Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader (/ˈneɪdər/; born February 27, 1934)[1] is an American political activist, author, lecturer, and attorney, noted for his involvement in consumer protection, environmentalism and government reform causes. The son of Lebanese immigrants to the United States, Nader was educated at Princeton and Harvard and first came to prominence in 1965 with the publication of the bestselling book Unsafe at Any Speed, a critique of the safety record of American automobile manufacturers that became known as one of the most important journalistic pieces of the 20th century. Following the publication of Unsafe at Any Speed, Nader led a group of volunteer law students—dubbed "Nader's Raiders"—in a groundbreaking investigation of the Federal Trade Commission, leading directly to that agency's overhaul and reform. In the 1970s, Nader leveraged his growing popularity to establish a number of advocacy and watchdog groups including the Public Interest Research Group, the Center for Auto Safety, and Public Citizen.

Nader's activism has been directly credited with the passage of several landmark pieces of American consumer protection legislation including the Clean Water Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Consumer Product Safety Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. He has been repeatedly named to lists of the "100 Most Influential Americans", including those published by Life Magazine, Time Magazine, and The Atlantic, among others.

He ran for President of the United States on several occasions as an independent and third party candidate, using the campaigns to highlight under-reported issues and a perceived need for electoral reform. His 2000 candidacy stirred controversy, with several studies suggesting that Nader's candidacy helped Republican George W. Bush win a close election against Democrat Al Gore. During the election, Nader had stated that he preferred Bush to win over Gore.

A two-time Nieman Fellow, Nader is the author or co-author of more than two dozen books, and was the subject of a documentary film on his life and work, An Unreasonable Man, which debuted at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

Ralph Nader
Naderspeak
Personal details
BornFebruary 27, 1934 (age 85)
Winsted, Connecticut, U.S.
Political partyIndependent
Other political
affiliations
EducationPrinceton University (BA)
Harvard University (LLB)
Awards
Signature
Ralph Nader's signature
WebsiteOfficial website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1959

Early life and education

Ralph Nader was born in Winsted, Connecticut, to Nathra and Rose (née Bouziane) Nader, both of whom were immigrants from Lebanon.[2][3][4] After settling in Connecticut, Nathra Nader worked in a textile mill before opening a bakery and restaurant.[5] Ralph Nader occasionally helped at his father's restaurant, as well as worked as a newspaper delivery boy for the local paper, the Winsted Register Citizen.[6]

Nader graduated from The Gilbert School in 1951, going on to attend Princeton University. Though offered a scholarship to Princeton, Nader's father forced him to decline the offer on the grounds that the family was able to pay Nader's tuition and the funds should go to a student who could not afford it.[7] Nader graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa[8] with a Bachelor of Arts from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1955.

After graduating from Princeton, Nader began studying at Harvard Law School, though he quickly became bored by his courses. While at Harvard, Nader would frequently skip classes to hitchhike across the U.S. where he would engage in field research on Native American issues and migrant worker rights. He earned a LL.B. from Harvard in 1958.[6]

In his youth Nader identified with Libertarian philosophy.[9] However, he later changed his mind in his "early 20s". Originally he "didn't like public housing because it disadvantaged landlords." However, his view changed when he "saw the slums and what landlords did."[9]

After graduating from Harvard, Nader served in the U.S. Army as a cook and was posted to Fort Dix.[6]

Career

Early history

In 1959 Nader was admitted to the bar and began practice as a lawyer in Hartford, Connecticut, while also lecturing at the University of Hartford and traveling to the Soviet Union, Chile, and Cuba, where he filed dispatches for the Christian Science Monitor and The Nation.[6] In 1964, he moved to Washington, D.C., taking a position as a consultant to Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan.[10]

Unsafe at Any Speed

Nader was first propelled into the national spotlight with the 1965 publication of his journalistic expose Unsafe at Any Speed. Though he had previously expressed an interest in issues of automobile safety while a law student, Unsafe at Any Speed presented a critical dissection of the automotive industry by claiming that many American automobiles were generally unsafe to operate. Nader researched case files from more than 100 lawsuits then pending against General Motors' Chevrolet Corvair to support his assertions.[11]

The book became an immediate bestseller but also prompted a vicious backlash from General Motors (GM) who attempted to discredit Nader by tapping his phone in an attempt to uncover salacious information and, when that failed, hiring prostitutes in an attempt to catch him in a compromising situation.[12][13] Nader, by then working as an unpaid consultant to United States Senator Abe Ribicoff, reported to the senator that he suspected he was being followed. Ribicoff convened an inquiry that called GM CEO James Roche who admitted, when placed under oath, that the company had hired a private detective agency to investigate Nader. Nader sued GM for invasion of privacy, settling the case for $425,000 and using the proceeds to found the activist organization the Center for the Study of Responsive Law.[6]

A year following the publication of Unsafe at Any Speed, Congress unanimously enacted the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John William McCormack said the passage of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act was due to the "crusading spirit of one individual who believed he could do something: Ralph Nader".[14]

"Nader's Raiders" and Public Citizen

In 1968 Nader recruited seven volunteer law students, dubbed "Nader's Raiders" by the Washington press corps, to evaluate the efficacy and operation of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The group's ensuing report, which criticized the body as "ineffective" and "passive" led to an American Bar Association investigation of the FTC. Based on the results of that second study, Richard Nixon revitalized the agency and sent it on a path of vigorous consumer protection and antitrust enforcement for the rest of the 1970s.[15]

Following the publication of the report, in 1971, Nader founded the watchdog group Public Citizen to engage in public interest lobbying and activism on issues of consumer rights, serving on its board of directors until 1980.

