Press Covers Nader Announcement Badly

Ralph Nader’s February 24 announcement that he will run for president as an independent in 2008 has received extensive coverage, but that coverage is of poor quality. See this article as an example. To see the appearance itself, see here. To read the transcript, see here.

The real news is that Nader is not seeking the Green Party nomination. That decision will delay his ability to qualify for primary season matching funds. One cannot apply for primary season matching funds unless one says he or she is seeking the nomination of some party that is on the ballot in at least two states. In 2004, Nader said he was seeking the nomination of the Reform Party, and on that basis did receive matching funds. This year, at this point, Nader cannot say he is seeking the nomination of any political party (unless he again says he is seeking the Reform Party nomination, which is most unlikely, given its disarray).

The other problem with media coverage of Nader’s announcement, is that none of it mentions the evidence that his 2004 run did not injure John Kerry. See this. For a more detailed analysis, see here. Yet we have the same old assumptions that Nader will injure the Democrats in 2008, with no look at what actually happened in 2004.


Press Covers Nader Announcement Badly — No Comments

  1. I agree, both that the coverage of Nader’s Meet The Press was abysmally superficial and full of stereotypes that Richard and other people have debunked, and that Ralph should have announced months ago and run for the GP nomination. I give Cynthia McKinney props in this regard.

    Assuming Ralph is, in fact, running a separate campaign, then I think this end of the political spectrum will be quite split, since Cynthia McKinney is a far more well-known and appealing candidate than David Cobb was in 2004. It’s too bad that Green Party members and sympathizers will be split down the middle once again, to the inevitable detriment of the GP and efforts to build it. What a shame that that has to happen again.

  2. Richard: How does the FEC deadlock play into the matching funds issue? Would Nader be stuck in limbo waiting for the cash even if he does manage to qualify?

    If so, I would think this & the McCain thing would give the dems big incentive to leave them without a quorum.

  3. The FEC release of primary season matching funds is a clerical responsibility of the FEC. The fact that there is no FEC quorum does not prevent the FEC from mailing out matching funds. If it did, one would seem extreme consternation from Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Duncan Hunter, Dennis Kucinich, and Tom Tancredo, all of whom are expecting to receive their checks next month.

  4. As I noted over at Green Commons, the question for Greens seems to be, who will offer leadership for the Green Party past November? Congresswoman McKinney has already shown a willingness to serve the interests of the Green Party by participating in numerous fundraising events across the nation, campaigning for dozens of Greens from coast to coast, and by showing by the power of her example a new path to her voters which can lead to real independence and self-reliance. We Greens are fortunate to have her, and Nader will not split the party since he will not offer leadership to the party. McKinney will, and as such, she will unify the party between now and November, and more importantly, beyond November.

  5. This end of the political spectrum, David, will be even further split if Senator Barack Obama wins the Democratic Party nomination. It is going to be very difficult for Mr. Ralph Nader to collect signatures and financial contributions for an independent run. It will be more difficult than was his own independent campaign in 2004; more difficult than Senator Eugene J. McCarthy’s independent campaign 1976; etc.

    Mr. Nader handily won my party’s (Peace and Freedom Party of California) “beauty contest” on February 5th. I voted for him, of course, but if you ask one of the Old Guard members of my Party about the situation, the most likely answer that you will get is that Ralph is not likely to obtain the Party’s nomination at the state convention in August. (My response would be to ask why any person would even say such a thing – since Mr. Nader is the choice of the great majority of party voters. Only Party members were allowed to vote in the primary election. I have been at odds with the Old Guard for a long time, though, and I know that my question would not have much effect.)

    For a couple of years now, I have been writing on these pages and others that Ralph Nader and Michael Bloomberg should not run as independents – neither man has the base of support to make that a feasible idea. In my humble opinion, this is what Ralph should do: ditch the independent campaign deal and seek the nomination of either the Green Party, the Independence Party, the Constitution Party, or the Libertarian Party (or perhaps all of them – along with certain one-state parties such as Peace and Freedom; Progressive Party of Vermont; etc.).

    Phil Sawyer, Member
    Sacramento County Central Committee
    Peace and Freedom Party of California

    Veteran Activist and Member of the Electoral College; Committee for a Constitutional Presidency/McCarthy ’76.

  6. How do we know he is not seeking the Green nomination. I watched the interview, went to, and news sites and found nothing to this effect.

  7. With what was done to Nader in 2004 and Romanelli in 2006, the Pennsylvania Democrats deserve to have Ralph Nader on the General Election ballot in 2008.

  8. I haven’t seen anything official that he’s not going to seek the Green nomination either. And that Nader didn’t “injure” Kerry in 2004 is nothing to demand credit for. The major parties won’t change unless they lose votes to third parties and independents. Not taking votes from other candidates is nothing to be proud of just taking votes from other candidates (also known as earning votes) is nothing to apologize for!

  9. One can know that Ralph Nader is not seeking the Green Party nomination by what he doesn’t do and by what he doesn’t say.

    All the declared candidates for the Green Party presidential nomination are in Arizona today, lending publicity for the Green Party’s desperate struggle to get the petition done by the March 6 deadline. Nader could be there too, if he wanted to be (the interview with Tim Russert had been taped before today).

    All the declared candidates for the Green Party nomination have indeed “declared”. Nader, by saying nothing about seeking the nomination, is by his silence not seeking the nomination. Sometimes people taken an action by doing nothing. Furthermore, if one reads the transcript of his interview carefully, he does refer to himself as an “independent candidate.”

  10. I just spent quite awhile offline in a heated discussion with a Green Party official here in Virginia about what Ralph’s plans actually are and how the various scenarios play out for the GP, particularly in relation to the Virginia ballot petitioning drive that is going on and will be going on throughout the spring and summer. We both agreed that the Nader strategy is very pragmatism-oriented and he’s going to go out and get on whatever ballot lines are available, Green Party or otherwise. I think if there’s a draft at the convention he won’t turn it down, and let’s remember that he did win the California GP primary.

    I think Ralph hit all the right points on Meet The Press and I certainly don’t disagree with any of his views or positions. But his campaign should know that GP activists like me are very frustrated about his lack of strategic commitment one way or the other in terms of the GP. What are we supposed to tell people here in VA (or anywhere, for that matter) when we ask them to sign a petition to put the Green Party on the ballot and they ask “is Ralph Nader going to be your candidate?” or “is Ralph Nader running for your nomination or isn’t he?”

    I moderated the GP presidential forum in D.C. on February 2nd and was impressed with his obvious interest in raising funds for the party and in providing practical suggestions for how the GP can keep growing politically. However, I agree with Richard in that the best thing in that regard that Ralph could be doing is to do things like go to Arizona to lend his drawing power to the ballot access drive. Ballot access is his big issue this year….what could be a better way to demonstrate that?

  11. I agree that Nader could very likely use an ensemble of lines to get on state ballots.

    I have to admit; I a flumoxed by the fact that Nader is doing so well in the GP primaries against McKinney? Are the Greens prejudiced against her because of he media portrayal of her run with the cop? Or is there a race thing?

    To me, it seems that a Nader candidacy in ’08 becomes more like a Michael Harrington campaign of the 50s — at least there’s an ethical Leftist choice on the ballot, rather than a campaign that is a force to build some more permanent and strong alternative political party?

    And I say all this having donated to him three times, voted for him three times and was one of the initial cochairs of the ’96 WA campaign. So, I am not saying this out of any underlying antipathy to Mr. Nader. Quite the opposite!

    I can’t help but wonder if Nader and McKinney have ever talked all this through? or their people? It makes no sense that they aren’t in some communication?

    I also think all this says a great deal abt the GP. Nader not wanting to be gung ho abt them, McKinney initially declining, and now talking more abt the Reconstruction Party’s program than the Greens. They’re the only game in town at the moment on the Left, and people seem so reticent to take up their banner?!

