On Tuesday voters will go to the polls to participate in what shall undoubtedly be yet another sham election in which the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is determined (but not necessarily by the voters). Either Republican John McCain or Democrat Barack Obama is going to be dictator, but regardless of who it is come January, we’re still screwed.
This entry assumes Barack Obama shall become dictator Tuesday, but it can just as easily be applied to McCain should he cheat his way into office.
We had our chance to get Obama to listen, but far too many Democrats decided it was better to shut up and get in line behind him rather than force him to adopt left-wing policy positions. What’s worse, we frittered away our chance to hold Congressional candidates to the proverbial fire. I think the only way we can shape things is to work toward 2010 by making sure progressive independents and Democrats are elected.
Primary runs are only half the equation. If they succeed (as they did in states such as Maryland), great, but we also need to have independent candidates ready to challenge recalcitrant Democrats in general elections. If politicians don’t fear losing the elected seats they hold, they won’t have any incentive to represent their constituents. I can’t think of a better way to put the fear of electoral loss in right-wing Democrats than the prospect of losing their seats of power to strong independent candidates or, if those persons fail to win, the Republican candidates.
If you haven’t already started locally, and I presume people have done this across the country, I strongly suggest spending the next two years building up to state-level offices. Pick a local political party that has a record of getting results (e.g Progressives in Vermont and Washington, Greens in California, and so forth), and get disenfranchised progressives to join and organize. Hold meetings to figure out which members are best suited to run for public office and then pool money to get them on the ballots in your communities. Candidates should be screened for potential scandals, have records to match their rhetoric, and be able not only to communicate effectively, but seize and maintain control of the discussion.
Do that and you may be able to shape things in time for the 2010 midterm elections. The time to start is not then, but now, in 2008. Time’s wasting, so let’s get busy!