Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader is frustrated over his failed attempts to testify before congress on consumer issues and believes Democrats are still angry at him for the role his 2000 presidential candidacy played in the election of George Bush.
In an interview with The Washington Times, Nader expresses frustration with the current state of politics on Capitol Hill and says it is the motivating force behind his sixth attempt at winning the White House as a third party candidate.
The wealthy political activist and perennial competitor for the nation’s highest office believes Democrats still hold a grudge against him for marring up the first election of Bush over defeated Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore by 537 votes in Florida.
Nader believes the 96,000 votes he garnered in Florida in the 2000 election is the sticking point with Democrats and the reason he’s being kept from participating on legislative issues in Washington.
Nader says Democrats still erroneously believe the vast majority of those votes would have gone to Gore, ultimately tipping the scale in favor of their party’s beleaguered candidate.
“They [the Democrats] are so small-minded to keep the myth up that it wasn't them that got Bush in the White House, it was Nader/LaDuke,” he says, referring to his 2000 vice presidential running mate in the hotly contested race.
“To keep that myth and sustain it in the public's mind, they can't possibly associate with me or have me testify, even though they knew they [the Democrats] blew it in a thousand ways in 2000 and 2004.”
Nader complains he isn’t given the same chance as other presumptive nominees to promote his candidacy’s objectives and is being denied the media opportunity to speak out on political issues he’s championed throughout his decades-long career.
Nader suggests Democrats stop scapegoating him for their own failings and goes on to accuse the party of selling out to corporate interests they aren’t compelled to pull away from.
“The liberals and progressives have lost their guts,” he chides. “They fight the one candidacy that has a chance of slightly shoehorning their recommendations inside the electoral arena. I don’t know a country in the world where you have to fight your traditional economic adversaries and your ideological allies.”
Nader cites several examples of when he has been denied the opportunity to testify on such issues as President Bush’s nominations, or on policies regarding civil liberties and consumer affairs from which his career as a political advocate stems.
“I used to be the most frequent person there," he reminds, but that now a “spite mentality prevents Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman,” in particular, from his being asked to testify.
“If somebody that strong is worried about that peer group pressure, it tells you something,” he says, conferring that it’s been more than seven years since he last testified, ironically coinciding with the merciful end of the 2000 presidential debacle.
Nader believes the 220-year old system of two-party, winner-take-all Electoral College duopoly that excludes third parties is archaic.
“It’s insane,” he explains. “I understand the prison, but I don’t understand why [voters] don’t break out of it. There are millions of you.”
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