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The End of Oil/Sanders vs. Biden

Legendary water protector, Winona LaDuke, joins Ralph to talk about her vision for replacing the oil economy. And national correspondent for The Nation magazine, John Nichols, analyzes the latest in the battle between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders as they march toward the Democratic convention.

Winona LaDuke is an internationally renowned activist, working on issues of sustainable development, renewable energy and food systems. Ms. LaDuke lives and works on the White Earth reservation in Minnesota. And in 1996 and 2000 she ran for vice president as the nominee of the Green Party with our very own Ralph Nader. As program director of the organization Honor the Earth, she works on issues related to the climate crisis.

“I call this the New Green Revolution… hemp has the ability to transform this country… this country had a choice 70, 80 years ago between a carbohydrate economy and a hydrocarbon economy, and we know the choice that was taken, and that’s the one we’re paying for now and future generations will pay for.”

Winona LaDuke, Program Director of Honor the Earth

John Nichols is the national affairs correspondent for “The Nation” magazine, Mr. Nichols is also contributing writer for “The Progressive” and “In These Times” and the associate editor of the “Capital Times,” the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. With Robert McChesney, he has co-authored a number of books about the media and how to reform it.

“[Bernie Sanders] acknowledged that he’s got an electability challenge, that people don’t see him as being as electable as Biden. But he also pointed out something else, that in the exit polls overwhelmingly people support his positions on the issues. In Michigan, 57% of the people supported a government run healthcare plan that replaces private insurance… 57% of people in Michigan supported it, I believe it was 58% in Missouri, in Mississippi it was 60%… What Sanders is talking about is winning big, but he is not.”

John Nichols, National Affairs Correspondent: The Nation

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 314 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. William Orr says:

    It is obvious that the system is rigged——–no normal person would vote for Biden. And Tulsi Gabbard is not even allowed on stage..

    • Don klepack says:

      My sentiments, perfectly said

    • Abe says:

      Oddly reminiscent of 2016. Sanders once again schilling for the DNC. Bernie, as before, funnellike turning voters over to , this time, Joe Biden. Offered as a sacrifice and body slam to the republicans in November.. All the while, most Democrats still slow to catch on. Believing Trump is the enemy helps avoid the obvious observation , the real problem.. the internal lack of principles and integrity. Only the most ideologically possessed can get behind and lend support to this broken party which refuses to fix itself, but suggests it can fix the world

      • Mark Hughes says:

        Yep. And now, Tulsi Gabbard has capitulated. It’s now a matter of when, not if, Bernie capitulates.

        Vote third party or don’t vote at all. Because voting R or D is a wasted vote. One would have to be either blind or in on the scam to believe otherwise.

      • Bruce K, says:

        Looking at Bernie’s last debate performance, something is very wrong. But the same issues he has had all along, he gets a lot of well-meaning but not very bright and not very demanding people to work for him. He depleted their political cash reserves so now the billionaires we all hate so much have free reign in the elections and in lobbying.

        When Biden told Bernie in the last debate that Medicare For All would not help the coronavirus situation, and to look at the mess in Italy, Bernie had no answer. That is unacceptable in a President. I am pretty sure Elizabeth Warren would have either been ready for that question or formulated an answer on the fly. I am sorry, I love Bernie, I believe in his platform, but he is a candidate screw-up.

        In the last debate, and in so many others, the focus and staying on point that I always admired Bernie for became a problem. He has had many years now to formulate answers to obvious questions about his policies, and he falls back on “in the richest country on the face of the Earth … ” routine. For me, he doesn’t cut it any more, and I am actually angry about it.

        Bernie continued to make a big deal about being a Democratic Socialist, which not only do I personally not care about, to me it is even a plus, but how stupid does the man have to be to realize that not all Americans feel that way? Particularly when he had an option to join the actual political system ( ugly as it may be ) by becoming a Democrat, and then re-branding himself as an FDR Democrat? I am so angry at Bernie because I feel like he was a decoy candidate to funnel the opposition either to the establishment or into alienation and not to vote.