  12. Unlike most of the thickheads who have been conditioned to ridicule Nader and the Green Party like the jerk of a knee, I think the possibility of a McKinney/Nader Green Party nomination contest is the only exciting news in this entire election cycle. This would have been a really good question for the journalist, although I am not surprised he missed it.

    I wondered why Nader didn’t say anything about the nomination (he did mention the Green Party), so I sent my question to the website.

    I don’t think we have heard the last of this question, although I agree it is getting late in even the Green Party election season.

    Separate Ballot Access note:

    In Washington this year, the Democratic Party Presidential Primary ballots required voters to promise not to participate in the (future) presidential nomination process of any other party in this election year. I think this new loyalty oath is meant as ammunition in a future lawsuit to invalidate signatures on a ballot access petition. Last general election we had a notoriously close Gubenatorial election, and I can easily imagine a Democratic Party lawsuit to invalidate a Green Party ballot access petition by cross-referencing a list Democratic Party primary voters.

  13. Deran: In my experience the candidate with the most familiarity & name recognition wins, and Nader is far and away the celebrity candidate, as it were, for the far left. It has nothing to do with the cop incident, her race, etc. etc. etc. Ralph Nader is a household word, has already run twice as the Green Party’s candidate, and is still a demigod-level hero to a lot of people. That’s a lot for anybody — Cynthia McKinney or anyone else — to go up against.

  14. The fact that Ralph Nader is not running as a Green Party candidate is very sad. The political left will never be able to gain power if Nader keeps running against a Green Party candidate, whether it’s Cynthia McKinney or anyone else.

  15. In reference to a poster above, Nader has absolutely NO chance of getting the Constitution or Libertarian Parties nominations. His positions run 180 degree counter to the beliefs of these two parties. This is what I mean when I say that many on the left are too caught up with the Nader persona to think clearly about his chances after so many repeat runnings. In New York, the party which gave him ballot access last time, the Independence Party, is still hoping to get Bloomberg to run. And without their support, if you understand New York’s ballot access laws, he has zero chance to get on the ballot as an independent. In fact, he probably won’t get on in enough states as an independent to be able to win the majority of the Electoral College a candidate needs in order to become President. And if that’s the case, than there is no reason to vote for him unless you just want to make a statement.

  16. Equal ballot access laws for all candidates for the same office in the same area.

    Uniform definition of U.S.A Elector in ALL States.

    NONPARTISAN nomination and election of ALL elected executive officers and all judges using Approval Voting – vote for 1 or more – highest wins.

    Way too difficult for the New Age DEVIL incumbent bastard MORONS from Hell in the Congress and the 50 State legislatures to understand — due to the powermad left/right EVIL in their EVIL rotted to the core so called brains.

    Nader might get 10-25 percent BUT the winner would get 50-55 percent ???

  17. Interesting conversation. Allow me to shed what experience I have gleened over 15 Years with the Greens.

    First Ralph Nader’s announcement Sunday was forced by a crucial point that is filing his petition paperwork in Texas ahead of the deadline which is next week as I believe. If you check the website the only activity announced is the bus carravan to Texas to Petition for a ballot line.

    As such Nader’s announcement appears to be tentative in nature. One other interesting tidbit mentioned in news reports of his announcement was Nader “reached out” to the Obama Campaign. What “reaching out” meant is anybody’s guess. My speculation is he probably conveyed to Obama that he is still unsure about launching a campaign against him at this time. With the Democrat Primary still in a state of flux Nader may wait a few more weeks before announce the extent and breath of this campaign.

    Regarding Nader and the Greens Nader made it clear to Greg Jan in 1996 that it was the Party’s responsibility to gain it’s ballot lines in every state. He also stated to Jan that he would not seek the Party’s Ballot unless it was qualified in at least 40 States. As time wore on Nader relented on his condition and gave his go ahead to the Green Party to use his name in a “Proforma Campaign” in which he would speakout on a number of issues. During an interview at the time Nader made controversial statement that illustrated a fundamental rift between him and the Greens. Nader when asked a number of questions about Gay Rights and Abortion Rights brusquely responded “I’m not going to engage in Gonadal Politics”. Succinctly put Nader wanted that campaign like all others to focus on a dozen bullet points engaging corporate or major government issues.

