Ralph Nader Explains Why the Focus on RFK Jr. Is 'Stupid'

Don't worry about presidential race 'spoilers,' Nader says, insisting the concept is ridiculous
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2024 4:35 PM CDT
Ralph Nader Explains Why the Focus on RFK Jr. Is 'Stupid'
In this July 21, 2016, photo, Ralph Nader, left, talks with the media at the Cobo Center in Detroit.   (Robin Buckson/Detroit News via AP)

Ralph Nader has been saying it for decades: America needs a revolution. The lawyer, consumer advocate, and political activist famously—or, perhaps, infamously—ran for president as a third-party candidate in every election from 1992 until 2008. That includes, of course, his 2000 campaign, in which the 97,488 votes he received in Florida have often been blamed for throwing the state and thus, the White House, to George W. Bush. But he's always insisted such a claim is off-base, and he continues to do so—vehemently—in an interview with Mother Jones as part of its coverage of third-party candidates and the 2024 presidential race. That's not the only thing he's vehement about, either—he's also pretty disappointed in most third parties themselves, not to mention media coverage of them. Here are some of the most notable quotes:

  • On third parties that aren't really trying: "The Green Party doesn't run enough local candidates. You can't have a national campaign without local candidates. ... They're not serious. They just love to have their beliefs reaffirmed by whoever's on the stage and rah-rah them. ... [T]hey don't raise enough money for full-time organizers in the field. The people who shout the most are the people who do the least work."
  • On Democrats placing blame: Third parties' "main function is as scapegoats for the Democrats," Nader says. "They're great scapegoaters—they never look at themselves in the mirror."
  • Ridiculousness of the 'spoiler' talk: "What are we spoiling? We're trying to go after a system that's spoiled to the core. You're calling me a spoiler? What am I doing to spoil anything?"
  • Media's role: Bemoaning the fact that his efforts at WinningAmerica.net in 2022 were ignored, he says to his interviewer, "You're like the 40th progressive reporter I've talked to in three years, and they all write the same g-----n stuff: the same stupid, superficial stuff."
  • Question we should be asking: Instead of focusing on the role of a candidate like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in this year's race, Nader says, the question we should be asking is, "Why isn't the Democratic Party and Biden 20 points ahead of a chronic liar, thief, crook, narcissist, smearer, slanderer, ignorant, stupid Trump and his followers?"
Read the full interview at Mother Jones. (More Ralph Nader stories.)

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