The Only True Leftist in America (TM) with the possible exception of Freddie deBoer looks like he has something to say:
Let’s start out with Bernie Sanders. Despite your similarity on issues, he’s running as a Democrat, rather than a third-party candidate, like you did. How do you think that’s influenced the race?
I don’t think it influenced him at all in terms of content. I think the difference is that he’s inside the Democratic Party, playing by the rules — but he’s getting frozen out by the establishment Democrats, which is remarkably similar. The Congressional Black Caucus turned against him; they turned against me. The members of Congress of the Democratic Party overwhelmingly are against him, which is pretty amazing, since he obviously represents a large segment of Democratic voters and independent voters.
1)Yes, it is very surprising that the Congressional Black Caucus has consistently opposed Ralph Nader’s efforts to throw presidential elections to the Republican Party, almost as if their constituents are more damaged by Republican administrations than rich octogenarian white guys from Connecticut or something. 2)I also don’t find it surprising that they would back Hillary Clinton, who has spent many years cultivating their support, in the Democratic primaries. 3)This is a view Nader seems to share with many of his supporters, but I’ve always found the idea that candidates who make it their primary cause to be “anti-establishment” (even when, as with Nader, the ideological differences with much of the “establishment” is narrow or non-existent) should expect the full support of the establishment ex ante to be…rather curious. “We demand an insurgency campaign that faces no resistance.” Oh.
So after it’s over I’ll make that point to them — say: “See, you didn’t want to return my calls. You didn’t want me to appear with you. You didn’t want to take any of my advice.”
So you tried to make these points to him?
Oh, yeah. I haven’t had a return call in 15 years, and I’m not the only one. He’s been a lone ranger.
Poor Bernie: he has committed what Ralph Nader has always considered the greatest sin in American politics, not returning Ralph Nader’s phone calls. It’s also hilarious to see Ralph Nader accuse Bernie Sanders of losing influence by being a lone wolf. Sanders’s actions during the ACA — fighting to make it more progressive and succeeding — as an instructive contrast to Nader’s theory that legislation that improves the status quo should be rejected until it meets his precise specifications. This helps to explain why Sanders has been a far more positive influence on the direction of the Democratic Party than Nader has had for decades.
Do you think he’s had any impact on her positions?
He’s gotten her to mimic him, in less-than-believable language, but she’s talking minimum wage; she’s saying, “I’m going to go to Wall Street and I’m going to nail them.” She’s talking that way because that’s the technique the Clintons use.
“He’s gotten her to move, but you can just tell she doesn’t mean it.” If the left of the party is never going to take “yes” for an answer, what’s the point? Why do you care so much if they return your phone calls?
The Clintons have gotten a long way on rhetoric — very clever rhetoric to African Americans, for example.
Those pesky, irrational African-Americans again, always been suckered, never understanding that their best interests lie in letting Republicans run the country until the Democratic Party comes to it senses and nominates Ralph Nader, the only remaining liberal in America.
Now that you mention it, Trump is a fascinating phenomenon. What does his popularity tell you about the electorate and what they want?
Well, and you see this when you walk past construction sites and you talk with white male workers, they feel they have been verbally repressed. It’s hard for someone your age to understand what I’m about to say. They like to stand on a corner and whistle at a pretty lady. They like to flirt. But they can’t do that anymore.
1)What planet is Nader living on that women never get harassed on the street anymore. 2)Calling harassment “flirting” is how you know that Ralph Nader is the Only True Liberal left in America.
You can’t say this about that, and you can’t say that about this. And the employer tells you to hush. And perhaps your spouse tells you to hush, and your kids tell you to hush. So they have a whole language that they inherited — ethnic words like Polack. A lot of these people grew up on ethnic jokes, which are totally taboo now. Do you know, Lydia, there are no ethnic-joke books in bookstores anymore?
There used to be?
All the time. There were Negro-joke books, Jewish-joke books, Polish-joke books, Italian-joke books. They used ethnic jokes to reduce tension in the 1930s, ’40s, ’50s. And they’d laugh at each other’s jokes and hurl another one. But it still flows through ethnic America, you know. There are hundreds of things that people would like to say.
“I yearn for the days in which people told lots of racist jokes, which affected all people of all races and ethnicities in pretty much the same way.”
But maybe Ralph is merely describing something he forcefully condemns? Nope — Trump voters in fact Have A Point:
Do you think Trump has a point about political correctness? That we’ve gotten too uptight?
Oh, yeah. You see it on campuses — what is it called, trigger warnings? It’s gotten absurd. I mean, you repress people, you engage in anger, and what you do is turn people into skins that are blistered by moonbeams. Young men now are far too sensitive because they’ve never been in a draft. They’ve never had a sergeant say, “Hit the ground and do 50 push-ups and I don’t care if there’s mud there.”
We need to TOUGHEN THIS GENERATION UP with military discipline. Maybe if we still had the draft young African-Americans would realize that “Negro joke books” are a necessary way for white people to blow off steam.
Lest you accuse him of not being au courant, though, he does offer the definitive blanket opposition to trigger warnings. He doesn’t even necessarily know what they are, but he’s against ’em! No matter what the context, warning students before presenting potentially disturbing material is wrong in principle, and the wrong is so obvious it doesn’t even really have to be explained. Which is regrettable, since I for one still don’t understand what I’m supposed to be offended about.
And the third thing is, he’s a hybrid. I call him a Rep-Dem. He’s got Social Security, Medicare, he’s probably got a hidden single-payer guy, because he’s been around Canada, Western Europe, understands how it works, talks to business people, they don’t have to pay premiums, all of that. And then he’s big on public works.
You can’t believe Hillary Clinton when she supports mainstream Democratic positions. But you sure can believe that Donald Trump secretly supports single-payer and massive public infrastructure investments. And you can bet that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell will totally pass laws putting these secret preferences into effect.
Ralph has to go now. His planet needs him.