Time to Leave the Democratic Party

Cindy Sheehan leaving the Democratic Party should not come as a surprise. It is believed that she intended to run against Diane Feinstein in the California Democratic Primary but the “progressive” thugs of the party, namely Boxer, Pelosi, and others, convinced her otherwise. They put Party loyalty and Feinstein’s husband’s financial interests (armaments) over principles. Sheehan’s weakness was emblematic of the Party she had hoped would come to the rescue and end this war.

For many wavering Party loyalists, the recent Congressional capitulation to the President?s war plans is the final straw. As David Vest said regarding the evil in choosing one party over the other, it is like being “asked to choose between the village idiot and someone who’s consistently outsmarted by him.”

What choices do Democrats have now? Those who put Party loyalty over principle will clearly stay with their party hoping against hope that the Democrats will redeem themselves. But like waiting for the mythical messiah, or Godot, that will never happen. The alternative choices are simple. Register Green Party, Socialist, Independent, or tear up one?s voter registration card. Forming another party is way too burdensome and expensive, although strong arguments can be made that this country is ripe for such a move.

Missing from the calculus would be that leaving the Democratic Party would give us a right wing in control of all. That’s already here, thanks in large part to the Democrats. Remember when the strongest (but still wrong) argument for not voting for Ralph Nader in 2000 was that a Republican win would give us a right wing Supreme Court? Nader was probably finishing off his “The Seventeen Traditions” when the Democrats gave us Alito and Roberts without a filibuster. We can thank the Democrats for elevating Condi Rice to Secretary of State, rather than turning her over to The Hague for War Crimes. And to most establishment Democrats, Colin Powell still stirs admiration in their hearts and they wish he were one of them. He is. He just has an “R” next to his name.

On issues as labor (secretive free trade agreements lauded by the Chamber of Commerce), immigration, and refusing to support real universal health care with a Single Payer system, the Democrats have no argument left for why progressive should be in their corner. There is no corner in a circle and the Democrats have gone full circle to embrace the tenets of Republicanism.

How ironic that some think the savior of the Democratic Party is someone like Al Gore. Many people foolishly are wishing for him to enter the race. Michael Moore is one of them, as he implied it on Real Time with Bill Maher. The one person least deserving of the presidency is Gore. Not only did he not fight for the theft of his election in 2000, but he never lifted a finger to fight the disenfranchisement of thousands of black Floridians. He wrote an excellent environmental book before becoming VP, (Earth in the Balance), and produced an Academy Award movie on the environment (An Inconvenient Truth) after he left office. Too bad when he had real power as Vice President he was an environmental bastard. As one who has been part of the problem for decades, it is galling that he questions what is wrong with our politics today.

Cindy Sheehan has been known as the Peace Mom. She helped to establish an atmosphere where attacking the war, from its conception to its operations, is only an act of treason to the Fox network and their toadies, like Rudy Guliani. Perhaps she can be a trend setter in the political arena. Leaving the Democratic Party certainly is hard for many, but how can one look at oneself in the mirror if they don’t?

Myles Hoenig is a teacher activist in Maryland. He can be reached at: myles.hoenig@gmail.com. Read other articles by Myles.

38 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Jose M. Tirado said on May 29th, 2007 at 5:39am #

    And what should she do next? Join the Green Party? Do you think that will make any difference? This poor woman has been berated at every turn and reviled despite receiving an homage of huge proportions here in Europe for her courage. She needs the rest. Let´s thank her and get on with the greater struggle.

    The Greens do not need celebrities to save them. They need to vote for Green Party candidates all the time, every election, causing Democrats to lose regularly and to stop trying to be the so-called “progressive wing” of the Dems. Then Greens need to be vociferous about their having been right all along. And above all to stick together. This idea of “dissident” Greens and “electoral” Greens, of two de facto Green Parties and this pigheaded principle of staying local rather than building a truly national party which can articulate the best of progressive principles, is scandalous. Wake up folks! Face it–Americans won´t vote “socialist” or “communist” but they are yearning for another way. While I think the Labor Party could actually be the biggest “umbrella” under which American progressives could stand under, its way too small. The Greens have the best chance. We can attract a wider swath of voters than any other progressive configuration (see my “Goldwater Greens” elsewhere on this site) and with a goal of winning a few Congressional seat we can make a difference. Five seats for example to start with. Then continue.

    Ms. Sheehan was a wonderful catalyzer. Now its time we continued the struggle.

  2. Brandy said on May 29th, 2007 at 9:38am #

    Myles wrote this piece before Cindy announced her departure from the anti-war movement.

  3. Deadbeat said on May 29th, 2007 at 11:30am #

    You are right about Gore. But you don’t have to look at his record as Veep. You can also look back at this senate record. He like many southern Democrats voted for all kinds of expensive missile systems. How much “Earth in the Balance” are those weapons? Quite expensive and distractive.

    Gore also stroked the flames of racism by introducing “Willie Horton” into the 1988 presidential primaries. This “blewback” into the face of the Democrats when the Republicans used that ugly symbol against Dukaksis.

    Gore was also a leading proponent of “Balancing the Budget” on the backs of social programs. Was a major proponent of NAFTA and the repeal of welfare programs.

    The fact that liberals like Moore and other are willing to abandon principles for Al Gore says more about them than it does Gore himself.

  4. Deadbeat said on May 29th, 2007 at 11:37am #

    The problem with the Green Party is that they have a process that allowed Demo-Greens such as Medea Benjamin and Ted Glick to hijack the party. These are status-quo proponents disguise as “progressives”. Their job is to misdirect principled activists such as Ms. Sheehan by drawing then into the “process”. In addition you have many “progressive” who job it is to make certain issues like the state of Israel and Zionism are not put on the table as topic of analysis and discussion and thus to prevent middle and upper class whites from forming alliances with people of color and the poor.

