Nader won't go away soon, and even when he does, there will always be another Nader. Democrats have expended resources keeping him from being a spoiler this year; I'd rather not see those resources lost in the future.
Hopefully, Democratic legislatures, especially those in states where Nader made the ballot, like Maine, will keep this effort in mind next session and adopt voting systems - like Approval - where even if Nader makes the ballot, he won't be a spoiler.
Of course, you'd think that given 2000, they'd have done that at some point in the last four years.
One of George Bush's strongest selling points is his supposed values. He touts them at every opportunity. So if Kerry brought the Swift Vet lies upon himself by mere mention of his Vietnam service, George Bush certainly brought this upon himself by claiming to be moral. How moral is it to have your wealthy, powerful father keep protect you from the draft while sending thousands of others overseas? How moral is it to support the Vietnam war, yet happily evade the draft that would send him there - thereby sending another young man without Bush's connections to fight and possibly die in his place? It's not moral at all.
If I were the Kerry campaign, that's how I'd frame this issue for the media.
Depending on the ad, this could be very good or very bad.
If the ad attempts to answer the criticisms of the Swift Vets for Bush, then it will simply lend credence to the criticism by repeating the charges. That would be a problem.
But if the ad is simple, like, "You've heard the lies about John Kerry's service to his country. You've heard John McCain and other honest public officials denounce them. So why haven't you heard George Bush do the same?" then it's fine. Call them what they are, point to others who share the view, and single George Bush out for criticism. That could be effective in shifting the debate from Kerry's actions to Bush's actions.
From my admittedly distant, half-interested view. He's been on the attack from day one, and that turns me off. I remember an attack against Castor for her ties to Emily's List, and a few others, too; he simply seems mean.
Georgia allows anyone who is not serving a sentence for a crime to vote. According to this, that disenfranchises 11% of black men in Georgia. It's too high, but twenty states are higher (only six are in the South). That said, I've read that it's widely believed that ex-felons can't vote in Georgia, which discourages registration.
SurveyUSA shows Tenenbaum winning only 70% of black voters, and DeMint winning 15%, with 15% other or undecided. I very much doubt DeMint will pull 15% of the black vote in South Carolina.
It also shows Tenenbaum running behind Kerry in general - which simply doesn't make much sense. She's behind him among those earning less than $40,000, she's behind him among pro-choice voters, etc. None of this adds up. There's simply something fishy about that poll.
They do send delegates to the convention, but they don't send electors to the electoral college. At least when candidates campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire, they're winning the attention (and possibly the votes) of potential general election voters, too.
Any system the Democrats adopt should really take into consideration the fact that the selection of the Democratic nominee is not an end in itself, but a means to electing a Democrat nationwide. Given that, they should hack the system so that the contests generated press in states where the ultimate nominee would later have to campaign.
This system is nice and mathetmatical and clean, but I don't think it takes the practical considerations of winning a national election into account.
I'm no expert, but I suspect the Amar Plan is constitutional. Bush v. Gore helpfully noted that a state's voters have no right to vote for president, after all. If they have no right to choose who wins their electors, why not allow other states' voters influence how they award their delegates?
As far as the Voting Rights Act goes - I'd love to see South Carolina Republicans argue that the rights of black voters are abridged if the state's votes don't go to a Republican presidential candidate. It'd be even more fun than seeing Georgia Republicans argue that the recent Democratic remap disenfranchised black voters.
I share your preference for approval/acceptability voting, BTW. But wouldn't the approval votes for the candidate simply count toward its national total?
It could still lead to a popular vote winner becoming an electoral vote winner, and it would still allow small states a disproportionte influence in the result.
The Amar Plan is a better solution. It would simply award a state's electors to the winner of the popular vote. If enough states did this, it would ensure that the popular vote winner was also the winner of the electoral college. Further, it would effectively give voice to voters in other states; they might not be able to swing their state, but their vote, in addition to those elsewhere, would be able to swing the Amar states - and the nation - to victory.
However, much the same could be said for Texas, Florida, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, and almost every state from the Mississippi to the Rockies on the GOP side.
That presumes that those states would adopt this plan. Texas, Florida, and Ohio certainly wouldn't; they lean Republican, and their Republican legislators wouldn't give up those more-likely-than-not Bush votes. Georgia, North Carolina, and Mississippi might be better targets, being controlled by Democratic legislators, but it's simply too much of a risk.
More likely than not, this plan will be adopted by well-intentioned blue states, not red ones, and by splitting their votes, they'll ensure that Republican presidents are elected for the forseeable future, no matter what the popular vote is.