He's back in his fifth try (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008)
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader said on Sunday that he is launching another long shot independent campaign for president of the United States.
Nader, who will turn 74 this week, announced his presidential bid on NBC's "Meet the Press" saying that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are addressing the problems facing Americans.
Nader also ran for president in 2000 when he got about 2.7 percent of the national vote as the Green Party candidate and played a role in deciding the final presidential outcome. He also ran as an independent in 2004 and got only a tiny fraction of the vote.
Many Democrats blame Nader's participation in the close race between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George Bush in 2000 for tipping the election in favor of Bush. They believe that but for Nader's name on the ballot in Florida, Gore would have been the clear winner and president today instead of Bush.
Nader called Washington "corporate occupied territory" that turns the government against the interest of its own people.
"In that context I have decided to run for president," Nader said.
In the 2000 Presidential race Nader received 2,883,105 votes, or 2.74% of the total popular vote, but his biggest impact on the outcome of the election was in Florida.
While few of those who supported Nader back in 2000 will admit to the 'spoiling' effect their votes had on the course of history in this country, in retrospect and under impartial analysis, it is absolutely undeniable that were it not for their votes being cast for Nader in Florida, Al Gore would have won Florida and this country would be in a much different, better place than it is now.
It'll be interesting to see the effect, if any, that Nader has on the Democratic party today. The far-left radicals I know are firmly in Obama's camp, and they are extremely unlikely to abandon Obama in favor of Nader, but could possibly move to Nader if Clinton were to receive the nomination.
And one of Nader's strongholds in his past bids were young voters, who today clearly have caught Obama fever, but again -- if Clinton were nominated the fact that Barack Obama has done such an excellent job of alienating young voters against Clinton would probably cause young voters to migrate to Nader.
Obama's past 'slash and burn' tactics against the Democratic Party 'establishment' plays to Nader's advantage if Obama is not on the Democratic ticket..
This far away it's hard to see how Nader's candidacy will have a significant impact on the 2008 outcome if Obama is the Democratic nominee, but I can see a measurable and perhaps significant effect on the final outcome if Clinton prevails.
Downside aside... it is hard to see how this will benefit the Democrats in any way, and you can bet the GOP will do everything they can to create wedge issues to drive Democrats away from our candidate and towards Nader, so it is natural at this point to feel some angst over this development given the history of Nader's effect on past elections.
But keep in mind things are still somewhat unsettled on the Republican side of the fence, and a third party bid there is not out of the question, and could have an balancing, equalizing effect by pulling votes away from McCain.
Update: Obama and Clinton spokespersons are (of course) not voicing any concerns:
"I think it's a non-event,'' said Arizona Gov. Jane Napolitano, a Democrat supporting Sen. Barack Obama's campaign for president, in an appearance today on CBS News' Face the Nation. "They aren't looking for a third-party candidate.''
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign for president, agreed that Nader's decision is "a non-event.''
"There is unhappiness in the electorate, and (Texas Republican Rep.) Ron Paul's bid captures that anger,'' Geer said. "But Ralph Nader is not the vehicle for the expression of this discontent. Nader was a spoiler in 2000 and will long be remembered for that. But when he ran in 2004, few cared.
Related: The Boston.com website has a feature showing the history of third-party bids.
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