1970s–1990s

NADER AND FORD
Nader, far right, at a meeting with Sylvia Porter, and U.S. president Gerald Ford in 1974.
Ralph-Nader-1975.jpeg
Nader in 1975

By the early 1970s Nader had established himself as a household name. In a critical memo written by Lewis Powell to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Powell warned business representatives that Nader "has become a legend in his own time and an idol of millions of Americans".[16]

Ralph Nader's name appeared in the press as a potential candidate for president for the first time in 1971, when he was offered the opportunity to run as the presidential candidate for the New Party, a progressive split-off from the Democratic Party. Chief among his advocates was author Gore Vidal, who touted a 1972 Nader presidential campaign in a front-page article in Esquire magazine in 1971.[17] Nader declined the advances.[18][19]

In 1973, Ralph Nader was plaintiff in the case against acting attorney general Robert Bork, who under orders of President Richard Nixon had fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox in the so-called Saturday Night Massacre, an action that was ultimately ruled illegal by federal judge Gerhard Gesell.[20]

In 1974 he received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen.[21]

In the 1970s, Nader turned his attention to environmental activism, becoming a key leader in the antinuclear power movement, described by one observer as the "titular head of opposition to nuclear energy".[22][23] The Critical Mass Energy Project was formed by Nader in 1974 as a national anti-nuclear umbrella group, growing to become the largest national anti-nuclear group in the United States, with several hundred local affiliates and an estimated 200,000 supporters.[24] The organization's main efforts were directed at lobbying activities and providing local groups with scientific and other resources to campaign against nuclear power.[25][26]

Ralph Nader lectures at Florida State University, 1980s

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, through his ongoing work with Public Citizen, Nader continued to be involved in issues of consumer rights and public accountability. His work testifying before Congress, drafting model legislation, and organizing citizen letter-writing and protest efforts, earned him direct credit for the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Clean Water Act, Consumer Product Safety Act, and Whistleblower Protection Act.

In the late 1990s, Nader would accuse Microsoft of being a monopoly. He would organize a conference featuring Microsoft's critics from the tech world.[27]

In 1999, Nader was unsuccessfully approached by Nike to appear in a advertisement. The firm offered Nader $25,000 to say "another shameless attempt by Nike to sell shoes" while holding Air 120 sneakers. After Nader turned down the offer, the corporation hired filmmaker Spike Lee.[28]

Presidential campaign history

1972

Draft Ralph Nader 1972 button
Campaign button from the 1972 effort to draft Nader to be the candidate for the New Party

Ralph Nader's name appeared in the press as a potential candidate for president for the first time in 1971, when he was offered the opportunity to run as the presidential candidate for the New Party, a progressive split-off from the Democratic Party in 1972. Chief among his advocates was author Gore Vidal, who touted a 1972 Nader presidential campaign in a front-page article in Esquire magazine in 1971.[17] Psychologist Alan Rockway organized a "draft Ralph Nader for President" campaign in Florida on the New Party's behalf.[29] Nader declined their offer to run that year; the New Party ultimately joined with the People's Party in running Benjamin Spock in the 1972 presidential election.[18][19][30] Spock had hoped Nader in particular would run, getting "some of the loudest applause of the evening" when mentioning him at the University of Alabama.[31] Spock went on to try to recruit Nader for the party among over 100 others, and indicated he would be "delighted" to be replaced by any of them even after he accepted the nomination himself.[32] Nader received one vote for the vice-presidential nomination at the 1972 Democratic National Convention.

1992

Draft Ralph Nader '92
Button from 1992

Nader stood in as a write-in for "none of the above" in both the 1992 New Hampshire Democratic and Republican Primaries[33] and received 3,054 of the 170,333 Democratic votes and 3,258 of the 177,970 Republican votes cast.[34] He was also a candidate in the 1992 Massachusetts Democratic Primary, where he appeared at the top of the ballot (in some areas, he appeared on the ballot as an independent).

1996

Ralph Nader 1996 button 00
Campaign button from 1996

Nader was drafted as a candidate for President of the United States on the Green Party ticket during the 1996 presidential election. He was not formally nominated by the Green Party USA, which was, at the time, the largest national Green group; instead he was nominated independently by various state Green parties (in some states, he appeared on the ballot as an independent). However, many activists in the Green Party USA worked actively to campaign for Nader that year. Nader qualified for ballot status in 22 states,[35] garnering 685,297 votes or 0.71% of the popular vote (fourth place overall),[36] although the effort did make significant organizational gains for the party. He refused to raise or spend more than $5,000 on his campaign, presumably to avoid meeting the threshold for Federal Elections Commission reporting requirements; the unofficial Draft Nader committee could (and did) spend more than that, but the committee was legally prevented from coordinating in any way with Nader himself.

