If you ask a Democrat, most of them would be more than happy to tell you that a vote for Ralph Nader is just as good as a vote for George W. Bush.
However, on Oct. 26, when the Temple University Committee for Nader met at Ritter Hall, they had a different perspective.
The committee charges, among other things, that Al Gore’s record of what he has actually done while in office makes him no different from Bush.
The students handed out a leaflet titled “Al Gore’s Broken Promises.” It alleges that Al Gore simply “fakes left, and goes right.” It also alleges that while in office, Clinton and Gore failed to keep any of their campaign promises.
The Democratic Party on the other hand has charged that Green Party candidate Ralph Nader is a “spoiler” and has taken crucial votes from Gore. Many in the party think Nader should drop out of the presidential election to help ensure that Bush does not win.
When asked on ABC’s This Week if Nader was concerned about spoiling the election for Gore, he responded that if Gore can’t beat “the bumbling idiot from Texas on his own-what good is he?”
According to Temple senior Steve Scarlata, who attended the pro-Nader meeting, “We need to not vote against a candidate. Nader believes what I believe, and nothing else matters to me. For the issues that matter most to me, there isn’t a difference between Bush and Gore.”
He cites several of Nader’s issues, which include universal healthcare, a $10.00 minimum wage, no corporate “soft money” contributions, and consumer and environmental protection initiatives. Nader also is an opponent of free trade.
Why are people rallying around Ralph Nader instead of another third-party candidate?
“It has a lot to do with his environmental concerns,” said Political Science professor Richardson Dilworth. “Also, Nader doesn’t fall into the ‘lunatic fringe’ like LaRouche and others sometimes do. Young people now have more of a political identity, while in the recent past, entire families were identified as Republican or Democrat.”
Many of Nader’s supporters admit that he will not win in the upcoming election. Nader himself makes no such claims of winning.
“I think a lot of the reason Nader is getting votes is because even if he doesn’t win, the Green party can receive federal matching funds if he receives five percent of the vote,” Dilworth said.
Reform Party candidate Patrick Buchanan has received federal matching funds in his campaign because Ross Perot earned more than 5 percent of the vote in 1996.
Even after taking the federal matching funds into account, there are many young voters who are fed up with “politics as usual”, including Liberal Arts major Steve Fonash.
“The two-party system really pissed me off,” Fonash said. “I’ve only been getting into politics for about a year now, and the more I learn about Nader, the more I like him. I think a vote for Nader breaks the two-party system, and is an overall voice for third parties.”
Even though the battle seems lost, the Temple Committee for Nader plans to stay active for as long as it takes. There are groups supporting Nader at more 850 college campuses across the United States.