FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

A Wasted Campaign

One week after Jonathan Tasini was defeated by Hillary Clinton in New York’s Democratic Primary, the career labor organizer and loyal Democrat released a statement about the role his bereaved followers should play in the upcoming election. “I urge my supporters and the people who voted for me to vote their conscience,” said Tasini. “Every vote that is not cast for the incumbent is a clear repudiation of an immoral war.”

Tasini not only failed in his bid to take down Hillary (let alone hold her accountable for her unwavering support for the war in Iraq) he is now failing the movement against the war in Iraq by refusing to endorse an antiwar candidate in November’s contest. In an interview with Elizabeth Benjamin of the Times Union on September 19, Tasini confirmed that he would not be endorsing the only visible antiwar alternative to Hillary Clinton in the state, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins.

“I am a Democrat. I ran as a Democrat. I decided not to endorse the incumbent, and to stay out of endorsing anyone else. Between now and November, that could change. Something could happen and she (Sen. Hillary Clinton) could decide the war was really bad and wrong, and then I would reconsider.”

That’s the kind of garbage you’ll hear from a Democrat even if they oppose the war in Iraq. Party loyalty matters far more than any antiwar ethic. Undeniably, Tasini did his job quite well this past summer. By running a losing campaign in the Democratic Primary he drew attention and support away from Howie Hawkins and other independent antiwar candidates. Instead of helping build a viable antiwar campaign that would be on the ballot in November when it will matter most, Tasini played right into Hillary’s hands by not challenging her all the way up to November — even if by proxy through another antiwar campaign.

Tasini’s run, much like Rep. Dennis Kucinich for president in 2004, is just one more pitiful illustration of how antiwar politics in the Democratic Party amount to nothing. They possess no teeth, no backbone, and more importantly, no tangible goals. If antiwar progressives like Jonathan Tasini really want to put pressure on Hillary Clinton and the war party she represents, they wouldn’t be Democrats in the first place. Hillary is already piecing together her campaign for the White House in 2008, and the drive to stop her must begin this election season.

Essentially Tasini’s campaign against the war ended the very day he conceded to Sen. Clinton. Instead he ought to have passed his torch to another candidate who could carry his antiwar flame up to Election Day. But he didn’t. And we shouldn’t be surprised. Tasini remains a Democrat and his supporters are now left traversing the murky waters of party politics with no hope for future change within their ranks. And even more depressing — no hope for bringing our troops home anytime soon.

So mark this down as another bitter lesson learned: Even if well intentioned, the Democratic Party consistently derails and misleads social movements. If we really want end the war in Iraq we will have to stop playing politics as usual.

JOSHUA FRANK, author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, edits http://www.BrickBurner.org

 

 

More articles by:

JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book, co-authored with Jeffrey St. Clair, is Big Heat: Earth on the Brink. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
July 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
The Blob Fought the Squad, and the Squad Won
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
It Was Never Just About the Chat: Ruminations on a Puerto Rican Revolution.
Anthony DiMaggio
System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics
Andrew Levine
South Carolina Speaks for Whom?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Big Man, Pig Man
Bruce E. Levine
The Groundbreaking Public Health Study That Should Change U.S. Society—But Won’t
Evaggelos Vallianatos
How the Trump Administration is Eviscerating the Federal Government
Pete Dolack
All Seemed Possible When the Sandinistas Took Power 40 years Ago
Ramzy Baroud
Who Killed Oscar and Valeria: The Inconvenient History of the Refugee Crisis
Ron Jacobs
Dancing with Dr. Benway
Joseph Natoli
Gaming the Climate
Marshall Auerback
The Numbers are In, and Trump’s Tax Cuts are a Bust
Louisa Willcox
Wild Thoughts About the Wild Gallatin
Kenn Orphan
Stranger Things, Stranger Times
Mike Garrity
Environmentalists and Wilderness are Not the Timber Industry’s Big Problem
Helen Yaffe
Cuban Workers Celebrate Salary Rise From New Economic Measures
Brian Cloughley
What You Don’t Want to be in Trump’s America
David Underhill
The Inequality of Equal Pay
David Macaray
Adventures in Script-Writing
David Rosen
Say Goodbye to MAD, But Remember the Fight for Free Expression
Nick Pemberton
This Is Heaven!: A Journey to the Pearly Gates with Chuck Mertz
Dan Bacher
Chevron’s Oil Spill Endangers Kern County
J.P. Linstroth
A Racist President and Racial Trauma
Binoy Kampmark
Spying on Julian Assange
Rose Ramirez – Dedrick Asante-Mohammad
A Trump Plan to Throw 50,000 Kids Out of Their Schools
David Bravo
Precinct or Neighborhood? How Barcelona Keeps Rolling Out the Red Carpet for Global Capital
Ralph Nader
Will Any Disgusted Republicans Challenge Trump in the Primaries?
Dave Lindorff
The BS about Medicare-for-All Has to Stop!
Arnold August
Why the Canadian Government is Bullying Venezuela
Tom Clifford
China and the Swine Flu Outbreak
Missy Comley Beattie
Highest Anxiety
Jill Richardson
Weapons of the Weak
Peter Certo
Washington vs. The Squad
Peter Bolton
Trump’s Own Background Reveals the True Motivation Behind Racist Tweets: Pure White Supremacy
Colin Todhunter
From Mad Cow Disease to Agrochemicals: Time to Put Public Need Ahead of Private Greed
Nozomi Hayase
In Crisis of Democracy, We All Must Become Julian Assange
Wim Laven
The Immoral Silence to the Destructive Xenophobia of “Just Leave”
Cecily Myart-Cruz
McDonald’s: Stop Exploiting Our Schools
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Our Veggie Gardens Won’t Feed us in a Real Crisis
CounterPunch News Service
A Homeless Rebellion – Mission Statement/Press Release
Louis Proyect
Parallel Lives: Cheney and Ailes
David Yearsley
Big in the Bungalow of Believers
Ellen Taylor
The Northern Spotted Owls’ Tree-Sit
July 18, 2019
Timothy M. Gill
Bernie Sanders, Anti-Imperialism and Venezuela
W. T. Whitney
Cuba and a New Generation of Leaders Respond to U.S. Anti-People War
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail