Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why it's necessary to vote for Dems

I'm not the only one that noticed how many of the disappointed left are threatening to either not vote or vote third party this time around in order to "teach Dems a lesson." Robert Parry reviews the political outcomes of the last 42 years and posts the best explanation I've ever seen on why that's a suicidal strategy for anyone who truly cares about advancing progressive policy.

Seriously must be read in full. Should in fact be required reading for anyone under the age of 40 who honestly believes Democrats can be taught a lesson and losing the majority now will somehow push them to the left. Forgive the lengthy excerpts:
However, modern American political history tells us that this strategy never works. After the four key elections in which many progressives abandoned the governing Democrats – in 1968, 1980, 1994 and 2000 – not only did Republicans take U.S. politics further to the right, but the surviving Democrats tacked more to the center and grew more timid. [...]

Tragically, too, the Left’s sideline-sitting contributed to the unnecessary deaths of millions of people in wars from Vietnam and Central America to Iraq and Afghanistan. Arguably even worse, U.S. inaction on global warming – a neglect surely to be continued if Republicans and Tea Partiers are victorious in Election 2010 – may doom the future of a livable planet.

In other words, the “teach-the-Dems-a-lesson” strategy not only doesn’t work, it’s extremely dangerous. [...]

After 42 years, the Republicans are far more right-wing than Richard Nixon (and arguably even crazier), and most governing Democrats are far more centrist than the likes of Tip O’Neill, Lyndon Johnson and the old Democratic lions of that earlier era. [...]

In other words, the Left’s notion of “teaching the Democrats a lesson” is a myth. It may make some progressives feel morally pure, but it doesn’t work. And, the results of the last 42 years should make clear that the idea is not only folly but it is dangerous.

If the pundits are correct and the Democrats go down to a crushing defeat on Nov. 2, the result will not be more progressive legislation but even less; not more spending on green jobs and a rebuilt infrastructure but more neglect; not a strengthening of the middle class but even starker financial inequities and enhanced corporate power; not a reordering of priorities away from the military-industrial complex but more tough-guy foreign policies.

Indeed, some of the more extreme Tea Party-backed candidates have made clear that their ultimate goal is the total repeal of FDR's New Deal. For both governing Democrats and disaffected progressives, the results of Election 2010 could well prove catastrophic.
I'm afraid some of my younger friends on the left don't understand just how catastrophic a GOP takeover in this round would be. The stakes have never been higher and the damage this time, even in only two years, could be irreparable. If progressives want better candidates, then successfully primary the establishment pols. Or build a third party that can really win. But until then, you vote for the disappointing, overly centrist, corporatist Dems because the alternative will only push the window even farther to the right.

Besides, if everybody actually went out and voted and the Democrats crushed the GOPers, especially the TPs, progressives would have the satisfaction of proving the vapid punditry wrong. In 2010, that could be an even greater victory for the left.

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