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Fightin’ words

This weekend, Elizabeth Warren spoke at Netroots Nation. This is what I want. This is what I would like the Democratic party to be.

We have to talk about what does it mean to be a progressive, an American.

We believe Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.

We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth, and we’re willing to fight for it.

We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality, and we will fight for it.

We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage, and we will fight for it.

We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.

We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt, and we will fight for it.

We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions, and we will fight for it.

We believe — and I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014 — we believe in equal pay for equal work, and we will fight for it.

We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America, and we will fight for it.

We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform, and we will fight for it.

And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it. We will fight for it!

Right here  in this room this is where it happens. This is 21st century democracy. This is where we decide that we the people will fight for this together, and we’re going to win!

Everyone seems to be assuming that Hillary Clinton is going to be the frontrunner for the next presidential election. Can she be this strong on the right things?

Comments

  1. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    I so wish Elizabeth Warren had the means to win a presidential race. She’s so many kinds of awesome.

  2. says

    No, Hillary Clinton cannot be as strong as Elizabeth Warren on these things. Hillary has devoted decades to avoid unduly frightening the nation’s power brokers while rising to positions of power. She is progressive-lite. Warren, on the other hand, is a true populist. That, of course, is why Warren frightens certain big-bucks people to death. I love her straightforward progressive message and see her as rousing the troops in a much too timid Senate. I don’t, however, think that at this early stage Warren could translate this energy and drive into a successful presidential campaign and—which is much more to the point—apparently neither does she. I’ll take her at her word and watch her move the Democratic Party’s center of mass toward truth and goodness and other stuff like that, including a decent concern for the common citizen. The more Warren does this, the more Hillary will be nudged to adopt a progressive platform, which is important since she has excellent chance to be the person in a position to set national policy—especially if we put a bunch of Warrenistas in the two houses of Congress.

  3. Sili says

    This is what I would like the Democratic party to be.

    And I want a pony and a ten inch pianist.

    Guess who’s gonna get his wish granted first.

  4. thewhollynone says

    Warren has said that she is not running in 2016. I will vote for her in any race she runs whenever I am eligible to vote. I don’t agree with her about everything, but 90% agreement isn’t bad.

    We have to take over the House in 2014 and keep it in 2016 or we are toast.

  5. elfsternberg says

    Hillary will only be that strong as long as Elizabeth Warren stays in Congress to hold Hillary’s feet to the fire.

  6. Sili says

    More seriously.

    Take advantage of the Tea Party sucking up all the nutters, and form an opposition from the Left.

    Eventually the Republans will have to drift in the territory formerly occupied by the Democrats (before they grew utterly rightwing), while the Democrats will have had to pander to the Left.

  7. machintelligence says

    How about a Clinton – Warren ticket in 2016? Of course that could mean the silencing of Warren a la Hubert Humphrey when he was VP under Johnson. (See Tom Lehrer: Whatever Became of Hubert?)

  8. samihawkins says

    I’d love for Warren to be the Dem candidate, but I find it utterly impossible to believe she’d beat Clinton for the nomination.

    Rather than them fighting each other for this nomination and hurting our chances in the general election I’d much rather Warren stayed in Congress until Clinton’s 8 years were up and take over the Oval Office when she leaves it.

  9. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    thewhollynone:

    We have to take over the House in 2014 and keep it in 2016 or we are toast.

    That’s not a guaranteed outcome. And that thought sickens me. Gerry-mandering, voter-ID, no presidential ticket… My hope is to at least keep the numbers we have and take it back next Presidential election. But the middle-American populace are finicky and indecisive when it comes to an 8 year run by one party in the Oval Office, and with all the propaganda being bandied about by conservatives all the fucking time to poison the well, Democrats’d do well to get either, but I’ll eat my hat if Democrats got both. My pessimism leads me to predict losses in seats this mid-term but gains in 2016, with a Republican Teanut-lite in the OO.

  10. says

    @ 8

    What could be a better match-up? A cold-hearted political operative paired with a progressive straight-talker. I think it could happen.

  11. moarscienceplz says

    I’d like to see Hillary Clinton assert that corporations are not people as strongly as Senator Warren did – and I’d also like a jetpack that costs less than $500 which could fly me to work with a zero carbon footprint.
    I’m betting the jetpack happens sooner.

  12. Lee1 says

    How about a Clinton – Warren ticket in 2016?

    From a purely political junkie standpoint (I miss that segment on Talk of the Nation…), I can’t imagine this happening. The VP candidate is supposed to shore up support from groups that aren’t already drawn to the top of the ticket. Having the first serious major party presidential candidate who’s a woman choose a woman for a running mate would be absolutely shocking to me. Not bad (also not the best – I’d probably prefer Warren/Clinton), but shocking.

  13. says

    I love Elizabeth Warren. I gave money to her campaign for senate. If someone is going to challenge Hillary from the left Elizabeth Warren is probably the best candidate. But the left needs to pick much more specific demands and not become attached to one candidate or another. On policy Hillary Clinton actually had a more liberal domestic policy agenda than Barack Obama did. I’d like to see the left rally behind specific policy ideas rather than one candidate. Higher and stricter reserve requirements for banks. Putting a price on carbon emission and toughening Obama’s EPA restrictions if congress won’t act. Adding a public option to Obamacare. Public funding for abortion as part of preventative health care. Cuts to the military industrial complex. Comprehensive immigration reform. Paid maternity leave. Etc etc.

  14. says

    Lee1, I think we have made it past “woman choose a woman for a running mate” as a bad thing. My political sense is that it’s a winning combination.

    Just think how good Warren will look compared to Palin!

  15. microraptor says

    Just think how good Warren will look compared to Palin!

    A dachshund would look good compared to Palin*.

    *Please note that this statement is referring purely to Palin’s political stances and should not be interpreted to be an insult aimed at personal appearance.

  16. duce7999 says

    I would much rather lend my resources and support to this Methodist Senator than to any movement atheists that I can think of.

  17. says

    duce7999 @ 18

    Hrrmph, Methodists. My brother is a member in good standing at a Methodist church, and they know full well he’s an atheist.

    Fickle lot, the Methodists.

  18. F.O. says

    Isn’t Clinton a fan of Deepak Chopra?

    Anyway, kudos to Sen. Warren for bringing back the economic issue to the front.
    Western democracies have been greatly weakened by the disappearance of an active middle class.

  19. HolyPinkUnicorn says

    @F.O.:

    Isn’t Clinton a fan of Deepak Chopra?

    PuffPo published an open letter from her in response to six issues he was questioning candidates about in 2008, though I’d imagine that it was more to simply garner support of his followers (Obama also wrote an open letter to Chopra).

    But worse, in my opinion, is Clinton has recently said things like:

    At the risk of appearing predictable, the Bible was and remains the biggest influence on my thinking. I was raised reading it, memorizing passages from it and being guided by it. I still find it a source of wisdom, comfort and encouragement.

    It doesn’t sound predictable so much as it sounds depressingly sycophantic towards god-botherers who might be on the fence about voting for her.

  20. screechymonkey says

    [hipster mode activated]
    I thought Warren was awesome when she was just a law professor (and served on some bankruptcy reform committees, and wrote some blog posts).
    [/hipster]

    I wish, though, that every mention of Warren didn’t turn into a discussion of her running for President. It seems like, since Ted Kennedy died at least, liberals don’t care about any politician unless he or she is running for President. Warren can still get shit done as a Senator, whether it’s passing bills, or good committee/oversight work, or campaigning for and steering funds towards other Congressional candidates. That’s not as sexy as a Presidential campaign, but this shit matters.

    Democrats will always be at a disadvantage to Republicans as long as their base doesn’t take mid-term elections, and state elections, as seriously as the Republicans do.

    (And sorry for the lecturing tone — I know the Horde probably understands this pretty well.)

    oh, and

    I’d much rather Warren stayed in Congress until Clinton’s 8 years were up and take over the Oval Office when she leaves it.

    Warren is 65 years old. In 2024, when Hilary’s hypothetical two terms are up, she’ll be 75. Reagan was a spry 69 when he won his first term. If Hilary loses in 2016, maybe Warren runs in 2020, but that’s the only scenario I can see.

  21. Trish Brown says

    I do like Senator Warren’s positions on our US economic system, but has anyone here bothered to check her ideas on Israel/Palestine. To me, they sound no different from very scarey McCain.

  22. says

    If she wants to move to Australia I’ll vote for her. That’s a pretty clear declaration of our progressive party’s principles which I haven’t heard here recently.

  23. Pierce R. Butler says

    Re: just about all the above.

    Please note that Warren (along with Sanders, Franken, et al – including both Clintons) apparently supports, or at least refuses to criticize, any of the bloodthirsty atrocities presently perpetrated by Israel in Gaza.

    How soon we forget!

  24. fullyladenswallow says

    #21 Ragutis:

    “Is a Warren/Sanders ticket too much to hope for?”

    I was hoping someone would mention Bernie Sanders. I think that they would make an effective combination.

  25. says

    Can she be this strong on the right things?

    If you mean “is she physically capable of it?” the answer is yes. Likewise, if you mean “would doing so not torpedo her chances at winning?” the answer is almost certainly also yes — anyone who doesn’t agree with essentially all of this, and isn’t anti-Clinton to the point of refusing to vote for Hillary based on her specific identity, already, is already going to vote either Republican or Libertarian regardless of whether she comes down this way or not.

