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Last week right here on Daily Kos, NeuvoLiberal attempted to convince Kevin Zeese, who is running an idependent campaign for US Senate in Maryland, to become a Democrat. Well, Zeese has responded. I haven't seen it posted here yet on Daily Kos, and no search popped up this post. So I thought I'd share. I think Zeese is completely right in regard to challenging the two-party system.

I've also linked an article I found that argues that those who consider themselves "antiwar" should also support the Zeese campaign. I for one, am going to do it. I've also linked to a fantastic book, authored by the same person who defends Zeese, titled "Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush". I look forward to a lively discussion!

To Create the Democracy We Want
Challenge the Corrupt Two-Party System Don't Participate in It
by Kevin Zeese

 Dear Daily Kosers:

Elections should be about current issues and a vision for the future. For me that vision is of a truly representative democracy. I want Americans to look back 50 to 100 years from now -- when we have a vivid multi-party democracy and say -- "can you imagine in the last century how there were only two major parties and dozens of colas? Boy, were we an immature democracy!"

A survey published in the July 16 Economist asked U.S. voters whether they felt their elected officials represented their priorities. Only 17 percent said "yes." In the greatest democracy on earth 83 percent can't say they are represented! It is no wonder we have such low voter turnouts. (A survey of non-voters found that that a majority of non-voters felt that the candidates did not represent their concerns -- even in the last election 40% of registered voters didn't vote, Kerry gave them no reason except not being Bush -- not good enough.) It is also not surprising that Democrats are at their lowest popularity in more than 50 months while Republicans are also dropping in the polls. Neither party represents the priorities of the people ...

The two party system reminds me of when I was raising my kids. If they were doing something I didn't like, call it "C," I would say -- "you can do either A or B." They felt they had a choice and stopped pursuing "C" but in reality I had already made their choice for them. The two party system is much like that for voters -- treating us as children.

Will either Party challenge the military industrial complex? Will they challenge the pharmaceutical or health insurance industries in order to provide health care for all? What has either Party done to ensure decent jobs at home that pay a living wage? Haven't both parties supported the corporate trade agreements that masquerade as "free trade" but really empower international corporations, undermine the environment, labor standards and consumer protection? Will either Party criticize Israel when it violates international law or the basic human rights of the Palestinian people? Will either Party end the failed war on drugs? Will either Party put in place universal voter registration -- the international standard for elections? Will either Party reduce barriers to third party and independent candidates -- or will they cynically hold onto power by denying democracy? Will either Party cut $300 billion in annual corporate welfare? On all of these and many other issues both parties fail to represent the interests of the American people.

Read the rest HERE!

----------------------------------------------------------

And here's the second article:

Kevin Zeese's Antiwar Campaign for the US Senate:
Hope for Changing Politics in Washington
by Joshua Frank

 Politics in the United States often seem bleak, if not hopeless. There just aren't many campaigns or candidates out there that one can get too excited about these days. And if it's the war and US foreign policy that's got you in a tizzy, you may as well forget about tracking down a contender that feels the same. There are not a lot out there.

Some do exist, however, but they are often left out. The fact is it is people who agree with a candidate's positions but abandon them that do the most damage, not the media or Beltway insiders. That's why it is vital that antiwar folks stick to their cause and resist the quicksand of lesser-evil politics in 2006, regardless of the alleged consequences. If a candidate starts to speak up and embody an antiwar stance, the movement against the war should stand behind him/her with full force.

Just such a candidate has risen to the challenge. Lawyer and antiwar activist Kevin Zeese is taking on the two war parties by seeking an open US Senate seat from Maryland. Zeese, who is running independent of the two major parties, has been involved in a host of social justice issues over the past thirty years and is currently serving as the director for the antiwar organization Democracy Rising, which is calling for a responsible, rapid withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Zeese is seeking the nomination of Maryland's antiwar Libertarian, Populist and Green Parties as well as support from Maryland's fastest growing group of voters -- disgruntled Republicans and Democrats.  

Read this article HERE!

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And for those who are interested, I challenge us Kosers to read the new book "Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush" which is vital background for understanding the Zeese and other third-party campaigns. -----------------------------------------------------------

Originally posted to Squashy14 on Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 08:46 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Kevin Zeese: (none)
    He is a confirmed Naderite, for the record. He has written articles with Ralph Nader on some Progressive site; I don't remember what site that was.
  •  "dozens of colas" nice (none)
    But it still is either red-coke or blue-pepsi. I tend to buy independent colas but when I'm usure of my choice, I go blue.
  •  Hmmm. (1.00)
    I am not sure these are good arguments as to why not support the Zeese campaign. Clearly, as Cardin is a pro-war Democrat, I think we MUST oppose him. Clearly, as Frank's article shows, Zeese is the ONLY candidate running for US Senate in Maryland that wants the troops home ASAP!.. I think that beyond some silly "blue" or "red" debate. It's about life and death for thousands of people.
    •  Cardin voted against the war (4.00)
      He didn't vote for the timetable bill, but if that's your standard for supporting a candidate, then Howard Dean is pro-war.

