Ralph Nader: Donald Trump has done some good, Hillary Clinton's winning by 'dictatorship'
Ralph Nader, the former Green Party presidential candidate and lifelong consumer activist, says Donald Trump's dizzying presidential candidacy hasn't been all bad, while Hillary Clinton is winning the Democratic nomination by "dictatorship."
And though he has heaps of praise for Bernie Sanders, Nader still won't say whom he voted for in the 2016 primary or which candidate he plans to cast a ballot for come November. He'd actually prefer there was an option for "none of the above."
"It gives people a voice to say, 'No, we don't like anybody on the ballot,'" the 82-year-old Nader says.
But that doesn't mean the five-time presidential candidate isn't still trying to influence the debate. Beginning May 23, Nader is hosting a four-day event in Washington called "Breaking Through Power," which is designed to encourage citizens to organize and bring light to issues he sees as being largely ignored by elected officials and the media, like preventable hospital deaths, corporate crime and the Pentagon's budget.
"The media has to have a higher estimate of its own significance and scour the country for what's on people's minds in terms of reforms and redirections that never get put in the election debates," he says.
RELATED: See photos of Hillary Clinton supporters on the campaign trail
A lifelong critic of the mainstream media, Nader sees this election season as bringing out its worst instincts, goading viewers into "that kind of vacuous, wild, charge-counter-charge, slur-and-slander that brings them high ratings and high advertising rates."
But in an interview with U.S. News, Nader expressed more positive thoughts about Trump's candidacy than Clinton's.
%shareLinks-quote="She's going to win by dictatorship. Twenty-five percent of superdelegates are cronies, mostly. They weren't elected. " type="quote" author="Ralph Nader" authordesc="" isquoteoftheday="false"%
The liberal activist says Trump has brought some important issues to the fore.
"He's questioned the trade agreements. He's done some challenging of Wall Street – I don't know how authentic that is. He said he's against the carried interest racket, for hedge funds. He's funded himself and therefore attacked special interest money, which is very important," Nader says. "But he's lowered the level of political debate to unheard-of depths of salacious, slanderous and vacuousness, garnished with massive self-boosterism and repetition."
"And that's not good, because that brought a lot of money into the media and that's the kind of debates they're going to want to goad."
When asked what positive contributions Clinton has made to the 2016 campaign, Nader called her a "corporatist, militarist Democrat" who would have been defeated by Sanders if every state held an open primary.
"She's going to win by dictatorship. Twenty-five percent of superdelegates are cronies, mostly. They weren't elected. They were there in order to stop somebody like Bernie Sanders, who would win by the vote," he says.
To date, Clinton has captured 3 million more total votes than Sanders, but Nader argues the results would be different if independents were allowed to participate in each state.
Nonetheless, he says Sanders' candidacy was meaningful because it simultaneously pressured and exposed Clinton.
"I think he made very few mistakes. He raised a lot of money, so he was viable, from small contributions. He didn't back down on his record of 35 years. He wasn't given enough debates ... he couldn't do anything about closed primaries. And he couldn't do anything about the superdelegates. But he almost won and he would've won," Nader says. "He would've defeated Trump easily, much more easily than [Clinton] would've defeated him. He doesn't produce gaffes. He's very consistent and he's scandal-free. What politician 35 years in office is scandal-free?"
Nader thinks that Trump ultimately will defeat himself this fall – "Trump will turn the Republican Party into the Trump Dump," he quips – but says it's not impossible that the New York real estate mogul wins because of Clinton's vulnerability to scandal.
"You never know when the shoe's going to drop on either of them," Nader says of Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
A Connecticut resident, Nader would not budge on revealing his November ballot choice, but says Sanders and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein best represent the movement he's trying to advance.
"Once you endorse somebody by saying you're going to vote, you're stuck with all the other things that that person may not be good at," he says.
Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report