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Ralph Nader (; born February 27, 1934) is an American political activist, author, lecturer, and attorney, noted for his involvement in consumer protection, environmentalism and government reform causes. The son of Lebanese immigrants to the United States, Nader was educated at Princeton and Harvard and first came to prominence in 1965 with the publication of the bestselling book Unsafe at Any Speed, a critique of the safety record of American automobile manufacturers that became known as one of the most important journalistic pieces of the 20th century. Following the publication of Unsafe at Any Speed, Nader led a group of volunteer law students—dubbed “Nader’s Raiders”—in a groundbreaking investigation of the Federal Trade Commission, leading directly to that agency’s overhaul and reform. In the 1970s, Nader leveraged his growing popularity to establish a number of advocacy and watchdog groups including the Public Interest Research Group, the Center for Auto Safety, and Public Citizen.
Nader’s activism has been directly credited with the passage of several landmark pieces of American consumer protection legislation including the Clean Water Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Consumer Product Safety Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. He has been repeatedly named to lists of the “100 Most Influential Americans”, including those published by Life Magazine, Time Magazine, and The Atlantic, among others.
He ran for President of the United States on several occasions as an independent and third party candidate, using the campaigns to highlight under-reported issues and a perceived need for electoral reform. His 2000 candidacy stirred controversy, with several studies suggesting that Nader’s candidacy helped Republican George W. Bush win a close election against Democrat Al Gore. During the election, Nader had stated that he preferred Bush to win over Gore.
A two-time Nieman Fellow, Nader is the author or co-author of more than two dozen books, and was the subject of a documentary film on his life and work, An Unreasonable Man, which debuted at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.