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PRESIDENCY 2000:



RALPH NADER
of Connecticut
Green Party Presidential Nominee


RALPH NADER BIOGRAPHICAL FACTS:

POLITICAL: Green Party Nominee for President, 1996 (earned ballot status in 22 states - 685,000 votes - 0.8%). Write-In candidate for President, 1992 New Hampshire Democratic Primary. Drafted as the New Party Nominee for President, 1972. Currently registered as an Independent voter.

PROFESSIONAL: Consumer advocate. Attorney. College lecturer. Author. Founder of Public Citizen, Congress Watch, Essential Information, the Public Interest Research Group, Center for Auto Safety, Center for the Study of Responsive Law, Institute for Civic Renewal, Government Purchasing Project and other public interest organizations.

EDUCATION: A.B., Princeton University, 1955. LLB, Harvard Law School, 1958.

PERSONAL: Born February 27, 1934 in Winsted, Connecticut. Single.




WINONA LaDUKE of Minnesota
Green Party Vice Presidential Nominee

LaDuke -- who was previously the Green Party Vice Presidential Nominee in 1996 -- is a leading Native American activist. With a Native American father and a Jewish mother, LaDuke grew up on the West Coast. After earning degrees at Harvard and Antioch Universities, LaDuke moved back to her ancestral White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota in the early 1980s. After working as the principal of the local reservation high school for a period of time, LaDuke soon herself involved in a lawsuit to recover lands promised to the Anishinabeg tribe by an 1867 federal treaty. Although the case was dismissed four years later, she remained active in these issues. The founder of the Indigenous Womens' Network and the White Earth Land Recovery Project, LaDuke now serves as National Program Director of Honor the Earth (a Native environmentalist organization). In addition to her Indian activism, LaDuke has also been a vocal environmental activist. LaDuke, 41, has two children.


LINKS:

Ralph Nader for President Committee - Official Campaign Site.
The Nader Page - Official Site.
Wisconsin for Nader-LaDuke - Official Site.
Nader2000.org - Grassroots Supporters (Unauthorized).
Connecticut Green 2000 Committee - Grassroots Supporters (Unauthorized).
International Socialist Org. for Nader - Grassroots Supporters (Unauthorized).
Nader Watch - News Site.
Project Vote Smart: Ralph Nader - Profile.
Public Citizen - Nader Organization.
Congress Watch - Nader Organization.
Global Trade Watch - Nader Organization.
Essential Information - Nader Organization.
Center for the Study of Responsive Law - Nader Organization.
Center for Auto Safety - Nader Organization.
Public Interest Research Group - Nader Organization.
Taxpayer Assets Project - Nader Organization.
Aviation Consumer Action Project - Nader Organization.
Congressional Accountability Project - Nader Organization.
Institute for Civic Renewal - Nader Organization.
Government Purchasing Project - Nader Organization.
The Nader Letter - Nader's Newsletter
Honor the Earth - LaDuke Organization.
Association of State Green Parties (ASGP) - Official National Site.
Green Party USA - Official Site.
Green Party Platform - 2000 Party Platform.
Green Parties of North America - Clearinghouse Site.
Greens Holding Elective Office - Directory.
American Reform Party - Official Site.
Goods For Greens - Store (Unofficial).
NaderSucks.org - Negative Site.
Ralph Nader's Skeleton Closet - Negative Site.


ANALYSIS:

