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What’s Wrong With the Biden’s Election Strategy?

Ralph welcomes “the world’s greatest political adman,” Bill Hillsman, to discuss what Joe Biden and the Democrats need to do to beat Trump. And Susan Clark, author of “All Those In Favor: Rediscovering the Secrets of Town Meeting and Community” joins us to talk about the virtues of direct democracy.

Bill Hillsman is a writer and an expert on Independent voters. He is the founder and CEO of North Woods Advertising in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He ran award-winning political advertising campaigns for Senator Paul Wellstone, Governor Jesse Ventura and our own Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign. North Woods Advertising has won numerous awards for creativity in advertising, including an EMMY and multiple POLLIE awards. Mr. Hillsman authored the book “Run The Other Way: Fixing the Two-Party System, One Campaign at a Time”.

“There’s plenty of evidence that what Donald Trump has done has been outright harmful to you and your family on a day-to-day basis. Outright harmful! But the Democrats haven’t done a good job of connecting the dots on that. So, I think it’s incumbent on Democrats, on their communicators, to show people exactly what Donald Trump has done. What his policies have been. How those have harmed your family. Outright harmed your family.”

Bill Hillsman, founder of North Woods Advertising

Susan Clark is a writer and facilitator with a focus on community sustainability and citizen participation. She is a radio commentator and former talk-show co-host. She served as a communication director for the Vermont Natural Resources Council. And Ms. Clark co authored the books “All Those In Favor: Rediscovering the Secrets of Town Meeting and Community” and Slow Democracy: Rediscovering Community, Bringing Decision Making Back Home”

“It’s pretty easy to vote down a budget when you’re in the privacy of a ballot box. But in a Town Meeting government isn’t an us-them situation. It’s a WE situation. It’s WE are here together. WE need to stay until we fix our problem. There’s much less of this sense of mob rule and much more a sense of ‘Okay, neighbors, we may not agree, but we need to come out of here with a decision.’”

Susan Clark, author of All Those in Favor: Rediscovering the Secrets of Town Meeting and Community

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 327 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    Advertising is what you do when you have a bad product. What’s Biden gonna do? Hide himself away behind text and other people to avoid showing his obvious signs of dementia? Lie a whole bunch about supporting progressive reforms that we know he’ll never follow through with? Just like Obama lied about supporting single-payer healthcare while he formed a cabinet out of Citigroup picks behind the scenes? We all know what that will accomplish: an even more cynical, disillusioned electorate and an opening for an even more extreme, openly fascistic offering from the Republican party the next election after that. Is defeating Trump [with another anti-worker big business goon] really something that’s going to lead to meaningful change? The practice of putting message before policy isn’t a problem with Democrat Party state of mind or anything like that, it comes from a fundamental class association between the party and big business. The party’s agenda is the donor agenda and that won’t change unless the donors change.

    And Warren revealed what a totally shameless opportunist she was in 2016 and 2020. She flip flopped on a whole bunch of progressive issues (particularly healthcare), refused to endorse Sanders twice, and even ginned up a sexist remark hoax in an incredibly cynical debate tactic. She’s burned most of her credibility with progressives. Calling her some sort of legacy of Bernie Sanders is humorously inaccurate.

    Fun fact about direct democracy: it’s the only form of democracy according to the ancient Athenians who invented the word. And not because their perspective was limited, as some historically revisionist political scientists would have you believe. According to Aristotle’s writings on government, the Athenians were well aware of electoral methods of governance like we use, and they considered them to be OLIGARCHY because of the tendency of electoral systems to uplift those already well off in society. Democracy in the original sense meant major decisions by popular vote with public officials selected through a randomized system called sortition. “Representative democracy” isn’t democracy.

    P.S. Another friendly reminder that “big socialism” is word salad nonsense picked up from Red Scare propaganda. Socialism is not whenever the government does anything, it’s when workers have democratic control over their own production. Pick up the book Understanding Socialism by Richard Wolff and educate yourself, Ralph.

  2. Wortmanberg says:

    This interview from 1968 is related to the town meeting segment in spades: https://www.wnyc.org/story/walter-karp

  3. Don Harris says:

    Actually, the policy needs to be the message.

    The Dems only appear to take people for granted. Their job is to provide a false alternative to the Republicans that is only successful enough to win when the Republicans have gone too far and then hold down the fort with superficial changes until citizens are so disappointed they will put Republicans back in control.

    That is why as Ralph said “They have the same political consultants. They don’t return calls from people who could give them ideas and be a little critical of what they’re doing.”

    The Dems (Biden) will not do what it will takes to bring on real change unless they are forced to.

    And to be little critical of what you are not doing Ralph, you are not taking full advantage of an opportunity to mobilize citizens to demand that Biden takes real action to earn our votes.

    While you allow me to post comments here about citizens demanding that Biden (and/or all candidates) run a small donor only campaign, you have not offered the idea this is based on on your radio hour as you said you would on Washington Journal (10-24-2018) or otherwise informed and encouraged citizens to work together to make this demand.

    “Grilled tenderloin for fundraiser- 1000 dollars a plate”
    This does not apply because the organization will have the same limit of 200 dollars or less we demand of the candidates to fund the organization.

    “Campaigns ads filled with half truths- ten million dollars. Promises to special interests groups- over ten billion dollars.”
    This also does not apply for the same reason.

    Without Ralph Nader informing citizens about this idea and organizing citizens to make this demand this demand does not stand a chance.

    Ralph Nader providing citizens the opportunity to consider making this demand and enforcing it with their votes- PRICELESS.

  4. Donald Schreiber says:

    We need to see the voters elect new people,
    do not return incumbents to office this year.
    We need our Constitution and Term Limits.
    Politicians should not be permitted to just “check in” every November for a free gerrymandered ride…

  5. Janice Gintzler says:

    What we really need is to get the money out of elections. Strange to say, but Senator John McCain walked the walk when he took Obama up on the challenge to use only publicly provided money. Obama reneged. So I never voted for either of the candidates. Money is the reason that Ralph Nader was left out of debates. Why should a network decide who participates? Debates are a charade. Money is the reason we have partisanship instead of a working Congress which should have impeached Trump.

  6. Harry Hoch says:

    It’s the Trump virus, Trump flu, Trumpdemic, Trump disease, Covid Trump. Spreader in chief………

    Pin it on him as much as possible, ubiquitisly, be creative, come up with better ones.

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