The Thistle Volume 13, Number 2: Sept./Oct., 2000.

Nader Holds Biggest Rally of His Campaign in Minnesota

The Target Center sports arena in Minneapolis was filled by more than 12000 people last Friday night, paying $7 each to hear the Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader denounce the major party candidates and call for social justice.

Nader remarked that the crowd was proof his candidacy should be taken seriously and restated his demand to be allowed to participate in debates with George W. Bush and Al Gore. “This is the largest gathering of paying citizens of the entire year,” the Green Party candidate told the raucous crowd, which shouted, whistled and waved placards that read, “Let Ralph debate!”

Nader’s vice-presidential running mate, Winona LaDuke — from Minnesota herself — spoke about generational justice and the environment

Earlier that day, Nader had proposed shifting control of U.S. agriculture away from corporate conglomerates and back toward the family farmer.

He said : “By weakening the stranglehold agribusiness has on the food industry, we will be able to increase farm gate prices and competition, which will consequently reduce food costs for consumers,” Nader named the Target Center event a “super rally” and expressed his hope that it would draw a large audience to build support for his inclusion in the presidential debates.

Nader’s proposed farm plan calls for stronger enforcement of antitrust laws, prohibition of meatpacker ownership of livestock production facilities and allowing American farmers to grow industrial hemp.

Next to him on a table during a news conference was a pile of 18,000 signatures of Minnesotans demanding that Nader be included in the debates.

The Minnesota stop was the second of four major rallies for Nader. The first, in Portland, Ore., was nearly as large as Friday’s event, selling out with 10,000 tickets at $7 apiece. The next major Nader Rally is going to be at the Fleet Center in Boston on October 1.

The last time Nader visited Minnesota, he held a smaller rally at the University of Minnesota that drew a packed house of 1,400 and raised about $17,000.

It’s not a usual way for a presidential candidate to raise money, but Nader says the rallies are the best way to show how serious he is.

“We have to demonstrate that we can draw far greater audiences,” he said.

“We’re gonna bang our spoons until we get Ralph in the debates,” said former talk show host Phil Donahue, who spoke before Nader.


The Thistle Volume 13, Number 2: Sept./Oct., 2000.