Nader -- a famed national consumer activist, attorney and liberal political reform activist (Center for Responsive Politics, Public Citizen, etc.) -- was the Green Party nominee for President in 1996. Listed on the ballot in 22 states, he received 685,000 votes (4th place) by running a gadfly campaign that refused to spend more than $5,000 total nationwide. He certainly proved to be a prickly candidate for the Greens -- as he agreed to be the nominee only if he could personally maintain absolute control of all aspects of the campaign, including fundraising and advertising. Draft Ralph Nader in 1972 While his campaign somewhat emphasized the traditional Green environmental issues, Nader seemed much more interested in denouncing the so-called litigation "tort reform" proposals and advocating protectionist "fair trade" policies. Although Nader bashed both of the major party nominees, he repeatedly singled out President Clinton for scathing attacks on environmental issues. He also fumbled on the gay rights issue in 1996 when he dismissively responded to an inquiry by stating he was not going to waste his time talking about "gonadal politics." Nader -- who was also the subject of Presidential "draft" movements in 1972 (the anti-war New Party) and 1992 (Democrat) -- officially launched his campaign in February 2000. Unlike the 1996 race, he plans to raise and spend at least $2 million for the 2000 campaign and wants to win at least 5% of the national vote to qualify the party for federal matching funds in 2004. As of September 1, Nader had already collected well over $1 million, was polling in the 3-4% range and secured ballot status in at least 43 states. Nader -- who now generally embraces most of the ASGP's broad liberal platform (while openly distancing himself from the GPUSA's more radically left-wing platform) -- denounces the Democrats and Republicans as simply being two wings of the same corporate political party. He says his 2000 campaign will "emphasize the problems of, and remedies for, the excessive concentration of corporate power and wealth in our country, by highlighting the important tools of democracy needed for the American people as voters/citizens, workers, consumers, taxpayers, and small savers/investors." Nader had no problem winning the Green nomination, easily dispatching several opponents by a landslide margin (capturing 295 of the 319 delegate votes). Nader's candidacy will clearly hurt Al Gore to some extent -- especially in key states like California where he is drawing near 7% in the polls. Nader, however, maintains that conservative Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan will likely drain a similar number of votes away from George W. Bush. The American Reform Party -- an anti-Perot splinter party that broke away from the Reform Party USA in 1997 -- has also endorsed (but not "nominated") Nader for President in 2000. Nader readily acknowledges that he is not going to win the election, but says his campaign is about starting to build the Greens into a viable national third party in future elections.


NADER IS ENDORSED BY:
(Partial Listing)

American Reform Party
United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America
San Francisco Bay Guardian
California Nurses Association
1976 Socialist Workers Party Presidential Nominee Peter Camejo (Green-CA)
Ex-Democratic Congressman Dan Hamburg (Green-CA)
Ex-GOP Congressman John Anderson (I-IL)
Ex-Federal Communications Commissioner Nicholas Johnson (D-IA)
Rainbow Coalition Party of Massachusetts
Ex-State Rep. Mel King (D-MA)
Campaign Finance Reform Activist Doris "Granny D" Haddock (I-NH)
1980 Citizens Party Presidential Nominee Barry Commoner (I-NY)
1988 Socialist Party Vice Presidential Nominee Barbara Ehrenreich (I-NY)
United Citizens Party of South Carolina
Ex-State Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower (D-TX)
Progressive Party of Vermont
Seattle City Councilman Peter Steinbrueck (D-WA)


THE NADER / GREEN PARTY LIBRARY:

No Contest: Corporate Lawyers and the Perversion of Justice in America by Ralph Nader & Wesley Smith (1999). Nader uses this book to continue his battle against corporate attorneys, insurance companies and so-called "tort reform" -- which he denounces as "tort deform." Nader writes that tort reform legislation is actually intended to further insulate corporations from the damage wrought by their pollution and dangerous products. In a series of colorful case studies, Nader sharply attacks confidential settlements in injury cases, state ethics boards, corporate law firm over-billing and the close links between high-power corporate lawyers and government officials. As this was a theme during his 1996 campaign, this book signals that Nader clearly intends to make this a leading issue of his 2000 campaign. List: $13.00. Your Price: $10.40 (You Save 20%)! (Paperback.)

The Case Against Free Trade: GATT, NAFTA and the Globalization of Corporate Power by Ralph Nader (Editor), Pat Choate & Others (1993). This book -- edited by Green Party Presidential nominee Ralph Nader a featuring sections written by 1996 Reform Party VP nominee Pat Choate -- combines these bright men under a common goal: explaining their strong objections to so-called "free trade" policies. Choate's views are very clear: "I am an economic nationalist. To me, the country comes before the economy; and the economy exists for the people. I believe in free markets, but I do not worship them. In the proper hierarchy of things, it is the market that must be harnessed to work for man -- and not the other way around." Nader, likewise, shares these strong views. List: $14.95. Your Price: $11.96 (You Save 20%)! (Paperback.)

