A couple days ago I podcasted the Thom Hartmann show. The topic eventually got to Ralph Nader and his run – once again – for president. There were only a couple callers who called up to talk about this recent development, but they both shared the same view; we live in a two party system and no matter how you feel about it, that’s just the way it is. If you vote for a third party you are wasting your time, if you run as a third party candidate you are worse than the enemy because you are taking away votes from one side or the other. Today there was an article by William Hartung in which – while not as harsh – he said basically the same thing; Ralph Nader might cause a Republican to get elected. Ralph Nader (and anyone else who is running anywhere as a third party) is being blamed for giving the 303,000,000 USers more than two choices. No one thinks to blame the Democrats for pandering to the centrist voters or the Republicans for not being anything like the conservatives they are supposed to be; it’s the third parties fault. Have we really become that accepting of doing what we are told, of going with the flow because “that’s just the way things are and we can’t do anything to change them”? The Republicans have had the White House for the past 7+ years and have gotten us into a war that is costing hundreds of thousands of lives and almost a trillion dollars, they have brought us to the verge (if we aren’t already there) of collapsing the economy, and they have widened the gap between super rich and ultra poor. The Democrats took over both the House and the Senate almost seventeen months ago, but have been unable to win any staring contests with Bush or his cronies. Despite this, despite the insanely low approval ratings for “both” parties, the majority of us still get angry when we are offered another choice. I do not believe that Ralph Nader will win the Presidency, I believe that he will take away votes from the Democratic nominee, but that does not mean he should not run- even if it’s just to send a message. We need to start small – state Senates, Congresspeople, Mayors and Governors – before we can ever dream of having a viable third party candidate on the national level, but in order to start small we have to accept more than two options. As long as we continue to listen to the media (who tear down both parties and yet scoff at a third) and the Serious People (to borrow a term from Glenn Greenwald) there will never be real change in this country.