      A vote for Zeese, or any Green, is a vote for the Republicans. This will be the case unless and until there's some sort of runoff procedure in voting.

      •  I think... (none)
        Anyone who opposes an exit strategy and votes to continue funding the occupation is pro-war. That means Cardin is pro-war. And that means you are pro-war. If you want Cardin to oppose the war, you have to FORCE him in your direction. Something you don't seem to want to do. You'd rather support him without putting any demands on his candidacy. And you wonder why candidates keep getting worse!
        •  You can force him via a primary run (none)
          A general election run does no good - it attracts anti-war votes away from the candidate who opposes the war, making victory easy for the pro-war, rubber-stamp candidate.

          Of course, if Zeese is successful in getting the Green AND Libertarian nominations, things will change, and he may pull votes from both major-party candidates. But that's not the point ... the point is, it's silly to run a spoiler anti-war candidate in this race next year. And it's insulting to tell concentious Democrats that they're responsible for war and their party's decline, because they won't vote for this gadfly Zeese.

          •  Wrong (none)
            Just think Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich. They didn't do shit to pull Kerry in their direction by running within the party. Think if all the Deaniacs would have said to Kerry, "Fuck you Kerry if you support the war.. I'm going to vote for a antiwar candidate, and if you continue to support this illegal occupation, we are going to oppose you!".. That my friend would have scared Kerry and his corporate pals. He would have HAD to respond. He NEVER responded after the convention to Dean's antiwar message. Sad, but true.
            •  What are you talking about? (none)
              No one can seriously argue that Kerry didn't left on the war because of Howard Dean. He voted against the $87 funding package because of Howard Dean.

              There was an anti-war candidate, Ralph Nader, who bashed Kerry and the Democrats for being pro-war. His vote total fell from 2,883,105 in 2000 to 463,655 in 2004. Progressives are not, and should not, spoil their votes on left-wing vanity candidates.

    •  Here is a Good Argument Against Voting For Zeese: (none)
      He calls for a "Unity Party" including LIBERTARIANS.
      So he is claiming that he can find common ground with a group that supports, abolishing the minimum wage, shutting down the EPA, eliminating labor organizing protections, discrimination on the basis or race religion and gender in private businesses, criminalizing file swapping, and forcing third world countries to pay retail for drugs under patent.
      This is idiotic.  The only common ground with Libertarians is smoking dope.
      The only explanation for this is that he is running against the Democratic party, and EXCLUSIVELY the Democratic party, and not for anything meaningful.

      6/24/05: Charlie the Tuna Creator Dies En lieu of flowers, please bring mayonnaise, chopped celery and paprika.

      by LunkHead on Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 10:54:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Like Nader, Zeese can't win, (4.00)
    all he can do is help elect a Bushite Republican senator.

    Which is the point.

    The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

    by devtob on Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 08:59:47 AM PDT

    •  He can win! (none)
      That's the point! There is no electoral college here. He has to get a plurality of the vote, somewhere around 34%. That's is totally within reach. Especially if the antiwar movement gets behind him.
      •  No, it's not in reach (none)
        You're not going to get 34% of the state to vote for Ralph Nader's 2004 press secretary. His natural support comes from the well-educated, usually well-off left-wing intelligentsia in Takoma Park. The people who voted for Nader in 2004 because "both parties are pro-war." You know, when Nader won 0.5% of the vote in Maryland.
        •  If the national (none)
          antiwar movement were to get behind Zeese, even IF he doesn't win the Maryland vote.. it will say to the Republican "opposition", the Democrats, that we won't support your candidates if you continue to support the Bush agenda. Want to challenge the Bushies? Well, we first have to challenge their enablers!
          •  Remind me how that played in 2000 (none)
            Ralph Nader sure sent the message to Democrats that if they didn't stand up for progressive values, they  would not get progressive support.

            How'd that turn out?

            •  If you'll remember, (none)
              Gore sucked. He didn't stand for anything. And it takes YEARS not ONE election to challenge the corrupt two-party system.

              What is your excuse for the failure of the Dems after the 2002 mid-terms? Or the 2004 elections? It is much easier to blame guys like Nader for the failures of the Democratic Party, of which there are many!

