Ralph Nader

Where else could a 9/11 truther rant without interruption?

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Ralph Nader has spent the last two decades fighting to get into a presidential debate. Last night, he got to host one.

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The Washington Post columnist William Raspberry, who died today at 76, is remembered as being relentlessly moderate, but Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell didn’t view him that way. In his famous “Powell memorandum,” a 1971 memo Powell wrote, shortly before his 1971 Court appointment, to a friend working at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Powell urged American business to unite in political opposition to what Powell perceived as the growing influence of “Communists, New Leftists, and other revolutionaries” on mainstream political discourse.

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The Washington Post columnist William Raspberry, who died today at 76, is remembered as being relentlessly moderate, but Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell didn't view him that way. In his famous "Powell memorandum," a 1971 memo Powell wrote, shortly before his 1971 Court appointment, to a friend working at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Powell urged American business to unite in political opposition to what Powell perceived as the growing influence of "Communists, New Leftists, and other revolutionaries" on mainstream political discourse.

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At first glance, Ursula Rozum, who has curly hair and a pierced nose, seems more like your average late-twenties hipster than a congressional candidate. But Rozum was in Baltimore this past weekend to promote her run for Congress in New York—and to support Roseanne Barr as the next president of the United States. While Roseanne’s candidacy may seem like a joke to some, it’s no laughing matter here in Baltimore’s Holiday Inn ballroom, home to the Green Party’s national convention.

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Editor’s Note: We’ll be running the article recommendations of our friends at TNR Reader each afternoon on The Plank, just in time to print out or save for your commute home. Enjoy! Who is Boris Johnson? A practical joker? An out-and-out joke? The next prime minister? Or all of the above?  The New Republic | 5 min (1,272 words) Is Ralph Nader still a hero? Ron Rosenbaum thinks so ... as long as Nader steers clear of a presidential run. Slate | 9 min (2,189 words) Historians and spectators love to romanticize the ancient Olympics.

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The recent failure of Americans Elect—the group spent $35 million, but it still couldn’t find a candidate—has removed next November’s most prominent third-party prospect. But for those who don’t want to vote for Obama or Romney, don’t worry: You still have options. In fact, those two candidates account for under a quarter of the people running for president this election cycle. There’s the guy running on a platform of prohibition, and the one campaigning on a strict interpretation of the founding fathers. Then there’s Roseanne Barr.

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In 2009, Ralph Nader published a fantasia titled Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!, in which he imagined a group of maverick billionaires banding together to defeat corporate power in America. Declaring themselves “the Meliorists,” these enlightened oligarchs force Walmart to unionize, elect Warren Beatty governor of California, establish single-payer health insurance, raise the minimum wage to a livable salary, and in general breathe life back into liberalism. In 2012, something like Nader’s utopian scenario has begun to take shape, but with a radically different ideology.

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For anyone moderately familiar with Ron Paul’s record, it shouldn't come as a surprise that a litany of racists, anti-Semites, conspiracy-theorists, and militia members back his presidential campaign. Paul, after all, has spent decades cultivating the support of the far-right, not least by publishing for years a newsletter steeped in bigotry. (Read my 2008 article “Angry White Man,” for ample evidence.) Much more disconcerting is the fact that so many prominent liberals have been eagerly lining up behind Paul’s candidacy.

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What If Obama Loses?

The presidential election of 2000 still makes me angry. Mostly that’s because of the grotesque way it ended, with five Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices shutting down the Florida recount. But partly that’s because of the liberal apathy that first put the outcome into doubt. Throughout the campaign, plenty of liberals told themselves the election didn’t really matter, because the differences between the two candidates weren’t that stark. A few of them even voted for Ralph Nader.

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