Election 2020

Nader: Bernie Sanders 'Hasn’t Returned My Call in 21 Years'; Dems Ignoring His Proposals

Ralph Nader serves as a panelist for Tavis Smiley's The Poverty Tour 2.0 'A Call to Conscience' at T.C William High School in Alexandra, Va., on Sept. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Earl Gibson III)

WASHINGTON – Former Green Party and independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader told PJM that the Democratic Party would have a “much better” get-out-the-vote operation if they “were serious” about winning back the majority, adding that top Democratic leaders continue to ignore his suggestions.

Nader, founder of the Center for Study of Responsive Law (CSRL), criticized Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for not returning his calls over the past 21 years.

Nader said a Democratic Party insider told him party leaders do not want to win the majority in Congress in November because they could be blamed for any possible catastrophe that happens in the future while Trump is office. PJM asked Nader if he personally agrees with that assessment.

“They do want to win their seats for re-election, the question is whether they want to win power in Congress and those are two different questions. Because if they really wanted to win power, that is expand the number of Senate and House seats, with the Democratic Party label, they would make a living wage a big issue and they’re just giving lip service to it. So people don’t think they’re authentic,” Nader said during an interview after a CSRL forum Friday, “Destroying the Myths of Market Fundamentalism.”

“You’ve got 30 million workers, many of whom are making less than in 1968 adjusted for inflation, so if you really wanted to win, how could you not go with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s charter reform, which was to establish a federal minimum wage, which is now frozen at $7.25? The same goes with full Medicare for all,” he added.

Nader continued, “Why don’t they have a law and order to crack down on corporate crime – shouldn’t that be of interest? They could give all kinds of examples of how people are ripped off by card companies, health insurance companies, banks, food companies, drug companies, insurance companies.”

The longtime activist said holding phone banks a few days before Election Day does not work.

“If they were serious they would have a much better get-out-the-vote drive… we just can’t get through to the Democrats – Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee chair, hasn’t returned my call for over a year. It’s almost impossible to get to Nancy Pelosi or to Sen. Schumer,” he said. “Even Bernie Sanders hasn’t returned my call in 21 years – they don’t want to be pushed beyond how far they want to go and whatever commercial dollars they want for their campaign.”

Nader, who has known Sanders since he was mayor of Burlington, Vt., said the former Democratic presidential candidate ignores him because “he doesn’t want to be stigmatized by a third-party candidate, he doesn’t want to be a spoiler, as he put it, which is a politically bigoted word.”

“And he’s only going to go so far and he doesn’t want to be pushed, like, his health plan is not as good as the House H.R. 676, which is really the gold standard for single-payer. His is not.”

Nader was asked why he thinks House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and others do not respond to his policy proposals and get-out-the-vote ideas.

“It’s a kind of arrogance because we have all kinds of ideas like campaigning for the midnight shift. Millions of workers never even seen a candidate – hospital workers, 7-Eleven workers, firefighters, police, industrial workers. They never campaign at midnight – isn’t that something good if they wanted to get more votes?” Nader said.

“They don’t want to hear it. We have, for example, an elaborate proposal to get out the vote. I sent it to them – no reaction. We have a very good proposal we gave to them on how to reach low-income people, just no interest whatsoever,” he added.

Nader lamented that Democrats “don’t publicize the horrific votes” that many Republican lawmakers have taken over the years, which he said have provided fewer regulations for Wall Street and more power for corporations.

“The Democrats should have landslided the worst Republican Party,” Nader said, referencing the last election. “Instead, the Republican Party landslided the Democrats at the state, legislative, governor and all three federal branches of government – so do you really think they want to win?”

A former Hillary Clinton advisor recently said that the former secretary of State might run for president again in 2020. Nader, who has referred to Clinton as a “deep corporatist,” opposed the idea of another Clinton run, which he said is “the best thing Trump has ever heard.”

“If [Trump] won because so many blue-collar workers detested Hillary and her Wall Street toutiness, what do you think it would be like in 2020? She won’t get anywhere,” Nader said.

“The public has no tolerance. They want action. They don’t want some self-imposed exoneration of her past misdeeds and explanations for her husband and so forth like that,” he added. “As a matter of fact, she even loses the feminist vote because she covers up and explains away Bill Clinton’s abuse of women and his infidelities.”