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Why Was It So Effing Close?

David Dayen, executive editor of The American Prospect, joins Ralph to give us his insights into why the Democrats did not landslide the Republican Party of Donald Trump. And attorney Leonard Goodman of the Chicago Reader reveals why the Democrats did very little to stop the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett.

David Dayen is the executive editor of The American Prospect, an independent political magazine, that aims to advance liberal and progressive goals through reporting, analysis and debate. His work has appeared in The Intercept, HuffPost, The Washington Post and more. On his previous appearance on the show we discussed his book Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud. Mr. Dayen’s most recent book is titled Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power, which was released in July of this year.


“I think the way Chuck Schumer looks at Senate recruitment is that he picks the candidates who will give him the least amount of hassle if they’re part of his caucus. He picks candidates who will do what he says.”

David Dayen, author of Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power


“They just lit money on fire. Consultants got very rich off of this doomed set of [Senate] campaigns.”

David Dayen, author of Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power

“The Republicans give the Democrats about twelve arrows for their quivers and they use about three.”

Ralph Nader

Leonard Goodman is a Chicago criminal defense attorney and a co-owner of The Chicago Reader. As an attorney, Mr. Goodman has built a successful practice representing many defendants who would otherwise not receive fair representation. He represents fifteen to thirty percent of his clients pro-bono. Mr. Goodman also writes regularly for The Chicago Reader, including a recent piece entitled “The real reason Democrats didn’t stop the Barrett confirmation”.


“The donors clearly were fine with having a Justice [Amy Coney] Barrett. You know we supposedly live in a representative democracy, but it’s pretty clear, we have two corporate parties that are both playing to their donors and trying to enact policies that will satisfy the donors.”

Leonard Goodman, co-owner of The Chicago Reader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 348 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. The “Democratic” (see: Orwell) Party “triangulation/third way” neoliberal Wall Street love affair, courtesy of Clinton and Obama, gave us Trump 🦀 Fascism. 😠 (see graphic below)

    If Biden goes the same route as Obama, we are 🤦‍♂️ CATASTROPHIC CLIMATE CHANGE COOKED, never mind losing our country to Fascist Tyrants 😬 ( TrumpAdministration Civil and Human Rights Rollbacks 👉 ). ANYONE who blathers about the “merit of the possible” (i.e. “centrist” policies) is either willfully stupid or totally sold out to profit over people and planet corporations, period.

    🔊The time for incrementalist half measures is OVER.

    QUOTE by Alex 🌞, host of Radio Ecoshock: A NEW CLIMATE SONG On the show I play the new song “We Don’t Have Time” ( ) written by Ingemar Beattone Aberg, CJ Palmer and Adam Baptiste, with a little Greta Thunberg ✨ in the track.

    The message Biden needs to get through his Republican loving head is that CENTRIST IS SUICIDE BY STUPID! (see graphics below)

    That said, unfortunately for those of us with critical thinking skills, the brazen Social Darwinists (i.e. ethically challenged greedballs funding the DUOPOLY) ruining this biosphere have no intention of changing their ways. Thus, the human population will not escape a massive decline due to Catastrophic Climate Change. Those who think their riches willl enable them to survive the Catastrophic Climate Caused ☠️ Culling, while dancing on the graves of the “useless eater” poor and middle class, are in for a rude awakening. Even with 90% of the human population dead by 2060-80, the horrendous effects (on ALL high order vertebrate species on Earth) of Catastrophic Climate Change will continue to increase in frequency and duration. 😞

    The REAL bottom line is that less than 17% of the human population is an existential threat to ALL of the human population AND a large part of macroscopic species in the biosphere. 💣(see graphics below)

    Those at the top of this Capitalist Pigout Pyramid Clusterfork have to radically change their criminally insane ways and their Social Darwinist ideology to biosphere enhancing, sustainable altruistic ideology sanity or they will be toast along with the rest of us.

