Ralph Nader running for President is the best thing that the Democrats could ask for, short of a grand dragon costume being found in a storage locker belonging to George W. Bush.
I know a few people who voted for Nader in 2000. For most of them, there was no way they could ever vote Republican, yet Gore had no appeal to them. Nader was a viable alternative for those who could not vote for either. I also know of people who voted for Nader in the hope that he would capture 5% of the overall vote, which would have qualified the Green Party for federal campaign funds in subsequent presidential elections. Every person I know has at some point in the last three years expressed regret for voting for Nader, given what this country has experience under our Bush.
It is wrong to blame Bush's "victory" in 2000 on Nader. Gore lost because he is Gore, a unique specimen of how to squander eight years of prosperity. If Gore does not spend every night lying awake wondering how Bush 1 was elected solely on the basis of being vice-president during the Reagan years yet he could not after being Clinton's VP, I'd like to see the size of his prescription bottle.
Nader's run in 2000 had a certain nobility to it. This time, as an independent, it is nothing but an ego trip. He will get less than one percent of the vote, if he is even able to get on the ballot. People will see him for what he has become, an aging, irrelevant man who cannot accept that his time in the spotlight has dwindled. What has Nader done for the last three years to prepare himself and the country for this run? Nothing. He presence will be a non-issue.
And there is no way that the Democrats will ignore him. He will be blasted often, and we will all tire of the comments of how his presence in the 2000 race gave us GW and a war. I predict at some point we will see advertisements that show Bush and Nader together ("a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush").
Nader is making a mistake. His time in the national light is long gone, and he should step back, admire his accomplishments, and pass along his wisdom and experience to others who can better present his ideas.