    But if you mean “is Hillary Clinton going to do this?” the answer is not only no, but no with a mocking laugh. Hillary Clinton has said she’s in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline. Hillary Clinton has backed every one of Obama’s undeclared wars, and helped him try to keep up in Iraq (before the Iraqis made it clear they weren’t interested in any more of our “help”). Hillary Clinton isn’t interested in closing Gitmo. Hillary Clinton was instrumental in Obama’s campaign to keep the banks from being prosecuted. In short: Hillary Clinton is a corporatist neocon shill who will be either just as bad as Obama or even worse. I might say she was politically savvy enough to avoid immediately betraying her supporters immediately after getting the nomination like Obama did — remember the FISA telecom immunity vote? — but then I remembered the whole “dodging sniper fire” thing. She clearly has just as much contempt for the base as he does.

  26. mx89 says

    https://i.imgur.com/eWmhdQJ.png

    Count me out. “Liberal except when it comes to Israel” has a very long history in American politics, and it’s sickening.

    This is only indicative of the larger trend: always praising and voting for the lesser of two evils, as the entire country moves rightward every single time people do this. Sure, Republicans are worse, but it was only a couple decades ago that Republicans were like today’s Democrats. That didn’t work out very well, did it?

    The only hope is for a real people’s movement to take shape – not taking part in the Kabuki theatre of the two wings of the American Business Party.

  27. Francisco Bacopa says

    I cannot support Hillary for the same reasons I did not support her in 2008. Too much baggage. She is a smart and qualified candidate, more qualified than many who have become president. But I think she lacks credibility.

    Warren is my ideal candidate. Since the Repubs seem poised to nominate another cartoon villain, possibly even a teabagger idiot, I think Warren has a chance.

  28. Akira MacKenzie says

    This is what I want. This is what I would like the Democratic party to be.

    But it’s not, and it will never be. AmeriKKKa is too saturated with racism, capitalist greed, and religious superstition to accept Warren’s idea economic and social progress. The Dems realized this back in late 80s after Dukakas lost, and that’s why they’ve put milquetoast moderates and conservatives like Slick Whillie and Barry into office because they’re the only ones who can beat the GOP. Sure they throw a few bones to the left from time to time, but nothing really changes because actual liberalism would scare away the ever-fickle undecideds.

    Yeah, yeah, I know. “[INSERT REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE’S NAME HERE] WOULD BE WORSE!” Guess what? That threat really loses its sting with a Democratic president\ who won’t put the bankster’s in jail because he’s afraid they might scuttle the economy in return, gives us Romney Care instead of single payer, continues the faith based initative gravy train to the Christian Right, keeps a “Kill List” and has SEAL Team Six murder a terrorism suspect without a fair trail, let’s Cliven Bundy and his followers run free, etc., you can’t really get much worse.

  29. says

    If we have a veto-proof majority in both houses I’d like to see any one of the current crop of tea-party yahoos in the White House. The smoke rising from Louie Gohmert’s ears as his veto of the “Tax Wall Street Retroactively For Every High Speed Trade Ever Made So We Can Buy Pizza For Everybody” bill gets squashed like a bug would be comedy gold. That would be even funnier if Hillary were President.

  30. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    I get the feeling that the only person you see as qualified to unite disparate people of differing opinions is a carbon copy of yourself, mx89.

  31. lpetrich says

    On the subject of Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, etc. on Israel, is there *any* big-name US politician willing to criticize Israel’s military adventures? However deplorable their position may be, are the likely alternatives going to be any better?

    That’s a problem with lack of proportional representation. It’s hard for alternative parties to get a foot in the door with single-member districts and first past the post.

  32. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    Lee1 @ 13:

    The VP candidate is supposed to shore up support from groups that aren’t already drawn to the top of the ticket. Having the first serious major party presidential candidate who’s a woman choose a woman for a running mate would be absolutely shocking to me.

    Much like Obama couldn’t be the first black man in office without a white security guard over his shoulder in Biden, I guess we can’t allow women to go unescorted to the presidency. I know it’s not your choice, but I’m just making a note of how infantilizing that is and how fucked up that it’s even a consideration.

  33. says

    mx89:

    This is only indicative of the larger trend: always praising and voting for the lesser of two evils, as the entire country moves rightward every single time people do this. Sure, Republicans are worse, but it was only a couple decades ago that Republicans were like today’s Democrats. That didn’t work out very well, did it?

    Instead of voting Democrat to prevent the even worse Republican party from taking over the White House, we should throw our vote away and help insure that the more horrible party takes over? With all the changes to womens’ rights that Republicans would love to enact, that sounds like a recipe for a disastrous 4 years (at the least)-and that’s merely one example of how much worse it would be for the GOP to win the presidency. Lesser of two evils does indeed suck, but given the state of our political system, minimizing the potential for damage is preferable than helping out the GOP.

  34. Akira MacKenzie says

    Tony @38

    Instead of voting Democrat to prevent the even worse Republican party from taking over the White House, we should throw our vote away and help insure that the more horrible party takes over?

    You can’t scare us with that threat forever, you know. As much as I a loathe to use the capitalist allegory, sooner or later we’re going to want to see some return on our investment (i.e. votes). If all the Dems keep giving is yet another triangulating Republican Lite who will throw progress under the bus to keep their worthless ass in office, there isn’t much point in NOT letting the “horrible party” win because the result will be the same no matter who takes office.

  35. says

    @37, throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble:

    Compared to the way people second-guess their preferences by saying “the party which is actually closest to my preferences could never win, so I’d better vote for someone horrible who might win” — which Tony! The Queer Shoop demonstrated immediately after your post — the fact that we can’t have a two-black or two-woman ticket is barely even a noticeably annoyance.

    @38, Tony! The Queer Shoop:

    Sorry, but the Democrats blew it a little too much with Obama. (In fact, they blew it with Obama before even the first six months of his first term were out. One could even argue that they blew it with him within days of his getting the nomination, what with the FISA telecom immunity thing I’ve already mentioned.) Your argument no longer works on me, or on an increasing percentage of voters. The more you scream about how we shouldn’t vote for anyone but a Democrat because the Republicans might win and be a tiny, tiny sliver worse. Seriously, the Republicans had control of Congress and the Presidency not too long ago — a short enough time that the same group of actors were involved — and they didn’t press their agenda on abortion, or the minimum wage, or homosexuality, or even immigration in any meaningful way. They’re essentially all talk — the minute they actually do anything on those issues, they lose the ability to whip up their base, so they do nothing. The only people who fall for it are the stupid right wing — and the tribal Democrats, who have the football pulled away from them at the last minute every single time by the party.

    “But what about the Supreme Court?” What about it? If the Republicans can filibuster appointments so that they remain unfilled, so can the Democrats. Or are you implicitly admitting that the Democrats are fine with letting the Republicans do whatever they want, and will automatically roll over? If so, why do they even exist? We might as well actually vote Republican and save ourselves some time.

    The only hope the Democrats have is to energize people who usually don’t vote. You can no longer call the left your base, because your idiot party has abandoned them. The Democrats are anti-union whenever they can get away with it; they gave us the Heritage Foundation’s Romneycare in place of real healthcare; they were actively pushing for austerity (and got it, in the end) but didn’t make any real cuts to the military; they have been defending the NSA, the banks, Wall Street, you name it. To the left, the Democrats are now enemies, just as the Republicans are. You guys blew it. So, as stated, you’re going to have to motivate people who usually don’t vote.

    And guess what? Most of those people are well to the left of the Democrats, too. It comes out in poll after poll. Gun control? Americans favor it — the Dems won’t stand up for it. Health insurance? A strong majority wants the single-payer option Obama personally shut down; a plurality wants the single-payer version he refused to even talk about. Drugs? America wants an end to the War on Drugs but the Democrats are too craven to consider it — and even mock medical marijuana when it comes up in conversation. The economy? Even the Republican base wants the banks prosecuted, and Obama and co. shut down that whole notion immediately after taking office in 2008. You’re going to have to find people who (a) don’t usually vote, (b) care about the issues, and simultaneously (c) don’t have any memory of the way the Democratic Party has continually deliberately made things worse. Good luck finding that combination in numbers sufficient to make a difference!

    Until you can actually show us that the Democrats are not evil, the Democrats will continue to lose. They have no base — they have a shrinking tribe instead. They have no issues; they threw all of them aside to protect their corporate sponsors. They don’t even have cause celebres — they couldn’t resist throwing whistleblowers under the bus. They have nothing whatsoever to motivate any thinking person to vote for them any more. I suggest that instead of defending them so much, you consider jumping ship, yourself — your knee-jerk defense of the party is beginning to reek of fanaticism, and fanaticism is nothing but overcompensation for doubt.

  36. hiddenheart says

    If you want the Democrats to offer better candidates, this is the time when it really matters…mostly for elections 4-20 years away. You have to build up a base of support at local and state levels. Hold offices. Provide staff. Win local races. That’s the leverage that the Religious Right used, and that they used all over again as the Tea Party for purging.

    National elections are about triage. The state of things suck and real fixes are seldom on offer. Our responsibility to our fellow citizens is to reduce the harm done as far as we can. This almost never means turning our backs on them and refusing to do anything at all while they bleed out. But it also almost never means getting to pick anyone you’re really enthusiastic about and believe represents your values and good responses to humanity’s needs.

    Improvement happens between elections, if it’s going to happen at all. People with good values need to pool their assets to lobby effectively, and need to campaign where the hegemony is weakest, lower down.

    Then, maybe, someday, we’ll have national candidates who genuinely inspire us with hope. In the meantime, “not as bad as the ones who’ll take power otherwise” actually is a meaningful, worthwhile category. Especially so if we actually do something to help make it better later.

