“In a post-Lieberman world, waffling on the war is no longer on the menu.”
For months, polls
revealed increasing opposition to the
In the final days,
Lieberman futilely urged voters to put aside their top priority. “Look at
the whole record,” he pleaded. “Don't vote on one issue.” Protests that he
was a ‘good Democrat’ and ‘critical of Bush’ did not spare him from the
Peace Voters’ wrath. Rather, anti-war voters across the country flocked to
Lamont signaling that they are dead serious about
A Gallup poll (June 23-25) showed that 55% of Americans -- including 59% of Democrats and 49% of Republicans -- say that Iraq will be extremely important to their vote for Congress this year. Add this to the 56% who say the war was a mistake and the 62% who think Bush is mishandling the war and you have a potent electoral bloc of voters which may prevail in numerous Congressional races.
Peter Hart summed up the meaning of the Lieberman-Lamont race in Sunday’s
Washington Post: “…[T]he status quo in
Clinton, the ear-to-the-ground pol running for re-election in
Significantly, the Lamont win showed that being an anti-Bush Democrat is not enough. Peace voters inside the Democratic Party and beyond increasingly require candidates to take public and principled stands on the war. Another way voters are organizing is by signing a Voters’ Pledge at VotersForPeace.org stating that they will not support pro-war candidates.
Peace voters -- some willing to dialogue and even vote across party lines -- are coalescing into organized, reliable sources of votes and donations for peace candidates. Anti-war sentiment spans the political spectrum; it would not be surprising to find Green, Libertarian, or Republican contributors to Lamont’s campaign.
Indeed, another problem for soft-on-peace incumbents are alternative party candidates. Battered by anti-war challengers, Senator Maria Cantwell (D) is expected to win the primary but only after hiring her most vocal opponent. She still faces three peace candidates in November: Aaron Dixon (G), Bruce Guthrie (L), and independent Robin Adair. Cantwell now talks about bringing the troops home.
In 2004, the peace movement was swept up in an Anybody But Bush mindset. However, Kerry lost that election leaving unanswered the question of whether a clear anti-war stance would have brought more peace voters to the polls.
Incumbent politicians take note. If a former VP nominee and incumbent Senator can be ousted, what does that mean for the lesser among you?
Linda Schade is Executive Director of VotersForPeace/US and former Director of TrueVoteMD, a non-partisan election integrity project working for voter-verified paper ballots.