Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader on Dave Brat: 'A Clear Populist Challenge by Main Street Against Wall Street'

The left looks rightward.


The American left's reaction to Dave Brat's victory over Eric Cantor last week sometimes seems to be taking place on two different planets. There are the people who simply recoil in horror that someone even more conservative than Cantor! could be heading to Washington, and there are the people who look at the libertarian and populist elements of Brat's message and see some conservatives taking a step in the right direction. Ralph Nader belongs to the second group:

"We followed him all day, boss, and this was the most incriminating thing we could find."

among all the reasons for Cantor's fall, there were the ones encapsulated in the Nation's John Nichols' description of Brat as an "anti-corporate conservative." Repeatedly, Brat said he was for "free enterprise" but against "crony capitalist programs that benefit the rich and powerful." David Brat pointed out that Cantor and the Republican establishment have "been paying way too much attention to Wall Street and not enough to Main Street."

Brat supported "the end of bulk phone and email data collection by the NSA" and other government agencies on constitutional grounds.

Professor Brat attacked the Wall Street investment bankers who nearly "broke the financial system," adding the applause line: "these guys should have gone to jail. Instead of going to jail, where did they go? They went to Eric Cantor's Rolodex."…

Brat is a mixed bag for progressives. But in that mix is a clear populist challenge by Main Street against Wall Street and by ordinary people against the corporate government with subsidies and bailouts that the Left calls corporate welfare and the Right calls crony capitalism. Therein lies the potential for a winning majority alliance between Left and Right as my new book, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State, relates in realistic detail.

Read the rest here. Check out Reason's coverage of Brat's win here. For more on populism, go here, and for more on the intersection between populism and libertarianism, go here and here. To read Tim Carney's review of Nader's new book, pick up the July Reason at your local newsstand. And for Reason's recent interview with Nader, hit play:

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  1. There you go, John. Some more of your kind. Right-wing populists railing against the “crooks” of Wall Street. Remind me what law Lloyd Blankfein broke again?

    1. Deficits by the year.

      2013: $680 billion
      2012: $1,087 billion
      2011: $1,300 billion
      2010: $1,294 billion
      2009: $1,413 billion
      2008: $458 billion
      2007: $161 billion
      2006: $248 billion
      2005: $318 billion
      2004: $413 billion
      2003: $377 billion
      2002: $157 billion

      Obama cut the deficit in half!

      1. FY 2014 to date:

        $798BB, or almost exactly 0BB/month.

      2. You are right. He did. 2009 was all on the Bushpigs (CBO).

        1. Are you dishonest or stupid? Or both?

          1. I am quoting the CBO, you idiot.

            1. I’m looking at the numbers, moron.

            2. “That warm yellow trickle down your back? It’s rain! Really! It’s rain!”


        2. Increase in debt from October 1, 2008 through January 31, 2009:


          Increase in debt from February 1, 2009 through September 30, 2009:


    2. Palin’s Buttplug|6.16.14 @ 11:32AM|#
      “Lie, lie, lie, lie, misdirection, BOOOOSH, Obo’s ass sure is sweet”

    3. Re: Peter Caca,

      Right-wing populists railing against the “crooks” of Wall Street. Remind me what law Lloyd Blankfein broke again?

      The law of “Be Careful What You Wish For”:

      Blankfein contributes to mostly Democratic party candidates and donated $4,600 to Democratic Party candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2007. He self-identifies as a Democrat […] The same day he met Jack Lew, President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, and over lunch at the Economic Club of Washington was asked whether he had any aspiration to go into government like predecessors Hank Paulson and Robert Rubin. “I have aspirations to be desired,” he replied.[-] [emphasis mine]

  2. There are the people who simply recoil in horror that someone even more conservative than Cantor! could be heading to Washington,

    Oh, please. Those hypocrites in the leftist media prefer their politics as immutable as those in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick. They’re as pro-establishment as their brethren on the right.

    “Brat is a mixed bag for progressives.”

    Translation: How dare he? How dare HE?

  3. Too bad populism sucks.

  4. Fuck Nader, still.

  5. Moar Shrieking. Just what we need.

    Too bad the Skwerlz can’t be more selective.

  6. Cue false flag ads “Nader supports Brat! Vote for the moderate Dem instead Naderite wackjob!”

  7. Flipping through the radio stations I heard him talking on Democracy Now I believe it was, and holy cow that guy is profoundly ignorant of basic economics. So bad it made my head hurt.

  8. Brat is a lixed bag for libertarians too, with his opposition to immigration reform, and defense hawkishness.

  9. Why does anyone here care what Nader thinks?

  10. Whether Brat is a beacon of hope for libertarianism or the sign that the conservatives are being beaten by the even-more-conservatives depends on how much you care about immigration, it seems.

    1. Well, no. I think immigration is an important issue, and I think Brat is terrible on immigration. But I also thought Cantor was terrible on immigration. Given that, it’s not hard for me to see this as a movement in the right direction. (Though not, admittedly, as a “beacon of hope.”)

      1. Immigration is a fucking moot point the issue is welfare
        if there was no welfare there wouldn’t be a problem with immigration
        or if we nationalized welfare as in only a natural born citizen (both parents natural born American citizens of 2 citizen parents)may receive any benefits we would reduce the amount of impact that illegals would have on the economy hell we might be one step closer to a welfare system that works.

  11. Fuck Nader
    just another big government statist

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