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Ralph Nader and The Matrix Trilogy

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When I was on Sirius Satellite Radio’s “The Blog Bunker? yesterday I was asked how the Democratic-led U.S. Senate approval of the latest FISA legislation would have on the presidential election – and whether the left wing of the party would feel betrayed (by Barack Obama’s support of the bill).

I explained to the host that the Democrats that supported the measure (including Obama) realized that they would risk losing the center of the country (political independents) by voting against a high-profile piece of legislation with ‘national security’ ramifications. The vote was smart politics.

And what will happen to the potentially disaffected far left who are seemingly bashing Obama all over the blogosphere? I told the host that Obama has little to worry about in the end, as the risk of these liberals flocking to Ralph Nader is very slim.

And that is when I explained how Ralph Nader’s presidential candidacies have mirrored The Matrix Trilogy:

The first Matrix film received very good notices, but did not hit the box office with a big bang – it was a grower. “The Matrix? debuted with just 37 million in North America – solid and respectable, but not stopping the country in its tracks. Critics and fans who did take note of the film raved.

Likewise, Nader’s first presidential campaign, in 1996, did not have much of an impact, although the consumer advocate’s favorable reputation remained intact. Nader garnered just 0.7 percent of the vote on the Green ticket that year. As “The Matrix? was seen as perhaps the best sci-fil film of its time, Nader was still largely viewed by those who were aware of him as a tireless fighter for the environment and consumers.

The second Matrix film (“The Matrix Reloaded?) received a lot of press build-up, and made a big impression at the box office – grossing 134 million in North America in its first weekend – bringing in moviegoers who had not seen the first installment at the theaters, but had learned about it through media buzz and on DVD. However, fans were not as pleased with how the plot unfolded in this second installment. After all the hype, the film was a letdown.

Likewise, Nader’s second run at the White House, in 2000, generated enormous media buzz, and voters flocked in much greater numbers to his campaign at the ballot box. Nader won 2.7 percent of the nation-wide vote (nearly four times more than in 1996). In the end, however, many voters (i.e. Democrats) who supported his campaign were disgruntled with the outcome – the plot of this story unfolded with a George W. Bush presidency.

The third Matrix film (“The Matrix Revolutions?) saw a huge dropoff of nearly 40 percent in its opening weekend from its predecessor (83 million) and went on to make less than half of “Reloaded? and 40 million less than the original. There was much less hype for “Revolutions? and critics and fans alike were unmoved by the film. The trilogy ended with a whimper.

Similarly, Nader’s third run at the White House, in 2004, went barely noticed by the press, and the reformist also won the lowest number of votes of his three campaigns – just 0.4 percent. The campaign was considered a disaster.

Ralph Nader may not know this yet, but there was no 4th Matrix. If it had been made it would likely have performed the poorest of series; a 4th Nader candidacy, competing against Obama and his nearly unblemished liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate, would undoubtedly fair just the same.

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4 Comments


  • that was the most unintelligent thing i have read in a while.

    but i'll give you this.... most americans really are not living in reality but instead brain-washed and forced-fed twisted information.

  • Or what seemed to me like an obvious attempt at comedy. As the tagline reads, 'Free Your Mind.'

  • What a joke of a blog.

    Smart politics? Smart politics, to what end? Is it, as you suggest, just to get the independent votes, so that these politicians (like Obama) can secure the election and then swing in with truly-liberal agendas and save the day? If that were the goal, the "smart politics" that the democrat party has been playing at for years would have already gotten us a president and a party that did its job right. Instead, we've got one of the most cowardly (or corrupt) major political parties in the modern world.

    It's time to grow up. Obama does not have a "nearly unblemished liberal voting record"; his stances don't hold a candle to Ralph Nader. Putting your faith in Barack Obama necessarily puts your faith in the democrat party. That same party doesn't earn our votes, anymore: it expects them. It's time to stop standing up for these politicians who don't stand up for you. "Smart politics" is a myth, nowadays. There's a politics with hidden agendas and politics with corporate agendas (like Obama's). What need, now, is some courageous politics. Thankfully, we still have Ralph Nader.

  • What a poor comparison. If Obama wins it has nothing to do with what he has or can do for this country. It's unfortunate but many will vote by what is popular and what they think is different, not on the issues.

    Ralph Nader is the breathe of fresh air this country needs, because the stench that has been coming out of Washington has been killing us.

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    Remains of the Data

    No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

    Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

    Political Crumbs

    Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

    Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


    An Idaho Six Pack

    Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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