RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Bronner writes: "Every four years, those to the left of the Democratic Party go through the same soul searching: to vote or not to vote; build a new party or identify with an existing party; stick with principle or accept the lesser of the two evils; bolster the system or demand an alternative."

Progressives need to vote strategically. (photo: Tree Hugger)
Progressives need to vote strategically. (photo: Tree Hugger)


The Election of 2012

By Stephen Eric Bronner, Reader Supported News

16 October 12


Reader Supported News | Perspective

 

very four years, those to the left of the Democratic Party go through the same soul searching: to vote or not to vote; build a new party or identify with an existing party; stick with principle or accept the lesser of the two evils; bolster the system or demand an alternative. This kind of soul searching has become a boring ritual, and it continues in the shadow of Occupy Wall Street. Too many radicals still refuse to recognize the cost that others will pay - economically, socially, politically, and culturally - when the more reactionary candidate takes office. Third parties remain faced with a single-district, winner-take-all, system that undermines the prospect of sustaining any initial successes and leaves supporters wasting their votes. Old slogans like "Don't Vote, It Only Encourages Them!" no longer apply (if they ever did). The presidential election of 2012 remains very close. Limits on campaign spending have been abolished. Especially in swing states, victory might depend upon which party gets more of its base to the polls. Not to vote, or exhibit the appropriate partisan sense of urgency, only plays into the right-wing strategy.

From the moment that Barack Obama entered the White House in 2008, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stated bluntly that the primary goal of the Republican Party was to block the new administration and ruin any chance that the nation's first black president might have for re-election. Obama's campaign of 2007 had raised lofty expectations, and his constituency embraced the belief that the nation's first black president would transform the political system and usher in social justice. Even under the best circumstances, realizing such ideals would have been improbable. With the worst economic crisis of modern times, a newly deregulated financial sector, a burst of economic inequality, two catastrophic wars, and a neo-conservative foreign policy, it became impossible. Obama brought a cosmopolitan sophistication and an articulate intelligence to the White House that was sorely lacking in the Bush administration. His election gave a feeling of pride to people of color and hope for the future to many. He was bound to disappoint. But Obama was not elected to oversee a system in which innumerable factions and lobbies compete for power on an equal playing field. He was elected the president of a capitalist democracy.

Under this system, serving the interests of capital is the precondition for dealing with all other social and economic interests. Labor is subordinate to capital. Workers are forced to rely for their livelihood on the investment decisions of capitalists. Such is the structural imbalance of class power. At the same time, however, capitalist democracy has democratic elements: regular elections, civil liberties, and the universal franchise. Insofar as capital is becoming concentrated in ever fewer corporations, therefore, its political representatives must usually enter into coalitions with other classes and groups to legislate its concerns. Different sectors of capital are also often in competition. Subaltern groups can intervene in the process. Compromise is built into the system, but always within the existing imbalance of power that marks capitalist democracy. Every progressive politician must take that into account, whether this involves making a deal on bail-outs of banks, health-care, immigration, or support for the auto industry. But the constraints embedded within capitalist democracy were forgotten amid the euphoria attendant upon President Obama's election in 2008 and the spontaneous eruption of Occupy Wall Street. The general belief grew: Obama should have done more, he should have done it better, and he should have done it sooner.

Criticisms of this sort are par for the course. No reform is ever good enough; it can always be done better; and it always takes too long. Communists expressed these complaints about social democratic policy in the 1920s and 1930s and socialists directed them against liberals in the aftermath of World War II. Securing an imperiled radical identity is always a matter of utmost importance. Of course, there are completely legitimate criticisms of Obama. His refusal to frankly and openly address the question of poverty - or what Michael Harrington once called "the other America" - is disgraceful. Maintaining the American military presence in Afghanistan until 2014 and using drones in Pakistan has senselessly cost thousands of lives. Congressional investigations (leading to indictments) should have been launched against former officials of the Bush Administration on its handling of the Iraqi invasion. Guantanamo and other noxious prisons should have been closed. The brief window of opportunity that existed after Obama's election for dealing with the banks was probably not fully exploited. He was too timid in confronting Republicans; and he never used the bully pulpit to maximum effect.

