Political activist and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader has urged Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to attack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s record.
On Feb. 12, the 82-year-old Nader penned an op-ed in The Huffington Post blasting Clinton’s record on health care, transparency and foreign policy. An advocate for consumer rights and the environment, Nader has been a staunch supporter of Sanders’ candidacy for the Democratic nomination.
“Bernie Sanders is far too easy on Hillary Clinton in their debates,” Nader wrote. “Clinton flaunts her record and experience in ways that Sanders could use to expose her serious vulnerabilities and disqualifications for becoming president.”
The former Green Party candidate then laid out his argument against Clinton, attacking her defense of the current U.S. healthcare system.
“Clinton hasn’t explained why she was once for single-payer until she defined her ‘being practical’ as refusing to take on big pharma, commercial hospital chains and the giant insurance companies,” Nader wrote.
The activist then implied that Clinton’s positions are bought and that she misleads liberal voters on what can be done to reform the U.S. healthcare and campaign finance systems.
“This protector of the status quo and the gross imbalance of power between the few and the many expresses perfectly why Wall Street financiers like her so much and prove it with their large continuing monetary contributions,” he wrote.
Nader reserved his deepest scorn for Clinton’s foreign policy “hawkishness,” blaming her tenure as Secretary of State for the chaotic fallout of the Libyan revolution.
“Mrs. Clinton has never met a war or raid she didn’t like, or a redundant, wasteful weapons system she was willing to aggressively challenge,” Nader wrote. The activist accused Clinton of being a driving force of the “military industrial complex.”
Nader’s criticism of Clinton and praise of Sanders’ directness reflects his ideological purity. The activist has previously accused the Democratic party of being indistinguishable from the GOP. Democrats have blamed his independent run in 2000 for costing Vice President Al Gore the presidency, The Washington Post reports.
Sanders himself chose to run as a Democrat in the 2016 cycle after consulting with party insiders, who reportedly warned him that running as an independent would lead to a Republican in the White House.
Nader himself still endorses independent party runs for ideological reasons. In an op-ed piece for TIME Magazine, the advocate praised former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for considering an independent run for the general election.
However, he had criticism for Bloomberg behaving as a politician: “Bloomberg wants to run only if he thinks he can win. He is not interested in making collateral points or pursuing causes that are not directly on the path to electoral victory.”