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Nader's candidacy gets some cheers, but more groans

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Many Democrats are still smarting from 2000, when they blamed Nader for taking enough votes away from Al Gore to give the race to George W. Bush. Many political analysts agree with that assessment. But Nader steadfastly denies it, saying that Gore and the Democrats are responsible for their own loss because they couldn't motivate voters.

Hunt, too, subscribes to this view. "It's not because people voted for Nader that Al Gore lost. It's that people didn't vote for Al Gore because they didn't see him offering much," he says.

Some political analysts argue that such thinking denies political reality.

"It's 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,' " says Douglas Muzzio, a political analyst at Baruch College in New York. "It's utter nonsense."

Indeed, Nader's run in 2000 ended up costing him votes four years later. David, a real estate investor in Portland, Ore., who asked to withhold his last name for personal reasons, says he believed in Nader and his work as a consumer rights activist. But that changed after 2000. Now, David blames him for ushering in "one of the worst eras" in American history.

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