While so many on the left condemn him as a sell-out, however, far more on the right consider him a "communist" or a "socialist." Claiming that most Americans don't understand the meaning of these political terms misses the point. Perhaps it is because radicals so often lack a meaningful political standard of judgment that they are out of touch. The question is not whether Obama is "really" a centrist sell-out, but to which Western socialist leaders and Democratic politicians he should meaningfully be compared. Actually the president is no more or less a "communist" or "socialist" than most European social democratic leaders. Revolution is on the shelf and, in its absence, compromise is unavoidable. Those who believe that legislative gains are possible in a capitalist democracy without support from certain sectors of capital simply don't understand the system they are contesting. That is especially the case in the absence of a sustainable and organized radical mass movement from below.

Some left-wing intellectuals have argued that the current election is "not about" Obama. But this is like suggesting that a rock concert is not about the main act. World-weary "centrist" Democrats also like to insist that Obama did nothing exciting and that this justifies their support for him. But that is simply untrue. He succeeded on healthcare, where other presidents failed, with a program that abolishes pre-existing conditions and covers 30,000,000 citizens previously without insurance. He has defended the integrity of Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps and a host of other programs from withering attack by the right. He has opposed the Bush tax cuts that so radically favored the rich. His administration introduced progressive legislation on energy, mortgages, student loans, and unemployment benefits. It has abolished "Don't ask, don't tell," protected abortion, endorsed gay marriage, supported women's organizations like Planned Parenthood, simplified the transition from illegal to legal status for thousands of immigrants, cracked down on their illegal employment of by big business, and effectively challenged Republican efforts to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters. Government bailouts of the banks and auto industries have had more than a measure of success, and The New York Times (May 1, 2010) described Obama's oversight legislation for the stock market as "the most sweeping regulatory overhaul since the aftermath of the great depression." The Obama administration has sought to tax companies that invest abroad and to roll back the Bush tax cuts that so radically favored the 1%. Obama has opposed austerity plans for dealing with the financial crisis in Southern Europe, resisted Israel's plans to bomb Iran, pulled troops out of Iraq, refused to intervene militarily in Syria, opened travel to Cuba, contested the neo-conservative reliance on pre-emptive strikes and contempt for international law, and radically improved the global standing of the United States.

Mitt Romney won his party's nomination by vacillating between defending the moderate conservatism of his political past and the radically right-wing drift of his party's mass base. Republicans promised to "starve the beast" that they identify with the welfare state. They wish to roll back "Obamacare," turn Social Security and Medicare into voucher programs, maintain existing tax inequities, and oppose unions. Theirs is the world of laissez-faire capitalism, fierce competition, and contempt for the ideal of economic justice. They seek radical de-regulation of markets, abolition of various government agencies, and unbridled free trade that allows for further "outsourcing" and capital flight. Republicans have opposed gay rights and gay marriage. They wish to make abortion illegal, shut down women's clinics, and render their organizations impotent. Their educational agenda opposes "critical thinking," evolution, and a multi-cultural narrative. They seek to break down "the wall of separation" between church and state. They wish to abolish limits on campaign spending and institute voting restrictions that would effectively disenfranchise hundreds of thousands among the poor and people of color. They insist upon stronger support of Israel, military action against Iran, intervention in Syria, 100,000 new troops for Afghanistan and Iraq, opposition to bettering relations with Cuba, and a rehabilitation of neo-conservative advisors and policy goals. Republican economic policy would return this country to the gilded age. Their supporters' cultural outlook is nostalgic for the old world in which white men ruled, and their politics attacks the democratic progress that subaltern groups have achieved. Their patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, their foreign policy is anchored in notions of imperial hegemony and lack of concern with international law, and their rhetoric conjures up images of fascism on the rise.

Every election is a choice between the lesser of the two evils, but some elections are more important than others. This is one of them. It is not about whether the present administration might have done more, done it better, done it faster - or done it with more flair. Nor is it simply about looming nominations to the Supreme Court or that, historically, social movements tend to flourish under Democratic rather than Republican regimes. Should the Republicans win this election, it would serve as a lasting symbolic endorsement for laissez-faire economics, constricting democracy, bigotry, educational autarky, and a foreign policy unapologetically predicated on militarism and contempt for internationalist goals. Those who cannot see the qualitative differences between the two parties, who cannot see the urgency in opposing the powerful reactionary threat, are living in Hegel's twilight where all cats are gray. Sectarianism has never built consciousness, but rather marginalized its advocates, thus leading to still more esoteric definitions of the true faith and further disillusionment. Criticism of the Democrats can begin the moment that they win the election. New threats to political liberty, new crises in foreign policy, compromises and serious budget cuts are on the agenda. Soon enough it will again be time to take to the streets. Countering political reaction today, however, requires partisan support for the radically lesser evil. Too many radical intellectuals are saying: I want to see Obama win but I won't do what I can for his re-election. They are hedging their bets. Thus, they are ignoring the most basic assumption linking theory and practice: "He who wills the end wills the means thereto."

