Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 24 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/6/10

On Punishing the Dems

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages) (View How Many People Read This)   17 comments
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Don Smith
Become a Fan
  (22 fans)
Many progressives want to "punish the Dems" by refusing to vote, or by voting for a third party candidate this November.

I can respect such progressives, because I too am upset with Obama. I've explained why here and here and here.

But I wonder: have these hardcore progressives really thought through the costs of their choice? Moreover, are they willing to respect other progressives who choose not to follow their (risky) strategy?

Many Democrats complain that progressives spend more time denouncing Obama than they do denouncing Republicans. (I always try to avoid doing this. I always say, "Obama acts like a conservative. He helps

In a similar way, it seems that many hardcore
progressives spend more time denouncing more moderate progressives like me who still want to work within the Democratic Party.

It reminds me of religious fanatics who reserve their strongest condemnations for fellow believers who aren't completely committed to their pure doctrine.

Hey, I'm your ally! We just differ on strategy. I come in peace. Stop the circular firing squad!

My problem with the strategy of punishing the Dems is that it's a scatter-shot approach. It will punish good Dems as well as bad Dems. It will help the GOP gain power. It's a blunt instrument that will destroy more than was intended.

Yes, drastic measures are needed, because both parties are seriously ill with corporatism and corruption. But punishing all the Dems is powerful medicine that, via side effects, may end up doing more harm than good.

Remember 2000 and what happened when progressives voted for Nader over Gore?

OK, OK, I know. The Democrats keep relying on scare tactics like this to stop progressives from voting their consciences. They keep bringing up the specter of Bush or the Tea Party to convince progressives to vote for them.

Yes, it feels bad to be used and to be cheated the way progressives were cheated by Obama.

And yes, way too many progressives were fools to fall for Obama's slick and vague promises.

But despite all that, it's still true that allowing the GOP to gain power in order to punish the Dems is a very risky and costly strategy indeed.

As I've said before, anyone who says the Democrats are as bad as the Republicans is either a Republican plant trying to incite division on the Left, a hardcore leftist trying to seduce progressives into giving up on the Democratic Party, or a deluded blockhead. This is perhaps overly strong but it's basically correct. I'm not saying that Obama and the Democrats haven't made many terrible mistakes; I'm just saying that the Republicans would be even worse!

Unlike most Dems, most Republicans will have no qualms about dismantling the New Deal and completely turning government over to the corporations or to religious fanatics. And they'd be much, much worse than the Dems on women's rights and environmentalism and regulations in general. Think how the GOP unanimously opposed virtually every Democratic bill in the Senate, especially the good ones.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).


Funny 1   Interesting 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Don Smith Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

DFA organizer, Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, writer, and programmer. My op-ed pieces have appeared in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and elsewhere. See and for my writing, my (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The myth that the Dems are as bad as the Repugs

Why Abortion Isn't Murder

Don't buy from Fox News advertisers: Progressive, Capital One, Applebees, IHOP,, Angie's List, Home Advi

Why Dems should be furious at Obama

Image essay about blood soaked NRA

Government is like a computer's operating system: a response to libertarians

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: