The Nader niche

With less than five weeks to go in the 2008 presidential campaign, supporters of a new campus group think it is time for the Yale community to consider a third voice in the election.

Spurred by Ralph Nader’s upcoming visit to Connecticut, Yale for Nader organizer Nicolas Niarchos ’11 said he hopes to present the four-time presidential candidate to students as a viable alternative to Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain. Although the group still has yet to meet, Niarchos said that over the next several weeks, it will host a series of informational events to generate excitement about the longtime consumer advocate.

Student supporters of the two main presidential candidates said they were either not previously aware of the group or not fazed by its creation.

Niarchos, a staff reporter for the News, said he envisions Yale for Nader as a forum to reintroduce students to a candidate the media, in his opinion, have completely overlooked in this year’s campaign coverage.

“What we’ve seen in this campaign is a sort of media blackout [of Nader],” he said. “This is a person that represented the interests of [nearly] 3 million Americans in the [2000] election.”

In 2004, Nader received 465,650 votes.

Niarchos also criticized the two-party system of government. He said Nader has been raising some issues poorly addressed by both campaigns, such as universal health care, oil dependence and corporate influence in politics.

To further student discussion, Yale for Nader has invited Ashley Sanders, youth spokeswoman for the Nader campaign, to speak on campus on Oct. 6.

Sanders, who is currently touring college campuses in the Northeast, spoke of the importance of having an alternative to the major candidates.

“College students should know that there are more than two options in this election,” Sanders said. “They can vote for a candidate who is opposed to war, undue corporate power, and [has positions on issues] that the majority of Americans support but are not represented by the two major candidates.”

Niarchos said he hopes Sanders’ appearance, which will come right after two Nader rallies in Waterbury and Storrs, Conn., on Oct. 4, will prompt Yalies to reexamine their views about the 2008 presidential campaign as Election Day draws near.

Thus far, Niarchos has e-mailed hundreds of students about his new group. He said he has received “many” responses — although he did not specify a total — from both supporters and detractors about the push for a Nader presence on campus.

Longtime Nader supporter Jason Brown FES ’10 said in an e-mail that he only recently found out about the group forming, but said he is excited about the dialogue it could bring to campus.

“I think the discussion will be especially relevant this year, as the Democratic and Republican candidates are not addressing [the issues] as directly as many would like,” he wrote.

As Yale for Nader attempts to raise awareness on campus about the perennial third-party candidate, student supporters of Obama and McCain said they believe that the group’s efforts, though admirable, will not have much effect on campaign discourse at Yale.

Brad Galiette ’08 SOM ’11, president of Yale for McCain, said that a similar initiative in 2004 failed to garner support for Nader within the Yale community. Although Galiette said he looks forward to interacting with Yale for Nader, he said he doubts the group will draw much attention on campus.

“Those of us at Yale supporting McCain do not anticipate that Nader’s candidacy will resonate with more than a few Yale students, even given some additional exposure from this group,” Galiette wrote in an e-mail.

Ben Lazarus ’10, co-director of Yale for Obama, was more direct.

“It’s not affecting us in any way,” he said when asked whether the Nader group would affect Yale for Obama’s activities.

Yale for Nader will screen “An Unreasonable Man,” a documentary on Ralph Nader, on Oct. 6 at Sage Hall. Sanders will be moderating a discussion on the film immediately following the screening.


  • James Clement van Pelt

    Those who recall that Nader foresaw eight year ago all that is now coming down, or who may want to open up the possibilities for more than what the 2-party system provides, sometimes fear that a vote for Nader might make an Obama victory less likely. But Connecticut's Electoral College votes will go to the candidate who receives 50% plus 1 of the votes cast. Because the chances that the Dems will win in CT under that system are overwhelming, one can vote Nader without fear of damaging Obama's chances, yet each Nader vote will register as a wakeup call and will also put a truly progressive third party closer to the threshold at which it is taken seriously under the present system.

  • A - Colorado

    One thing students should be especially aware of is Obama's hidden "volunteer draft". As with many of his things, like his pro-Afghanistan/Pakistan/Iran war stance, he wraps it up in so many words anybody can take anything from it.
    The bottom line is he wants to expand Americorps to include a new homeland security corps, and he wants a domestic national security force as "strong, powerful and well funded" as the military, which he also plans to increase. He wants to require all high school and college students to do "nationally controlled" community service, including programs that include a domestic homeland security corps and the military.
    It's "voluntary", but if schools don't participate right, he threatens to hold back our own tax dollars from the entire district. Students don't get to graduate. Oh yea, we'll clean up some roads and do good things too, I'm sure, but is a sneaky draft worth it…

    "We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."

    People trying to talk themselves out of his words - "He couldn't have meant that" -

    Obama at another speech:
    "And when my grandfather came back, he came back to a G.I. bill that was going to pay for his college education and FHA loans that would help them purchase a home. There was that sense of sacred obligation that, frankly, we have lost during these last two wars.

