Today In History: Ralph Nader Born
Today is Ralph Nader’s 84th birthday. Nader is a prominent figure in the American Left, known for his consumer and environmental advocacy work and for his controversial 2000 presidential run.
Nader was born to Lebanese immigrants in Winsted, Connecticut. As a boy, he helped in his father’s restaurant and worked as a delivery boy for the Register Citizen, the local paper. As a young man, he attended Princeton and Harvard.
The publication of Unsafe at Any Speed, his 1965 book indicting the American automobile industry for safety oversights, saw Nader’s entry into public prominence. He then went on to investigate the Federal Trade Commission with a collection of law students nicknamed “Nader’s Raiders.” The effort eventually yielded significant reforms in the FTC. Nader, riding a wave of notoriety, then founded the Public Interest Research Group, Public Citizen and the Center for Auto Safety.
Nader’s name is synonymous with public advocacy. His work has led to the passage of the Clean Water Act, the Consumer Product Safety Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act.
He is perhaps best known for his multiple presidential runs, especially in the 2000 election. Nader, who ran as a Green Party candidate, was scapegoated for Gore’s loss to George W. Bush.
Nader has authored and co-authored 39 books. A 2006 documentary titled An Unreasonable Man was made about his life and political influence.