On the "Progressive Democrat", and their threat to progressivesAn opinion piece on how progressive Democrats will not be able to effect real change within the Democratic Party.
By Christopher Dwyer
An alarming amount of debate among has occurred among Greens on the question of running candidates in races where one of their opponents would be a "Progressive Democrat", i.e., a member of the Democratic Party that nonetheless espouses progressive ideals. The idea is potentially noble: there are certainly "good guys" (of both sexes) out there whose campaigns might be hurt by a Green campaign, and there are friends of Greens in other parties whom it would be politically unwise to annoy with a competing campaign. As a long-time progressive, I certainly take no issue with wanting to elect progressives, and anyone remotely interested in politics understands the value of high-placed friends.
Why then fight? Why put ourselves in positions where we may siphon votes from a progressive?
With the Progressives in tow, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has systematically sold its political capital to large, moneyed interests; the same large moneyed interests that the Republicans have had in their camp for years. Progressive Democrats have watched this phenomenon in their party take shape for years, and only now, with the coalescence of some political clout on the Left have a few decided to take earnest, moral stands against this behavior, running to save the 'soul of (their) party'. With these Progressives on the sidelines, the DNC has either spearheaded, or aided the GOP in spearheading, NAFTA, continuation of the death penalty, and the abuse of democracy inherent in financial campaign manipulation.
What this tells me is the Progressives in the DNC have no political clout. Their party has abandoned them, much as it has abandoned those of us who were once Democrats. Yet, the DNC must maintain this appearance of being a left-leaning opposition party to the Republicans, or they have no mission or purpose.
By supporting, endorsing, campaigning for, or voting for Progressive Democrats, we on the Left allow the DNC to continue this charade of opposition to the GOP. Supporting these candidates provides a placebo to those afraid to make real change, and hurts our cause of a just democracy for the United States.
As a Green party member, I have come to the conclusion that the Democratic Party no longer represents my beliefs or me. Among Greens, I am certainly not alone in this stance. I cannot imagine how principled politicians on the Left in any party can see this differently. We heard no debate from DNC leaders on Iraq until President Bush's approval rating hit 59%. This is not principle, this is political posturing. Senator Byrd's now famous emotional question on this lack of debate can be answered quite succinctly: Senator, your party has failed. The blood of the dead in Iraq will be on your hands as surely as it will be on Bush's, on Powell's, on Rumsfeld's, and on Blair's. Progressive Democrats who wish to effect real change in the way our country conducts business must find a vehicle from which they will be heard. The Green Party provides them that vehicle. Should Byrd, Dean, Boxer, Filner, et al wish to join us, I have committed myself to their political success. Should they choose to stay on the sidelines, they then make their tacit endorsement of their party's current path quite clear, and we as Progressives should do all in our power to see to the end of their political careers.
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