Sunday, March 21, 2004

The Amazing Invisible Candidate

Remember a few weeks ago when Ralph Nader quit his Hamletian dithering and announced his independent candidacy for President? A one-day wonder in the press that launched a firestorm of anger on the Left and in Democratic circles. Dems especially saw him as a Kerry spoiler who would cost them again.

They quickly moved from speaking ill to just pretending he didn't exist. Trouble is, he does exist and he's making impressive inroads even with his new-found press invisibility.

There have been about four polls now, taken over a multi-week period, and all produce the same result: Nader is drawing a steady six percent of the vote against Bush and Kerry! The anti-spin began in articles like this one from the Columbia Journalism Review that tried to spin away his numbers in that poll. But Quinnipiac University ran their own poll and found the exact same number. Then, came an MSNBC/Newsweek poll, just released, that confirms it.

Heck, ABC even found correlation with kids!

Nader is hoping to use this as leverage against the nets to get him into this year's Presidential debates. Good luck. Perot was a fluke, not a precedent. He'll be battling them every step of the way to get in. Kerry's people don't want him in, as it'll make the debates look like nothing more than Bush-bashing, damaging Kerry's already wobbly image.

As it is, Nader will have enough problems just getting media attention. I'd watch for Dean and his new action group to get more attention than he does. It reinforces the Dems' chances and Dean works better in the "maverick outsider" template for them. Even though Nader has more supporters, Dean's are "internet organised," which, again, is the preferred template. Plus, let's be honest, Nader hurts Kerry's chances; media bias will tell.

Still, I remind readers that I was predicting Nader at this level several months ago. I bet you thought I was goofy then, but I had a real sense of both Democratic dissatisfaction with the front-runners in the primaries and a very real far-Left voter rebellion simmering out here in the heartland. You may all bow before my amazing prognosticating abilities!

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