    This is why, IMO, Ms. Sheehan is dropping out and is frustrated. She is politically naive and needs to do more in her journey to understand how politics really work and do have a much broader awareness of the issues surrounding race, gender, and CLASS .

  5. Gary Sugar said on May 29th, 2007 at 12:16pm #

    No, in the American system, third parties only help the other side, as Perot helped Clinton and Nader helped Bush. The answer is to vote against disappointing incumbents in the Democratic primaries.

  6. martov said on May 29th, 2007 at 12:47pm #

    I no longer believe there’s any chance of this fake “war-on-terror” being stopped. The anti-war people are too weak, & the two major parties have no intention of stopping it, regardless of what they say to the media. &, further, the majority of the people in the U.S. are simply ill-informed(not that our rulers want us to be informed) & cruel(given what I generally see when I glance @ back-n-forth comments on some “hot button” issue). China & Russia are concerned w/ their own issues, so there’s little hope they will challenge the U.S. military juggernaut.

  7. Matthew said on May 29th, 2007 at 12:51pm #

    cindy sheehan was neither inspirational now empathetic. she waited until her son got killed on a senseless mission in a foreign country before giving voice to simplistic lefty sentiments that most college students consider and cycle through by the end of their junior year. where was her political awareness when her son was out participating in illegal wars and taking part in the murder of iraqi civilians? if her son hadn’t died, she would still be sitting on her sofa set in her cushy suburban house bragging to her bored friends about her son’s heroic service. welcome to reality, ms. sheehan. too bad your jamba juice corporate sponsorship couldn’t help to ease the pain of losing a child to nothingness.

    the democrat party – yes, even lefties like me have begun calling them by their pejorative name – has been a complete waste of political space for well over twenty years now. the party is abnkrupt of ideas, has no political strategy to speak of and lives in a constant state of fear of being outmanuevered by the republican noise machine. the democrats son’t deserve progressives’ votes. find another outlet.

  8. Bonethug Iranian said on May 29th, 2007 at 2:40pm #

    Greens, Libertarians, Communists, Socialists, Recidivists, and what the hell difference could it possibly make? The people are sold out and screwed into economic ethnic cleansing hell. How much more provocation is required? How much more hypocritical nonsense ? Democracy is dead and an autocratic domination is at hand. The elites will tighten their grip on government and it won’t be much longer until the wholesale detention of resistance is under way. The Democrats merely took off the mask they’ve been wearing all along. Get ready people, this one will be a bumpy ride.

  9. Michael said on May 29th, 2007 at 4:21pm #

    There are truly left members on the Dem party, like Bernis Sanders (despite the fact that he ran as an independant), we just have to support them…

  10. Nathaniel Turner said on May 29th, 2007 at 4:49pm #

    Mother Sheehan deserves the respect and reverence of the people of the world. She gave all she had. But in her retreat is a profound lesson about the struggle for liberation.

    The sad truth is that the petty bourgeois cannot defeat the capitalist ruling class! They are a timid and passive group who, in this time for warriors, gather at the gates of the palace to nag and complain essentially to each other. There are scores of Internet websites, magazines, newspapers, radio programs and networks, and some small television networks where liberal, left, progressive, and other commentators show up to whine out loud. They rail against the outrages and inhumanity of the U.S. government and the Bush Administration. They point out the duplicity, the corruption, the hypocrisy, the inhumanity, and the utter criminality loosed in the world today but to no useful end since capitalism will not be reformed nor shamed to death. Pointing out the defects of capitalism has become as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. The ruling class brushes its liberal democratic critics off like gnats as long as they stay away from the third rail. But let one of these voices dare mention unity based on working class-consciousness and a mobilization to strike at profits and great danger would shortly thereafter visit.

    No matter the danger, it must begin to be spoken by our warrior vanguard: socialism is the only way humankind will live into the distant future on this planet. Only a working class with a consciousness of itself and united across all racial, national and cultural boundaries is capable of seizing power. Only a working class in power will see to the end of this madness and willingly share our available resources for the sake of human survival.

  11. Ruth Gabey said on May 29th, 2007 at 6:44pm #

    Today, March 29th, 100 Maine citizens gathered at the Maine State House to listen to speakers giving reasons for impeachment as over 11,000 signatures on petitions were about to be presented to the President of the Maine Senate and the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives. Unfortunately, the peitions were not graciously received. The many reasons to justify impeachment were given; however, few elected officials throughout the Nation are giving it any consideration. Therefore, I now feel that any elected official, regardless of rank, who does not join the citizens calling for impeachment are to be considered accessories to the crimes.

  12. mm said on May 29th, 2007 at 7:30pm #

    Oh Lord. Let’s get new script folks — one based not on faith, nor dreams nor nightmares but on history and fairly sound theory.

    Assumption #1: American ‘democracy’, for structural reasons alone, is almost entirely immune to the massive development of a third party. If you think otherwise read up on Duverger’s law. Americans opted to make a third party the second party exactly once, when Abraham Lincoln became the country’s first Republican president on a wave of anti-slavery fervor. There is absolutely no entity at the moment with the standing or organization to make this bit of history repeat itself now. Everyone with any brains knows our next president will be a Republican or a Democrat. We should plan accordingly.

    Assumption #2: not all Democrats are created equal. Leftists — particularly the stupid and crazy ones — are fond of seeing monolithic, capitalist omnipotence everywhere and are loathe to mark the obvious differences between, say, Cynthia McKinney and Hillary Clinton, between Dennis Kucinich and Barack Obama. They see only symbols where people reside and like Oscar Wilde’s cynic, they know the (political) value of nothing.

