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April 27, 2011
Nader calls for primary challengers to Obama
Discontent on the left with President Obama is finally moving toward some form of primary challenge. Jennifer Epstein of Politico writes:
Nader told POLITICO on Wednesday that he is working on bringing together about half a dozen presidential candidates who could "dramatically expand a robust discussion within the Democratic Party and among progressive voters across the country." Each would focus on a specific issue where the far left says Obama hasn't done enough, including the environment, labor and health care.Nader, who has run for president five times as an independent or third party candidate - including his 2000 run on the Green ticket, which some Democrats say cost Al Gore the election - said that for next year, he believes an ideologically based, multi-candidate primary challenge would be the best way to pull Obama to the left ahead of the second term he believes Republicans will not be able to stop. (snip)
Nader suggested that Jim Hightower, a liberal commentator and a co-chairman of his 2000 presidential campaign, could be one candidate but didn't offer other names. The ideal candidates, he said, would be people who have a history of progressive positions and who have specific knowledge or credibility in a certain policy area.But Nader, a registered independent, wouldn't be one of them, he said, since all the candidates would be dedicated Democrats who could benefit from party infrastructure. "This isn't like a third-party or independent candidacy," he said. "This is different; it's simple: They're inside the party, they can certainly raise enough money for legal assistance filling out forms, they support Obama, but want him to keep his 2008 promises."
This is not nearly as serious as a third party challenge would be, for that has the potential to draw away votes. All this intra-party challenge would do is allow the left to express its frustration, and potentially make Obama look moderate. In the end, the left will turn out to vote for Obama.
In the words of the Bard: "Sound and fury, signifying nothing."