Due Diligence and Three-Candidate Monte

11:44 pm in Uncategorized by Sebastos

After Super Tuesday (February 5th) in 2008, there were three Presidential candidates who had a serious chance of winning: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain. Who should progressives have supported? Clinton, the feminist and healthcare advocate? Obama, the community organizer and inspirational orator? Or even, thinking outside the Democratic box, the “maverick” Republican, McCain?

Which card should you pick in a game of three-card monte?

If you have to ask a question like that, you’ve already lost.

It is now painfully clear to many progressives that once the three front-runners had emerged, there were no good choices available in the 2008 Presidential race. Responses to that insight (other than sheer demoralization) have tended to focus on the stance progressives should take toward the Democratic Party. Some have favored efforts to reform it from within; others have advocated third-party challenges to replace it. My recent post “A prosthetic spine for the Democratic Party” proposes a novel way of combining these apparently incompatible options.

But the fundamental mistake in progressive politics, which allowed the corporate world to deal us a game of three-candidate monte, is only incidentally related to the Democratic Party. We are waiting until after campaigns have already achieved traction – and often, as in the case of the Obama campaign, until after we have already committed enormous financial and other resources – to do our homework on the character and likely behavior of the candidates.

Due diligence must come first. We must be proactive, not reactive, in candidate selection. Progressives have to find a way to drive the candidate-selection process from the very beginning, and take it out of the hands of the insiders, or there will not be any good choices available. Read the rest of this entry →