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There has been much talk on DKos about 3rd parties, whether people who vote for the them in the next election are good or bad, whether 3rd parties have any shot at winning, or even if the advocacy of 3rd parties is legitimate on DKos?  This is not a diary about any of those questions.  For the record, I will be voting for Obama in the next election, but that doesn't really matter as far as this diary goes.  I am not trying to change the mind of those who cannot, in good conscious, vote for Obama.  Rather, if you cannot vote for Obama, at least make your vote count.

I would like to say this is friendly advice, but to be honest it isn't.  I don't like the fact that you will not be voting for Obama and other Democrats, but that's not why I am writing this.  The problem is that the anti-Obama/Democratic Party progressives cannot seem to start any kind of political/social movement at all--you are less effective than the Naderites were, and that's really fucking pathetic.

Those who oppose Obama/Democrats from the left have two choices at this point.  Challenge Obama and conservative Democrats in the primaries or support a 3rd party in the general election.  I have absolutely no problem with primary challenges.  Kucinich ran in the primaries, and more power to him for doing it.  That is what the primary system is for, and I may very well vote for progressive candidates in the primaries (depending on a ton of criteria).  

I do have problems with those who want to challenge Obama from the left in the general election.  I believe that it may well hand the election to the Republicans, and I do believe that the Republicans are far, far worse than Obama or the Democrats, but again, this is not what I am debating here.

All of you anti-Obama/Democrat progressives don't have a candidate.  Its getting way past time to announce or at least intimate a primary challenge. We are getting very close to the time when a general election challenge would need to begin.  At this point, no anti-Obama progressive is visiting Iowa or New Hampshire.  No anti-Obama progressive has set up an exploratory committee.  The anti-Obama progressives cannot even name a serious candidate that would actually run.  The people suggested by anti-Obama progressives on DKos--Bernie Sanders, Alan Grayson, Howard Dean, Anthony Weiner, Denis Kucinich--have either explicitly said they would not run or given absolutely no indication that they are even vaguely interested.  To be frank, every time I hear any of those names suggested, I know the person suggesting them doesn't know what the fuck they are talking about.

I imagine that many of the anti-Obama progressives who have made it thus far are thinking, "Its not about the general election, we need to build the movement from below.  We need to create a new, viable 3rd party or take over the democratic party!"  I'm actually good with all that, while I am a pragmatist in my voting, ultimately I believe in Scandinavian style socialism.  Bernie Sanders is a little bit to the right of me.  If you all can get a viable socialist party together, I am all in.

And that's exactly where you are fucking up.

You need a national candidate.  The national candidate brings attention.  They can get into the televised debates, or at least raise a ruckus when they are denied participation.  They can campaign with local progressives, bringing cameras and people with them.  They can get on national television and argue your cause.  I think we all know damn well that any far-left candidate is going to lose, whether in the primary or the general election.  The goal is not to win, but rather to push the agenda, to move the Overton Window leftward.  

In 2000 (less so in 2004), Ralph Nader and his supporters did just that.  They campaigned across the nation, they campaigned with local progressives, and they organized the far left, taking almost 3% percent of the national vote.  More-so, Nader had a lasting impact.  The rhetoric I am hearing from the anti-Obama/Democratic progressives is almost exactly what I heard from Nader a decade ago.  

"There is no difference between the Democrats and Republicans."  
"We must end corporate personhood."
"Congress is a fully owned subsidiary of corporate America."
etc.

Nader had a real impact, and though I will hate him to my dying breath, he engaged in effective political action.  You anti-Obama/Democratic party progressives owe Nader a debt of gratitude, because he is very simply your greatest champion and the founder of your movement.  And yet you haven't learned his basic lesson--you need a fucking candidate on the national level.

I don't want you to run a 3rd candidate in the general election.  I'm OK with a primary challenge, though I will likely vote for Obama.  In either case, though, you are serving a useful purpose.  You are demonstrating the true size and power of the progressive left, and showing the nation that there are other options.

