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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Ralph Nader is past prime as candidate

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ralph Nader is considering another bid for the White House and said he would decide within a month whether to enter the campaign once again. There are countless readers of this newspaper who have never heard of Ralph Nader. So that may forecast his prospects.

Nader earned a name for himself over 40 years ago as a consumer advocate. And since that time, he has earned a living and continued to get his name in the news based on his relatively successful role in the '60s. But at age 74, Nader is but a shadow of his former self in more ways than one. In short, we all know he stands zero chance of success in a presidential campaign.

But winning is obviously not the motive that drives Nader. The man still thinks he has a message for the American public and because of his past name recognition, he has a sliver of a pulpit remaining and wants to wring the very last ounce of mileage while he still can.

It truly makes you wonder what motivates the Ralph Naders of the world. On the one hand you can say they have a burning desire to convey some message to the American public and despite all odds, the presidential campaign is the best venue to send that message. Or, on the other hand, you can say they simply miss the limelight. Their egos are such that they miss the attention.

In Nader's case, I strongly suspect he misses the attention.

Though it's open for debate, let's assume that Ralph Nader brought public attention to some safety issues back when I was in high school. And for that, perhaps Nader saved lives. But Nader is a one-trick pony and his cause has long evaporated from the American landscape. I doubt we need a Ralph Nader consuming any more of our time or energy regardless of his message.

At his best, Nader could by mistake get 1 percent of the vote in certain states. And his critics point out that in 2000, Nader siphoned enough votes from Al Gore in Florida to put the state in the Bush column. I'm not sure if I agree with that analysis but take it for what it's worth.

Don't be surprised if someday soon, some news report will indicate that Nader is indeed in the race. But then again, when he fails - and fail he will - don't be surprised to hear his name in the running in four years. Some old race horses simply don't want to stay in the pasture.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen