SocraticGadfly: Ralph Nader officially jumps in the lesser-evilism tank

September 28, 2023

Ralph Nader officially jumps in the lesser-evilism tank

Via Independent Political Report, I did not have Ralph Nader openly plumping for the lesser evilism of the right hand of the duopoly. That's even though, given his broad political history (see below) this really is not shocking.

But, here he is, in the Washington Post, doing exactly just that.

A few highlights?

Followed by analysis on a couple of them?

He accepts the duopoly:

“We are stuck with Biden now,” Nader says in his cantankerous way. “In a two-party duopoly, if one should be defeated ferociously, the logic is that the other one prevails.”

So, it's work for Biden:

“I know the difference between fascism and autocracy, and I’ll take autocracy any time,” Nader said in a recent telephone interview. “Fascism is what the GOP is the architecture of, and autocracy is what the Democrats are practitioners of. But autocracy leaves an opening. They don’t suppress votes. They don’t suppress free speech.”

And work more for Biden:

For months, he has been calling and snail-mailing elected officials and operatives his thoughts about how the party must improve its sales pitches. He produced a 10-point plan for improving the party’s messaging and campaign tactics last year, calling for harder punches at the GOP and more liberal policy solutions.

And, there you go.

As for the reality?


First, when I saw this as the header for the Independent Political Report piece?

I was thinking, great! Nader's going to call Trump an autocrat, not a fascist. And, I was soon disillusioned.

Nader knows that Dems as well as Rethugs suppress third-party votes and third-party ballot access.

Update: Per Nader's semi-diss of Peter Daou, Daou talks with the New Yorker about his #DemExit.

This, in the Q and A interview, is the nut graf, and the refutation of Nader, about halfway down.

As recently as 2020, you were opposed to a third-party candidate because of the urgent need to beat Donald Trump. What changed between early 2020 and now?
Yeah, it’s a very fundamental change in perspective. It’s almost like I took a different set of glasses or lenses and I put them on, and that lens is the systemic lens. During the years I worked as a Democrat, I bought into the general thinking that Democrats are better and therefore we need Democrats to stop the fascist domination of Republicans. If you go back ten, twenty, thirty, forty years, it’s the same argument: Oh, my God, if you let them get elected, the world’s going to end. This is a very standard duopoly technique.

Read the full thing. 

Daou finds his Chomsky (sans Chomsky still being a sheepdogger) and says both Trump and Biden could be impeached for Mexican border issues and other things.

And, the lawsuit over President Biden and social media? They try to "nudge" speech on social media. No, that's not book bans, but it's not totally innocent. I don't totally support the lawsuit, but I see where it comes from.

Ralph also also knows that Republicans never bitch about Libertarians the way Democrats bitch about Greens. (It's interesting that the LP doesn't even get the time of day from him, not even with .... see below.)



Nader goes on to say that current Democratic challenger to President Joe Biden, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., has a better take against corporate power than Biden, but then "he has this bizarre tick on vaccines and Ashkenazi Jews." He doesn't mention RFK Jr.'s flirtation with the LP.

On Cornel West? This:

“Cornel West has the most complete progressive agenda. It almost doesn’t have any progressive aberrations,” Nader said. “The problem is that the Greens are not that organized. It is hardly a secret. And you can’t run a presidential campaign if you don’t have local candidates and some kind of organization round the country.”

Well, contra Jeff St. Clair, re the 2004 Green Party national convention and run-up to it? While David Cobb and other AccommoGreens may have been 2/3 the problem, I still see Saint Ralph of Nader as 1/3 of the problem on organization and related issues.

And weirdly, this:

He remains offended by the accusation that he cost Democrats the 2000 election in Florida. He similarly scoffs at the claims that Green Party candidate Jill Stein hurt Hillary Clinton in 2016.

OK. Maybe Nader feels the turning of the page of the calendar, knows he's aging out, and wants one last shot at relevance. And, he's not going to get it. The phone calls will remain unreturned and the Rolodex will keep spinning like a hamster wheel.

