Time to grow up, and change the game.

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

The implications of Citizens United continue to unfold before us.  Last night, I was having a politics discussion with some friends and hit upon a realization:

We are only able to check the dollars with a regular, consistent and sustained civic activity.

Think on that, the current state of things, voter apathy, and join me below the fold!

The money never rests.  It’s always there, in demand, tempting people with security in exchange for only a little corruption.  It starts with nothing major, just a broken promise or two “for the greater good”, building to the point where those broken promises become regular things, just part of staying in office, “to fight the good fight”.

In the end, nearly all politicians will fall prey to that slippery slope, leaving we the people with a less than effective representation.

For 30 years plus, we’ve seen the state of things move to a decidedly corporate friendly environment, and we’ve seen successful attacks on the middle class happen again and again.

Is there any wonder people are not motivated?  

This year, the *23 percenters are raging! They are highly motivated to vote because they’ve got a issue.  They will buy the product, cast the vote, and donate the dollar because they want their character issues legislated, instead of doing the work to socialize like the rest of us did.  It could be keeping the gays from marrying, abortion, or seeing their vision of a “Christian Nation” realized so they feel better about progress on their war on Islam.

Those people are absolutely going to the polls, and we’ve all discussed why.  Let’s say those people, combined with the wealthy form a quarter of us.

On the left, we’ve got perhaps another quarter who will vote regularly for progress, and to counter social regression.

That leaves half of us who will decide the elections.  What do you all think happens in a low turnout election?

The GOP and Corporations win!  If we don’t GOTV this year, we will see losses, and every one of those losses increases the burden we all share for realizing progress.

People need to realize something.  I had this realization too:

The media has positioned this election, as it does many elections, as a referendum on past performance.  Essentially this is the wrong thing to do, because attacking the party also attacks the elements within it, limiting their ability to grow and change the party for the greater good.

That’s us.  

Staying home harms Progressives.  Voting out some shitty Democrats HARMS PROGRESSIVES, and voting Republican harms Progressives, and when we harm Progressives, we do damage to the only movement of size actually pulling for the middle class.

That, folks, is how bad it really is!

In our two party system, it is only possible to strengthen a party, change a party, weaken a party.

Because of this, our votes cannot be a simple referendum. It must be about more than that, or we the people will continue to see a steady decline in our civil liberties, and economic security and standard of living!


Because of the money! What has happened since Obama became President?  Non stop negative messaging.  It never ends, and the idea behind that is all about suppressing the votes, so that the power of the people doesn’t actually check the power of the money and corporations.

Here, on this site, I’ve made many positive statements about the President, and they get minor attention.  Here on this site, I often write, as I am right now, on the importance of growing the Progressive Movement, taking the civics to the next level.

That generally gets a nod, but no real resonance.

Folks, we can’t afford to do this any more.  Arguably we never could, but the Citizens United decision has and will continue to force our hand!  The game has changed, and it’s changed for good, unless we the people organize, get control of our civics and change it to our mutual benefit.

The GOP “Contract on America” makes it perfectly clear they intend to follow their path of social and economic regression.  Make no mistake!  That is absolutely what will happen.  For 30 years, they have never, ever wavered on these things, and is there any reason to believe somehow that this year is different, particularly when the core movers and shakers in the party have not really changed in a material way?

Fuck no there isn’t, and that should be all the justification that anybody needs to get out there and vote the Democratic party ticket, but they don’t.

They don’t, because they’ve been led to believe their vote against the party is a requirement.  Maybe it’s about purity, as in “I can’t be associated with that shit, so I’ll stay home, or vote the fantasy candidate”.  Maybe it’s about results.  Not enough change, so vote them all out.  Perhaps it’s just being jaded, “both parties suck” so I’ll stay home.  And it goes on and on.

My point here is that messaging works!  Now, because of Citizens United, it works constantly, and when the election season comes, there is always enough money to hammer it home, and very significantly bias the civics away from the Democrats and Progressives.

That will not change.  There is no magic move, no secret process, no hero to save the day, and it’s permanent!

Read that again!

It’s permanent.  Obama can’t change this.  And we have to live with it, until we decide enough is enough, and change it ourselves.

Just going to vote isn’t enough this year.  It’s not enough because of the money, and the impact of that money on people and their will to vote, and most importantly, their ability to see that a better future is possible.

I’ve spent some time doing minor league local GOTV efforts this year.  Former Obama fans are jaded, believing that the whole process is corrupt, and that’s not enough to sell them on a vote and some support.  They are shutting down, figuring it’s just going to get worse, or that where we are now is the new reality, and they are focusing on adapting more than they are anything else.

In any election, there are enough people staying home to decide it for the better.  That’s always true, and it’s true right now.

To get them to the polls, we have to have something they can see that is different from the status quo, that punches through the messaging, and connect that to a better future, or they are just going to stay home, using their increasingly limited time and reduced dollars to live what lives they can.

Many of these people have actually said to me, “you are a dreamer”, that stuff is never going to happen, it’s OVER.

Know what?

If this movement does not up it’s game, I believe they are right!

Think on that too.

Not only do we need to start letting people know the difference between Progressive Democrats, and the Democrats in general, but we need to start telling them we are there fighting, and that we need dollars and their votes, or nothing good is going to happen.

I believe that fully and completely.  I cannot find another force in our politics actually of size, and that actually puts the people first.  The only connection to economic reform I see is through Progressives.  The rest of Washington is corporate, and will stay corporate because of Citizens United.

