Ralph Nader supports Edwards' anti-corporate message
Perennial third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader was asked by Hardball's Chris Matthews on Monday, "Is there anybody in this campaign you like the looks of that can win, so that you wouldn't have to run?"
"I do like Kucinich. But the frontrunners -- Edwards now has the most progressive message across a broad spectrum ... of any leading candidate I've seen in years," Nader replied. "The key phrase is when he says he doesn't want to replace a corporate Republican with a corporate Democrat. ... He raises the issue of the concentration of power and wealth in a few hands that are working against the interests of the vast majority of the American people."
"What's the alternative to corporate power?" Matthews asked.
"Sovereignty of the people," responded Nader. "It's people taking back their government ... cleaning up campaign corruption ... empowering workers ... controlling Congress."
Matthews asked Nader, "Why did the corporations win all the big fights?" and said that what concerns him even more than corporate power is the prospect of a company like Chrysler being sold to a private equity firm, which has no accountability even to shareholders. "Won't we wish we had the corporations back again?" he asked. Nader agreed, but had no answers to suggest.
Matthews then raised the charge that Nader cost Gore the 2000 election by taking 1.63% of the votes in Florida and that he'd violated a promise not to run in any contested states. Nader replied that he'd always said he would run in all 50 states and insisted that "Gore won in Florida."
Nader also argued that his own candidacy helped Gore overall. "By pushing Gore to take more progressive policies, unlike what Lieberman wanted to do, social scientists concluded that the Green campaign got more votes for Gore," Nader stated. "Every time he went out after the oil, drug, insurance companies, his polls went up."
"A lot of people think that pulled him away from the center," Matthews commented.
"It's a false assessment," Nader replied, suggesting that rather than trying to preserve their monopoly over progressive voters, the Democratic Party should have stolen his 2000 platform.
"Wouldn't the old Democrats have taken it away and gotten more votes?" he asked. "Living wage, full universal health care, restructuring of the tax system, giving more voice to ordinary folks. They didn't. That's the reason they lost."
Nader concluded by emphasizing that he could not endorse Obama because "he doesn't have the agenda" but that "if Edwards wins ... and he doesn't back off" he might support him.
"One of my heroes, Ralph Nader," concluded Matthews.
The following video is from MSNBC's HARDBALL, broadcast on December 17, 2007