A New Electoral Politics is Possible
This article is meant to explore an alternative to what is given as a quadrennial binary choice of either attacking a progressive Democratic Presidential candidate or an imminent existential dilemma of Green Party closing shop and submitting to him. This article could have just as easily been written in past presidential election cycles about Kucinich as it is now written about Sanders. I want to caution my Democratic Party friends that I see no need to widen scope of this inquiry to include corporate Democratic Leadership Conference candidates such as Clinton, Obama, Kerry, and Gore.
Before I dive into a discussion of what to do, I want to make clear that this is not merely armchair musings. I have been in the streets as an electoral activist for over 3 decades. I have carried countless petitions; run phone banks; run campaigns: run for office myself; been a committeeperson in two different parties; and worked Presidential conventions for two different parties. I started in electoral politics at age 17 with my mother’s town board race, was a County Democratic Committeeman at 18 and left the Democratic Party to become a Blank voter in 1993. I came back to electoral politics in 2000 with Nader’s Green Party run (as many did); joined the Green Party; and was elected New York State Green Party co-chair within 2 years. Though I now focus on local politics, I keep informed about the national discussions.
In a manner that is tiring to those who have been through numerous Presidential election cycles, I am watching the same argument go through Democratic party and Green Party circles regarding the latest progressive Democratic Presidential hopeful. It’s like being stuck in the back of the car on a long trip listening to a long-married couple up front have the same argument that they have on every trip. It’s hurtful. No one wins, everyone loses, and the trip is made miserable. In that way, this discussion is not about any particular argument on any particular car trip, it is about making the whole process better for everyone regardless of the candidates or the year of the election cycle.
In working toward a better alternative, we first have to understand where we are now. The current state of US presidential politics is based on a closed competition, much like the corporate interests that fund it. The Democratic and Republican politicians that uphold this system spend much public time tearing into each other when there is little to separate them while closing ranks to prevent any person from bringing in an ideas that offend their corporate funders. These Democratic/Republican gatekeepers make sure to censor the discussions both of those in their parties and outside their parties. The most obvious example of this censorship is the subverting of the US Presidential debates from an exchange of ideas run by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters to an event entirely controlled by the Democratic and Republican Parties and funded by foreign corporations like Anheuser Busch. Read more »
Filed under: Ballot issues, democrat, election, green, Green Party, News, progressive politics, US Politics | Tagged: Bernie Sanders, Chuck Baldwin, community, cooperation, cynthia mckinney, Green Party, Jill Stein, Ralph Nader, Ron Paul | 1 Comment »