Progressive challenge: defeat GOP in November elections


Defeating the Republicans in November must be the top priority for all progressives. The pundits tell us incessantly that Democrats will lose seats and possibly control of Congress because usually (but not always) this is what happens to the party in power in midterm elections. The Republicans hope this narrative will help demoralize Democratic voters, but their main message is that President Obama and the Democrats are responsible for the unrelenting economic crisis.

This crisis was caused by the Republicans and the Republicans are doing everything possible to sustain and aggravate it. If they do gain seats in November, we can expect further gridlock in order to set the stage for a return to power in 2012.

Given the fierce resistance the Republicans have mounted to all steps to relieve the crisis, the claim that the Democrats are responsible for the continued high unemployment and despair is nothing but Big Lie propaganda. It is the Republicans, not the Democrats, who have blocked extending unemployment benefits and further stimulus packages like the Brown-Miller jobs bills.

The Republicans justify their sabotage of relief measures by shedding copious crocodile tears over the deficit. But they are the ones responsible for the deficit when they controlled Congress during the Bush administration and bestowed unconscionable tax breaks on the super-rich, massive unfunded outlays for two unnecessary wars and huge unfunded handouts to insurance and drug companies under the so-called Medicare Modernization Act.

Anyone who blames the Democrats for the ongoing crisis or accepts the phony concern about the deficit has fallen victim to cynical Republican Big Lie propaganda.

Unfortunately this includes some on the left who seem more inclined to attack Obama and the Democrats than to build the movement to defeat the ultra-right. That movement depends on electing Democrats, some of whom may in fact be less than inspiring. But only if Democrats are elected will the progressive movement have the time and space to grow. The 30 years of increasingly rightwing governments, beginning with the Reagan administration, were very difficult for labor and all its allies, including the progressive movement.

If the right wing returns to power, the situation will be much worse. The Bush-Cheney administration will be mild in comparison. The rightwing is hell-bent to destroy the current administration and guarantee that nothing like Barack Obama happens again. They will mount an unprecedented attack on the living standards and rights of labor and the American people. The assault on the environment and the military threat to all nations on earth will escalate. Given the blatantly fascist orientation of the corporate-funded Tea Party and their cheerleaders in the media and much of the Republican Party, the dangers inherent in the November elections must be a clarion call to action for all of labor and all democratic and progressive-minded people.

Those who minimize the importance of the elections or, worse, have already accepted defeat, are irresponsibly playing directly into the hands of the enemy. An all out effort is needed to defeat the Republicans in November.

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  • We need to get Obama out of power. This isn't about a republican and democratic battle for power. This is about loosing our freedoms and rights as americans. I don't know about you but I don't want to live in the United States of the Socialist Republic of America. So please, do some more research into Obama and how he believes that socialism will be the answer to all our countries problems. Look into the real reasons as to why he is ignoring his duties and responsabilities to protect our borders so that he can grant amnesty to over a million illegal immagrants to gain voter support. Um does anybody remember something about 6,000,000 people being exterminated because someone came to power by minipulating his people in a time of economic crises? Oh yeah I think his name was HITLER! We must take a stand as Americans and unite against this imposter in the white house who won't even prove one of the prerequesites to being the president. His Birthright?????? WHERE'S THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE??????

    Posted by Anti Fascist, 07/25/2010 6:13am (5 years ago)

  • What a drastic change of opinion...

    •Count this as a comment from one of "those on the left!

    We worked our asses off to elect the Democratic majority two yrs ago, amid great promises of "change" and aid to working & poor people in our nation. It was a time of great joy and hope. At last we, myself included, believed that some things would shift our way. Obama had (directly and personally) promised aid to retirees who'd had their pensions stolen under the Bush regime. The soon to be elected Democrats promised that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would be a priority. A new era of peace and diplomacy was upon us. At least we'd be heard, or so we thought! We could count on some level of shift in the tax structure, from us, to the rich.