Nader received some criticism from gay rights supporters for calling gay rights "gonad politics" and stating that he was not interested in dealing with such matters.[37] However, more recently, Nader has come out in support of same-sex marriage.[38]

His 1996 running mates included: Anne Goeke (nine states), Deborah Howes (Oregon), Muriel Tillinghast (New York), Krista Paradise (Colorado), Madelyn Hoffman (New Jersey), Bill Boteler (Washington, D.C.), and Winona LaDuke (California and Texas).[39]

2000

In the 2006 documentary An Unreasonable Man, Nader describes how he was unable to get the views of his public interest groups heard in Washington, even by the Clinton Administration. Nader cites this as one of the primary reasons that he decided to actively run in the 2000 election as candidate of the Green Party, which had been formed in the wake of his 1996 campaign.

DebateCommissionProtest 2000
Nader's supporters, with Christopher Hitchens speaking, protest his exclusion from the televised debates in 2000

In June 2000, The Association of State Green Parties (ASGP) organized the national nominating convention that took place in Denver, Colorado, at which Green party delegates nominated Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke to be their party's candidates for president and vice president.[40][41]

On July 9, the Vermont Progressive Party nominated Nader, giving him ballot access in the state.[42] On August 12, the United Citizens Party of South Carolina chose Ralph Nader as its presidential nominee, giving him a ballot line in the state.[43]

In October 2000, at the largest Super Rally of his campaign,[44] held in New York City's Madison Square Garden, 15,000 people paid $20 each[45] to hear Nader speak. Nader's campaign rejected both parties as institutions dominated by corporate interests, stating that Al Gore and George W. Bush were "Tweedledee and Tweedledum". A long list of notable celebrities spoke and performed at the event including Susan Sarandon, Ani DiFranco, Ben Harper, Tim Robbins, Michael Moore, Eddie Vedder and Patti Smith. The campaign also had some prominent union help: The California Nurses Association and the United Electrical Workers endorsed his candidacy and campaigned for him.[46]

In 2000, Nader and his running mate Winona LaDuke received 2,883,105 votes, for 2.74 percent of the popular vote (third place overall),[47] missing the 5 percent needed to qualify the Green Party for federally distributed public funding in the next election, yet qualifying the Greens for ballot status in many states.

Nader often openly expressed his hope for Bush's victory over Gore, saying it "would mobilize us",[48] and that environmental and consumer regulatory agencies would fare better under Bush than Gore.[49] When asked which of the two he'd vote for if forced, Nader answered "Bush ... If you want the parties to diverge from one another, have Bush win."[50] As to whether he would feel regret if he caused Gore's defeat, Nader replied "I would not—not at all. I'd rather have a provocateur than an anesthetizer in the White House."[51] On another occasion, Nader answered this question with: "No, not at all ... There may be a cold shower for four years that would help the Democratic Party ... It doesn't matter who is in the White House."[49]

Spoiler controversy

In the 2000 presidential election in Florida, George W. Bush defeated Al Gore by 537 votes. Nader received 97,421 votes, which led to claims that he was responsible for Gore's defeat. Nader disputes that he helped Bush to win.[52][53][54] A 2003 study found that Nader's candidacy was a critical factor in Bush's victory.[55] A 2004 study found that Nader voters had the profile of likely voters with a preference for Democratic candidates.[56] They were therefore likely to vote and to do so for Gore over Bush in the absence of Nader's candidacy.[56]

A study by Harvard Professor B.C. Burden in 2005 showed Nader did "play a pivotal role in determining who would become president following the 2000 election", but that:

Contrary to Democrats' complaints, Nader was not intentionally trying to throw the election. A spoiler strategy would have caused him to focus disproportionately on the most competitive states and markets with the hopes of being a key player in the outcome. There is no evidence that his appearances responded to closeness. He did, apparently, pursue voter support, however, in a quest to receive 5% of the popular vote.[57]

However, Jonathan Chait of The American Prospect and The New Republic notes that Nader did indeed focus on swing states disproportionately during the waning days of the campaign, and by doing so jeopardized his own chances of achieving the 5% of the vote he was aiming for.

Then there was the debate within the Nader campaign over where to travel in the waning days of the campaign. Some Nader advisers urged him to spend his time in uncontested states such as New York and California. These states – where liberals and leftists could entertain the thought of voting Nader without fear of aiding Bush – offered the richest harvest of potential votes. But, Martin writes, Nader – who emerges from this account as the house radical of his own campaign – insisted on spending the final days of the campaign on a whirlwind tour of battleground states such as Pennsylvania and Florida. In other words, he chose to go where the votes were scarcest, jeopardizing his own chances of winning 5 percent of the vote, which he needed to gain federal funds in 2004.[58]

When Nader, in a letter to environmentalists, attacked Gore for "his role as broker of environmental voters for corporate cash," and "the prototype for the bankable, Green corporate politician," and what he called a string of broken promises to the environmental movement, Sierra Club president Carl Pope sent an open letter to Nader, dated 27 October 2000, defending Al Gore's environmental record and calling Nader's strategy "irresponsible."[59] He wrote:

You have also broken your word to your followers who signed the petitions that got you on the ballot in many states. You pledged you would not campaign as a spoiler and would avoid the swing states. Your recent campaign rhetoric and campaign schedule make it clear that you have broken this pledge ... Please accept that I, and the overwhelming majority of the environmental movement in this country, genuinely believe that your strategy is flawed, dangerous and reckless.[60]

2004 presidential campaign

Nader announced on December 24, 2003, that he would not seek the Green Party's nomination for president in 2004, but did not rule out running as an independent candidate.

Ralph Nader and Democratic candidate John Kerry held a widely publicized meeting early in the 2004 presidential campaign. Nader said that John Kerry wanted to work to win Nader's support and the support of Nader's voters, prompting Nader to provide Kerry more than 20 pages of issues that he felt were important. According to Nader, he asked John Kerry to choose any three of the issues and highlight them in his campaign; should Kerry meet these conditions Nader would not contest the election. On February 22, 2004, having not heard back from Kerry, Nader announced that he would run for president as an independent.

Due to concerns about a possible spoiler effect, many Democrats urged Nader to abandon his 2004 candidacy. Terry McAuliffe stated that Nader had a "distinguished career, fighting for working families", and that McAuliffe "would hate to see part of his legacy being that he got us eight years of George Bush". Theresa Amato, Nader's national campaign manager in 2000 and 2004, later alleged that McAuliffe offered to pay-off Nader if he would not campaign in certain states, an allegation confirmed by Nader and undisputed by McAuliffe.[61]

Nader received 463,655 votes, for 0.38 percent of the popular vote, placing him in third place overall.[62]

2008 presidential campaign

Ralph Nader in Waterbury 1, October 4, 2008
Nader campaigning in October 2008

In February 2007, Nader criticized Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton as "a panderer and a flatterer", later describing her as someone who had "no political fortitude".[63] During a February 2008 appearance on Meet the Press, Nader announced his intention to run for president as an independent, later naming Matt Gonzalez as his running-mate.[64] Nader was endorsed by Howard Zinn, Jesse Ventura, Justin Jeffre, Tom Morello, Val Kilmer, Rocky Anderson, James Abourezk, Patti Smith, and Jello Biafra. The Nader campaign raised $8.4 million in campaign funds, primarily from small, individual donations. Nader/Gonzalez earned 738,475 votes and a third-place finish in the United States presidential election, 2008.[65]

Campaign Running mate Ballot access Funds raised Popular vote Party affiliation
Co-nominators
Media and organizational endorsers Individual endorsers
Nader2000
Ralph Nader presidential campaign, 2000
Winona duke dream reborn
Winona LaDuke
2000NAder23123 $8.4 million 2,882,995
(2.74%)
Green Party USA
Vermont Progressive Party
* California Nurses Association
* United Electrical Workers
* Hemp Industries Association
* Village Voice
* The Austin Chronicle
* Worcester Magazine
* San Francisco Bay Guardian
Susan Sarandon, Michael Moore, Howard Zinn, Eddie Vedder, Bill Murray, Pete Seeger, Linda Ronstadt, Paul Newman, Willie Nelson, Noam Chomsky, John B. Anderson, Phil Donahue

Ralph Nader presidential campaign, 2004
Peter Camejo
Peter Camejo
$4.6 million 463,655
(0.38%)
unaffiliated
* Reform Party USA
*Independence Party of New York
David Brower, Patti Smith, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Phil Donahue
Nader Gonzalez 08 Logo
Ralph Nader presidential campaign, 2008
Matt Gonzalez talks to the press in San Francisco
Matt Gonzalez
Nader 2008 Ballot Access $4.3 million[66] 738,475 unaffiliated
* Ecology Party of Florida
*Natural Law Party
*Peace and Freedom Party
* Socialist Alternative
Howard Zinn, Jesse Ventura, Justin Jeffre, Tom Morello, Val Kilmer, Rocky Anderson, James Abourezk, Patti Smith, Jello Biafra, Chris Hedges, Phil Donahue, Cindy Sheehan, Sean Penn

Congressional Accountability Project

Nader founded the Congressional Accountability Project to[67] "oppose corruption in the U. S. Congress."

Later activities

Nader condemned the 2011 military intervention in Libya.[68] He branded President Barack Obama as a "war criminal"[69] and called for his impeachment.[70]

D.C. Library Renaissance Project

In 2002, Nader founded the D.C. Library Renaissance Project, which has sought to halt the development of the West End Library in Washington, D.C., alleging that it "violated affordable housing guidelines, undervalued the land, and didn't conform to the city's Comprehensive Plan."[71] The legal obstacles presented by the Library Renaissance Project have cost the D.C. government over one million dollars in legal fees.[72] Nader has opposed the privatized development of D.C. libraries despite community support, citing a lack of oversight and competitive bidding process.[73]

Only the Super Rich Can Save Us

In 2009 Nader published his first work of fiction, Only the Super Rich Can Save Us. Many of the characters were fictionalized versions of real-life persons including Ted Turner and Warren Buffett. The book's principal villain, a "conservative evil genius" named Brovar Dortwist, represents Grover Norquist. According to Norquist, Nader had called him prior to the book's publication and said he "wouldn't be too unhappy, because the character was principled".[74]

The novel met with mixed reviews with The Wall Street Journal noting that the book "reads less like a novel ... than a dream journal" with a plot that victoriously concludes with "American society thoroughly Naderized", though The Globe and Mail called it "a powerful idea by the perfect person at a fortuitous time".[75][76]

He also branched out into fiction with the fable collection Animal Envy in 2016.

2012 debate moderator

During the United States presidential election, 2012, Nader moderated a debate for third party candidates at Washington D.C.'s Busboys and Poets. The debate was attended by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, Libertarian Gary Johnson, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party and Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode. He later moderated a similar debate in a studio appearance broadcast by Russia Today.[77]

Ralph Nader Radio Hour

Since March 2014, Nader has co-hosted the weekly Ralph Nader Radio Hour,[78] produced at KPFK-FM in Los Angeles and distributed via the Pacifica Radio Network. The program features "interviews with some of the nation's most influential movers and shakers" and discussion of current events. Nader's co-hosts are Steve Skrovan and David Feldman.[79]

American Museum of Tort Law

In 2015, after a decade planning, Nader founded the American Museum of Tort Law in Winsted, Connecticut. The opening ceremonies were emceed by Phil Donahue. Nader personally donated $150,000 to the establishment of the museum, which was sited on two parcels of land rezoned by the town of Winsted to host it. At the time of its opening, some expressed skepticism that a museum dedicated to tort would have much interest to the general public, though Nader responded that he was "astounded how a country can go over 200 years and not have a law museum".[80]

Campaign for Harvard admissions reform

Nader unsuccessfully sought a seat on the Harvard University Board of Overseers in 2016 as part of an insurgent candidate slate operating under the name "Free Harvard, Fair Harvard" which called for increased transparency by the university as to how it made athletic and legacy admissions decisions.[81] In February of that year he expressed support for Donald Trump making a third-party run for president, saying that such a move might help break-up the two party system.[82]

Personal life

Nader was raised in the Eastern Orthodox Church.[3] His siblings are Laura (a professor of social and cultural anthropology at U.C. Berkeley), Claire, and brother Shafeek.[4]

Nader defines his ideology not as left-wing or right-wing but as a "moral empiricist".[83]

He has lived in Washington, DC since the 1960s, but is domiciled in Connecticut, where he is registered to vote.[72]

In addition to English, Nader also speaks Arabic, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese and Spanish.[84]

After his older brother Shafeek died of prostate cancer in 1986, Nader developed Bell's palsy, which paralyzed the left side of his mouth for several months. He commented on his partial facial paralysis to audiences during this time with the quip that "at least my opponents can't say I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth."[85][86]

Personality and character traits

Nader has been described as an "ascetic ... bordering on self-righteous".[87] Despite access to respectable financial assets, he famously lives in a modest apartment and spends $25,000 on personal bills, conducting most of his writing on a typewriter.[88][89] According to popular accounts of his personal life, he does not own a television, relies primarily on public transportation, and over a 25-year period, until 1983, exclusively wore one of a dozen pairs of shoes he had purchased at a clearance sale in 1959. His suits, which he reports he purchases at sales and outlet stores, have been the repeated subject of public scrutiny, being variously described as "wrinkled", "rumpled", and "styleless". A newspaper story once described Nader as a "conscientious objector to fashion".[90]

Nader has never married. Karen Croft, a writer who worked for Nader in the late 1970s at the Center for Study of Responsive Law, once asked him if he had ever considered getting married, to which he reportedly responded that he had made a choice to dedicate his life to career rather than family.[91]

Finances

According to the mandatory fiscal disclosure report that he filed with the Federal Election Commission in 2000, Nader owned more than $3 million worth of stocks and mutual fund shares; his single largest holding was more than $1 million worth of stock in Cisco Systems, Inc. He also held between $100,000 and $250,000 worth of shares in the Magellan Fund.[92] Nader said he owned no car and owned no real estate directly in 2000, and said that he lived on $25,000 a year, giving most of his stock earnings to many of the over four dozen non-profit organizations he had founded.[93][94]

Nader owns shares in Amazon and believes the corporation should be paying shareholders a dividend.[95] He also believes that there should be an "antitrust investigation" looking into the company's business practices.[96]

Nader is also an Apple shareholder. In 2018, he wrote an open letter to Tim Cook criticizing Apple's $100 billion share buyback.[97]

Media appearances

Film

In the 2005 Jim Carrey film Fun with Dick and Jane, Nader makes a cameo appearance as himself.

The Steve Skrovan documentary film An Unreasonable Man is about the life of Ralph Nader and uses both archival footage and original interviews. It debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006.

Periodicals

Nader has been featured on the cover of the January 22, 1968 issue of Newsweek; the December 12, 1969 issue of TIME; the June 1971 issue of Esquire; and the August 2016 issue of Pacific Standard.

Television

Nader has been a guest on multiple episodes of Saturday Night Live, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Daily Show, The O'Reilly Factor, Meet the Press, Democracy Now!, and The Late Show with David Letterman. In 2003 he appeared on Da Ali G Show and, in 2008, was interviewed by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. In 1988, Nader appeared on Sesame Street as "a person in your neighborhood", the episode also featuring Barbara Walters and Martina Navratilova. Nader's appearance on the show was memorable because it was the only time that the grammar of the last line of the song – "a person who you meet each day" – was questioned and changed. Nader refused to sing a line which he deemed grammatically improper, so a compromise was reached by which Nader sang the last line solo, with the modified words: "a person whom you meet each day."[98]

Recognition

Gandhi Peace Award Medallion - front side
Nader was the 2016 recipient of the Gandhi Peace Award.
  • In 1967 Nader was named one of the "Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Year" by the United States Junior Chamber.[99]
  • In 1990 Nader was listed one of the "100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th century by Life magazine.[100]
  • In 1999 Time magazine named Nader one of the "100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century".[101]
  • In 1999 a New York University panel of journalists ranked Unsafe at Any Speed 38th among the top 100 pieces of journalism of the 20th century.[102]
  • In 2006 Nader was named one of the "100 Most Influential Americans" by The Atlantic.[103]
  • In 2008 Nader was listed among the "100 Most Influential Americans" in the Britannica Guide to 100 Most Influential Americans.[104]
  • In 2016 Nader was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.[105]
  • In 2016 Nader received that year's Gandhi Peace Award from Promoting Enduring Peace.[106]

In popular culture

  • The song "Fast Cars" from the Buzzcocks' 1978 album Another Music in a Different Kitchen includes the line "sooner or later, you're gonna listen to Ralph Nader",[107] referring to his efforts to raise awareness of lackluster vehicular safety standards.
  • Ralph Nader is mentioned in season 2, episode 23, "Semi-Friendly Persuasion" of the TV series, The A-Team, aired in 1983. In the episode, Templeton Peck impersonates a government agent from the Bureau of Weights and Measures who is investigating a crooked hardware store owner. During his conversation with the store owner, Peck begins, "We love guys like you. Ralph eats them for breakfast." The store owner replies, "Ralph?" to which Peck responds, "Nader! You're his kinda guy! Crooked, and proud of it!"[108]
  • The October 14, 2000 episode of Saturday Night Live features an animated portrayal of Nader in a TV Funhouse episode. In the episode, Nader has teamed-up with Pat Buchanan to steal the 2000 U.S. presidential election, only to be stopped by the "X-Presidents" (a superhero group composed of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford).
  • Californian punk rock band NOFX's 2003 song "Franco Un-American" includes the line "the President's laughing 'cause we voted for Nader", referring to Nader's possible role in inadvertently changing the result of the 2000 U.S. presidential election.
  • The October 25, 2008 episode of Saturday Night Live features Bill Hader portraying Ralph Nader during a "Weekend Update" sketch. In the sketch, Seth Meyers asks Hader (as Nader) where he has been recently, to which Hader replies "food co-ops, armed compounds—I was at Burning Man for a couple of days, that was kinda cool".

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "Ralph Nader Biography and Interview". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.
  2. ^ "Nader a Winner This Day – Ralph Nader". Washington Times. March 18, 2002.
  3. ^ a b Graham, Kevin, Ralph Nader : Battling for Democracy, Denver, Colorado: Windom Publishing Company, ISBN 0-9700323-0-7
  4. ^ a b Annie Birdsong (August 13, 2000). "Ralph Nader's Childhood Roots". Green Party of Ohio (official website). Green Party of Ohio. Archived from the original on August 16, 2000. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  5. ^ Mantel, Henriette (Director) (2006). An Unreasonable Man (DVD). IFC Films.
  6. ^ a b c d e Green, Mark (1 December 2015). "How Ralph Nader Changed America". The Nation. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  7. ^ Nancy Bowen (April 1, 2002). Ralph Nader: Man With a Mission. Millbrook Press.
  8. ^ "Nader, Ralph" (2005). West's Encyclopedia of American Law (Encyclopedia.com). Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Ralph Nader, "To The Ramparts"". Politics and Prose. Tom Warren. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  10. ^ Marcello, Patricia Cronin (2004). Ralph Nader: A Biography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 15. ISBN 0313330042. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  11. ^ Mickey Z. 50 American Revolutions You're Not Supposed to Know. New York: The Disinformation Company, 2005. p. 87 ISBN 1-932857-18-4
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References

  • An Unreasonable Man (2006). An Unreasonable Man is a documentary film about Ralph Nader that appeared at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.
  • Burden, Barry C. (2005). Ralph Nader's Campaign Strategy in the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election 2005, American Politics Research 33:672-99.
  • Ralph Nader: Up Close This film blends archival footage and scenes of Nader and his staff at work in Washington with interviews with Nader's family, friends and adversaries, as well as Nader himself. Written, directed and produced by Mark Litwak and Tiiu Lukk, 1990, color, 72 mins. Narration by Studs Terkel. Broadcast on PBS. Winner, Sinking Creek Film Festival; Best of Festival, Baltimore Int'l Film Festival; Silver Plaque, Chicago Int'l Film Festival, Silver Apple, National Educational Film & Video Festival.
  • Bear, Greg, Eon – the novel includes a depiction of a future group called the "Naderites" who follow Ralph Nader's humanistic teachings.
  • Martin, Justin. Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon. Perseus Publishing, 2002. ISBN 0-7382-0563-X.

Further reading

External links

Articles and interviews

Party political offices
First Green nominee for President of the United States
1996, 2000
Succeeded by
David Cobb
Preceded by
Pat Buchanan
Reform nominee for President of the United States
2004
Succeeded by
Ted Weill
Preceded by
Leonard Peltier
Peace and Freedom nominee for President of the United States
2008
Succeeded by
Roseanne Barr
2000 Green National Convention

The 2000 Green National Convention was held on July 23–25, in Denver, Colorado. The convention was convened by the Association of State Green Parties, which was later to be renamed the Green Party of the United States. The convention nominated Ralph Nader for President and Winona LaDuke for Vice President of the United States.

2004 Green National Convention

The 2004 national convention of the Green Party of the United States was held at the Hyatt Regency and the Midwest Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 23–28, 2004.

Ralph Nader, the Green Party nominee for president in 2000, did not seek the nomination of the Green Party, but instead sought the endorsement of his independent candidacy by the party. An endorsement of Nader's campaign would have allowed for each state party affiliated with the national Green Party to choose their own candidate. On the opening day of the convention, Nader's running mate and former Green Party nominee for Governor of California Peter Camejo debated David Cobb of Texas, who was seeking the Green Party's nomination against the Nader candidacy.In that interview, Camejo called on the Green National Convention to endorse both Nader and David Cobb and allow individual parties to choose which candidate to put on their primary ballot. Cobb criticized the Nader-Camejo ticket for not seeking the Green Party's nomination and running independently of the party.

2008 Green Party presidential primaries

The Green Party of the United States held primaries in several states in 2008. Cynthia McKinney won most of the primaries and was formally nominated as the party's nominee during the 2008 Green National Convention.

Action for a Change

Action for a Change. A Student's Manual for Public Interest Organizing is a 1971 book written by consumer advocate Ralph Nader with Donald K. Ross, Brett English, and Joseph Highland. The book serves as a manual for college students establishing Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), and chronicles the formation of PIRGs in Oregon and Minnesota.

An Unreasonable Man

An Unreasonable Man is a 2006 documentary film that traces the life and career of political activist Ralph Nader, the founder of modern consumer protection in America and perennial presidential candidate.

The film presents interviews with current and former members of Nader's Raiders, including Joan Claybrook and Robert Fellmeth, as well as politicians and political analysts such as Phil Donahue, Pat Buchanan, and Eric Alterman. The film takes its name from the George Bernard Shaw quotation, "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

Center for Auto Safety

The Center for Auto Safety is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) consumer advocacy non-profit group focused on the United States automotive industry. Founded in 1970 by Consumers Union and Ralph Nader, the group focuses its efforts on enacting reform though public advocacy and pressuring the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and automakers through litigation. For decades, it was led by Executive Director Clarence Ditlow, who died in late 2016 from cancer. Ditlow was widely admired in the auto safety community,although he also had detractors among auto manufacturers. The Center for Auto Safety is currently led by Executive Director Jason Levine.

Comparison of the 2008 United States presidential candidates

This article compares the presidential candidates in the United States' 2008 presidential election. It does not cover previous elections. Because of ballot access restrictions in the United States, not all candidates appeared on the ballots in all states.

Crashing the Party

Crashing the Party is a 2002 book by Ralph Nader detailing his experiences running in the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election. It is told chronologically and in the first person.Nader maintains an unapologetic tone throughout the book and tells why he decided to run. He details many of the problems a third party encounters in a two-party system.

Critical Mass Energy Project

The Critical Mass Energy Project was formed by Ralph Nader in 1974 as a national anti-nuclear umbrella group. It was probably the largest national anti-nuclear group in the United States, with several hundred local affiliates and an estimated 200,000 supporters. Part of Nader's support comes from a Green agenda and the belief that "the most important office in America for anyone to achieve is full-time citizen." The organization's main efforts were directed at lobbying activities and providing local groups with scientific and other resources to campaign against nuclear power.The first national anti-nuclear conference, "Critical Mass '74" was held in Washington D.C. under the sponsorship of Ralph Nader. Workshops were held and groups throughout the United States learned about forming anti-nuclear organizations. At about the same time, Karen Silkwood, a nuclear plant worker, was killed in a car accident while investigating her nuclear energy company. There was speculation that the accident may have been intended.The second Critical Mass conference was held in November 1975, and this involved a candlelight vigil in front of the White House for Karen Silkwood.

Knowledge Ecology International

Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) is a non-governmental organization. It was founded by Ralph Nader in 1995 and was then called Consumer Project on Technology. It deals with issues related to the effects of intellectual property on public health, cyberlaw and e-commerce, and competition policy. It has fought the Microsoft monopoly, the ICANN monopoly, software patents, and business method patents. It has supported free software in government, open access for the Internet, and privacy regulation. KEI works on access to medicines, including a major effort on compulsory licensing of patents. Beginning in 2002, CPTech began to work with Tim Hubbard and others on a new trade framework for medical research and development (R&D). In the context of current bilateral agreements, this is referred to as R&D+, which in contrast to TRIPS+ approaches.

KEI is also working with a number of other NGOs to change the mission of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), so that it operates more like a true UN agency, with a social rather than a commercial agenda.

The organization is directed by James Love.

Public Citizen

Public Citizen is a non-profit, liberal / progressive consumer rights advocacy group and think tank based in Washington, D.C., United States, with a branch in Austin, Texas.

Ralph Nader 1996 presidential campaign

The 1996 presidential campaign of Ralph Nader, consumer advocate and political activist, began after he was drafted as a candidate for President of the United States on the Green Party ticket during the 1996 presidential election. Nader was not formally nominated by the national party or the Green Party USA organization, which was, at the time, the largest national Green group; instead he was nominated independently by various state Green parties. In some states, he appeared on the ballot as an independent.

Ralph Nader 2000 presidential campaign

The 2000 presidential campaign of Ralph Nader, political activist, author, lecturer and attorney, began on February 21, 2000. He cited "a crisis of democracy" as motivation to run. He ran in the 2000 United States presidential election as the nominee of the Green Party. He was also nominated by the Vermont Progressive Party and the United Citizens Party of South Carolina. The campaign marked Nader's second presidential bid as the Green nominee, and his third overall, having run as a write-in campaign in 1992 and a passive campaign on the Green ballot line in 1996.

Nader's vice presidential running mate was Winona LaDuke, an environmental activist and member of the Ojibwe tribe of Minnesota.

Nader appeared on the ballot in 43 states and DC, up from 22 in 1996. He won 2,882,955 votes, or 2.74 percent of the popular vote. His campaign did not attain the 5 percent required to qualify the Green Party for federally distributed public funding in the next election. The percentage did, however, enable the Green Party to achieve ballot status in many new states, such as Delaware and Maryland.Some analysis stated that Nader acted as a third-party spoiler in the 2000 U.S. presidential election, while some statistics showed that the numbers of Democrats who voted Republican outweighed those who voted Green, and Nader himself disputed the claim of being a spoiler.

Ralph Nader 2004 presidential campaign

The 2004 presidential campaign of Ralph Nader, political activist, author, lecturer and attorney began on February 23, 2004.

He ran for the United States presidency in the 2004 election, as he also had in several previous elections. In 1996 and 2000, Nader was the candidate of the Green Party; in the 2004 election, however, he ran as an independent candidate. Nader won the 2002 endorsement of the Reform Party USA, and thus appeared on the ballot as the Reform Party candidate in several states. In some states, Nader was on the ballot as an independent candidate, while in other states, Nader was deemed not to have met the requirements for ballot access. In Delaware, Nader accepted the endorsement of the Independent Party of Delaware on August 15. In New York Nader was nominated by the Independence Party at their party convention, and also appeared on the ballot under the Peace and Justice Party ballot lines.

Ralph Nader 2008 presidential campaign

The 2008 presidential campaign of Ralph Nader, political activist, author, lecturer and attorney began on February 24, 2008. He announced his intent to run as an independent candidate, on NBC's Meet The Press. It was Nader's fifth campaign; he ran in the four election cycles prior to 2008: 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004. The 2008 election was the third in which he had officially run a national campaign. While Nader ran as an independent, in some states he had ballot access with the Independent-Ecology Party, the Natural Law Party, and the Peace and Freedom Party. Nader received 738,475 votes.

Reform Party of the United States of America

The Reform Party of the United States of America (RPUSA), generally known as the Reform Party USA or the Reform Party, is a political party in the United States, founded in 1995 by Ross Perot.

Perot, who received 18.9% of the popular vote as an independent candidate in the 1992 presidential election and wanted to participate also in the 1996 presidential election, thought Americans were disillusioned with the state of politics as being corrupt and unable to deal with vital issues. Perot claimed to represent a viable alternative to Republicans and Democrats, and, as a result, founded the Reform Party. Perot won 8.4% of the popular vote in 1996. Although he came nowhere close to winning the presidency, no other third-party or independent candidate has since managed to receive as high a share of the vote.

The party has nominated several notable candidates over the years, including Perot himself, Pat Buchanan, and Ralph Nader. Donald Trump ran for president on the Reform Party ticket in 2000 before switching to the Republican Party and becoming president in 2016. Its most significant victory came when Jesse Ventura was elected Governor of Minnesota in 1998, although he left the party shortly into his term. In around the year 2000, party infighting and scandals led to a major decline in the party's strength. Beginning with Buchanan's poor showing in the 2000 election, no Reform Party presidential candidate has ever been able to attain at least 1% of the vote.

Shafeek Nader

Shafeek Nader (1926–1986) was the first son of Rose Nader, and older brother of Ralph Nader, Laura Nader and Claire Nader. He was a community advocate and the principal founder of Northwestern Connecticut Community College. After his death in 1986, The Shafeek Nader Trust for the Community Interest was created in his honor. Nader was a graduate of the University of Toronto.

Unsafe at Any Speed

Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile by Ralph Nader, published in 1965, is a book accusing car manufacturers of resistance to the introduction of safety features such as seat belts, and their general reluctance to spend money on improving safety. It was a pioneering work containing substantial references and material from industry insiders. It was a best seller in non-fiction in 1966.

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