As a Democrat, I am intimately familiar with the potential that a third party can have on an election. I have since forgiven my wife for her Nader vote, but I do wonder how different things might have been if we all would have lined up strictly on the line between Democrat and Republican. It's one of those "butterfly flapping his wings in Buenos Aires" moments where I wonder if we would be fighting wars in the Middle East and the Twin Towers might still be standing if the 2000 election wouldn't have been decided by a few thousand votes. I can dream, can't I?
Or maybe it's not a dream at all. There are plenty of political strategists who believe that the fortunes of the 2010 elections may spin on the pointy little heads of a certain number of Tea Party candidates. Initially embraced by the GOP, these anti-establishment, free-thinkers are taking dead aim, if you pardon the Palin-pun, on those who have been conducting "business as usual." That certainly works in the races where a Tea Party candidate is running against a firmly ensconced Democrat, but lately the TP'ers have not been above biting the hand that feeds them. There are plenty of Republicans who have grown fat and happy as career politicians and are not thrilled with the idea of being brushed aside for this breath of fresh air. Especially when that breath of fresh air smells faintly of bedbug crazy.
In the meantime, the Green Party continues to show their color by being the conscience of the Left half of the country. They aren't afraid to stand up to South Carolina's Jim Demint, who has been spending his own campaign funds to Tea Party-ish candidates in other states. That would be the very Right half side of the country. All of this hustle and bustle causes those at the center to fret and strain at the idea of "fringe elements" running the country.
All of which makes me wonder how Ralph Nader might have handled the events of September 11, 2001.