    In 2000 Nader wanted to run all out against the Democrats and was willingly to compromise on a number of ideals. As such Nader adopted issues he had previously shunned, like Gay and Abortion Rights along with Industrial Hemp inorder to gain the Greens Ballot Line. And even then Nader still had to petition his way on to nearly half of the 43 ballot lines he appeared on. When it became apparent that ballot status alone would not gain him admission to the Presidential Debates the value of the Green Party Ballot line lost a great deal of luster in Nader’s eyes. When 2004 rolled around Nader desired the autonomy that would allow him to focus on corporate issues without having to carry the Social Issues that have become a staple of Identity Politics. As such he struckout on an Independent Campaign seeking only the endorsement of the Green Party. There were a large percentage of Greens who wanted to run Nader on their Ballot Line but Nader was not interested if it came attached with a Green Party Platform. 72 Percent of the California Greens voted for Nader’s stand-in and eventual Veep Peter Camejo. When the 2004 Green Party Convention rolled around a sizable contingent of Nominal Democrats that had been operating under Green Party Registration engineered David Cobb’s installation as the Party’s Standard Bearer. Never mind that Cobb had not lived in the State of California since the Party had gained ballot status and only relocated later in the year. Prior to that Cobb lived in Texas a state that held party status briefly in 2000 to 2002 as a result of the Nader Campaign. At the time of the 2004 Campaign Texas did not have ballot status which raises serious questions about Cobb’s credentials. The Green Party’s 2004 Ticket sunk in stature further over over the nomination of Pat LaMarche as it’s Vice Presidential Candidate. The less said about that the better. Is it any surprise that Nader wants to keep his distance from the party ?

    But to keep the record straight Nader has run in the Green Party Primary this year in California and obtained 60% of the vote to Cynthia McKinney’s 20%. Nader also ran in Peace & Freedom’s Primary and garner 40% of the vote to Gloria LaRiva’s 21% and Cynthia McKinney’s 20%. So Nader is clearly the strongest candidate California no matter whose ticket he runs on. Any California Party that wants to be considered seriously in electoral politics would be committing suicide to refuse Nader at the top of their ticket. Cynthia McKinney remains the Greens sole point of hope for the future but right now Nader stands head and shoulders above her.

    With that said if Hillary Clinton can manage to salvage the Democrat Nomination in August expect Nader to jump in with both feet which would include using the Green Party Ballot Line if he can secure it. If Obama is the Democrat Nominee it’s still anybody’s guess what Nader will do. I’ve seen a couple of recent Nader interviews where calls into question the lack of specificity in Obama’s statements but expresses a degree of confidence in the man’s integrity. That integrity may provide the basis for negotiating a deal with Obama in exchange for Nader’s withdrawal from the race and subsequent endorsement of Obama.

    Nader may have declared his candidacy Sunday but there is much that will transpire before the dust settles.

    Bob Marston
    Founding Member Green Party of California
    Candidate 23rd Congressional Dist 1994

  18. deran wrote: “I have to admit; I a flumoxed by the fact that Nader is doing so well in the GP primaries against McKinney? Are the Greens prejudiced against her because of he media portrayal of her run with the cop? Or is there a race thing?”

    The answer is neither. Nader also ran strong in the Peace and Freedom Party Primary besting Old Line P&F stalwart Gloria LaRiva nearly 2 to 1. Even among Party regulars only a handfull have the time to study the candidates at length. As such like general election participants Primary Voters see the names of the candidates for the first time when they receive their ballots. Then it comes down to a matter of Q-Factor. McKinney may be well known in certain circles of the movement but she still does not possess a body of work sizable enough to be well known to the larger public.

