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June 26, 2004
Greens Give Red Light To Nader

Ralph Nader recently reversed himself and publicly campaigned for an "endorsement" from the Green Party, the third-party outsiders who nominated Nader in 2000 and the candidate rejected last December. The Greens gave their answer today by blowing a raspberry at the consumer advocate and instead nominating David Cobb, a longtime party activist:

The Green Party on Saturday refused to back Ralph Nader in his independent run for the White House, a move that could reduce his chances of being a factor in this year's election.

Delegates to the half-million-member party's presidential convention voted to nominate party activist David Cobb, a California lawyer who led the delegate count going into the meeting.

Nader had announced his selection of Green Party stalwart Peter Camejo as his running mate earlier this week in order to convince the Green's nominating convention to fall in with his proposed consolidation of various third-party movements. The Reform Party has already agreed to endorse Nader/Camejo, giving the pair access to ballots in seven states. The Greens held the key to 20 others, but now Cobb's name will sit atop the Green entry on those ballots.

For Nader, who abandoned the Greens and added their alienation and disillusionment to that of the Democrats from 2000, the selection of Cobb only represents a tactical setback, and one that had to have been anticipated. Camejo and Cobb stand to be the real losers in this scenario. Camejo gambled that his party would follow its most productive elective prospect outside of Nader, and now that the Greens selected Cobb, Camejo stands to lose all of the momentum and goodwill he's built since switching over from the Socialist Party earlier in his career. Cobb may have won the nomination, but Cobb is a non-entity whose selection will convince few donors to switch their support from Nader or the two major parties.

The Greens may well wind up losing their automatic ballot entries in most (if not all) qualifying states, as Cobb will never outshine Nader, Bush, and Gore to collect the 3% the Greens need to keep their exemption from collecting signatures. The Republicans may also be somewhat disappointed, although in the long run a weakened Green party helps to reduce the radicalism that has broken through this election cycle. The only real winner from the Greens' decision may be John Kerry, and only in a mild way, as he may well face Nader in fewer key states as a result.

Expect to see another Democratic effort to get Nader to withdraw, only this time the envoys should be from a group other than the Congressional Black Caucus, who not only failed to convince Nader to withdraw but antagonized him so much that Nader threatened to focus his campaign on the battleground states that Kerry needs so badly. The Democrats can still transform this good fortune into an albatross if they're not careful.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 26, 2004 9:33 PM

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