        If Bernie was the nominee, and I still hope that he would win but I doubt he will, I would happily vote for him, but he is does not have good judgement that I would want. Better than Trump, yes though. Same with Elizabeth Warren who was actually my first choice this election cycle. She had more accomplishments, could actually think on her feet, and can play the political game better than Bernie, and then she got attacked for it by a lot of Bernie supporters, and media channels that supported Bernie, but who were funded by the right wing. What are people expecting, Jesus Christ the savior to descend from the heavens – no one is perfect, and Warren has a lot more accomplishments and worked a lot harder than Bernie did.

        It is not inequality we are fighting, it is injustice on the one hand, and a virtual disenfranchisement and slavery on other. If you do not have enough time to educate yourself, if you cannot stay healthy, if you have no income to spare to pursue your economic and political interests, you only exist to be exploited by a system that exists for a few rich families, who have constructed a giant hoax around the myths of this “great” country.

        Trump is a disaster, and somehow they say he is more popular than ever. So ,there is something going on here that is borderline terrifying. The current state of political affairs in this country makes me think this is a hidden sitcom/drama that is written behind the scenes and that both parties are just actors putting up a big facade to the people to hide a fascist oligarch system of rule. I don’t buy what I hear in the news.

        I would be happy if Biden got the nomination if Bernie doesn’t and selected Warren as his VP. That is about the best I think we can hope for. The American people are just too stupid and lazy to govern themselves, and I think we have to accept that, and that the best we can do it to try to keep the obvious big-time criminals from stealing everything. There are too many useless stooges that are controlled why the right-wing propaganda or dependent on them for jobs, health care, and vulnerable. I am not optimistic about the country’s future.

  2. John ogis says:

    It would be great if you could render Mr. Nader’s voicemore clearly.
    I know you can. That distant telephone sound quality gets grating.
    Thank you.
    Great show in all other respects. Thanks again.

    • Skro35 says:

      Sorry about that. It’s only occasionally we can get Ralph in a studio. We have been trying to convince him for six years.

      • John Puma says:

        I think “John ogis” is referring to hardware/software technology to compensate for poor “input” sound quality
        … as opposed to getting Ralph physically into the studio.

        If not, count me as doing so.

        However, I would listen to Ralph even if he were communication via tin cans and string!

    • Bill Boggess says:

      I’ve been a fan of Warren for many years but in this election cycle she’s proven herself to be nothing more substantial than a tool of the current and deplorable, corporate-leaning Democratic Party. Her unwillingness to support Bernie in 2016 was disappointing but understandable; her failure to endorse him now is reprehensible and suggests her thin skin and bruised ego are more important than doing the correct and moral thing for the sake of furthering a progressive platform.

      And FYI, all of the complaints you’re levying at Bernie have been levied at Nader himself. Both men are decent, lifelong activists who don’t care about politics and finesse because they speak to a greater, moral truth. It’s also flatly untrue that Warren has more accomplishments. Warren was a Republican most of her life whereby contrast Bernie has been a progressive public servant for the entirety of his. Sanders is the most galvanizing force for progressive reform we’ve had in decades and he and his movement have not only gotten several key progressive issues on the table but have been instrumental in helping a new generation of progressive politicians get elected within the party

      Also, please don’t perpetuate the myth of the Bernie Bro. It has been proven – again and again – to be a false narrative invented by the Democrats to try and paint Bernie’s base – which is the most varied of any candidate – into some monolithic collection of fringe alt-right loons. Most of these attacks were not from actual Bernie supporters and yet people insist on pretending such false flag operations represent his base.

  3. Mark Hughes says:

    So liberal voters are more concerned with getting Trump out than with social issues that appeal to them. Typical gutlessness. This is why no matter who wins, ordinary workaday American citizens continue to lose. Not voting for someone but rather voting against someone else. This is likely why the past 3 presidents have gotten 2 straight terms, ironically enough, and aside from COVID-19 fallout, Trump will be the fourth. This is the reason I didn’t vote at all from 1996-2016, the latter year I voted for Jill Stein.

    Nichols misses the mark a bit on what Bernie should have done, and that’s go independent *in 2016*. He had a ton of popularity back then that could have parlayed into an independent candidacy. He still has it but, like last time, he’s still latched onto the teat of the DNC. How did that turn out in ’16? I like Bernie but I can’t vote for him if he insists on sticking with the Dems. Trump is indeed beatable as Ralph says, after all it took the Electoral College to put him in office last time. People conveniently forget that. But Bernie has chosen to stick with proven losers who have no desire to meaningfully improve the lives of the people. As Jimmy Dore correctly says, the Dems would rather lose to Trump than win with Bernie.

