Ralph Nader: Obama will likely face challenge in Democratic primaries

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Nader in 2007
Image: Don LaVange.

Consumer advocate and four-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader revealed Thursday to The Daily Caller that there is an "almost 100 percent" chance that U.S. President Barack Obama will face a primary challenge from a Democrat. Nader has led a campaign for the past few months to draft a progressive to run in the Democratic primaries, which are held to determine the party's presidential nominee. He insists that he will not be the candidate and has labeled a potential run for the presidency in 2012 as "unlikely".

Incumbent presidents usually do not receive any serious challenges from within their party, but it has happened in the past. Senator Ted Kennedy challenged Democratic President Jimmy Carter in 1980, and in 1992, paleoconservative commentator Pat Buchanan opposed Republican President George H. W. Bush. Though both incumbent presidents secured their respective parties' nominations, the opposing party defeated them in the general election.

Nader has criticized President Obama for allowing the Bush tax cuts to continue late last year and is angry with the President's recent debt ceiling compromise with Republicans to cut spending. He argued that a "public works project" was necessary to create jobs.

In order for a challenge to be successful, Nader believes it must come from "an ex-senator or ex-governor [or] an intellectual leader or an environmental leader". Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who denied speculation that he might challenge the president, acknowledged that "if a progressive Democrat wants to run, I think it would enliven the debate [and] raise some issues." Congressman Alan Grayson, former Senator Mike Gravel and columnist Jim Hightower have been mentioned as possible candidates.

A CNN/ORC International poll from last month showed that nearly one fourth of Democrats will not commit to whether they think Obama should be renominated, and nearly a quarter of Americans that oppose the president believe he is not liberal enough.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont
Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida
Former Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska
Columnist Jim Hightower of Texas