  37. says

    @42, hiddenheart:

    Well, let’s see… according to you, we can put huge amounts of labor into trying to influence the Democratic Party — which actively despises us, is diametrically opposed to our values, and would be tremendously happy if we died — provided there was a way for us to continue voting for them and donating money, and maybe, if we’re extremely lucky, in a couple of decades, we can have some candidates who are worth voting for. Once all of the current crop are out of office and retired, I presume, because the party doesn’t like challenging incumbents and there’s no way those sociopaths are going to leave office voluntarily. Meanwhile, we will of course have to settle for assisting the Democrats in being actively evil.

    Or we can put the same labor into supporting the Green party, which actively solicits our assistance and wants to enact policy we like. Maybe, if we’re extremely lucky, with the Republican Party gradually aging out and the Democrats absolutely desperate to take over the position of right-wing robots from them, we’ll be setting policy for the party which actually accomplishes things. Meanwhile, we might have to put up with Democrats saying mean things.

    Tough choice.

    Oh, wait, it’s not a tough choice at all. The Democrats can go sit on spikes.

  38. says

    Oh, and I see I muddled my comment at #40 by editing it. Whoops.

    “The more you scream about how we shouldn’t vote for anyone but a Democrat because the Republicans might win and be a tiny, tiny sliver worse.”

    Ought to be:

    “The more you scream about how we shouldn’t vote for anyone but a Democrat because the Republicans might win and be a tiny, tiny sliver worse, the more potential supporters you’re going to make stay home from the polls. The argument is bogus, and has been for a while now.”

  39. hiddenheart says

    Vicar: I’d be up for the alternative if there were the slightest reason to believe it would work.

    In 2000, of course, Nader’s push threw things to where the Republicans could steal it. (Nader got 20K votes in New Hampshire. Bush won by 7K. If Gore had taken NH, Florida could not have tipped thing back to Bush.)

    Perot and Anderson seem not to have had a lot of overall effect.

    Backing up further, we get to the era when third parties actually did matter, the time of the Populists and (to a lesser degree) the Progressives. There’s an interesting thing: their candidates achieved state and national office victories only in states that were effectively one-party states, where the other major party was reduced to ineffectual rump status. Sometimes that was the Democrats, sometimes the Republicans. Where there was only one real opponent, Populists and Progressives could and did win offices, and sometimes did some real good.

    But where there were two real opponents, Populist and Progressive campaigns only ended up throwing some elections to the worse candidate. Consistently.

    There’s some really good discussion of this in Paul Goodwyn’s The Populist Moment, which remains must reading for anyone interested in making America be more genuinely democratic.

    If you want to say that America’s two-party system is stupid, wicked, grossly inefficient, and a bunch of other bad things…I’ll agree! Readily! But then I’ll still say that general elections are mostly about triage, and that getting actually good prospects is going to be a matter of long-term work both inside and outside existing party structures to push through the changes in law and policy necessary to make better outcomes feasible.

    General elections are not about our self-expression, not about our self-esteem, not about our sticking it to our foes (who have a lot of sticks coming!). They’re about not making things worse than have to be, for us and others, while we get on with the work of trying to salvage a future worth having. Refusing to take part is a lot like standing by as someone trapped under a flipped car bleeds out, because you’d like a solution that won’t inflict any harm on him, while the drag inevitably will. Good intention, but in the meantime you get a dead corpse right there.

    Take, for instance, the Supreme Court. Sotomayor and Kagan are not my dream candidates – both are good on some matters I think very important, others terrible. But they are not the enemy of me in my identity as a gay trans woman, while Alito and Roberts very much are. It goes like that. Democrats do a lot of awful things…and a lot of things that aren’t so awful, and if there’s a single thing that would be better for Republicans having more control over it, I don’t know what it is.

    Triage. Long-term treatment. Both important, not interchangeable.

  40. says

    The problem with “a pox on both their houses” attitude is that once legislation is passed at the federal level in this country, it’s almost impossible to overturn it. You give the Republicans a clean sweep of Congress and the Presidency for four to eight years in the name of building the Democratic party into a real party of the left, you will end up with a nation where “conservative values” are fully entrenched for at least another generation, possibly more. Add to that a Supreme Court stacked with right-wing ideologues for the next 30 years, and you have a disaster far greater than continuing to enable an unreformed Democratic party would create.

    I wanted a single payer healthcare system (finally joining the rest of the civilized world) but we got the muddled mess called the ACA because conservative Democrats got cold feet. But you know what? Minimum wage friends of mine now have affordable health insurance for the first time in their adult lives, and have been able to see doctors about long term health issues that they previously chose to ignore through fear of the costs involved.

    For all the disappointment Obama has caused, millions of Americans are measurably better off today than they would have been under a Republican majority and president, and it is likely that millions of people elsewhere in the world are better off too (i.e. alive and not in refugee camps), given the likelihood of McCain actively pursuing the Bush Doctrine to the fullest extent the middle-east (his advisers during the campaign included several of the worst neocons out there).

    So it’s all very well wanting to play the long game by abandoning the field to the opposition, but only if you accept that when you dig yourself a deeper hole, there is even less chance you will get out of it, and that millions of people will suffer (and possibly die) in the meantime as a consequence of your abdication. It is high risk strategy that plays with the fortunes and lives of others.

  41. mx89 says

    @35, 38:

    Sorry if I’m sick of the steady takeover of Western society by plutocrats and “libertarians” as well as watching people making the same “but if we let the Republicans win things will be even worse” argument. All that has done for 35 years is allow the transformation of Democrats into Republicans and Republicans into John Birchers, while forming a new proto-fascist movement that would warm Goebbels’ heart.

    A century ago leftists and social democrats didn’t listen to that nonsense. They formed the IWW and other radical unions and terrified the elites at the time enough that someone like FDR became the “sensible moderate”, with the New Deal as a result. Kshama Sawant in Seattle didn’t set back and whine about “but what if Republicans win”, she ran on a proudly socialist campaign and now Seattle workers are all guaranteed a living wage. It’s all about the Overton Window. You want to continue allowing it to be dragged even further right, that’s your call, but the lesser of two evils is still evil and at some point a person of conscience has no choice but to stand up and say “no more!”. How conservative does America have to become before you decide that enough is enough with this “minimizing damage” electoral tactic?

  42. Marc Abian says

    Two party political systems are going to favour the republicans at some stage. If not these elections, then the ones after, or the ones after that. To let the threat of Republicans winning deter you from voting how you want seems stupid because it’s inevitable.

    Vote for parties with policies you like. Vote green. If enough people do then worst case scenario is that it let’s the Republicans win again (which IS going to happen at some stage anyway), and the Democrats are forced to get serious about getting their base back instead of saying the right things and then acting like Diet Republican. Best case scenarios is that the two party system is finished.

  43. brucegorton says

    hiddenheart

    I have a bit of a problem with pointing to the Hobby Lobby decision as a scare tactic.

    In 1990 in the Employment Division v. Smith, the Supreme court found that religion wasn’t an excuse to ignore religion-neutral laws. In fact Justice Scalia said the following in his ruling, “To permit this would make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.”

    In 1993, under Bill Clinton and with a Democratic Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It was under the Democratic Party that the bill that allowed the Hobby Lobby decision became law.

    So pointing to the supreme court from my POV – doesn’t look like a goer as an example of how bad the consequences are if the Republicans win, Burwell vs Hobby Lobby was a very bipartisan injustice.

  44. Marc Abian says

    #46

    It is high risk strategy that plays with the fortunes and lives of others.

    I like your post, but how you imply that people who vote differently from you are taking all the risk here. Your strategy is playing with the fortunes and lives of others too. It’s just less likely to succeed in the long term, IMO.

  45. brucegorton says

    In 1993, under Bill Clinton and with a Democratic Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It was under the Democratic Party that the bill that allowed the Hobby Lobby decision became law.

    Should read

    In 1993, under Bill Clinton and with a Democratic majority Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It was under the Democratic Party that the bill that allowed the Hobby Lobby decision became law.

    Sorry about my grammar, I am a little bit flu-ish at the moment.

  46. mx89 says

    @45:

    Stop blaming Nader for 2000. There were multiple other parties in Florida that got more votes than the difference between Bush and Gore, and yet nobody blames them, do they?

    In the excellent documentary about Nader, “An Unreasonable Man”, there’s an interesting scene involving all the “liberals” mad about 2000. One Nader supporter recalls that he asked someone who was trying to convince him to drop campaigning for Nader about what his positions were on a host of issues from health care to foreign policy to the environment. On every one, Nader and the Greens lined up with what the person trying to get people to switch from Nader to Gore believed in. Gore and the Democrats had the opposite stance.

    As I explained in the previous post, when people actually did this en masse – stating what they believed in and what they wanted and that they’ll support anyone who’s trying to put that into existence – the elites had no choice but to make compromises to head off mass dissent. That’s what “liberalism” in the modern sense is, a safety valve for capitalist elites. It’s been degraded heavily from disuse, which is why the Democrats and traditional liberal bases of power have been so pathetic for decades. But when radicals start putting the pressure on, you’ll see it spark to life again. So if you think society should be seriously changed, speak up! At the very least you’ll probably get moderate reforms.

  47. says

    The problem with Hillary is that, like her husband, she’s a DINO. As bad as Obama has been, she’d be even worse. We’d never see a real progressive, like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders get nominated, much less elected, because the Powers That Be (read: Wall Street and the intelligence agencies) would never stand for it. That is why we keep getting Republicans with a “D” after their name as our elected officials.

    I think it’s time to give up on the Democratic Party and form our own. The Democratic Party a classic example of Bidstrup’s First Law of Politics – all political entities drift to the right with time because politics flows towards money just as surely as water flows downhill. The Democratic Party has done just that.- and Hillary is another neocon in disguise just like Obama and would be no better than he has proven to be. The Democratic Party mainstream has now moved well to the right of Richard Nixon. It’s a hopeless cause.