Stephen Eric Bronner is Distinguished Professor (PII) at Rutgers University and Senior Editor of Logos: A Journal of Modern Society and Culture. The longer version of this article can be found at HYPERLINK "http://www.logosjournal.com" www.logosjournal.com



Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
-13 # indian weaver 2012-10-16 14:22
I will argue that this article is partisan for many reasons. Here are a few of them: the usa's international standing has been diminished under obama due to drones, assassinations and torture, breaking the Geneva Conventions many times and notably by invading the Pakistani borders to assassinate bin Laden - our status is worse and now hated by 100s of millions more people worldwide due to war crimes; dumped $billions into the losing Afghan invasion and killed more of everyone for no reason (maimed, burned, defaced, injured, raped, disfigured, disemboweled 1000s of innocents); signed NDAA; revolution is not "on the shelf" because it is an ever more likely option for redress of domestic cruelty. I see no excuse for his Crimes Against Humanity and exacerbating amerika's No Rule of Law; collapsed the Constitutions Free Speech and other amendments; approved the holy hell pipeline from Canada and is encouraging environmental destruction on many levels. I could go on for a long time, citing horrible things obama is doing and has done. Much the same as dubya. Either candidate will destroy my country but Romney will do it faster. fine with me. Let's get on with the revolution, or transform our country into a parliamentary system so we can have a more inclusive government now. The present system of non-democracy will never again work. The big money now runs the country, not The People. Fascism and Terrorism are now built into our government's structure and laws.
 
 
+30 # ganymede 2012-10-16 17:17
While I agree with many of your criticisms of Obama's presidency, I really hope that you and other radicals will come to your senses and help support Obama. Your political purity is, in reality, one of the reasons we're in this historical jam. Not supporting Obama will, I believe, lead to an even more barbaric society. Professor Bronner piece should be read by everyone, because it states, more clearly than anything else I've read, what is at stake in the upcoming election
 
 
-1 # RLF 2012-10-17 05:31
'Political Purity' What a load! The Democratic party under Clinton and Obama has moved so far to the right in order to quell 'tax and spend' BS by the republicans that they no longer should be considered the left at all. Where does change start when you constantly say to yourself 'the least of two evils!'? It is really an excuse for cowardice!
 
 
+6 # dkonstruction 2012-10-17 10:55
RLF, i agree with your critique but to answer your question "when does change start", it has to start in between elections to get down to the hard, labor intensive grass roots work of building a real, independent third party and political movement. Simply trotting out a third party presidential candidate every 4 years simply is not serious politics. It may "feel good" (and voting in NY i will vote for the greens since NY is a "safe state") but it in fact builds nothing so it is yet one more form of illusionary spectacle when what we need is a substantive politic
 
 
0 # punch 2012-10-18 17:10
This kind of thinking is fundamentally flawed, and if you follow that reasoning you might as well not vote at all.

You're saying that it's pointless voting for something you actually believe in since they can't win anyway. But that's only the case if everyone thinks it is. If nobody believes a third party can win and so does not vote for it, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. In face it's akin to saying that one vote won't decide the election anyway, so you might as well stay home. This is true, as long as you're the only one following it. But as soon as many people start following it, it's not true anymore. Luckily there are quite a few (but not enough) people NOT following it when it comes to actually voting.

However, when it comes to voting third party, a groupthink prevails where most progressives just refuse to see the bigger picture.

In addition, although working between elections to strengthen a third party certainly is great, giving that party political capital both locally and nationally by actually voting for it WILL make a DIFFERENCE -- while doubling down on the "two factions of the corporate party" system will NOT. Some differences during the next four years, yes, but in the long run the two parties' power will be entrenched and the US will continue to move to the right, whether R or D the next four years.
 
 
+1 # hjsteed 2012-10-17 09:25
Is this just a "political purity" issue or a question of upholding basic US Constitutional laws that are in harmony with the UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

This is not a political game.

Both candidates are on record to endorse the National Defense Authorization Act that trashes those principals or guidelines.
 
