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Backgrounder: The Campaign

New Poll Watch 04 Study Undermines Nader's Claim He'll Help Beat Bush


The Story of the Ralph Don’t Run Campaign

John Pearce and Kathy Cramer decided to launch the “Ralph Don’t Run” campaign over the breakfast table in December, 2003. They were deeply concerned that Nader was storming ahead with an exploratory committee, and that an 04 candidacy might tip the balance in a close election to George Bush. Noting that Nader was asking for citizen input on his decision, they decided to facilitate as much input as they possibly could.

By late January, the couple had the website up, featuring a Flash movie making the case against another Nader candidacy, and asking progressives to contact Nader’s exploratory site directly to convey their opposition to another run. Within several days, Nader’s exploratory committee website pulled down their home-page survey – the one that had sought citizen input.

By early February, John had placed an OpEd on Nader’s potential candidacy in five major regional papers, building more momentum and urging progressive consensus on this crucial issue. Reaching out to progressive advocacy groups and national media, word began to spread, viral email messages carried the word from person to person, and website traffic continued to build. As Nader was about to announce, was featured on all three network newscasts, both reflecting and helping to galvanize progressive opposition to Nader’s run. Finally, on NBC’s Meet the Press, Tim Russert played the movie in its entirety for Ralph Nader as Nader made the unfortunate declaration of his 2004 candidacy. Nader’s response was a dismissive “that’s the liberal intelligentsia.”

By late February, nearly 300,000 visitors had come to the website, and the campaign had generated media coverage reaching 60 million Americans. had been covered in nearly every national paper and magazine, along with interviews on media ranging from CBS Evening News to CNN’s Inside Politics to the BBC World Service. Along with the voices of other progressives nationwide, the campaign helped position Nader’s candidacy as opposed by essentially the entire progressive community.

Though failing in its goal of persuading Mr. Nader not to run, the campaign brought together a group of dedicated advocates who share the belief that this is not the year to support a Nader candidacy. This group, larger and more capable than ever, is determined to fight on through to the election to urge anyone who supports Nader on the issues to vote Democratic in the election. It could hardly be a more crucial year to appreciate the profound difference between the alternatives before us.

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