Noted without comment
It’s a brand new feature on this suddenly reticent blog: I post it today, I don’t say anything about it until tomorrow! From the Nation‘s post-election forum, “Looking Back, Looking Forward,” the words of Code Pink and Global Exchange co-founder Medea Benjamin:
MANY OF US IN THE GREEN PARTY made a tremendous compromise by campaigning in swing states for such a miserable standard-bearer for the progressive movement as John Kerry. Well, I’ve had it. As George Bush says, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me--you can’t get fooled again.”
For those of you willing to keep wading in the muddy waters of the Democratic Party, all power to you. I plan to work with the Greens to get more Green candidates elected to local office.
Let’s stop the infighting, though. Dems, Greens and other progressives must not only respect one another’s choices, we must start using these different “inside-outside” strategies to our collective advantage. A strategically placed Green/progressive pull could conceivably prevent a suicidal Democratic lurch to the right.
More on this tremendous compromise tomorrow!
I feel Medea’s pain, but I go one step further, I think. Electoral politics demands too much compromise for me ever to engage in it again. The most democratic of politics takes the form of mass movements. You don’t need 5 billion dollars for the entry fee, your message is expressed directly without the mediation of media specialists, and you enlarge free speech with every step you take. I’ll vote again only for Michael Berube’s VP bid.Posted by on 12/13 at 05:36 AM
I’m all in favor of finding ways to energize the process and excite voters at the grassroots level.
But I don’t know how far she’s going to get with a campaign to “put an end to felon disenfranchisement.” That will be about as popular as selling moldy cheese at the grocery store. And it’s way, way too easy to think of attack ads.
I think the goal is neither to go further to the left, nor is it to prevent a “Democratic lurch to the right.” Rather, I think we should explore ways to reshape political landscape by exploiting wedge issues to our advantage. Kerry was starting to do this towards the end with stem-cells—perhaps he should have pushed it even harder.Posted by Amardeep on 12/13 at 06:03 AM
"I plan to work with the Greens to get more Green candidates elected to local office.”
And Medea Benjamin was kept from doing this while campaigning for Kerry because…Posted by ghw on 12/13 at 09:19 AM
Admirable sentiments, but highly ineffective.
The voters’ bill of rights is larded with political nonstarters. Maximize voter access, create oversight, and count every vote? Like those haven’t been mentioned before. Besides, it can be argued that precincts are already doing the best they can, clouding the issue and stalling a grassroots before it can gain momentum. Just think what’s been done to global warming as a political issue, and that’s got actual science behind it. And if butterfly ballots were too tough for voters, what will the national electorate make of IRV? As for abolishing the electoral college, there is enough resistance to that movement on both sides of purple to ensure it won’t happen in my lifetime.
Even if the voters’ rights weren’t full of vagaries so diffuse as to render them useless, local third party movements rarely carry the umph to have a lasting effect on national politics and parties. The best chance they have is fusion voting, through which smaller parties can either put up their own candidates for election or cross endorse an existing mainstream candidate under their own column at the polls. If a third party has its own viable candidate, mazel tov. If not, it at least can concretely show its endorsed mainstream candidate exactly how many votes they were able to deliver, thus influencing that candidate’s policy and producing the desired “progressive pull.” The fusion system is particularly valuable in tight races.
The biggest problem with fusion voting is that it’s legal in only seven states. Still, it seems to me to be a more effective use of a third party’s time and organization. Passing fusion voting into state election laws could produce lasting national benefits for third parties’ interests on the national stage.Posted by on 12/13 at 09:19 AM
Washing your hands of the Democrats, eh? Karl Rove is rolling around on the floor laughing with glee....Posted by on 12/13 at 10:27 AM
that just makes me squirm. what is with all of the squabbling over which club to belong to? that’s such a liberal thing to do: as if choosing whether to be green or democrat or natural law is going to do anything to sway a significant enough percentage of the population to rally around your cause. so a couple of greens get elected in a couple of college towns and that constitutes a shift in the culture at large? sure.
out here in california, i’m thinking that if things start to get really bad: massive work stoppage. just, nobody in california go to work for an entire week. there’s a way to do it too, but, well, i’m still working out the details.
nothing changes unless headlines are written.Posted by random on 12/13 at 11:20 PM
The comments above lead me to believe that an irony vaccine has been invented and widely distributed on the left. Let’s recast Benjamin’s statement:
“Most of us on the left of the Democratic party made a tremendous compromise this year by refraining from calling Ralph Nader supporters complete blithering idiots, despite their support for a miserable person, bereft of ideas for years, who openly and gladly accepted Republican money. Well, I’ve had it. As Ernst Thalmann said, “there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between Nazis and Social Democrats, so I’m watching ‘American Idol’ and drinking Chai.”
“For those of you who continue the quixotic silliness of Green politics in red states, hey, go for it! I plan to crush Greens wherever I can and get Democrats elected to the few poats these ultra-left ninnies hold.
“But let’s not fight each other. Instead, let’s use ‘inside-outside’ strategies to get me exactly what I want while they deprive you of what you want. What’s wrong with a compromise like that, splinters?”
Consider the above a test of the vaccine.Posted by on 12/14 at 02:23 AM
That looks like a comment to me.Posted by Max on 12/14 at 05:21 AM
Frankly, I rather doubt Medea feels any pain. I recall back during the protests following the 2000 theft of the presidency, Benjamin showed up at a democratic protest rally in SF, and she used a bullhorn to shout down a little girl who had been speaking out about her concerns under a Bush pResidency.
Extremists, no matter what political ideology they spring from are unhealthy for all living things.Posted by on 12/17 at 06:48 PM