Published on Saturday, June 25, 2000 in the Rocky Mountain News
Ralph Nader Set To Win Green Party Nomination Today
by Ann Carnahan
Ralph Nader, who is expected to garner the Green Party's nomination for president today, decried on Saturday the "consummate arrogance" of the Republican and Democratic leadership toward third parties.
"They basically say, 'Look, you guys all over America. You got two choices. It's Republican and Democrat. Forget about all the rest. And you just come to the polls and vote.'
"That's just one choice short of something we call a dictatorial attitude."
Nader, 66, a consumer advocate, spoke during the first day of the party's two-day convention at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver. About 1,200 people are attending the convention.
The Green Party opposes militarism and supports the environment and greater access to health care.
The party voted Saturday on its platform, focusing on political reform, human rights, the environment and corporate responsibility.
The party abandoned term limits and came out in favor of proportional representation, which could give independent voters more power.
The 317 delegates from 39 states also rejected an attempt to delete support for the Brady gun-registration bill from the platform.
Nader's news conference was packed with journalists from across the country. Nader said he completed a 50-state tour Friday when he visited Kansas City, Kan., before arriving in Colorado.
Just a few months ago, political strategists dismissed Nader as a fringe candidate, but polls now show he could be a more potent force than Pat Buchanan, the expected Reform Party candidate. In California, where Gore is running comfortably ahead, Nader is drawing 7 percent of the vote, according to one poll.
Buchanan also is in Denver today; he will speak at a gathering of the Colorado Freedom Party a branch of the Reform Party at Arapahoe Community College. Meanwhile, in Golden another faction of the Reform Party will hear from presidential hopeful John Hagelin, an Iowa physicist and also candidate of the Natural Law Party.
While Nader may be a long shot to win the presidential election, it's clear he could cut into Gore's support.
But that doesn't bother Nader.
"Neither George W. Bush nor Albert Gore want to face new ideas," Nader said Saturday. "They want to keep the presidential election as an insider game."
In 1996, fewer than half of all eligible voters turned up at the polls, Nader said.
"Democracy is at peril unless the people participate," Nader said.
Nader's running mate is American Indian activist Winona LaDuke, a Harvard graduate from the White Earth Indian Reservation in northwestern Minnesota. A farmer and author, she is known for her work recovering lands taken from American Indians.
In a question-and-answer period, Nader said he opposes the death penalty because it doesn't deter crime and is "horribly discriminating." He said more public money isn't channeled to education because mainstream politicians "don't have fire in their belly. They really don't believe what they're saying when they talk about education."
Nader said the success of his campaign will depend in part on vigorous media coverage.
"If they give us a chance to reach people, if they propose their own debates ... I think we'll do all right," Nader said.
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