"Landsliding"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 6 2012 4:19 PM

"Landsliding"

As far as I can tell, this Ralph Nader column -- from yesterday -- is only making waves because Politico decided to publish one of those occasional, strange "let's sum up a column by someone else as if we interviewed them" pieces about it. Nader doesn't have much to say, other than arguing that "the Democrats still have not come up with a clear list of the hundreds of Republican disastrous proposals," and that doing so would win 2012 for 'em. No, what I find interesting about the column is Nader's insistence that "landslide" is a verb, and that a successful campaign wins by "landsliding" somebody. He's been doing this for years. In February:

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

I often ask Congressional Democrats these days is: “If you agree that your Republican counterparts in Congress are the most craven, corporatist, fact-denying, falsifying, anti-99 percent, militaristic Republicans in the party’s history, then why are you not landsliding them?”
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In January, as he argued (sort of one-sidedly) with Ezra Klein:

Let’s face it, if today’s Republicans are the most craven, greedy, ignorant, anti-worker, anti-patient, anti-consumer, anti-environment and coddlers of corporate crime in the party’s history, why aren’t the Democrats landsliding them?

In 2004, explaining why it wouldn't really hurt Democrats if he ran again.

The Democrats should just stop whining and go to work. They should be landsliding Bush.

It's a clever, defensive line. Nader enabled the 2000 victory of George W. Bush by campaigning in swing states and going after disaffected Democratic voters. (Send me angry mail if you want, but this isn't really a subject of much historical debate.) Being blamed for Bush never much pleased Nader. So in 2004, and afterward, he argued that the Democrats had nothing to fear from him, because if they merely retooled "strategy" and talked about raising the minimum wage, they'd start "landsliding."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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