    If we want a political system that is meaningfully responsive to the people’s needs, we’ve got to dump the two-party system and that means making changes to the constitution that fosters it. That’s the bottom line. All else is just pointless working around the edges.

  48. Olav says

    Mx89 #52:

    That’s what “liberalism” in the modern sense is, a safety valve for capitalist elites.

    Isn’t that what it has always been? I associate liberalism with the petty bourgeois predominantly, those classes of people whose material needs have already been met. Some of them may well be sincere in their concern for others, others are not.

    Many European right wing liberals admit they would feel at home with the US Democratic Party. Another indication, if the party’s stated platform and their track record are not enough evidence, that the Democrats are indeed a party of the right and therefore, not worth a vote.

  49. consciousness razor says

    How conservative does America have to become before you decide that enough is enough with this “minimizing damage” electoral tactic?

    It’s funny that your story neglects all other causes of increased conservatism in the U.S. (And it isn’t even much of an increase, evidently, because somehow we got back to the point where we’ve got a bunch of Birchers.) Do you have anything to add about … well … anything else in existence? Or does it all come down to how terribly terrible you think this strategy is of “voting for the better candidate who has a chance of actually winning and doing something”?

    I should add it also plainly contradicts the story that there is increased polarization in the electorate. If that’s true, it implies the two aren’t shifting uniformly in the same direction: even if they’re somehow not “moving” differently, one is moving more rapidly than the other. So, why should we take the express route to the utter destruction of our society? Are you in a hurry? Do you have an appointment with pure, unhinged chaos or something? And if it’s not true, then this big uniform mass of faceless idiot voters aren’t going to vote the way you want them to, so what exactly is your swimming against the tide supposed to accomplish?

  50. consciousness razor says

    It’s funny that your story neglects all other causes of increased conservatism in the U.S.

    Something I should probably say, even though it seems obvious to me, to make this a little clearer: U.S. citizens are not the only people on the planet who vote and who think like this. Shouldn’t we be seeing a global trend, not just one in this country? If not, why not?

  51. says

    Sort of horrified by the naderism of a lot of folks. Do you realize that voting for the lesser of two evils is better than voting for a third party candidate and getting the worse of two evils?

  52. mx89 says

    @54:

    “Isn’t that what it has always been?”

    Well “liberalism” has had several different meanings since the Enlightenment, broadly speaking, depending on where you are and who you’re talking to. Here I just meant the 1900-onwards American definition of liberalism, which has been shared by others in the West to varying extents. In general, liberals are those who want to “patch up capitalism” and make it less brutal for those at the bottom of the totem pole, but shy away from any fundamental reform or change to the system.

    By this standard, the Democratic party has increasingly fewer liberals. “Neoliberals” are not liberals in this sense, but by contrast they are a growing base of the Democrats.

    @56:

    I’m well aware of the ferocity of these boards but sometimes I think people are unnecessarily rude – that was why Chris Clarke left, right? I’m no concern troll, but I generally start off a little nicer in responses than that unless someone is obviously arguing in bad faith – maybe I shouldn’t be very kind in my response to you.

    My “story” was a very short one, and didn’t explain why there is an increased amount of conservatism in America to drive the process. I simply said this “vote for the Democrats” stuff was enabling this process. This is pretty straightforward and is empirically observable. The Overton Window will move consistently in one direction if politics largely consists of one group of radicals (strong conservatives) staking unapologetically radical positions and one group of moderates (“liberals”, centrists and so on) who keep voting for moderate positions to “thwart” the radicals. It’s death by a thousand small cuts as major radical change is averted each time this happens though the small changes are allowed. Over time the small changes add up.

    “I should add it also plainly contradicts the story that there is increased polarization in the electorate.”

    Yes, because that story is silly in all but a superficial level. There is increased polarization of people identifying as “liberal” or “conservative”, descriptors which are nearly 1:1 to Democratic and Republican ideas of what liberals and conservatives are, respectively. But this situation has more in common with a group of diehard sports fans than with adherents of coherent and separable political ideologies, i.e, Democratic and Republican ideas of liberals and conservatives are intellectually bankrupt and share a core of bad foreign policy, bad environmental policy, bad economic policy and bad healthcare policy. Almost all the differences are superficial or to do with social issues which don’t really impact elites either way (this is not to say they aren’t important, of course). Do tell me how Obama differs on phony “free trade” agreements or support for Israel or prosecuting bankers compared to Republicans?

    Furthermore, there is a global, or at least Western trend. Consider the economic policies of European centre-right policymakers (heavy promotion of austerity and protection of criminal bankers). Consider how even Sweden is slowly dismantling its welfare state in favor of BS “market based” ideas. Consider how Canada is hellbent on supporting the tar sands, come cancer or environmental destruction. It’s just more prominent in America where Money Is Speech (TM) and individualist ideas bordering on sociopathy have always flourished more than anywhere else.

    The fact is that the Left is nearly non-existent after decades of institutionalized repression, from labor scares to McCarthyism to COINTELPRO. Liberals are barely extant as well, having lost their purpose for economic elites (the safety valve). What’s left in terms of organized political movements are a motley collection of pro-business social liberals, professional elites like those who read the NYT and tut tut about the homeless problem etc while ignoring any meaningful solutions, quickly weakening mainstream unions as well as some minorities (Democrats) and one of religious conservatives, proto-fascists, pro-business social conservatives, and fake libertarians (Republicans).

    @58:

    “Naderism” a century ago got FDR, which was better than nothing. “Appeasement” today gives us a steadily worsening chain of Democrat sell outs. You might win in the short term but you’re doomed in the medium to long term.

  53. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yawn, until the “third party” advocates show me viable (meaning a reasonable chance to win a general election) candidate, there is no logical reason to vote for a third party. Been there, done that, wasted a vote. Saw the scoundrels win. No more.

  54. consciousness razor says

    I’m no concern troll, but I generally start off a little nicer in responses than that unless someone is obviously arguing in bad faith – maybe I shouldn’t be very kind in my response to you.

    I was rude? I’m certainly dismissive of what I think is a bad idea, but otherwise I don’t know what you’re talking about. I think my tone fits what I wanted to express fairly well. Please feel free to do the same.

    Almost all the differences are superficial or to do with social issues which don’t really impact elites either way (this is not to say they aren’t important, of course). Do tell me how Obama differs on phony “free trade” agreements or support for Israel or prosecuting bankers compared to Republicans?

    I wasn’t talking about Obama, but about the electorate. People like you and me on the one hand, and right-wing Teabaggers and libertarians and evangelicals on the other. Our views are more divergent than they were in the past (in terms of more people shifting toward one end or the other), since the 1990’s let’s say, or really since the Vietnam and civil rights eras when there was very strident disagreement on very basic foundational issues. The differences between me (I won’t speak for you) and a teabagger are pretty fucking stark, not “superficial” in the slightest.

    But I’ll bite anyway. For example, Obama hasn’t decided we ought to invade more countries, like Syria or Iran or Egypt or Libya or Ukraine or Iraq or Pakistan or Afghanistan or lots of other places. You really try asking Republicans about that. (It’s been asked.) They have a hammer and everything looks like a nail: bomb those brown fuckers into oblivion. That’s what they say, and that’s what they’d do. Obama’s been a major disappointment, no doubt, but he hasn’t gone that far. It makes a real difference, no matter how much you wave your hands and pretend it’s all the same and they’re all equally bad.

    Furthermore, there is a global, or at least Western trend. Consider the economic policies of European centre-right policymakers (heavy promotion of austerity and protection of criminal bankers). Consider how even Sweden is slowly dismantling its welfare state in favor of BS “market based” ideas. Consider how Canada is hellbent on supporting the tar sands, come cancer or environmental destruction. It’s just more prominent in America where Money Is Speech (TM) and individualist ideas bordering on sociopathy have always flourished more than anywhere else.

    But the electoral systems are very different there. In some of those places, you don’t need to consider this kind of voting strategy, because you can vote for many candidates and/or there are many viable political parties instead of just two.

  55. mx89 says

    @60:

    One vote doesn’t matter anyway. Might as well act on your conscience. But as far as “viable” goes, when there are millions of people tolerating horrible compromises “viability” is hard to get. But the example of Kshama Sawant in Seattle is instructive. Turns out that it’s doable, even if limited to more local elections so far.

    The Simpsons episode about the two aliens impersonating Clinton and Dole and one of the last quips about voting for a third party candidate are increasingly funny as time goes on. And there’s always the ending: don’t blame me, I voted for Kang, not Kodos!

    @61:

    Yes, when you start a conversation saying things like “Do you have anything to add about … well … anything else in existence?” it comes across as needlessly provocative. Anyway:

    “Our views are more divergent than they were in the past”

    You’re missing the point here. There are very few “real” liberals and leftists compared to the past, at least organized politically (I suspect there are still a lot of people who could be convinced to join an authentic socialist/social democratic movement in America, but they’re currently atomized and ineffective at making change. The establishment felt threatened by OWS enough to crush it with overwhelming force, anyway). This isn’t No True Scotsman, by a wide range of metrics the boundary of accepted debate in society ranges from not-even-a-social-democrat Paul Krugman Liberal to proto-fascist Clive Bundy Conservative, and in the past it was substantially wider. Obviously, anyone who remains a leftist is going to see views diverge, because they’re part of a tiny minority far away from the political centre. But if you take “the average Democrat” and “the average Republican”, the differences between them on almost every non-social issue is tiny compared even to the difference between Gore Vidal and William F Buckley (liberal and conservative champions who were not outliers in the 60s and 70s) or something like that. “Mainstream” views have converged substantially, the biggest difference remains a coat of paint. Are you red or are you blue?

