Ralph Nader's Campaign Strategy In The 2000 U.s. Presidential Election
(Barry C. Burden)
Those observing the 2000 presidential campaign agreed that Ralph Nader could not win the presidency but disagreed about his actual strategy. Many Democrats contended that he was playing the role of "spoiler" in an attempt to attract attention or affect the election outcome. Others argued that he was trying to earn 5% of the popular vote to secure matching funds for the Green Party in the next presidential election. Count models find that Nader's travel schedule, unlike Gore's, was unresponsive to the closeness of the major-party race. Nader's appearances were driven primarily by opportunities for attracting a large number of voters, suggesting that earning 5% was indeed a central campaign goal. Data on television advertising produce a parallel result. This finding resolves an ongoing debate about Nader in particular, but also points to broader differences between major and minor-party campaign strategies.