The Sunday Magazine·The Sunday Edition

Ralph Nader on the ethics of voting for a third-party candidate, if polls show Donald Trump might win

The former presidential candidate and long-time consumer advocate says it's wrong to call a third party candidate a "spoiler." Mr. Nader is a fierce critic of international trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he says will empty jobs from the U.S., raise drug prices and reduce sovereignty over consumer, labour and environmental protection.
Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader gives the thumbs up to supporters, November 7, 2000 at the National Press Club in Washington. (Michael Smith/Newsmakers)

This week, the Democrats embarked on a full-court press to convince those tempted to vote for a third party candidate in the presidential election, not to do it.

In about five weeks, either Hillary Rodham Clinton or Donald John Trump will win that race. The outcome, however, may well depend on how many votes are cast for neither of them.

Green Party presidential nominee, Dr. Jill Stein, and Libertarian Party presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, did not meet the qualification criteria to participate in the first presidential debate. (Alex Brandon/AP, Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

According to the most recent polls, support for the leader of the Libertarian Party, Gary Johnson, is hovering at around eight per cent of the popular vote. Green Party leader, Dr. Jill Stein, who has been a guest on The Sunday Edition, has about four per cent. 

Those may seem like insignificant numbers, but in a tight two-way race, they could make a difference.

If the Democratic Party cannot save the country from the worst Republican Party in history with the worst candidate in history...then they should look in the mirror.- Ralph Nader

More than one political analyst is reminding voters of the outcome in the 2000 election. Republican candidate George W. Bush was declared the winner; the Democrats' Al Gore was the loser; and Green Party candidate Ralph Nader was dubbed "the spoiler." 

Many believe that had Nader not been on the ballot, Al Gore would have become president, saving the world from the war in Iraq, and even the creation of ISIS.

Nader not only dismisses the notion that he's responsible for the election of George Bush, he argues that third and fourth party candidates are essential for a healthy democracy. He continues to call on voters to disrupt the current political system.

Ralph Nader is an activist, a lawyer and the author of several books. The most recent is called Breaking Through Power: It's Easier Than We Think

Click the button above to hear Michael's interview with Ralph Nader. 

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