More headlines: Ralph Nader on Principles & Values

(Following are older quotations. Click here for main quotations.)

Too early to say if he'll run for president in 2008

Q: Do you have any plans to run for president in 2008?

A: It's really too early to say. I don't like long campaigns. But I'm committed to trying to give more voices and choices to the American people on the ballot. That means more third parties, independent candidates and to break up this two-party elected dictatorship that is becoming more and more like a dial for the same corporate dollars.

Q: As you know, by leaving the door open as you just did, a lot of Democrats are going to get very, very nervous, given what happened in 2000. But you are potentially open to running for president again?

A: As I say, I'll consider it later in the year. But I think they ought to look at the agenda of some of these third parties like the Green Party, like our independent run in '04. Maybe if they take some of these issues, as they should have, in '00 and '04, they might win in a bigger way over the Republican Party.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Feb 4, 2007

Republicans help get Nader on state ballots

In Michigan, after Nader volunteers had collected only 5,000 of the 30,000 signatures necessary to get on the ballot, Michigan's Republican Party came to the rescue with 43,000 Nader signatures. A Nader campaign spokesman initially said that the campaign would not accept the GOP's help: "We won't take any signatures from them." But the campaign later said they would accept the "independent" ballot line provided by the Republican signatures in case they fail to get the Reform Party nomination: "We have to get on the ballot somehow," said the spokesman.

In Oregon, another swing state, Republicans enlisted the Oregon Family Council and the Citizens for a Sound Economy to recruit rightwingers to sign Nader's ballot petition. The CSE's phone script asking Republicans to put Nader on the ballot explained the need to "pull some very crucial votes from John Kerry." Nader's Oregon coordinator said he saw nothing wrong with rightwing help: "It's a free country. People do things in their own interest."

Source: Jeff Cohen, "AlterNet" blog Jul 20, 2004

Ad: Nader helped by Republican donors

AD ANNOUNCER: Right-wing Republicans will do anything to stay in power. Remember Florida and the 2000 election? Well, the same right-wing Republicans that are anti-choice and anti-environment are suddenly pro-Nader! Bush donors are pouring tens of thousands of dollars into Nader's campaign. Why? Because the right wing knows that helping Ralph Nader helps George Bush....After all the good he's done, Ralph Nader's legacy could be reduced to four more years of George Bush. Mr. Nader, declare your independence from the right-wing extremists.

ANALYSIS: anti-Nader group˙staffed by former Dean, Clark, and Gephardt campaigners-released a radio ad saying Nader is getting help from Republicans in hopes of stripping votes away from Kerry. The ad's use of the terms "right wing" and "extremist" are debatable. But it is well documented that some Republican-leaning groups have worked for Nader, and that a few wealthy Republican donors have given money to the Nader campaign.

Source: Ad-Watch analysis by Fact Jul 14, 2004

Don't know right-wing groups helping in my campaign

DEAN [to Nader]: The Oregon Family Council, which is virulently anti-gay, right-wing group, called up all their folks to sign your petition. I don't think that's the way to change the party. I agree with much of what you say, but the way to change the country is not to do it with any means to the end, the way to change the country is not to get in bed with right-wing, anti-gay groups to get you on the ballot. That can't work. I think there's a big difference between the Democrats and the Republicans.

NADER: What you said about that group was a legitimate smear. Do you know what a legitimate smear is, Howard? It's a smear premeditated and knowing. We don't even know this group. Don't try to tar us with this.

Source: NPR, "Justice Talking" Dean-Nader Debate Jul 9, 2004

Polls can be wrong; we're building beyond this election

The polls were wrong about Howard Dean. They all said he was going to win in a landslide against his Democratic primary opponents. We're building beyond November. An oak tree always starts with an acorn. And we are determined to give this younger generation of Americans a horizon for a better country and a better world and show them how to do it. Because the older generations have conceded two-party monopolies and narrow choices and low expectations and least- worst mentality far too long.
Source: NPR, "Justice Talking" Dean-Nader Debate Jul 9, 2004

Starts 2004 Presidential Exploratory Committee

If anyone has doubts about Ralph Nader's plans for 2004, his new website should erase those doubts. Yup, it appears Nader will make a fourth run for President in 2004. The site-which was registered October 24 by the folks at (his official 2000 campaign site)-went online this week in a very nascent form. The site also carries a disclaimer stating it was paid for by the "Nader 2004 Presidential Exploratory Committee, Inc." of Washington, DC. The committee is so new that it is not yet registered with the FEC. However, the committee does not need to register until it raises or spends at least $5,000. A mailed notice from the committee implied Nader planned to run again. Interestingly, the note gave the impression Nader was possibly looking to run this time as an Independent instead of a Green. Nader-the former two-time Green Party nominee-is a registered Independent. If he wants it, Nader remains the perceived frontrunner for the Green nomination next year.
Source: Dec 3, 2003

Decision on run to be based on Kucinich & Dean's standing

Ralph Nader said he would decide later this year whether to seek the White House again, as a Green Party candidate or an independent. Nader has run three times for president, faring best in 2000, when he won 2.7% of the overall vote.

