The Fine Print
What if Washington politics were no longer defined by partisan gridlock but instead by a cross-party alliance that forged solutions? The alliance would be unstoppable.
That’s the premise of the new book “Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State” by longtime political activist and five-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who contends that such a left-right alliance is not just the stuff of imagination but is actually emerging.
“On Capitol Hill, I'm seeing more and more in Congress, left and right,” Nader told “The Fine Print.” “It was a vote in the House over a year ago over the NSA snooping, it almost broke through … so we're beginning to see formulations that once they click together, they're unstoppable.”
Nader was referring to a vote in July 2013 over a measure known as the Amash Amendment that would have curtailed the National Security Agency’s ability to collect bulk phone call data. The measure narrowly failed by 12 votes, in part due to a concerted White House lobbying effort on Capitol Hill.
Nader expects there is going to be a growth of left-right alliances in Congress, pointing to the war on drugs and bank regulatory efforts as areas of possibly confluence. On the war on drugs, Nader said that the United States should entirely decriminalize and move to regulate all drugs in the same way alcohol and tobacco are regulated.
“Tobacco leads to the deaths of over 400,000 Americans, hard drugs lead perhaps to 8,000,” Nader said. “People who are addicted should not be viewed as criminals. They should be a health problem, the way it is in alcoholism and tobacco.”
But Nader qualified that the success of his envisioned left-right alliance is dependent on strong leaders. He said Sen. Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul, has the potential to be a leader for the alliance, but added that he thinks the Kentucky Republican has certain shortcomings as a leader.
“He’s a mixed bag, you know, he's evolving. He's broadening his issues that he's talking about and they’re beginning to resonate,” Nader said. “On the other hand … he has problems dealing with people.”
Paul’s “problems” aside, Nader predicted that he will be “the one to beat” in 2016 in a Republican contest that is also likely to also include Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. He also made it clear what he does not want to see in 2016: A Jeb Bush - Hillary Clinton matchup.
“You want a dull campaign? Try Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton in 2016,” Nader said. “It'll only be exciting for people who are interested in dynasties and personalities.”
Nader said he never tells anyone not to run for president but that he would oppose a Hillary Clinton presidential bid.
“She's turned into an international militarist,” he said. “She's far more hawkish than Obama.”
Nader suggested that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D – Mass., would be a strong alternative to Clinton, with her understanding of “corporate power,” but said that Warren won’t run because Clinton has “dried up” the prospects for other Democratic contenders to compete.
Nader has his own vision for who he’d like to be president and has even put forward a proposal of 20 billionaires who he encourages to run for president – a list that includes media mogul Oprah Winfrey and environmentalist Tom Steyer.
“That's where we're at now: 20 billionaires with some enlightened background and I said run. Run! Run as an independent,” Nader said. “Just to shake up this two-party tyranny … So maybe one of them will run. We certainly have enough of them, don't we?”
When it comes to the current president, Nader said that Obama has violated the Constitution on several occasions and should be impeached.
"Oh, most definitely," Nader said when asked if Congress should bring forward articles of impeachment against Obama. "The reason why Congress doesn't want to do it is because it's abdicated its own responsibility under the Constitution."
Nader said the president's use of military force in Libya has been his most "egregious violation of the Constitution."
For more of the interview with Nader, check out this episode of “The Fine Print.”
ABC News’ Richard Coolidge, Gary Westphalen, Jim Martin, and Gary Rosenberg contributed to this episode.
- Politics & Government
- Ralph Nader
- Hillary Clinton