  2. Mark Hughes says:

    Great interview with both guests. I have heard David Dayen many times, I am a fan of his. Very insightful, very clear. Also enjoyed Goodman, I got a lot out of him in the relatively short time he had.

    As discussed, Kentucky Dems could have had a much better candidate going up against McConnell, but instead they screwed said candidate, Charles Booker, in favor of McGrath. When Schumer put his thumb on that scale in favor of McGrath, most analysts knew she was going to lose to McConnell. And she did.

    But then again, so what? What if Booker beat McGrath then McConnell? As is typical regarding progressives upon election, they get assimilated into the Democratic establishment and are yanked in line. Much of the Squad and the Justice Dems were eventually defanged by “Mama Bear”, Booker would’ve been no different. Jones, Bowman, Newman and (Cori) Bush will be no different. The power of Capital.

    But fear not! The Dems will rake in more money being the opposition, as opposition parties normally do, so they are going to be OK. America, not so much. The Dems may be a lot of things; feckless, corrupt, clueless, whatever. But what they won’t be is poor. And that’s all that matters. So no, they really don’t want to win. Because then they’d theoretically be accountable.

    “I think there’s a corruption here.” Yeah?

    Look, Joe Biden is going to be a presidency about nothing. He ran & won on nothing so that’s what he’s going to deliver. Republicans will control the Senate, the Democratic presence in the House is now weakened, not to mention a conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court. Biden & the Dems will use this situation as an excuse to do nothing while blaming the Republicans for obstruction. It’s the Democratic way.

    As rapper Ice Cube said a while back, “Trump’s out, now what?“

    No more hype, no more talk. Pee or get off the pot.


    On Afdal’s listener question, Ralph’s response regarding the abolition movement is actually correct. I don’t trust the rich in anything but wealthy whites were indeed instrumental in that fight.

    I’m currently reading Theodore Weld’s classic “American Slavery As It Is”, and it is full of accounts of well-off whites who were sensitive to the institutionalized sadism of black slavery. This book is so powerful that even Frederick Douglass himself referred to it in his first autobiography, which is why I read it. Not a long book, I suggest it highly. But yes, Weld, the Grimké sisters, Garrison, John Brown, many “woke” whites were integral, the last of whom is credited with starting the Civil War. In this book there were even accounts of former slavers who contributed their experiences to the book.

    Nevertheless, I don’t find it unhealthy to distrust the elite as Afdal states. As a class, they’re destructive, and it was the elite who demanded (and still demands) slavery in the first place.

  3. Don Harris says:

    I think you may have hit on something- the politicians are trying to make their donors happy.

    So why not make the politicians enact a policy to only take contributions from small donors, then the politicians will want to make the small donors happy.

    This can be accomplished without legislation simply by getting citizens to commit to only vote for small donor candidates. They can sign up at a website their intention to vote for small donor candidates in 2022 and pledge to contribute to those candidates.

    This will inspire candidates to run small donor campaigns in the 2022 primaries and general election. We cannot wait for the candidates to offer this policy- we must work together and demand it and enforce that demand with our votes.

    Basic democracy.

    The website ( already exists, it just needs to be updated for 2022. It also needs Ralph Nader to inform citizens about the opportunity to form a congressional watchdog group in each district to get citizens registered to participate now as the fundraising for 2022 has already started.

    80% of citizens want the big money out of politics, including a majority of Republicans.

    Big money corrupting our political process is the major obstacle to available affordable solutions to almost every issue that has reached the tipping point and must be solved now, such as the War on Habitat.

    The only reason the big money politicians can worry about their big money donors is that citizens keep voting for them. If you keep voting for big money candidates you will keep getting big money legislators.

    There is a quiver of arrows in the votes and contributions of small donors. Isn’t it time for you to use them in the bow instead of continuing to bow out on this opportunity?

  4. Donald Klepack says:

    Trumps gone, now it’s time the Democrats get Rid of Nancy Pelosi –

  5. Brian Lacy says:

    AOC hada great deal of deadly accurate assessments of how dnc/ dccc blew it using similar boomer hubris we endured four years ago. She’d make an excellent guest re crafting new tactics pressing Biden/ congress leftward, even to expanding SCOTUS.