    “Obama hasn’t decided we ought to invade more countries, like Syria or Iran or Egypt or Libya or Ukraine or Iraq or Pakistan or Afghanistan or lots of other places.”

    You know Obama was trying to invade Syria or at least run bombing campaigns against it, and was only forced out of it by overwhelming public opposition, right? And bombed the shit out of Libya? And resumed military aid to the Egyptian junta pretty much as soon as they killed off the Muslim Brotherhood? And presided over a massive drone campaign in the Middle East that has manufactured more terrorists than pretty much any other American policy in years? And left drone bases in Afghanistan along with troops to “ensure their safety”? And is now sending troops back into Iraq? Obama has been actually worse on some issues, like the NSA, civil liberties, and government transparency/freedom of the press. He’s the one throwing all the whistleblowers in jail.

    And I’m sure Obama would have done more warmaking if he was able to. After the Bush II wars, it became very difficult to gain public support for another ground war. A similar thing happened after Vietnam – the State was chastened into limited engagements as far as boots on the ground goes, and that lasted for quite a while.

    “It makes a real difference, no matter how much you wave your hands and pretend it’s all the same and they’re all equally bad.”

    People who are against the “vote Democrat to stop Republicans” lines keep repeating that no, we don’t think they’re all equally bad, so I wish I could stop hearing what you just said. The issue is that they’re all bad enough, and that they’re getting increasingly bad despite voting for the “least bad” option, that at some point you cross a line and stand for what you believe in instead of tolerating the parade of steadily worse politicians. This is not terribly difficult to understand, yet the same one-liners keep getting thrown back at me.

    If this continues, in 20 years Democrats will be like today’s Republicans, who were last generation’s John Birchers, and you types will probably still be saying “But we have to vote for the John Birchers/Democrats, because the opposition is literally brownshirts/Republicans! Do you want the Nazis to win? Your principles are all fine and dandy but we’ll be stuck with Nazis!”

    Enough is enough. When a political system doesn’t offer a reasonable choice, you try to get a movement together to change that political system fundamentally, or to FORCE a new choice to be made available. That’s how all change has been made in history. In fact, folks like you have been the history enemy of reform, believe it or not.

  56. F.O. says

    I realize that you’ve been under propaganda to vote like it’s the most important thing in the world.
    Whether you vote for the lesser of two evils or for the non-viable candidate, your vote doesn’t count shit.
    Thing is, the system is stacked against the 99% and voting won’t change it.

    A different solution could be to increase your participation in the local politics.
    There, in a smaller context, your vote and your contribution CAN make a difference.

    Politicians do not appear out of the blue.
    They must be selected from the rank and file of a party.
    If you focus on cleaning your party locally, you have a better chance to influence who the next president is going to be than with your vote in the presidential elections.

    Of course, it takes a lot of work but, unlike voting, it actually has a chance of changing something.

  57. hiddenheart says

    Brucegorton: I wasn’t pointing at Hobby Lobby. There are other rulings that also bear on my safety, access to health care (non-contraceptive matters, in my case), how my records get handled, a bunch of other matters.

    Mx89: Only Nader tipped New Hampshire to Bush, and if that hadn’t happened, Florida wouldn’t have been necessary for Gore.

    More later. Chronic immune system problems are throwing a party today and everything is slower and harder.

  58. spacejunkie says

    American politics now reminds me of the time an Australian journalist was expelled from Apartheid-era South Africa for saying that the coming election was a choice between ‘the right, the far right and the extreme right’.

    That choice appears to be the norm in the Western world these days.

  59. consciousness razor says

    One vote doesn’t matter anyway. Might as well act on your conscience.

    So your idea for how to make things better is to do something that doesn’t matter and won’t have any effect. This is somehow an improvement on trying to make whatever small changes that we can do something about.

    Enough is enough. When a political system doesn’t offer a reasonable choice, you try to get a movement together to change that political system fundamentally, or to FORCE a new choice to be made available. That’s how all change has been made in history. In fact, folks like you have been the history enemy of reform, believe it or not.

    I don’t believe it, and voting for the lesser of two evils doesn’t in any way prevent me from trying to do any of that. I’d like a lot of reforms. For example, I’d like to vote for more than one candidate, with more than two major parties at stake, essentially rating them from my most favorite to least favorite. That would be a lot better than assuming we don’t have any choice about it and can’t do anything meaningful, so we must pretend to “reform” things by wasting our votes.

    And I agree with F.O. that voting simply isn’t enough. You can criticize voting behavior all you want, but what happens in a booth (every year or every four years, and apparently only presidential elections are worth talking about) doesn’t even begin to address all of the other ways people can influence politics.

  60. hiddenheart says

    I’m going to have to bow out. Stress level is too high from other stuff, and I have a chance to visit with one of the several friends who’d be dead or dying now if not for the ACA. I don’t want to come to our visit freshly angry about the people I agree with cosmologically who are quite prepared to see both of us get kicked around and die for the sake of a reform strategy that doesn’t work given American politics.

  61. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    I wonder how many of the vote Green and Nader champions are the ones that’ll be dying first if Repubs take control again.

    I’m guessing not many, if at all. Because those at risk can feel the difference between Dems and Repubs.

    Kinda funny those lambasting the Dems for sacrificing people are willing to do the same damn thing yet claim the moral high ground.

    I quite like living still, thank you very much.

    You know Obama was trying to invade Syria or at least run bombing campaigns against it, and was only forced out of it by overwhelming public opposition, right?

    And you think McCain could’ve been stopped as well? Pfffft.

  62. mx89 says

    So now it’s literally “Vote for the lesser of two evils – what, do you want people to DIE?”

    Let me remind you all that Obama and the Democrats ditched single payer in an act of supreme cowardice. The fact you are given scraps from the table should not be enough to buy loyalty indefinitely. If the Dems had enough pressure from the left you might very well have single payer in America today, but “Republicans are worse, don’t rock the boat” attitudes got you the only marginally better than status quo Obamacare.

    Yes, for the millionth time, Republicans are worse. But Democrats are so bad (and have been getting worse since FDR died – every postwar president, D & R alike, would have been hung if the principles of the Nuremberg trials were applied to their acts in office) that just standing there and taking it is becoming ridiculous.

    I mean really, how bad do Democrats have to get before you folks will stop voting for them as the lesser of two evils? I don’t even understand what else they can really do wrong, because they’re opposing justice with most of their policies aside from a handful of token reforms. Samantha Power went off seeing baseball games with Henry Kissinger, that was metaphorical enough for me. https://twitter.com/AmbassadorPower/status/454467914419429377

    As I said, if the choice was between a John Bircher and a Nazi would you vote for the former because it was the lesser of two evils? Please tell me where the logic ends.

  63. hiddenheart says

    Back for a sec.

    Let’s turn this around, mx89.

    12 million lives improved by access to reliable, affordable health care don’t matter to you. It’s all the same, or at least not worth bothering with.

    The 9 or so million LGBT people in the US don’t matter to you. It’s all the same, or at least not worth bothering with.

    The 1.6 million Americans making exactly federal minimum wage don’t matter to you. It’s all the same, or at least not worth bothering with.

    The 75 million American women who work for wages or salary don’t matter to you. It’s all the same, or at least not worth bothering with.

    The 50 million or so American women who use birth control don’t matter to you. It’s all the same, or at least not worth bothering with.

    Please explain whose lives and in what number would constitute reason for you to act.

    Off now for time with someone who doesn’t give me the creeps.

  64. screechymonkey says

    The Vicar @40:

    “But what about the Supreme Court?” What about it? If the Republicans can filibuster appointments so that they remain unfilled, so can the Democrats.

    Supreme Court nominees generally don’t get filibustered. It depends a little on how you define “filibuster,” but by most definitions the last one was I think when Associate Justice Abe Fortas was nominated to be Chief Justice. Bork lost on a straight up-and-down vote. Douglas Ginsburg and Harriet Miers were withdrawn.

    Lower court nominees get filibustered all the time, because the media can barely be bothered to pay attention, much less the voters. But a Supreme Court vacancy is a high-profile position, and I don’t think there’s been much more than temporary obstructionism for the purposes of getting additional documents/testimony.

    craigmacgillivary @58:

    Sort of horrified by the naderism of a lot of folks. Do you realize that voting for the lesser of two evils is better than voting for a third party candidate and getting the worse of two evils?

    That depends on what the goal is. For maintaining a preening moral superiority, nothing beats voting for someone who will never get a chance to be a disappointment.

  65. consciousness razor says

    I mean really, how bad do Democrats have to get before you folks will stop voting for them as the lesser of two evils?

    Until the lesser of two evils becomes the worse of the two, or until we change our electoral system so that there aren’t effectively two and only two choices that actually do something when I vote, whichever happens first. I suppose that’s also because I don’t have the luxury of moving to a different country and starting over, or the luxury of ignoring all of the “insignificant” differences you think shouldn’t matter to ordinary people like me. But making the perfect the enemy of the good has never worked, because things have never been and never will be perfect (even under Saint Roosevelt), so it’ll happen when hell freezes over.

  66. mx89 says

    @70:

    This is a really terrible form of debate. Making a giant strawman out of as many emotional targets you can find, and then blowing it up with an A-bomb. Oh yes, obviously, someone who voted for Nader just didn’t care about any gay folks, women, or workers, despite Nader’s positions on all of those things being far, far superior to Gore and the Democrats’. That’s definitely a very reasonable statement to make!

