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Ralph Nader‘s latest career turn as a D.C. statehood activist hasn’t been going so hot. His “limited general strike” for statehood—-basically, showing up late for work—-didn’t take off, and his presidential debate on the state of New Columbia never happened.
“The apathy is so thick you can cut it,” Nader tells LL.
Nader’s not discouraged, though. He claims that he can win statehood for the District in two years for the low, low price of $11 million. Nader alluded to his plan Monday on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Show, but didn’t go into details. LL couldn’t resist getting the full plan.
First, activists will need to raise the $11 million from rich Washingtonians, according to Nader. Once that minor task is done—-Nader insists the money will be “chicken feed” for the wealthy—-some of it would be used to launch a statehood tour around the country. But then, the plan takes a distinctly Naderian tone.
A million dollars would be spent on ads asking for volunteers to join Nader’s “trios”—-groups of three people who focus on a single senator or representative who opposes statehood. A single trio would start by meeting with the congressman and introducing some tough love. “We are your minders for your forthcoming vote, we hope, on statehood,” Nader imagines a statehood activist telling a senator.
The trio, backed by a team of researchers, gets to know everything about the politician. They show up at events and pressure congressmen some more. The trio would warn their target’s staff about dirt they dig up. “You’re seen as carrot and stick,” Nader says. “Preferably carrot.”
Putting that level of pressure on a sitting congressman might seem to bring the risk of backfiring, but Nader claims his plan is so good it will only take two years. “If it started today, it would be July 4, 2015,” he says. “Victory day.”
Photo by @mjb via Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0