  6. Eric Bernhoft says:

    Jimmy Dore has a great interview this week with Nick Brana who is spearheading the Movement For A People’s Party which is gearing up to field candidates to run for Congress in 2022 from a decidedly progressive position without corporate money. I encourage you to bring him on your show.

    • Afdal Shahanshah says:

      I don’t trust anything Nick Brana says, that guy is a total grifter and strikes me as a narcissist. He’s had four years to make good on his claims of party building while he goes on talk shows trashing actually existing opposition parties, and what did he have to show for it when it was all said and done? Zero ballot access in 2020 and a “convention” suspiciously timed to happen immediately AFTER every state had just closed their ballot access petitioning deadlines. Almost as if it were an attempt to kill enthusiasm for other third parties this election year… And then we learn that some Greens actually tried to get involved and were turned away because they were “too radical” for them. Then, half the speakers at his convention turn around and tell people to vote for Biden when it’s over. It’s quite ironic that Brana claims to be making some sort of broad coalition party when apparently anyone including the Greens and left of them is too extreme. In truth, the people’s party is the actual sectarian project. A sectarian project of the worst kind: one attempting to appeal to a vanishing political center and dying middle class in a time of crisis.

      Brana’s party-building strategy also leaves a lot to be desired. He has delusions of grandeur that he’s going to recruit another Lincoln and replicate the cataclysm that replaced the Whigs before the American civil war. Missing from his analysis is the context in which that happened, and the many other times in history this strategy has been attempted and failed. From Teddy Roosevelt to Robert la Follette to Henry Wallace and even to wealthy right-wingers like Ross Perot, every time one of these already-popular figures was chosen to descend from the heavens and lead a new party, when they failed to actually win the presidential election their parties collapsed practically overnight in the aftermath. His strategy is an incredibly myopic one that has no room for long-term organizing and is attached to an interpretation of electoral politics as nothing but a professional wrestling spectacle.

      Don’t fall for Nick Brana’s grift again while he sits on his couch giving talk show interviews, join one of the actually existing people’s parties with actually existing ballot access like the Greens and do some real organizing.

  7. John Puma says:

    Please, anyone, could the “senatorial hold” have been used to delay the vote for confirmation of AC Barrett?
    I am frustrated by the recurring refrain that “the Democrats didn’t go all-out to stop Barrett” … without ever a mention of what constitutes “all-out” in a SCOTUS nominee confirmation (or not) process.

    • Mark Hughes says:

      With the election of Biden, the Dems will still avoid putting forth effort to stop whatever from the Republicans. They now have a political landscape that establishment Dems could only dream of: Republican Senate, weakened House, and a supermajority conservative Supreme Court. This way they can “fail” all day long and tell the public that it was all the Republicans’ fault for blocking them.

      Because once again, as they’ve long established as fact, the Democratic Party is absolutely unwilling to govern. They just don’t want to, especially during a pandemic, the worst economy at least since the Great Depression if not ever and massive social unrest. No, the Dems would much rather lose, particularly during times of crisis, because then they can 1) blame the Republicans for their failures, and 2) ramp up fundraising big-time, as there’s always more money to be made as the opposition. This feeble attempt to block ACB was intentional, much like the farce of the impeachment of Donald Trump, who was never removed from office despite committing several legitimately impeachable offenses.

      Recall that from Jan 2009-11, the Democrats had the Oval Office, a supermajority in the Senate and controlled the House. And what did they do? Removed marijuana from schedule 1? Nope. Raised the minimum wage? Nope. Ended the wars? Hell no, they actually increased the number of wars we’re in! Gave us universal healthcare? God no, matter of fact they passed a right-wing, corporate giveaway of a healthcare system hatched from the Heritage Foundation and modeled after Romneycare, and continued bailing out banks while millions of people got kicked out of their homes. No, they don’t want to govern. They want to slum through and blame their failures on the Republicans, the latter of which is, as Noam Chomsky correctly describes, not even a legitimate political party rooted in parliamentary principles.

