Yesterday the AP wrote an article about the potential for Bob Barr to be “the Ralph Nader of 2008.”
Sure, the sum of John McCain and Bob Barr’s vote totals could end up being enough to win the presidency, despite McCain losing to Obama, but it is foolish to assume that absent Bob Barr, McCain would receive those votes.
The AP, and other commentators who spout this “Nader of 08″ garbage, fail to realize an important point: elections are not about voter preference, they are about who you are motivated enough to go to the polls and vote for.
Political parties don’t spend millions of dollars to ensure that their candidate is preferred, they spend millions to get out the vote (GOTV). So long as we don’t have mandatory voting (and let’s hope we never do), elections are not a zero sum game… then the McCain + Barr = Obama calculus simply doesn’t add up.
Frustrated conservatives who might vote Barr are going to do so because they aren’t persuaded to give their vote to McCain (or Obama). Voting for a candidate who you know won’t win - such as Bob Barr or Ralph Nader - isn’t something that people will do lightly, and the decision to do so says far more about McCain then it does about Barr.
If McCain loses, it will be because of his own failure to get out the conservative base. Years of betraying conservative values and contempt for the Republican grassroots will be the reason otherwise likely Republican voters may take the step of going to the polls for Barr.
Don’t believe me, just look at the list:
- McCain-Feingold free speech restrictions
- Opposition to tax cuts and using class warfare rhetoric to oppose them
- Joining with Ted Kennedy to push for amnesty for illegals
- Joining with Joe Lieberman to impose regulations on carbon emissions that will devastate the economy
In other words if McCain does lose by a small margin, the real ”Nader of 2008″ will be McCain.