Oh, well, I was never much of a company man anyway. Just ask any of my former employers. I’ve never flown in the same direction with the other birds. Had to go my own way. What I didn’t count on, and what I never expected to see, was how many of the flock seemed hellbent on flying headlong into the side of a building.
Maybe I should explain a little. The other day I wrote a piece about how progressives needed to cool their jets and see the forest for the trees. It was essential that they come to grips with the realization that the ideal candidate – the one they’ve been searching for ever since Bobby Kennedy was stolen from them – doesn’t exist. And if by chance they did manage to find one, the likelihood of that person winning a national election was remote at best. Elizabeth Warren came to mind.
I cited Ralph Nader’s candidacy in 2000 as proof that progressives are often their own worst enemy. Nader’s presence on the Florida ballot all but guaranteed the election of George W. Bush. Yes, I know the Supreme Court’s decision to stay the recount was the final death blow, but the simple and undeniable fact was and is that had Nader simply heeded the advice he was given by many of his supporters and pulled out of the race, Gore would’ve received an additional 12,000 votes. The whole Bush v. Gore scenario would never have played out in the first place. For good measure I added that those who voted for Nader were “no better” than their Tea Party counterparts on the right.
Suffice to say that didn’t sit too well with the overwhelming majority of those who read the piece. Apparently, I hadn’t realized just how well regarded old King Ralph still is among the faithful. The thought of being compared to the Tea Party was more than most of them could stand. The responses ranged from obtuse and convoluted to sheer denial to out and out rage. One guy actually told me to go fuck myself. Poetic, if nothing else.
Okay, I realize that these people do not represent the overwhelming majority of registered Democrats or even independents out there – thank God. The problem is that, in a close election, they can still fuck up a sunset and that deeply troubles me. When one of the comments says, and I quote, “Nader only got 5 percent of the vote,” I don’t know how to respond to that. ONLY? Seeing as how Barack Obama won the popular vote by 4 percent, I’d say 5 percent is pretty damn significant. 5 percent is the ball game, especially in a close election.
I cannot reiterate too deeply just what the stakes are, not just in 2014, but in 2016 and probably going forward. The threat that the Republican Party poses is nothing to sneeze at, or shrug one’s shoulder at. It certainly demands from all of us that we soberly deliberate what our actions should be and what consequences those actions are likely to entail.
Those of you who still feel that a vote for an establishment Democrat is a wasted vote, should consider the ramifications should Republicans take the Senate next year and the White House in 2016. The recent decisions handed down by the Supreme Court make it all too clear that the future of the nation and the last fifty years of jurisprudence are at stake. A “conscientious” vote for a candidate who has no chance of being elected – Jill Stein, for example – based on some misguided and misplaced set of principles is no vote at all; it is the height of irresponsibility and it can have tragic implications for millions.
I am tired of the McGoverns, the Mondales, the Dukakises and the Kerrys. There is no solace in losing, especially when winning is right there in front of you. So you don’t like the NSA program. Fine. Go out and vote for a candidate who says they will stop it, and then when that candidate loses, you’ll have to contend with the Republican who will not only continue that same dreaded program, but role back civil rights for minorities, scrap head start, end Medicare and Medicaid once and for all and destroy every other liberal initiative imaginable. Think the voting rights gut job was bad? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. And, just think, you made it all possible by “voting your conscience.”
Way to go, genius!
George Bush didn’t say or do a lot of things that turned out right during his disastrous two terms in office, but one thing he did say rings loud and true and progressives should take heed to remember it.
“Elections have consequences.”
They certainly do.