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.