Another populist manifesto from the veteran political activist and anti-corporate consumer advocate.
Younger voters might wonder who this author is who has hijacked Bernie Sanders’ message. But it’s a sign of change that ideas that had Nader (Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State, 2014, etc.) branded as a spoiler as a third-party progressive, when he siphoned votes from the left in the close 2000 presidential election, are now common currency in the Sanders campaign. Nader barely mentions his past as a perennial presidential aspirant or pays more than lip service to the Sanders campaign—“Senator Bernie Sanders repeatedly says, ‘They [the small billionaire class] want it all.’ ”—but his message seems very much in tune with the times, in a culture of Occupy and Black Lives Matter. “Changes for a better society often start with the power structures sensing a growing rumble from the people,” writes the author, sensing that growing rumble and signs of hope in issues ranging from homosexual marriage and transgender equality to environmental activism and campaign finance reform. “From the abolition of slavery to the introduction of seat belts,” he writes, “great social gains have been achieved when people mobilize, organize and resist the power of the few.” Despite a false equivalency that seems tone-deaf (slavery and seat belts?), Nader sustains a strong case of grievances against the “power of the plutocracy” and “the present two-party duopoly that ministers to their demands.” In the final chapter, the lengthy “Why Democracy Works,” the author offers a suggestion for “Citizens Summons,” which would summon members of Congress home to hear the grievances of their constituents.
In an era of political gridlock, Nader argues, mostly convincingly, that a “left/right alliance” can get the country back on track.