 
0 # Nominae 2012-10-20 03:15
@ ganymede

Does anyone on this sting really believe that their vote for President has anymore *real* effect than standing in one place and flapping one's arms ?

This fact was established by the Founding Fathers. No doubt many of you have heard of the Electoral College.

To the Founding Fathers, "democracy" was a dirty word in that it meant, in their view: 51% Majority Mob Rule. That is also why we were founded as a "republic", and *not* as a democracy.

To prevent the Presidency from being determined by 51% Majority Mob Rule, the Founders installed the Electoral College which remains in effect to this day.

This is why the campaigning is focused upon the "swing states". This is why Bush "beat" Al Gore, who had a much larger percentage of the popular vote, but fewer (for what ever reasons you may choose to imagine) votes in the Electoral College.

Your votes do count in city and State elections, and in Congressional elections not under the auspices of the Electoral College.

So, all this stress and sweat over a Presidential election that the system was *designed* to prevent you from participating in with any real meaning might be more productively applied to elections in which there is at least a *legal* chance that your vote may have meaning.
 
 
+22 # Onterryo 2012-10-16 17:33
And so with your proposed or inferred actions or lack thereof you can't imagine the consequences? First, four years of Republican rule. Want to protest during those four years...you think Occupation Now protesters were treated rough...think again if Romney is elected President with a possible Republican Senata majority and a House of Representatives . He appoints Conservative Right Wing SCOTUS judges. Eventually what rights you have are severely eroded or gone. You "revolt", you "riot". Police come for you first, and then the National Guard and then the Army and the Marines. They use military equipment and tactics tested in Iraq and Afghanistan. Forces sworn to uphold the Constitution know only one thing and that is Romney and whoever succeeds him is their Commander-in-Ch ief and btw....the SCOTUS stamps everything the Republican President and his party wants. Sounds unreal doesn't it, but it is your future and if you and your sacrosanct morality don't realize it God help us all!
 
 
+5 # Lyric 2012-10-16 18:34
Oops -- I meant to give you a thumbs up and hit the wrong button. Sorry! Consider this apology my two thumbs up.
 
 
+30 # MEBrowning 2012-10-16 16:48
I would argue that Romney will not destroy the country faster. He will just destroy us, while the wealthy and powerful live on.
 
 
+17 # Onterryo 2012-10-16 17:23
This article should be Obama's cheat sheet for "debate" tonight. It should also be required reading for anyone thinking of voting for a third party or not voting and for Independents and others who want to see a better, a fair country where everyone is not limited by their lack of wealth, their religion, their skin colour, their gender, their age....where "We the People" means "We" are equals and billionaires can't buy elections and politicians are real and not phony like Lying Ryan pretending to do do dishes at a community centre or Romney pretending to be....what?
 
 
+34 # LeeBlack 2012-10-16 17:26
If you don't vote you have no right to complain about what happens after the election.
 
 
+1 # wrknight 2012-10-16 18:55
I'm with you there! I wonder if indian weaver will vote at all.
 
 
-9 # frankscott 2012-10-16 17:40
if you don't vote for jill stein and the greens you have no right to complain after the elections...if you do vote for the lesser evil you will get evil, and even less hope for the future...

a 5% vote for the greens could mean as much as 20 million dollars to help build a nationwide electoral voice for the alternative...y ou know, the party whiners complain we don't have and so should continue supporting the system which endangers all of us, whether we buy into the lies or not...as for gratitude for obama's "success" at insuring health care profits for the private sector, that's like workers applauding the boss for letting them use toilets while at work, for only a small fee...with this kind of gratefulness across the board we'd still have slavery...
 
 
+1 # dkonstruction 2012-10-17 11:02
frankscott, on the one hand, i agree with your critique (and will be voting for the greens because i will be voting in NY which is a "safe state"). On the other hand, simply trotting out a 3rd party presidential candidate every 4 years instead of doing the hard work of building this in between elections is not serious politics. So, until this is done, i would not vote for a 3rd party candidate in a state in which i thought the repubs might have a chance to win and thus take back both the WH and both houses of congress (which for me is the real nightmare scenario).

Let's assume that there is no difference between the parties except for the fact that the dems will vote to extend long-term unemployment benefits, keep student loan interest rates "low" and ensure that women's reproductive health care is covered by insurance. While this is surely not be "the revolution" it will make a significant diffference to millions of real people.

