As public figures go (if you can still call him a public figure), Ralph Nader is about as liberal as they come. That said, he’s not blind. He recently gave an interview to the Pacific Standard, an online magazine. The questioner was Lydia DePillis, whose picture indicates she’s approximately the right age to be his youngest granddaughter.

Nader made five quixotic runs for president, mostly to get his anti-corporate message out, the same as Bernie Sanders tried this time around. Nader can relate to the cold shoulder from the political establishment that Sanders received. His analysis of the rise of Donald Trump goes where political pundits dare not. A sample:

“Well, and you see this when you walk past construction sites and you talk with white male workers, they feel they have been verbally repressed. It’s hard for someone your age to understand what I’m about to say. They like to stand on a corner and whistle at a pretty lady. They like to flirt. But they can’t do that anymore. Multiply that across the continuum. You can’t stay this about that, and you can’t say that about this. And the employer tells you to hush. And perhaps your spouse tells you to hush, and your kids tell you to hush. … A lot of people grew up on ethnic jokes, which are totally taboo now. Do you know, Lydia, there are no ethnic-joke books in bookstores anymore?”

Of course, she couldn’t believe they were ever on the shelves. More from Nader:

“There were Negro-joke books, Jewish-joke books, Polish-joke books, Italian-joke books. They used ethnic jokes to reduce tension in the 1930s, ‘40s, ‘50s. And they’d laugh at each other’s jokes and hurl another one. But it still flows through ethnic America, you know. There are hundreds of things that people would like to say. So here’s [Trump] – he doubles down on them, he blows their minds. So that’s the first way he got their attention.”

Nader goes on to skewer the special snowflakes on college campuses and issue some advice to the organizers of progressive groups: “A lot of these groups have written off Congress as gridlocked and hopeless, including the climate folks, but it’s a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, you know, because the people who haven’t written off Congress are the corporate lobbyists. A lot of mass demonstrations just go into the ether because they’re not lobbying members of Congress, yet a lot of the things these groups want have to go through Congress. I think if Occupy Wall Street had picked minimum wage, they would still be around.”

He also questioned the staying power of Black Lives Matter: “Is it raising money for offices and permanent staff? It’s like Occupy Wall Street. They had the same technology. It gets you to first base, and it doesn’t get you any further.”

When Ralph Nader, still active at 82, sounds like a conservative, political change is in the air. Pray that it is peaceful; the signs are not good. The full interview: http://tinyurl.com/zerojtx

Advertisements