Nader said his decision would depend, in some measure, on the fortunes of two of the nine current Democratic contenders whose politics would appear to resemble most closely his own - Dennis Kucinich and Howard Dean. Nader said growing support for Kucinich, one of the most liberal members of Congress, would give him "less reason to go into the election," adding: "Not, no. Just less."

As for Dean, Nader says he likes what the former governor says in speeches but fears that he will ultimately move toward the center to broaden his appeal. Nader also had a kind word for Senator John Edwards for opposing caps on damages in liability cases, but he did not indicate whether Edwards would influence his decision.

Source: Michael Janofsky, New York Times Jul 13, 2003

In 2004, would do "just about everything" differently

As for his own presidential aspirations in 2004, he is noncommittal. In this one way at least, he has become a typical politician. It is worth noting that most everyone who has ever known him predicts that he will run again. It is also worth noting that Nader is quick to warm to hypothetical questions regarding things he would do differently, in the event that he runs. "Just about everything," he says.
Source: Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon, by Justin Martin, p. 281 Oct 1, 2002

Question of his campaign: Do you want to be stronger?

The question of this campaign is, to every citizen, Do you want to be more powerful? Are you tired of being pushed around? Are you tired of being entertained into trivial pursuits? Are you tired of having your children exploited by corporate hucksters? Are you tired of having the promise of America being held back by the greed and power of a few dominating the many? That question is going to be asked. It’s not going to be, Support me and I will do this and that. It’s: Do you really want to be more powerful in your role as taxpayers against corporate welfare, as workers to organize trade unions, as consumers to advance the health, safety and economic rights of ordinary people, and as voter citizens to be able to build the most important instrument for justice ever devised, a strong democracy? Do you want to be stronger? That’s the question. If you do, you’ll join this campaign.
Source: Alternative Radio interview with David Barsamian Feb 23, 2000

“Civically responsible upbringing” by Lebanese immigrants

Q: Few people know of your Arab heritage. Your parents were born in Lebanon. I was wondering how that background influenced you.
A: It was a very civically responsible upbringing. My parents said to the children, “The other side of freedom is civic responsibility.” My father said that when he sailed past the Statue of Liberty. He took it seriously. So we were always encouraged to participate and try to improve our community and not be passive onlookers or bystanders. Our parents would take us to town meetings in my hometown, which were often pretty robust displays of discussion between the citizenry and the selectmen and mayor.
Q: What about the heritage of Arab culture?
A: We grew up learning the language. The proverbs were always a part of encouragement and admonition in the household. It was a very nurturing type of cultural upbringing.
Source: Alternative Radio interview with David Barsamian Feb 23, 2000

Democracy over plutocracy

Abuses of economic power are nothing new. Every major religion in the world has warned about societies allowing excessive influences of mercantile or commercial values. The profiteering motive is driven and single-minded. When unconstrained, it can override or erode community, health, safety, parental nurturing, due process, clean politics, and many other basic social values that hold together a society. Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Supreme Court Justices Louis Brandeis and William Douglas, among others, eloquently warned about what Thomas Jefferson called “ the excesses of the monied interests” dominating people and their governments. The struggle between the forces of democracy and corporate plutocracy has ebbed and flowed throughout our history. Each time the cycle of power has favored more democracy, our country has prospered (“a rising tide lifts all boats”). Each time the cycle of corporate plutocracy has lengthened, injustices and shortcomings proliferate.
Source: Green Party Announcement Speech Feb 21, 2000

People are the roots of the tree of democracy

Voters have got to take themselves more seriously, spend more time on civic actions and on political deliberation. They’ve got to raise their expectations as to what politics is all about in this country. Democracy is like a tree; the people are the roots and the trunk, the politicians are like the branches and the twigs. If we don’t do our job as citizens, the branches and the twigs get brittle, and they don’t bear any fruit.
Source: Interview on “Larry King Live” Oct 6, 1996

Chose 16-hour day work instead of personal life

Q: You are known for your 16-hour days and seven-day-a-week work ethic. Has it been worth it? Do you regret never having married and not having started a family?

A: This work is very personal -- it is my personal life. If you love your work, you don’t divide life into impersonal work and personal enjoyment. Of course, you >can’t have it all. I don’t believe in being an absentee father, so I had to choose.

Source: Mother Jones magazine Jun 3, 1996

Forever an optimist to improve society

Q: Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

A: Forever an optimist. A long time ago, I tried to decide whether it’s functional to be a pessimist. I even read Schopenhauer. And there’s no function to being a pessimist. Where does that get anybody? That doesn’t mean you’re a pie-in-the-sky optimist, but you have to ask yourself, are you going to get further in trying to improve your society by believing it can improve or by starting each day saying it’s going to get worse.

Q: There’s no adrenaline in pessimism is there?

A: It’s almost an object of intellectual dilettantism. You know, you see these people who are very aware of the problems of the world and they say, “Well, it’s all going to hell and nothing can be done about it.” It’s a way out. It’s an easy exit.

Q: And in moments of adversity, with no wife and family, who do you turn to for support?

A: The imagination, which is an endless, infinite reservoir of good works.

Source: David Frost interview Oct 21, 1994

Won't run as a Green-maybe as an independent

Ralph Nader, the third-party candidate viewed by many Democrats as the spoiler of the 2000 election for taking votes away from Al Gore, has decided not to run on the Green Party ticket next year, a party spokesman said. Nader, who garnered nearly 3 percent of the national vote in the last presidential election, has not ruled out running for president as an independent. He plans to decide by January. Nader, a consumer activist, appeared on many Democrats' hate list after the 2000 election. Gore, the former vice president and 2000 Democratic nominee, lost decisive Florida by fewer than 600 votes, while Nader received nearly 100,000 there. Many Democrats are convinced enough of those voters would have swung the election to Gore if Nader had not been on the ballot. Nader said running as an independent would not hurt his campaign. "As an independent, you can do more innovative things because you don't have to check with all the bases," he said.
Source: (South Carolina) Dec 24, 2003

Vote with your heart if your state is a foregone conclusion

Many liberals are torn about what to do. Do they follow their heart and vote for Nader or use their head and go with Gore? Some Nader allies have come up with interesting ways to solve their dilemma. A philanthropist is taking out newspaper ads in states that are considered safe for Gore (Massachusetts, New York) and safe for Bush (Texas, Colorado) urging progressives there to vote for Nader since the outcome there is a foregone conclusion. That strategy is meant to help Nader achieve his goal of securing 5% of the national vote so his Green Party can get federal matching funds in 2004.

Another strategy that has popped up on the web at implores, “If you live in a swing state, contact a Gore-voting friend in a strongly Bush-leaning state and informally agree that your friend will vote for Nader, while you will vote for Al Gore.” For his part, Nader says he doesn’t care whether Bush or Gore wins.

Source: Matthew Cooper, Time magazine, p. 79 Nov 6, 2000

Goal is 5% of vote, to qualify Greens as a recognized party

Nader knows he’s not moving into the White House, but he has a concrete goal: 5 percent of the vote so the Green Party will become a recognized third party and can reap millions in federal campaign matching funds in 2004. He defines victory as “getting tens of thousands of people into political activity and hundreds of candidates running. We become the third political party in America, with the fourth way behind.“ Nader says his chief aim is a ”shift of power,“ which would help him achieve his agenda: universal health insurance, public financing of campaigns, and the shifting of tax dollars from ”corporate welfare and a bloated military budget“ to services for people.
Source: U.S. News & World Report Oct 25, 2000

Tactical voting: if Gore leads your state by 9%, vote Nader

Nader hinted that anxious Democratic voters could practice “tactical voting” this year. If Gore is nine points ahead of Bush“ in polls the day before the election, Nader counseled, voters ”can vote for the Greens and have it both ways. They can help build a watchdog party after November 7 by depleting the vote totals from both parties.“
Source: Thomas Edsall, Washington Post, p. A1 Oct 23, 2000

