Mt. Vernon Register-News

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February 25, 2014

Ralph Nader's list of 20 people he thinks should consider a run for president

— It's no secret that Ralph Nader has always been a big fan of the idea of third-party presidential candidates. On Monday, Nader - one of the best-known third-party candidate in recent American electoral history - released a list of 20 multi-millionaires and billionaires who he thinks should give real thought to mounting a presidential bid in 2016.

But would any of them really do it? And should they?

According to an October 2013 Gallup poll, six in 10 Americans believe a third major political party is needed - the highest level of support for a third party since the polling firm began tracking disillusionment with the two major parties. However, that sentiment has yet to transfer to the ballot box. While Gallup polling has consistently showed that roughly half of Americans support the idea of a third party, no non-major party candidate has cracked 20 percent of the national popular vote in a presidential race since Theodore Roosevelt did it in 1912.

So, who does Nader want to throw themselves into the breach? Here's our breakdown of his list.

Marc Andreessen

Why he could: An early Barack Obama backer in 2008, this venture capitalist is seen as an Internet pioneer. He invented Mosaic - the first widely-used web browser - and currently sits on the boards of Facebook, Ebay and several other major Internet companies. In 2012, he endorsed Romney, throwing more than $100,000 toward the Republican's election campaign by way of a super PAC donation.

Why he probably won't: While he's been outspoken during each of the last two presidential elections, Andreessen hasn't done anything to signal that he'd be willing to leave Silicon Valley and head to the nation's capital.

John Arnold

Why he could: This former hedge fund manager has been philanthropically active, donating hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to various causes. The Laura and John Foundation, which he co-founded with his wife, focuses primarily on criminal justice, education, and public accountability. As a hedge fund manager, Arnold's specialty was natural gas, so it's not crazy to imagine Arnold mounting a campaign built around the concepts of energy independence.

Why he probably won't: Last year, during the government shut down, Arnold and his wife gave $10 million to keep Head Start programs for low income children running while government funds were cut off. Were he looking to segue into the political realm, this would have been the perfect opportunity. Instead, Arnold dodged the spotlight for his major gift.

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