    I used the example of Kshama Sawant for good reason. While Obama and the Democrats hem and haw about minimum wage, socialists that think the 2-party system is bullshit went ahead and forced change from the establishment. Now Seattle will have a $15 an hour living wage as the minimum. Where are the Democrats on this? Well, half of them were busy saying that it was too much for the economy and businesses and job makers to handle and the other half were trying their hardest to avoid having to do anything about the problem until their hand was forced by those unreasonable radicals busy “maintaining a preening moral superiority”. If someone voted for the “lesser of two evils” Seattle workers would still be working for far less.

    The very same could have happened with health care if “liberals” weren’t too busy apologizing for the pathetic Democrats and their cowardice.

    I take lessons from history, not apologists for fake liberals and parties infected by a total subservience to business. The IWW and its ilk has accomplished far more for workers and the common citizen than you lot have ever done. I’m going to support a group who actually speaks for me, not some wretched shell of a politician who can’t wait to reward his or her Wall Street buddies with de facto prosecutorial immunity the first chance they get.

  67. consciousness razor says

    That depends on what the goal is. For maintaining a preening moral superiority, nothing beats voting for someone who will never get a chance to be a disappointment.

    Not to mention someone who never gets a chance for the obstructionist actions the other party (or separate branches of government) to be blamed on them and cause fake “disappointment” about what they weren’t even capable of doing legally and constitutionally.

  68. mx89 says

    “But making the perfect the enemy of the good has never worked”

    Right, but that isn’t the situation now. I could understand a vote for FDR or something similar, though I’d still have been on the side of the radicals. But where is the “good” today? Tell me, how are Democrats combating climate change? When’s Obama going to respect press freedom or meaningfully reform the NSA? How’s immigration policy working out? How’s keeping Wall Street in check working out? Gun control? Education policy? Income inequality? Abortion rights?

    Well, it’s great that gays can get married now, it really is, but if a whole generation of people ends up in terrible economic straits I think it’s not a good trade and that we should have rolled the dice on getting a better deal (as if all radical groups on the left don’t fully support LGBT rights far more than Dems anyway).

  69. consciousness razor says

    This is a really terrible form of debate. Making a giant strawman out of as many emotional targets you can find, and then blowing it up with an A-bomb.

    What are you doing here?

    “Republicans are worse, don’t rock the boat” attitudes

    Who’s not rocking the boat? What the fuck do you think it even means to rock the boat and to not rock the boat? Who the fuck has this attitude that you’re talking about?

  70. says

    The Vicar:

    Until you can actually show us that the Democrats are not evil, the Democrats will continue to lose.

    I’m not trying to argue that. They’re horrible. The Republicans are worse.

  71. consciousness razor says

    Well, it’s great that gays can get married now, it really is, but if a whole generation of people ends up in terrible economic straits I think it’s not a good trade and that we should have rolled the dice on getting a better deal (as if all radical groups on the left don’t fully support LGBT rights far more than Dems anyway).

    I’ve been rolling the dice every time I vote. I don’t actually know what I would get out of any candidate, including the most die-hard socialist whose every last word is drenched in the truth, not until they actually get in office and do something. If they don’t get into office, they don’t do those things.

    You don’t even seem to be playing this game with dice. There are effectively no chances of getting a third-party candidate into the presidency in the near future. No dice roll. You’re just engaging in delusional wishful thinking to suppose that has any chance of happening.

  72. mx89 says

    Yes, I can certainly see why Chris Clarke ditched now.

    Who’s not rocking the boat? Well, all the people defending Obama and the Democrats, or saying “Well hell, they’re better than the Republicans, what, do you want people to die?”, for starters. That is not rocking the boat, not seriously challenging any aspect of the current political system.

    What do you not understand about my explanation of the Overton Window? The Tea Party assholes spit out policy that isn’t politically feasible and primary more “reasonable” Republicans, only to lose the general election, yet they have been getting more and more policy ideas into practice. Those wingnut ideas are all of a sudden in the mainstream 5 years later. Why do “progressives” not understand how this is done? It is not a complicated concept.

  73. mx89 says

    In other words, if 15% of people vote for a Socialist presidential candidate (or start small and do it on the senatorial/congressional level, en masse, if you like), you can god damn well bet that Democrats will be incorporating socialist ideas into their platform the next time around. That is EXACTLY what the Tea Party is doing and they’re doing it well. This is how you make reform happen.

  74. microraptor says

    You got a few million you’re willing to pony up in support of all that talk, mx89? Because it takes money to get elected these days.

  75. screechymonkey says

    mx89@80:

    In other words, if 15% of people vote for a Socialist presidential candidate (or start small and do it on the senatorial/congressional level, en masse, if you like), you can god damn well bet that Democrats will be incorporating socialist ideas into their platform the next time around. That is EXACTLY what the Tea Party is doing and they’re doing it well. This is how you make reform happen.

    No, it’s pretty much the exact opposite of what the Tea Party has done.

    Tea Partiers are influential because they chose not to go the third party route. They’ve worked within the Republican Party. They put pressure on the party establishment and candidates, yes, but in the end they still provide money and votes to the Party instead of taking their ball and going home. They challenge establishment candidates in primaries, but when that’s failed they line up behind their general election candidate, because as much as they hate “RINO”s, they hate Democrats more. That’s why Romney was still able to make a race of it even though he wasn’t the preferred candidate of the Tea folk.

  76. brucegorton says

    #70 hiddenheart

    You are aware that Hillary Clinton opposed gay marriage right?

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/06/hillary-clintons-gay-marriage-problem/372717/

    Lets not pretend that if she becomes the Democratic candidate in the next elections, which is the odds on likely result, that voting for her will be standing up for gay rights.

    As to the Green supporters, here is the thing, how many people here proclaimed they would ditch American Atheists because of David Silverman’s lackluster stance on abortion?

    Would you say that those people are siding with the religious right by splitting up the base? Fuck no. They’ve got standards.

    The Democrats have a lackluster stance on launching guided missiles at children, yet people who want to vote Green are somehow now supporting the Republicans.

  77. consciousness razor says

    As to the Green supporters, here is the thing, how many people here proclaimed they would ditch American Atheists because of David Silverman’s lackluster stance on abortion?

    How many would say Dave Silverman is/was/will be president, or that he has/had/will have any official function in the public sphere?

    At no point have I said that people should not express their own criticisms of what anybody (politician or otherwise) has done. You can quite reasonably be just as disappointed in Obama as I am, or even more — assuming this isn’t just a shitty way of hiding the fact it’s really about his race. And you can say that, loudly, change people’s minds about it, change the political environment fundamentally, etc.. But besides laying the blame on others, you still have choices of your own to make, and the actual consequences of those choices to consider, so you don’t need to fucking self-destruct as soon as you get into a voting booth.

    The Democrats have a lackluster stance on launching guided missiles at children, yet people who want to vote Green are somehow now supporting the Republicans.

    I’d want to vote Green too, yet I don’t, because it is not practical or realistic to do so on at the national level right now. I don’t think people who do vote Green are secretly and intentionally supporting Republicans. I think they make it easier than it needs to be for Republicans on election day, whether they like it or not. Because them liking it or not liking it doesn’t change a fucking thing, because intent isn’t fucking magic. The status of their precious “consciences,” or what happens inside of their own brains, doesn’t do anything for me or for anyone else who has to live with the results. If it’s just about making themselves feel good, they may as well stay at home that day and masturbate.

  78. says

    Grassroots Democrats have succeeded in uprooting some of the more conservative representatives — the Blue Dog Democrats are all but extinct as a caucus (albeit partly because of the type of cleansing those who want to give up on the Democrats have been advocating, allowing Republicans to take over the seats), and the Progressive Caucus is larger than it has been for a long time in the Senate and House.

    It’s still not enough, and the left-wing Democrats don’t have the same self-righteous fervor that ignited the Tea Party Movement (probably because they are less insane), but it points to the way ahead. Imploding the Democratic party is not going to happen — it’s not the way things are done in American politics, especially when the system is locked down tight by the Democrats and Republicans. As others have said, the fight has to be carried out from within, nominating candidates who are willing to support the will of the people against those of corporate America. Realistically, new parties or party splits simply won’t happen because the barriers for entry are just too high as is the apathy amongst the people.

  79. anteprepro says

    brucegorton

    As to the Green supporters, here is the thing, how many people here proclaimed they would ditch American Atheists because of David Silverman’s lackluster stance on abortion?

    Would you say that those people are siding with the religious right by splitting up the base? Fuck no. They’ve got standards.

    Analogy fail. You can support multiple organizations. You can only vote for one political party. If you support the Greens financially, that’s perfectly fine. If you vote for the Greens in the name of Party Purity, then you are throwing your vote away in order to feel self-righteous and if that vote would have gone to Democrats if you hadn’t done so, you are supporting Republicans in effect. That’s how voting works in this country. If a third party is viable, you will know it. Until then, it is de facto support of the one of the two largest parties that you were least likely to vote for. That is reality. Deal with it.

  80. anteprepro says

    mx89:

    What do you not understand about my explanation of the Overton Window? The Tea Party assholes spit out policy that isn’t politically feasible and primary more “reasonable” Republicans, only to lose the general election, yet they have been getting more and more policy ideas into practice. Those wingnut ideas are all of a sudden in the mainstream 5 years later…..

    In other words, if 15% of people vote for a Socialist presidential candidate (or start small and do it on the senatorial/congressional level, en masse, if you like), you can god damn well bet that Democrats will be incorporating socialist ideas into their platform the next time around. That is EXACTLY what the Tea Party is doing and they’re doing it well.

