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Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader (born February 27, 1934) is an American consumer rights[?] activist, and former US presidential candidate.

He was born to Lebanese immigrant parents, graduated Princeton in 1955 and Harvard Law School in 1958. In 1965 he released Unsafe at Any Speed[?], a study showing many American automobiles, especially those of General Motors, to be structurally flawed. GM tried to do some muckraking of its own, but on Nader; Nader then sued GM for invasion of privacy and used the winnings to expand his consumer rights efforts. In 1971 he started Public Citizen, a consumer-rights organization dependent largely (and, some argue, unfairly) on volunteer and low-wage labor.

Thirty-year gap, in which Nader founded some dozens of organizations, wrote many books, etc.

Nader ran for president on the Green Party ticket in the U.S. presidential election, 1996, qualifying for ballot status in relatively few states, and garnering less than 1% of the vote (he refused to raise or spend more than $5,000 on his campaign), but making major organizational gains for the party. He ran again in 2000, this time receiving almost 3% of the popular vote. (Many had hoped he would achieve the 5% necessary to qualify the Green Party for federal funding in the next election.) Some of Nader's main issues were the legalization of commercial hemp[?], the need for campaign finance reform, universal healthcare, affordable housing, free education through college, workers' rights, and a shift in taxes to place the burden more heavily on corporations than on the middle and lower classes.

The extremely close race between the two mainstream presidential candidates, Al Gore and George W. Bush, helped to create some additional controversy about the Nader campaign. Before the election, a number of those who supported Gore claimed that since Nader had no chance of winning, those who supported the Nader platform should nevertheless vote for Gore, the theory being that a victory for a centrist candidate was preferable to a victory for the conservative candidate. Often, this sentiment was expressed in slogans such as "A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush!" Nader, and many of his supporters, however, claimed that, while Gore was preferable to Bush, the differences between the two were not significant enough to merit the sacrificing of one's ideals to get Gore elected.

Nader has also been heavily involved in efforts by Congress Watch[?], The Health Research Group[?], the Public Interest Research Group,[?] Global Trade Watch[?], and many more organizations.

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