Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Anti-Nader Hate Campaign Could Backfire

The libelous anti-Nader material the Democrats are running in TV ads and on the Internet could well backfire. Normally, when you’re trying to win over a constituency you’re nice to them, but in the case of Nader voters, the Democrats have been conducting a four year hate campaign against Nader that has gained in intensity with the current race. The underlying message is: you’re so stupid you voted for Nader. Not a particularly nuanced approach to politics.

Unfortunately, however, the Democrats – especially liberals - have increasingly stigmatized those with whom they disagree on some issue, thus reducing their constituency with little chance of winning it back. The voters being insulted by the hate Nader campaign join people like gun owners, fundamentalists, southerners, and abortion opponents as among those rejected by the Democrats even though they were once a key part of their constituency.

Meanwhile, just as was true in 2000, the Nader support is not behaving the way the liberal Democrats would have one believe. For example, Kerry just lost 11 points in Minnesota polling but the Nader vote didn’t change at all. Also, while Nader is showing strength in some expected states such as California, he is also doing better than expected in places like Indiana and South Dakota. Why? Because, despite the stereotype, the Nader support comes from a variety of sources: Greens, ex-Perot backers, the generally pissed off, and those just wouldn’t vote without Nader in the race.

The best plan for the Democrats would be to cancel their hate Nader campaign and adopt some of his positions so his supporters might have a reason to back Kerry. As it is the Democrats are just acting mean and dumb. - Sam Smith

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