Politics Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader: The Makings of an Election-Day Disaster

[Hadley Paul Garland / CC BY-SA 2.0]

By Ralph Nader

Voter grumbling, rage and cynicism is rampant heading into the mid-term elections on November 8th. Add the flattering, flummoxing and fooling of voters by many corporatist politicians to the mix and we have the makings of an election-day disaster.

Set the above aside and reflect on the unused citizen power, given wholesale, to 535 members of Congress. Our sovereign power starts with the preamble to our U.S. Constitution – that is “We the People.” Not “We the Congress.” Not “We the Corporations.” As a Republic, we then delegate power to Congress to define, enable and fund the activities of the Executive and Judicial branches.

If you don’t like what your Senators and Representatives are doing, elections are supposed to give you a chance to say “Stop, Go, Listen or Leave.” The problem is that the monied interests corrupt our elections, from pressing their own choice of candidates, financing them, directing them and backing them with nonstop television/radio/social media propaganda, and using front groups to promote lies and coverups.

Year after year, this assault has ground most voters into – Republicans and Democrats under varying degrees of corporate encampments. Too many voters put these labels on themselves and never look back.

Here’s the nub. Most voters who do not do their homework about “politics” “elections” and their “voting strategies” end up either passively voting for their family’s long-held party choice or staying home. Not voting helps powerful interests have a field day because voters are not even on the playing field. There are an estimated 120 million eligible voters who will not vote in this election.

Voters who don’t spend the time don’t realize that candidates go back to Washington and work actively and often furtively against people’s most immediate livelihood interests, as does Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Such lawmakers aid and abet your worst fears about “politics” unless you’re quite rich.

For example, when you delegate (with no accountability attached) your voting power to Congress, you are entrenching corporate power to keep your wages down, allow price gouging and crumble your public services in favor of more destructive weapons for an Empire and needless wars we don’t want. The corporate Congress renders our country unprepared for pandemics, climate violence and the corporate crime wave running amuck. Moreover, Congress sends your tax revenues as subsidies and bailouts to the grossly under-taxed super-rich and big businesses.

Whenever you hear your friends say “I’m not into politics – they’re all crooks” signifying dropping out of voting and civic engagement, you can tell them, “But politics is into you in all kinds of impactful ways. Since you can’t escape, quitting is only hurting you.”

To be sure, our two-party duopoly restricts choices and opens the door wide to con artists – candidates with bulging campaign treasures. They specialize in grand lies, fake versions of what they call reality (as with “Covid-19 is fake” and “global warming is a hoax”). They make grandiose promises, then betray you and always blame someone else. Voters who don’t do their homework become rigid believers and do not reconsider what political tricksters have done to them.

For example, did you know that the greatest wealth in our country is owned by the people, but controlled by corporate power? These powerful assets of the people include our vast public lands, public airwaves and government R & D that founded most of the modern industry (e.g., the internet, computers, aerospace, drug, biotech and nanotech industries) and trillions of dollars in money market savings and pensions. Who allowed corporations to control what you own and turn these assets against your legitimate interests? The politicians. Do you still want to drop out of politics?

In your own private moments, ask yourself whether you are spending as much time studying the candidates vying for your vote as you do when choosing to buy a car or a house, or playing a month’s worth of bridge or video games.

Voter withdrawal is allowing the dangerous extremists in the GOP to think the unthinkable – taking away what you already have by corporatizing Medicare, cutting Social Security and repealing consumer, labor and environmental protections. They’re saying things that fifty years ago would have been political suicide for their notorious careers. Such cruel assaults on the people’s well-being reflect their sense of what the passive voters will let unscrupulous candidates get away with.

If you want recent evidence, read the report by GOP Senate Re-election Chairman, Rick Scott (R-FL) – who once presided over a large hospital corporation fined $1.7 billion for defrauding Medicare. The report’s misleading title “An 11 Point Plan to Rescue America” (https://www.politico.com/f/?id=0000017f-1cf5-d281-a7ff-3ffd5f4a0000) demands that your existing protections and economic security be terminated and up for Congressional grabs every few years.

Other GOPers want to eliminate the minimum wage altogether – never mind just holding it at its present frozen federal level of $7.25 an hour.

With voters reading, thinking and acting, our country can turn around and benefit all the people, their children and grandchildren. It’s in your hands, people. Pursue your legitimate interests and you will find Thomas Jefferson’s “pursuit of happiness” goal on its way as never before.

If you’re waiting until election day to vote, take a look at the website winningamerica.net and my little paperback Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think (https://nader.org/breaking-through-power-to-do-list/).

Then do your duty and cast an informed vote!

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Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader is an American political activist, author, lecturer, and attorney noted for his involvement in consumer protection, environmentalism, and government reform causes. The son of Lebanese immigrants to the United States, Nader attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School.


  1. Sorry but they are all frauds. Can’t you see the Democrats are the more effective evil.

    1. For me, the better saying is: “The Evil of Two Lessors” the Democratic and Republican parties whose duopoly has damaged our nation beyond recognition. But hey Richard L. Romano, good word, I like the ” more effective evil” Excellent!