    Assumption #1 and Assumption #2 point to one and only one sensible left political strategy in the upcoming presidential election: a campaign of unrepentant spoilage focused entirely on states where spoilage is actually feasible. This campaign has to begin soon as its sole purpose is to induce early primary voters to make explicitly antiwar choices. If they know that Hillary Clinton will certainly inspire relentless spoilage campaigns in California and Florida, they most likely will. If Hillary knows that her pro-war views will very likely cost her the presidency, she will likely adjust them. The idea of negotiations with the spoilage campaigners is by no means out of bounds.

    We should not waste one once of money or sweat on the idiotic charade that we can, or even want to do anything other than marginalize the pro-war element in the Democratic Party and empower its remaining progressivve elements. That mean, no petition fights or campaigns in States where we can’t inflict maximum damage. No idiotic talk of ‘sending a message’ and ‘voting our conscience.’

    The name of the game is power folks. And the only way we’ll get it is by taking it away, little by little, from someone else. The system as presently constituted gives us spoilage and nothing else. Let’s use what we have.

  13. Philip V. said on May 29th, 2007 at 8:24pm #

    Any real progressive left the Democratic Party a long, long time ago.

  14. Roosevelt said on May 29th, 2007 at 11:56pm #

    John Roberts wasn’t nearly controversial enough to privide support for a filibuster. The Democrats did attempt a filibuster against Alito, but it failed. When Condoleezza Rice was promoted, there was not enough support among the citizenry to censure her, let alone turn her over the the Hague. (Bush’s approval rating was around 50% in January 2005) The Right Wing is not in control of all now, but they were for several years and “Progressives” should keep in mind how well that went.

    “Progressives” need to understand that the Democrats do not have enough votes to override a veto. They approved a few months’ funding with as many restrictions as they could in the hope that by September they might have enough votes to override a veto, because Bush will certainly veto any attempt to tie funding the timetables for withdrawal. They also got the Minimum Wage Increase through after years of trying, which was a bitter pill for the Republicans to swallow.

    “Progressives” need to realize that change takes time. After just a few months with slim majorities in the House and Senate “Progressives” are already jumping ship? They complain about the Democrats’ lack of political willpower, but what kind of political will does that show? Narrow control of a single branch of government does not give the Democrats a mandate for change. There is no choice for them but to compromise. “Progressives” should be applauding any progress that is made in the current deadlocked government.

    The Democrats will not be able to undo the damage of the last six years until they hold both Houses of Congress and the Presidency. Supporting a third party will not achieve that end; it will act against it. If the Democrats weren’t in charge of Congress now, instead of seeing funding through September with benchmarks, a minimum wage increase, money for veterans’ health care, hurricane reconstruction, drought relief for farmers, and money for state-run children’s health insurance programs, there would be full, unrestricted funding until the end of the Bush administration with an even greater escalation of troop deployment and further erosion of the rule of law and possibly an invasion of Iran.

    When it comes to labor, immigration, and universal health care, there are bills in the pipeline. This Congress is still relatively new. And remember, any bill has to be one Bush will sign, or it will be vetoed. Democrats can’t just write anything they want. “Progressives” must realize this. There is no avoiding it while Bush is in office. Even if Bush could be impeached, then you have President Cheney, who would name a new Vice President. There is no possibility for great changes until after the Presidential Election.

    Also, when did Al Gore have “real power as Vice President”? Clinton did not give the VP any power what-so-ever. And how should Al Gore have fought the Supreme Court for his presidency? Especially considering later recounts showed that he really didn’t get enough votes in Florida to win. As for his political career, Al has admitted to making mistakes. People who have watched him can clearly see a difference between the Al Gore of today and the Senator/VP.

  15. James Madigan said on May 30th, 2007 at 12:02am #

    The failure of many Congressional Democrats to address the blindingly obvious imperative to impeach Bush, Cheney, et. al., while providing more funds to the Iraq War (hence, deepening their complicity), should cause people of all political stripes to take notice.

    Once upon a time, were we a nation reputed to respect peace and justice? It is so hard to believe that our country was once regarded thus.

    And to countenance even the mere thought of supporting Democrat candidates for Congress? What do you think? After yielding to such a blatant international criminal, I would hire none of them to work even as Capitol Hill janitors!

    A third party should run strong in ALL races in 2008. If one still is concerned about Greens getting Republicans elected, then remember this: no party is entitled to votes; a party’s actions must merit the people’s vote. And if folks vote Republicans instead of Democrats (which really is 6 on one hand, and 1/2 dozen on the other), then that’s it–it’s democracy–that how the votes roll. It is up to people of conscience and smarts to awaken folks to the dire situation that BOTH mainstream parties have put this nation in.

    Back in 2000, liberals whined about Ralph Nader running, causing (at least to their perverted logic) Bush to take office. And from the get go, those Dems–the supposed liberal “saviors”–handed Bush everything he wanted: The Iraq War authorization, both Patriot Acts, ongoing war funding (even with the handwringing), the Military Commissions Act and so on. Anyone who still supports the Congressional Dems like Pelosi and Reid who cower before the Great Thug should go crawl under a rock and get the hell out of my sight!!!

    Cindy Sheehan was fighting like a true warrior born for peace and justice. Like the famous Tennessee Sheriff, she was Walking Tall for those who saw the Bush cabal for what it really is. Whatever she chooses to do from here on, she has given folks the courage to walk in her path, and stare down the thugs and cowards, whose only defense for aiding and abetting murder and gross human rights violations is to slander a hero for peace and justice. To those engaging in such vile attacks against Ms. Sheehan, these words from the Koran are most fitting: “Woe to those who do evil, and say: ‘It is good’, and a further woe to those who profit from it.”

