Third party efficacy
Yves Smith posted a call to action.
If you want this country to be different, you can’t just wish for it or expect voting to effect change. You need to be part of making it happen. And that was perhaps the greatest of Obama’s deceptions, that by listening to his seductive rhetoric, your passivity made you part of something greater and was tantamount to supporting change. That’s true only in the spiritual realm, not in the imperfect arena of here and now. Glenn Greenwald warned (emphasis his):
Obama is still a highly effective politician capable of this level of exploitation: exploiting people’s hopes and desires. When you combine that with the desire to believe — to feel once again that he will uplift people’s lives and that the hope one placed in him was justified and not misguided: nobody wants to feel like they were successfully defrauded — it’s an easy trick to repeat…that it’s a grand Manichean battle between Our Great Leader and Their Evil Villain — and there will be plenty of endorphins pumping through people’s brains. There will be enough to drown a large country.
Groups that have has a lasting impact on the social order – the Populists, the original Progressives, suffragettes, labor, blacks –organized outside the party system; indeed, when they were brought in the tent, they became less effective. The public has been told, again and again, the only choice is to hold your nose and select one of the two parties. It’s time we recognize that that myth no longer serves us.
Those of us who care about decency, the rule of law, constraints on corporate power, civil rights, and economic protections for the downtrodden have become complacent, and we are now reaping the bitter harvest of our neglect. Many of these protections seemed so fundamental that there has been a tremendous amount of denial over the speed at which they are being stripped from us. But these gains were not granted freely or easily by those in authority. They came about as a result of long, persistent, difficult campaigns. If we want to preserve the rights previous generations fought hard to win, we have to make this battle our own.
worth reading in the original.
but no, i will not run.
Probably true but it doesn’t mean voting for someone else or not voiting will work either though making space for some to do what they want may. As it is Obama could win the popular vote by several points and still lose. Now that is really no different.
I’d vote for you too. Seriously, I would.
Great piece by Yves, and I have been pushing for this for years now. I feel like each election the condidates get worse. This election is hitting new lows. I am actually upset someone did not challenge Obama in a primary.
Good grief, Nader lives!
Which parties did the Populists, suffragettes, etc., get elected besides the standard ones?
The entire platform of the U. S. Socialist Party in 1900 was eventually enacted into law, I was told as a kid. 🙂
so was a good bit of the populist program… but all changed just enough to keep those in power in power.
Anybody who believes this line of bull after what the Nader voters in NH and FL had a part in doing to this country has a screw loose.
But people way to the left of Obama generally have a scew loose anyway.
You want your voice in government, win the fucking primary.
Otherwise you’ve got to compromise.
Boehner and McConnell are going to pick up seats — indeed, the only thing that will save the Senate from flipping is the damage the Republican’s own purity brigade is doing (again) — so 2013-2015 already has retrenchment baked into the cake, at best.
Yes, this sucks. No, there’s nothing we can do about it other than massive voter education.
“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”
Left unstated is that the argument probably only matters if you live in one of the 9-12 battleground states where the campaign will actually engage full on.
Speaking for myself I can’t imagine what would get me to stand in line to cast a vote for BO in TX. Even if I thought he deserved it – Full disclosure: I don’t.
The Progressive Party came in 2nd in 1912, which was a moral victory.
Actually, I have a very strong disagreement with Yves here. First, her and Greenwald’s high moral dungeon over Obama gets kind of old. Second, the manichean choice, either activism in outside groups, or by working within a political party, is a false one. The outside agitation is necesary, but so is the political action. TR’s and Woodrow Wilson (and both were very flawed vehicles for progress) placed the first checks on corporate power and the rise of the new aristocracy of wealth. FDR’s new deal laid the ground work for a 30 year period of growing social progress and equality, until it blew up in the 1960s. And the American and Western European elites in this era felt that social progress was a necesary evil in the competition iwht Communism. That motivation for the moment does not exist. I can only imagine what Roberts will do once he gets a 6-3 or 7-2 majority on the Supreme Court and brings back the Lochner era.