      This is the twisted, warped political culture of America, and its bastard electoral system is its afterbirth. I don’t blame anyone for being a nonvoter. This system sucks hard. And all these pee-pants scared but now elated liberals like Michael Moore might just find out how empty Joe Biden is. But then again, for as ‘woke’ as they fancy themselves, they’ve never awakened to what Obama’s actual legacy really is.

  8. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    The reason the Democrats gave Trump a pass on being a “savage sexual predator” is because Biden himself has a credible accusation of sexual assault against him. And Elizabeth Warren “amplifying and extending” the Bernie Sanders movement? Ralph, please. She was put in the race transparently to take votes from him and backpedaled on much of the vague progressive legislation she’s advocated during the primary, including medicare for all. She didn’t even perform that well and has nothing resembling a movement behind her now after her treachery in progressives’ eyes.

    Flattered to have one of my comments addressed on air again. The point I was trying to get across that Ralph kind of dodged though is that the MOST POWERFUL members of the ruling class are the most anti-social and have the power and incentive to COUNTER whatever progressive social leanings a small minority of less powerful members choose to exercise. The difference between a small fry millionaire and a hundred billionaire who sits on a Pentagon board is orders of magnitude. The most the meeker millionaire can hope to do is as Ralph pointed out, using their power to eke out small enclaves of working-class interest in the form of media and non-profit orgs. But these often turns sour when the employees find themselves butting heads against their wealthy patron’s class interests. Just look at the downfall of Truthdig and The Real News Network over the last year, or The Intercept’s turn from an oppositional journalistic outlet to a state stenographer over time. Class interests tend to dominate in the end. The best way to fund a long-term citizens’ group is with a dues-based membership system that can hold its leaders accountable to a broad base. When you get too close to a handful of donors contributing the bulk of your organization’s funds you begin to bend to their will.

  9. Don Harris says:

    I saw the Jimmy Dore interview, as much of the MPP convention as I could bear (about three hours) and visited the website.

    The MPP gearing up to run candidates from a progressive position without corporate money is accurate. It is also the entire plan.

    Just because they are not taking corporate money does not mean they are not taking big money.

    Their website donation page allows 500 dollar and other (for larger contributions) for one time and recurring contributions.

    Just 10% of the 150 million 2020 voters investing 100 dollars in contributions to small donor candidates in 2022 would total 1.5 billion dollars. Small donor defined as 200 dollars or less per year to the organization and 200 dollars per election (primary, general) for candidates from any one donor in the 2022 election cycle.

    The majority of citizens can only afford at most 200 dollars in contributions to one candidate or organization.

    So in order to be a Peoples Party the party and it’s candidates need to be financed by small donors in order to represent those citizens the MPP claims it wants to represent. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

    And the 1.5 billion is just the tip of the iceberg. Those that can afford to make contributions of more than 200 dollars can send small contributions to many small donor only candidates. For example, 200 dollars to 10 candidates or 100 dollars to twenty candidates.

    This will enable small donor candidates in districts that do not have the affluence to support a small donor only candidate living in their district to run competitive small donor candidates where they are needed most.

    The big money interests work across district and state lines so there is no reason that small donors should not also work together across district and state lines to fight back.

    Without the small donor commitment the the MPP is just another false alternative.

    If Ralph does have Nick Brana on the show he should ask him if the MPP will be making the small donor commitment and the rational for not making this commitment if that continues to be the position of the MPP.

    • Afdal Shahanshah says:

      I think the whole idea of funding a party with donations need to be scrapped. Dues-based membership systems are the way to go: They result in consistent funding and an activated base that can hold its leadership accountable.

  10. margaret walsh says:


  11. erotik says:

    And I forgot, more citizens of Dem controlled states are dying from covid-19 than Republican controlled states. Lynn Feliks Primrosa

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