Denying reality doesn't change reality. It may be a sad state of affairs but nonetheless it is the state we have to deal with.
 
 
+26 # reiverpacific 2012-10-16 18:08
Y'know, it would clearly help a lot if legislation were introduced to ensure that other parties were accorded places at the table, including the debates (might make them more like true debates by opening up the subject-matter to more diversity of perspectives), and equal access to the main (owner) media by statute, as in most European "Socialist" countries, Australia, New Zealand and several other more progressive nations.
I know, I know, dream on! -the Owner Media would fight any such suggestions tooth and nail, as they wouldn't be able to enrich themselves by the ridiculous amounts of $ necessary to have a voice on the air.
Citizens United has just made any such contingency even more remote, so it looks like you are stuck with it: and if Twit, Rove, the Koch's and co get their way it would be a totalitarian system in favor of the Corporate State a.k.a. ----let's hear it folks--- "F*****M!"
 
 
0 # fredboy 2012-10-16 18:09
Nice thoughts, Stephen. I should have written you in!
 
 
+1 # fredboy 2012-10-16 18:11
LeeBlack, that's a piss poor urban myth. You have the right to vote, not vote, decry voting, celebrate voting, you name it. Then you have the right to raise hell all you wish after the election, whether you voted or not. You may appear stupid if you don't vote then beef about the election's outcome, but as a citizen you have the right to complain, celebrate, or raise holy hell about government any time you wish. It's called Freedom, and it belongs to all of us.
 
 
+4 # LeeBlack 2012-10-17 08:12
Do you think that the Freedom we all have is a Freedom without responsibility?
 
 
+8 # DurangoKid 2012-10-16 18:19
So, we shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good? On the other hand, being less evil than your opponent doesn't necessarily make one righteous. We have two wings of the Property Party to choose from. Either way, the class of persons who sell their labor to make ends meet, or attempt to at any rate, will still have to confront the same party come January. When it comes to an actual outcome, the delta may be lost in the noise. What I find interesting is how these two wings steadfastly refuse to address the real threats to themselves. Capitalism is in real trouble. Its system of claim checks on future labor is in crisis. The gulf between the make-believe system of money and physical reality has never been greater. Both sides propose only palliatives that incidentally mainly benefit a vanishingly small minority of claim check holders on Wall Street and few others. There is a lot that could be done to prepare for the coming era of resource scarcity and climate chaos. It would be cheap compared to bailing out the too big to fail. But facing reality is usually reserved for a time when it's already too late. The rest of us will have to wait for the 1% to realize ink blobs on paper are not the same as barrels of oil or bushels of wheat. If one compares the efficacy of an elite sanctioned activity such as voting against trying to influence the public discourse through blogging, the only sensible thing to do is blog a lot and vote a little.
 
 
+13 # wwway 2012-10-16 18:35
This election cycle has demonstrated to me the lack of citizen interest on both sides regarding understanding how government works. How bills are written and introduced and so on. Those who are disenchanted with Obama thought that he'd waltz in with a magic wand and change everything. Those who are Republican partisans don't pay attention at all. For example, Repbulcans I know say they are Socially Liberal and Fiscally Conservative but only vote Republican because they always have and never questioned. These are the voters I'm conserned about. The party they vote for is neither socially liberal or fiscally conservative. These are the voters Republicans have always counted on. Disaffected voters can't afford to sit on their hands like they did in 2010. There's never been a greater divide in vision and values or clearer choice than this election.
 
 
+7 # wherefore 2012-10-16 18:55
This is excellent. Yes, there is a better world to aspire to, but this is the one we have. The President is not a dictator, which is why he couldn't do everything he said he wanted to, much less the things he probably longs to do but can't say out loud. People sulking and sitting on their hands in 2010 helped to give us a Congress that refused to do anything good for anybody except the rich. Democrats created Social Security, Medicare, the Voting Rights Act, and now some semblance of Health Insurance reform. Stick with the Democrats in order to make such progress as is possible considering the society we have, and then push for much more AFTER the election. The mistake that the left made was to sit down after Obama was elected; he himself said that we needed to keep pushing for him to get anything done.
 
 
-2 # LML 2012-10-16 22:12
But he murders like a dictator....
 
