On Nov. 3 your paper carried a wrap-up of the Ralph Nader candidacy that ran an entire column (about 17 column inches). In the sixth paragraph or so it was mentioned in passing that Nader and Michael Badnarik, the candidate of the Libertarian Party, finished in a virtual dead heat. If that is the case, then why does one candidate merit 20 column inches' worth of attention but not the other?

When someone comes within a whisker of finishing fourth in what we've incessantly been told is a three-way contest, that is pretty embarrassing. The Post -- and other media -- have some explaining to do.

-- Timothy J. Carr

Arlington

*

I have just finished reading Richard Cohen's Nov. 4 piece advocating Al Gore as a future presidential candidate. After searching in vain for signs of satire, I have concluded that this is a classic example of liberal wrongheadedness.

He begins, incredibly, by comparing Gore to George McGovern, and predicts that soon he will be deemed "right from the start."

He then admits that "from a Democratic perspective, what this country needs is a good recession." The Democrats have long been preaching gloom and doom, reveling in gloom and doom, and expecting gloom and doom. It seems they are finally ready to come out of the closet and begin hoping for it.

Cohen ends by espousing the classic Democratic strategic planning tool: the rearview mirror.

As a solid, conservative Republican, let me be the first to jump on the bandwagon: Run, Al, run!

-- Bob Hoyt

Edgewater

*

I disagree with Richard Cohen's assessment of what an ideal Democratic presidential candidate of the future might look like. While Al Gore does have some of the characteristics that, as Cohen says, could regain the South, Gore does not have two traits that became important for Bush's popularity: obvious religious faith and accessible personality. Robert D. Novak's column on the same page claims that Republicans have secured the South and Midwest because an "antiabortion, anti-gay-marriage, socially conservative agenda is ascendant." If this is true, Gore and possibly no traditional Democrat can ever hope to win again. However, while this agenda apparently is on the rise, two other factors will be critical, and they are not getting much attention in the post-election analysis.

* The slowed growth rate and aging population among whites, combined with the opposite among certain minorities, will force parties to cater to those communities in ways Republicans and Democrats have failed to do in recent years. Democrats used to appeal to minorities because of civil rights and economic equity, but Republicans have slowly turned that around by focusing on faith and traditional morality. Large numbers of Latinos voted for Bush on Tuesday. But the GOP cannot hold these groups for long if it does not modify its economic policies.

* The young voters who did not turn out in this election (ages 18 to 24) will become the core of the electorate. Politicians need to learn what advertising executives have known for years: marketing studies show conclusively that this age group is both fiscally conservative and socially liberal and is highly suspicious of anything that smells inauthentic (i.e., politics as usual). John Kerry was popular with this group, but these kids didn't vote. That will change, and they will never support a candidate like Bush.

So who is the ideal candidate for the future? What the Democratic Party needs is someone who looks like America's growing diversity, someone who spans multiple demographics, someone who appeals to younger voters, someone who hails from the heartland but shows a broader perspective, and someone who is eloquent but plain-spoken. What we need is the Tiger Woods of politics.

What we need is Barack Obama.

-- Lance Hosey

Charlottesville

*

I take strong exception to The Post's shorthand use in many post-election stories of the word "values" to reflect only the views of the extreme right. It is certainly true that intolerance is an ancient tribal value. I, however, value tolerance and believe that the richest nation in history should not tolerate poverty, lack of health care or poor education for any of its citizens. I believe in respect for the law, including international law, in the treatment of prisoners.

I believe that we have an obligation to leave our children an economy and an environment better than the one we inherited. They are the values that I will cherish and defend, and those values were the basis of my vote on Tuesday.

-- Henry Kelly

Arlington

*

As a former advisory neighborhood commissioner, I was upset that The Post chose not to publish any ANC election results in the Nov. 3 or Nov. 4 newspapers. In fact, there was so little local election coverage that it makes me question The Post's commitment to being a "hometown" newspaper. I had to squint just to find the D.C. school board election results.

D.C. residents are able to vote on so few things that affect their everyday lives. The ANC serves an important and necessary function for D.C. residents to have a voice and vote on issues controlled by local and federal government. Not to mention that ANC commissioners are nonpartisan volunteers. Perhaps The Post should rethink its "hometown" election coverage.

-- Kristen Barden

Washington

*

To the many things that discourage me this week, your paper has added another. Your election wrap-up section on Nov. 4 did not discuss other nations' reaction to Bush's reelection until Page A44.

As I watched the BBC News on Wednesday night, I was reminded of how much we have removed ourselves from our global responsibility -- or from even caring about it. Now that we have voted on "moral values," defined as whatever we want, it's everyone else be damned.

I can't imagine a more important time for the media to report the worldview that our government ignores. Certainly The Post can do better at maintaining our global sightlines so that we might be informed citizens of this country and of this sorry world.

-- Johanna Turner

Washington