    As well, org'd labor promised that "we'd not even take a day off," that we'd see unions put resources and man (& woman) power onto the streets. A new, powerful people's movement, led by labor, was coming into being and we all were welcomed to help build this massive new movement to support the coming anti-corporate shifts.

    I certainly believed! I fought with those "on the left" who didn't. I wrote and organized, lobbied and pressured, talked, then begged and prayed. All to NO avail!

    The promised shift has not occured! EFCA is not even mentioned, single payer is "off the table," taxing the wealthy is just not to be even touched. Hell, with the Dem majority, we cannot even get a badly needed extension in unemployment comp. We who had our pensions stolen still wait, in vain, for the promised help.

    Unfortunately, org'd labor did more, much more, than "take a day off." The top leadership of org'd labor took nearly two years off! There has been NO resources, no aid to bldg a grassroots movement, no real push to tax the rich, shift the burden and put funds into the hands of poor and working folks.

    What we DID get was massive bail-outs of Wall Street financiars, a "jobs" bill that gave billions to contractors, a health care bill so convoluted that it is a centerpiece of the GOP election campaign, one that taxes worker's benefits instead of those that have the wealth. We're still at war, escalating in Afganistan and getting ready for a major attack of retiree benefits (coming, this time, fro the Dems).

    Now, two years later, we hear what; "we must elect Democrats or else........," what, things will continue as they are? As a sports fan, it reminds me of the situation with a bad team that has one good player. While some fans would say, "don't trade him, he's our only good player." To which others reply, "hell, we can lose WITH you, let's get someone new that could help us!"

    WITH the Democratic majority, we've now got the time bomb waiting on us, put in place by President Obama, (Entitlement Commission) set to explode ("bi-partisainly," of course) to raise the Social Security eligibility age and cut benefits. Nowhere to be seen (or heard) is the Obama that knows better, the one that spoke knowingly of the need to raise the cap on Social Security taxes, so the wealthy also pay, in order to "save Social Security!"

    I am not arguing to get on board the "Tea Bag" train, or to vote Republican. (Leave that to the Democratic majority, they've made that argument, far better than the right wing ever could)!

    No, what I am so damned angry about is that we now are trying to build the "Jobs Committees," (i.e. grassroots movements now, at the time that literally everything we do will been looked on as "electioneering" by the public. If this work had been done two years ago, (as promised, and promised, and promised, etc.) we'd be in the catbird seat today!

    As well, had there at least have been the tipping of a cap to labor's issues, at least hearings on EFCA, on pension theft, etc., at least some effort been made to raise taxes on the wealthy and pass a real, live jobs bill to rebuild our nation's deteriorating infrastructure, average folks would feel as though there is a reason to vote. In my entire lifetime of work in the labor movement, I've NEVER encountered anything close to the cynicism, disgust and outright red-hot anger on the part of union workers when I've attempted to discuss the upcoming elections with them.

    I really don't know what to expect from an upcoming GOP victory. Probably things will get worse. But without the real work needed to build the grassroots movement for jobs (& I hope to God it isn't too late now) we can expect little to nothing from the present majority party, as well!

    Posted by bruce bostick, 07/06/2010

    Posted by Alice, 07/19/2010 11:27am (5 years ago)

  • The words "all of labor, all democratic and all progressive-minded people" equals socialism.

    Posted by Eric Orleman, 07/11/2010 8:48pm (5 years ago)

  • In the United States under current conditions no vote is a wasted vote! Had I chosen to vote Green or some other alternative party, it would NOT have been a wasted vote! Ralph Nader did not defeat Gore in 2000, Gore threw in the towel rather than challenge Bush's stealing of the election! When the U.S. Senate was approached for assistance with the obvious voting irregularities in 2000, the Democrats refused to intervene! The only wasted vote was my vote for Gore and the DP!

    And yes I voted for Obama in 2008 out of desperation and disgust for what Bush did to our Constitution, the nation and the world. I have every right to criticize the democratic party and Obama. They have NOT lived up to their promise of Change!

