Monday, June 30, 2008
Conversations on Ralph Nader's Misbegotten Run for the Presidency
I voted for Ralph Nader in 2004. I'm an independent, I didn't like the direction that the country was going in, and the Democratic Party leadership seemed intent on supporting the war in Iraq no matter what their membership thought.
And it did seem that Nader was beginning to build a coalition between progressive independents and the black community (at least he did speak in Harlem at the invitation of Lenora Fulani). Half of his national vote came from New York City. He never even called to say thanks.
Ralph Nader talks tough (and he's right about the structural issues of power in this country). But the fact is, he can't back up his rhetoric. He hasn't built a serious base. He hasn't reached out to voters. He hasn't built any coalitions that are working on election reform that would increase the chances of ordinary people having a voice in this country.
And now he's criticized Barack Obama for trying to "talk white".
I think Nader has spent too much time trying to "talk left", and not enough time building organization. Nader's "lack of trust or faith that anyone else is capable of doing the right thing" is poking out and it's not very pretty.