you than the alternative, and that you have therefore already caused immeasurable damage to the values and ideals of liberalism and progressive politics by running in previous elections. There are surely more effective avenues for creating change in this country than a futile run for its highest office, which given its strong connections with corporate America, I'm sure you would not enjoy occupying.

Therefore, I ask you from the bottom of my heart: please, reconsider your decision to run for President in 2008. Ask for a cabinet position beside the Democratic candidate, head up a federally funded environmental group, anything! But do not run simply because you believe you are a better candidate than those who are accepted by our centrist, partisan, small-minded political parties. You surely are. But the potential for harm to all of the principles you so strongly defend is far greater than the potential for their advancement.

Please, be pragmatic for once in your life. I know it galls you to no end... but vote for Obama.