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What Debate? Some Strategic Electoral Considerations

Someone recently asked me my opinion on “the left debate over lesser evil voting” this year. What debate? There’s no debate. Anyone who doesn’t understand that the creeping fascist white nationalist Republicans are more horrific than the dismal dollar Democrats in ways that matter enough to hold one’s nose and vote “for” the Dems in contested races this year is (sorry to say) hopelessly out of it.

It was one thing to protest-vote for Jill Stein over hideous Hillary in a contested state when nearly every reputable pollster was predicting an easy victory for Mrs. Clinton. But then the caravan-barking freak got into the White House, turned what was already a dangerously arch-reactionary party into his own personal pre-fascist organization, and then worked with that party to advance a hard-right, ultra-plutocratic and eco-cidal agenda while spreading racist and nationalist hate and setting new world records for totalitarian, truth-canceling mendacity. Any lefty who doesn’t grasp the desirability of the Republicans and their terrible tangerine master being checked to some degree in the House of Representatives is too stupid and/or alienated for their own good.

Is there a “debate” over the advisability of walking barefoot on rusty nails?

Yes, the Democrats are horrible. They make my skin crawl. I’ve documented their record as a pack of “lying neoliberal warmongers” for many years. But when the deplorable Dems embraced the full corporate neoliberal agenda in the 1980s and 1990s, the Republicans saw many of their key issue positions (“free trade,” deregulation. Schools privatization, the destruction of welfare, the War on Drugs and more) being overtaken by the Inauthentic Opposition Party (Sheldon Wolin’s excellent term for the Democrats) and were existentially compelled to shift further to the dodgy racist and sexist starboard. The widely loathed white-nationalist GOP is now chillingly united under the rule of a malignantly narcissistic arch-authoritarian monstrosity – a brazen racist-sexist who tears up nuclear missile treaties and critical environmental regulations for breakfast and lies the public at least four times per day. This malevolent party now controls all three branches of the federal government and most of the state governments, many of which are wreaking havoc all too invisibly across the land.

Want to be able to safely vote third party Left for the things you believe in – peace, social justice, democracy, worker rights, civil rights, environmental sanity, and end to class rule, and more? Me too. Please join me in calling for a national Constituent Assembly to draft a new governing charter with new rules (including full public financing of elections and proportional representation) mandating a fair and democratic, multi-party elections and party system beyond the big money winner-take-all first-past-the-post system that reigns in the U.S. today.

In the meantime, consider that the capitalist Democrats and U.S. electoral politics are best exposed as inadequate when the two-party system’s not-so “leftmost” wing holds nominal power/elective office. The dismal Dems are most free to deceptively preen and pose as an authentic popular opposition entity when they are out of nominal power/elected office – and when the horror show of Republicans in office feeds the noxious illusions that the main problem plaguing the nation is that the wrong party is in power and that the solution is another big get-out-the-vote effort for the fake-progressive Democrats.

The only real solution to America’s ills is a mass, ongoing, and highly organized popular rebellion against what urban street activists call the Whole Damn System (WDS): class rule, racial oppression, patriarchy, empire and ecocide. Regarding the question of which of the two dominant capitalist-imperialist political organizations leftists should want in “power,” the main considerations beyond the matter of which one will do the least immediate harm to people and livable ecology are which one does the most when in office to educate people on the limits of merely electoral politics under the American system and on the need for a real popular movement and politics beneath and beyond the biennial candidate-centered extravaganzas that are sold to us as the only politics that matters.

The dismal dollar Dems get the nod on every count. Acknowledging that doesn’t make you a neoliberal or even a Democrat, fellow workers and citizens. It just makes you an adult.

If you really hate the Democrats, and God knows you should, vote them into office. Make them wear the stink of the WDS and use whatever breathing space you can find with the partial checking and balancing of fascist creep to build an authentic popular opposition and alternative to American Empire and Inequality, Inc.

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Paul Street’s latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)

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