All Our Relations by Winona LaDuke (1999). LaDuke -- a longtime Native American environmental activist and the Green VP nominee -- offers an in-depth account of Native resistance to environmental and cultural destruction. LaDuke's unique understanding of Native ideas, spirituality and people is born from her years of experience. Her analysis is colored with testimonies by local Native activists sharing their struggles. LaDuke speaks forcefully for self-determination and community and offers a vision of political, spiritual, and ecological transformation. The book features chapters on the Seminoles, Anishinaabeg, Innu, Northern Cheyenne, Mohawks and among others. List: $15.95. Your Price: $12.80 (You Save 20%)! (Paperback.)

Against All Odds: The Green Transformation of American Politics by John Rensenbrink (1999). Professor Rensenbrink -- a 15 year party activist, co-founder of Green Party USA, founder of the the Maine Green Party, former US Senate nominee and ASGP ally -- makes a heartfelt plea in this new book for a more democratic and just America grounded in ecological wisdom. Rensenbrink chronicles the practice of democratic politics -- warts and all -- in his attempt to show why the Greens will provide the transformation needed to rejuvenate American politics. With a forward by Ralph Nader. Your Price: $19.95!

Amazing Dope Tales by Stephen Gaskin (1999 - 3rd Edition). Gaskin -- who unsuccessfully challenged Nader for the Green Presidential nomination -- has written several books and numerous articles about his marijuana exploits and beliefs. In this book, Gaskin fondly looks back on the San Francisco Haight-Ashbury scene during the 1960s. Sections of this book cover the Summer of Love and Gaskin's colorful exploits with the Grateful Dead and the Merry Pranksters. Of course, this book may also be another argument why Gaskin should more appropriately be the candidate of the pro-pot legalization Grassroots Party instead of the Green Party.List: $12.95. (Paperback.)


INACTIVE / WITHDRAWN CANDIDATES:

Jello Biafra (California)

Biafra (real name: Eric Boucher) is best known as the lead singer of the former punk rock group Dead Kennedys. Always outspokenly political and leftist, Biafra is listed here because the New York State Green Party voted in December 1999 to place Biafra's name on the March 7 primary ballot as a Presidential candidate (along with announced candidates Kovel, Nader and Gaskin). Soon after, Greens in other states started organizing a "Draft Biafra" campaign. Some of the "Draft Biafa" backers have also gone so far as to suggest that convicted murderer/political prisoner (depending on your views) Mumia Abu-Jamal be nominated as the Vice Presidential nominee on Biafra's ticket. Biafra allowed the New York Greens to go forward with placing his name on the ballot but does not intent to wage a campaign for the nomination (see his statement). In fact, Biafra has indicated that the party should ultimately unite again behind Nader's candidacy. A member of the Green Party, he once previously ran as a protest candidate for San Francisco Mayor in 1979 (4th place - 3%) -- and has indicated an interest to run for California Governor some day. "The people from the upper class are waging an active war against the rest of us. They want to bully people into not singing -- or speaking out -- about unemployment, downsizing or the increasingly dire need to overthrow the rich ... Now that so much of our media is controlled by multinational corporations that have a vested interest in making people dumber and more obedient shoppers, we're going to see more censorship," explained Biafra in a 1997 interview. Biafra and his record label were prosecuted in 1986 in California on obscenity charges related to a graphic insert of rotting sexual organs in the 1985 Dead Kennedys album Frankenchrist. Biafra, who successfully argued that the picture and album lyrics were intended as a critique of consumer culture, was acquitted after a three-week trial. Since then, Biafra has been a prominent critic of any censorship efforts. Ultimately, the question the party must decide is: Do the voters want Green Jello in 2000? The answer was seemingly in the negative, as Biafra finished a distant second place in the New York primary with 14% versus Nader's 70%. At the national convention, draft candidate Biafra finished in a tie for a distant second place with 10 delegate votes (3%). In addition to the above, other Biafra links include Alternative Tentacles (Biafra's official site), Ban Everything: Jello Biafra, Jello Biafra: Spoken Word Guy, Jello Biafra Cuts to the Politics of Pop and the Collective to Draft Jello Biafra President.


