About 32 years ago, when presidential hopeful Ralph Nader first came to Washington, D.C., a young lawyer could make a difference.
“You could go up to Capital Hill and the White House and get a respectable hearing,” he said.
But going into the 2000 election, Nader said it is difficult for U.S. citizens to influence policy unless they are backed by a corporation.
Overcoming the corporate voices is the first reason Nader decided to run for President, he said when he spoke Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. This is his second run as an independent candidate with the Green Party.
During his speech, Nader outlined his goal to create “a deep democracy” – a concept that includes nixing private funding for political campaigns, providing universal health care insurance and incorporating more civics, history and geography in the public education system.
“You hear politicians say they want a computer in front of every little child,” he said. “I want human interaction in front of every little child.”
Touting the anti-corporate message outlined in his campaign platform, Nader said he would create a business culture that would be pro-trade union versus pro-corporate welfare.
He also aligned himself with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and the Federal Communications Commission by supporting the creation of low power FM radio stations. Low power FM stations, which are waiting on Senate approval, would allow individual citizens or community groups own a broadcast signal with a three- to five-mile radius.
Nader said he hopes to debate these issues and others in a four-party debate with Vice President Al Gore and other presidential hopefuls George W. Bush and Pat Buchanan. Nader and Buchanan are not allowed in the debates because of rules set by the Commission on Presidential Debates.
“I hope the swelling of public opinion to have a four-way debate will increase,” he said.
He said he would accept any offer to debate from either the presidential hopefuls or an outside organization.