Gore defends record to the left to deter Nader supporters

At a town-hall meeting, voters forced the vice president to defend his advocacy of the death penalty, his push for free trade with China, even his wife’s decades-old drive for parental warning labels on music with obscene lyrics. One woman sternly admonished: “It has felt to me like the Clinton-Gore administration gave an awful lot of ground back to the right and I would like to know why I should vote for you and not Ralph Nader. And don’t tell me, ‘Because I’ll split the vote.’ That’s not an answer.“ The question -- plus another woman’s counsel, ”You ought to be acknowledging more that there are more than two candidates in this race.“ -- come at a time when polls suggest that Nader is a growing threat to Gore’s support from the left. Gore avoided speaking his rival’s name in answering questions. ”The economic success that has come with the Clinton-Gore policies has helped working families far better than slogans, far more than rhetoric.“
Source: AP article in NY Times Jul 14, 2000

Plans to be on 50 ballots & make a 4-party race

Consumer advocate and Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader predicted Monday that he will qualify for the November ballot in all 50 states. Nader said his party is “growing quite readily” as an alternative to the Democratic and Republican parties - “which is really one party with two heads wearing make-up.” Nader continued, “We’re going to be on every state’s ballot. This is going to be a four-party race in November.” Nader said he plans to visit all 50 states.
Source: Associated Press Mar 13, 2000

Ran in 1996 to broaden agenda with progressive alternative

Q: Ralph, why face this?

A: The political system is a winner take all system. It excludes competitors and third parties, that’s what the debate commission did. That’s why you’re having us on, to have more competition.

Q: So, you know you’re not going to win.

A: All right, one is to get a Green Party on the ballot in future elections. That the corporate Democrats will never again be able to say to millions of people, “you got nowhere to go except to vote for us because we’re not Newt Gingrich.“

The second is to broaden the agenda, to put the issue--the central issue--of global corporate power, and its influence over our politics, economics, culture and education on center stage. Both of the big candidates are ignoring corporate issues. They’re taboo.

And the third is to get more young people into progressive politics. If young people trun off politics, politics will turn on them.

Source: Interview on “Larry King Live” Oct 6, 1996

Florida included some (less than 537) disenfranchised voters

Florida got 96,915 votes in Florida; Gore needed 538. Even here, Nader introduces a wrinkle. He brought legions of new, disenfranchised voters into the political process. This is not a matter of mere addition and subtraction, then. Often Nader argues that much of his Florida base would not have voted at all, and thus he cannot be held responsible for actually taking votes from Gore.

Exit polls in Florida showed that about one-third of those who voted for Nader were in fact disenfranchised; otherwise he took votes from both Gore and Bush, by a margin of two to one. That means he siphoned off roughly forty thousand votes from Gore. Libertarian candidate Harry Browne, Howard Phillips of the Constitution Party, and John Hagelin of the Natural Law Party garnered 18,856, 4,280, and 2,287 votes respectively. Some of their voters were most certainly disenfranchised, but no doubt they each snatched a minimum of 538 votes from Gore. So why aren't they considered spoilers?

Source: Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon, by Justin Martin, p. 272. Oct 1, 2002

"Nader's Raiders for Gore" Nader said Gore would win by 20%

At an August 2000 fundraiser, Gary Sellers, one of Nader's closest associates during the 1970s, challenged his former boss: "You cannot claim there's no difference between the parties," he said. "Why is it that 95% of the time, we used to work with Democrats? We used to celebrate if a Republican signed on to one of your crusades. It's likely to be very destructive.[to Gore's election chances]"

Nader assured Sellers that the election was unlikely to be the nail-biter pundits were predicting. He said. "George Bush is so dumb, Gore will beat him by twenty points."

Sellers then registered a web site under the name "Nader's Raiders for Gore." The group pointed out that Nader's central claim-that the two parties were virtually identical- would not have withstood his own truth tests. Nader in response issued a simple statement: "There are always a few who lose their zest and will to fight for progressive ideas and settle for moderate conservatives like Al Gore."

Source: Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon, by Justin Martin, p. 245-246 Oct 1, 2002

Nader less spoiler than Buchanan, in state-based analysis

The conventional view is that Nader cost Gore a victory, while Buchanan was not a factor, because Nader won 2.8 million votes to Buchanan’s 450,000. But the key question is which states were so close that third-party voters could have made a difference, had they instead voted for Bush or Gore.

There were 8 states in which no candidate received a majority of votes. In ME and NE, Gore won [by more than Buchanan’s vote], so those are moot. In FL and NH, Bush won, but by fewer votes than Nader received [i.e., Nader was the “spoiler” there].

