22 May 2018


"...you don't have to look too hard to find voices on social media urging you to abandon the Democratic Party for various perceived heresies. Telling you to stay home, or to throw your vote away on a useless wad of cud like Jill Stein. These voices elected Trump once, and they're hellbent on doing it again. I know y'all know that already, I just don't want you to be shy in calling 'em out. There's too much at stake." -- Shower Cap's Blog

Look, I get it.  Especially at times like this, when several Senate Democrats just broke ranks to help confirm Gina "Ve haff vays of making you tock" Haspel.  Being up for re-election in a red state is no excuse; appeasing Trumpanzees doesn't work, and you can't out-Republican the real Republican in the race.

But as bad as some Democrats are, would you rather have Republicans in those seats?  Republicans would have voted to confirm Haspel too, and they would have gone against us on other critical votes such as ACA repeal, on which all the Senate Democrats, even those who went the wrong way here, stood united.  The worst Democrat is better than the best Republican.

This applies to all of us, across the ideological spectrum.  There is no excuse for what is apparently happening in NE-02, where the DCCC seems to be withholding support from progressive Kara Eastman after she won the primary against their preferred candidate.  There's too much at stake for anyone to be playing these kinds of games.  If the Republican wins the seat because the establishment -- or conservative Democratic voters -- get in a snit about their guy losing the primary, the disgrace will be theirs.

Refusing to vote for a Democrat who isn't "the right kind" just makes it more likely that the Republican will win.  It doesn't matter that you think you're "sending a message" or don't want to dirty yourself by voting for a bad candidate.  Nobody cares about the intentions of a non-voter or third-party voter, only about the result.  It doesn't matter what Nader voters in 2000 thought they were doing.  What matters is that Bush became President, with all that followed.  And if you refuse to vote for a Democrat you think isn't good enough, and the Republican wins, the fact that you can stand around oozing virtue and ideological purity doesn't mean shit to the vulnerable person who loses his health insurance, food stamps, or civil rights as a result of Republicans holding power.

Unity is strength, division is weakness.  One of the most hopeful things about this political dark age is that the enemy is so factionalized and so prone to petty rivalries.  They already face the risk of losing a winnable race in West Virginia because a right-wing third candidate may divide their voters.  Whenever that happens on their side, it's good.  Whenever it happens on ours, it's bad.

We're a big diverse party because this is a big diverse country.  But we're up against an opposing party which stands for theocracy and economic oligarchy, and has lately sold itself out to a narcissistic megalomaniac with dictatorial tendencies who is destroying our country's standing in the world and may yet do horrifyingly worse.  We can't vote him out this year, but we can vote for those who offer some hope of reining him in.  Any Democrat you have the opportunity to vote for deserves your vote, whether it's Kara Eastman or Joe Manchin.  Because the alternative is intolerable.  It's really as simple as that.


Anonymous Marc McKenzie said...

Two words for this: THANK YOU.

22 May, 2018 08:48  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

Hopefuly Trump won't get re-elected.

22 May, 2018 10:36  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Marc: It's important to me.

Mary: Hopefully he'll be removed before re-election is even an issue, but in the meantime, we need to get our people in place to mitigate the damage he can do.

22 May, 2018 12:07  
Blogger Les Carpenter said...

Being the consummate individualist I have no party. In other words I vote as an independent, for the person I feel best qualified. That works when either party candidate and the party they calling with have integrity, truly have America and her people's best interests at heart, and place country above party. The Republican party and most of its candidayes No Longer Fit That Profile. In fact the present Republican party has little if any interest in the plight of the average America or their concerns.

So, as much as voting for a "bad" Democrat rubs me against the grain the bigger more important picture is to flip Congress in 2018 and follow by defeating tRump in 2020. Whatever it takes. Voting third party should be off the table. At least for now. Until the Republican party is dismantled. They Are Just That Bad Today.

Good post Infidel. You are spot on.

22 May, 2018 14:10  
Anonymous PsiCop said...

Re: "The worst Democrat is better than the best Republican."

A great example of the kind of intra-Democratic schism you're talking about took place here in CT in 2006. Early in the year, a Greenwich millionaire, Ned Lamont, decided to primary the longstanding incumbent Senator Joe Lieberman over the Iraq War. It's true Lieberman had favored it, but in every other way he toed the Leftist line ... and had done so for decades. The seat was safely his, and thus safely Democratic.

