“You want to know why we keep losing our battles, on the front for legal and accessible abortion? Those names. Those men. Those Democrats, and the people who think like them, and the people who don’t call them out. That’s why.”
A hundred, a thousand, a million times yes. Friends, I implore you, from the bottom of my heart, abandon the Democrats. The Democrats are the ones giving your tax dollars to the ‘fat cats’ (as they say), they tore down public housing as new prisons were being built, ended ‘welfare as we know it’, and have spent the last decade sending young Americans off to kill and die in the Middle Eastern misadventures of a stagnating empire. They are the pawl in the ratchet that keeps the political discourse from moving leftward after the Republicans push it rightward. And they will sell out your most treasured values (as in this case, sovereignty over your own damn body) in their struggle to be the Party That Is In Charge Kinda At The Moment.
I stood in farmer’s markets this summer collecting signatures to get Jill Stein on the gubernatorial ballot in Massachusetts. Of those most likely to decline to sign based on their political affiliation, there were the more-than-moderate conservatives, and the young, progressive Democrats. Despite being the most in agreement with Jill’s politics, these were the people most afraid of losing any election to the Republicans. Keeping in mind that, in this case, Democrat Deval Patrick had at one point actually asked the Republican who was his opponent to run with him on the same ticket. The progressive Democrats who share the goals of the Greens – single payer health care, green energy and a green economy, progressive taxation and fewer corporate hand outs, peace and civil liberties – are the ones most afraid of losing whatever gains the Democrats have made, to the point where many don’t even want another progressive voice on the ballot. And the Dems know they have your vote and your campaign contribution. They are not fighting for your vote, they’re fighting for undecideds; they just need to energize you with good rhetoric and scare you by pointing to the Republicans, who are So Much Worse (TM).
If you want the Democrats to speak for you, to fight for you, you need to be willing to leave them, and do so visibly.
I believe that if we want to pull the Democrats leftward, if we want to convince their Hill committee that the party truly cannot afford in the long run to bankroll the anti-choice supporters of HR3, you need to be withholding. Get them where it hurts, and they will come crawling back to you.
I am not saying you need to abandon them all (I’ve voted for Capuano and will probably do it again). I am not saying you have to turn necessarily to Nader, or the Greens. But I think you’ll get better results if you resist the urge to vote out of fear. You progressives who believe in this party*, demand that they fight for you, or leave them in the cold. Christian Conservatives and Tea Partiers do it, so can you.
And on a related note, for my fellow Bay Staters: Instant Runoff Voting.
*I don’t want to be deceptive: I am not a progressive Democrat. While I share many views with members of its more liberal wing, the party does not represent my political views particularly well.