I’ve just sent this letter to Ralph Nader:
Dear Mr. Nader,
I supported you four years ago. I wanted to vote my conscience. By the time November rolled around, I was scared to do so. I convinced a friend in a state we were already confident would go to Gore to vote for you and I, a Californian, voted for Gore.
As we now know, it was just too close a thing for Democrats and Greens not to be more strategic with our votes. We didn’t realize just how bad Bush would be. We should have known better.
This time we do. Please, don’t run. Do what you can to help change the agenda, promote awareness, protect civil liberties and advance progressive thinking. The most important thing you can do is convince progressives that Bush must go. The first step is to get his administration out of power. The democratic candidate is our best hope of that.
Believe me, I am very sorry not to get to vote my conscience this time. I’ve been working hard on Howard Dean’s campaign. I think he’s done more for democracy and political participation in this country that anyone in the last 4 years, probably the last decade. I supported Matt Gonzalez for mayor of San Francisco and was so sorry to see him lose and by such a close margin. But we’ve learned in the past week that sometimes a less liberal candidate can surprise you. Gavin Newsom has done a wonderful thing in supporting same-sex marriage and human dignity. I don’t expect to have my opinion turned around as dramatically by Kerry or Edwards, but I do know this: either leading democratic candidate would be vastly preferable to another four years of Bush and I will absolutely not tolerate another election like the last one.
What do I want you to do instead of run? Save our votes. Put your skill and credibility to work on the issue of fair voting. We know there are major issues with electronic voting mechanisms. People trust you on technical issues. Give us safer voting booths the way you gave us safer cars.
Please, Ralph, don’t run.
Maybe next time, okay?
San Francisco, California