  19. Ralph has already jumped in with both feet. That’s how he does things. The idea that Nader would withdraw from a campaign once he has entered it in order to endorse the Democratic Party candidate, no matter who it is, is just plain bizarre. He addressed this specific scenario countless times in both 2000 and 2004 and, on numerous occasions, made it as clear as he has ever made anything that that is something he would never do. And to use the word “integrity” in association with that scenario is quite ironic.

    If he were at all interested in endorsing Obama, why would he choose to enter the race at a time when it looks pretty likely that Obama will be the Democratic nominee; when most pundits (supported by the math, frankly) are predicting an Obama nomination; and at a time when it’s apparent that Clinton would have to pull off far larger than expected victories in both Texas and Ohio while polls show Obama gaining in those states?

  20. Nader has sought the nomination of multiple parties in all of his active presidential campaigns.

    In 2000, he was nominated by the Green Party, the South Carolina United Citizens Party, and the Vermont Progressive Party.

    In 2004, he sought the Green Party’s “endorsement” rather than its “nomination.” Both would have given him access to the Green Party’s ballot lines, but he seemed to be concerned that the party would place constraints or requirements on its “nominee” that it would not place on its “endorsee.”

    He apparently did not have any concerns, on the other hand, about being “nominated” by the national Reform Party, the Independent Party of Delaware, the Maryland Populist Party (which his campaign created), the New York Independence Party, or the South Carolina Independence Party.

    This year, I suspect Nader is still concerned that seeking the “nomination” of the Green Party would place constraints on his campaign. On the other hand, the “endorsement” strategy in 2004 backfired in a big way. Plus, as Richard has pointed out, he needs to seek the nomination of a multi-state “party” in order to get primary season matching funds. (Perhaps he is sounding out the new national Independence Party?)

    I suspect that Nader will do whatever he can to seek the Green ballot lines without making any commitments to the party. And I hope that if that is his strategy, the Green convention floor rules will avoid creating distracting, legalistic distinctions between “nomination” and “endorsement” and allow a head-to-head contest where Greens can evaluate all the candidates’ campaigns on the merits.

  21. Correction: In 2000, Nader was nominated by the Association of State Green Parties and several unaffiliated state Green parties, as well as the aforementioned UCP and VPP.

  22. Steve Z Says:
    February 24th, 2008 at 4:11 pm
    In reference to a poster above, Nader has absolutely NO chance of getting the Constitution or Libertarian Parties nominations. His positions run 180 degree counter to the beliefs of these two parties. … [snip] …

    Phil Sawyer responds:

    The Constitution and Libertarian Parties need to change. So far they have not amounted to very much.

  23. 1. Ralph is all in, the only question remains the extent to which he seeks the Green Party nomination and Green Party ballot access. I just reviewed the press today, and I think it is the USA Today article in which Ralph says he has sought appointments with Sen. Obama since April, to no avail.

    2. I have noticed also that AP and other media are describing his run as a “third-party” campaign rather than “independent.” This may be their ignorance showing itself, but I have a feeling Nader is leaving his options open on the question of the Green Party and its nomination and ballot lines.

    3. RE: “a sizable contingent of Nominal Democrats that had been operating under Green Party Registration engineered David Cobb’s installation,” above: I have heard this and I have no way to verify it. But, why doesn’t anyone complain about the Democrats “spoiling” the Green Party nomination process? Or, better yet, the “spoiler” lawsuits to keep Nader and the Greens off the ballot?

    4. I first met Ralph Nader at the 1996 ASGP convention in Virginia. He wasn’t there to join the party, but I think his early interest in the Greens gives him more “Green” credibility than most of us. This may explain his sizeable popularity among voting greens–where greens are allowed to vote in a government-run primary.

    Thanks for the Forum Richard! Keep up the good work.


  24. Phil Sawyer wrote “The Constitution and Libertarian Parties need to change. So far they have not amounted to very much.”

    Steve Z response: The banality and assininity of that comment speaks for itself and no further comment in that regard is required.

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