AP: Nader not running as a Green

From the Associated Press:

On Thursday, [Ralph Nader] said he would not be seeking the Green Party nomination, noting that the party has four announced candidates.

“We think that there is plenty of room in this country for parallel progressive candidates,” he said.

34 Responses to “AP: Nader not running as a Green”

  1. Fred C. Says:

    Room, yes. Resources, no.

  2. Michael Says:

    He did the same thing in 2004. To use a TV phrase, “How is that working for you?”

  3. will Says:

    wow, just plain dumb all around. i cant believe this is the direction nader is taking

  4. paulie Says:

    He did the same thing in 2004.

    Nope, in 2004 he ran for the Green nomination and was defeated in convention.

  5. paulie Says:

    i cant believe this is the direction nader is taking

    I can. Most Greens I have talked to don’t think he would beat McKinney.

    He wants to start on independent ballot access ASAP rather than pouring money into putting a Green ticket he won’t be on on the ballot or doing nothing.

  6. Gregg Jocoy Says:

    paulie, I must beg to differ with your memory. Nader did not seek the Green Party nomination in 2004, and he has not sought it this year. The big difference this time around is Cynthia McKinney. We who care about the future of the Green Party must find ways to support her campaign so she can accomplish her stated goals of winning 5 % of the general election vote, securing 51 ballot lines, growing the number of Green Party chapters and strengthening those already in place, and helping Greens running at the local level.

    I have not heard anyone say that these are not measurable or meaningful goals. The best way to help her reach these vital goals, if you support them, is to give to her campaign so she can achieve another goal, federal matching funds.

    As to whether Nader would have beaten McKinney in a straight up battle for the Green Party nomination, I think he would have had a very good shot. Since he has elected to go his own way, as has Gonzalez, all we Greens can do is wish them well and promote our candidates and our party’s destiny.

  7. BillTx Says:

    Saint Ralph = Douchebag.

  8. Eric Prindle Says:

    I wouldn’t say Nader’s doing the exact same thing as in 2004. His comments as quoted in the AP article appear to send a strong message to his supporters within the Green Party that he does not want them to try to get the party to “endorse” his campaign rather than nominating its own candidate. Now it just remains to be seen whether those folks will respect his decision.

  9. Jonathan Cymberknopf Says:

    bad decision. If this is true and I don’t think it is since I have been in contact with the Nader campaign, this would truly be self defeating. By annnouncing Matt Gonzalez, the purpose was to get someone from the Green Party to entice the Green Party to nominate him, so I don’t believe it.

  10. Gene Berkman Says:

    Ralph Nader is way past his sell-by date.

    As for 2004, Nader refused to commit to the Greens that he would be a candidate. Then after he decided to run as an Independent, he invited the Green Party to endorse him, but not to nominate him. He claimed that he did not agree with the Green Party leadership on a strategy of only running in states that were safely Republican or safely Democrat, so as to not hurt the chance to defeat Bush.

    You Greens can criticize Nader, but he received nearly 4 times the vote that David Cobb received. And the major Green Party candidates in 2006 were all people who had supported Nader in 2004 – Howie Hawkins in New York, Kevin Zeese in Maryland, Tod Chretien in California.

    It really does look like the Green Party has not been able to grow without Ralph Nader as its star candidate. I don’t think Cynthia McKinney will turn out to be an adequate substitute.

  11. paulie Says:

    paulie, I must beg to differ with your memory. Nader did not seek the Green Party nomination in 2004, and he has not sought it this year.

    Bad choice of wording on my part, then. His supporters tried to get him the Green nomination at their convention in Milwaukee, which I attended the very tail end of as people were packing upand leaving. They lost the vote.

  12. BillTx Says:

    “It really does look like the Green Party has not been able to grow without Ralph Nader as its star candidate. I don’t think Cynthia McKinney will turn out to be an adequate substitute.”

    Nader is 73. So what happens to the Greens when he’s gone and they
    haven’t built an organization independent from him?

  13. Ronald Kane Hardy Says:

    “By announcing Matt Gonzalez, the purpose was to get someone from the Green Party to entice the Green Party to nominate him, so I don’t believe it.”

    Nader didn’t need anyone to nominate him. He only needed to declare his intent to seek the nomination. He already had more delegates than McKinney due to California’s Feb 5 vote.

    Whatever his reasons for taking the independent route, Greens should avoid chastising Nader or questioning his decision. Nader will do what he feels he needs to do to put his issues forward on the political landscape. To bemoan his decision or criticize his choice is to be no better than the Democrats who will follow Nader from state to state suing him off the ballot.

    Nader put the Green Party on the National Stage in 2000. He’s kicked the baby bird out of the nest, and the Green Party needs to learn to fly now on its own two wings. And I would say that Cynthia McKinney would be a very good set of wings to fly with.

