Ralph Nader is Upbeat

In the September/October issue of the Washington Monthly, Timothy Noah sits down with Ralph Nader to discuss Nader’s new book Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State. As you can surmise from the book’s title, Nader is bullish on the electorate’s ability to roll back the degree of corporate power we see in contemporary America. Specifically, Nader believes we will soon pass a national hike in the minimum wage and break up the big banks, and he predicts that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will go down to defeat.

Nader also offers a strong defense of the U.S. Postal Service and supports the continuation of Saturday delivery of the mail.

The basic idea behind the book is that liberals and conservatives agree with each other a lot more than they may realize. Whether it is opposition to fighting undeclared wars, Wall Street crimes that go unpunished, or franchisees and their minimum wage workers who are getting screwed by the system, there are a host of areas where people can and should transcend the political divide and get things done.

I am optimistic person by nature, by I have almost zero confidence that Congress can transcend anything, now or in the near future. I’d like to believe that Nader’s optimism is well-founded, but I see no signs of the Republicans responding to popular opinion. The fact that they have behaved so atrociously during Obama’s presidency, and particularly in light of his strong reelection, and are still on course to make gains in the upcoming election tells me that there are no repercussions for bad behavior in Washington. The only popular opinion that matters is the opinion of people who actually vote. Only a little over a third of country is even having Senate elections the Senate’s seats are up for grabs this year. What people want and what they are going to get are two completely different things.

Still, it’s good to see Ralph Nader feeling upbeat for a change. Maybe he’s right.

Check out the whole interview here.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.