What I cannot abide is all you wasting your votes and remaining mute.  Without a candidate, you have no voice and you have no power.  Simply put, nobody knows what you are saying when you don't speak.  These days, about 45% of folks are opposed to HCR--but we know that a sizable number come from the left, not the right.  Yet, that detail is never remembered in the national debate.  All of you on the left are lumped in with the Republicans and the teabaggers.  In the next election, if you choose not to vote, if you choose to vote for some 3rd party that is not known to the American public, if you write in random people--your voice will not be heard.  You will be labeled as part of the apathetic middle.  Everyone will think you are part of the 50% of Americans who simply don't care.

So, anti-Obama/Democratic party progressives...I don't agree with your decision to vote against Obama, but I am enraged by your pathetic organizing skills.  You all are acting like you are the future of America, and you can't even get a candidate on a ballot.  If you want to be taken seriously, time to get serious.  I may criticize your candidate, I will likely never vote for him/her--but at least your voice will be heard and maybe you can shift the debate leftward.  Right now you all look like a bunch of whiners.  You scream and call names, but you are doing absofuckinglutely nothing to move the debate.  At this point in the election cycle, you are not even as effective as the Naderites, and that's embarrasing.  Even though I will oppose you, you could serve a valuable role, if you just got off your asses.

Poll

Will you...

41%13 votes
9%3 votes
22%7 votes
25%8 votes

| 31 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Thu Apr 14, 2011 at 05:14:38 PM PDT

    •  EV, you just became my hero.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Empty Vessel

      I think I was alluding to this in a diary a couple days ago, but I was not very articulate especially not balls to the walls like you. My question was is your program working for you or not alluding to this conversation. If you dont plan to vote for Obama, who is your candidate? Since the democratic party is corrupt, what now, what next?  Anyhoo, good read and discussion.

      "You took a dump on the little guy..? Why? "Cause, I can." Karl Rovian bible.

      by tdslf1 on Thu Apr 14, 2011 at 10:05:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I will work for both a primary and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Empty Vessel

      3rd party challenger.  i agree with you that candidates need to be found, and found yesterday.  The complaining without alternative is tedious even to us.

  •  Talk about demanding instant gratification. (5+ / 0-)
    So, anti-Obama/Democratic party progressives...I don't agree with your decision to vote against Obama, but I am enraged by your pathetic organizing skills.

    That and your other 'less effective than Nader' talk is plainly ignorant.

    The greens have been around for decades.  They existed in other countries, then pulled their framework over here, and started building, and it took them many years to get even as effective as the Nader run was.

    Now you demand that disgruntled progressives instantly provide you with a better candidate and alternative, sans any real framework and money?

    You should be embarrassed to have written this drivel.

  •  "I will hate him to my dying breath" (5+ / 0-)

    says more about you than Nader.

  •  I voted for Play with Myself. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Empty Vessel

    That's my plan for November 2012.  I will not be voting against Obama (very unlikely).  But I won't waste my time voting for him, either, if he's the candidate.  

    You say:

    you are less effective than the Naderites were, and that's really fucking pathetic.

    And that's absolutely true, too, and I accept that criticism, even though it was probably not meant to be constructive.  We are pathetic.  We have no candidate.  We have no plan.  Not right now.

    But I am waiting for the opportunity for such things to arise.  We'll see.

    And... another comment.  There would be no talk of third party general election challenges if Obama had a real challenger in the primaries, which I have long wished for.  It would be GOOD for Obama to have a challenger, if for no other reason than to let those of us that hate the fucker, at this point, to have a chance to get it out of our systems before the convention.  And to possibly corner Obama into taking positions more to our liking.  But since that isn't likely to happen now, I'd say Obama's going to have to win in November 2012 without certain Democratic votes.  Like mine.

  •  YOU are the reason there is no effective (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drewfromct, Celtic Pugilist

    far left party, or why the Democratic party is not more progressive. If all of the socialist credentials you espouse in this diary are a gauge, you should be supporting people with similar ideas, but in this very diary you say you won't vote for them.