But a bunch of activists led by boggers like the Kos decided Lieberman had to go so they threw their support to Lamont. They vilified the guy in every way you could imagine. Partly fueled by a very strange kiss from G.W. Bush (https://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/16/washington/16lieberman.html), Lieberman lost the primary to Lamont (although it was close, 52/48). He proceeded to petition his way on the the general election ballot, and won in November. Once back in the Senate, Lieberman was officially an "I," not a "D," but he caucused with the "D"s and in most ways voted with them ... although toward they end he drifted away (but by that time he'd said he wouldn't run again).

(Near the end of his term lots of Democrats loved to say, "You see? Lieberman's a conservative!" because of this drift, but that drift began AFTER the party's extreme Left went after him in 2006. I'm not sure why they'd expect him to be fully compliant with all their demands, though, after they'd done everything they could to eject him from the Senate ... but then, extreme ideologues aren't known for being very rational.)

Now, had it been solely a Lamont/Republican (I don't even recall who that guy was!) general election, chances are Lamont, the "D," would have won ... but there's no way the margin would have been the same, had it been Lieberman/Republican. In other words, by choosing Lamont, Democratic primary voters made it more difficult for their party to keep that seat. They essentially ended up with it anyway, in spite of themselves, but they were taking an awful chance.

That's a lesson the Democrats' extreme Left needs to keep in mind. It's great to be ideologically fierce, to never compromise, and to refuse to stand for the "squishy center," but there are consequences to that approach. Ideological ferocity CAN and DOES work in some venues (the GOP's "Freedom Caucus" members certainly have done so), but it won't work everywhere.

23 May, 2018 12:58  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Rational: There's not much room for non-sleazebag candidates in the Republican party any more. Look how they (the rank-and-file, not fellow Senators) treat McCain. I suppose it's possible they'll reform at some point, but not if they keep having their current direction affirmed by getting re-elected.

PsiCop: I remember that election. I don't know enough about Lamont to know whether he'd have been a better Senator than Lieberman, but the activists obviously misread the mood of the state's voters. We can't afford to risk messes like that again, now that the stakes are so much higher. At least there don't seem to be efforts under way to primary incumbents -- unlike on the Republican side.

24 May, 2018 03:04  
Anonymous Osirisopto said...

People who vote against their best interest to “send a message” are sending an R to DC.

The message that is received is that “conservative” policies and agendas (feeding from the K street through) are what the people want.


24 May, 2018 05:36  
Blogger Professor Chaos said...

I don't know why its so hard to get people to understand this. People say they are tired of voting for the lesser of 2 evils. Sure, we all are. But if there is a choice between two evils you would be insane to not choose the lesser one. You have a moral obligation to choose the lesser evil. As a wise person once said, the worst Democrat is better than the best Republican

24 May, 2018 08:53  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Osirisopto: The Republicans have certainly grabbed that message and run with it.

Professor: Thanks! I think some people believe that if they don't vote at all (or vote for a third candidate, which is effectively the same thing), they avoid responsibility for what they failed to do anything to prevent. But it still either one outcome or the other.

24 May, 2018 09:34  
Anonymous Marc McKenzie said...

@Professor Chaos--very true, but sadly, it seems that some people still do not understand this even after fifty years. I was born after the 1968 elections, but looking at what happened then one can see the beginnings of this insanity (that's the only word I can think for it). Milt Shook has a better take: http://pleasecutthecrap.com/lets-talk-about-principle/

@Infidel: Well put. The sad thing is that I thought that after G.W. Bush the purists would have realized how wrong they were back in 2000; it looks like I was wrong. And I'm afraid that after Trump they STILL will want to do this nonsense again; hell, some were still spouting it in 2017 and they've continued into 2018. Thankfully, judging by the victories by Democrats in the special elections and the main elections of 2017, it appears that no one is listening to them.

25 May, 2018 12:45  
Anonymous Arvind Rao said...

While I didn't quite follow everything in this post (I'm not really into day-to-day American politics except every 4 years when 2 parties do their national face-off.... Note: 2 parties only... not much of a choice really!!!!!)

Even in my portion of the Earth's landmass, the political choice is rarely ever between the good and bad, but more between shades of grey and choosing the lesser evil.

27 May, 2018 01:20  

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