So you want to move Democrats to the left? Stop voting for them.

There comes a time when it is necessary to re-evaluate failed strategies.  Insulting the left by calling us “Naderites” if we fail to show up to vote for a right-wing candidate to replace the late Ted Kennedy didn’t cause swarms of invigorated Democrats to vote Martha Coakley into office.  Insulting us as “poorly informed” about things we already knew doesn’t work, nor does self-congratulatory back-patting.  And frankly, up and joining with the very gatekeepers we’re supposed to be fighting isn’t going to cut it either.

It’s long past time for the left to publicly acknowledge that tying its meager fortunes to the Democrats is a lost cause.  You cannot fight a beast from within its belly.  You can only be digested and shat out.

You may not like the suggestion I’m about to make.

But I’ll make it anyway: Vote third party, a LEFT-wing third party.  MAKE the Democrats’ self-inflicted losses in November be because they were too right-wing and the public, having been lied to for too long, chose to leave for a party that represents its interests over those of Big Business.

You must do this not only to send the right message, but because it is the ONLY way any Democrat will be made to realize just why he or she lost and what the party needs to do to win and keep power.  That’s not going to happen by sitting out elections, which is what the powerful want us to do anyway and only allows the far right to keep shaping the narrative that Democrats lose because they’re perceived as being too liberal.

Vote Progressive, vote Green, vote Socialist, vote Working Families, or whatever other left-wing political party is in your area or that you feel best represents you.  Tell the clowns who screech in your ear about how these parties “can’t win” what to go do with themselves and vote outside the duopoly.  Obviously, they’re going to make up any lie, use any dirty tactic to make that a self-fulfilling prophesy.  If more people vote third or fourth or fifth party, that’s fewer votes in support of a diseased and hopelessly corrupt institution, and therefore injures its illusion of legitimacy.  What, do you really think Democrats are going to say, “well, sorry to lose you, but it’s all good since we’re on the same side”?  HELL no!  They’re screaming at the top of their lungs and using dirty legal tricks to get third party candidates thrown off the ballot BECAUSE they are NOT on the same side as we are.  So don’t be bullied into voting against your principles or your interests.

Yes, it means Democrats get fewer votes.  So what?  What are they going to do with those votes except ignore the people who cast them so they can keep enabling the far right?  What policy have Democrats enacted that hasn’t been a continuation of everything the Republicans have done or wanted to do?  It’s not a REPUBLICAN executive who wants to eliminate Social Security and Medicare this time; it’s a DEMOCRAT.  It’s not a REPUBLICAN Congress that institutionalized the broken health care system in this country by forcing us all to buy unaffordable private insurance on pain of unaffordable tax penalties; it was a DEMOCRAT Congress.  And even if it had been the GOP doing these things, it is a fact as clear as day that the majority of today’s Democrats would gladly be lending their votes to the cause.

What have the Democrats actually done since winning power that has changed a damned thing?

The wars in the Middle East are still raging, with no end in sight.

Abuses of executive power continue.

Basic civil liberties, which are supposed to be protected by the Bill of Rights, are still being violated.

Health care reform is still out of sight; the sham bill that passed this year merely institutionalizes the for-profit system.  That’s not reform.  That’s another bailout of Big Business.

Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people are still seeing their rights violated through the continuation of DOMA and DADT.

Wall Street continues to go unregulated, and is still getting trillion-dollar checks from the government at OUR expense.

Politicians from both major parties are telling American muslims that they’re not allowed to build a community center anywhere near the site of where the World Trade Center used to be, likening the entire religion to the Nazis.

The list of Republican-mirroring actions goes on for miles in every direction.

How do you punish a political party that won’t act on behalf of its base?  You do it by voting for someone who will.  The far right got this a long time ago.  They have no problem whatsoever punishing recalcitrant politicians, and they do it with extreme prejudice.  That’s why when Rush Limbaugh barks, the GOP doesn’t even bother asking how high – it simply launches into orbit.  We on the left, if we’re to force Democrats or any other organization to do what we require, must be willing and able to do likewise.  If not, then don’t complain about how bad the system is because you’ll have proven unwilling to actually do anything about it.


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  1. it will be illegal.

    You’ll notice that when the Pennsylvania Homeland Security Department and its corporate pals infiltrated and exchanged notes on all  sorts of regional activists, they didn’t bother with anyone organizing for third parties, for electoral campaigns.  Who they did infiltrate, spy on, and disseminate state information to private corporations about were grassroots citizens engaged in organizing around issues, from anti-war Quaker groups  to community and environmental groups fighting against gas drilling to activists organizing against the G20 in Pittsburgh.  It’s that kind of independent power-building, citizens who don’t view voting as the be-all and end-all (or even the anything-at-all) about politics and power that get their attention.  Which should tell you what they fear, and therefore, just what we should be doing.  

  2. mess left, is to try other things.

    3rd parties are only one of those things, and actually the least effective, in a system totally stacked against democracy and democratic institutions.

    Unions, job actions, demonstrations, taking back media outlets. Taxes/war tax resistance.

    Electing Obama was a safety valve built into the system to let off steam/outrage/ anger. To some extent third parties are the same kind of valve, because they cannot ever win. I say that having worked for Eugene McCarthy’s 1976 campaign as a 12 year old, and I saw upfront the legion of dirty tricks the Democrats pulled, both on the street and in court. They never even fully counted those votes, so even as a protest, it’s an ineffective one.  Just as the full total of Nader’s 2000 votes remains unknown.  

    What we’re fighting against is the impulse to appoint someone else to fix this mess for us, which never works.

    The US electoral system is hopelessly broken, totally in the hands of a very few, and has become more and more so over the years.

    I like the simplicity of dump obama, and dump the dems movements- the first thing is to disassociate the left from those corporate controlled elements.

    If some people want to join third parties, that’s fine, but expect very little or nothing direct in return, because they can never be elected.

    They can however be one of the elements that can pull the spectrum left, just as the tea party has pulled the Republicrats further right. One big difference though, between far left and far right/tea party– they are not truly a grass roots RW movement, but one that is totally invented and controlled by big money and big media agitators.  We will never have the money behind us, so we need to regain some media presence.

    And ‘our’ media ‘heros’ have sold us out one after another. Michael Moore calls Al Frankin ‘a great senator’ , when in fact he’s a disaster. One after another, ‘our’ mouthpieces lines up behind Obama.

    So, the first step, is a dump obama movement from the left.  

  3. … so trying to draw any conclusions for the U.S. would be like comparing apples and pears.

    But I still find it fascinating that the Green Party, which started out 30 years ago as a ragtag collection of local protest groups, actually polled even with the Social Democrats in one survey last week.

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