See that image on the right? It’s from the New York Times’ 2004 Election Guide, and it’s a map of what they call “The Nader Factor.”
Excuse moi? Since when is a paltry 6 verified state ballots a fucking factor? I’m sure Kerry is just trembling and can imagine the telephone call that must have ensued: “Oh no! Get Trippi on the phone, Ralph Nader might poach our votes in predominantly Republican states like Colorado, or Kansas, or Missi-fucking-ssippi!” But Nader’s electoral possibilities won’t all be locked up in red states, lest we forget Michigan, Florida or (possible swing state) Montana, all adding up to a whopping 68 out of 538 electoral votes (should he somehow win those states). The outlook is bleak for the rest of the union, with signatures not forthcoming, and Nader staff forced to turn to Republican funds and assistance. You see, there’s no such thing as “The Nader Factor”, there is only “The Nader Infatuation” from the media, New York Times included.
The media seems to love talking about Nader, even though he’s been relegated to being picked up by the doomed Reform Party — which has been crying in the dark and slowly eating it’s way to oblivion since Ross Perot sent them a Dear John letter and a box of chocolates shortly after the 1996 elections. Yet the Times neglects the only third party candidate who actually could pose as anything resembling a factor: Michael Badnarik.
According to Ballot Access News — an information repository for all things ballot related — Badnarik has already secured his place on more than half of the U.S. ballots (33 to be precise). Badnarik may well be on the ballot in 48 states by election day (Ohio and Oklahoma appear to be the only major hurdles, with both embroiled in court battles). Yet no mention is made of any “Badnarik Factor.” Which makes me wonder if the Times is being duplicitous in it’s coverage of the elections. How can a candidate with no statistical basis for winning be considered such a huge impact? It’s confusing to voters, since articles that parrot this sort of “factor” will often gloss over the reality that Nader has absolutely no chance of winning.