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Ralph Nader: Bernie Sanders' Opposition to Third Parties is Why His Movement is in Disarray

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When longtime independent Senator Bernie Sanders lost his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, he concluded his campaign by endorsing Hillary Clinton instead of a third-party candidate. "This huge, wonderful effort that he launched is now aborted," says our guest, four-time former presidential candidate Ralph Nader. "Sanders hasn’t returned a call from me in 18 years. He is a lone ranger. He doesn’t like to be pushed into more progressive action than he is willing to adhere to. As a result, millions of his voters now are in disarray. They don’t know where to go." Nader has a new book titled "Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think."

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Video squareStoryDec 26, 2016Bernie Sanders: The Democracy Now! Interview
Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, this is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. Our guest for the hour is Ralph Nader, consumer advocate, four-time presidential candidate. In July, former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders formally endorsed Hillary Clinton. He has consistently argued against voting for a third-party candidate. In an interview with The Washington Post last week, Sanders said, quote, "This is not the time for a protest vote, in terms of a presidential campaign. I ran as a third-party candidate," he said. "I’m the longest-serving independent in the history of the United States Congress." He said, "I know more about third-party politics than anyone else in [the] Congress." In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Senator Sanders explained his opposition to a protest vote.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: All right, you disagree with Hillary Clinton on this or that, you may not like her on every respect, but look at the real issues that impact your lives, your children’s lives, the future of this country, and you will end up concluding that right now is not the time to be supporting a protest vote. Right now we have to make sure that Trump does not become president.

AMY GOODMAN: That is Senator Sanders. Ralph Nader, your response?

RALPH NADER: Well, it is the time for Senator Sanders to mobilize, as he can, all his supporters around the country with mass rallies to put the heat on both candidates. Is anything wrong with that? He should have a mass rally in the Mall and then spread it all over the country, so you have civic pressure, citizen pressure, coming in on all the candidates to further the just pathways of our society. Why doesn’t he do that? Because, you know, Bernie Sanders hasn’t returned a call from me in 18 years. He’s a lone ranger. He doesn’t like to be pushed into more progressive action than he is willing to adhere to. As a result, millions of his voters now are in disarray. They don’t know where to go. They’re cynical. Some will go Democrat. Some will support Libertarian, Green. Some will stay home. And so this huge, wonderful effort that he launched is now aborted. It’s dissipating. So, it isn’t a matter of either/or; it’s a matter of him cutting out from the accolades to Hillary, which he doesn’t like to do—he doesn’t like to be a robot or run around the country that way—and mobilize the citizenry, which will transcend the election and start something effective after the election.

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