CNN and others are reporting that Ralph Nader is once again entering the race for president prompting millions around the country to slap their foreheads and say, "WHY?!?"
Let me first say, that on the whole, Ralph Nader's career has been a force of good for the country. His many crusades have actually done quite a bit to improve the way we are able to live. However, I have a hard time trying to figure out what he really hopes to accomplish with this latest run.
He is quoted as telling Meet the Press that "dissent is the mother of ascent." Let's assume for a moment that makes sense. There is no question that Nader is a reliably dissenting voice on most issues. There is even less question that Nader's chance to ascent to the White House is slightly less than a snowball's chance in a globally-warmed hell. Clearly, winning the presidency is not a realistic goal. So then what's the point?
Most long-shot, not-a-chance candidates say that they're running to influence the debate. But do we really think that Ralph Nader is going to have much impact on the debate this year? Never mind the whole 2000 Florida debacle, the guy has now run in each of the last four (maybe five depending on your source) elections. There eventually comes a point of diminishing returns for this kind of thing. By running yet another hopeless campaign with little chance of success, Nader is putting himself into the realm of men like Lyndon LaRouche who act as sideshows to the actual campaigns. He knows he won't win and more and more, he's making it hard to take his ideas seriously.