    We must take the moral imperative to elect third party candidates. Those of us in the Green Party who want a President and Congress members truly representative of the people must understand what it takes to run FULL THROTTLE in ALL 50 states, and plan accordingly. Raise personal contribution limits, and STILL accept not one penny of corporate, PAC or even well meaning union money. The need for competent and humane leaders is urgent, and I pray that the Greens steel themselves for this endeavor, and do the resourceful, ethical way of finally putting some folks in Capitol Hill,or even the White House!

    Let Ralph Nader run! Let Elaine Brown run! Let any third party candidate with the smarts and guts to take back our constitution (and our international reputation—and make it even better than before) run and run in every state that they can get on a ballot! Let us as voters be savy enough to push for a voting system where we can put the word “spoiler” in a “museum of political stupidity” where it belongs!

    That’s the whole idea behind democracy. That’s why we can change laws that give us a self-defeating voting system we currently have in place, and replace it with one that demands election by no less than 50% plus 1 of the total vote. Amd we should be smart and humane enough to know that those that vote for continued crime (support for Bush’s–now a bipartisan–War) no longer deserve to hold office of high public trust. Hey, anyone ever heard of “Impeachment”?

    A time like now demands courage. Like Cindy Sheehan, let’s Walk Tall, and do our truly patriotic duty to restore democracy, and thwart the greedy, the violent and the cowardly.

    In fervent solidarity,

    James Joseph Madigan
    (The writer is a former MD Green Party Candidate for Lt Governor.)

  16. dan said on May 30th, 2007 at 2:04am #

    I think I know now what “circular firing squad” means. I also think that all you Greens of various shades and other lefties should abandon your illusions of purity (echoes of one-drop blackness). There is no such thing as innocence; everyone is tainted in some way. Take a leaf from the Global Justice Movement book, form some kind of coalition under the Green rubric, and cultivate Gore. It’s not his past record that counts; it’s the one he’ll write for himself in the future. But, hey, what do I know? I’m a citizen of Washington’s favourite vassal-state, Canada.

  17. eurokate said on May 30th, 2007 at 2:22am #

    Do not start by running a 3rd patry candidate for president, that will just get the rethugs back in. Run for school boards, zoning boards, city councils. Then run for mayor and state legislature. Sounds like work doesn’t it?

  18. mm said on May 30th, 2007 at 3:39am #

    That’s right everybody. Keep reading from that old script.
    Any real progressive left the Democratic Party a long, long time ago.
    Well it depends on what you mean by progressive. Far be it from me to defend the Democrats as a whole, but there are congressional Democrats who variously support single-payer national health insurance, a living wage and peace. That’s progressive enough for me for the time being.

    Once upon a time, were we a nation reputed to respect peace and justice? It is so hard to believe that our country was once regarded thus.

    Now that IS something we haven’t heard before, probably because it’s fundamentally untrue. We may have been ‘reputed’ to respect peace and justice, but there is nothing in our history to warrant it. Bush and co have not done anything particularly new. They have simply laid the whole game bare: class war at home; murder and theft abroad.

    We must take the moral imperative to elect third party candidates. Those of us in the Green Party who want a President and Congress members truly representative of the people must understand what it takes to run FULL THROTTLE in ALL 50 states, and plan accordingly. Raise personal contribution limits, and STILL accept not one penny of corporate [and so on and so forth]

    Rah! Rah! Yes, by all means let’s see how thinly we can spread our scarce and scattered human and financial resources and thereby not make one iota of difference or exert one ounce of pressure anywhere it counts. Really, if Greens are going to make political speeches of this kind can folks at least press them on strategy? Like — pesky person power and financial considerations aside — how do we suddenly break free of the structural and cultural impediments to third party growth? Honestly, this is getting perilously close to sitting around playing with your own turds. Jesus Christ — how many rightward lurches do you need to live through to see that THIS IS NOT WORKING.

    Let us as voters be savy enough to push for a voting system where we can put the word “spoiler” in a “museum of political stupidity” where it belongs!

    At last, one true thing. But alas, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have anything to gain by the necessary structural reform of runoff voting. So how do the ‘voters’ get the reform in place? Seems to me the only thing that will make either party friendly to such reforms is losing elections because of spoiler insurgencies.

    Do not start by running a 3rd patry candidate for president, that will just get the rethugs back in. Run for school boards, zoning boards, city councils.

    No, it will impede the march of Rethuglican light. If we continue to bend over in every national contest there will be no constraint on the right wing elements in the Democratic Party. Totally agree on the importance of small local contests though. But progressives who either ignore national contests, or grudgingly vote Democrat are helping nothing but the status quo. This is not a theory. Look at the recent past.

  19. Julian C. Holmes said on May 30th, 2007 at 7:05am #

    There may be only one thing worse than a republican — and that’s a democrat. You can occasionally trust a republican to be bad, but the only thing you can trust a democrat to do is to sell out. I was a democrat most of my life; now I’m an independent and feel much more comfortable.

  20. Deadbeat said on May 30th, 2007 at 9:57am #

    This is the reason why Sheehan had to walked away. The apologist for the Democrats are thick. Cynthia McKinney was abandoned by the Democrats that is why she is no longer in Congress. Kucinich is today version of Jesse Jackson to suck activist energy into the Democratic Party process that lead to nowhere. Also Zionism has split the peace movement. Any real analysis of the Middle East starts with condemnation of Zionism in the U.S. and the state of Israel.

