By Ralph Nader
1. Focus on Donald Trump’s personal scandals, the Russian interference, and Trump’s outrageous and hugely distracting daily tweets.
2. Overlook what Trump’s henchmen are specifically doing to cause more deaths, injuries, and disease. Ignore this administration’s efforts to scuttle health and safety standards; stop law enforcement against corporate outlaws who pollute the environment, marketplace, and workplace; take federal cops off the Wall Street crime beat that is eating into your savings, while speculating with your pensions and mutual funds. Avoid all the above, while you’re dialing for dollars for your campaign coffers.
3. Giving lip service to raising the federal minimum wage. Do not mount a tough, authentic campaign with details and timetables to help the 30 million Americans still making less than workers made in 1968, adjusted for inflation.
4. Avoid talking about the need to crack down on corporate crooks who are bleeding Americans dry—to the tune of one trillion dollars a year.
5. Refuse to put forward a Canadian style healthcare for all system, with free choices of doctors and hospitals. Single payer would result in life-saving outcomes and come in at half the per capita cost of the current price gouging, wasteful, claim-denying monstrosity ruled by big insurance companies, big drug companies and big hospital chains.
6. Do not talk specifics about public corruption. Do not put forward a detailed plan to take on corruption with adequate enforcement budgets and penalties that fit the crimes.
7. Do not talk about public funding of campaigns, clean elections, universal voting (with write-ins and none-of-the-above options), ending voter suppression, and returning to paper ballots that can never be hacked. Keep spending huge amounts of your time at fat-cat fundraising parties or calling possible donors on the phone.
8. Fail to speak forcefully for more workers rights and strong labor unions, more consumer protections, and more access to the courts for wrongfully injured or defrauded Americans. Fail to focus more on climate disruption, the bloated military budget that is draining our public infrastructure and depriving Americans of good jobs. Keep censoring yourself by treating these causes like taboo subjects.
9. Never mention education reform meaning students learning civic skills from books and experiential learning in their communities. Prohibit the seeds of democracy from being planted. Do not push for cracking down on fraudulent for-profit universities and forgiving student debt, ending massive corporate tax loopholes and starting tuition-free higher public education.
10. Be sure to ignore important local issues of concern that affect already engaged conservative and liberal voters. The powers-that-be at all levels have few votes compared to the vast number of eligible voters. Be sure that you spend most of your campaign money on redundant television ads rather than on neighborhood by neighborhood get-out-the-vote drives.
11. Make sure you rehire those conflicted, avaricious political consultants who have already been overly paid to lose the last four Congressional elections to the worse, most corrupt, war mongering, Wall Street toady, anti-worker, anti-consumer, and anti-environment Republican Party in history. Give these consultants another chance to deep-six your close races.
12. Avoid connecting with the emerging left/right alliance for criminal justice reform of mass incarceration, brutish prison conditions, runaway prosecutors, and the war on drugs.
13. Do not address the horrific costs of Empire. Ignore the futile wars without end, the blowbacks and destruction of innocent peoples and their communities in more and more countries, the violations of our Constitution. Stand by as the federal government violates federal laws and international treaties. Especially ignore what most of our returning veterans want to tell us about these boomeranging disasters spawned by both parties.
14. Don’t get near the fundamental issue of shifting power from the few to the many, of building democratic institutions, of providing inexpensive facilities so people can more easily band together to protect themselves. (If you don’t know what all this involves, that is because you’ve frozen out the civil society from your sterile campaigns, which historically has been the builder of a more just democracy).
15. Stifle the progressive, young insurgents in the Democratic Party, as you did with Bernie Sanders’ primary campaign in 2016. Again entrench the old Guard of loser Democratic apparatchiks.
If you do all the above, the Republicans will continue to enjoy their control of the federal branches of our captured government and many state legislatures. It is time for Democrats to stop singing from the corporate state’s songbook, and really stand “with liberty and justice for all.”