Nader rallies to open debates

Ralph Nader speaks to supporters Thursday at the Open the Debates Rally in Orchestra Hall. Nader stressed the need for a third party on the ballots to give voters more options than just Republican and Democrat.

Marija Majerle

Ralph Nader speaks to supporters Thursday at the Open the Debates Rally in Orchestra Hall. Nader stressed the need for a third party on the ballots to give voters more options than just Republican and Democrat.

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader rallied Thursday night at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, calling for the Democratic and Republican parties to allow more candidates in the debates. Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and Independent Dean Barkley also spoke. âÄúThe national media is engaging a blackout against the Nader-Gonzalez ticket,âÄù Nader said at a press conference. âÄúIt comes down to disrespecting the voters. If they come down to two choices, theyâÄôll choose the best of the worst.âÄù The rally, Open the Debates, took place on the final night of the Republican National Convention and pushed for Americans to demand more presidential choices. Nader held a similar event last week in Denver during the Democratic National Convention. Sociology junior Andria Jones is not sold on NaderâÄôs bid to participate in the debates. âÄúMaybe just to be fair,âÄù she said. âÄúBut itâÄôs just a waste of time. I donâÄôt think he has a chance.âÄù The Nader-Gonzalez ticket will accomplish its initial goal to appear on 45 state ballots and will campaign in all 50 states, Nader said. Ventura, who also attended Ron PaulâÄôs rally Tuesday night at the Target Center, said he would not have been elected governor in 1998 if they did not allow him in the debates. âÄúSo I guess I can stand here and say to you âÄòI am the exampleâÄô,âÄù Ventura said at a press conference. âÄúWhen more than two candidates are allowed in the debates, a lot of strange, enormous and funny things can happen. WeâÄôre too diverse of a country to rely on two.âÄù Former Senator Dean Barkley, who will run for Senate again as an Independent, told the audience to get involved. âÄúWe can have a revolution in this country,âÄù Barkley said. âÄúWe can and we need one, and we can do it without using a single bullet.âÄù Minneapolis resident Pat Mcgrath attended the event and would love to see a third-party in the debates, but is not ready to vote for one this year. âÄúItâÄôs too important to have four more years of this government,âÄù she said at the event. âÄúI donâÄôt want to waste my vote this year.âÄù According to a poll conducted in August by Minnesota Public Radio and the UniversityâÄôs Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, three percent of Minnesotans would likely vote for Nader. However, 77 percent of MinnesotaâÄôs likely voters would consider voting for an independent or third-party candidate. Green Party vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente and former 98 Degrees band members Justin Jeffre and Jeff Timmons were among other guests at the event.