Nader rallies to open debates


Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader rallied Thursday night at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, calling for the Democratic and Republican parties to allow more candidates in the debates. Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and Independent Dean Barkley also spoke.

“The national media is engaging a blackout against the Nader-Gonzalez ticket,” Nader said at a press conference. “It comes down to disrespecting the voters. If they come down to two choices, they’ll choose the best of the worst.”

The rally, Open the Debates, took place on the final night of the Republican National Convention and pushed for Americans to demand more presidential choices.

Nader held a similar event last week in Denver during the Democratic National Convention.

Sociology junior Andria Jones is not sold on Nader’s bid to participate in the debates.

“Maybe just to be fair,” she said. “But it’s just a waste of time. I don’t think he has a chance.”

The Nader-Gonzalez ticket will accomplish its initial goal to appear on 45 state ballots and will campaign in all 50 states, Nader said.

Ventura, who also attended Ron Paul’s rally Tuesday night at the Target Center, said he would not have been elected governor in 1998 if they did not allow him in the debates.

“So I guess I can stand here and say to you ‘I am the example’,” Ventura said at a press conference. “When more than two candidates are allowed in the debates, a lot of strange, enormous and funny things can happen. We’re too diverse of a country to rely on two.”

Former Senator Dean Barkley, who will run for Senate again as an Independent, told the audience to get involved.

“We can have a revolution in this country,” Barkley said. “We can and we need one, and we can do it without using a single bullet.”
Minneapolis resident Pat Mcgrath attended the event and would love to see a third-party in the debates, but is not ready to vote for one this year.

“It’s too important to have four more years of this government,” she said at the event. “I don’t want to waste my vote this year.”

According to a poll conducted in August by Minnesota Public Radio and the University’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, three percent of Minnesotans would likely vote for Nader. However, 77 percent of Minnesota’s likely voters would consider voting for an independent or third-party candidate.

Green Party vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente and former 98 Degrees band members Justin Jeffre and Jeff Timmons were among other guests at the event.