The Return of Nader

Ralph Nader has formed a presidential exploratory committee and is considering another run for the White House. He says, quite rightly, that Clinton and Obama have failed "to advance aggressive plans to tax corporations more fairly, and to fight for a vastly higher minimum wage," and wonders "who's going to carry the torch of democratic populism against the relentless domination of powerful corporations of our government" now that both Edwards and Kucinich are out of the race.

Nader also rejects the "spoiler" label many Democrats have applied to him since 2000, when his candidacy was blamed in some circles for helping defeat Democratic candidate Al Gore.

"That is the sign of political bigotry," he said. "Why aren't the major candidates spoilers? They represent parties that spoil our electoral system and our government."
You know, it's a good point. And I'd have a lot more respect for him if he made a concerted effort to make this point—and endeavored to either galvanize a vibrant third party or progressivize the Democratic party—in between elections, instead of popping up once every four years to indulge a vanity campaign.

Why isn't Ralph Nader doing for electoral reform what Al Gore is doing for the environment? He lacks focus. It's one non-profit start-up after the other, instead of a slow and steady campaign. I get the impression that Nader has been impatient with the failure of America to change overnight for many, many years—and if only he'd been boringly, unceremoniously slogging it out all those years, like Gore and his 30-year-crusade, America would be different. But, alas, he does not seem to be a man who is satisfied with incremental progress, so still he guns for a lightning strike that will never come.

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