Nader Wins the Debate

Michael Pollak mpollak at
Fri Oct 6 21:15:00 PDT 2000

On Thu, 5 Oct 2000, Marco Anglesio wrote:

> This might also be LBO-talk heresy, but at ~5% I don't think that he
> has a strong case for participation in the presidential debates.
> Merely gaining a nomination on most (?) state ballots should not be
> the sole criterion. Personally, I think that he might enliven the
> debate, but shouldn't be a criterion, much less the sole one. IMHO,
> participants should have a legitimate chance of being the next
> president, and that means building voter support well before the
> debate schedule is announced.

What about a chance of being the president after next? Jesse Ventura had 10% in the polls 6 weeks before the election when he entered his debates. 6 weeks later, in a three person race, he won. Ralph may not do that of course, but I think you are leaving out the fact that in a multi-person race, the bar lowers as you advance. In a three party race, you can win with 30-something percent. So if exposure raises a person from 5% to 15%, suddenly he is within striking distance -- and that fact changes the calculus dramatically. Voters that rejected him chiefly because he had no chance reconsider; the more that do, the more chance he has, and then people that had a higher threshold reconsider. In Minnesota, this snowball process accelerated as the race reached its end.

For better or worse, Ralph claims to be in this for at least the medium haul, i.e., to be ready to campaign and build his party from now through 2004. If he had been admitted to the debates, it is conceivable that he might have had a real chance in that time frame -- a chance that he won't have without it.

I also differ from you on the ballot criterion. Ballot access in the US is absurdly difficult in the US, and made so on purpose, openly in order to safeguard the duopoly. Any third party candiate that can jump that hurdle has established himself as a serious candidate. He has to have a fair number of people working for him.


__________________________________________________________________________ Michael Pollak................New York City..............mpollak at

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