    Therefore, you are the very reason why the far left, you (since you declare Sanders to be to the right of you) is pathetic.

    It's your fault.

    "... the Professional Left, that is simultaneously totally irrelevant and ruining everything" (Glenn Greenwald)

    by ranger995 on Thu Apr 14, 2011 at 06:46:14 PM PDT

    •  And your candidate is? nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SouthernBelleNC49

      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

      by Empty Vessel on Thu Apr 14, 2011 at 06:48:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There will be no effective candidate, not (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CT Hank, Celtic Pugilist

        while people like you are around. Too damned afraid to stand up for those ideals that you supposedly believe in. You make fun of left leaning candidates and vote against them. You even go further to mock voters who support them.

        And WTF does "my" candidate mean? I don't have a candidate and neither do you. It is always a matter of choices of whose available, always. Unless, of course, you actually sponsored someone's run personally, then you do not have a candidate.

        You make it sound as if the people here are not going to vote for Obama, and that is something akin to a straw man, because everyone knows that most (99.99%) of the people on this site will end up voting for Pr. Obama.

        You might at least treat challenges from the left with respect, since you supposedly are to the left of Bernie Sanders. You might at least respect their opinions once in a while.

        "... the Professional Left, that is simultaneously totally irrelevant and ruining everything" (Glenn Greenwald)

        by ranger995 on Thu Apr 14, 2011 at 07:05:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nader was an effective candidate (0+ / 0-)

          certainly in 2000, and likely in 2004.  He advanced the cause, and laid the groundwork.  Who is this year's Nader?

          I was around then, voted for Gore and Kerry--so if you can't at least equal what Nader accomplished, you have a serious problem.  

          Read Dumbo's comment above, really read it.  I am not gloating about it.  I find it truly sad.

          "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

          by Empty Vessel on Thu Apr 14, 2011 at 07:10:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You make it sound like I am the head of some (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Celtic Pugilist

            powerful political apparatus that can sponsor a candidate.

            I am just joe schmoe archaeologist. I don't get to decide who runs and who doesn't. So when I go into the voting booth, I have to choose between who's already there.

            I do get to choose what I believe in, who I am, and what I want though. I do get to criticize politicians and try to make them at least acknowledge the things that are important to me. I think they are supposed to represent the people, and therefore it is my job to try to have my voice be heard.

            I perceive your message as this: the only way to do that is to sponsor my very own personal candidate.

            That's essentially where you are going with the "who's your candidate" thing. If my favorite baseball team sucks, does that mean I should go buy one of my own, and otherwise I can not criticize them? Even though I pay good money for tickets and merchandise?

            That being said, as a Democrat, one can actually not be happy with the candidate, and yet reluctantly support them in voting.

            PS...

            I was around then

            I don't understand this statement. It was only 11 years ago, we were pretty much all around then. I voted for Gore too, but I don't blame Nader supporters for Gore losing. I wish Gore had done something to win them over.

            As far as Kerry is concerned, I have a personal email note from him that I saved. I wrote him a letter a while before he decided to run urging him to do so, and he responded. I thought it was nice. I don't remember there being any significant Nader factor at all that election.

            "... the Professional Left, that is simultaneously totally irrelevant and ruining everything" (Glenn Greenwald)

            by ranger995 on Thu Apr 14, 2011 at 08:09:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What this joe schmoe archaeologist (0+ / 0-)

              (yeah, we got the same job description), is that political action requires political organization.  There really was a progressive foundation back ten years ago.  No, you can't do it on your own.  That's why we organize, and organization is what makes a political movement.

              It seems you want to start a political movement by hectoring others progressives.  Good luck with that.  Get people, get organized, together find a candidate.  It sucks, its a ton of work, but is, in the most literal sense--the only option you have.

              If you want to effect change, you really are gonna have to work for it, just as hard as all those folks who worked for Obama's election did--in fact, even harder cause the systems is stacked against you.

              My diary is only asking for those who are planning to not vote for Obama to at least get to work so that their voices are heard.  Is that really so anathema?

