Why a Progressive Could Vote for McCain

"If a dedicated Democrat votes Republican in November solely because their favorite Dem candidate did not get the Dem nominee, then that person is not really much of a Democrat."

According to some on-line test I took, I am a left leaning libertarian. I am not, nor have I ever been a registered Democrat. Nor have I ever voted for a republican for president. I have voted for independents and minor party candidates.

I am fed up with direction of this country since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. I give Ronnie credit for devising a strategy that broke off a core democratic constituency and built a coalition that has proved a winner for nearly three decades.

The "Reagan Democrats" are defined by Wikapedia as:

"traditionally Democratic voters, especially white working-class Northerners, …….. [who]….. no longer saw Democrats as champions of their middle-class aspirations, but instead saw them as working primarily for the benefit of others: the very poor, the unemployed, African Americans, and other political pressure groups."

The "Reagan Democrats" are voting for Hillary Clinton in large numbers (60/40). "Clinton cited an Associated Press poll ‘that found how Senator Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me’."

Clinton’s implication is that this constituency will stick with her in November. I am not convinced. If we look at core planks of the democratic party’s platform, this group should be a loyal, unwavering block of democratic voters. They are not. They are fickle and cannot be counted on.

Give the republicans some credit here. They have been very clever in accenting various wedge issues that keep this voting block in play. And make no mistake they will attempt to do it again in 2008. The choice of wedge issues may differ depending on the candidate but the republicans will find a way to instill "fear of the other" and keep this group wavering.

I want to see the Democratic Party govern for decades, not one or two brief presidential terms. I want to see a durable coalition emerge that includes all constituencies that will be served by a progressive, economic agenda. I want majorities in both Houses of Congress and the Presidency. I want Democrats in every statehouse in America.

We may be able to start down this road in 2008 but I am not convinced that we are ready. Two months ago, we were looking at debates focused on issues. We watched candidates discussing war, the economy and health care and some of us noted that we were hearing little disagreement among the candidates. Their differences were small and insignificant relative to the republican positions on the same issues.

Now, over the last few weeks these discussions have been eclipsed by talk of race and gender. We must move past this conversation. We must unite around a common vision of where we want to go and what we need to do to get there.

2008 gives us a Republican coalition that is fractured and in disarray. This is a temporary condition, not a permanent setback. Win or lose, the republicans will regroup, cobble together a coalition of common interest or common fear and return as a dangerous opponent. The progressive movement must be able to beat the republicans when they are strong. We must be able to beat not just a George Bush at his weakest, but the next Ronald Reagan at his best.

A sustainable, winning, progressive coalition requires that at least some portion of the Reagan democrats return to the fold and stay there. They must be unwavering in their commitment to progressive ideals and principles. They must be able to resist the fear based wedge issues that the Rovian Republicans will surely introduce into every election cycle. I inserted the quote from another thread at the beginning of this article for a reason. It asks how someone like me could vote for McCain. If I need to struggle through 4 more years of failed republican policies, several thousand more dead American soldiers in Iraq,  several million foreclosures and bankruptcies and another trillion dollars added to the national debt in order to build a long lasting and durable progressive coalition, so be it.

[On a personal note, I live in Texas, one of the reddest of red states. I voted in the democratic primary and attended the precinct convention. There may be the slimmest of chances that this state is in play in November but I am not inclined to bet on it. ]

Mike Firesmith   Mike Firesmith wrote
on 5/8/2008 8:43:10 PM
I think you've hit the nail on the head here. We ought to vote for who we want, not the party we don't.

Special Interest
writing seeker561
Bookmark and Share

You must log in to rate.
Rating: 10.0/10

Some thoughts that result from watching the democratic primary play out.
A Word from the Writer
not right now
Published Date
5/5/2008 12:00:00 AM
Published In
© 2014 WritingRoom.com, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED