December 22, 2004

An Interview with Ralph Nader

MC: There are many critics who feel that had Kerry embraced more Nader-type positions, he might have actually alienated more voters. They claim that the country has gone more conservative. Do you reject that?

RN: Yes, of course. This all comes from the vacuum that the Democrats have created by taking key corporate-worker-economic issues off the table like living wage, or universal health care, or crackdown on corporate crime, fraud, and abuse, or the use of middle-class tax dollars for corporate subsidies, handouts, giveaways. Once you create that vacuum, then the so-called "social issues," the issues that deal with religion, affirmative action, abortion, and immigration -- all the hot-button issues take central positions. And of course, the Republicans know how to manipulate that, and cater to people's prejudices.

But you had 47 million workers in this country who make between $5.15 minimum wage up to $10. If they knew that the Democrats and John Kerry were really serious about a living wage, I don't think they'd worry too much about some of these other issues by comparison.

... the central issue in politics is the contrast between corporate power and the power of ordinary people and who's going to prevail.

... Franklin Delano Roosevelt put it very crisply in a message to Congress in 1938, asking for an investigation of concentrated corporate power, when he said: "When our government is taken over by economic power, that's fascism."

... It's one thing opposing us even though we had the agenda they [progressives] believed in -- that's ridiculous enough -- but what's unforgivable was to lend their credibility to those lies that the Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee disseminated all over the country to cover up their own dirty tricks against our right to be on the ballot.