    I have been an activist since the summer of 1965 and I have seen many good as well as many bad things occur in this country. One thing I will not tolerate is someone who differs in opinion from me call me irresponsible! Irresponsibility belongs to the sheep that continue following the misleaders of the DP down a path of betrayal, anger, despair and hopelessness! A third party that commits itself to peace, jobs, equality for all, a clean environment and the principles of the U.S. Constitution can happen. The majority of the electorate does NOT vote simply because they do not see the point with all of the corruption, the lies, the betrayals, etc. A new party committed to the needs of the people will help bring those disenfranchised folks back into the movement!

    There is an old saying in the mental health field that more or less goes like this; "Insanity is defined as repeating the same failed thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome." Depending on either the Democratic or Republican parties is indeed INSANE!

    Posted by Pancho Valdez, 07/07/2010 5:42pm (5 years ago)

  • The "either/or" back-and-forth that has appeared in these comments is depressing. I agree that for the most part the calls for a "third party" are hollow. If we can't get win elections with more progressive Democrats inside Democratic primaries, then we are not going to build any such progressive "third party," since the active base of people who we need to organize and reach are people who are registered Democrats. (Anyone who raises the issue of people who aren't registered voters is being frivolous: people who aren't registered to vote are unregistered because they are depoliticized, not because they are chomping at the bit for change that the two major parties won't bring them.)

    But it is just as frivolous to claim -- or to imply -- that any and all Democrats are worth our time and effort, or to ignore the complexities here. There are some of the Blue Dog Democrats who have been obstructionists, and whose defeat by Republicans in November would not be much of a loss for us (Lincoln, Altmire, etc. -- there are others).

    We do also need to bring independent pressure through mass organizing activity, of course. I'd like to think that that goes without saying. But maybe it doesn't.

    Posted by FD, 07/07/2010 1:28pm (5 years ago)

  • Rick is right. I know that my vote is only one of many tools to advance meaningful change in this country. But it is still an important one. I also know that right now wasting time trying to organized failed third parties almost always only to make me feel better about how I use that one tool is exactly what teabaggers would like to see us do.

    Let's use our vote to block the Republicans and use our voices and feet to make legislative progress.

    Posted by Smarter-than-a-teabagger, 07/07/2010 12:46pm (5 years ago)

  • I think brother nagin should stop and remember history. Was it not the Democratic candidate Al Gore who threw in the towel when it was clear that he, NOT Bush had won the election? Was it not the "liberal" Democrats in the Senate who refused to look into election irregularity in Florida that very same year?

    For eight years of neo-fascism under Bush we kept on hearing; "wait until the DP gains a majority in Congress." They have the majority and still cannot or will not do what is needed to bring relief to the unemployed, those fired for organizing unions, for our precious environment, and now they are whining about losing the 'majority?" So what? It really doesn't matter as one party is just as bought off as the other!

    Nothing changes from the top down! We must organize and demand changes that will benefit ourselves and our families! Both major parties have conducted themselves as streetwalkers for the corporate elite and it has always been at our expense!

    Rick, I am a former DP Precinct chair who has tired of the excuses, the broken promises and the betrayals of the Democratic Party hacks! It is time that progressives and the left organize and form a viable third party to counter the corruption that we have in place now! Continuing to depend on the democrats for justice... makes absolutely NO sense!

    Posted by , 07/07/2010 11:34am (5 years ago)

  • The problem is the two party system. There are no viable alternatives to the Dems and Repubs, except for an occasional local election.

    The only question is which party had you rather have in control. Only because it is the lesser of two evils, I pick the Democrats.

    We know what to expect from the Republicans. They give a rat's ass about the ordinary citizen. Their only concerns are big oil, big banks and big pharmaceuticals. Oh, and the wealthy---let's not leave them out.

    As far as voting out the incumbents---does anyone really think that a new member of Congress can long hold out from the pressures of the special interest groups? The money is too alluring.

    What we really need is a new system of government in which the voice of the people is paramount.

    Posted by Ronald Humphrey, 07/07/2010 5:47am (5 years ago)

  • Another message from "the left" to Mr. Nagin's fear-mongering and insulting electoral ultimatum.

