The Nader factor


Geraldine Sealey
May 24, 2004 7:17PM (UTC)

Ralph Nader and John Kerry made nice last week in a closed-door meeting. Nader gave Kerry some friendly advice yesterday on a Sunday morning talk show regarding his running mate selection. But don't be fooled -- a band of Democrats, some who fought bitterly during the primary season in opposing camps, have joined together to lure voters toying with supporting Nader to the party fold and warn them that Nader is a dangerous man indeed.

The National Progress Fund, a new-found partnership of former aides to Wesley Clark, Howard Dean and Richard Gephardt, has launched the Nader Factor Web site, with this admonition to anyone considering voting Nader this time around:

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"Were you one of the more than 2.8 million Americans who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000? Then think about this. You have the power to decide whether or not George Bushs right-wing agenda continues to be the law of the land. Reasonable people can differ about the 2000 election. And we firmly reject those who unfairly bash Nader and his supporters. But while Ralph Nader was right about a lot of the issues we care about most, the facts are clear:

-- The issues that Nader supporters care about -- the environment, corporate responsibility, civil liberties, a sensible foreign policy, and fair trade policies -- were undermined by Nader's own candidacy in 2000.

-- Ralph Nader was a deciding factor in the 2000 election that gave us George W. Bush. In Florida and New Hampshire, Nader tipped the election to Bush.

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-- Four years of Bush have done more damage to this country than we could have ever imagined.

Poll after poll after poll show one thing: Ralph Nader is once again becoming a deciding factor. It is time for us to stand together in defense of the issues we care about most. George Bush is dividing us. To counter this, we are building a new community of Nader supporters, progressive Democrats and others who understand whats at stake and are uniting to take this country back from the right wing extremists."

The Nader team's response was to demand that John Kerry distance himself from the anti-Nader campaign: "We would like to see a clear message from Mr. Kerry that he opposes this effort against Ralph Nader," said Nader campaign spokesman Kevin Zeese. "If we don't get it, we will feel that he deserves credit for it."

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Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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