              "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

              by Empty Vessel on Thu Apr 14, 2011 at 08:24:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  My vote doesn't count anyway (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drewfromct, Celtic Pugilist

    I live in a blue state. Therefore I feel free to use it as a means of self-expression.

    Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich. -- Napoleon Bonaparte

    by denise b on Thu Apr 14, 2011 at 07:05:21 PM PDT

    •  that's great (0+ / 0-)

      and I can't say I even object overly.  But just wondering, who are you gonna self express with if it ain't Obama?

      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

      by Empty Vessel on Thu Apr 14, 2011 at 07:07:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I could write in FDR (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drewfromct, mikolo, Celtic Pugilist

        Now there is a Democrat who was willing to take on Big Money (even tho he saved their worthless ass).

        Or I could write in the names of Eugene Debs or Martin Luther King Jr.

        Do those of us on the social democratic Left have a candidate? No. But it isn't because we are pathetic losers. It is because the United States is a country with a stunted political system that (a) purged the institutions of the Left in the Red scare of the 1950's and (b) has an electoral framework that prevents the effective expression of political views outside a very narrow capitalist framework.

        If we had proportional representation or Instant Runoff Voting, IRV, we would see a blossoming of effective Left advocacy. But we don't. The system is thoroughly corrupt, bought and paid for by corporate power. Short of something close to a popular revolution—or at least a sustained grassroots uprising similar to what took place in Wisconsin recently—we are condemned to an increasing descent into corporate feudalism.

        But. If we are going to point fingers, then I would point mine at those in the Democratic Party who are willing to let bought-off, lying politicians like Obama have their vote no matter what. Why should they pay attention to the needs of the working and middle class, of environmentalists, of mainstream liberals, if they know you will vote for them no matter what because you are scared spitless over Republicans? They might as well try and please Blue Dogs because they know if they don't do what the Blue Dogs—and their corporate paymasters—want then the Blue Dogs will abandon them. Right wing Democrats get what they want precisely because they are willing to take a walk.

        •  Might I suggest writing in someone (0+ / 0-)

          still living?

          Hell, you could write in Nader.  You could even write in FDR as long as you could get all the folks who refuse to vote for Obama to do it.  In that case you would be heard.  Its even free.

          You want to argue about all sorts of things--things that have been fought again and again on this site.  Go ahead, I'm not in the mood.

          My question remains, who's your candidate, and how are you going to get heard?  

          "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

          by Empty Vessel on Thu Apr 14, 2011 at 07:52:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Let me add this (0+ / 0-)

          You say

          Right wing Democrats get what they want precisely because they are willing to take a walk.

          I say

          Right wing Democrats get what they want precisely because they have a place to walk to, and are willing walk there.

          You seem willing to walk, but without a candidate, you have nowhere to go.

          "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

          by Empty Vessel on Thu Apr 14, 2011 at 08:36:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  True, there is no place to go (0+ / 0-)

            But voting for a candidate who is not only not good enough but who many of us think is actively driving the country in a bad direction--albeit not at the speed of the GOP--is unacceptable.

            Sometimes, you know, there really is no place to go.

            Would you have told someone in the Soviet Union in the 1970's to go and vote when the system made it impossible to effectively register their preference? I would argue that we don't have a true democratic system here.

            The problem is a system problem, not a problem of individual leftists who are "pathetic." Also, you seem to be under the misapprehension that if one is not willing to vote for Obama that that means one is not politically active at all. There's no reason why one equals the other.

            If you were faced with only being able to choose between Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee, would you vote for Mitt? Or would you feel that was no acceptable choice at all? My point is: Is there a point at which you draw a line and say you can't vote for either candidate?

            My write-in vote suggestions would be merely symbolic, a more pointed way of saying "none of the above." I won't vote for a candidate of indefinite detention, of letting bankers off scott free, of not prosecuting torturers, of expanding the wars, etc.

      •  I have no idea (0+ / 0-)

        It's a long way off.

        Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich. -- Napoleon Bonaparte

        by denise b on Thu Apr 14, 2011 at 09:12:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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