    The split in the “peace movement” was due to UFPJ alignment to the Democrats and their adherence to Zionism. International ANSWER despite their secularism has vehemently been a voice against Zionism and racism. This is the reason why the “left” is split.

    And then there is capitalism. The Liberals adhere to neo-liberal capitalism so and they have been agents of pulling down the living standards down. There are a lot of issues but the Democrats decided to embrace racism, zionism, imperialism, and capitalism. Anyone willing to pull people into that institutional structure should be suspect.

  21. Brandy Baker said on May 30th, 2007 at 12:59pm #

    We need to dismantle the Democratic Party. As the one person said, they are indeed worse than Republicans.

    We should have protests at every single DEm Party headquearters in the United States and as a movement, withdraw our support from them (though many of us haven’t supported them in a while, if ever).

  22. Nancy Hanks said on May 30th, 2007 at 5:50pm #

    Thanks for this, Myles – I have posted at The Hankster. -Nancy

  23. James Madigan said on May 30th, 2007 at 9:27pm #

    MM,

    My comments are interspersed

    **Rah! Rah! Yes, by all means let’s see how thinly we can spread our scarce and scattered human and financial resources and thereby not make one iota of difference or exert one ounce of pressure anywhere it counts.**

    You so glibly and uncritically dismiss my call for the Greens to push for a Presidential Candidate. Most Greens push for absurdly low limits and are not as agressive on outreach as they could be. As a Former Green Lt. Governor Candidate for MD, my words are based on campaign experience. There are community groups and progressive organizations who can call on supporters to donate to campaigns in terms of individual donors and volunteers. There are media outlets that will allow us to advertise through radio ads and billboards. If people are sufficiently turned of by the Dems sellout, they will back a Green Candidate.

    ** Really, if Greens are going to make political speeches of this kind can folks at least press them on strategy? Like — pesky person power and financial considerations aside — how do we suddenly break free of the structural and cultural impediments to third party growth? Honestly, this is getting perilously close to sitting around playing with your own turds. Jesus Christ — how many rightward lurches do you need to live through to see that THIS IS NOT WORKING.**

    The Dems are so complicit in what you call “rightward lurches” that it scarcely matters which mainstream candidate enters office. Ralph Nader is a very famous example. The Dem rank and file whined, moaned, wailed, threw fits and did nearly cartwheels over Nader supposedly giving the White House to Bush. Well, ain’t that freakin’ rich! The Dems that were in the Senate and US House gave Bush everything he wanted. Those Dems elected in 2004 continued to give away the store, as did those who were elected this past November. With Dems like those, who needs Repubs?

    As for “cultural and structural impediments”, are not fundraising and outreach very basic tools to convince folks to vote for average folks, as opposed to the mainstream parties that represent Corporations and Monied Special Interest PACs? Once average people see enough of us at Green-organized rallies and events, and when the Green National Leadership stops fearing fundraising, then, it will be the Dems and the Repubs’ turn to (as you so vulgarly stated) be “playing with [their] own turds.” Fundraising builds the treasury which allows third parties to do things, and Outreach gets us more human resources. And the Dems sellouts on Iraq, Torture, both Patriot Acts and etc. (in my book) make for the Perfect Green Recruitment Tool.

    The Democratic Congress has signed the Democratic Party’s “Death Warrant”, because the American People will not long endure such cowardice!

    It’s time to depose the greedy, the violent and the cowardly!

    Ditching the Dems without embracing

  24. Hue Longer said on May 31st, 2007 at 1:17am #

    I love snarky Democrats claiming that it will always be two parties and that we as progressives must adjust our childish strategies by working within that “reality”. Even if that’s true, then I got a reality you can get behind…it’s all going to shit sooner or even sooner despite our best laid plans– and should you and I be the only ones left on the planet staring at the world’s last cheese sandwich, I know who will be eating the fucking thing, and it ain’t the coward that smirked in riotous pain as he willfully compromised his ass to Gore/Kerry while shrieking at Nader. Do the right thing and die with your boots on…you’ll feel better when you reach our shared logical conclusion. If enough gutless consumer fuckwits noticed how disgusting they were being when worrying about the consequences of Repubs getting in (much of the world is already suffering a fate which these prison dems sell their pride, humanity and empathy to hopefully avoid), maybe they wouldn’t settle for getting raped, or other lesser evil’s (I know, it’s not rape when you think you wanted it to protect your table scraps). I wonder who the mothers of dying Iraqi children are pulling for…Wesley Clark?

  25. iLarynx said on May 31st, 2007 at 11:10am #

    I voted for Nader in 2000 because I also thought that a “third voice” needed to be heard in American politics. (I did this after thorough investigation of the clever online cross-state vote-exchange program, devised to avoid a Nader vote resulting in electors for Bush). But since then, I have investigated and studied the subject and have discovered that a third party just can’t succeed in the American system today. (Much as Philip V. has noted with his reference to Duverger’s Law ).

    Thom Hartmann compiled some very good reasons for this (as well as actions to take because if it) in his 2003 essay titled, “HOW TO TAKE BACK AMERICA.” Here is a brief excerpt:

    *****
    Alternative parties have an important place in American politics, and those in them should continue to work for their strength and vitality. They’re essential as incubators of ideas and nexus points for activism. Those on the right learned this lesson well, as many groups that at times in the past had fielded their own candidates are now still intact but have also become powerful influencers of the Republican Party. Similarly, being a Green doesn’t mean you can’t also be a Democrat.

    This is not a popular truth.

    There’s a long list of people who didn’t like it — Teddy Roosevelt, H. Ross Perot, John Anderson, Pat Buchanan, Ralph Nader — but nonetheless the American constitution was written in a way that only allows for two political parties. Whenever a third party emerges, it’s guaranteed to harm the party most closely aligned to it.

