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Is Sanders the next Ralph Nader?


I have been carrying on a dialog with some Facebook “friends” about this question.  Many of my FB “friends” are pro-Bernie including one of my sons.   I thought I would take the opportunity to state clearly my position and concerns.

Bernie, the man versus Bernie’s ideas

Bernie’s fans want big change.  So do I.  We have a dysfunctional government that is not dealing with the significant problems facing the USA such as a decaying infrastructure, massive financial inequality, climate change,  a broken healthcare system, too much money in politics,  terrorism, aging population, automation, racial divides, and drugs just to name a few.

Yes, I too long for massive change.  I support many of Bernie’s objectives although not his tactics and nor him.  I don’t like the guy much either.

Big Money in Politics

Bernie is against big money in politics.  Well, the person most responsible for this is Ralph Nader.  Nader had no chance to become President, but that did not keep him from running to as a third party candidate to the left of Gore.  The result was President Bush, who then appointed Roberts to the Supreme Court and along came Citizen’s United. 

Bernie has no chance to win, but he is damaging Hilary

Bernie is running against Hilary even though he has no real chance of winning.  All he is doing is weakening her as a general election candidate and causing her to waste precious time and money on a Primary when she should be able to focus on the general election. 

It is clear to me the Bernie is the same kind of egotist as Nader.  If I had any doubt, Bernie’s very expensive trip to the Vatican resolved that question. 

Some of the Bernie folks just want to blow things up

I have a feeling that some of the Bernie fans don’t mind a demagog like Trump winning.  They think it will lead to some popular uprising.  Well, folks, it is the other side that has the guns.  This is just crazy thinking.

The key is down-ticket

If we want to change, the left has to take back the Senate and hopefully the House.  Hilary knows that is and working to make this happen.  She is raising money for down-ticket candidates.  Sander’s is spending his money on trips to Rome. 

Don’t care much for Hil

lary

She is not my favorite person.  I voted for Obama in the 2008 primary although I now think I made a mistake because he screw things up so badly in his first two years that we got a Republican House and then eventually a Republican Senate.

So sadly, she is the only thing between us and  President Trump.  Yes, I know that the Bernie people think their candidate has a better chance against Trump because of some polls.  Well, that is just because people don’t know much about Bernie.  That wouldn’t  be true after Trump got finished with him. 

14 thoughts on “Is Sanders the next Ralph Nader?

  1. Excellent assessment of the situation. For all intents and purposes, Bernie has been eliminated from the race. It’s time for him to show some class and throw his support behind Hillary and the rest of the Democrats running for Congress. He should use this opportunity to get the young people engaged in the process on a permanent basis rather than crawling back into their cocoons till the next populist comes along.

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  2. Excellent! Also, I agree with philkramer comment – It’s time Burnie should stop wasting people’s money. I do not agree with some of his ideas at all: “free college for all” – I would rather spend resources on pre-college education or community college. I also do not agree about the new class-war on Wall Street individuals (though, inequality IS a problem). It is time for Burnie to contribute back to the organization that is closest to his ideas.

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  3. Agree. The comparison that youth ignores is Sanders with McGovern. They overestimate their liberal coverage, when it is only a thin band along the coastlines.

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    • Bernie fed the social media echo chamber as well as the extremist views that exist in primary voting just like Trump. He’s been in Congress for 25 years and still doesn’t have his name on a major bill nor any important accomplishments other than screaming. It is good that he serves as a conscience of the party, but he is not a viable candidate. I think other serious Democrats were scared off by the Clinton machine (note Terry Mcauliffe’s allowing all former felons in Virginia being allowed to vote as of today through an Executive Order).
      Now we need Hillary to destroy Trump in the debates as he deserves.

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  4. What is wrong with populists? “Yes we can” is the most populist slogan I have heard in years.I prefer a populist over a crooked Hillary or lazy Bernie who is damaging Israel’s image among the youths with his stupid and wrong inflation of Falestinian death.

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  5. I don’t believe Sanders will play the spoiler like Ralph.

    But what I might like your view on is why many Jews are decidedly unenthusiastic about Sanders. One would think that we should embrace a Jewish POTUS possibility. But I think many fear the barage of anti-Semitic attacks that Sen Sanders would be subject to from the Trumped GOP. I, at least, fear becoming low-hanging fruit for a lost cause, when Sec Clinton is so thoroughly experienced, and likely well-equipped to handle all the GOP has left.

    Best, sj

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    • I do not believe that Sanders would be a third party candidate. What I am saying is that he is weakening the chances of a Democratic President (Hillary) being elected for no apparent reason other than his own ego. He knows he will not win the nomination. This ego was clearly on display when he flew to Rome.

      American Jews are no single issue voters. All things equal, I am sure most would love the idea on one hand of a Jew as president but also be concerned about how this would increase antisemitism. Just look at the hate directed at Obama. Much of this is because he is black, I think.

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  6. I agree with a few things you said but strongly disagree with others.

    For one thing, I think it’s unfair and inaccurate to say that Ralph Nader is the person most responsible for big money in politics. Gore received more than 500,000 more votes in the popular election than Bush. Blame the electoral college. Blame the Supreme Court at the time for handing Bush Florida. And then to draw a straight line from Nader > Bush > Roberts > Citizens’ United > big money in politics is really over-simplistic and reductionist.

    Secondly, what’s all this talk of Sanders having no chance to win? I assume the people who make that claim do so based on pledged Superdelegates. But anyone who believes in democracy should be outraged by the Superdelegate system.

    You infer that Sanders is only running now because of ego and that all he’s accomplishing is to weaken her for the general election. Have you considered that 1) he has said he would support her if she wins the nomination and 2) that the primary contest is his best and possibly only chance of pushing Clinton towards more progressive positions? Isn’t that a wise strategy if you are trying to push the country in what you believe is the right direction?

    Why do assume that Democratic Party-approved down vote candidates are the only way get “change”? The Democratic Party has not shown itself to be particularly progressive or agitating for substantive change. The two parties have been locked into a status quo political system for decades now, or had been until the Republican Party began to fracture as a result of the Tea Party. I agree with you that real change will come from below, but I also think that this real change won’t come easily because of the inertia and comfortable collusion of both parties’ incumbency.

    Lastly, I agree that spending over $1M to go to the Vatican was a dumb strategy for Sanders and possibly a waste of money. But can we please put this into context with some of the questionable financial decisions of the Clintons, the Clinton Foundation, Clinton’s campaign, and her Super-Pacs? For example: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/apr/25/delaware-tax-loophole-1209-north-orange-trump-clinton.

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    • I believe that Nader is responsible for electing Bush. We do not have an electoral system that involves the popular vote although I wish we did. Every state decides and it is possible for someone to win that lost the popular vote. Nader knew that when he decided to run without any chance of winning but with a potential chance of begin a spoiler. I think that is the height of ego and the result was things like the Iraqi war. Yes, the Supreme Court played a roll but only because they were given the opportunity by Nader. And this points out how important it is that we elect a Democrat for President.

      I do believe that Sanders will support Clinton and I believe that Clinton would support Sanders. I do not and have not said that Sanders would start a third party movement. But in the meantime, he is weakening her chances of become president without a chance that it will matter. He will not get the nomination. And I don’t trust what politicians say during the election so if she appears to move left to get the nomination it does not mean she will stay left during the general or if she wins. I know this is cynical but it is the way things work. So all he is doing now is working to have a potential President Trump.

      I think there are many ways to get change and I doubt that much will come from the current political system. But for sure there are important changes that do come out of this. The President and Congress and the Supreme Court do matter.

      You want to take money out of politics. I am all for that. It was Ralph Nader that got us George Bush and George Bush that got us a Roberts and from their we got Citizen’s United. Please think about this carefully. I would guess there will be two new Supreme Court Justices chosen by the next president. We can’t take a chance that it is Trump.

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      • I really think that blaming Nader is reductionist thinking. I’m surprised that you’re sticking with putting blame on Bush > Iraq > Citizens United on him. The system is broken. Rather than blaming Nader or Sanders — who, if your logic is sound, are peripheral players — for the evils that arise from that system is blaming symptoms rather than causes. Especially when those are two of the very few people within the system who are naming and standing against its corruption.

        And I really don’t think that Sanders is doing any lasting damage to Clinton, certainly not that would tip the general election to Trump. So she’s spending money that she’d prefer to save? There’s more where that came from, especially if the Koch Brothers back her (http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/24/politics/charles-koch-hillary-clinton-2016/). And if you look at polls of millennials, who are Sanders’ biggest supporters, there is not evidence that they are being dissuaded from voting for Clinton as a result of his campaign. In fact, the contrary: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-most-important-poll-you-didn-t-see.

        But even still, there are many, many forces at play here. Picking one — Nader or Sanders — as THE cause is just too simplistic. And I’m a little surprised by your vehemence towards Sanders for staying in the race. Maybe the anger you feel towards him is based on an understandable fear of a Trump presidency and you have locked into backing Clinton fully in order to avoid it at all costs? (BTW, a Cruz presidency would arguably be worse.) Or maybe you are angry/dismayed at his position on Israel?

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  7. Asher, I am going to have to write a new post called “Debating with your son in public.” Here are my comments to your comment:

    I don’t agree with you on Nader. He was an egotist that created many of the problems that you are concerned with for no reason other than his glory. I blame him because he was responsible for electing Brush.

    The system is broken but did he fix it?

    Sanders may not be doing lasting damage to Clinton. I certainly hope not but it is possible that he will damage her and with a crazy man, Trump, running for President, I would not want to take a change.

    I doubt that the Koch brothers will be given Hillary any support but saying they might is a good strategy for weakening her position. Don’t play into it.

    I am not angry at Sanders. He has good values but has not been very effective. I am not angry, Asher. I am scared. Please try to understand the difference. Think about a Supreme Court six of nine members being appointed by Republican presidents.

    While I think that Sanders does not understand the middle east and in particular the Israeli situation it has zero impact on my thinking regarding the election. Israel can take care of itself. I actually can agree to many things Sanders says, but it is too bad that he attacks Israel and not say anything much about the corrupt Palestinian Government. He attacks Wall Street but does not seem to mind Palestinian corruptions. But actually, I think he is ignorant about this and so much more. Please do not only look at the things you agree with. Take in the whole picture.

    If we want to get better, we have to start with winning back Congress and the executive branch. I wish we could jump over all this, but I don’t see a way to do that. Bernie is not going to win as much as you may wish that he would. If he is not going to win then, we must make sure that Hillary wins or welcome to President Trump.

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