Jackson Hopes to Dissuade Ralph Nader From Fielding a Third-Party Candidate

The civil rights leader says Nader’s actions could hurt Obama’s re-election.

Posted: 10/03/2011 01:44 PM EDT
Jesse Jackson

Democrats are still stinging from consumer activist Ralph Nader’s entry into the presidential contest between George W. Bush and former Vice President Al Gore, that many say cost Gore the race. Now he is threatening to find a primary challenger to President Obama, a proposition that for Democrats is like a flashback from a bad trip they don’t want to take again.


In an interview with Newsmax, Jesse Jackson, Sr. said the move is “not wise” and would help Republicans forge a path to the White House, which Nadere has definitively said is not his intention. Jackson said he hopes to dissuade his friend from moving forward, and contrasted Nader’s proposal with his own presidential runs in 1984 and 1988.


“While I’m a great supporter of Ralph Nader, his run allowed Bush to get in. Your strategies must correspond with your objectives,” Jackson said, adding that he “wanted to expand the options, expand the issues, but not in any way that will in fact create unintended consequences.”


According to Jackson, the combination of alleged voter suppression taking place in more than 30 Republican-led states and ballots that would otherwise go to Obama cast instead to a third-party candidate, would be devastating to the president’s re-election prospects.


“Republicans will win hands down,” Jackson said. “I don’t want that to happen.”

(Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

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