  14. Preston Says:

    “Whatever his reasons for taking the independent route, Greens should avoid chastising Nader or questioning his decision. Nader will do what he feels he needs to do to put his issues forward on the political landscape. To bemoan his decision or criticize his choice is to be no better than the Democrats who will follow Nader from state to state suing him off the ballot.”

    We aren’t allowed to criticize him? What is that?
    This is stupid. I am starting to believe this is egomaniacal. To say there is room for more than one progressive candidate is a cop-out.
    I am all for Nader’s point about there needing to be more ‘choice’ in elections. But there is no need for ‘choice’ between candidates whom are nearly identical on the issues. He should endorse McKinney—or at the very least explain where his policies are different from hers.
    Like I said, I’m all for choice, but if everyone thought like Nader, we would end up having 300 million candidates for president.

  15. Ronald Kane Hardy Says:

    Preston, I apologize if I sounded preachy. In my defense “should avoid” is different than “not allowed”.

    The point I was trying to make was that I think it is a waste of energy for Green Party faithful like myself to dwell on what Nader is or isn’t doing when we could (and should) be channeling that energy toward growing the party and working for our candidates.

    Defending Nader’s right to run is not reserved for Nader faithful. I’m supporting either McKinney, Mesplay, Swift or Johnson. A week ago I was supporting either McKinney, Mesplay, Swift or Johnson, and if Nader would’ve sought the GP nomination I would’ve considered him as well.

    This isn’t black and white. I think people need to ask themselves if they are more inclined to grow the Green Party, or more inclined to support Nader 08 (not necessarily eitheror). Me – I’m more inclined to grow the Green Party. But I still support Nader’s right to run.

    My donations to McKinney, Mesplay, Swift, Johnson, and Jared Ball = $370
    My donations to the Green Party Arizona ballot access campaign = $50
    My donations to Ralph Nader 2008 = $0

  16. David Gaines Says:

    I see BillTX is still trying to drag this blog down to the level of DailyKos with his sophisticated ad hominem analyses of Ralph Nader’s reasons for running.

    I do not agree with Ralph’s reasoning about there being room for lots of progressive candidates, and I’m not happy that he’s out on his own again, but having said all of that, I went and saw him and Matt Gonzalez speak tonight in D.C. and I was quite surprised (yes, I actually base my opinions about candidates after I go and listen to them, read what they’ve written, and digested their arguments). I was surprised at the reception he got from the audience, which was virtually all George Washington University students (plus a sprinkling of oldtimers like me), most of whom clearly had little knowledge of Nader in general and his presidential campaigns in particular. They were attentive, they were openminded, and they were obviously moved at several points by what the man had to say. His criticisms of the current political system, and of numerous injustices of all kinds which the Democratic Party never discusses, are quite persuasive.

    Both he and Matt Gonzalez made it clear that they are very raring to go, they came out swinging, they obviously organized their campaign themes & structure very well, they know what they want to emphasize and they did so in impressive detail. The sense I got overall is that this campaign is already way beyond the 2004 Nader campaign. The vibe in the room was very reminiscent of 2000 and I was not expecting that. Basically it confirmed what I’ve been sensing in the media, from the surprisingly large number of pro-Nader blog entries around the web to supportive comments from the likes of Michael Bloomberg and the Los Angeles Times. None of this was present four years ago.

    Also, and most interestingly from the perspective of people who read TPW, Ralph said at one point “we’re thinking of forming a new party.” Hmmmm.

    In any event, even given all of the above, I don’t see this ticket getting 5% of the vote, which means Cynthia McKinney will be lucky indeed to get over 1% of the vote. I’m not sure what will be left of the Green Party at the national level after this campaign. I agree with those who feel that, by this time, the GP should have attracted at least one other leader in the Nader mold. As I’ve written before, I very much like the direction Cynthia McKinney is going in and the people she’s bringing into the fold who otherwise wouldn’t give the GP the time of day, but I’m not convinced yet that her campaign is the vehicle to really grow the party up and beyond the Nader era. We’ll see. I was really stunned by the Nader/Gonzalez event tonight and that has changed my thinking quite a bit.

  17. Brian Miller Says:

    Isn’t it ironic how, after mouthing platitudes to “democracy,” many on the left in both the Democrat and Green parties are running around demanding that a candidate step down because he “doesn’t have a right” to run?

  18. Robert Milnes Says:

    The progressive alliance would encourage as few progressive candidates as possible so as to not split the vote.

  19. dinnerbellbishop Says:

    Milnes, Greens and Libertarians have way different ideas and a joint candidacy by the two only will lead to ideological disembowlment and head scratching by the voters.

