Vote defensively. Vote offensively. Vote when there is someone worth voting for. Vote locally where we have more agency over the outcomes. Reject the ideology of our oppressors. Not voting says nothing to the ruling elite. It doesn't threaten their legitimacy. They don't care if you don't vote. They don't care if 90% of us don't vote. 50% already don't. And that's exactly what they want.
Meanwhile, Republicans run candidates, organize, get them into office, and get their base to vote, and they get the government that they worked for. They make the rules. They pass the bills in the statehouses. They obstruct sensible bills from passing in congress. They elect activist republican judges to the judicial branch. Government makes a difference for them. It works great for them. They own this country because they have seized the levers of government for themselves. Brownback has done untold damage to Kansas. The lack of any serious challenge from the left has made a difference to how Kansas has been run into the ground due to his actions and the actions of the reps that run the state from city councils to county commissioners to the statehouse.
Meanwhile, the left in large swathes believes voting is idiotic and abstains from the realms of politics altogether, then observes for another 2-4 years how poorly the government works for them.
I'm not saying the Democrats that run for office aren't a part of the problem. My point is that, we, as the public, who are more progressive, don't engage. All the good progressive folks that aren't centrist right-leaning Dems don't believe in running for offices of government. The majority of progressive people don't want to get involved in local politics. And that's where things stand today.
But maybe with the enthusiasm that Bernie Sanders brought back to politics in 2016, we can turn this shit show around. We need to get real progressives in every local position of government from the bottom up. If Republicans can make government work for them, I'm pretty damn well sure we can make it work for us. We just need to start doing what they do, and that starts with ending this debilitating allergy to political engagement.
Here are six articles that make the case for strategic voting in elections (deployed in tandem with direct action, horizontal organization and other forms of activism):
Ryan Conrad ·
Greetings from Trumplandia, also known as the second congressional district of Maine, which is now polling for Donald Trump. I have called Lewiston, Maine, home since 2001 when I moved there for university as a teenager. I am currently...
Thomas G. Clark ·
Of the most commonly recurring themes that keeps popping up in the comments sections beneath my work is the "if only everyone stopped voting ..." type is probably the most infuriating. The reason that I find these appeals for people to...
Question: “How can you vote? With all you’ve done and written, how can you participate in this corrupt, money-driven system? I thought you were far more radical than that!”
"Political strategies and tactics are not jealous lovers. You don’t have to be monogamous. Direct Action will not feel betrayed if you also vote from time to time—you can be poly in your tactics. And I am. Of course I vote! If you’re a woman, or a person of color, or a person who doesn’t own property, or even a white male who doesn’t belong to the nobility, centuries of struggle and many deaths have bought you the right to vote. I vote to keep faith with peasant rebels and suffragist hunger strikers and civil rights workers braving the lynch mobs of the South, if for no other reason. But there is another reason—because who we vote for has an enormous impact on real peoples’ lives." - Starhawk
"Voting is a chess move, not a valentine. And here's the joy of being politically engaged all year round every year; you get to work with a whole lot of chess pieces and players and strategies and longterm visions, so you don't agonize over whether this little hop with a pawn we call voting defines you. You get to define yourself by what you're passionately committed to, by who you align with, by your dreams and your visions, you get to move a lot of pieces a lot of times, you get heroic allies, and you play to win above, beyond, around elections. But you vote, because you know it matters too."
- Rebecca Solnit