FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

2016 Electoral Guide

Any discussion of U.S. elections needs to be based on the understanding that, at present, voting is carefully designed to, in Chomsky’s words “reduce the population to apathy and obedience”, putting us in a position where we are forced to demonstrate our fealty to the corporate state by actively endorsing one of its two anointed representatives.

It doesn’t have to be that way: Greek voters had an alternative to vote against neoliberal austerity and they exercised it putting Syriza in office. Same with the upcoming elections in Spain where Podemos will offer a similar alternative. And, of course, over the past two decades, voters in Latin America had real choices and made the right decision in electing Morales, Correa, Chavez, Kirchner and other populist left candidates, to the great displeasure of the U.S. State Department.

We are not at that point and so we need to be doing the on-the-ground work which is necessary to get us there. That work involves

1) strongly supporting mass protest movements such as Black Lives Matter, Fight for 15, System Change Not Climate Change and the remnants of OWS the consolidation of which could eventually evolve into an electoral alternative at some point in the future.

and

2) strongly supporting viable local third party campaigns such as those of Kshama Sawant and the candidates from the Richmond Progressive Alliance helping these scale up to statewide and eventually national organizations.

In the meantime, it does no good to pretend that running marginal national candidates is a substitute for 1) and 2). Only once we have satisfied ourselves that we have done the work can we begin to play the rigged game which is the party primary system and the national “electoral extravaganza” in November 2016. We should do so, in my opinion, via one of the following four paths.

Path 1) Support Sanders in the Democratic primaries.

Caveat: Those exercising this option need to be fully aware of Sanders’s likely “sheepdog” role. They should make clear to others involved in the campaign that they plan to return to the fold of independent activists once Sanders is obliterated by Clinton, rejecting DP operatives and Sanders’s own efforts to herd left voters into the toxic Clinton campaign and the graveyard which is Democratic Party Politics.

Path 2) Support Jill Stein, the likely Green Party nominee.

Caveat: The Green Party lacks a sufficient level of organization where it can mount a credible campaign and even achieving ballot access will require a substantial investment of activist energy which (arguably) might be better channeled into option 1 or 2 above. A possible poor showing (Stein received less than 500,000 votes in 2012-down from Nader’s 2,882,995 in 2000) will marginalize rather than legitimate the politics we are trying to advance.

Path 3) Not voting.

Caveat: Lack of participation will be perceived as indicating that the public satisfied with both corporate options. We know otherwise, of course, but we will be unable to get that message out.  Staying uninvolved and uncommitted also prevents the development of organized networks of supporters which can become the nucleus of local campaigns and activist organizations, as happened in the wake of the Nader Green Party 2000 run.

Path 4) One of the above and then voting for the lesser evil in November.

Caveat: This option should only be exercised in a swing state and even then some leftists will regard voting for what may turn out to be not the lesser, but the more effective evil  as indefensible. What’s important is that we not allow the Sanders issue become yet another left circular firing squad of mutual recriminations and personal animosity-as the Democrats are strategizing that it will. We might not agree with lesser-evlism, but we shouldn’t demonize those who do. Nor should lesser evilist pragmatists condescend to those who refuse to be constrained by the worm’s eye, world weary pramatism of those who have resigned themselves to the Democratic Party as our only hope for change-a dangerous delusion as we should have learned in 2008 and 2012.

We need keep all that in mind to get the best possible results from the fatally compromised, corrupt and cynical electoral system in 2016.

John Halle blogs at Outrages and Interludes

More articles by:

John Halle blogs at Outrages and Interludes. He tweets at: jghalle.

Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail