Lawrence, KS - Events Local News Groups Contact
Needed for This Election: A Great Rejection
By Indy Media / filmsforaction.org
By Norman Solomon. From GNN.tv:

It could be a start — a clear national rejection of the extreme right-wing brew that has saturated the executive branch for nearly eight years.

What’s emerging for Election Day is a common front against the dumbed-down demagoguery that’s now epitomized and led by John McCain and Sarah Palin.

A large margin of victory over the McCain-Palin ticket, repudiating what it stands for, is needed — and absolutely insufficient. It’s a start along a long uphill climb to get this country onto a course that approximates sanity.

McCain’s only real hope is to achieve the election equivalent of drawing an inside straight — capturing the electoral votes of some key swing states by slim margins. His small window of possible victory is near closing. Progressives should help to slam it shut.

Like it or not, the scale of a national rejection of McCain-Palin and Bush would be measured — in terms of state power and perceived political momentum — along a continuum that ranges from squeaker to landslide. It’s in the interests of progressives for the scale to be closer to landslide than squeaker.

As McCain’s strategists aim to thread an electoral-vote needle, it cannot be said with certainty that they will fail. Who can credibly declare that an aggregate of anti-democratic factors — such as purged voting rolls, onerous requirements for voter ID, imposed obstacles to voting that target people of color, inequities in distribution of voting machines, not counting some votes as they are cast, anti-Obama racism and other factors — could not combine to bring a “victory” resulting in a President McCain and a Vice President Palin come Jan. 20, 2009?

Under these circumstances, the wider the real margin for Obama over McCain, the less likely that McCain can claim sufficient electoral votes to become president.

Progressives are mostly on board with the Obama campaign, even though — on paper, with his name removed — few of his positions deserve the “progressive” label. We shouldn’t deceive ourselves into seeing Obama as someone he’s not. Yet an Obama presidency offers the possibilities that persistent organizing and coalition-building at the grassroots could be effective at moving national policy in a progressive direction. In contrast, a McCain presidency offers possibilities that are extremely grim.

Some progressives, as a matter of principle, have come to a different conclusion. They’re eager to cast their votes for a presidential candidate (Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney) who can’t win.

Of course people’s votes are entirely their own, to do with as they see fit. But the right to do something is distinct from the wisdom of doing it.

Last week, a mass email from the Nader for President 2008 campaign began by telling supporters: “Ralph Nader is at 5 percent in The Show Me State — Missouri. And he’s moving up. That’s according to the most recent CNN/Time Missouri poll.” The celebratory tone of the message was notable. Nader was polling at 5 percent in a crucial swing state — where polls showed that McCain and Obama were in a dead heat. No wonder, on the same day as the email message, McCain spoke at rallies in suburbs of St. Louis and Kansas City.

Nader’s potential effect on the election may be too small to increase the chances of a McCain victory. But from all indications, even if McCain and Obama were tied in polls across the country, the Nader campaign would be proceeding as it is now. What does that tell us about the logic of pressing forward with a vanguard approach even if it might serve the interests of right-wing forces that most progressives are straining to roll back in this election?

From the 1960s through the ’90s, Ralph Nader had an unparalleled record of fighting for progressive reform. But the 2008 campaign of Nader and running-mate Matt Gonzalez has a frozen-in-time quality. Their campaign makes an electoral argument that focuses largely on Democrats, not Republicans. Much of Nader’s pitch for votes is centering on the charge that Democrats are as corporate and compromised as ever — and in many ways he’s right. But he ignores the reality that Republican leaders keep getting worse and more right-wing; they are clearly more dangerous than many assumed a decade ago.

The historical trend is clear: Bush-Cheney have been further right and more reckless than even Newt Gingrich, who was further right than Ronald Reagan, who was further right than his Republican predecessors. And Palin speaks for herself.

My former co-author Jeff Cohen puts it this way: “Focusing on Democratic corruption is not the problem. The problem is developing an electoral strategy that fails to acknowledge how increasingly extremist Republicans are. It reminds me of that George Carlin joke: ‘Here’s a partial score from the West Coast — Dodgers 5.’ An electoral strategy has to assess the current positions of BOTH teams.”

At this point, is an Obama victory a cinch? Maybe not. Consider this New York Times reporting published on Oct. 24: “Pollsters say there has never been a year when polling has been so problematic, given the uncertainty of who is going to vote in what is shaping up as an electorate larger than ever. While most national polls give Mr. Obama a relatively comfortable lead, in many statewide polls, Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain are much more closely matched. Even a small shift in the national number could deliver some of the closer states into the McCain camp, making an Electoral College victory at least possible.”

In fact, it’s possible that Obama could win a clear victory in the popular vote while McCain manages to claim enough electoral votes to move into the White House. Crucial to such an outcome would be Missouri (which, as the Times notes, “has been a bellwether in every White House race during the last century except 1956”). Is taking that risk worth the satisfaction of getting a couple percent of the vote for Ralph Nader for president in 2008?

The Nader campaign actually seems to be gunning for swing states in the stretch drive of the campaign, as if to maximize the chances that the Nader-Gonzalez ticket could be a factor in how the electoral votes end up being divided. Last week the Nader campaign announced that, beginning on Oct. 28, “Mr. Nader will make his final rounds campaigning in traditional swing states Florida, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.”

All year, the Nader campaign has been asking rhetorical questions such as (in the words of an Oct. 22 press advisory): “Why is it that so-called liberals and progressives continue to support Democratic candidates like Obama whose campaign slogans and rhetoric do not match their stated positions and voting records?”

And: “Why do we progressives continue to delude ourselves that we stand for core, liberal values and then work for candidates who demonstrate that they have no commitment to these values?”

This fall, the answers to these largely valid questions revolve around a truth that trumps many others: A McCain-Palin administration would be such a disaster that we want to do what we can to prevent it.

When I’ve spoken to dozens of audiences during the two months since the Democratic National Convention (where I was an elected Obama delegate), there’s been an overwhelmingly positive response when I make a simple statement about Obama and the prospects of an Obama presidency: “The best way to avoid becoming disillusioned is to not have illusions in the first place.”

Looking past the election, progressives will need to mobilize for a comprehensive agenda including economic justice, guaranteed healthcare for all, civil liberties, environmental protection and demilitarization.

The forces arrayed against far-reaching progressive change are massive and unrelenting. If an Obama victory is declared next week, those forces will be regrouping in front of our eyes — with right-wing elements looking for backup from corporate and pro-war Democrats. How much leverage these forces exercise on an Obama presidency would heavily depend on the extent to which progressives are willing and able to put up a fight.

It’s a fight we should welcome.


Norman Solomon’s books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death” and “Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State.” For information, go to: www.normansolomon.com
0.0 ·
0
What's Next
Trending Today
10 Provocative Quotes from Ivan Illich's "Deschooling Society"
Daniel Lattier · 20,138 views today · Ivan Illich’s groundbreaking book Deschooling Society (1971) offers a radical critique of the institutionalization of education within modern societies. Illich believed that we...
11 Traits of People With High Emotional Intelligence
Raven Fon · 5,716 views today · Lately, new ways to describe human interactions, social behaviours, and many facets of psychology have emerged on the social network scene. One of those descriptions is “high...
This Text Message Exchange Between a Mother and Daughter is Pure Gold
Belinda Hankins · 5,574 views today · When Belinda Hankins got a text message from her 13-year-old daughter, who was shopping for period products, it started an exchange that will resonate with women everywhere. Enjoy.
Welcome to Marinaleda: The Spanish Anti-Capitalist Town With Equal Wage Full Employment and $19 Housing
Jade Small · 5,304 views today · With virtually no police, crime or unemployment, meet the Spanish town described as a democratic, socialist utopia. Unemployment is non-existent in Marinaleda, an Andalusian...
Superblocks: How Barcelona Is Taking City Streets Back From Cars
5 min · 5,058 views today · Modern cities are designed for cars. But the city of Barcelona is testing out an urban design trick that can give cities back to pedestrians.
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 4,602 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
Who Are You? Watching This Breathtaking Video Could Be the Moment You Change Your Life
2 min · 3,148 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
Throw (2016)
10 min · 3,145 views today · The first installment of Invisible Thread, an ongoing ELM passion project series, Throw tells the story of an outsider from East Baltimore, an area challenged by gang violence...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 2,888 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Real Change in Democracy Comes Not in the Voting Booth but Activism at the Grass-Roots
Ilze Peterson · 2,356 views today · Many years ago, the late Judy Guay, a low-income woman from Bangor, founded the Maine Association of Interdependent Neighborhoods in order to advocate for the neediest in our...
Fighting Trump - Residents Opposing Donald Trump's Scottish Golf Resort
14 min · 2,203 views today · Documentary on the residents protesting against Donald Trump's golf development on the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Directed and Presented by James Trosh.
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,941 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Doctors Response to Daily Mail Bigotry is Beautiful
Neil Tiwari · 1,805 views today · A poetic open letter to the Daily Mail newspaper from Dr. Neil Tiwari, in response to a bigoted attack on his colleagues, is going viral and it's beautiful.
93 Documentaries to Expand Your Consciousness
Films For Action · 1,675 views today · There are over 800 documentaries now cataloged in our library of social change films. That's probably way too many for any mortal to ever watch in a lifetime, let alone a few...
How a Trump Presidency Would Unleash a Torrent of Racist Violence-And Devastate the Left
Arun Gupta · 1,488 views today · The Left should take the Trump threat very seriously.
Forest Man
16 min · 1,459 views today · Since the 1970's Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC...
Maya Angelou's 3-Word Secret to Living Your Best Life
3 min · 1,343 views today · Dr. Maya Angelou says that in order to be the best human being you can be, you must follow one simple directive: "Just do right." Watch as Dr. Angelou reveals how you can never...
How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently
Maria Popova · 1,187 views today · “Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticizing the views of an opponent?”
What You Might Notice If You Forgot Your Phone For a Day
2 min · 1,181 views today · There is a moment happening right in front of you, right this second, and you just might be missing it
Ikigai - Finding Your Reason for Being
Chip Richards · 1,144 views today · What Gets You Out of Bed in the Morning? When asked what is the single most powerful contributing factor to one’s health and vitality, integrative medical...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Needed for This Election: A Great Rejection