 
-10 # James Marcus 2012-10-16 18:57
Fool me once; shame on You! Fool me twice, shame on ME!
Obama is a Lying, Treasonous, Mass Murdering, Thief (giving away the Treasury to the Banksta's, as Bush planned). Unfortunately this is not 'name calling' or rant; but ....his Record-to-Date. FEMA camps, For YOU who dare to complain, are next.
Might Romney be worse? Speculatively, sure. I would never vote for either
Isn't it time to stop this sort of ('election') Charade, and demand another choice. A 'real' Presidential Candidate for America. (& Terminate the Electoral College!)
 
 
+3 # dkonstruction 2012-10-17 11:04
Quoting James Marcus:
Fool me once; shame on You! Fool me twice, shame on ME!
Obama is a Lying, Treasonous, Mass Murdering, Thief (giving away the Treasury to the Banksta's, as Bush planned). Unfortunately this is not 'name calling' or rant; but ....his Record-to-Date. FEMA camps, For YOU who dare to complain, are next.
Might Romney be worse? Speculatively, sure. I would never vote for either
Isn't it time to stop this sort of ('election') Charade, and demand another choice. A 'real' Presidential Candidate for America. (& Terminate the Electoral College!)


Yes, it is time to "stop the charade" but that includes the "charade" of merely trotting out a 3rd party candidate every 4 years instead of doing the hard work in between elections to build such a movement. Otherwise, it is simply not serious politics. It is merely a different spectacle only in this case one that has no chance of having any positive impact. i will be voting for the greens since i am in ny and it is a "safe state" but, again, this is hardly what i would call serious politics.
 
 
+9 # genierae 2012-10-16 19:02
Those on the far left who refuse to support President Obama are just as responsible for the consequences if Romney is elected, as the low-information voters. In fact they are more responsible, because they know how bad Romney's and Ryan's policies are, and they know what will happen to this country and especially to the poor. Think of all the children who will suffer if Obama loses, don't they count? And by the way, it's not voting for the lesser of two evils, though Romney is evil, it's voting for the candidate who will benefit the interests of the people the most. And that's Barack Obama.
 
 
+2 # dkonstruction 2012-10-17 11:08
Quoting genierae:
Those on the far left who refuse to support President Obama are just as responsible for the consequences if Romney is elected, as the low-information voters. In fact they are more responsible, because they know how bad Romney's and Ryan's policies are, and they know what will happen to this country and especially to the poor. Think of all the children who will suffer if Obama loses, don't they count? And by the way, it's not voting for the lesser of two evils, though Romney is evil, it's voting for the candidate who will benefit the interests of the people the most. And that's Barack Obama.


voting for someone is very different (or can be) than "supporting them." One can vote for Obama and yet be clear that you don't support him (or the dems as a whole). As for the "lesser of two evils" argument....one could argue that in fact "new democrats" are not the lesseer but rather the more effective of the two evils...i.e., it took a dem (bill clinton) to "end welfare as we know it", deruglate the financial industry and up the attack on US workers through "free trade" such as NAFTA. So, i support folks voting for Obama (unless you are in a "safe state" where if a party such as the greens got even 5% it could give them some real political leverage) in "swing states" i would not be voting for him because i "support him" but rather because of the truly frightening prospects of a repub WH and congress.
 
 
+1 # PaineRad 2012-10-17 22:42
When did it become the duty of the citizen to choose between two most likely to win candidates if there are more than two available? When did elections become Las Vegas handicapping derbies?

This is pure BS foisted upon citizens by the duopoly and a media besotted by BIG MONEY.

I believe that We the People have but one duty as citizens and voters. That is to pick the one candidate that best represents your, my, our values and let the chips fall where they may. Period. That is the essence of democracy.

Handicapping an election as though it were a horse race at Hialeah only cheapens the process, our democracy and our role as citizens.

Continuing to follow the media and duopoly lead can only perpetuate it. As Erich Fromm wrote 65 years ago, it is far easier to Escape from Freedom than it is to live with the responsibility of freedom. I choose not to allow the status quo and the establishment elites lead me around like an ox with a ring in its nose.

I also agree that it is time to do the hard work of organizing a credible political movement/organi zation. We must get off this media-soaked merry go round and chart a course of our own choosing.

We are not alone out here. We need only find each other, talk to each other, learn from each other and act.
 