    I plan to go into the voting booth this fall and write-in candidates on my ballot. Can't stand the Republicans and the Democrats are just as bad. Actually worse because they are good at pulling the old bait-and-switch. At least we *know* the Republicans will screw the working and the poor.

    Obama and the Democrats have proven to be liars and tools of the corporate elite. The backroom political and corporate deals, the White House trying to dictate to the voters who they will be allowed to vote for on the November ballot, the sham healthcare law which forces 30+ million into a STILL BROKEN system, no teeth regulatory "reform" that doesn't end to big to fail or the disastrous financial practices that caused the current economic mess, the credit card "reform" law which jacked just about everyone's interest rates to upwards of 30% through no fault of their own, the escalating war in Afghanistan and continued occupation of Iraq, continued foot dragging and stall tactics on repealing DADT, the continued defense in court with impunity of DOMA, the continued offshore drilling going on even in the face of the largest oil disaster in U.S. history. And the list could go on and on.

    Neither the Republicans OR the Democrats deserve to govern. Every last one of them from the Congress to the White House should be thrown out. This country needs a multi-party system instead of the current crippling two-party choice of worse and worser......

    Posted by Forrest Cook, 07/07/2010 1:09am (5 years ago)

  • Now is a time for practical planning for vote mobilization and unity in action with labor and community to build on electorally was completed in Nov 2008.
    As much as possible,not a still shot of a result,but replication of a process that crescendos to that result,to magnify that result.
    There was,moving toward that result almost two seasons cycles ago,a coalition of "democratic foot soldiers"phone banking,door knocking,rallying,encouraging,van pooling,texting,e-mailing,registration of voters,ect.
    Working coalitions of labor,local parties,community groups,interest groups,and the like,directly responding to Democrats or our Party,is not clearly visible.Likewise,our Party directly responding to platforms of Democrats for practical voting unity to defeat the right and ultra right is not clearly present.
    What about the targeted areas of MO,IL,OH,CA and FL as political states and districts in which the right must be challenged and defeated?
    It is maybe too late for grandiose plans and empty speculation as brother Bostick is relating.
    We got the last article and e-mail from the MO/KAN district on the elections and are ready to act in local coalition. The time for our Party's activity and contact with labor and the community is now,to expand the pool of registered voters and get them to the polls,especially in the states listed above,and to share information on what is working to complete this in the respective states and subdivisions.
    Educating voters on the momentous implications of global warming,jobs,jobs,jobs and the BP disaster as they mobilize to vote could make for an interesting mix.
    Stopping corporate tax giveaways,loosening their lobbyists' stranglehold on Washington legislation and stopping BP's irresponsibility to working people and their environment are motivations to vote.
    It is in this effort that the Communist Party is crucial,and critical,not the oftentimes more narrow goals of Democrats and their principles. If the principle of expanding the electorate is used by Communists,working with workers to mobilize the vote,workers will be not only be motivated to vote,but to support the efforts of the CPUSA.
    Unionists and community activists will start to see how and why they both need their express political party to serve the needs of an expanding workers and peoples' party,which the great voter education and registration activist M L K supported,as he supported the oppressed and growing democracy,expanding it BOTH inside and outside the confines of the traditional Democratic Party AND encouraging Communists participation and support of the oppressed,lauding the Communist genius W.E.B. Du Bois: "Our irrational obsessive anti-communism has led us into too many quagmires to be retained as if it were a mode of scientific thinking...Dr. Du Bois' greatest virtue was his committed empathy with all the oppressed and his divine dissatisfaction with all forms of injustice."
    So should our greatest virtue be-"divine dissatisfaction" with all forms of injustice which will show up as forms of discrimination,and denial of full participation of labor, African Americans,Jews,Gentiles,women,all sexual orientations,youth,differently-abled,and more in voting this Nov.
    The Communists have to be known as those who speak for those who have no voice and vote,noting that the vote of all is indispensable to all in democracy for all,this Nov 2010,especially in MO,IL,OH,CA and FL.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 07/07/2010 1:02am (5 years ago)

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