by Dana Milbank

For first time in his 88 years, Ralph Nader is campaigning for the Democrats, not against them.

The legendary consumer advocate and four-time presidential candidate will never be forgiven by many Democrats for costing Al Gore the presidency in 2000 by playing the spoiler (a label that still infuriates Nader) on the Green Party ticket. Back then, Nader liked to say: “The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door.”

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It’s not that Nader suddenly likes Democrats. It’s that Democrats are the only thing standing in the way of an authoritarian takeover of the United States — and this is no time to be carping over trifles. “What’s different now is in 2000 there wasn’t a fascist drive coming over the horizon,” he told me this week. “Right now, we’re dealing with the greatest menace to a modest democratic society since the Civil War.”

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