Who better than Ralph Nader to give electoral advice that ends up making progressives victorious?
Nader told POLITICO on Wednesday that he is working on bringing together about half a dozen presidential candidates who could “dramatically expand a robust discussion within the Democratic Party and among progressive voters across the country.” Each would focus on a specific issue where the far left says Obama hasn’t done enough, including the environment, labor and health care.
Nader, who has run for president five times as an independent or third party candidate — including his 2000 run on the Green ticket, which some Democrats say cost Al Gore the election — said that for next year, he believes an ideologically based, multi-candidate primary challenge would be the best way to pull Obama to the left ahead of the second term he believes Republicans will not be able to stop.
In an op-ed published Wednesday morning by Bloomberg News, Nader laid out the argument that Obama will be re-elected due to weakness and confusion in the Republican field and because he’s kowtowed to corporations and others who can help him win a second term. “Obama is averse to conflict with corporate power and disarmingly expedient in compromising with Republicans, leaving the latter to argue largely among themselves,” he wrote.
Obama is “really in a very, very powerful position” to win re-election, Nader told POLITICO, and the slate of candidates wouldn’t be meant to give Obama a serious challenge for the Democratic nomination, but instead to “structurally pull him in the opposite direction” than he’s taken since his 2008 campaign.
If there was a group of people from the president’s own party geared up to debate him in Iowa and New Hampshire, “it is harder for him to say no,” Nader said. “His strategists can say, ‘Don’t fight it, Barack; use it, revel in it; you’re good on your feet.’ ” (link original)
Yes, Democrats, that’s what Obama needs: primary challengers next year who pull him farther to the left ahead of the general election. After all, why should Republicans enjoy a monopoly on fractiousness “robust discussion”?
– By Kyle Wingfield