Ralph Nader, a prominent anti-establishment consumer advocate since the 1960s, clearly announced his will to step into the election fray as a third-party candidate in NBC's Meet the Press, by simply stating, "I'm running for president." He has selected former member of San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Matt Gonzalez, as his running mate. Democrats believe that Nader's presidential bid in 2000 cost Al Gore the election. He ran again, in 2004. This time Nader will be up against Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton from the Democrats, and Senator John McCain from the Republicans.
Carrying his anti-establishment card high, Nader said Americans were disenchanted with the Democrats and Republicans since they avoided discussing voters' key issues. In his words, people were feeling "locked out, shut out, marginalized, and disrespected." He accused the main parties of "political bigotry" and said that they "don't stand for the people".
Calling Washington DC a "corporate-occupied territory", Nader accused it of keeping the government from addressing the important issues. "We have to shift the power from the few to the many," he asserted.
Nader has also questioned the integrity of the three main contenders in the race. "Do they have the moral courage, do they have the fortitude to stand up to corporate powers and get things done for the American people?" he queried, emphasizing the closeness of the top contenders to big business.
As expected, his questions have not been kindly received by them. The Democratic candidates, Obama and Clinton, were quick with repartees relating to his spoiler candidate status from the 2000 election.
During the 2000 presidential elections, a record three million people, making up more than 2 percent of the vote, backed Nader, who was then the Green Party candidate. Even a small portion of these votes, especially from Florida, could have helped Al Gore win. However, this was not the case and Nader ended up being called a spoiler candidate.