Bye, Blue? (redux)

[Note: I posted this back in March, and it got a rather lukewarm reception—lots of people saying we had to stick with the Dems no matter what. Well, six months later, I could add a helluva lot to my list of complaints, and I’m wondering what the reception will be this time, so here it is again, for your consideration and response.]

I’m going to do it. I’m going to ask the question We Dare Not Ask. And it might piss some people off, and it might inspire others to ask me if I’ve lost my gourd. But it needs to be asked, and I’m going to be the one to do it.

Why the hell are we sticking with the Dems?

I don’t know about you, but I invested time, energy, and money into the Democratic Party during the last election, and I’m not getting much of a return on my investment. In fact, lately I’ve been feeling like the party to whom I’ve been loyal for my entire life is giving me the finger.

The confirmations of Condi Rice, Alberto Gonzales, and Michael Chertoff … the slow response to broaching voting accountability legislation … the passage of a measure to limit class-action lawsuits … the bankruptcy bill … the constant move toward the center … and on and on and on. I complain about the idiocy of the Dems almost as much as I do the Republicans, and I’m starting to get more than a little pissed off.

I once wrote about how the red-staters who vote against their own best interests don’t seem to understand their leadership, but that we on the Left seem to suffer from the opposite problem—our leadership doesn’t understand its base. The problem is only getting worse; I feel increasingly alienated from the Democratic leadership in Washington, and by the looks of things across the Lefty blogosphere, I’m not alone.

If you are, like me, a true progressive, you’re being let down by the Democrats. They can’t pull together an effective opposition, they can’t deliver a concise message, and they sell out liberal interests in a heartbeat as they make a break for a muddy middle, which they inexplicably remain convinced will help them win elections. I’m finding myself increasingly required to defend positions (such as gay rights or legal abortion)—to other Dems—that shouldn’t even be in question. And to boot, many career Dems are just as beholden to special interests as the GOP and are motivated little by the needs of the people they are meant to represent.

Historically, we’ve insisted on sticking with the two-party system for understandable reasons. If we split the liberal vote, then the GOP will get control of everything. Well, look where our determined solidarity has gotten us. They control the White House, both Houses of Congress, and a large swath of the judiciary, with the Supreme Court looking to go more conservative in short order as well. So how much sense does it make, I wonder, to continue compromising on what we really want, only to end up with what we really feared.

After the election, when the Dems decided not to push for any kind of investigation into voter fraud, Marc Sanson, co-chair of the United States Green Party issued a statement that I described at the time as a siren song for disillusioned Democrats:

If Senate Democrats allow George W. Bush's victory based on questionable numbers to stand, the Green Party will tell Democratic voters: you have wasted your votes and your campaign contributions on a party that will not defend your right to vote. Regardless of whether the recount effort or a challenge from Senate Democrats overturns Mr. Bush's 2004 election, Americans need to see that corrupt elections will not be tolerated. At the very least, a challenge will advance some sorely needed reforms: auditable paper records of all computer votes; equitable distribution of election equipment; assurance that legitimate votes aren't obstructed; removal of biased partisan officials from supervision of vote counts; clean election laws. This is what the Green Party stands for. Where do the Democrats stand?
I think we’ve wasted our votes and our campaign contributions on a party that refuses to defend more than just our right to vote. Yes, there are brief glimpses of what we shorthand as “balls,” but they are too few and far between. As an entity, the Democratic Party is not serving us well.

So why are we continuing to serve them? Why continue to throw money at an investment that offers diminishing returns?

Money talks. Maybe we need to stop buying blue and buy green instead. The biggest obstacle to an effectual third party is my unwillingness to support them.

Just a thought. Open for debate…

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