To the Ramparts: How Bush and Obama Paved the Way for the Trump Presidency, and Why It Isn’t Too Late to Reverse Course

Ralph Nader. Seven Stories, $26.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-60980-847-1
Longtime activist Nader links the rise of President Trump and decline of the Democratic Party to the latter’s turn away from being champions of a “people’s agenda” in this uneven recent history of and jeremiad against corporatist American politics. While Nader is at pains to be clear that he finds the Democrats preferable to Republicans in some policy areas, he argues that their litany of failures in the economic realm is the main reason the party has lost power. He also identifies structural problems with American democracy and calls for top-down “necessary reforms,” offering an eight-point platform—which includes a minimum wage hike, military cuts to fund public works, and conversion to renewable energy—that Democratic candidates could adopt in order to win the support of wide swaths of the electorate. The presentation can at times distract from his ideas: fictional passages are full of oddly dramatic flourishes (in one, Barack Obama consents to chat with the ghost of Osama bin Laden “as long as you remain hovering and do not attempt to defile this solemn room”) and the reproduction of numerous, sometimes pages-long chiding letters to major political figures may grate on even avowed Nader fans (especially given the 2015 book compiling his letters to Presidents Bush and Obama). But readers who don’t mind those elements will find well-argued ideas here. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/27/2018
Release date: 08/28/2018
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