Nader's Raiders revolt

Published October 20, 2004 9:48PM (EDT)

First Ralph Nader lost high-profile former supporters like Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and Studs Terkel. Now, less than two weeks before the election, dozens of former "Nader's Raiders" and other former Nader associates have announced their own opposition to his candidacy and are launching ads in battleground states in an attempt to keep the "Nader Factor" to a minimum. The letter released today from Nader's former Raiders urges voters not to support their former hero, expresses regret that Nader has taken support from right-wing groups, and says progressive voters can be the key to the election, by voting for John Kerry.

The letter, with 75 signatories including organizer Ken Ward, who has served as Executive Director of Rhode Island PIRG and New Jersey PIRG, and Robert Brandon, who served as director of Public Citizen's Tax Reform Research Group from 1972-1977, reads:

"Dear Voters,

Many of us -- former Nader's Raiders and leaders of his organizations -- voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. Many did not. This November, none of us will vote for Ralph. We believe there is nothing more important than defeating George W. Bush. Ralph argues that he is creating an independent political voice. In 2000, when he ran as the Green Party candidate, that may have been true.

In 2004, as the candidate of the increasingly reactionary, anti-immigrant Reform Party, and the recipient of financial and political support from right-wing funders and operatives, it is not credible. Unfortunately, Ralph is party to a disingenuous effort to split the progressive vote in key states.

With the major party candidates in a dead heat, Nader is poised to tip the election to Bush -- again. We do not agree with Ralph that there is little difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. We know that the country cannot afford another four years of Republicans controlling the White House, both chambers of Congress, the Supreme Court and the entire federal Judiciary. The price of a protest vote is too high for families who live from paycheck to paycheck, for those concerned about the realities of war, for those who lack decent jobs and access to health care, and for the environment.

While Ralph has pursued politically expedient alliances with the right wing, truly progressive leaders -- from peace activists to unions to former Dean supporters -- have made substantial progress organizing within the Democratic Party. United, progressives can build a base for a transformed party funded by small donors, imbued with progressive values and energized by a vision of a democratic majority. Divided, we will give four more years to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Ashcroft. The progressive vote can be the key to this election.

We know Ralph Nader better than anyone else. We were inspired to public service by his vision and his integrity. Now we are disappointed and saddened to see him embrace the support of reactionary forces who oppose everything we and Ralph have fought for and whose real agenda is to reelect George Bush.

Join us. Cast your vote for a progressive future and support John Kerry."

By Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at

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