Ralph Nader, the legendary consumer rights activist and former Green Party US presidential candidate, has urged Democrats to “crush the Republican Party in 2022”.
Nader believes that the authoritarianism embraced by the Republican Party poses an existential challenge to American democracy and that the November midterm elections are key to defeating this rising tide of fascism.
Speaking to Democracy Now! this week, Ralph Nader said: “This Republican Party dominated by a fascist businessman like Trump is clearly the most dangerous political movement since the days of our civil war. Trump has spawned a whole line of mini-Trumps who are getting far more media attention than his opponents. Everything we have fought for more than 50 years is at risk [right now].”
Ralph Nader, along with writer and political leader Mark Green, has launched a campaign called “Winning America”, which can be followed through the website WinningAmerica.net. Nader and Green believe that a vigorous and rapid reframing of the electoral discourse of Democratic candidates could have a dramatic positive effect on the outcome of the mid-term elections. Both leaders argue that the electorate is not as divided as it is made out to be, especially on a number of policies and programmes that most Americans support.
In an interview with Democracy Now, Nader said: “What [Democrats] have to do is reinforce their message and their rhetoric by focusing on what affects people’s lives and their jobs, how they grow their families and focus on the day-to-day concerns of the people. [Democratic candidates] have to compare and contrast what life is like under the authoritarian, intolerant, subservient model with the corporate class of the Republican Party, and what life is like under a Democratic government.
Nader continued: “For example, 20 to 25 million people would benefit from raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is a Democratic proposal. The Republican Party is against that. Also, the Republican Party’s infringement on children’s rights is astounding [and is evidenced by such things] as not using available Medicaid [programme] funds to guarantee them health insurance, exposing them to dangerous pesticides, and being against family leave and paid medical leave. The Republican Party is against all of those things. The $300-a-month child tax credit – which benefited 58 million children in our country and reduced child poverty by one-third – was suspended in January because of GOP opposition.
Mark Green stresses the need for simple, bold messaging in the time before the November elections to convince what he calls “five-second voters” – those citizens who do not follow politics on a daily basis.
Speaking to Democracy Now! Green said: “This midterm election is basically a showdown between democracy and fascism. But now, in these last two weeks [before general voting day] you have to be able to deploy strong rhetoric against the Republican Party, against the Republicans, who don’t hesitate to label the Democrats not only as socialists but also as communists and murderers. At this point, the Democrats need not be afraid to be direct and focus their campaigns on one, two or three main phrases and concepts. [The Democrats have better policies. How the hell are they losing?
Ralph Nader has an answer for Republicans who try to disqualify their opponents by calling them “socialists”:
“You Republicans are against socialism? I know why you say that. It’s because you hate Medicare. They hate the Postal Service. They hate Medicaid. They hate public water [supply] service. They hate public education. They hate Social Security. That’s why they talk about socialism. But you’re real corporate socialists. You want [the state] to bail out all corporations, whatever their size. You want to subsidise and offer all kinds of benefits and financial aid to corporations, in a clear mockery of the supposed ‘free market philosophy’ you espouse. The same goes for cutting police funding. Republicans are cutting the budget for police [who fight] corporate crime.
While key issues like protecting Social Security and Medicare are important to most voters, regardless of partisan sympathies, Donald Trump and his supporters have deployed a relentless stream of propaganda and disinformation in support of Trump’s big lie that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulently won.
The Washington Post analysed all races for federal legislative offices and state legislative and executive offices and found that, among Republican candidates, 291 uphold Donald Trump’s lie about voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. In 171 of those races, the Republican candidate is projected to win. The newspaper describes 48 other contests as “evenly matched”. In many of these races, right-wing extremists could replace Democrats in U.S. Senate seats, governorships and, perhaps most alarmingly, several of the state secretary of state positions up for grabs. It is these officials who really drive the electoral process.
Ralph Nader has never been shy about criticising the Democratic Party. Now, faced with the current landscape and fully lucid at the age of 88, Nader is urging Democrats to “crush the Republican Party” and, in support of this task, he proposes a detailed set of issues and focal points to address on the WinningAmerica.net site.
On the Republican Party, Nader concluded in the Democracy Now! interview: “What’s happening is of a magnitude never seen before. Never before have we seen a party literally try to restrict voter turnout, improperly count votes, illegitimately remove people from the voter rolls, intimidate volunteers working at the polls, and manipulate election results. In reality, they are basically saying: ‘If we lose an election contest, it is because it has been rigged’. Typical dictatorial party rhetoric.