    I want to restore that.

    But it’s also important that a president speaks to military service as an obligation not just of some, but of many. You know, I traveled, obviously, a lot over the last 19 months. And if you go to small towns, throughout the Midwest or the Southwest or the South, every town has tons of young people who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s not always the case in other parts of the country, in more urban centers. And I think it’s important for the president to say, this is an important obligation. If we are going into war, then all of us go, not just some."

    He makes requiring people to go to war sounds soo good and righteous. That's what his candidacy is about, making the pro-war, big money politics we all hate look good. We need options like Nader.

  • student

    I was for Obama, until he supported the bailout. Ridiculous to give $700B to financial instutions when most people can't afford to heat their homes or buy health care. Vote Nader.

  • Joseph Hill

    Bravo! Isn't it about time that American voters demand to be treated as adult citizens who deserve to be offered as much info as there is available? How can any voter decide how to cast his/her vote if he/she is allowed only two--increasingly similar--candidates from whom to choose? The major party candidates are both wedded to a corporate-centered outlook on politics and governance. Both want more troops in Afghanistan…neither of them is willing to support genuinely universal "single-payer" healthcare…both voted to allow the telecom campanies who have--and still do--aided and abetted Bush's domestic secret spying… What ever became of this notion of democracy that was--and still ought to be--the foundation of this nation's government?

    I could go on, but it's pretty obvious that both these guys see the world from much the same perspective. Mainly, they differ only in personality and their opposing views on cultural issues.

    Students should demand that the so-called 'debates' be open to all serious candidates (Barr, McKinney, Nader) so we can make an INFORMED decision on who gets our votes. They needn't all be on the stage at the same time, but there should be more debates among candidates on a rotating basis so that there are never more than three participants on the stage at once. As it stands now, these faux-debates are entirely choreographed by the TWO parties who own them.

    "Debates"? What debates?! We got no stinkin' debates. CHANGE? I don't think so.
    "Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it."
    -- Mahatma Gandhi

  • John Q. Public

    If you look closely at Obama and McCain there are more similarities than differences in their campaigns. Both are beholden to corporate interests. Both approved the pork laden financial-market rescue package.
    One national candidate for President is untouched by Wall Street.
    His name is Ralph Nader.
    And were he President, we would not be in this mess.
    Wall Street would be properly regulated.

    How many times are people going to believe the Democratic and Republican lies.
    Year after year it's always the same campaigns.
    For an ever-increasing number of Americans it ends up being just empty promises and lies and they find themselves struggling to just survive.
    Obama and McCain are beholden to the special interests that own them.
    Nader is a chance for Americans to change all that and reclaim our country again.
    I implore the students of Yale to at least take the opportunity to listen to what he has to say.

  • Juan Alvarez

    Even people that are supporting one of the two major parties should support hearing from ALL the candidates in the debates.

    Finally, there is a possibility for a real debate with ALL 6 ballot-qualified candidates!! Visit and pledge support.

    You can also sign a petition to open up the debates at:

    And, this morning, Oct 2, Democracy Now! had a good segment on the debates and the bipartisan commission that organizes them. You can watch/listen the 15 minute segment anytime from their website (starting at about 29:37 minutes):
    It also addresses how the debate would have been like regarding the bailout if all candidates had been there.

  • fact

    is niarchos even an american citizen? my understanding is that he's british??!

  • Boo Nader

    Anyone who supporters Nader in a swing state because Obama isn't left enough deserves to be shot.

    You want to argue that there was no difference between Gore and Bush now?

  • Nassim Sabba

    You’ve got to be kidding! YALE, the festering hole that has produced 80% of CIA heads, crooked dictators, and currently hosting by a margin of 80 to 20 the children of those who are robbing us blind wants us to believe its token gesture to Ralph Nader is serious! It is fully disingenuous if not disgusting. Check your bank account balances and look in the mirror, especially if you can have your rich daddy standing behind you.

  • Nassim Sabba

    Dear #8 (4x #2?)
    During whose occupancy of the White House was the Glass-Steagall act practically repealed? Whose boss signed it?

    LOL, it was smilling Bill, Al's boss!

    Do you even know what that act was, Glass-Steagall? If you do, then you are a right winger. If you don't, find out and you'll see that there wasn't, isn't, and never will be any difference between AL, Bill, George I, George II, John, Barak, Ronald,…

    But you are can afford to buy a Yale degree, so, what can we expect!

