Confession of a Nader Raider

I have recently been really enthralled by Ralph Nader. This is only the second presidential election I have been able to vote for, but I have found exceeding frustration and disappointment from to two parties, partisan politics. With Nader, I have found something authentic in his tenacity and relentless pursuit of what he believes and rejection of those things that are compromises to truth or that are power plays in disguise. Also, he seems to be in equal rejection of both the Democrats and Republicans (which resonates well with me).

Since I am relatively new to understanding politics and knew little about Nader’s past I decided to get An Unreasonable Man, which is a documentary of Nader’s public and political life. The film was excellent and showed both the popular criticisms of Nader (mostly by democrats who assess that he is the reason they lost the election in 2000 and 2004) and the praises of Nader by other politicians, activists, watch groups and academics.

I personally, was somewhat educated on the vast history of Nader. It is easy to see him as just a contemporary Radical, but in reality he has been criticizing runaway politics, unbound capitalism, and injustices for his entire adult life. I didn’t realize he is the reason we have seat belts and that he was the cause of various other citizens rights acts. In addition he also the founder of Public Citizen – a consumer and citizens rights watch dog as well as a variety of other non-profits.

  • Capitol Hill News Service
  • Citizen Advocacy Center
  • Citizens Utility Boards
  • Congress Accountability Project
  • Consumer Task Force For Automotive Issues
  • Corporate Accountability Research Project
  • Disability Rights Center
  • Equal Justice Foundation
  • Foundation for Taxpayers and Consumer Rights
  • Georgia Legal Watch
  • National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform
  • National Coalition for Universities in the Public Interest
  • Pension Rights Center
  • PROD (truck safety)
  • Retired Professionals Action Group
  • The Shafeek Nader Trust for the Community Interest
  • 1969: Center for the Study of Responsive Law
  • 1970s: Public Interest Research Groups
  • 1970: Center for Auto Safety
  • 1970: Connecticut Citizen Action Group
  • 1971: Aviation Consumer Action Project
  • 1972: Clean Water Action Project
  • 1972: Center for Women’s Policy Studies
  • 1980: Multinational Monitor (magazine covering multinational corporations)
  • 1982: Trial Lawyers for Public Justice
  • 1982: Essential Information (encourage citizen activism and do investigative journalism)
  • 1983: Telecommunications Research and Action Center
  • 1983: National Coalition for Universities in the Public Interest
  • 1989: Princeton Project 55 (alumni public service)
  • 1993: Appleseed Foundation (local change)
  • 1994: Resource Consumption Alliance (conserve trees)
  • 1995: Center for Insurance Research
  • 1995: Consumer Project on Technology
  • 1997?: Government Purchasing Project (encourage purchase of safe products)
  • 1998: Center for Justice and Democracy
  • 1998: Organization for Competitive Markets
  • 1998: American Antitrust Institute (ensure fair competition)
  • 1999?: Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest
  • 1999?: Commercial Alert (protect family, community, and democracy from corporations)
  • 2000: Congressional Accountability Project (fight corruption in Congress)
  • 2001: Citizen Works (promote NGO cooperation, build grassroots support, and start new groups)
  • 2001: Democracy Rising (hold rallies to educate and empower citizens)

After watching the film and learning more about him I became even more of a fan of Nader, but I want to know what others think of him, would be a good President? Why do people not vote for him? Do people really have objections or is it that we are just used to having a two party system, thus we are someone xenophobic towards “third parties” (what a loaded term)?

Also, as i was thinking I wondered. Shouldn’t more Christians be supportive of Nader and other Third Party Candidates. Do the platforms of the democrats and reprublicans line up enough with our own beliefs that we can continue to vote for them?

    • mmghali
    • August 7th, 2008

    Canada! I am so happy to see this post. A theater here in Omaha did a series this Spring on democracy. One of the films they showed was An Unreasonable Man. I, too, am enthralled. I’m seriously considering voting for him. I think a reason that people don’t vote for Nader is that they think it is a “waste” of their vote. I think it is obvious that the system as it stands would not allow for a president to be elected outside of a political machine. I was especially appalled at the part in the movie where they talk about the role corporate power plays in setting up the debates and how Nader was forcibly barred from them. Even as an audience member. Is this the U.S.A.?

    I think that Nader’s stance lines up with mine the best. That would be one reason I vote for him. I also think a vote for Nader is a vote for changing the system. His voice in the process is really important, so if I can support him now he can bring up the issues the other candidates don’t talk about and that will become part of the public discourse. But I do doubt he could win.

    What about you?

  1. I have gone through a political journey. I am usually never completely one major party or the other. I find my self often criticizing and defending politicians from both parties (even George W. Bush). Learning more about Nader has given me a great perspective and hope for politics and the government. Although I can’t say that I agree with Nader is every instance of his beliefs or leadership, but overall I resonate with Nader and his positions.

    I agree that a vote for Nader is a vote to change the system. I dismiss the “throw away” arguments of some. I don’t understand how I am throwing away a vote by voting for the person that best represents me. If anything, those who choose to vote for a candidate just because they are of a certain party, vote with ignorance, or restrain from voting for someone because they “won’t win” are throwing away there vote.

    As Independents and Third-Parties receive more public appearances and people start to vote for them, the two party system starts to loose its grip. It may seem slow, but it is effective. As you said Nader may bring out important issues that otherwise would not be heard in public discourse.

    I doubt Nader will win, but I don’t care If I didn’t vote for him I would be dishonest That is more important than playing politics or pulling a power play in order to not have someone else in the office.

    It is interesting that people have “negative” things to say about Nader. Often, when I tell friends that I am gong to vote for Nader they think that I am ridiculous, but then when I ask they why not vote for Nader they have no good rationale. They fall back on the fact that he won’t win or reduce there argument to thinking it is ignorant to vote Nader just because he is Nader.

    We are so socialized to a two party system, that those who want o vote for a third party and/or independent are seen as odd and obscure, and perhaps sometimes obtuse. People don’t even know why not to vote Nader (which people of some beliefs should have a hard time supporting Nader); they only know that he is a political recluse and not an Elephant or Donkey

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