In the remaining four states, IA, NM, OR, and WI, Buchanan’s vote total exceeded the difference between Gore and Bush. Combined, these four states account for 30 electoral votes, or one more than FL and NH combined. In other words, if Buchanan has dropped out and his supporters had switched to Bush, Bush would not have needed Florida to become president. Click here for state-by-state vote tallies.

Source: Davis Leonhardt, New York Times, p. 4 Dec 10, 2000

Margin of votes is less than margin of error: Toss a coin

Ralph Nader has a simple solution to the stalemate in Florida: Toss a coin. “It sounds kind of arbitrary. But I’m not joking,” he said. Nader said that, ideally, a team of nonpartisan volunteers should recount by hand all votes cast in all Florida counties. But, given the Dec. 12 deadline to pick a winner, he acknowledges that’s not a remedy the Florida Supreme Court likely will hand down.

“It’s razor close, and the margin of error is bigger than the margin between them,” he said. “Whoever wins is going to have half the nation against them. It’s going to leave a bad taste in the American people’s mouths.“ So, Nader proposes that Gore and Bush settle the standoff with a coin toss.

He claimed to be following the Florida standoff ”only casually,“ saying he doesn’t much care who wins. ”They’re just two lookalike candidates from two lookalike parties that are looking more and more alike. Whoever the winner, he’ll just keep hijacking the American governmental system,“ he said.

Source: Denver Post Nov 22, 2000

Gore has only himself to blame for defeat and a bad campaign

Gore ran a poor campaign, failed to attract new voters and remained a captive of the conservative Democratic Leadership Council and the special commercial interests that financed his campaign. He entered the election with every advantage against a marginal, ill-equipped and corporate-dominated Texas Governor. Yet, he mismanaged his campaign into a deadlock and now has only himself to blame for the Democratic fiasco.
Source: Interview in Washington D.C. Nov 10, 2000

Gore needed to run on more than not being George W. Bush

In the end, Al Gore made his appeal on one major campaign pitch - that he was not George W. Bush. That simply was not enough to bring millions of stay-at-home voters to the polls.
Source: Interview in Washington D.C. Nov 10, 2000

Gore has only himself to blame for defeat and a bad campaign

Gore ran a poor campaign, failed to attract new voters and remained a captive of the conservative Democratic Leadership Council and the special commercial interests. He entered the election with every advantage. Yet, he mismanaged his campaign into a deadlock and now has only himself to blame for the Democratic fiasco. In the end, Al Gore made his appeal on one major campaign pitch-that he was not George W. Bush. That simply was not enough to bring millions of stay-at-home voters to the polls.
Source: Interview in Washington D.C. Nov 10, 2000

Nader-Trader: Swap Gore vote with friend in non-swing state

Some Nader supporters are succumbing to the argument that Nader could tip the election to Bush-whom most of them find unacceptable-if he keeps pressing his campaign in key states. But they want to further the Green Party’s goal of qualifying for federal campaign funds in 2004, which will happen if it wins 5% of the nationwide presidential vote.

Their proposal: Ask pro-Nader voters in crucial swing states to vote for Gore in return for promises from pro-Gore voters in non-battleground states to vote for Nader. That way, there’s no net loss of votes for the Green Party, but Nader doesn’t draw all-important votes from Gore in the places where it really matters.

A website called states: “Wouldn’t it be great if you could both vote for Nader AND against Bush? Now you can-become a Nader Trader. If you live in a swing state, contact a Gore-voting friend in a strongly Bush-leaning state and informally agree that your friend will vote for Nader, while you will vote for Gore.”

Source: Charles Babington, Washington Post Oct 26, 2000

Hold Your Vote: check late polls; vote Nader if not close

Another strategy [for Nader supports who don’t want to hurt Gore’s electin chances]: In some states, Nader supporters and ‘Greens for Gore’ are organizing ‘Hold Your Vote’ campaigns. They’re urging people to wait until 7:30 p.m. on Election Day to vote. If exit polls show a close race in their state, they should vote for Gore. If Gore leads by a safe margin, they can vote for Nader without hurting the vice president’s prospects.
Source: Charles Babington, Washington Post Oct 26, 2000

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Ralph Nader on other issues:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

GOP V.P. Possibilities:
Gov.Haley Barbour(MS)
Gov.Charlie Crist(FL)
Mayor Rudy Giuliani(NYC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Sen.Joe Lieberman(CT)
Gov.Tim Pawlenty(MN)
Gov.Mitt Romney(MA)
Gov.Mark Sanford(SC)

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Libertarian: Sen.Mike Gravel
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
Libertarian: Rep.Ron Paul
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