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President Oprah? Nader's List of Super-Rich Who Should Run

By Elliot Jager   |   Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014 07:26 AM

Ralph Nader says the political system is stacked against third-party insurgents, and the only way around "the tightening two-party duopoly" is for a billionaire or mega billionaire to make an independent run for the White House.

Among the names he puts forth are Oprah Winfrey, Sheryl Sandberg, and Bill Gates.

The soon-to-be 80-year-old consumer advocate, lawyer, and political gadfly writes that the practical difficulties ordinary independent or third-party presidential candidates have getting on the ballot, and garnering attention from the media and pollsters, has weakened the country's democratic fabric.

The current system defaults to a "least worst" pattern of voting that rules out giving voters real influence, Nader writes.

The status quo is backed by "unenlightened rich people" therefore "only very rich, modestly enlightened" candidates could challenge this oligarchy, Nader writes.

Referring to "modestly enlightened rich people" as MERPs, Nader says only they can seize the mass media spotlight, help set a new agenda for political debate, and get on the ballot in all 50 states.

The 1992 candidacy of Ross Perot, who garnered 19 million votes, serves as an example of what MERPs can accomplish.

"MERPs can open up this closed system and make it breathe." They can either mount an independent or third-party campaign, or seek the nomination of one of the two parties with the aim of changing their agendas.

In suggesting a roster of suitable MERPs, Nader said it is unlikely they necessarily share his views on climate change, universal Medicare, abolishing the Electoral College, or any other issue. What matters is that they are not afraid of controversy, have enough money to overcome political obstacles erected within the current system, and have demonstrated civic responsibility.

A presidential run by a "very rich modestly enlightened person" would pave the way toward authoritative change and make America's democracy competitive, he writes.

Among those on Nader's list:

Thomas Steyer
  – Hedge Fund entrepreneur and climate change campaigner.

Ray Dalio  – Hedge fund philanthropist.

Oprah Winfrey  – Actress and philanthropist.

Jerome Kohlberg 
– Leveraged buyout master and campaign finance reform advocate.

Barry Diller  – Media executive who backs public airwaves as a trust.

John Arnold  – Energy trader and Giving Library philanthropist.

Ted Turner  – CNN founder and population control philanthropist.

Thomas Siebel  – Software creator and educational philanthropist.

Chase Coleman  – Money manager and philanthropist.

Marc Andreessen – Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Steve Case – Computer maven and philanthropist.

Sheryl Sandberg  –Facebook executive and co-founder of the Lean In Foundation.

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