Dean and Nader

If it’s true that many Democrats who voted for Nader in 2000 were Dean supporters in 2003-04, then this could be quite an effective way to help keep them voting Democratic this time around:

Dean, Nader to Debate

Howard Dean, the former Democratic presidential hopeful who attracted legions of liberal followers before his bid fizzled out, will debate independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader for 90 minutes on July 9 before a studio audience.

…Dean has been urging his supporters not to back Nader but to stay within the Democratic fold and vote for Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.).

I think that this debate is a perfect way to address Nader 2000/Dean 2004 supporters. While I was not impressed with the sputtering finish to Dean’s campaign (helped by some pretty hostile media coverage, to be sure), I’ve been impressed with the ways in which Dean has worked so hard over recent months to get Democrats elected this fall.

In related news, the GOP is becoming ever bolder and more open about the fact that they are working hard to build up Nader as a candidate this fall. Will voters care that the GOP is using such tactics to improve their election chances? Will this tactic become a regular part of both parties campaign efforts, wherein each party spends time and money boosting extremist candidates from the other side? Interesting questions.