Speed Reads

feel the bern

Bernie Sanders 2016 has a lot in common with Ralph Nader 2000

What do actress Susan Sarandon, academic Cornel West, documentarian Michael Moore, musician Ani DiFranco, country singer Willie Nelson, and ice cream maker Ben Cohen (the Ben of Ben & Jerry's) have in common? In the 2000 election, they endorsed Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. In 2016, they're all backing Bernie Sanders.

But the shared celebrity endorsements aren't the only similarities between Nader 2000 and Sanders 2016. Though Sanders is currently running as a Democrat, both candidates are best known for working outside the two-party system. They agree on key issues, like opposing the 2003 invasion of Iraq and supporting universal health care. And Sanders and Nader have both been cast as left-wing spoilers for the Democratic Party's presumed nominee — in 2000, Al Gore, and in 2016, Hillary Clinton.

Intriguingly, Sanders himself enthusiastically backed Nader in 2000, but turned against him in 2004. "[O]ur main task right now is to defeat Bush," Sanders said at the time to explain his decision, "and I think Nader’s effort could have some impact in dividing up that vote and that’s a negative thing."