Consumer advocate Ralph Nader still recalls Joe Biden speaking out to banish him from the Senate 23 years ago.
But Nader is now working to help Biden get reelected as president, even if there will not be a formal endorsement, because Nader said former President Donald Trump should not return to the White House.
"We are stuck with Biden now," Nader, 89, told The Washington Post. "In a two-party duopoly, if one should be defeated ferociously, the logic is that the other one prevails."
Nader remembers being blamed by Biden, then a senator, for Democrat Al Gore's loss to Republican George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential race.
"Ralph Nader is not going to be welcome anywhere near the corridors," Biden said after Nader's Green Party presidential campaign received 97,000 votes in Florida.
Before that, Nader had been considered a policy genius, but after Biden's declaration, the Democrats parted ways with him.
Nader no longer refers to Republicans and Democrats as "Tweedledum and Tweedledee," but he said the Republican Party is behind the "architecture" of fascism.
"I know the difference between fascism and autocracy, and I'll take autocracy any time," Nader told The Post. "Fascism is what the GOP is the architecture of, and autocracy is what the Democrats are practitioners of. But autocracy leaves an opening. They don't suppress votes. They don't suppress free speech."
Nader dismissed the chances that the Green Party can have an impact on the 2024 race, despite his praise for its likely candidate, Cornel West.
Nader also doesn't think much of the chances for Biden challenger Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who campaigns on some of Nader's issues, calling him a wayward talent who can't get out of his own way.
"Bobby Kennedy gives a good portion of his speech on corporate power, and it couldn't be better," Nader said. "But then he has this bizarre tick on vaccines and Ashkenazi Jews. ... His advisers should tell him, 'Why do you keep raising these crazy things?' That's the tragedy of his campaign. He can't resist raising new bizarre correlations-as-causation and all that stuff."
Still, Nader says there will be no formal endorsement for Biden, and he supports third parties in principle.
"Biden is better than he has ever been, but he is still terrible on empire and Wall Street," Nader said.
Nader has been calling and mailing elected officials and operatives with his thoughts about improving party sales pitches. Last year, he produced a 10-point plan to improve Democrats' messaging and campaign tactics.
But Nader says he hasn't gotten much response, mainly because of resentments over his third-party presidential campaigns in 2000, 2004, and 2008.
He's also not getting much press, and joking that "the main press I get these days is the obituary columns."
Nader is still working from home after the COVID-19 pandemic and reads major newspapers daily, and he enjoys tracking down phone numbers of Democrats who he thinks aren't fighting hard enough.
"He called me to tell me my quote wasn't good enough," one young Democrat operative told The Post. "He was going to send me a bunch of materials he wanted me to read and asked for my address."
Nader's close friends, who include committed Democrats, have said there has been an unmistakable shift in how he operates, however.
"Ralph is in a different place because America is in a different place," said Mark Green, a former Democrat New York City public advocate. "This stage is stopping a life-ending comet like the one that stopped the dinosaurs. He says this is an existential fight, and he is going to marshal whatever he has to stop Trump and Trumpism."
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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