Nader falls short
Presidential hopeful Ralph Nader tried – and failed – Monday night to get onto the Oregon ballot for the November election.
Approximately 750 Nader supporters flocked to the Roseland Theater in Portland’s Old Town in hopes that their John Hancocks would put their candidate on Oregon’s ballot. They fell short of the 1,000 required signatures for the nominating convention, and now Nader campaign organizers plan to set out on their other option for this state: collecting approximately 15,000 signatures.
Outside the theater, a handful of Nader protesters had gathered, handing out fliers and carrying signs that read, “Don’t help Nader elect Bush again” and “Don’t waste your vote – No to Nader.”
Nader has said that he believes he will actually take more votes away from George W. Bush than from John Kerry by appealing to conservatives and libertarians who are upset with Bush’s policies – a claim that has been difficult to support. A recent University of Pennsylvania Annenberg Election Survey indicated that Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to view Nader unfavorably.
“We’re talking about people on the margins,” Nader told The Vanguard in an interview last Thursday. “Republicans who are upset with Bush can either stay home or vote for my independent candidacy.”
Nader, who has raised about $1 million in campaign funds so far and hopes to raise as much as $20 million by November, also intends to meet with Kerry to discuss how they can work together to defeat Bush.
“There are competitive areas, obviously, but we have a collaborative effort to beat Bush. When he has a position, I elaborate on it and when I have a position, he elaborates on it,” Nader said.
At the nominating convention Monday night, Nader rallied his supporters and discussed the issues he cares most about in his candidacy – many of which he noted are also important to Kerry. Cheers followed as he rattled off a list of issues, including universal health care, living minimum wages, revolutionizing modern transportation, affordable housing, solar energy, campaign finance reform, free tuition at public universities and veterans’ benefits.
Nader also railed on Bush, calling him “a giant corporation disguised as an individual,” criticizing his support for major corporations and the massive donations his campaign has received from corporations, including donations from Enron during Bush’s 2000 campaign.
Nader also condemned the war in Iraq, calling it “Vietnam redux.”
“Those of you who wondered what the Vietnam War was like,” he said, “this is the Bush-Cheney administration’s War in Iraq.” Loud boos followed this statement, to which Nader replied, “We’ve got to do more than that.”
Even though Monday night’s nominating convention failed, Oregon is still a relatively easy state for the candidate to capture. Texas proves the largest challenge, requiring 65,000 signatures from individuals who did not vote in either major party primary.
Nader volunteers around the country are organizing mass road trips to Texas to try and help their candidate out. He is also trying to move the country toward one standard for federal elections, whereas the process for an independent candidate such as Nader to get on the national ballot is currently arbitrarily created in each state.
Nader said he also hopes to draw support from the over 10 million U.S. citizens who have turned 18 since the 2000 election.
Even if the polls indicate that the race between Bush and Kerry is close when the election draws near, Nader said that he would not consider withdrawing from the race.
“Of course not, do you think that I would betray my political supporters?”