The WA State Constitution sucks, in some ways. It requires that all taxes be flat (non-progressive), that all gas tax money be spent on roads (not on, say, public transportation), and that the state government not extend credit. (Hence, it may be difficult to establish a State Bank, as in North Dakota, though perhaps the state can partner with local banks and escape Wall Street fees and corruption). It seems like the Washington State Constitution was written for special interests.
There's a perennial heated debate on the (further) left about whether to support the Democrats (which they consider the lesser of two evils) or whether, on the other hand, to vote for a third-party candidate or just not show up at the polls. Obama seems to be a particularly conservative Democrat, and I'm not sure that it's fair to compare Gore or Kerry to Obama.
My insight, from attending the convention and hearing the candidates, is
that the Democrats are mixed, both individually and as a group. On
most issues most Democrats are significantly better than the
Republicans. But some Democrats are progressive on some issues and
conservative on others -- especially Democrats from conservative areas.
And due to campaign spending, too many Democrats compromise. (Heck,
they're human, and the system is broken.)
The problem is that the numbers just aren't there to pass progressive legislation. You can blame the politicians (especially the Republicans!), you can blame the press, you can blame Obama, you can blame the system, you can blame human greed, and you can blame the often stupid (or at least gullible) voters -- who sorely need to be educated about the ways in which conservative policies harm them and the nation.
The Left needs to build a viable progressive media.