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Monday, 28 April 2008

American Politics: Why the Continuing Democrat Contest is a Good Thing

People say it's bad. Pick up a newspaper, that says it's bad. turn on a TV, that says it's bad. But seriously folks, when is the last time the mass media said anything even remotely accurate about progressives in America? (I hear crickets chirping).

First of all, why not ask the voters in states with late primaries? I bet they're not unhappy to be making important votes. I bet they're pleased as heck. For years, everybody only cares about New Hampshire. Now, suddenly, somebody is paying attention to them! More democracy is good! Let the late voters have their say.

Secondly, Clinton and Obama are vying for the Democratic vote. If the Democratic nominee were already selected, ze would be vying for the mythical swing voter. Or worse, Republican voters. Instead, the Democratic candidates are forced to talk about issues that actually matter to their party. They have to define themselves in opposition to each other, not just as slightly less-bad Republicans.

There are more Democrats than Republicans in America. If you look at party registration, you can see that. If you go out as a pollster and start asking people, "Are you a Republican or a Democrat?" the gap gets really wide, more than 10%. Most people don't vote. A huge number of eligible voters aren't registered. But, even unregistered, they consider them selves to be Democrats. It's sad. Why don't they vote? Well, in a normal election cycle, their issues are completely ignored in the mad rush for swing voters. Why should they vote if they get offered nothing?

So, suddenly, the left exists. The left's issues exist. The majority of people in America suddenly exist. Clinton and Obama are forced to talk about issues important to the left. And as this drags on, they become associated with their pledges to the left. They can't just suddenly forget about us. We made them address the Pentagon's illegal domestic disinformation campaign to sell the war. Every issues that they address, which McCain ignores, that's an issue that they well might have stayed silent on. And maybe they force him to address it. The political discourse in America is being pulled in a direction which appeals to Democrats.

I hope this goes all the way up to the convention. I hope they have to keep paying attention to the party they represent all the way through it, through November, through two terms in office. Progressive issues matter! Progressive issues are vital to the health of the country and the planet.

Of course, I write all this from a distant land, where I don't get inundated with it. But every time I see the candidates jockeying for progressive votes I smile. And then I change the channel.


Nevermind. Arg. This is why I don't pay attention. And moved across an ocean.

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