    This was the result of a well-intentioned accident that most Americans fail to understand when looking at the thriving third, fourth, and fifth parties of democracies such as Germany, India, or Israel. How do they do it? And why can’t we have third parties here?

    The reason is because in America — unlike most other modern democracies — we have regional “winner take all” types of elections, rather than proportional representation where the group with, say, 30 percent of the vote, would end up with 30 percent of the seats in government. It’s a critical flaw built into our system…

    Entire essay at:
    http://www.ratical.org/co-globalize/how2takbakAm.pdf

    *****
    cont’d

  26. iLarynx said on May 31st, 2007 at 11:33am #

    cont’d

    Those that are so impatient that they would abandon the Democratic Party because the leadership failed to cut off funding for military operations in Iraq are only doing themselves (and the rest of the country) a disservice.

    You think you’ll have more power outside the party? Read Harmann’s essay and take action. Instead of going to the Democrat’s party meetings and protesting and leaving, get involved, make your case, get elected to a seat on the committee and have some influence on policy. (I got involved in 2002 and have made great progress in our local party, and some progress in our state party).

    At the risk of sounding insulting… For those who thought that flipping the “D” lever last November would result in the troops coming home from Iraq, here’s a lesson: Real change requires real WORK. And real work takes time.

    What happens if the Dems simply cut off funding for the war and as a result, Joe Lieberman protests by joining the Republican Party? Kiss all the committee chairmanships goodbye. Hand over the Judiciary Chairmanship to the GOP and see how far the investigations go on Gonzales and the AG purge, habeas corpus, and domestic wiretapping. Our country’s Constitution is being attacked on all fronts and to throw up your hands because the Dems haven’t gained ground on one front (Iraq invasion) is very narrow minded and short-sighted. The Dems are operating with a slim majority in the House and a razor-thin single-seat majority in Senate. A senator involved in a car accident, having a brain hemorrhage, or a indulging a Connecticut-styles temper tantrum will return us to 2005 when this administration operated lawlessly and with impunity.

    Thinking that abandoning the Dems increases the likelihood of success for any of y/our ideas, be they liberal or progressive or green or whatever, is like thinking that jumping out of the lifeboat into a life-preserver will give you a better chance of survival on the high seas. It’s like trading a musket for a pea-shooter. Madigan mentioned impeachment – - – Well, who is going to implement that impeachment? The Greens!? Wake up! The Dems have the tools and the infrastructure in place. Take it away from them if you don’t like what they’re doing. This makes a LOT more sense than trying to maneuver a 3rd party through a system specifically designed to thwart a 3rd party from succeeding.

    Do what Harmann suggests. Take over the Democratic Party starting with your local organization first. Take ownership of it and make it yours. make it green, make it progressive. Run for an office yourself.

    AND, take all the arguments being made here for abandoning the Dems and rewrite them using “immigration” and “stem-cells” and the like to encourage your Republican friends to vote Libertarian in the next elections. This is the only scenario where promoting a 3rd party will help to advance the goals of liberals and progressives.

  27. Hue Longer said on May 31st, 2007 at 2:58pm #

    when pointing out the futility of third parties by citing collective cowardice and stupidity, remember to not exclude yourself from that herd

  28. Brandy said on May 31st, 2007 at 4:13pm #

    The Dems’ failure to stop the war in Iraq is not the only reason to bail. My fingers would fall off if I were to type all of the reasons why true progressives should leave them.

    The Democratic Party needs to be seen as public enemy #1 and declared as such. We all have a vested interest in the demise of the Democratic Party so that something that we want and that is beneficial to us and can bring us some justice can come form the ruins of the dems.

    Imagine it being the true progressives V. the Republicans? That is a fight that we could easily win were it not for the Democratic Party confusing everyone and co-opting our movements. The elites don’t even have to come at us; we destroy ourselves from within. As someone recently said to my husband (Myles): activists are always allowing themselves to be co-opted to get a seat at the table so that they can be served a plate of shit.

  29. James Madigan said on May 31st, 2007 at 6:45pm #

    iLarynx

    Who are you trying to kid?

    You expect me to buy this bullshit below?

    **There’s a long list of people who didn’t like it — Teddy Roosevelt, H. Ross Perot, John Anderson, Pat Buchanan, Ralph Nader — but nonetheless the American constitution was written in a way that only allows for two political parties. Whenever a third party emerges, it’s guaranteed to harm the party most closely aligned to it.**

    And just EXACTLY where in the Constitution does it allow for just two (2) political parties?? And the way the Dems have been acting in Congress, they deserve all the “harm” that they can get, crawling on their bellies and eating dirt. Dems don’t work for me, and don’t deserve my vote (and the Rethugs really suck ass)!!!

    **The reason is because in America — unlike most other modern democracies — we have regional “winner take all” types of elections, rather than proportional representation where the group with, say, 30 percent of the vote, would end up with 30 percent of the seats in government. It’s a critical flaw built into our system…**

    Well, buddy, there’s your clue. In case you did not know, laws can be introduced, enacted, and signed into law which can change that “winner take all” paradigm. There are those progressives who are fighting for Instant Runoff Voting (towns like Takoma Park, MD already have it in place), where “spoiler” is just a bad memory. Why not support a party that, besides rejecting corporate and PAC funding, is very supportive of electoral reform in its most meaningful sense? Equal access to media, the ballots, public financing (do you think a Republicrat is going to support this, them the slaves of corporate financing?)

