In 2000, Ralph Nader brought the Green Party its best presidential election ever — 2.7 percent of the nationwide vote. He also brought the Greens a lot of problems, after many Democrats alleged he cost Al Gore Florida and New Hampshire and thus the presidency. "For a couple of years after that, there were certainly a lot of negative feelings," says Gloria Mattera, co-chair of the New York Green Party. But now that Nader has announced yet another presidential run — so far, without any party affiliation — New York's top Greens are happy to see him back. "He's a great presidential candidate," Mattera says. "I say, 'More voices, more choices.'" Mattera and her co-chair, Peter LaVenia, don't buy the Nader-screwed-up-the-country argument. "I feel like in some ways the Democrats are the biggest obstacles to change in this country," he says. "The Republicans are honest in what they stand for." LaVenia still admires Nader. "A lot of people say he’s egotistical, but I think running for office at 74 is not something your ego would tell you to do," he says. "I think he’s doing it because he has a sense of commitment to American democracy and doesn’t believe the two main parties are upholding their end of the bargain." —Jennifer Chen
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