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Reply #8: I think that premise is incorrect [View All]

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Ramsey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. I think that premise is incorrect
None of the candidates, not even Kucinich, who is widely considered the most progressive person in the race, even comes close to "pandering to the fringe Greens". So that is the wrong comparison to make.

Frankly, I agree with the argument being made in this topic. Statistics show that so-called swing voters, those muddy middlers who truly cannot or do not bother to figure out what the difference between the Dems and Repubs are, make up only about 5% of the electorate. There are vast swaths of people, about 50% of those eligible, who don't vote.

I think it is highly likely that the majority of those nonvoters could be convinced to vote Democratic if a candidate reached out to them and spoke to their issues. That's because the Democratic platform should be one that champions the average person. Unfortunately, in a misguided attempt to woo right-leaning voter support and too beholden to corporate campaign donors, too many Washington Democrats have sold their souls and lost their voice, along with the people's support.

Democratic issues are, or should be, the progressive values that champion the right of every person to a decent living, health care, education and individual rights, in contradistinction to the Darwinian, winner-takes-all policies of the right wing (mixed in with their desire to legislate an evangelical christian "morality").

The problem has been for some time that the Democratic Party is paralyzed with fear and inactivity in the face of an better organized and better funded Republican Party that has been more effective at getting its message out. They attract support, as we all know, by lying to people. Every single policy of the Bush administration, from "Clean Skies" to the Iraq War, is a lie, a misnomer, institutionalizing the exact opposite of its purported purpose. The Democrats should be able to make hay out of them, yet mostly they do not.

In my opinion, the solution is not to be like the Republicans only slightly different, the Republican-light tactics of groups like the DLC, but to make our voice and our values heard and understood better. Recall that for many years the Republicans were down and out of power. It took them 20 years, but they built an infrastructure and a media base that has allowed them to regain power in the recent past while the Democrats got lazy and complacent. That is what we need to do now: organize and educate voters. Because if we can communicate to the public, I am confident our ideas will win.

This is beginning to happen. The new progressive radio network will launch in March, and there are plans for a progressive cable news channel as well. How often do we all complain that every single news outlet is biased towards the right? Well, we need to stop whining and do something about that. While I have many issues with DNC chair Terry McAuliffe (he's far too Bush-lite for my tastes), he has been building an infrastructure and a base of operations for the Democratic Party to operate from. It will all be for naught if we cannot regain our progressive voice and stop voting with the Republicans 75% of the time out of fear of being labeled unAmerican or liberal.

Galvanized by Selection 2000 and the disaster known as George W. Bush, progressive organizations nationwide are raising lots of money and running massive GOTV campaigns. We can all support this effort by giving our time or money to these groups, like America Coming Together, MoveOn, etc. This effort is NOT coming from the Democratic Party sadly, but from the grassroots. That is what the campaign of Howard Dean was all about, and why I loved him. He spoke of empowering the people to take back their country from the right wing juggernaut, and many many people were energized and inspired by that. The Democratic party and its nominee would be wise to harness that energy.

But that won't happen by making subtle distinctions between themselves and Bush. Bush is an ultra-conservative megalomaniac, and there are many people in this country who are sick and tired of him and his party. The Democrats meanwhile have moved right of center, the center has shifted to the right, and many many people feel they are totally left out, with no one to represent them. The Democrats need to swallow their fear and speak to those forgotten masses.

I truly believe that appealing to the progressive instincts in the American people is the key to success. There is actually very little in the way of a radical left in this country today. The progressives ARE the moderates, in that our ideals are mainstream and practical. It's time for the pendulum to swing back to the left. The Democratic Party needs to learn this lesson. This is not 1992, and there is no Clinton. The right wing has taken over every branch of our government and we need a bold leadership to reverse that disturbing trend.

So, no more Republican-light! Give us a true progressive who isn't afraid and we will win.
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