Despite their ideological dissimilarities, Ralph Nader has some good things to say about Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, perhaps giving a new meaning to the Odd Couple sequel.
The consumer advocate/political activist, 82, who seems to be fan of both Bernie Sanders and the Green Party's Jill Stein, ran for president himself several times years ago on the Green Party ticket and as an independent.
It appears unlikely that Nader will support Hillary Clinton in the fall given that he has repeatedly criticized her for being a corporatist and a militarist and for securing the Democrat nomination only via superdelegates and favoritism from party insiders. Nader has expressed confidence that Bernie Sanders would have won the Democrat nomination absent closed primaries.
Common ground exists between Trump and Sanders to some degree in that they both oppose international trade treaties that often result in jobs going overseas and have both denounced the Wall Street and lobbyist cash flowing into Hillary Clinton's campaign (and the primary campaigns of other Republicans) as well as her vote for the Iraq War. Both have described the party nomination process as rigged.
In an interview with Pacific Standard, Nader praised Sanders and Trump, as alluded to above, for not being compromised by big money interests. "So what Trump has done, brilliantly, is to say: 'I don't need these fat cats on Wall Street. I'm spending my own money.' And that has huge resonance."Nader also praised Trump for being politically incorrect, as a counterpoint to what's going on at America's colleges with the demand for safe spaces by social justice warriors.
"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..."The New York real estate mogul's plain-speaking style is also a plus, according to Nader.
"Trump is extremely clever with the use of language. Short sentences, no prepositional phrases, immediately understood. And he is a father figure...And when he stumbles, he reverses...There's a certain skill in that."A former Democrat and independent himself, Trump is hardly a traditional conservative, which as a byproduct has prompted the #NeverTrump movement among former Ted Cruz supporters, but that's something that Nader presumably appreciates.
"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..."Last month, Ralph Nader was far less enthusiastic about the controversial ex-Celebrity Apprentice star, U.S. News reported.
"The liberal activist says Trump has brought some important issues to the fore. 'He's questioned the trade agreements. He's done some challenging of Wall Street -- I don't know how authentic that is. He said he's against the carried interest racket, for hedge funds. He's funded himself and therefore attacked special interest money, which is very important...But he's lowered the level of political debate to unheard-of depths of salacious, slanderous and vacuousness, garnished with massive self-boosterism and repetition."Although profound disagreement still exists between Democrats and Republicans over the proper role and scope of government, Nader contends that there is now a budding left-right alliance against what many call crony capitalism/corporate welfare, a premise which happens to be the subject of his recent book.
"And though he has heaps of praise for Bernie Sanders, Nader still won't say whom he voted for in the 2016 primary or which candidate he plans to cast a ballot for come November. He'd actually prefer there was an option for 'none of the above,'" U.S. News added.
Ralph Nader has disparaged both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the U.S. intervention in Libya. He has previously called for the impeachment of President Obama for bombing Libya (which has subsequently devolved into a terrorist enclave controlled by ISIS) without a declaration of war from Congress. He has also insisted that, with regard to the drone attacks in particular, Obama should be held accountable for war crimes and that he is "more aggressive, more illegal worldwide" than George W. Bush.
Nader has further claimed that as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was "almost singlehandedly" in favor of the Libyan intervention which was initially opposed by the U.S. military and which overthrew dictator Muammar Gaddafi. This is essentially the same view shared by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Elsewhere in the Pacific Standard interview, Ralph Nader among other things slammed social media for "destroying the brains" of millennials and claimed that the Black Lives Matter movement lacks staying power.
Some have accused Ralph Nader's Green Party campaign of helping elect George W. Bush president in November 2000. In a recent Los Angeles Times op-ed, Nader lauded the historical role of third-party or independent candidacies as being responsible for ending slavery and giving women voting rights rather than functioning as spoilers.
[Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/AP]