So where does this leave your vote for Nader or Buchanan? Answer: If voting to affect the result has real value, voting merely to send a message has a real cost. That doesn't make it inherently wrong. If you really think there's no difference between the two realistic candidates, and if you really feel strongly that the message of Nader or Buchanan is important to promote, it might be worth the cost. But if you merely prefer one of the fringe candidates to Gore or Bush, and if you also have a preference—albeit a mild one—between the two main contenders, you ought to vote for the Republican or the Democrat.
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