GAINESVILLE, Fla.--The war in Iraq and corporate America were just two of the issues on the table when Green party candidate Ralph Nader spoke to a nearly full house at the Philips Center Friday.
The third-party candidate, who has struggled to be put on the ballot in many states, was recently added as a choice in Florida. He sees his campaign as a movement against a hopelessly corrupted two-party system.
“Every social justice movement starts with pioneer voters and pioneer candidates,” Nader told an enthusiastic crowd. “It’s time for the youth of America to plan a four-year cycle takeover of American politics.”
When Nader was asked by a vocal student in the audience what he would do about the war in Iraq, he quickly outlined a detailed plan that included withdrawal within six months and replacement of the “puppet” government. He blamed President Bush for a “quagmire” of a war and also chided John Kerry for not acting on his personal beliefs about the war in fear of alienating voters. He said that Kerry “didn’t have the courage to get out of Iraq.”
Another large part of Nader’s address and a popular platform in his campaign was that of the relationship between government and corporations. He accused large corporations of being too powerful and government of being too enmeshed in their affairs.
“All Washington does is run accounts receivable,” he said of corporate influence in government today. He accused both parties but especially the Republicans and the current administration of being too dependent on corporate contributions.
“Do you think George Bush or John Kerry would ever have a speech called ‘Too much corporate power?’” he said, citing a survey of the same name which he says states that 72 percent of the American people believe corporations have too much control over their lives. Nader considered his own perpetual candidacy “40 years of work increasingly blocked by the corporate domination of government.”
Nader openly criticized both candidates’ performances in Thursday’s presidential debate, in which he was not allowed to participate. He felt that Bush and Kerry monopolized the forum with arguments on Iraq and terrorism, ignoring what he felt were more important, domestic issues such as healthcare, the loss of jobs overseas and what he considers a very dangerous flu erupting in China and Thailand.
“The risk of pandemic from China is far greater than any internal terrorist attack,” he said.
Nader’s main message was that people should vote for who they believe in, regardless of the candidate’s chances of winning the election. He cited third party candidates as being the persistent heralds of social change. Above all, he warned against voting for a “less unsatisfactory” candidate.
“Every four years there will always be a least-worst,” he said.