  • Boo hoo

    Gore gave up the presidency himself, if you can remember. The Supreme Court overturned the will of the people, and Florida's sovern right to choose their own electoral candidate. They even admitted it was a special case by adding that them doing it should not establish a precidence.
    And anyway, that is completely against a democracy, because some big money, pro-war candidate wants to call himself a "democrat" still doesn't mean he's entitled to my vote enough to take away my other choices.
    In some ways, with the hidden draft, pro-imperialist Brzezinski, and how he tries to act like he's grass roots instead of wall street, Obama may be worse than McCain. The democrats have been so two faced that they would have made me republican if it wasn't for Nader.

  • Elizabeth Ellis

    I grew up with Ralph Nader in the limelight in the sixties, and the media limelight that was gladly given him then! I will turn 60 AFTER the election, and am hoping the election will get the two party usurption DUE as showing in everyone's face as corruption of democracy. The ballot box is supposed to be the people's power and the TIME TO DO THE POWERMONGERING AS TRUTH OF A NATION IN ITS OWN BEST INTERESTS which will protect both the U.S. Constitution and the world. I am hoping for a REAL DEBATE, which most people who know who Nader is, agree, belongs in the picture.

    And, I believe, the fact that there are three other outsiders offering a different perspective, and are also on the ballot in most states, so that there are SIX candidates who COULD win, and I believe NADER should be seen, and IF the nation agrees he is BEST, the ridiculous "lesser of two evils" will be proven unacceptable on November 4th.

    The best indeed should win, and honest competition is due. A real debate would be showing all six to the american voters NOW in the papers, and maybe in two weeks, as a real debate.

    See for more ballot access information.

  • Anonymous

    fact check on #7: nicolas niarchos is a dual citizen - he will vote, he said Friday.

  • Ethan

    To the person who said: "Anyone who supporters Nader in a swing state because Obama isn't left enough deserves to be shot."

    Wow, thanks for clearing that up! Just because I won't support Obama, the candidate of the *other* Republican party, the center-wing candidate, I deserve to get shot! Well I'll tell you what buddy, I grew up in the sticks where we take statements like that pretty seriously, so if you want to come say that to my face I'll be waiting :)

    Ha! Not left enough? He's not left AT ALL! Anti-gay (separate-but-equal doesn't make him pro-gay), anti-abortion (did you hear him pander to his evangelical base?), pro-war, pro-business, pro-free market, against socialized medicine, supreme leader of the "religious left"! I love how he's adopted all of Bush's cute little phrases too, like "axis of evil" and "war on terror."

    The only difference between McCain and Obama is which idiots believe them.

  • Disturbed

    Has Nick Niarchos forgotten 2000? There's a reason we have a two party system.

  • The Republican Party

    Yes, please, by all means vote Nader!

  • Ethan

    To #15 who said "Has Nick Niarchos forgotten 2000? There's a reason we have a two party system."

    Umm… Have you forgotten the election of 2004? Everyone left of Jesus got scared out of voting their conscience and we still ended up with a retard for a president, thus proving to the Democratic party that they don't have to take seriously anything that matters to you. All they have to do is point to the boogie man and whip you into line. You sacrificed everything, gained nothing, and now you're getting right back in line to do it all over again!

    If you think Obama is going to be any better than McCain you're nuts or stupid, or possibly both.

  • kickapooviking

    Get out in the streets now. it is the only way real change ever comes!!!!

  • two party?

    Do you even know what a two party system is? Technically, we don't have one. We can be considered to have one only because two power hungry factions who's views only represent a tiny minority of people took over. George Washington, the first president, was not even a member of a party although he worked with one. He had this to say about the political parties:

    They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community…

    they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion."

    Repeating something doesn't make it true, it only makes it true to you.

  • 4 non duopoly

    If you are tired of paying taxes to offset corporate welfare, it would be wise to listen to Mr. Nader. If you are tired of the rhetoric, the negative sound bites, the spin to blur the truth, listen to Mr. Nader because he has the guts to tell you what is real. Beware, because you have to put aside the phony "hope" and "change" bs and be able to handle the truth. Something you do not get from the two major parties or the media. However, if you are ok with being "led," by those with the means to influence, to war via lies and millions without health care, the negative effects of nafta and wto, etc etc, one of those other parties that have spoiled our republic is for you. You know, the ones that dictate who can "debate" in the presidential catch phrase shows. For me cute, polished, avoidence and half-truths do not allude to the confidence and leadership traits necessary to actually lead a "democracy" founded on the principle of "we the people."
    The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.
    - Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • Dan Boeckelmann

    I will move to Sweden if another republican gets put in charge. I will no longer associate myself with the nazis. Just like Nazi Germany, anyone can go to war: Just put your country in fear, and lie to them the whole way through.
    The American people need to wake up. If we knew as much about politics as we did sports teams, we wouldn't be in this mess. Corporate Rocmsocm robots run us.

  • Joseph A. Mustich, Justice of the Peace

    Yes indeed.

    Mr Clean is the one to vote for in November.

    Washington CT USA (5th CD voter)

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