Monday, 6 July 2015
Last updated 4 hours ago
Feb 25 2014 | 9:52am ET
Consumer advocate and veteran third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader is looking for an extremely rich person to follow in his footsteps.
Nader has come up with a memo listing 20 "modestly enlightened rich people" whose candidacy could shake up the U.S.'s two-party system. And the roster is littered with folks who made their billions in alternative investments.
Topping Nader's list is Farallon Capital Management founder Thomas Steyer. Steyer would indeed appear a dream candidate for the leftist Nader; he is a big donor to liberal causes, especially environmental ones, and recently retired from Farallon, giving him plenty of free time.
But Nader's list isn't composed only of those likely to agree with him on most issues. "The following names are put forth…. without any implication that I either support or oppose their particular candidacies or political beliefs," he wrote.
"Presently, only very rich modestly enlightened people could have a chance to break this introverting cycle of political oligarchy, which unenlightened rich people generally approve of, that sets its own rules, makes its own laws, appoints its own judges and even brazenly forces taxpayers to finance its quadrennial political conventions."
Among those modestly enlightened billionaires are Bridgewater Associates' Ray Dalio, who Nader calls "an engaged philanthropist;" Kohlberg Kravis Roberts co-founder Jerome Kohlberg, who has "funded campaign finance reform;" retired Centaurus Energy founder John Arnold; Tiger Global Management's Chase Coleman; Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, a "former, energetic White House assistant to President Carter;" Rubenstein's fellow Carlyle co-founder William Conway, "whose philanthropic mission is to generate job-producing activities;" and Duquense Capital Management founder Stanley Druckenmiller, who in his retirement is "giving to medical research, education and the fight against poverty."
Other bold-faced names on Nader's list are Oprah Winfrey, Ted Turner, Netscape founder and venture capitalist Marc Andreesen, former AOL CEO Steve Case, Facebook chief operating officer and author of Lean In Sheryl Sandberg, Pacific Investment Management Co. founder William Gross, Fidelity Investments President Abigail Johnson, former New York gubernatorial candidate Thomas Golisano and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
"MERPs can open up this closed system and make it breathe. And this openness helps people publically place many issues, redirections and improvements, from the local to the global, on the electoral table that have been previously wholly neglected by the Republican and Democratic political parties," Nader wrote.
Nader said he had warned each of the 20 names on his list of their inclusion prior to making it public.
"Some of them will probably describe any candidacy by them as absurd, impossible, ridiculous and completely outside their most fanciful imaginations," he wrote. "But it is also possible that a few will recognize the strategy behind their selection, and consider playing a part in opening up a closed, stagnant, deadening system that is grinding our country and its future into the ground and depriving our future generations of a robust, open and functioning democracy."
May 27 2015 | 2:15pm ET