    Also, for Nichols to say Warren supports structural “fundamental” changes (like eliminating monopoly, as if that’s a fundamental problem and not a symptom) is a bit laughable. Until Warren comes out and, in light of a near-zero union presence in the private sector, lowest real incomes in decades and a wealth gap that has surpassed pre-Depression era levels, criticizes the capitalist system (which she won’t dare to) and staunchly and loudly advocates worker cooperatives, then I can’t take anything she says seriously. We’re beyond the point where ‘reform’ is needed. We had reform thanks to the New Deal but after FDR died the capitalists went to work to undo those reforms while the Boomers thought it was their work ethic that got them where they are. We’re to the point of economic or social revolution. Our system doesn’t need to be changed; it needs to be thrown out and replaced.

  4. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    I frankly find it baffling, perhaps even verging on the level of maliciously dishonest, to hear a so-called journalist talk about exit polls while completely ignoring the elephant in the room: massive, IMPROBABLE deviations from the unadjusted exit polls’ predicted election results and the officially reported vote tallies. We are at at least seven states now with such discrepancies: New Hampshire, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Texas, Vermont, California, and now Michigan too. Every time this has happened the deviations have been at Bernie Sanders’ expense. In fact it’s estimated that if California and Texas alone reported official results that were consistent with exit polls, Sanders would be ahead in delegate counts:

    Every other modern electoral republic uses exit polls as the gold standard for detecting fraudulent elections. The US state department itself refuses to certify the elections of foreign countries when the exit polls are too far off. If you respect the accuracy of exit polls on other topics, then you must concede they are also accurate on how people voted. And you would be right to: exit polls are historically some of the most accurate kinds of polls because they ask people questions almost immediately after they’ve just put a lot of thought into something. In countries throughout Western Europe for example, where they don’t bother with opaque, easily-hacked voting and counting machines, the exit polls are usually extremely accurate. Every single electronic ballot recording device and optical scanning device currently in use in the US has been hacked at the annual Defcon conference in Las Vegas.

    We could be talking about our election integrity crisis right now if you would follow my advice and invite some election integrity activists and journalists like Bob Fitrakis, John Brakey, Mark Crispin Miller (a much deeper media critic than John Nichols), Max Blumenthal, Aaron Mate, etc. If Sanders is at all serious about winning, he will pick his spine up off the floor where he dropped it when the 2016 election was stolen from his supporters in the same way and demand some damn recounts this time.

    P.S: another reminder that socialism is a mode of production, not “when the government does junk”. Read “Understanding Socialism” by Richard Wolff, Ralph. It’s an easy book, I know you’re capable of it. Your “corporate socialism”, “socialism for the rich”, “use socialism to bail out capitalism” (this one is truly an unbelievable face-palmer), etc. comments aren’t epic zingers, they make you sound ignorant and foolish to anyone who can spend a little time on an internet search.

    P.S.S. Instant Runoff Voting STINKS! It does not actually eliminate the spoiler effect: when three-or-more-way races are actually competitive it is not safe to order your candidates sincerely because it can help your least-liked candidate win. Don’t believe me? Here’s a video illustrating why this happens:
    It is because of this problem and others that Instant Runoff Voting is in fact one of the worst alternative voting methods, and we have clear empirical evidence of its insufficiently: everywhere it has been adopted it has maintained a two-party system. The Greens need to dump this junk from their national party platform already and take a nod from the Libertarian Party and pick up the far superior Approval or Score Voting.

    • Tyler Austin says:

      Beautifully done. I was just about to rant exactly the same way. Here’s another such intelligent, passionate rant: Lee Camp, also on this exact track. Banana Republic: It’s not just a brand, it is US.

  5. Don Harris says:

    I don’t think Bernrie making an electability argument at this point would really do all that much whether he stays in to the convention or not.

    The opportunity was available even just one or two weeks before Super Tuesday for Bernie to commit to run a small donor only campaign in the general election and I have been offering Ralph the opportunity to help Bernie by mobilizing citizens to put pressure on Bernie to make the small donor only commitment. (for more details on how small donor only campaigns could help the Dem nominee see my comment from last week’s and other shows).