    Question: Did Nader actually say, “I will not seek the Green Party nomination (or endorsment).” If he didn’t, he may still have there backing. He may be simply trying to walk a very fine line with his language here. If he announces candidacy for the Green nomination, it may prevent him from seeking the ballot in certain states. I don’t know the finer points of ballot access laws. I think what Nader dreams of, and I think it’s a good idea, is to get the Green nomination as a gift while he’s actively seeking other nominations, with the ultimate goal being to consolidate the National Green Party with a lot of other smaller parties and call the whole thing the Progressive Party. Sounds cool to me except it won’t happen.

    Question2: Does anyone else ever get the feeling that there’s a bunch of small leftist parties around the country that need to start looking seriously at forming one big party. Why can’t the Greens, Socialist Party USA, Workers World Party, Peace and Freedom Party, and a bunch of other similar parties simply merge into one entity?

  20. Fred C. Says:

    “Why can’t the Greens, Socialist Party USA, Workers World Party, Peace and Freedom Party, and a bunch of other similar parties simply merge into one entity?”

    While that would certainly make a whole lot of sense, unfortunately most of those parties exist because they split from each other in the first place.

  21. David S Says:

    I agree with Peter Camejo (a socialist) who said, “the Green Party US is not and will never be a socialist party.” It’s very bad political strategy to use words that make people instantly close their minds. Our tasks are to pursue grassroots democracy, social justice, sustainability and peace. Our strategy should be to attract the millions of Americans who already share those values, but either vote against their values or don’t vote at all. Green parties around the world are “beyond left and right.” By a strategy of trying to attract tiny socialist parties that haven’t won a thing since World War I, we would be consigning ourselves to the dustbin of history. We should focus instead on opening up American political culture, so that socialists and all sorts of parties can take their case to the people in public debate.

  22. Bob Marston Says:

    pauliec said: “I can. Most Greens I have talked to don’t think he would beat McKinney.”

    In the California Green Party Primary last month Nader polled 60% McKinney polled 20%.

    In the Peace and Freedom Primary Nader polled 40% while McKinney polled 20%.

    I would expect her showing in a General Election to be even more lopsided.

    McKinney’s incident with punching a cop will loom large if she decides to proceed with her campaign. Even if she can secure the nomination I can’t see her securing any more than 25 ballot lines. Receiving 5% of the popular vote ? Not a chance. Recruiting an activist base from the African American Community ? With Obama on the Democrat Line ? She wouldn’t have a prayer !

    As to what Nader is doing I have NFC ! After traveling around the country last year speaking at Green Party Events and then Nader turns around and says he doesn’t want the Green Party Nomination is a real head scratcher. The only logical explanation is he wants to start his own party and raid the Greens after the election.

    Stay tuned folks this ought to be interesting

  23. Deran Says:

    I agree with Mr. Gaines’s analysis. I think teh GP is in real trouble. And no one has mentioed anything in public abt the whys behind one of the US GPs former leading lights, and once their highest elected official, has, like Peter Camejo before him, dropped the GP?

    I think that after this elction, or in the course of it, some sort of new, broader progressive party could be initiated? I think there is a lot of potential out there. Like Gaines pointed out, there are a lot of people looking around for ideas that were not looking around in ‘00 or ‘04.

    And I think tehre is a good change the Obama fever could break before November,

  24. Eric Prindle Says:

    I am virtually certain that Nader has no dream whatsoever about building a new, broader progressive party. Nader doesn’t like parties. He looks at parties and sees ballot access and federal matching funds. That’s it.

  25. David S Says:

    Except for the symbolic importance of the first black president issue, Obama doesn’t excite a lot of black activists – his positions are nothing to get excited about. McKinney could energize a lot of people who don’t vote in the current system and get votes that Barack “border fence” Obama will not. The GP is not going to die just because Nader is moving on. Green parties around the world are growing in size and influence, and it’s about time we started talking about relying on Nader’s ideas rather than his direct support. About time we stopped being “that goddamn Nader party.”

  26. David Gaines Says:

    Now THIS is getting to be an interesting discussion. :)

    Again, Nader said last night – and I know this because I was sitting about ten feet in front of him and both saw & heard him say it – “we’re thinking of starting a new party and we’re going to be looking for names” (meaning names for the party, not names of people to be in the party). It was a rather lighthearted way of saying it but obviously the tremendous import of the statement for 3rd party people was not lost on me.