    **Well, who is going to implement that impeachment? The Greens!? Wake up! The Dems have the tools and the infrastructure in place. Take it away from them if you don’t like what they’re doing.**

    We mean to do that, and no thanks to you. The Greens can make the Dems as sorry as Hell for their cowadice for not pursuing Bush/Cheney for blatantly obvious Impeachable Offenses! So much for your “tools and infrastrucure.” Where is your imagination? Third Parties, such as the Greens, can build their own infrastructure from the parts that Dems reject (you know, defending worker’s rights, fair taxation, refraining from imperialistic military adventures, single-payer health care, and so forth.) Trust me, for the Greens, the problem is nothing that some focused outreach, intense fundraising, and some coherent planning wouldn’t cure. And once that happens, the Dems will have the wheels fly right off the cart!!!

    Go stay with your beloved Dems. The Greens, with some fine-tuning, can help take back this country which the Dems have given away.

    To the destruction of Greed, Violence and Cowardice!!

  30. iLarynx said on June 1st, 2007 at 7:32am #

    Mr. Madigan,

    Clearly you have a strong emotional attachment to the Green Party, having invested an untold amount of time and capital in a failed campaign for Lt. Governor last year. That you took action to make a change (misdirected or not) should be lauded, but your level of discourse leaves a lot to be desired. While I generally respect what the Greens stand for, your sophomoric rants (“the Rethugs really suck ass!!!”) reflect poorly on your party and is one reason why many people, the vast majority in fact, don’t take the Greens seriously.

    Familiarizing yourself with our country’s Constitution would also benefit you and your party greatly. To answer your question about the Constitution, Hartmann’s essay notes that the two-party system is a de-facto result of the Constitution’s “winner-take-all” process. This process can be found in Article 2., Section 1, and the 12th Amendment to the Constitution. I highly recommend reading this, as well as the rest of the Constitution.

    You can read the Constitution here:

    http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/charters.html

    You’re welcome.

    You brought up impeachment as an option, but when pressed as to how the impotent Greens would implement impeachment proceedings, you punted saying only that the Greens would make the Dems pay for not pursuing impeachment at this time. You ignore the reality of the situation, which I pointed out, of the slimmest of majorities that the Democrats have in congress. Conviction of impeachable offenses requires a 2/3 vote in the Senate. Do you think that’s likely at this point in time? Do you think it makes sense for the congressional Democrats, in power for all of nearly 5 months, to gather as much evidence as possible to make a case rather than launching impeachment hearings half-cocked as it seems you would do?

    I hope, for the Green Party’s sake, that you with your temperament, aren’t representative of the party as a whole. As I noted, I have supported Green Party candidates in the past, but stopped when I realized the futility of this approach. Where the option is only GOP vs. Green, I’d vote Green every time. I don’t see the Greens as “public enemy #1″ as some have said of the Dems. How could any thinking person who has been awake for the past six years think such an absurd thing, much less say it?

    Again, no one has suggested how the Greens would handle all the issues in congress if they had the slim margin of power currently held by the Dems. What would Mr. Madigan, Senate Majority Leader do in this situation regarding the Iraq invasion, bringing the troops home, habeas corpus, domestic spying, and even impeachment, if you like? It’s one thing to whine and complain about someone else not acting as quickly as you’d like, it’s another to say how you would do things differently, and better.

    While I’d be interested in Senate Majority Leader Madigan’s approach to these issues, they are completely rhetorical. All the votes cast for the Greens in the 2006 election have resulted in ZERO representative votes in the Senate, ZERO representative votes in the House, and ZERO representation in the Executive branch.

    So, Senate Majority Leader Madigan, after detailing your theoretical agenda in this session of Congress, please explain how a vote cast for the Green Party in 2006 was any more effective at bringing the troops home than spitting in the wind.

  31. Brandy said on June 1st, 2007 at 11:39am #

    James,

    I would chalk this one up as a lost cause….

    Are you coming over Sunday night? Myles, Eddie, and I are watching the Sopranos.

  32. Hue Longer said on June 1st, 2007 at 2:02pm #

    “…Conviction of impeachable offenses requires a 2/3 vote in the Senate. Do you think that’s likely at this point in time? Do you think it makes sense for the congressional Democrats, in power for all of nearly 5 months, to gather as much evidence as possible to make a case rather than launching impeachment hearings half-cocked as it seems you would do?…”

    ** The Dems would have the people on their side, surely trying for it–as is their duty–wouldn’t hurt them if not get more US television watchers educated enough to demand it**

    “…As I noted, I have supported Green Party candidates in the past, but stopped when I realized the futility of this approach. Where the option is only GOP vs. Green, I’d vote Green every time. I don’t see the Greens as “public enemy #1″ as some have said of the Dems. How could any thinking person who has been awake for the past six years think such an absurd thing, much less say it?…”

    **How could you see the greens as public enemy #1? They don’t pretend to be opposition while taking their marching orders from the same powers that the Repubs do. At least Repubs are out of the closet…I can see the case for naming Dems, “public enemy #1″. How can any arguer hope that the people he addresses won’t notice his absurd fallacy ending this paragraph? **

    “Again, no one has suggested how the Greens would handle all the issues in congress if they had the slim margin of power currently held by the Dems…It’s one thing to whine and complain about someone else not acting as quickly as you’d like, it’s another to say how you would do things differently, and better”.

    **talking honestly when the microphone and cameras are on would be one. Not capitulating during a vote for another. Filibustering. Not adopting Republican talking points. Not lying. Not war profiteering. Refusing pharma, oil, and Aipac money…I’m forgetting some things…could you help?**

    “..completely rhetorical…”

    ** lol, quit it!**

    “So, Senate Majority Leader Madigan, after detailing your theoretical agenda in this session of Congress, please explain how a vote cast for the Green Party in 2006 was any more effective at bringing the troops home than spitting in the wind”.