    Sigh. You might just be an idiot. You are on the right track but are missing the most important of the Tea Party’s strategy: THEY AREN’T AN ACTUAL POLITICAL PARTY. Oh, yes, you might be deceived by news coverage, and the name of the movement, and all that, but that is only if you don’t pay attention. All Tea Partiers exist within the Republican Party. They aren’t a third party. They are faction within the Republican Party. They are noisy Republicans who think the mainstream party isn’t extreme enough. So, no, if you are voting for the socialist party, you are not doing what the Tea Party is doing. You are voting for a third party candidate that has nearly no chance of winning. Compare to what the Tea Party does, which is present candidates WITHIN the Republican party, and have them fight in primaries to be the representative of the Republican party in any given election. That’s how you move the Overton Window while also keeping a safety net and not risking throwing away votes and giving the election to the rival party. The Tea Party would have failed if it was it’s own thing and not a parasite within the Republican party. That is the lesson.

  81. lpetrich says

    hiddenheart #45 has some interesting history. After mentioning Ralph Nader being a spoiler, she continues with

    Backing up further, we get to the era when third parties actually did matter, the time of the Populists and (to a lesser degree) the Progressives. There’s an interesting thing: their candidates achieved state and national office victories only in states that were effectively one-party states, where the other major party was reduced to ineffectual rump status. Sometimes that was the Democrats, sometimes the Republicans. Where there was only one real opponent, Populists and Progressives could and did win offices, and sometimes did some real good.

    But where there were two real opponents, Populist and Progressive campaigns only ended up throwing some elections to the worse candidate. Consistently.

    and notes her source: Paul Goodwyn’s The Populist Moment

    So it would be best to run third parties in places where one party is dominant. Otherwise, they become spoilers, letting the greater of the two major evils win. The spoiler effect forcing convergence onto two parties is something called Duverger’s law, after French sociologist Maurice Duverger, who described the effects of different voting systems on party compositions. He also noticed that proportional representation encourages several parties and that two-ballot runoff elections encourage an in-between state.

  82. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I mean really, how bad do Democrats have to get before you folks will stop voting for them as the lesser of two evils?

    When there is a viable candidate in the election. Wasting a vote doesn’t change anything, and only makes you, not me, feel good. Sometimes one has to try to minimize harm.

  83. lpetrich says

    So run against the Democratic Party only if the Democratic Party typically wins much bigger than the Republican Party. Short of that, get involved in the primaries and try to get good candidates there. We need more candidates like Kshama Sawant and Elizabeth Warren.

    As to getting proportional representation, that’s easier than one might think. All that is necessary is changing various election laws and possibly some parts of some state constitutions. But state constitutions are usually much easier to amend than the national one, and they have sometimes had almost absurd amounts of amendment. The national constitution nowhere mandates first past the post or single-member districts for Congress.

    There are several possibilities for proportional and semi-proportional representation.

    The simplest form is party list. Each party gets a fraction of seats in proportion to how many votes it got. Parties typically publish lists of candidates that they want to seat, thus the name.

    In a parallel system, some seats are elected in single-member-district fashion (the district seats), and some in party-list fashion (the list seats).

    In a mixed-member system, the party counting for the list seats includes the party composition of the district seats.

    Single Transferable Vote is semi-proportional. It’s like Instant Runoff Voting, but for multiple seats. Any candidate who goes above threshold gets seated, and their extra votes used for the other candidates.

  84. Scaevola says

    @92

    It’s actually easy to get more third-party viability even if you stick with winner-take-all district representation, if the district changes to use approval voting instead of first-past-the-post. All that’s needed is to change “vote for one candidate” to “vote for as many candidates as you’d like” on ballot instructions. Score Voting works as well, but Approval is simpler. Just doing a simple thing like that can get rid of the ‘Nader’ problem, as your vote isn’t thrown away if you cast it in favor of a third-party candidate, because it can also be cast for the ‘lesser of two evils’ candidate.

    Regardless of election mechanics changes, local and state elections are just as important, and more easily swayed, than federal elections. Few enough people vote in primaries and elections for local and state officials that a single person’s promotion efforts can make a difference. All the crazy legislation coming out of red states and California’s economic resurgence are all state-level issues, and I can basically guarantee you that there’s a lot more that one can change about a state election than a Presidential.

  85. mamba24 says

    Elizabeth Warren says what she says because she knows she could never win the presidency. Candidates are more honest about what they truly believe when they’re not in a position of power and know they never will be. This doesn’t make her more “progressive” than Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama. It means that the latter are in positions of power, so they’re forced to be more pragmatic and calculating in their public images, speeches, and policies because they’re actually trying to get votes, and they’re actually responsible for things.
    Yes this means that they may lose some of the extreme far left socialist vote, but they also gain far more moderate and undecided votes, and actually have a chance at winning national elections. All the screeching from the “Obama and Clinton are DINO’s crowd” just remind me of the wacko tea party morons making the same claims about republicans not being conservative enough. All it does is divide and weaken the party and dig our problems into an even deeper hole. Not to mention improving the chances of victory for the other party.
    A party divided against itself cannot stand. While I admire Warren and agree with many of her beliefs, I’m realistic enough to realize that she has no chance of ever becoming president. Many people said the exact same things about Obama before he took office, and then reality hit. You can expect the same sort scenario to play out if Warren were to hypothetically become president. For all her ranting about controlling wall-street and doing away with the NSA spying, or drone policy, I think many people would find that she wouldn’t have the actual power to do the things she wants. (grid-locked congress or constitutional road-block, national security, or simply votes and trying to stay in power) Warren’s a political newcomer, so she still has that freshmen naivety and idealism. She’s merely trying to establish herself and get her name out there. But like all political stories, she would eventually disappoint the people who were praising her like a god (just like Obama), and those people will find another idealistic newcomer to slobber over.
    I’m tired of hearing all the BS about Obama and Clinton being “republican-lite”. No they’re fucking not. They’re governing and implementing the most liberal policies that the current circumstances and realities allow them.(Just Obama actually since Clinton isn’t holding an office right now) And given the same congress that Obama has, Warren would only be able to do the same things.

  86. ibyea says

    mx8
    Yeah, how dare someone care about the “little stuff”. Stuff that personally concerns them. Stuff that are at least possible, considering a lot of people just don’t have time for radical politics. Strawman? No, it is not strawman at all to point out the effect the small stuff have on their lives.

  87. brucegorton says

    Analogy fail. You can support multiple organizations. You can only vote for one political party. If you support the Greens financially, that’s perfectly fine. If you vote for the Greens in the name of Party Purity, then you are throwing your vote away in order to feel self-righteous and if that vote would have gone to Democrats if you hadn’t done so, you are supporting Republicans in effect.

    The analogy still works – the Greens have dropped the Democrats because they morally object to what the Democrats are doing. Not only that, they have formed their own political party as an alternative to the two-party state – they’re actually doing something proactive.

    As to the whole issue with vote splitting – you are assuming that if someone is voting Green they would vote Democratic otherwise – whereas actually people who vote Green probably wouldn’t vote at all if the choice was simply between Democratic and Republican candidates.

    At least by voting Green they are expressing a preference for a leftwing government – rather than simply staying home on elections day.

    Finally, if you want smug, take a look at the “lesser of two evils” types who have convinced themselves that it is sensible, moral, good and mature to vote for people they still think are evil.

  88. says

    (grid-locked congress or constitutional road-block, national security, or simply votes and trying to stay in power)

    Yep. People greatly underestimate the fear most presidents have of allowing events like 9/11, or worse, to happen on their watch. Remember, they have a bunch of different advisors — CIA, FBI, Joint Chiefs, NSA, etc. — all warning them about the latest threats to national security, and these are often cast as imminent threats that are more tangible than some possible future abuse of citizens by the national security apparatus.

    It is certainly true that no president believes they will abuse the power they have (and aggregate) while they are in office, and do not much consider where the continued aggregation of those powers will lead after they leave office.

    None of this might justify their actions, but it does explain them, and explains why any new president who wins the White House with the best of intentions rarely (if ever) carries through on those intentions.

  89. anteprepro says

    brucegorton

    As to the whole issue with vote splitting – you are assuming that if someone is voting Green they would vote Democratic otherwise – whereas actually people who vote Green probably wouldn’t vote at all if the choice was simply between Democratic and Republican candidates.

    I’m not assuming: I am saying they should. Because as you state, they want a left-wing government. The way to that is:
    1. Vote for the leftiest candidates in Democratic primaries.
    2. Vote for Democrats as often as possible and purge the government of Republicans.

    Insofar as you avoid doing either of the above, you allow the Democrats to continue to become Republican Lite, and you allow the government to continue to skew right-wing. Voting for Teh Perfect Party of Perfect Libruls is not going to change anything. It is just self-righteous masturbation.

    Change the Democrats or change the system. Those are the helpful options. Pretending that third party candidates will be able to do jack shit accomplishes neither.

    Finally, if you want smug, take a look at the “lesser of two evils” types who have convinced themselves that it is sensible, moral, good and mature to vote for people they still think are evil.

    Yeah, nuance is so smug. But calling anyone outside of tiny political parties with no chance of succeeding “evil”? That is just plain ol’ fashioned sensibility and humility.

  90. brucegorton says

    anteprepro

    I am sorry, you the person who argues people voting Green are effectively Republicans are arguing that you have nuance?

    Seriously?

    As to the lesser of two evils, you can’t exactly preach voting for the lesser of two evils and then slam other people for saying you’re talking about voting for what you think is evil.

    In other words my criticism there is more of that particular argument than the party.

    I don’t think the Democratic Party are evil, I think the Republicans pretty much are, but the Democrats? Most of them are good people occasionally supporting bad policies because they think they are slightly less harmful than the bad policies of the other side.

    The party has its flaws – serious ones which for a lot of people are more than they can stomach. They have gone off and formed their own party and good luck to them – if they can get more people voting better luck to them.