      1. For the liberal and progressives every elections since Reagan.including Clinton and Obama/Biden has been a freaking disaster

  2. “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”
    Soren Kierkegaard (1813 -1855)

    1. Anyone who quotes Kierkegaard get a thumps-up from me. Reading Kierkegaard was such a wonderful experience. Even when I was in disagreement with him, still, the prose is full of such beauty, it takes your breath away, literally!

  3. Ralph Nader is a treasure who has done so much for the US people who are too zombified to take his advice. If he had become POTUS the country would have had some chance to lurch towards democracy , but now it is unlikely. Notice the one reply here has given up all hope. I am lucky enough NOT to be “American”.

      1. amen!! But situated, established. Last statistic i saw was 65 million & expected to swell to over 200 million & nations will get even more brutal then. But set up as in roots somewhere else because once they implement the central banking digital currencies (4th industrial revolution, great reset, internet of things, 5g, etc.) then onlt those will eat who are juiced in & have connections. Most of us they on cera call “surplus population” & “internal colonies” as it is, & not anytime recently- think mitt romney & sith lord darth dick cheney. So they’ve been setting us up since a ways back.

    1. And what does “lucky enough NOT to be “American” mean, dear merry Rose?
      Sounds a little condescending!
      It is true, “Ralph Nader is a treasure who has done so much for the US people.”
      But just who are you to sweepingly categorize the entire American population with one brush stroke?
      Thought it was only the Christian Pope who is infallible!

      1. I took as she’s thankful she’s not being victimized as all Americans who aren’t rich are. Not anything negative about your average Joe American.

  4. Stop already. Republicans bad – we got it. How about you spend some of your efforts on critiquing the just as horrible Democrats? They work for the same freaking corporate ilk. And don’t go blaming those who don’t vote – exasperated as they are by the choices presented. They are just reflecting that the only choices allowed are; Blue Fascist or Red Fascist. To me the correct answer to that choice is I choose neither … and third parties are in effect against the ‘law’.
    Time to catch up with the times. Electoral politics has been captured and corrupted as has OSHA, EPA, FDA, and the rest of the govn’t alphabet sewer.

    1. You’re not alone. I don’t blame non-voters for anything. I get it. I went 20 years without voting, until 2016 when I voted for Sanders in the Dem primary. But when HRC and the Dems screwed him, I voted Green in the general. I too choose neither. To blame non-voters for anything as to why this country is in the shape it’s in, is not only ignorant but arrogant. And frankly, it’s incredibly American.

  5. I saw the “democratic wing of the Democratic Party” cave to the Dem leadership re: diplomacy before possible nukes in Ukraine. Pelosi shut ‘em down before 24 hours passed.
    No one will care about abortion rights when we’re all dead.
    At least the Republicans are upfront about catering to the richest of the rich.
    And about that Congressional insider trading….? Pelosi up to her shenanigans again. I feel sorry for her husband in more ways than one.
    I respect you, Mr Nader, I really do. But in this case, not voting sends a message: boycotting the duopoly of BS.
    I’ll be voting for some local things.

  6. Ralph; you are so right as usual, but to overcome the Corpoate Oligarchies, we need massive numbers of people voted them out. But I don’t think enough people realize what is happening, and many close their minds, and listen to the Corpoate bullshit, I try telling people about what is happening and they won’t listen. They seem to be too lazy to inform themselves, or just listen to the lies spewed out on “corporate TV!!!

  7. Sadly, in the race for Senate, Democrat Raphael Warnock said that he is also against the minimum wage during his Senate debate with Herschel Walker. Walker said he was against an increase. Warnock said nothing about an increase, but said he was against the minimum wage itself. I guess he’d vote with the Republicans if the issue came to the floor. Boy, is America cooked.

  8. “The corporate coup d’état is over. They won. We lost.”
    Chris Hedges

    Of course you can still vote for any of the candidates your allowed . If you feel better for it then go ahead.

    1. Sure, why are people complaining about voting or not voting? In most dictatorships, there is only one party to vote for. Here, in Amerika we have choices. The Repulsive Party or the DemoRATS.

      The R’s & the D’s collaborated in the early 80’s to “exclude” alternative party candidates from presidential debates, and of course big corporate television stations went along with it.

      Ralph Nader would have put Repulsive and DemoRAT candidates to shame in an honest debate, and if we had real democracy in the US, Ralph might have been POTUS during his run.

      In California, about 10 years ago an “Initiative” was sold to the voting public, called the “Top Two”, meaning that the top two candidates (of all political parties) who received the most votes in the June Primary went on the ballot for the General Election in November. Since most voters are either D’s or R’s, alternative party candidates wouldn’t be on the November ballot At least Oregonians had enough sense to vote against a Top Two type Initiative several years later, seeing what happened in California.

      The late, great George Carlin had it right, on our political system.

  9. So we’re supposed to vote for the party that never stops Republicans so they can stop Republicans. Ok Ralph. I’m not taking political advise from someone who clearly has battered spouse syndrome.