              Just months after the Dems supported Bush's war in '02, they collapsed, lost the Senate and lost their soul. Oh, well, maybe they lost their soul long ago. Why can't they oppose this war? The majority of the US public opposes it.

              •  I offer this post (none)
                as Exhibit A in my argument that the far left has gone so far left that they are aligning with the far right.

                "Gore sucked.  he didn't stand for anything."

                Please go spoil student council elections at John F. Kennedy Middle School.  Quit trying to ruin the Democratic Party by electing Republicans.

                •  That is not (none)
                  an argument. Gore supported and pushed Clinton to sign the Iraq Liberation Act. He supported the Salvage Rider, the Anti-terrorism Effective Death act, NAFTA, Welfare Reform and the list goes on. Sorry if I think this meant Gore "sucked". But it did.

                  I don't need to "spoil" elections and elect Republicans. Democrats already do that. Did you see Kerry opposing Bush on Iraq or the Patriot Act? Did you seem him challenge election fraud? They support every major policy the Republicans put forward, save for Soc. Sec.

          •  Why not challenge them in a primary? (none)
  •  This will be an excellent way... (4.00)
    ... for Steele to win the senate race! Seriously, my support is for Cardin.

    "Plenty of rich folks want to fight. Give them the guns." -Woody Guthrie

    by The Party Plague on Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 09:02:08 AM PDT

  •  Not even right (none)
    Will they challenge the pharmaceutical or health insurance industries in order to provide health care for all?

    Bill Clinton did try this, and failed.  He then did succeed with a smaller program for children (SCHIP).  In Vermont, Howard Dean did achieve universal coverage for children.

    What has either Party done to ensure decent jobs at home that pay a living wage?

    22 million jobs were created during the Clinton years and the poverty rate fell.  Incomes rose among the lowest-income 20 percent - the only time that had happened in 30 years.

    Haven't both parties supported the corporate trade agreements that masquerade as "free trade" but really empower international corporations, undermine the environment, labor standards and consumer protection

    Democrats have in recent years been moving away from free trade.  Few voted for CAFTA, for instance.

    Will either Party put in place universal voter registration -- the international standard for elections?

    As far as I know, what steps have been taken towards this (such as motor voter laws) were by Democratic governors and legislatures.

    The other items on your list, while I don't really disagree with them, simply aren't popular enough to win an election on.

    Democrats lost the 2004 election because we were perceived as soft on security - in other words, not in enough thrall to the military-industrial complex, not supportive enough of Israel.  Had we advocated defense cuts and an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, for instance, we'd have been crushed in a 1984-style landslide.  Only on trade is your position the majority one.

    How can we move the American electorate to the left?  There have been only two instances in the past century, the civil rights movement and the New Deal.  One required a large grassroots movement (which doesn't exist today); the other the shock of the Great Depression, something we'd rather avoid.

  •  Democracy works in 2 ways (none)
    Democracy only works in two ways, one where the coalition is formed before the election, or one where it is formed after. In our two party system it is formed before the election. Since America has a first past the post system, there is no room for a real third party, especially since people would start winning elections with 34% of the vote.
  •  Interesting book title (none)
    "Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W Bush"

    Just curious, but did he also write one called "Left Out! How Greens Helped Elect George W Bush"?

  •  Given Kevin's in the race... (none)
    Does that leave Cardin the strongest possible Dem? Might it not be better to find a Candidate who can take the wind out of his sails? What's Kurt Shmoke up to these days?

    I am not currently Licensed to Practice in this State. Or yours.

    by ben masel on Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 10:22:51 AM PDT

  •  MD Third Party candidates will get no more than 3% (none)
    Looking at the last 3 Presidential elections in Maryland- 1996,2000 and 2004. The Liberal Third Party Presidential Candidate- Ralph Nader got less than 1% in 1996,less than 3% in 2000,and less than 1% in 2004. Kevin Zeese and the other Third Party candidates combined will not get more than 3% of the popular vote in the 2006 Maryland US Senate Race. The Republican Presidential Ticket in 1996 Dole/Kemp got 38% in Maryland. Bush/Cheney got 40% in 2000. and 43% in 2004. Michael Steele(R) the likely Republican nominee for the 2006 Maryland US Senate Race will get no more than 43% of the popular vote in the Maryland US Senate Race. The Democratic Presidential Ticket in 1996 -Clinton/Gore got 54% in Maryland. 2000- Gore/Lieberman got 57% in Maryland. and Kerry/Edwards got 56% in Maryland.
    Ben Cardin- The likely Democratic nominee for the 2006 Maryland US Senate Race will get no less than 54% of the popular vote in the 2006 Maryland US Senate Race.
    2006 Maryland US Senate Race prediction
    Ben Cardin(D)54%
    Michael Steele(R)43%
    Kevin Zeese/Other(I)3%

    Regardin Cardin's positition on the War. Cardin voted against the Iraq War Resolution at beginning- Clark/Dean position. Voting against the Iraq War Resolution would have been a wise move for Democrats. The best time to have voice strong opposition to the War was during the beginning. Cardin probally supported the 87 billion dollar funding. - Gephardt position. Supporting the 87 billion dollar funding was an okay position. The US needs to win the war in Iraq. Regarding Cardin's refusal to call for timetable. Wesley Clark- who opposed the War in Iraq has advise Members of the Congressional Out of Iraq Caucus to impose a timetable in withdrawing troops from Iraq.

    •  A few things. (none)
      First, Cardin DID support the further funding of the Iraq occupation. He IS in the pocket of the corporate elite - as his 4 million dollar war chest shows. He isn't for an end to the war, and supports Bush's greater war on terror.

      Zeese may not win, it'll be an uphill battle, especially when antiwar folks support a pro-war candidate, simply because he is a Democrat. Party loyalty above moral issues - go figure.

      In 1992, Ross Perot got 18% of the popular vote in Maryland. If Zeese was to get 10%, that'd be HUGE! The media would have to talk about his antiwar campaign, and it surel would have an impact on the 2004 presidential elections - as Democrats would be fearful that a pro-war stance would lose votes. But it seems folks here at DailyKos are more worried about winning elections and issues. Well, I say fuck party politics if there isn't a party that opposes this war. I will support virtually any candidate that wants our troops home now. For me that is the issue that matters most right now.

      •  So What?? (none)
        Their is nothing wrong with supporting the 87 billion dollar war funding.... Ben Cardin and Russ Fiengold voted for the 87 Billion Dollar funding despite voting against the Iraq War resoultion because they wanted to the US to succeed in this mission despite being against the War. I doubt Fiengold is in bed with the Corporate Elites. Voting for the 87 billion dollar is the wisest move a politician can make.  You cannot compare Nader/Zeese with Perot. Perot was conservative on fiscal issues. Nader did not get more than 3% of the popular vote. Zeese will be lucky if he gets 5% of the popular vote in the 2006 Maryland US Senate Race. either way Cardin(D) still wins the 2006 Maryland US Senate Race with 50-55% of the popular vote. and Steele(R) will get between 40-45% of the popular vote.
        •  Voting for the (none)
          $87 billion package to support the illegal occupation was not the wisest thing to do. Give me a break. No wonder Dems keep losing across the board. So the initially opposed the war, but then support it. That's almost worst than Kerry's position. If want the troops home now, you don't keep funding the occupation. Pretty simple logic really. If you want them home you oppose the war, and its funding, and bring them home. Especially if their "mission" as you put it, is unattainable. As we are seeing now. Almost 2000 soldiers dead. Glad Cardin and Feingold supported keeping them there. And I'll send them a thank you on the 3000 mark as well as the 4000. They really are no better than Bush on this issue.

          The matter isn't whether Feingold is in bed with the corporate elites, the issue here is Cardin, who is in bed with the corporate elites. But, I don't think Zeese should go after silly liberals like you anyway. He should go after non-voters, of which there are many. I think he should go after the people the Dems are supposed to represent, i.e. the poor and minorities. The ones who by and large, don't vote because both major parties don't give them a reason to. I just love it when party loyalists vote against their own interests and ideals. But if your ideals are pro-occupation in Iraq, Cardin and yes, Feingold, should be your men. Heck, Hillary too.

          •  Voting against the 87Billion would have been bad. (none)
            Voting against the 87 Billion dollar- which would have been used for Iraq Reconstruction. equiments for the US Military Troops fighting in Iraq would have been foolish politically. Can you imagine the media saying Candidate A does not support the troops because they voted against the funding. The United States decided to go war in Iraq. However foolish the decision was we needed to succeed in Iraq. I agree that we need to have a plan to bring US Troops Home. ie
            1)Provide Training to  the Iraqi Military to maintain peace and security in Iraq.
            2)Lobby countries in the Mideast(Saudia Arabia,Jordan,Kuwaitt,Egypt,Turkey,Syria,and Iran, to participate in the Iraq Reconstruction).
            3)Allow NATO/UN to take over Iraq.
            4)Gradually Start Bringing Troops home.
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