Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ten Years Later: Still No Viable Third Party

cryptonaut-in-exile: Dance With The One That Brung You

Ralph Nader, image via Life

Ten years ago today I was writing about the importance of voting for best candidate in an election, not the one who is considered by the media elites to be the most electable. Every single vote for the less desirable but "electable" candidate is a tool's vote, empowering the gatekeepers to keep drowning out progressive voices. You know what makes candidates electable, then and now? Votes. Not a media network executive's say-so. It's counter-intuitive, I know. We have the example of Perot splitting the right wing and getting Clinton elected, as well as Gore's victory ... errrr, defeat at the hands of the Supreme Court ... errrr, Bush back in 2000. The Green Party, meanwhile, is all but invisible to this day. Pragmatism says, "get behind the guy with slick hair the rubes like the looks of." Pragmatism, at best, gets us slick-haired rube bait. We have the communication tools at hand to disseminate the information people need to determine which candidate is the best.

Ten years later, we've got the Tea Baggers getting their lunatics nominated by ignoring the message that extremists can't win. The wrong people have figured out the power of voting their values. I hope progressives are paying attention. If gullible maroons with corrupt, misguided, and dangerous values can get clown shoes like Christine O'Donnell nominated, think what committed, intelligent, and principled progressives could do. Of course, it would help to have some real money behind the effort. The Citizens United decision has tilted the playing field so steeply in favor of moneyed interests, we're going to have to work twice as hard for the same results.
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