The liberal activist Ralph Nader still remembers nearly the exact words Joe Biden used to banish him from the U.S. Senate 23 years ago, after Nader’s Green Party presidential bid in 2000 won 97,000 votes in Florida.
“Ralph Nader is not going to be welcome anywhere near the corridors,” then-senator Biden had declared, blaming the consumer advocate for Democrat Al Gore’s defeat to Republican George W. Bush.
So began Nader’s long exile from Democratic Capitol Hill hideaways, where Nader had once been feted as a conquering policy genius. Nader, a spry 89-year-old who works remotely because of covid concerns, still resents the slight. But if you ask him these days about Biden’s reelection fight in 2024, he does not respond with his old gibes about Republicans and Democrats being nothing more than “Tweedledum and Tweedledee.”
“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.”
Former president Donald Trump is, of course, the one deserving ferocious defeat in that calculation, and for the moment Nader wants everyone to know that this has become his overriding political mission.
“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.” [Continue reading…]