  10. one of your former speech writers fixed it for you:

    You are my prez- i collected signatures in 96′ & i delivered flyers in 00′ but please somebody tell Tommy the pinball wizard we got fooled again. i never have & never will vote duopoly & i’m half a century old. NEVER. HELL NAH. Voting clinton leads to bush. Voting Obama inexorably slides to trump. i don’t give a damn what colour flag gangsters have draped out the back of their pants- red or blue, jackass or elephant, they’re corporatist. Infact therel is no nation-state sovereignty; they’re not shot-callers. Giving up the butt to the highest bidder is not definitionally “leadership”, it is however “prostitution”. Mr. president, my president Nader- your countty IS A WHORE. i resent this piece & i agree with the comments underneath. Now here’s a plan of action or else it’s omnicide. Somebody start a “pull the plug party” whose platform is the destruction of the entire system. This is mickey-mouse in phantasia moment, the whole thing monstrously out of control, a machine unable to even stop or save itself. We need to disable, dismantle, disassemble, disembowel the sum total entirety & do it stat if you ever cated about anything under the sun.

  11. Absolutely 100% Disagree!

    Anyone telling the working class to vote is either another mark or in on the con themselves.

    Electoral politics is as rigged as everything else in this country.

    Sure, go ahead and go vote on the local school levy or township dog catcher. There’s guaranteed not to be a single person higher up on the ballot that cares one whit for the 99% and actually has a legitimate chance to win. That’s how the electoral politics system is designed.

    Anybody following Mr Nader’s advice and voting for the “lessor evil” neoliberal Democrat is just perpetuating the same broken system that got us here in the first place.

    1. Fully agreed. When it comes to identifying problems, Nader is normally spot-on. But his solutions are as outdated as ever. He still thinks voting blue will fix things, never realizing voting blue eventually leads to voting red, which in turn leads to voting blue, meanwhile the trajectory is downward the entire time. He also thinks calling (yes, on the phone) your Congressional reps and giving them a piece of your mind is not only possible (Ha!) but workable. He’s been in la-la-land for 40 years if not 50.

  12. The corporate schills, along with all their intentional tidbits of emotionally charged misinformation are everywhere and into everything…..
    Just reading these comments to Mr. Naders’ above article is proof of that.
    Mr. Nader is a threat to the corporate agenda, hence the need to follow him and to discredit what he says; there’s plenty of weaklings foaming at the mouth willing to nail him down in exchange for a couple of bucks for their time.
    To hell with the negative stooges and all their fuckin’ bullshit…
    Mr. Nader is absolutely correct in this article.
    Follow his advice and go vote!

    1. Calm down David. You can vote for your Wall Street Hillary’s and your MIC Obama’s. Us ‘deplorables’ won’t stop you.

      And maybe the next booster will cure Covid too.

    2. I’ve never been mistaken for a corporate shill! Let me know who to contact about getting a few bucks for my time.

      I’m happy to discredit anyone who thinks that voting for the neoliberal Democrats is a good idea.

  13. Yeah, I must disagree. This argument is an artifact of an earlier age, before the corporate coup d’etat was completed. Even for some of the Nader(ite) victories, the core of US inequality and injustice was never more than threatened, and never by merely voting.

    The only viable strategy now, one that can only assert a strident objection and likely will not prevail over violently entrenched power, is total, mass revolt. Too many Americans are far too brainwashed for that to reach critical mass. I hope I’m wrong on both counts.

    The silver lining is the US is somewhat quarantined behind the two oceans that kept it safe for so long. The rest of the world may continue evolving and have a chance at survival but, for its many good people, the US is a poisoned, cancerous disaster area.

  14. We already know who won the mid-term elections without even counting the votes…..BlackRock, Goldman Sachs etc…….this is so sad.

    I love Ralph Nader…great person who has done so much for the public….however, it is time to move on and realize that we, the public, have already lost the mid-term elections no matter who takes office.

    We are moving toward a Global Police State. What we have left to fight for is our souls which the Global 1 percent cannot take away from us “unless” we give them “permission” to do that. That is what is driving them crazy. They can own and take away all of the other important things in our lives, except our souls.

    Continue to choose the Highest Good, that is our goal and also our calling. Peace.

  15. exactly this right here! Denny Kirk is 100% correct & extra points for bringing up william i. robinson. Those talking about voting: you cannot fill out the ballot in ANY CONCEIVABLE WAY against goldman-sachs. Or against The Borg, really just satan. We corporate share croppers do not need to legitimize our humiliation with classic Marxian false consciousness & Stockholm syndrome. They hate your independence the same way they try their hardest to exterminate all free will, all free thinking, the same reason they persecute Mother Nature, stray street cats, other nations with their own ideas. Its all the same. There is only but one God. Don’t give in to the parasitic class, the ruling faeces aelite!

  16. Lionel: very good! Emma Goldman the “common people’s” hero of her day said, “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”

    Denny Kirk: You nailed it well. Especially Black Rock! For those interested look for and watch documentaries on Black Rock and get a better understand of who controls what, and why many of the folks commenting on Mr. Nader’s article (I proudly voted for him twice, myself) have differences on his election advice. The “fix” was in decades ago. One Party rule with two branches to give the illusion that people have a choice.

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