Gonzalez talks about bid with Nader

March 3, 2008 6:24:37 AM PST
Now that Independent presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, has thrown his hat into the ring, Democrats are worried. Democrats blamed Nader for spoiling the elections in 2000 and 2004, by taking away liberal votes. And this time, former San Francisco Supervisor, Matt Gonzalez, is running as Nader's running mate.

"You don't join Ralph Nader's ticket if you want to be popular in certain liberal places," said Matt Gonzalez (I) Vice-Presidential candidate.

Former San Francisco Supervisor Matt Gonzalez was a liberal darling in 2004 when he came close to defeating Gavin Newsom for mayor. Now, he's the running mate of independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader and taking on the two party system.

"What should you have us do? Should we not run? Don't run, don't raise the issues and when is it going to get fixed?" said Matt Gonzalez.

Many Democrats blamed Nader's 2000 campaign for taking votes away from Al Gore resulting in a George Bush win. But, eight years later, University of San Francisco political science professor, James Taylor, believes Nader won't be a factor.

"I can't conceive after his poor performance in 2004 where he got less than one percent of the vote even though he was only in 36 states, that people are enthusiastic about Ralph Nader," said Prof. James Taylor, Ph.D., University of San Francisco.

Historically, third parties have had mixed success. Nader in 2000, Ross Perot in 1992 and Theodore Roosevelt, representing the Bull Moose party in 1912. None of them won, but impacted the election.

"They have all had important impacts, mainly in raising important issues that the two major parties don't want to focus on," said Prof. James Taylor.

And Gonzalez says that's the point of his candidacy.

"How are we going to talk about real withdrawal from the war in Iraq? How are we going to talk about single payer health care? How are we going to talk about all these deals are going to be signed in contract where the two parties, neither of them are committed to change because they're taking money from the same people," said Matt Gonzalez.

Gonzalez says his campaign for mayor in 2004 proves that even a loss can help shape the government's agenda. He says Mayor Newsom took on a more liberal agenda because of his candidacy.