In the Spotlight

News & Features
Go to Campaign 2004
DocumentCampaign 2004
DocumentThe race for president
DocumentThe race for Congress
DocumentThe guide to legislative races
DocumentSelect A Candidate
DocumentDemocratic National Convention
More from MPR
Your Voice
DocumentJoin the conversation with other MPR listeners in the News Forum.

DocumentE-mail this pageDocumentPrint this page
Nader brings campaign to South Dakota
Larger view
Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader brought his campaign to Sioux Falls, South Dakota Tuesday night. He criticized both the major parties for taking "the selection out of the election." (MPR Photo/Cara Hetland)
Ralph Nader says the only way to change government is to get involved. Nader spoke in Sioux Falls Tuesday night. He talked for more than two hours, criticizing corporate greed, the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. Nader says historically, the nation's best laws have been a reaction to citizen outrage.

Sioux Falls, S.D. — Ralph Nader used his visit to Sioux Falls to raise money for his campaign. The 250 people who came to hear him speak were asked to pay $10 before entering the hotel conference room. Nader sold his latest book, "The Good Fight: Declare your Independence and Close the Democracy Gap," which is his thesis for his presidential campaign.

Nader spent two hours criticizing the two-party system, corporate America and the Bush administration. He supports health care for all, higher wages and reforms in the justice system. When pressed by an audience member to talk about the most important environmental issue today, Nader chose solar energy.

"That has more ramifications in terms of global warming, climate change, geo-political violent entanglement of preventing monopoly of our energy, acid rain, opening it up to small business, opening it up to homeowners, reducing air and water pollution, reducing the amount of strip mining and scarring of the land and spillovers into water. Solar energy is the closest thing we've got to a universal solvent environmentally," Nader said.

The issue of genetically engineered crops is a close second on Nader's list of environmental priorities.

I want to vote for someone I feel good about supporting. I don't want to have to hold my nose if I would vote for John Kerry -- and that's what I'd have to do.
- Dave Downs, Nader supporter

The 70-year old consumer advocate wants to be a part of the presidential race. At the very minimum he wants his name on the ballot as an independent candidate in all 50 states. Currently he's on the ballot in five states, including South Dakota and Iowa. He has petition signatures turned in for verification in 23 other states.

Nader also wants to debate George Bush and John Kerry but he doubts that will happen. Nader said the two-party system is taking "the selection out of the election." He charged each party in its own way is trying to influence his chances.

"We are presently being entangled by the Democratic and Republican parties and their schemes -- the Democrats' dirty tricks to keep us off the ballot, all of which will be widely publicized in a few weeks," Nader said. "And I warned John Kerry if he doesn't crack down on his underlings he's going to be presented with a mini-Watergate, and he hasn't done so."

Nader said Democrats are filing lawsuits challenging his petitions. He says there are also cases of harrassment toward his volunteers and petition signers. Republicans, he said, are paying people to sign his petitions and running ads in support of Nader. He said his campaign won't accept those signatures.

Nader said he wants people to be outraged instead of watching television reruns. He urged the crowd to educate themselves about the issues that matter most in their lives -- like health care and rebuilding the infrastructure in the United States.

Dave Downs said he'll vote for Ralph Nader. The college professor from Vermillion says he worked four years ago to get Nader on the ballot in South Dakota. Nader didn't make it then. So, when it came time to vote in 2000, Downs left it blank. He said it's just being a good citizen.

"I want to vote for someone I feel good about supporting. I don't want to have to hold my nose if I would vote for John Kerry -- and that's what I'd have to do," Downs said.

One retired lifelong Democrat waiting in line to have his book signed said he will vote for John Kerry because he dislikes President Bush. More than 60 percent of South Dakotans voted for George Bush in the last election.

Respond to this story
News Headlines
Related Subjects