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Progressives Are Suffering From Stockholm Syndrome. Be Courageous and Unite Behind the Greens

Progressives, it’s been 30 years.  Time to smell the wilted roses. The Democratic Party is just not that into us. Shake off the Stockholm Syndrome, and for the sake of America, unite behind the Green Party and create a viable third party option.

The writing is on the wall. It’s been there for a while now.  If Progressives were starring in a Lifetime Original movie, there would be the inevitable scene with our girlfriends chastising us “Is that a black eye!?” “Oh Honey, that’s not love.” Indeed. It started early in the Obama administration with the roundly detested and frequently abrasive White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emnanual verbally berating “libs” as “fucking retarded”.

Then there are the many betrayals. President Obama enshrined 82% of Bush tax cuts into law, a giveaway to his Wall Street and Corporate donors worth billions.  Let us  also not forget the moral failures. He expanded Bush’s drone murder program, killing thousands of innocent civilians across 7 Muslim nations.  And in contrast to his boldness in wielding state power abroad; domestically, he has been sheepish in using presidential power to provide leadership on progressive answers to poverty. A new study shows it is literally an issue of life and death, noting that as income inequality increases (further spiked under Obama), so does the gap in the lifespans between the rich and poor.

The last straw was an angry and public slap in the face by the Democratic front runner. Rachael Maddow asked Hillary Clinton if she’d be willing to take planks from Senator Sanders platform as a way to bring over his supporters. Secretary Clinton snarled back, “I did not put down conditions before supporting Obama in 2008!”.  To make it more explicit, the New York Times reports that the DNC is ensuring Senator Sanders platform will end with his candidacy.

Mrs. Clinton is well positioned to block any proposals she would not want to defend in a general election … Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, appointed dozens of Clinton supporters and advisers to the three standing committees of the Democratic Party convention. Of 45 potential members submitted by Mr. Sanders, she appointed just three…

To answer Rachel and paraphrase Hillary, “No. Hell no!”.

It behooves Secretary Clinton to dispel herself of the notion that the same dynamics are at play as in 2008. That race was between two centrist democrats that were nearly identical in the public consciousness. Senator Sanders was an independent for over 30 years, only becoming a Democrat a year ago. Also the people he’s pulling into the political process are in large measure not “Democrats” – they’re politically active independents and people that gave up on politics. His popularity among independents has been so meteoric, in open and semi-open primaries Hillary Clinton has consistently gotten mauled.  In essence, the “Great Society” Democrats didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party abandoned them.

Issue after issue, Hillary’s nomination as the face of the party would be an affront politically and morally to progressive ideology. Money in politicsfracking, hawkish militarism, corporatism even after that disastrous Iraq War vote and the failures in Libya; she’s ready to give it another go and deploy troops into the Syrian Civil War.  Fellow lefties, the barn has burned down, and the farm animals have been slaughtered! There is nothing left for us here but dirt and ashes.  Marshall your courage and head for greener pastures.

It’s not like the lesser of two evils has served us well. In 1992 the Democratic party entered a Faustian bargain with Wall Street and corporate America, erroneously believing on the one hand they could take gobs of money and cater to those industries, while rhetorically marketing the image of the party’s former lions: FDR, JFK, LBJ. This has proven to be a farce! Bill Clinton destroyed Glass-Steagall and deregulated Wall Street. Arguably,  this lead to, at the very least it greatly exacerbated, the economic collapse in 2007.  Saddest yet, were it not for the uproar over the Presidential blow job, Clinton would’ve joined hands with Newt Gingrich to cut social security.  Obama also put cutting social security on the table in pursuit of a “grand bargain”. For all the talk of change, Obama kept many of Bush’s onerous policies, including massively expanding domestic surveillance and exceeding his authority in perusing his “War on Terror”.  Neo-liberals disarm opposition to right wing policies under an all too familiar notion of party loyalty. No reason to believe this wouldn’t continue under Hillary.

In a dramatic shift from 2008, Obama abandoned “Hope” with “Terror”, casting Romney as horrifying and weird.  The Clinton campaign will undoubtedly paint a similar, if not more terrifying picture of the buffoonish billionaire. The flaw here is if we as progressives are no longer voting “FOR” candidates, but against their opponents, our clout in the party is nonexistent. Voting out of fear, even (or especially) when justified as ‘the logical choice’, completely detaches the voter from policies of the person receiving those votes. 90% of congressional races are decided by the side with the most money.  Systemically, the candidate is incentivized to move to the right to get corporate donations from industries that would profit from that shift.  It’s cynical, but perfectly true:  under this model, the current model, what a Democratic candidate actually stands for is irrelevant – as a progressive you vote for them because who they’re not.  Not because of who they are.  This marginalized loyalist strategy doesn’t work.

Ironically though, the inspiration for change in Obama’s 2008 campaign was not forgotten.  The disparity between the “hope” that Obama engendered, and the “reality” of incremental change he pursued, is what has given Senator Bernie Sanders political space to catch fire. If Bernie’s falls, and gets carried off on his shield; and the general election is God forbid between Hillary and Trump. I will vote fearlessly “FOR” the same ideals I supported in Bernie Sanders and will pull the lever for Green Party’s candidate, Jill Stein.  As long as there remains only two parties, the DNC is free to take progressives for granted. Either way, I’m done with race to the bottom.