Stephen Gaskin (Tennessee)

Gaskin -- a teacher, author and aging hippie -- is probably best known for his 1960s counterculture exploits in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood that eventually attracked flocks of other hippies to the area. A spiritual paganist who has long emphasized the mind-altering benefits of marijuana use (one of his books was entitled Cannabis Spirituality), Gaskin is actively seeking the Green Party's 2000 Presidential nomination. Gaskin is running on a platform of decriminalizing marijuana, universal health care, campaign finance reform (with free TV air time for all candidate) and increased educational funding. Finally, he wants people to understand that "a corporation is not a person." He plans to rely on his "good hippy karma" to motivate his campaign. As he knew he wouldn't defeat Nader, Gaskin told the AP in early June 2000 that he planned to continue in the Presidential race as the "Outlaw Party" candidate (a party he apparently plans to create). At the national convention, Gaskin finished in a tie for a distant second place with 10 delegate votes (3%). Although you probably wouldn't guess from his politics, Gaskin is also a US Marine Corps veteran of the Korean War. Gaskin can also be contacted directly by email at Stephen7@usit.net. A detailed Gaskin interview can also be found online.


Dr. John Hagelin (Iowa)

Hagelin, a Harvard-educated nuclear physicist and a think tank head at Maharishi University, is already the Presidential nominee of the Natural Law Party for 2000. As the NLP nominee in 1996, Hagelin was on the ballot in 48 states and captured 114,000 votes. The NLP -- a political party founded upon the teachings of purported cult leader Maharishi Mahesh Yogi -- advocates holistic approaches, Transcendental Meditation, "yogic flying," and other peaceful "New Age" remedies for much of our national and international problems. In an unusual move in October 1999, Hagelin filed a written notice with the Reform Party that he also intends to seek the Reform nomination in 2000. In February 2000, he indicated he also plans to seek the Green Party's nomination. As the NLP already had proven it can secure nationwide ballot status for its nominees, the move was more likely an attempt to grab the Reform Party's nearly $13 million in federal matching funds for the 2000 race -- and the environmentalist credentials of the Greens. Hagelin's NLP backers quickly infiltrated into the Greens, particularly in some individual chapters in Washington State, Virginia and a few other places. Hagelin ended his Green Party bid in May 2000 however, when it became clear that Nader had a lock on the nomination. Instead, Hagelin is continuing his NLP and Reform bids. Follow the above link to Politics1's detailed profile of Hagelin.


Dr. Joel Kovel (New York)

Kovel -- an Ivy League-educated psychiatrist, college professor, author, Marxist and Green Party activist -- garnered 15,000 votes (0.3%) in 1998 as the Green nominee for US Senate in New York. Sounding alarms about global warming and corporate greed and touting himself as "more radical" than frontrunner Ralph Nader, Kovel officially jumped into the Presidential contest in August 1999. After a weak showing in the California primary in March 2000 -- losing to Nader by a lopsided 92% to 8% vote -- Kovel withdrew from the race. He subsequently endorsed Nader for President -- but still received 3 delegates votes (1%) at the national convention. Additional Kovel links include Project Vote Smart: Joel Kovel and an email address at jkovel@prodigy.net.


Ron Ouellette (Connecticut)

Ouellette, an aircraft computer systems specialist and pacifist, withdrew from the race in September 1999. He subsequently endorsed pacifist candidate Robert Bowman for the Reform Party nomination.


1997-99 by Ron Gunzburger. All rights reserved.

This page was last updated on October 29, 2000