Ralph Nader assumed the spotlight in Corwin Pavilion yesterday, speaking out against the deficiencies of his political rivals and defending his position as a viable candidate in the 2008 Presidential race.
During his campus rally, the Peace and Freedom Party candidate laid out his policy plans, which include adopting a single-payer national health insurance, investing in renewable energies and setting a six-month timetable for a negotiated withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Nader, a five-time presidential candidate and perennial underdog, ran as the Green Party candidate in the 1996 and 2000 presidential elections, and as an Independent in 2004.
Before addressing the crowd, Nader kicked off his presentation with the screening of a YouTube video highlighting the similarities between Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate John McCain. The film posited his competitors as standing united on issues such as the success of the troop surge, thoughts on free trade and the impending threat of Iran.
Nader then took the stage and proceeded to single out Obama, and criticize the Democratic Party for ignoring its base and compromising its stances.
“It is not a wining strategy to move toward the right,” Nader said.
Nader also targeted the crooked involvement of both political parties in corporate crime and criticized current Capitol Hill buyout negations with Wall Street.
“They just bailed out the auto industry without a single day of public hearing and no tax payer equity,” Nader said. “There is only one change which has substance this election and that is tax-payer equity.”
Ashley Sanders, a spokesperson for the Nader Campaign, said Nader’s economic platform represented a movement away from the corporate loopholes and money laundering of past administrations.
“He wants to impose strict regulation on Wall Street banks and he wants to tax speculation instead of labor,” Sanders said. “He would allow homeowners to get their homes back on fair interest rates for five years instead of losing their homes in the subprime mortgage crisis.”
Yet Sanders said Nader has been neglected by major media organizations throughout the election.
“Our rallies are designed to inform people that Nader is running for president because the media has basically staged a blackout against third-party candidates,” Sanders said. “We want to energize people in the Santa Barbara area and let them know that there are more than two options in this election.”
However, Eric Kingsbury, a third-year history major, said that despite supporting Nader’s policies, he doubted the effectiveness of voting for a third-party candidate in the upcoming election.
“Although I agree with most of his opinions, I realize that because he has never stood a chance of legitimately winning an election, his positions are mostly idealistic,” Kingsbury said.
At the rally Nader also called for the impeachment of President George W. Bush for various constitutional violations, including illegal spying and fabricating reasons to invade Iraq.
“Presidents and vice presidents are not immune from the criminal law,” Nader said.
When questioned about the possibility of a vote for Nader detracting from potential votes from Obama in the upcoming election, Nader cited existing statistics contradicting such an effect.
“Six polls in a row show that when I’m in the poll McCain goes down and Obama stays the same,” Nader said.
Giulia Corridoni, a second-year Spanish major, said she plans to vote for Nader in the upcoming election based on his commitment to the public.
“I’m voting for Nader because he is basically the only candidate who has done anything just for the sake of the people rather than for his own self-interest,” Corridoni said.