April 17, 2013
On March 25th, The Nation ran an article by Seven Stories author Ralph Nader entitled “Why Are Democrats So Defeatist?” In the article, Nader does what few liberals are willing to do and takes a look at President Obama and the Democratic Party through a critical lens.
Among Nader’s criticisms are that Obama, in 2008, promised a minimum wage increase to $9.50 by 2011, fell silent on the topic after winning the election, and has recently amended the proposal to an increase to $9 by 2015–a far cry from his original plans. Nader also writes that Obama and the Democrats focus more on raising funds and not alienating business interests than opposing a Republican Party and its “votes to protect massive tax breaks for the wealthiest, end the universal Medicare guarantee, jeopardize Social Security, oppose measures that would protect seniors from abusive financial practices, attack women’s health and safety, weaken consumer protections, undermine the Pell Grant program for low-income students, favor corporations shipping jobs overseas at the expense of American workers, slash the food stamp program, weaken protections to ensure that every voter’s vote counts, and allow big oil companies and speculators to drive up gas prices along with a raft of brazen anti-environmental bills that would have despoiled our air, water and soil.” Nader believes that the Democratic Party lacks self-analysis, and, instead of talking vaguely about the middle class, needs to focus more on the needs of the poorer classes that are its “natural constituency.”
Many more of Ralph Nader’s opinions can be found in the forthcoming Told You So: The Big Book of Weekly Columns, which will be available from Seven Stories in May.