03/28/2008 02:48 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

10 Reasons The Democrats Have No Reason To Whine About Ralph Nader

1) The difference between the two Democratic candidates on the issues is razor-thin. There should be a candidate to define the largely absent progressive agenda. If Nader gets this constituency's backing, then he should be in the race.

2) Nader didn't cause Gore to lose Florida — the Supreme Court did. But before the Democrats even got to that point, they lost the race for themselves. And even if you believe Nader is the spoiler, if the Democrats can't beat the Republican candidate in a landslide this fall — or by at least enough margin to inoculate them against Nader votes — then they don't deserve to win.

3) Health Care — Both Democratic solutions are flawed and unresolved. Let the single payer Nader debates begin!

4) The War — Democrats largely allowed Bush to take us to war and failed, even after a voter mandate in the last congressional elections, to change the course of events in Iraq. In fact, it was escalated and might be the reason a Republican actually has a chance this fall.

5) It's fair — whoever can reach the mandatory benchmarks to run, should have the right.

6) If voters really want Nader, it's because they feel the issues he's raising are substantial enough to warrant attention. And if Democrats can't attract those same people, then they don't deserve them.

7) America needs strong independent and third party candidates. It's the only way to move the needle forward in dramatic ways. The established political paradigms need to be challenged. The most progressive remaining Democratic candidate, Obama, as attractive and fresh as he seems, doesn't walk on water for everybody. Let the chips fall where they may with a much more progressive candidate in the conversation.

8) The electoral college is broken. If Nader can so easily tip the election, we should address the system, not the rights of the candidate.

9) To borrow from CNN's Anderson Cooper, third party candidates keep 'em honest. They pose alternative points of view, ask tough questions outside of the major cable networks' oftentimes weak debate postures. Let a third party stir things up. We, the public, get a better, more open and honest process. And theoretically, a stronger candidate emerges to take the White House.

10) Much of the media punditry, political elite, party elders and all the current Democratic candidates don't want him to run. That alone should tell you he must be in the race. Let the voters decide.

---- Watch the excellent An Unreasonable Man, the story of Ralph Nader's presidential runs, the fallout, and his career as public interest advocate. Here's the description from PBS:

Many things today's consumers take for granted--seat belts, airbags, product labeling, free airline tickets after being bumped from an overbooked flight--are largely due to the efforts of Ralph Nader and his citizen groups. But did his foray into presidential politics harm his legacy? When most people hear his name, they think of the political "spoiler" who cost the Democrats the 2000 presidential election. While Nader has become a pariah even among his former friends and allies, An Unreasonable Man illustrates how he continues to be one of the most trusted activists in America, crusading on behalf of consumer rights.

Here's the quote behind the title:

""The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." — George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman.

Here's another quote from the film:

"The Democratic Party was looking for a scapegoat, and I think effectively tried to paint, and did paint, Ralph Nader as the reason why they were not in office, not the fact that ten million more Democrats voted for George Bush than voted for Ralph Nader." — Theresa Amato, Nader campaign manager

And one more, for Gore:

"Nader was dishonest. And the country is paying the price for it." — Eric Alterman.