"I am a confused Canadian. American politics are quite conservative. Kerry is running on basically the same platform Bush is, they are arguing over small matters. Kerry voted for the war in Iraq. He has no exit strategy and has not ruled out having a permanent American military base in Iraq.
Kerry has no commitment to universal medicare and affordable drug prices. Raising the minimum wage to seven dollars an hour is better than nothing, but the working poor still will not be able to buy much and can forget about medical insurance.
Will it really matter who wins the election? Wouldn't it be better to vote for Nader?"
Well, here's your answer.
Wow, I guess I've been misinformed. I was under the impression that the international community regarded Bush as a dangerous ideologue. Now I have a Canadian telling me to vote for Nader. *Twilight Zone music* Fine by me, though; I've been meaning to post my Nader rant.
To answer your question: Yes, the two major parties are remarkably similar (though I, and most of my friends, feel that Bush is trying to steer the Republicans to a theocratic far right). It's something my tenth-grade civics textbook referred to as "the American ideological consensus." It's one of the main reasons third parties aren't major players: as soon as a plank of a third-party platform gains popular support, one or both of the major parties co-opts it.
Now, to Nader:
Nader ran in 2000 on the platform that there was no difference between Bush and Gore, so why not vote for him -- the same idea you express in your comment. Well, in my opinion, if the past four years have proven anything, it's that there is a difference. Say what you will about Al Gore (and talk about some irony -- Nader, as a Green, going after one of the most environmentally aware politicians in recent years), you cannot deny this: If Al Gore were President, we would not be in Iraq. I think that's pretty damning -- even before you bring in Bush's other "accomplishments" as President. (My father's been out of work for two years. How's that economic recovery going again?)
Please understand that I am not criticizing third parties. I think third parties have a lot to bring to the table, and I'd like to see them get a greater voice, especially starting on the local level. A Libertarian or Green candidate winning the presidency right now isn't feasible -- but what about on the local level? You have to start somewhere.
But Ralph Nader is not a third-party candidate. The Greens told him to get lost. So now he's an ego candidate. He's refusing to recognize that he's been proven wrong. He's running a campaign that's funded by Republicans who freely admit that they're just trying to take votes away from Kerry. He's being used by the right and he doesn't care.
Let me make this perfectly clean: If you're voting for Michael Badnarik or David Cobb, I respect that. I'm also a pragmatist and think if you're voting Green, then you might want to consider if the environment can handle four more years of Bush, but I digress. But if you vote for Ralph Nader, you ARE wasting your vote. You're blowing your vote on a candidate who stands for nothing more than his own egomania. Nader cannot admit that he is wrong. That makes him just as bad as Bush.