One final shot against St. Ralph of Nader's claims that Trump is a fascist. Dear Leader had his original attorney general, Eric Holder, spy on the Associated Press. Did Trump ever do that?


That said, for people think this is a one-off by St. Ralph of Nader? Think again.

In 2005, he jumped up along with Randall Terry (THAT Randall Terry) and demanded that Terri Schiavo be reintubated.

In 2011, the Nader who claimed Greens were too soft mulled primarying Obama as a Democrat.

And, going back to 2000, in his presidential run, we had Nader the candidate who owned oil and defense stocks (and I think tobacco ones). Yes, it was via mutual funds, but "ethical" mutual funds existed back then. (They certainly existed in 2012 and 2016, Jill Stein, who owned all three evils.) Maybe they have a slightly lower rate of return, but? "Purer than Caesar's wife" applies here in spades.

But let's go back to his more limited 1996 run. That, reportedly, was done the way it was to avoid Federal Election Commission filings. Shock me.

Finally, we have Nader as boss, described by former employee Kurt Eichenwald as being a pretty big hypocrite and an ax-grinder at times. And, he's not the only former employee to talk about Nader's reality not matching the myth. That would include three editors of his, made "former" by him firing them, which they said was him busting their attempt to unionize. One of those was Tim Shorrock. 

Shorrock, who earned $13,000 a year, said he and the other editors had long complained about 60- to 80-hour work weeks, publication pressures, working conditions, and lack of grievance procedures. Nader's response to complaints, Shorrock said, was: "You shouldn't think of this as a job," but rather as a higher calling of serving the public interest.

Oh, that was before his first prez run, as I think was Eichenwald's employment time.

Let's also not forget that the labor-hating Work for Progress sprung out of the Nader-inspired Public Interest Research Group movement, which per its Wiki page has had other issues.

So, as for this tweet, 

sent in response to said person's earlier tweet 

and me tagging him with a Twitter thread?

Nader, like St. Bernard of Sanders, has his fanbois. I'm not one, in either case. And, as I open-Tweeted, not tagging that person, because I hadn't looked at that 10 percent high bar before.

Nader his own self didn't hit 3 percent in 2000 and you're saying the bar for Cornel is 10 percent? Worse, this guy is clearly outside the duopoly. Except for St. Ralph, I guess.

Also, which I forgot, until Counterpunch reminded me, under Nader's tagline on his stories? This is the same Ralph who wrote the laugher, "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us."

To take it back to this election? Nader (who never really addressed foreign policy issues in 2000, and probably not in 1996), has chosen to throw himself in with warmongers like David Corn.

Otherwise? Nader very much likes to row his own oar. I think the idea of being the Democratic Party's savior is something that's definitely floating his boat right now.

If not that, it's a legacy issue. Maybe the claim that he gave the 2000 election to Shrub Bush still stings, even though intellectually he knows it's not true. So, he's trying to be Warmonger Joe's savior even as he knows the calls not being returned right now won't be returned over the next 13 months, either.

For that matter, contra Jeff St. Clair's buzziness about St. Ralph of Nader, which in 2004 was partially but not entirely true re the national GP convention, where was Ralph doing more heavy lifting on national party organization that might trickle down better? And, also as noted by me, Ralph pledged to run a "safe states" strategy in 2000 — and of course didn't. Maybe some Greens were gun-shy?


It's interesting, that as of the morning of posting this, Nader, who has a byline at Counterpunch, has said nothing there. (His most recent piece was Sept. 22, so he's not a stranger there.) And, editor Jeff St. Clair hasn't written, either. And, didn't have a thing on his Roaming Reports this Friday, Sept. 29.

Nader writes something there about once a week.

And, St. Ralph dropped a new piece Oct. 2. He talks about retired Gen. Mark Milley broaching a call for negotiations in Ukraine, but doesn't mention Warmonger Joe by name in needing to take the lead on that. He talks about the banksters, but doesn't tell Inflationmonger Joe by name to stop taking their money. It's all a vague "out there," semi-platitudinous piece.

1 comment:

James Belcher said...

He's operating out of fear, which doesn't suit him. And attempting to get back in good with Democrats is quixotic.