    This might have helped Bernie enough to be closer or slightly ahead in delegates and votes now instead of allowing the momentum to shift to Biden.

    It is still remotely possible, though unlikely, that making the comittment at this point would get Bernie the nomination. So the best path forward at this point to beat Trump is to put pressure on the Bernie and Biden to take big action by making the small donor only commitment for the general election.

    And the best way to do that is for Ralph to enter the race NOW as a small donor only candidate.

    This campaign will be conditioned on whether the Dem nominee commits to run a small donor only campaign in the general election.

    If the Dem nominee makes the small donor only commitment, then Ralph drops out and works to help the Dem beat Trump.

    If the Dem nominee does not make the small donor only commitment then Ralph stays in through November and takes enough votes away from the Dem to get Trump re-elected.

    This would put the Dems in the position of having to show whether beating Trump is really more important to them than protecting the big money interests. It will show citizens that beating Trump is not important to the Dems because they would not be doing what it takes to EARN the votes they need to beat Trump by giving small donor only Ralph and his supporters what we want.

    Ralph Nader taking this big action now and sticking with it through November if needed will do much more than Bernie continuing through the convention with the small action of running a small contribution campaign instead
    of the taking the big action of committing to a small donor only campaign in the general election now when the opportunity is available.

    note: I did once catch Ralph in the C-Span studio (Washington Journal, 10-24-2018) when he said he would have me on the Radio Hour to discuss small donor only campaigns.

    So don’t feel so bad that you can only get Ralph on the phone.

    That is the only time since the 2000 campaign when I also got through to him about this on Washington Journal that I have been able to get through to Ralph.

    So don’t feel so bad that you can only get Ralph on the phone.

    I only seem to be able to get Ralph when he is a guest on Washington Journal. All the emails, snail mails, calls to CSRL and questions and comments posted here have not generated any response.

    Of course, Ralph only has about on hour each week on his radio hour so even if he did want to put me on the radio hour to discuss this it may just be one of many issues he can’t fit in.

    Washington Journal has up to 21 hours a week. Maybe Ralph could ask Washington Journal to help him make good on his statement that have would have me on the radio hour by having me join him on Washington Journal to discuss small donor only campaigns.

  6. joe peeer says:

    look hw well the virus test iz working,,,
    streets in Tehran, Paris and Hong Kong,,,protest all clear,,,
    the media flexing its muscles on the behest of despots and deep-state,,,
    wana bet Wall St gonna make a pretty buck off it nxt.
    they just opportunistic parasites…
    any 1 can get a virus. That includes u.
    Our own selfish fears are being co-opt,
    as we become unknowing participants in the suppression and oppression of institutional dissent.
    The system could have just mowed us down, if it wanted to,
    guess we should be thankful for the tender use of the psyche terror.
    Example: let’s play a real sinister scenario,Italy.
    notice the fumigators are all wearing masks, they sanitize the streets.
    u cant even tell if they are gov employees.
    with a well orchestrated operation, u could hv a few mercenaries act as fumigators.
    As the state/corp spread the propaganda.
    But the particulars don’t matter much. Ur just fodder for Fascism.
    It doesn’t even have to be a Conscious awareness manipulation,
    by a few bad actors. Even they are just unknowing participants.
    In a system that has a life of its own.
    The system, made of our organs is a super organism,
    acting in self preservation. Which OS r u using ?

  7. Dr.L Daniels says:

    I agree with Afdal Shahanshah –why John Nichols? He can’t answer questions about why blacks are supporting Biden nor can he respond to questions about people of color, in general. Nichols lives in Madison, Wi– still 90% white.

  8. Curt Hubatch says:

    I am really looking forward to listening to this episode while I deliver mail in northwest Wisconsin. What I look forward to most is the bits of political
    wisdom Ralph drops in during the show.

  9. Leota says:

    I agree.

  10. Silent Dogoood says:

    The election was rigged, even at the ballot box. Party apparatchiks have infiltrated every state party and affiliates. They control the media story, the voting rules, and the votes themselves. Everyone should be given a receipt when they vote. Don’t trust the boxes! They’d never let Bernie win. Come on! Don’t vote. Don’t bother. Listen to Bach or Buxtehude instead! The world ends in minus 12 years. Enjoy life! Celebrate! Love! The people will have to take power by force. This voting farce never has worked.