    **Senate Majority leader Longer here…effectively, it had at least as much impact as voting Dem did, but one could argue a seed theory. Personally? It meant you weren’t a coward.**

  33. mm said on June 8th, 2007 at 9:47am #

    I am all for splitting with the Democrats and building a third party.

    This is not a realistic goal until the structural impediments to third-party integration are removed. Until we have runoffs and proportional representation in our elections, third parties can play but one role: spoilage for the sake of influencing the parties that do have power. Even if all Democrats are craven and soulless (and I don’t believe that’s true) they nonetheless like ot win elections. Therefore, there is leverage to influence them.

    I am all for having multiple parties in our system as is normal in countries with fewer structural barriers to third party enfranchisement, but it just isn’t an option right now. It is fucking silly to keep dreaming and planning for it when no heavy lifting is being done on the structural barriers.

    This is so fucking stupid every four years to have to argue this crap. A Democrat or a Republican is going to be president and everyone knows it. Dreaming about how it should be otherwise makes you neither a better person and it makes you a lousy strategist and comrade. It DOES NOT HELP.

  34. mm said on June 8th, 2007 at 10:57am #

    You so glibly and uncritically dismiss my call for the Greens to push for a Presidential Candidate.

    No that’s not what I’m glibly dismissing. If your interest in this thread genuinely exceeded your own contributions, you would know that a Green running for president is perfectly acceptable to me; encouraged even.

    What I glibly dismiss — I would say glib is too kind a way to describe what you and your ilk provoke — is your call for campaigning in all 50 states, which is essentially a call to waste sweat and money.

    You have yet to show how any third party can, in national elections, count for anything more than spoilage. You make grand pronouncements about what would be if the prople did this and the left did that, all of which is entirely devoid of reference to anything that has ever actually happened. While you admit structural barriers have to be removed, you offer no real strategy for removing them and obviously regard them as inconsequential in the meantime, when, in fact, history shows they are definitive.There is no non-structural remedy for least worst voting.

    I think you know in your heart of hearts that a Democrat or a Republican will be our next president. It follows from this then that the most Greens can do is influence who the Democrat is and their party platform. If we agree on that then we must also agree that spoilage is the most effective tool for so influencing since when winning is not an option. It follows from that that volunteers and money should go only to those states where a third party can inflict electoral damage on the Democrats and nowhere else. And since we actually want to influence the Democratic Party — it makes sense to pursue this strategy as early as possible. The ultimate point isn’t to spoil. The ultimate point is to hold an axe over Democrats to get them to pay attention.

  35. Myles Hoenig said on June 8th, 2007 at 12:41pm #

    This is the author of the original article:

    mm: There is a fallacy in your argument when you say it’s important to influence the Democratic Party, as they are the ones who should win in a D-R race. You also say 3rd parties can only ‘spoil’.
    You’re coming from the premise that the Democratic Party is worthy of winning. Sorry, but a win by the DP might get your rocks off, but it’ll only invade or nuke Iran nicely, or hand over the environment to the timber, oil, and coal industry with a smile, or multiply prison populations another 6 X (as Clinton did), or raise minimum wage another few dimes while keeping families in poverty, etc.

    Personally, I’d take my chances with the Republicans. It’s always better to have your enemies staring you in the face rather than hiding behind, or under, rocks.

    So folks, spoil away. It won’t make a difference as the D always pick the worst of the lot to run, and every D who votes for him (or her) has just snorted another hit and the high will end an hour later.

    You also want Greens to influence Democratic Party platform. That’s absurd. Why would one party wish to advise another party on how to be successful when it structurally opposes so much of what the the first party believes?

    This is a 2 Party system because people are afraid to do anything else.

    I’ll end this with one of my favorite quotes from one of my least favorite Democrats: Harry Truman. “When given a choice between a Republican and a Republican the people vote for the Republican all the time.” How prescient!

  36. Reed Richards said on July 26th, 2007 at 11:22pm #

    Roosevelt ,

    You really are the master of a million and one excuses, aren’t you? To make a long story short:

    1. Democrats control the House and Senate. That means they control the agenda, PERIOD.

    2. Controlling the agenda means that you can bring any bill you wish to the floor or not bring any bill you wish to the floor. Continued funding for the Iraq war does not have to come to the floor for a vote

    3. Finally, Democrats should do to Bush what the rightwing Republican fanatics in Congress did to Clinton on welfare reform: Bring the same type of bill to the floor, pass it, and then allow public pressure to force Bush to sign the stuff.

    Since Democrats remain cowards, as you suggest and want them to, this explains why Cheney and Bush have not been impeached already……..

  37. Myles Hoenig said on July 27th, 2007 at 5:49am #

    To iLarynx:
    Interesting point you made that if Greens or Lieberman cause the Democrats to lose their chairmenships then it would be handed over to the Republicans.
    One Congressman whom I respected for decades was John Conyers.
    He now is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee and not only opposes impeachment, which he supported when he was in the minority, but he had the demonstrators calling for impeachment arrested.

    Spoil away folks. With spineless snakes and Toms like him we’re better off fighting Republicans, whom we know where they stand from the beginning.

  38. Reed Richards said on August 4th, 2007 at 4:08pm #

    Myles Hoenig,

    Excellent! Better the Devil you know than the Devil you don’t know. How bout this radical notion: How about Independent voters and former Democratic voters banding together to get other candidates elected? This will ensure that a rightwing majority does not rule and the Democrats can pay a truly heavy price for betraying those who supported them………………