 
+6 # ABen 2012-10-16 20:05
Many years ago, just after the Kent State Incident, I was part of a student/faculty group discussing how to get our campus back to some semblance of normalcy. the main topic of conversation for this particular evening was the role played in the incident by authorities--po lice in particular. A very wise professor of Sociology participating in the discussion had been very quiet through most of the discussion/comp laining. finally the moderator for this discussion asked him for his thoughts. The practical reality of his comment rang true then as it does now with the clamor for a third party. His comment was "If you don't like the attitude of the police or they way they do their job, join the force and change things from within." Changing the direction of a political party is difficult and takes time, but it is the best and surest way to accomplish the goal of change. Or one can simply do the equivalent of tilting at windmills.
 
 
-13 # Shorey13 2012-10-16 20:25
Thanks, Indian Weaver, for opening this can of worms. Yes, Romney and the Repubs want to get us back to the Gilded Age, but Obama is the kind of palliative that ensures "business as usual" will be allowed to continue that much longer. You know, Marx was wrong about many things, and his ideas were hijacked by some very evil people, but we was totally correct about one thing: unregulated, predatory Capitalism ()the only kind he knew about) always creates the seeds of its own destruction -- eventually. And, that's the problem -- while we wait around for "eventually," needless otherwise unnecessary suffering continues. I am hoping that the Republicans get their way and run us over the cliff, because Bankruptcy is the only way to turn the precious $$$ that the 1% are so determined to accumulate (no matter who gets hurt in the process) into TOILET PAPER!!!
 
 
+1 # dkonstruction 2012-10-17 11:14
Shorey13, Marx also believed in "bourgeois democracy" over feudalism and Lenin believed (at least prior to the Russian revolution and then again at the end of his life when he was too ill to do anything about it) socialism could only come out of political democracy (which is why he supported this in Germany unlike most of the other German social democrats of the day -- this is one of Lenin's key points in What Is To Be Done). So, yes, we need to build an alternative political movement in this country but that doesn't speak to today's reality or choices.

Finally, to say you want the republicans to "run us over the cliff" is in some ways similar to the positon taken by the German Communist Party in 1933 when they said "better fascism than social democracy" because they believed fascism was the last gasp of a dying system and could not last whereas the socialists were trying to "save" the system by propping it up. That position led to Hitler coming to power. It was disasterous then and i think it would be disasterous today.
 
 
+2 # Sappho 2012-10-16 21:44
Dr. Bronner is right and wrong at the same time. He understands that anyone elected president is a tool of the capitalist elite. Sadly he falls for the same fallacy that blamed Nader voters for GWB. We should vote for your candidate not because of his policies or record, but because the other guy is awful. That's like tellling me to buy a Prius because SUVs are bad, when I'm in the market for a bicycle. I don't want an internal combustion engine. I don't want a capitalist tool. The lesser of two evils is evil. Let's break out of this two party, corporate controlled box. I will continue to vote Green and the Democrats can blame themselves for the failure of their fearmongering tactics.
 
 
+1 # jbell94521 2012-10-16 22:58
The frightening and sad condition of this nation is my fault and yours, if you are a long-time liberal or even progressive, who has voted for the lesser of 2 evils for the past few decades. Each election cycle we allowed our fears of the harm the worst of the 2 possible candidates could do to panic us into voting for the other guy. This has sent a consistent message to the evil jerks who control the Democratic Party that they can count on our support even if they run Atila The Hun for president, as long as they can convince us that the other jerk is even worse. The result is the once-somewhat liberal Democratic Party is now considerably to the right of most of Richard Nixon's positions and policies. When do we say, "enough is too much" and stop this electoral suicide? It is eerily similar to how the Republicans succeed in conning the working people into voting for them, against their own interests. At some point we must hold the line. I say Obama's refusal to even investigate banksters, sneaking Keystone XL through when he promised he would not, illegal and extra-judicial assassinations via drones and other means all over the world, continuation of the war in Afghanistan, expansion of illegal and warantless wiretapping and spying on all of us, and the rest of his Dubbyesque policies mean that we should not vote for him, no matter what. He will screw us just as bad, but more sneakily. I'd rather have a devil that looks like the devil. I will vote for Rosanne or Jill.
 
 
0 # RLF 2012-10-17 05:32
Don't forget the Obama tax cuts for the rich.
 
 
+5 # Douglas Jack 2012-10-16 23:09
Get rid of the notion of a supposed right to 'react' against & think more about our right to 'act' for, to "become the change we want to see in the world".

