Consumer advocate Ralph Nader announced Sunday that he will make another bid for the White House, and join the race as an independent. Nader made his announcement on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He said “it’s time to change the equation and bring millions of American people into the political arena.”
Nader claims he will mount a national campaign as an independent to highlight issues he said the major parties are ignoring, including universal health care, rising poverty and environmental concerns.
One thing is certain- Nader’s entrance into the race presents problems for the business-as-usual Democratic contenders who are content believing that the liberal vote is in the bag.
To some, Nader serves as a ploy to pull the more liberal votes, which is normally given to the Democratic Party. He’s only dividing the vote into thirds because as some put it, he does nothing during non-election years to promote changes.
To others, Nader gives voters a different option instead of choosing between the lesser of two evils. Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican Party said that Bush would win a second term no matter who runs.
Undoubtedly, Nader’s entrance into the race will capture some swing and independent voters as it did during the 2000 election. That year, Nader proclaimed he decided to run to “send a message across the country.”
Now political analysts are holding their breath to see exactly what his challenge of the “two party duopoly,” as he puts it, is capable of when voters head to the polls in November.
As an advocate for a blue-green agenda, Nader’s entrance will likely draw those who otherwise would not vote at all because of their discontent with modern big business, big promises politics.
As a grassroots organizer, his support base may take up where Howard Dean’s campaign left off, influencing new and idealistic voters to stay involved in the political process as he draws attention to the prospect of a three-party system.
As an advocate for affirmative action, Nader may even pick up a few votes from members of the black community who would like to see anyone but Bush in the Oval Office, but lack faith in the promises of the leading Democratic Party candidates or wish to vote for a more progressive candidate.
If Democrats are serious about getting Bush out of the White House this year, Nader is not a candidate they can afford to take for granted.
Kaye Dallas and Meredith Clark for the editorial board.