The Nader Campaign and the Future of U.S. Left Electoral Politics


  • - The Editors



Political Economy


The unlikely post-election contest between Al Gore and George W. Bush, which ultimately led to the anointing of Bush as president by the Republican majority on the US Supreme Court (despite the fact that Bush received fewer popular votes than Gore both in the United States as a whole and most likely in Florida as well—the state that gave Bush his electoral college win), has tended to erase all other developments associated with the election. But all of this should not cause us to forget that the Ralph Nader Green Party campaign for the presidency was arguably the most extraordinary phenomenon in US left politics in many years. On election day he drew nearly three million votes, representing about 3 percent of the vote. Even former Vice- President Henry Wallace did not fare so well in his third-party run for the presidency in 1948, the last progressive third-party presidential campaign of this nature and magnitude. Although exit polls show that Nader received few racial minority votes (a major weakness of his campaign), he nonetheless drew his strongest support from those without a college education, those with incomes less than thirty thousand dollars a year, and those without full-time employment. Until the intense scare campaign instigated by the Democrats in the final two weeks before the election, Nader was getting as much as 7 percent in some tracking polls.






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