    The Green Party is committed as a matter of policy, philosophy, and resources, to get on all 51 ballots and I applaud that. As a practical reality, I can’t see it happening in Georgia, North Carolina, or Oklahoma…. and Virginia (where I live) looks pretty shaky. They’re automatically on between 25 and 30 or so for 2008 (I haven’t opened up my new issue of Ballot Access News yet so I’m not exactly sure) right off the bat, which is a pretty good start. But where they’ll end up after the various petition drives over the spring & summer…...I have NFC, to borrow Bob Marston’s terminology. :)

    As for Nader, what dawned on me last night and also this morning after the C-SPAN appearance is that he will, like in 2000, attract a way different crowd of supporters and volunteers than the McKinney/GP campaign will. People who are sick of the Democrats, adore Nader, but don’t want to have anything to do with the Green Party, for whatever reason. I’ve met lots of those people, from 2000 to now. In any event, I think he can leverage support he has with local 3rd parties such as the Independent Party of Oregon into ballot access, and that would certainly reduce his burden. If he can get on in more states than 2004, that will be a significant psychological & PR victory that will boost his campaign’s profile. If he can get on in over 40, game over. He’ll be a 2000-level contender again.

    But all of this is conjecture. And don’t forget about everything going on with the Libertarian and Constitution party nominees. They may well have marquee/celeb candidates of their own, which would certainly mitigate whatever drift there will be towards Nader & McKinney on the part of Democrats, particularly in the south.

    I don’t think there’s been an election this fascinating from a 3rd party perspective since 1948.

  27. David Gaines Says:

    David S: Nader himself agrees. He said as much this morning on C-SPAN when he directly praised Cynthia McKinney and basically left the impression that he thinks the Green Party should fly on its own and do what it needs to do, but without him. I don’t think anyone is as aware of the effect that “the Nader cult” has on the Green Party as the man himself is.

  28. Robert Milnes Says:

    Don’t you think I thought about a new third party? A New Progressive Party. I almost immediately rejected it as direct competition to the green & libertarian parties. & there was no reason to think it would cause those two to fade away, esp. the LP.

  29. paulie Says:

    Robert Milnes Says:

    February 28th, 2008 at 11:52 pm
    The progressive alliance would encourage as few progressive candidates as possible so as to not split the vote.

    Lead the way by dropping out.

  30. paulie Says:

    In the California Green Party Primary last month Nader polled 60% McKinney polled 20%.

    In the Peace and Freedom Primary Nader polled 40% while McKinney polled 20%.

    My hunch is that will not correlate with who shows up for the Green Party convention.


    McKinney’s incident with punching a cop will loom large if she decides to proceed with her campaign. Even if she can secure the nomination I can’t see her securing any more than 25 ballot lines. Receiving 5% of the popular vote ? Not a chance. Recruiting an activist base from the African American Community ? With Obama on the Democrat Line ? She wouldn’t have a prayer !

    I still think Clinton will be on the Democrat Line, but in either case I don’t see either McKinney or Nader getting above 1%, whether only one or both of them are on the ballot, this year.


    As to what Nader is doing I have NFC ! After traveling around the country last year speaking at Green Party Events and then Nader turns around and says he doesn’t want the Green Party Nomination is a real head scratcher. The only logical explanation is he wants to start his own party and raid the Greens after the election.

    I don’t think he really wants to start a party. Maybe as a nameholder operation like he did in a few states where it aided with ballot access in 2004.

    Stay tuned folks this ought to be interesting

  31. David Gaines Says:

    paulie: Nader really does want to start a party, or is at least considering it. That’s what he said last night and it is congruent with what I was told by someone with the Nader campaign prior to Ralph’s candidacy announcement. And my strong impression is that he wasn’t talking about another Populist Party strategy to which you refer.

    3rd parties form and dissolve all the time, throughout American history. It would hardly be novel, or even surprising, if the Nader campaign morphs into yet another one. But I really see a Nader party appealing to a different constituency than the McKinney campaign/Green Party. Yes, there will be overlap, but there will be plenty of target markets/constituencies for both campaigns that do NOT overlap. This remains to be seen, though.

  32. paulie Says:

    Good luck if he goes through with it. I agree that we need more independent parties.

  33. Mike Indiana Says:

    Nader’s run could cancel out any growth the Green Party experienced through being associated with him. When the Party doesn’t endorse him at the convention (GP pledged to run its own candidate in 2008 no matter what) many party activists will be pissed and will work for the Nader campaign rather then the GP nominee. The damage to the national GP from a low presidential vote total will reduce the GP in the MSM sense to that of the Reform Party. Nader picking arguably the most dynamic individual in the GP as his running mate will cause conflict for many a GP loyalist who see Matt Gonzalez as the parties darling because of his efforts in San Fransisco.

  34. Phil Sawyer Says:

    Please do not forget how difficult it is in California for independents to obtain presidential ballot access. The most logical approach to the Golden State is for Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez to begin a new party. If the new party does not make it this time, it can still keep on organizing and most likely make it in 2012!

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