This has the same old logical fallacies against third party voting that have been spouted again and again. I’ve addressed them here. You may claim you’re familiar with the arguments, but you are repeating the same ideas that the arguments have already roundly debunked.
For starters, Nader didn’t elect Bush. It’s Gore’s fault he didn’t win over those Nader voters with better policy proposals and by being a better candidate in general. You cannot blame Nader or anyone who voted for him for Gore’s shortcomings. This is victim blaming, because the voters are the victims in a rigged system that brings us horrible candidates. Given this, it is a false equivalency to analogize this to choosing to drive a hybrid and advocating that people driving Hummers stop doing so and also start driving hybrids.
Secondly, it is unscientific to speculate what the differences between a Gore and Bush presidency really would have looked like. Gore has sold out to different people, but he has still sold out. He didn’t amass his titanic net worth through political capital by being fair and square. I’m with you in thinking a Gore presidency would have been better than a Bush presidency, but I also recognize that is an unscientific claim.
Finally, and this is the most important point, which you didn’t really address at all. If I am voting out of principle rather than for a specific candidate who does not align with my principles, even if I am aware that one candidate is objectively better than the other, then it does not make me illogical to still vote for my principles. If I believe that the margin of difference between the two major party candidates is not as significant as the difference between endorsing the status quo with my vote or actually voting for a candidate that represents me, the implications of which transcend any one election, then it makes logical sense for me to vote my principles instead of voting out of fear for the candidate I perceive to be the lesser of two evils. Participating in the momentum of change has value beyond just one presidential election. How you value that will determine whether you think it is wiser to vote for a third-party candidate or an establishment candidate.
Reducing this to “feeling good” is a needless punch down at the voters who are exercising their democratic right to not be victims of political fear-mongering. They have real reasons for voting the way they do, and it isn’t just about “feeling good” as you insultingly suggest. If you want to make a difference with the power and prestige you have, keep your focus where it belongs, on getting us better candidates; don’t vilify people for refusing to endorse the evils that come with voting for one of the major party candidates.
The voters are not at fault for not wanting to choose the so-called lesser of two evils. When you move the blame away from the corrupt political institutions we have in the United States and shift it to the people, demonizing them for having the courage to use their minuscule political power to speak out against it, you are just shooting all your other efforts at eliminating corruption in the foot, because you are essentially asking people to abandon their principles, cave to fear, and surrender their vote to the very same system you have been railing against as corrupt for years — the very same system that brought us perhaps the two most disliked major party candidates in history.