Ralph Nader Offers Urgent Appeal After Years of Opposition: Vote for Democrats

Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon / Salon
Ralph Nader Offers Urgent Appeal After Years of Opposition: Vote for Democrats Ralph Nader offers urgent appeal after years of opposition: Vote for Democrats. (photo: Earl Gibson III/Getty)

For decades an independent and third-party candidate, Ralph Nader sends a message: This year is different

When Ralph Nader appeared on "Democracy Now!" last week, a key moment came as he responded to the final question from host Amy Goodman: "You have campaigned as an independent and a Green throughout your political life. You ran for president four times. Why now throw in your lot with the Democrats?"

"Well, this is clearly the most dangerous political movement since the Civil War — the GOP under the corporate fascist Trump's thumb," Nader replied. "He spread a whole breed of many Trumpsters who are getting far too much publicity compared to their opponents. Everything we fought for, Amy, for over 50 years, is at stake here. They're ready to do everything but tear seatbelts out of cars. They want to let Wall Street lie, cheat and steal with impunity. They want to make sure the corporate crime wave continues to roll across America against workers and consumers and the elderly and children."

Nader added: "So this is an order of magnitude we have never seen before."

In the week ahead, the crucial question is whether the Republican Party will be successful in capturing Congress. A Republican takeover of the House and Senate would be a huge step forward for fascistic politics.

Nader summarized the Republican threat to democracy: "We have never seen a party literally trying to repress the vote, miscount the vote, purge the vote, intimidate precinct worker volunteers and steal elections. They have actually basically said, 'Any election we lose is because it has been stolen from us.' That is the word of a dictatorship party."

That interview with Nader, reaching many thousands of progressive voters around the United States, could have an impact on numerous tight races. The battle for control of the Senate, most notably, is down to the wire in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Candor requires acknowledging that Democratic candidates for Congress are mostly an uninspiring lot, from progressive vantage points. At the same time, they represent the only means available right now to halt the march of Republican demagogues into congressional control.

Ralph Nader's influence among some progressive voters could tip the balance. In some contests, the margins of victory could be just a few votes per precinct.

Disappointing — and sometimes infuriating — as the current Congress has been, the absence of Republican control has made possible the enactment of some very valuable legislation. Any such progress would come to a screeching halt if Republicans run Congress, as Nader pointed out while calling for voters to "compare and contrast life under the authoritarian bigoted corporate-indentured GOP with life under the Democrats."

For example, Nader said, at least "20 or 25 million people will get a raise to $15 minimum wage under the Democrats. The GOP is against that. The assault on children by the GOP is absolutely stunning, from not using available Medicaid funds to insure them, to exposing them to hazardous pesticides and denying paid family leave and sick leave. The GOP is against that. The $300 a month child tax credit to 58 million children in our country, cutting child poverty by a third, was suspended because of GOP opposition in January."

Nader was crystal clear: "Your choice in 2022, compare the Democrats and GOP, and the GOP is against every one of these, whether it's minimum wage, strengthening gun safety laws, taxing the wealthiest firms and the super-rich, guaranteeing freedom and equality for women, ending the dark money in campaigns, providing Medicare for all, raising frozen Social Security benefits, restoring voter rights, funding child care and sick leave, fighting climate violence with renewable energy, reducing skyrocketing drug prices and increasing funding to prosecute corporate crooks. All of those are opposed by the GOP."

There are profound differences between the two major parties. Ralph Nader is offering crucial wisdom at this historic moment.

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