Did you vote yet?
It’s time to cast your ballot as we identify our most desired challengers to Barack Obama for the 2012 presidential campaign!
In case you missed the information earlier this week, this post reiterates the goals of this effort, the strategy we are applying in pursuing those goals, and the process by which we arrived at the list of roughly 120 nominees.
This effort has two main objectives:
(1) To supercharge the founding and growth of a viable third party representing the American Left; and/or
(2) To return the Democratic Party to its historically underpinning ideologies of unremitting support for the working class, dogged regulation of commerce, reluctance to enter into armed conflict abroad, conservation of our environment; and equal opportunity for all.
Strategy and Implementation
Consider the degree to which third parties have been successful up ’til now, and why. The answers to these questions are “not very” and “bad strategy,” respectively. Most efforts have followed the same flawed plan:
(1) Build a movement
(2) Name a candidate
(3) Get trounced
This effort turns that approach on its head, to wit:
(1) Network with other progressives – common people – to identify and rank potential candidates with proven, uncompromising records of activism strongly espousing progressive thought.
(2) Write the platform.
(3) Approach the desired candidates, one at a time, first choice first, second choice second, etc., until one agrees to run.
It seeks to recruit warriors, already hard at work fighting for progressive values, to the national stage in order to bring a progressive party to national prominence. We will do this by explaining the following rationale to each prospective candidate:
Because the Democrats, the defacto “Left” party in this country, have lost their way, we seek to run a TRUE Lefty for the party’s presidential nomination. We believe the Democratic Party needs either to be killed or wholesale inundated by a new party – rendering it, in its current form, obsolete.
Other third-party efforts have failed because they ignore the realities of the electoral system in this country, specifically, that if you are not initially competing head-to-head within one of the two major parties, you WILL be ignored. Even those who have done so and then ran in the election as Independents suffered from the lack of a party identity.
We therefore aim to give the Left that identity – a real, uncompromising voice – by challenging the spineless, utterly captive Democratic Party. Our effort may result in one or both of the above goals, and you’ll notice that getting elected is not one of them at the moment. We will use the electoral process in building a movement; a coalition of all the Lefty parties now at work in this country: Greens, Working Families, Socialists, etc. In short, a “new progressive alliance.”
As the lightbulb over the prospective candidate’s head starts glowing, we’ll lay out the conditions:
(1) Our candidate must run and run hard on a simple, clearly stated progressive platform drawn up by supporters;
(2) They must run as a challenger to the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee (whether that’s Obama or someone else) in the primaries; and
(3) They must vow to run on the new party’s ticket, assuming the attempt to become the Democratic nominee fails, as we wholly expect it will. (If by some Act of God it succeeds, they must agree that we will purge from the party’s administration at the national, state, and local level all refuse to pledge to pursue the progressive platform without compromise.)
Following this strategy will allow us to “supercharge” our membership base, thanks to the discontent and disappointment of those who supported Obama and other Democrats so strongly in 2008, only to be shunned for the next two years.
More important, it will allow for building a much larger base than any Lefty third party now enjoys, much more quickly, thanks to the media attention the effort will garner during the primaries. Our media love open conflict, and challenging a sitting president in his own party’s primary is just that. Conversely, the announcement of yet another run by yet another tiny third party’s candidate will be greeted by the media with, “Oh, really? Good for you. Now where did I put my donut…?”
If, during the campaign, we doggedly indict and attack the Democratic Party establishment for its complicity in pushing the party to the Right for the past 30 years, the media will never tire of our story, because there are so many issues on which the party has failed phenomenally. Each of which we’ll be more than happy to point out. Further, we’re the underdog – something else the media love.
The coverage we receive during the primary season will provide opportunities to capitalize the new party in every state, with people trailing along behind the campaign, explaining the strategy, and gathering signatures (and donations) to help ensure the party gets on the General election ballot.
(Note: Contrary to some of the information out there, so-called “sore loser” laws – which seek to prevent those who lose primaries from running in the General election with a different party – do not apply to presidential elections, according to Richard Winger, one of the country’s leading experts on ballot access. (hat tip: vagreen)
The Nomination Process
The list of prospective candidates being voted on here on was built at MyFDL over the past month or so. jeffroby’s diary on October 23 got it started, and I’ve posted four more since November 5 (see them here, here, here, and here). Much of the FDL community has participated; the linked diaries produced a total of over 580 comments from more than 90 different users.
Vote here by 11:59 p.m. Thursday (Pacific time). The same diary includes instructions for casting your ballot and the full list of eligible nominees.
Thanks for your help and participation, and please keep the discussion going with your thoughts, ideas, and insights on this thread.