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Do Democrats Deserve Your Vote?

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Warning: This article may disturb your equilibrium. Most people that consider themselves progressives or independents will be tempted to vote for Democrats in this year's elections, mainly because of a great desire to rid the nation of as many toxic Republican office holders as possible. Taking a longer term, bigger picture perspective, however, should be considered. Keep asking yourself: Is your deep confidence in Democrats driving you to vote for them or is it your hatred of Republicans? Here are ten reasons for resisting the "lesser evil" temptation:

1. Face the ugly reality that though you may despise Republicans, Democrats have also been corrupted by many financial special interests, have no moral or political courage, and show little capacity for building broad public support for making the profound changes this nation desperately needs. If Democrats gain control of one or even both houses of congress, the odds of them taking bold action to straighten out the country are extremely low. They would have lots of fun and get enormous media coverage by investigating the many misdeeds of the Bush administration. Though entertaining and gratifying, nothing of importance will change structurally. Rather than use their victory to institute true reforms, they will use it to prepare for the 2008 election. Partisan and divisive politics will trump national unity and reform.

2. Reducing voter turnout in local and state primaries and general elections can send a powerful message to both Republicans and Democrats. Namely that Americans are incredibly fed up with both major parties and the two-party duopoly status quo, and want electoral reforms that give them more choices.

3. A Democratic "win" this year will really be a win for the two-party duopoly. The power elitists and economic royalists who really run the country know how to cope with such political shifts. For them, periodic power shifts between the two major parties stabilizes the system and it is the two-party SYSTEM that needs overhaul. Change within this restrictive political system is more illusory than restorative.

4. Lowering voter turnout helps undermine the credibility of the Bush administration's efforts to sell American-style democracy to other nations. Think of not voting as a political boycott that embarrasses Bush.

5. There are some tensions within the Democratic Party, and you may sympathize with those elements representing a more progressive set of values, it would serve them better in the long run if Democratic candidates lost this year. That would establish intra-party conditions more supportive of an ideological takeover of the party by people less subservient to corporate and other money interests.
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6. A Democratic "win" will do much to mobilize and strengthen the Republican base and put the party in a stronger position for 2008.

7. For the good of the country, third-parties need more support. If you feel obligated to vote, then find third-party candidates to vote for. Not voting for Democrats and Republicans helps set conditions for stronger third-parties.

8. If you contemplate feeling guilty about indirectly aiding the election or reelection of Republicans, then see the positive side for 2008. Let Republicans maintain as much power as possible and flush the nation deeper down the toilet. This may help more of the population see the evils of Republican policies and raise prospects for defeating Republicans in 2008, especially the Republican presidential candidate.

9. Another reason for a protest non-vote is to show utter contempt for all the deficiencies of electronic voting machines.

10. If you are among the many suspecting various forms of vote fraud, then why waste your vote? Why play in a crooked game?

When primary and general election days arrive, take a breath, and resist the temptation to vote for Democrats mainly because you want to punish Republicans. Remind yourself that voting for Democrats in the past did not do much good for American democracy or our economy. The latest national poll finds that 67 percent of Americans have a negative view of the Republican Party and 57 are negative about the Democratic Party. Those figures define an opportunity for the emergence of a national third party for 2008. An amazing 76 percent of people are angry about something, and only 12 percent are satisfied with Congress. Many Americans seem to have seen the truth: We have arrived at this dismal state of the union in a bipartisan way. We can choose to only blame Republicans or focus on overthrowing the two-party SYSTEM.

Bipartisan incrementalism will not restore greatness to our country. Tweaking by Democrats will not do the necessary job. The nation is in a mood for change, but what we really need is vociferous demand for revolutionary and restorative transformation. There's a better chance for that in 2008. The real question is: What can we do now to set the stage for that transformation?
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Joel S. Hirschhorn is the author of Delusional Democracy - Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government. His current political writings have been greatly influenced by working as a senior staffer for the U.S. Congress and for the (more...)
 

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I agree with some of the above, disagree with othe... by ardee D. on Tuesday, Sep 5, 2006 at 6:13:51 PM
Just want to say that I too will enjoy the enterta... by Joel S. Hirschhorn on Tuesday, Sep 5, 2006 at 6:51:02 PM
1. There certainly are Democrats who have been co... by PrMaine on Thursday, Sep 7, 2006 at 7:43:18 AM