The only real check on that is old school advocacy, movement building, people to people growing support for a future they desire.  That’s all about us.  It’s not the party.  Our Party leadership, for the most part, isn’t going to check the dollars because they fear their seats, and rightfully so.

A whole batch of them are going to lose too, unless we up our game.

Some say that’s a purity thing, and that a smaller, leaner party will some how be better!  Please explain that to me!

We got some change this year, right?  Damn right we did, and it’s a good thing.  Want to know what nobody is talking about?

What it took to get that change!  The effort was huge, and we got some stuff.  Now that effort has been quenched, and we will lose more than we gained.

That is what Citizens United has done to the civics, and you all better start talking to people about it, connecting the dots, growing the movement, closing the deals, and building for the future, or it’s never, ever going to happen.

I’m voting a straight party ticket this year, and that means voting for some real asses.  The reason why I’m doing that, and why I will also help with GOTV is because our movement can only grow in a environment that doesn’t force pure survival mode activities.  

When we let the GOP grow it’s numbers, we force survival mode, and that stunts the growth of the movement, which biases our party to the economic corporate first, “trickle down”, “free market” position, and we fucking lose.

That shit has been discredited.  We know it’s a failed policy, but do we actually see that embodied anywhere?  No.  Do we see it on the media, and in our print?  Almost never.  So then, what makes you believe that’s anything but the established norm in Washington?

We are it.  The Progressive movement is the only one actually challenging the corporate status quo.  There isn’t anybody else.

That’s reality, and it won’t ever change, unless we force that.

(have I said that enough?)

We need people voting this election to preserve the fertile growth ground we’ve got right now, and to keep them engaged in the long slog to a better future.  If they ease up, the money never rests, and we take a step forward, one sideways, and two steps back toward full scale regression.

No matter how it goes down, we will be left with whatever ground we’ve got to work with.  The pressure will be “off”, and the macro view message will be “back to work, the election is over”, but that’s right when we need to continue our efforts!!

That is how we change our votes from simple, easily manipulated referendums into statements of vision and progress!!

If we believe in the movement, and the people, we vote for the best case going forward.  Maybe those people and that movement didn’t get us what we want.  No matter.  We know that voting against that just regresses us backward, raising the burden for change in return for a little bit of “I showed those fuckers” therapy.  

That is not productive at all.  Never is.

On the other hand, if we double down, vote our party, then continue to do the work to transform it into a progressive dominated one, we’ve changed the game!  We’ve begun doing what it will take to counter the influence of Citizens United, and we may well see that Progressive future.

When the election ends, we need to organize our various movement groups, target the real party asses, and start doing exactly what Slink is doing in Texas, putting daylight on bad votes, and we never, ever stop!


Because the money never rests.  Think about that.  Really.

Instead of the feedback loop being the election, we make it every week, or every month, and we fund-raise off of shitty votes, and we build war chests for challengers, who are out there, in front of people regularly, highlighting how things could go differently, and we do it all the damn time.

What that will do is show the people there is a force out there working for them, and it will counter the negative messaging that takes them eventually into this state of apathy that blunts the force of change!

It also gives us something to sell.  “there is is, right there, working for you, join us!”  We need that, because the money never, ever rests.

It is time to break the cycle.  I’ve seen it too many times now.  I get it, I see what it will take.

Do you?

*23 percenters form the regressive base of the GOP, generally racists, theocrats, corporatists, and bigots.


Skip to comment form

  1. because the money never rests.

    • Edger on September 25, 2010 at 22:32

    there are enough people staying home to decide it for the better.  That’s always true, and it’s true right now.

    Many of them are fed up progressives and independents. The very people who tipped the balance in the Democrats favor in 2006 and in 2008.

    The very people who elected Obama.

    To get them to the polls all that needs to be done is that Obama and the Democrats have to actually start producing something, anything, progressive that it was expected they would produce but haven’t.

    They have a month. If they don’t do it and they lose Congress it will not be the fault of those progressives and independents.

  2. … part of depressing the vote is convincing those who could swing the result for the better that its hopeless.

    The enthusiasm to participate in a win is naturally stronger than the enthusiasm to participate in a loss.

    Continuous civic action is right. Plan A is to decide which candidate will piss off the 0.01% the most and try to vote them in. But Plan B, in the even of electoral failure, is to build on the election result to win greater success next time.

    And part of building on the election results is to get our votes into the results this time.

    We of course have to engage in constant negative messaging against the bloodless coup by the 0.01%. We also have to start campaigning for the 2012 Congressional and State Legislature primaries this December.

    The Koch Brothers and their ilk did not buy this election result in three months of campaigning, they bought it in over a decade of building up propaganda mills and mailing lists and burrowing their moles into the media networks.

  3. campaign rhetoric. Ya he had caveats, but it was really irrelevant to the thrust, tone and symbolism of his candidacy. He cut off those coattails, snip, snip, slash, slash, adios!

    He, and he alone, deliberately cut them off. I’ve voted every election since 1968, and the Democratic party of today makes the moderate republicans of the 60’s and 70’s look like Jacobins.

    I understand your position and I certainly respect your message, but it is way too little and way too late. Obama and the Democrats have caved into the MIC and are soley responsible for the birth of empire after Bush planted the seeds.

    IMHO, the true, old, democratic liberal left will be much more capable of forming a movement without Obama and without a Democratic majority. He killed and buried the movement that gave him the presidency. If he returns my hundreds of dollars in donations (which I can really use right now) I might consider reconsidering.

Comments have been disabled.