Opinion: An open letter to Ralph Nader

Illustration Illustration

Illustration Illustration

By Adam Zmick

Dear Mr. Nader, I am one of your biggest fans. I turned 18 in August of 2000, just in time to cast my first vote for you. I even bought your book, Crashing the Party.

You are the only person I trust to run this country, and that is why it hurts so much to ask you this: Ralph Nader, please drop out.

You know as well as anyone George W. Bush is a more dangerous and immediate threat to the United States than even Osama bin Laden. While I don’t exactly like Sen. John Kerry, he and his party apparatus are now our only hope. I know how you want to respond, Mr. Nader. You want to tell me you can be our hope too – that you also have a chance of vanquishing the evil monster that is George W. Bush.

Now, I’ve never been accused of losing my youthful idealism (I campaigned for Dennis Kucinich in the primaries, for crying out loud), but I have to tell you this now, while there is still time for you to change things.

Mr. Nader, you absolutely have no chance of winning the 2004 presidential election. You’ve been consistently polling in single digits. The best you can hope for is to be a spoiler, and if you play your cards right, that can be a very good thing.

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    There’s no need to drop out now. Stick around for the debates. See if they let you in this time. Wait until we’re about a week away from the election. Then spring it on them. All of the sudden, by dropping out of the race and throwing your support to Kerry, the margin of error becomes the margin of “victory.”

    I understand there is a difference between winning and not losing, but once Bush is out of the way, we’ll do the best we can with Kerry.

    Maybe we don’t get out of Iraq in 90 days, but we get out sometime before doomsday. Maybe we don’t get universal health care, but at least we void that blank check from the Medicare account that pays to the order of GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer. Maybe Kerry doesn’t pull out of the World Trade Organization, but at least he can balance the budget. Maybe you don’t get to put your feet up in the Oval Office, but Kerry seems like a nice enough guy. At the minimum, he’d give you a job at the EPA.

    When you ran in 2000, you were the Green Party candidate. Even if you didn’t win the White House, you could earn party status for the Greens, assuring us a Greener option on the ballot for next year. That gave me something to say when my friends and family members told me, “Well, I like him better than Gore, but I don’t want Bush to win.” Now that we’ve been driving under the influence of Bush for nearly four years, that sentiment is going to be stronger, and you’re not even the Green candidate this time.

    There never will be a Green revolution, Mr. Nader, but the Green evolution has already begun. Stop hoping for a miracle in the presidential election. We’re not going to change the United States from the top down. We’ve already begun to change the world, and we’re doing it from the bottom up.

    We’re doing it in mayors’ offices, in state representative races and on county boards. We’re hiding in Democrats’ clothing and in Republicans’ clothing, but we’re doing it, and we wouldn’t be where we are without your help.

    Ralph, we need your help one more time. George W. Bush is not the same corporate garbage we’ve come to expect from the two major parties. Bush is a new kind of garbage, one so malevolent and devious that we need everything we’ve got just to stop him. We need you.

    Respectfully yours,


    Adam Zmick is a senior in engineering. His column runs Thursdays. He can be reached at [email protected]