Ralph Nader on women’s issues

Ralph Nader on women’s issues © Jacquelyn Martin/AP/SIPA
Deemed by some as the quintessential spoiler of the 2000 election, Ralph Nader nevertheless successfully positioned himself as an alternative to both Republican Texas Governor George W. Bush and Democratic Vice President Al Gore.

Ralph Nader on women’s issues

As candidate for the Green Party, Nader railed against both the Democrats and Republicans as corporatist parties incapable of defying special interests and getting anything of substance done in Washington.
On women’s issues, he was left of the Democratic candidate,, Vice President Al Gore.
For example, while Gore supported universal healthcare, he shied away from endorsing government-administered national healthcare.
This was in large part due to the debacle of “Hillary-care” in the 1990s, when the Clinton Administration charged First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton with the unenviable task of developing a plan for universal healthcare.
Her plan became the flashpoint for conservative rallying cries against Big Government, and in the 2000 election Gore tried his best to distance himself from that legacy, lest he be dragged down with it at the polls in November.
Nader actually thought that the Clinton healthcare plan did not go far enough, and argued for a 3.5% payroll tax to fund a “cradle to the grave” universal healthcare plan reminiscent of that offered by Canada.
Nader also hit Gore on concessions to conservatives, such as his support for the nomination of Antonin Scalia to the U.S. Supreme Court, and his much-delayed endorsement of the emergency contraceptive RU-486 in the United States.
Another point of contention between Ralph Nader and Gore was the Vice President’s vote for the Hyde Amendment, which banned federally funded abortions, a ban which had a disproportionately punitive effect on low-income women who depended on Medicaid-funded abortions.
One could argue that some of Nader’s rhetoric on women’s issues muddied the waters when it came to Governor George W. Bush and the consequences his election might have on nation.
For example, Nader argued that Roe v. Wade was safe regardless of whether or not the Republicans seized the White House.
And while technically correct in his prediction that the landmark Supreme Court case was not overturned during the following eight years of the Bush Administration, most ardent pro-choice advocates would argue that the Republicans succeeded in chipping away at the edges of a woman’s freedom to choose.

Published by editorial staff Women in Focus
10 Feb 2012
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