Ralph Nader as Seen by Gore Vidal

In 1971, Gore Vidal wrote the cover story for the June issue of Esquire magazine, which announced: “Ralph Nader can be the next President of the United States.” In the article, Vidal fantasizes and proposes an independent run for the presidency by Ralph Nader in the 1972 election. At the time Vidal, who was co-chair of the New Party – an early (in contemporary history) experiment in independent politics – saw Nader as a “figure around whom those disgusted with traditional politics can rally, a point of hope, a new beginning in our tangled affairs.” Nader did not answer Vidal’s clarion call in 1971, though I suspect that today he may wish he had. A lot of Americans would gladly summon back the days when our affairs were merely tangled – not mangled, as they have so disturbingly become.