All of humanity's 'Indigenous' (Latin = 'self-generatin g') ancestors such as 1st Nations here on Turtle Island had/have fully functional systems of 'economic-democ racy' upon which all meaningful political democracy is founded. The multi-home organization of housing fits our apartment & townhouse reality.

Production Society grouping in specialization enabled all, female-male, young-old, able-handicappe d to progressively invest & own from youth to elder. Its up to all of us to join together, not in adversarial unions, but to work together in multistakeholde r participation, join distinctively with all stakeholders & invest with participatory progressive representation on corporate boards.

Every hour worked, dollar spent, relation held is a voting ballot for the kind of world in which we wish to live. Time-based equivalence accounting for all stakeholder inputs such as founder initiative, worker talent & trade, supplier goods & service, consumer patronage, enable all to be recognized.

Humanity's worldwide indigenous Great Law of Peace is founded in mutual-aid & welcome in multihome & Production-Soci eties. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/relational-economy/8-economic-democracy
 
 
0 # RLF 2012-10-17 05:34
Are you serious???
 
 
+1 # Douglas Jack 2012-10-17 21:33
RLF, Of course I'm serious. after 236 years of colonial genocide aggression & mismanagement, you might be interested in humanity's universal worldwide 'indigenous' (Latin = 'self-generatin g') heritage. While almost all of our destructive war-based society has been alienated from knowing about the peaceful abundance of our indigenous ancestors, by dogmatic, control-based colonial institutional propaganda, you might want to reach back to the future. www.indigenecommunity.info
 
 
+4 # angelfish 2012-10-17 00:54
If Romney and Ryan get in, we're TOAST! Romney will pick the next, possibly, several members of the SCOTUS. That is enough to make the most rabid Obama hater vote for him to protect SOME semblance of Justice in this country. A ReTHUGlican Court will do almost irreversible harm to every Government entity by either abolishing it or re-tweaking it to fit THEIR agenda and favor their Mega-Gazilliona ire Masters. VOTE! and n
ever, EVER vote ReTHUGlican!
 
 
-1 # alan17b0 2012-10-17 05:25
There are 23 comments before this one,
if I counted right. I hope that all
are from Ohio or Florida or Virginia.
For those are the only states where
liberals have to anguish. In other
states: CA, NY, MA, CT, IL, MD, and
a raft of others, we already know that
Obama will win them, so we all have a
Free Vote(TM). I live in MD, I plan
to vote for Jill Stein, and I am urging
a vote for her on all my friends and
neighbors. I would love to bring
Obama's vote here in MD down from 56%
to 53%, by raising the Green vote from
2% to 5%.

Best wishes,

Alan McConnell, in Silver Spring MD
 
 
+2 # Dale 2012-10-17 08:48
Republicanism in the United States is the religion of most all the sectors of the capitalist class and those they employ to do their will, that is substantial sectors of the middle class. They are moving all the considerable resources at their disposal to make the central tenants of their religion a hegemonic belief system within the wider population. They enshrine all the principles of neo-liberalism as the gospel truth and promulgate vile propaganda based on racism, ethnocentrism, sexism, xenophobia and militarism which do resonate in some sectors of 99%, especially white males of all classes.
This is not to say that the Democrats are an alternative, just the lesser evil. The United States has the best pseudo democracy that money can buy, and Obama and most Democrats are bought. They would like to preserve some of the social gains of the past struggles of unions, minorities, women, and youth, but they will capitulate to intransigent power. The idea is to create real change, and in doing so it is imperative to take on the ideas that legitimate the system that both parties propound and replace those ideas with a vision of a nation and a world that serves the well-being of its citizens. The more successful struggles on multiple tactical fronts by the Occupy Movement, the more the most progressive sectors of the Democratic Party will respond supportively in pursuit of their limited ameliorative political ends.
 
 
+2 # Buddha 2012-10-18 11:00
I am not sure I agree with the article's main premise that the reforms us Progressives wanted to see where "impossible" because capital is more important than labor and that in a capitalist system capital's interests supercede all. The democracies of Europe are also capitalist systems, yet they have in many cases government run health care providing cradle-to-grave coverage...and where capital is allowed to exist in health care, it is far more tightly regulated. And it WORKS, they have better care for far less spending than we have in America. If the author's premise was true, then it is an argument to abandon capitalism in my opinion. Because what we have going on today is only really benefiting about 10% of our populous (and really only the top 1% or so)...and that inequity cannot stand for long.
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN