Ralph Nader thinks America deserves a choice.
Today he will be in Tampa to tell the city’s youth what its options are.
“We’re campaigning in 50 states on a lot of issues that are a concern to college students, including tuition increases, the outsourcing of jobs when they get out (of college), health insurance when they get out of their family umbrella policy after they graduate (and) the failed war on drugs,” Nader said in a phone interview Tuesday. “These are issues that are important to (college-aged students) and are things we are going to emphasize.”
Nader, who ran as a Green Party candidate in 2000 and many feel took critical votes away from 2000 Democratic nominee Al Gore, said his status as a third-party candidate is not one of compromise. He declined to run with the Green Party again, he said, because the party wanted him not to run in key states, such as Florida, where he may take votes away from Democratic candidate John Kerry.
He has also struggled in several states to have his name included on the ballot for the Nov. 2 election. However, he said, the struggles come with the territory in what he called a corrupt two-party system. Specifically, Nader criticized the Commission on Presidential Debates, which he said the Republicans and Democrats have to much control over.
“Justice is always uphill. Getting on the ballot in a country dominated by a two-party monopoly is like climbing a sheer cliff with a slippery rope,” Nader said. “But it’s not as hard as getting on the presidential debate corporation, which is a company created and controlled by the two parties and excluding the competitors.”
Nader said that, according to the latest polls, 57 percent of the country wants to see him included in presidential debates. He said the exposure that comes with the debates would be a big boost for any party trying to establish itself in elections at the state, local and national levels.
“(The Reform Party) has candidates running for mayor and congressional offices, but the only way you can really highlight those is not to run for mayor of (Washington D.C.), it’s to run for president, if you’re looking for a national political movement to get underway,” he said.
Nader said he greatly opposes the war in Iraq and fears that a military draft may be in America’s future. The potential for a draft, he said, is one of the biggest reasons that the country’s youth should vote and make an effort to know the candidates. He also said he sees big problems coming with the new electronic voting machines to be used in this year’s election.
“It’s not going to work if it doesn’t have a paper trail. There’s going to be a lot of problems in November if the electronic machines don’t have paper trails,” he said. “There are going to be a lot of problems anyway. It looks like it’s going to be a repeat of 2000 if the press and the Democrats are not vigilant.”
Also Tuesday, Nader’s campaign released a statement criticizing filmmaker Michael Moore. Moore was scheduled to speak at USF on Friday before John Kerry was announced in his place. In the statement, Nader accused Moore of “muting” criticisms of the Democratic Party and misleading citizens to do Moore’s bidding.
Nader also complained about the state of the Democratic Party.
“This is a party which has gotten regressively more gutless, spineless, clueless and hapless, bungled the election of 2000 and has continued losing to the worst of the Republicans for the past 10 years at the state and federal levels,” Nader said in the statement.
Nader last visited USF in 2002. The event, which will include the press conference from 7 p.m. and a rally supporting Nader at 8 p.m. is open to the public and will be held at Centor Astoriano on Nebraska Avenue.