Forbes – Can Ralph Nader Get Progressives and Libertarians to Make Common Cause?

16 Jun


Eighty years old and still full of piss and vinegar, Ralph Nader should perhaps add honey to his repertoire, as he attempts to woo libertarians, and maybe a Tea Partier or two, to his latest campaign. In his new book, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State, Nader challenges these strange bedfellows to come together to shake up Washington’s dysfunctional, cronyist status quo.

Ralph Nader was my guest on RealClear Radio Hour this week, along with Brink Lindsey of the Cato Institute, examining the potential for such an alliance.

Nader describes our current political system as a duopoly that brooks no competition. “I don’t think there is any other Western country that has so many obstacles to third party or independent candidate challenges,” he says. “And given the way they gerrymander the districts, in 90 percent of the House of Representatives districts are essentially one party.”

Libertarians certainly sympathize. But can Nader convince them to set aside their fundamental philosophical differences with progressives to tackle a specific and limited set of issues where there is agreement? In his book, Ralph lists 24 such areas, including civil liberties and subsidies to big business.

Brink Lindsey is not so sure. But he notes that “libertarians are a pretty small minority in American politics, so when anybody reaches out to us, I think we ought to be hospitable.”

To read the rest of the column click here.


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