    They’re not bad people for doing that – they’re not supporting the Republicans, they are simply making their own choice.

    Treating them like they’re villains for choosing differently, for not being scared into staying in the big tent, doesn’t do anything.

    You need to give them good reasons to get back in – fear of the Republicans isn’t going to do it, because as I said you’re telling them to vote the lesser of two evils, to vote for a bunch of people you yourself despise – they’re always going to look for a way to vote for someone else entirely.

  91. consciousness razor says

    As to the lesser of two evils, you can’t exactly preach voting for the lesser of two evils and then slam other people for saying you’re talking about voting for what you think is evil.

    This is pure bullshit. You are playing with words and nothing else.

    You are saying you support less “bad” and “harmful” things (also, that the party has “flaws” that are “serious”), which mean the same fucking thing as “evil” in this context, you fucking hypocrite.

  92. brucegorton says

    consciousness razor

    I am not saying anything of the sort – I am saying that if you are going to try and persuade Green voters into your party, you are going to need to give them something other than “Less bad” and “harmful” and you are going to need to address the “serious flaws” they have identified in the party.

    In other words you are going to have to bring up some good.

    Simply telling them that the Democratic Party is the lesser of two evils isn’t going to do the trick.

    And nor is calling me a fucking hypocrite, considering how the Democratic Party as a whole handled the Snowden affair after slamming the high level of secrecy in the Bush government.

  93. alkaloid says

    @The Vicar, #40:

    Extremely well said. Your response deserves printing and framing as an explanation.

    #antiprepro, #89

    Sigh. You might just be an idiot. You are on the right track but are missing the most important of the Tea Party’s strategy: THEY AREN’T AN ACTUAL POLITICAL PARTY. Oh, yes, you might be deceived by news coverage, and the name of the movement, and all that, but that is only if you don’t pay attention. All Tea Partiers exist within the Republican Party. They aren’t a third party. They are faction within the Republican Party. They are noisy Republicans who think the mainstream party isn’t extreme enough.

    THEY DON’T NEED TO BE AN ACTUAL POLITICAL PARTY. They are working within the context of a political system that already gives them much of what they already want-with politicians that already have a lot of inclinations towards their worldview and have been giving them what they want for decades already. In comparison, leftists within the United States are dealing with a political party (as well as many of its supporters) that is far more used to treating us like scum-so a lot more is going to be necessary to get them to change or bypass them entirely.

    In fact, what you _don’t_ want us to do is precisely part of what has made the Tea Party effective. They’re willing to let longstanding politicians within the Republicans lose or else be forced into the Democrats (like Arlen Specter) for being insufficiently conservative. This scares the remainder into being more willing to listen to them.

    Terrible Democrats-especially people like Hillary Clinton, Kerry, and Feinstein here in California have to lose.

  94. anteprepro says

    In comparison, leftists within the United States are dealing with a political party (as well as many of its supporters) that is far more used to treating us like scum-so a lot more is going to be necessary to get them to change or bypass them entirely.

    lolwut? Treat like scum? Please show your work.

  95. brucegorton says

    consciousness razor

    I think I get where we are talking past each other (and yes, it is my fault for not communicating this clearly enough.)

    You think I am saying “Vote Green.”

    That is not what I am saying, what I am saying is that the Green supporters aren’t responsible for the Republicans winning elections.

    Where I lay the blame for that is in this case, and for the rise of the Greens is in the Democratic Party’s failures.

    And you can’t really blame the Greens for leaving the party considering how unhappy you are with a lot of the party’s decisions.

    This is why I think they’re a net positive – they’re keeping people who would otherwise not vote at all invested in the political process.

    They may even one day become big enough to win an election (once the Republicans have died off) – and I don’t think any of us would think that would be a bad thing.

    The Greens aren’t what are costing the Democratic Party those votes really, the Democratic Party is, and the Democratic Party can fix that.

    Rather than treating the Greens like stealth Republicans – take them at their words and push for policies and actions that will bring them back into the fold.

    Because as it stands there isn’t anything being put on offer to them.

  96. says

    @102

    In fact, what you _don’t_ want us to do is precisely part of what has made the Tea Party effective. They’re willing to let longstanding politicians within the Republicans lose or else be forced into the Democrats (like Arlen Specter) for being insufficiently conservative.

    Arlen Specter was an exception. In most cases, Tea Party candidates, like Ted Cruz, walked into Congress after a hard-fought primary campaign. The Tea Party got what they wanted, more right-wingers in the Republican party — i.e. reforming the Republican Party in their own image without imploding their electoral chances. They did allow the Democrats to hold on to the Senate, but it wasn’t a debacle. (The fact that many of those elected are morons is beside the point.)

    Left wing democrats can do the same thing. Finding suitable candidates to challenge conservative Democrats in safe Democratic seats.

  97. says

    1. Where the hell is Amanda Knief when you need her?

    2. On Israel… is there a viable candidate who’s not pro-Israel? Can you even nab a chance at running if you’re not pro-Israel?

    I’m not pro-Israel (right now, I’m not pro-anybody; I refuse to participate in this debate for a variety of reasons… though I’ll grant that Israel is making it basically impossible to defend/support them). But this country is. Our politics are. Elizabeth Warren would be a nobody if she wasn’t pro-Israel. If you want a candidate who’s pro-Palestinian (or at least pro-Two-State Solution leaning towards the Palestinian side), that requires work from the ground up. And our mainstream media isn’t helping at all, what with censoring any reports that aren’t pro-Israel…

    Warren is undoubtedly terrible in terms of her foreign policy, but she’s got the best domestic policy I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a terrible combination, I know, but she’s a sight better than anyone else who’d actually have a chance to win right now…

    3. On the debate around the Democrats and building a stronger left-wing…

    Can’t we do both?

    I agree 100% with the people who are saying that the Dems are where the Republicans were pre-Reagan. The Democrats are owned by the same Wall Street the Republicans are owned by; that’s a fact. Being an economic socialist, an isolationist, a pacifist, and so on, I absolutely want to see a political sea-change to the left. And I’m willing to work on that at the state and local level… and I already am! I participate in campaigns here in Florida for things like Living Wage, and medical marijuana, and so on… and my votes in November of this year will be as far to the left as the ballot lets me go.

    I agree that the Democrats are evil and are truly right-wing. I get legitimately insulted when people call Obama a Socialist. It says to me that these are people who have spent zero time actually learning politics, and just parrot talking points without actually understanding what they mean. Obama is hella right-wing, along with much of the Democratic party. There is no Socialism there. There’s not even a left-wing there.

    So when it comes to building a left-wing so we can finally kill the “lesser of two evils” crap, I’m all for it!

    But doing so takes time, and I’d vote for Satan before I’d vote for a Republican. If voting Democrat keeps the Tea Party out of power, I’ll take it, at least temporarily, while we work on building a viable, strong, winnable left-wing that people will support. Right now, only Democrats and Republicans can win, and when you’re forced to choose between two evils, the lesser is always your best bet. The Democrats are and will continue to be terrible, but they will never be as terrible as the Republicans continue to be and become.

    At the moment, we’re stuck with two choices that will be shitty no matter what. One turd is a bit more polished than the other, however, and while I’m being forced to choose, I’ll choose the polished one.

    And in the meantime, I’ll keep digging for some gold, because I know it’s there.

    So I see no reason we can’t do both: fight to keep the Republicans out of power while continuing to work to kick both parties out eventually.

  98. alkaloid says

    @anteprepro, #103

    You’re really going to play that kind of game after your insult to mx89 in which you said to him “Sigh. You might just be an idiot.” (your post #89)? How different is that from Rahm Emanuel calling liberals “fucking retards”-except, of course, that you used slightly more polite terms to express the same underlying contempt?

    I thought that the second half of Brucegorton’s last response had a lot of truth to it in terms of the idea of giving people reasons to come back to the Democrats. Then again, that only matters with regards to people that the Democratic Party decides to care about in the first place-and they’ve made it more than explicitly clear on multiple occasions that they don’t care. Their entire strategy for decades now is to have a welcome mat for conservatives and conservative ideals of just about every type-and then try and get people to support them based on the premise that everyone else, everyone who believes in something better, basically has no place else to go. The problem is this particular underlying ideology. You can’t get rid of it by being willing to support the Democrats no matter what and then lying to yourself (much less insulting everyone else who points out your hypocrisy) that you can convince them on the major issues after you’ve given up the most useful tool you had against them within the constraints of the political system.

    In fact, I sort of question how compatible this entire approach is with ‘atheism plus’. After all:

    If racism is wrong then how could it be right to tell or imply that black people should vote for Rahm Emanuel if he runs for office again-after he shut down dozens of public schools in primarily minority districts (a clearly and massively racist act, as well as an act of vengeance against teachers for striking)? What possible morality is there in that-namely that the Republicans will shut down even more schools (leaving the underlying ‘logic’ of school closure and expropriation untouched) but maybe in 20 years or so the Democrats might be persuaded to actually do something?

    If (or rather since) Bruce Schneier and all of the people against unconstitutional spying were right and the likes of Sam Harris and all those who agree with him are wrong, then how can it be right to vote for candidates that will support precisely everything that you already know, based on the evidence, is wrong? Within the last year Nancy Pelosi stood up and defended warrantless spying (and was heroically booed by an audience) and even now Dianne Feinstein is doing her best to actually protect the NSA from any accountability.

    If throwing women under the bus is wrong in order to preserve the reputations of personal heroes, then how can it be right to vote for politicians who will let Palestinians get run over (figuratively) by Israeli tanks? How many Democratic politicians would bother standing up for what was not only right, but was the overwhelming consensus of condemnation against Israeli butchery here? Was there even one at this point?