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Moving Day - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Feb. 3rd, 2005

07:55 pm - Moving Day

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I propose that we declare this year's Summer Solstice, Tuesday June 21, 2005, to be Moving Day. Whereupon longtime Democrats such as myself, on one day and en masse, move to a party that has the set of values and principles that the Democrat party not only used to stand for, but used to successfully fight for, both on the legislative floor AND in the hearts and minds of the American people.

The full Moving Day blog post summarized very well how I felt when I chose to switch parties from the Democrats to the Greens, 5 years ago.

Current Mood: excitedexcited

Comments:

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From:benchilada
Date:February 3rd, 2005 06:15 pm (UTC)
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I...wish it were that simple, in my mind. The Green party is a bit of a fractured group today. I vote Green when I can, and Democrat when I can. I'm not a member of a party, I'm just a really liberal person.

Besides, this way change can still be enacted in the Democratic Party, ala Howard Dean as Chair...
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 3rd, 2005 06:35 pm (UTC)
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Well it's all about where to place your primary energies and how you choose to identify.

I for instance plan to work for Laurel Prussing, Brandon Bowersox, Ricky Baldwin, and Durl Kruse in the upcoming Urbana elections. They're all Democrats but they're fully in line with what I believe and respect and desire for Urbana government. I have no illusions that these folks will have any ability to "reform" the Democratic party but they're the right people for these jobs.

But that doesn't make me a Democrat. What makes me a Green is that in between the elections I'm working to build a strong third party with a goal of systemic change and grassroots Democracy.

I'm happy to see people working both sides of the equation. Good people who think they can change the Democratic Party for the better have my respect and gratitude. My energies are best spent building the Green Party, it takes work and people and support and money and time and we could use some help from anyone who is fed up with the Democratic Party's pro-corporate cowtowing.

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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 3rd, 2005 07:33 pm (UTC)
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Done.
:)
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From:zorbtrauts
Date:February 3rd, 2005 08:25 pm (UTC)

this is an oversimplification, but...

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What worries me is the possibility of a liberal brain drain.

As more of the intelligent, active, truly liberal Democrats move to the Green Party, the Democrats are increasingly more likely to contnue their confused slide toward the middle...

Yes, this will in some sense improve the stature of the Green Party on a national scale, but the likely result will be a continuation of the current state of Republican domination of federal offices.
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From:fellow_traveler
Date:February 3rd, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC)

Re: this is an oversimplification, but...

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That's the first concern.

The second is: If all Democrats did migrate to the Greens, what's to stop them from dividing up into the same constituency groups and establishing the same coalitions and balances of power, and essentially transforming the Green Party into the Democratic Party of today?
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 3rd, 2005 10:02 pm (UTC)

Re: this is an oversimplification, but...

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It could happen eventually.

Then we'll start a new party.

Every generation needs a revolution and all that...
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 3rd, 2005 10:01 pm (UTC)

Re: this is an oversimplification, but...

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It's all a matter of whether you still believe the Dems can be saved or not. I still believed that in 1996 despite all that had already gone wrong. I've got no argument with the folks who still believe it to be true.

For me this is a multi-front battle. The Dems are still the battleground for the short term, we need to Dems to fight the short term fights because the Greens can't do that yet. But over the next 10-30 years we need to build something different, a movement for systemic change, and that work has to start now. The Democrats are too busy floundering to do that work so that's what we're doing.

I'd love for Democrats and Greens to be able to work in coalition through election reforms (proportional representation, ranked voting, etc). The ball is squarely in the Dems court on that one. They're the ones burning their bridges with Greens by attacking us viciously every time we try to even get on a ballot.

Besides all that, this country has more complex political views than the two parties can represent. I am not a neo-liberal. I do not believe in corporate personhood. I do not believe in free trade. I do not believe in the power of unfettered capitalism or that markets are the best solution to everything. I do not believe in the drug war. I do not believe in the "effective death penalty act". I do not believe in welfare reform. There is no longer a place for me in the Democratic Party. I have not been able to in good conscience support the stated policy positions of Clinton, Gore, Leiberman, or Kerry.

For those people for whom these are not key issues, there's plenty of good stuff that some Dems still stand for. And there's plenty of random individual good Dems that I still support.

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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 3rd, 2005 10:21 pm (UTC)

Re: this is an oversimplification, but...

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As far as liberal brain drain goes, the liberal brains aren't going anywhere. One party or the other they're still going to fight the fights they've been fighting. And ultimately grassroots people power transcends parties. Parties are a piece of the movement but they are not the whole movement.

If they're so brainy, let them figure out which party their brains are best working with...some may conclude that the Green Party is a losing strategic proposition, others may conclude that it is the only long term winnable strategy. Some brains will be right and others will be wrong. Encouraging a reduction in choices out of fear is a bad use of brain power.
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From:erikforperson
Date:February 4th, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC)
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What's lost in this debate over the left is the oft-missed point that the Republican party is a coalition bound to fall apart. There are many on the right who vote Republican because they lean more towards a libertarian point of view, and want nothing to with the evangelical side of things, which is way overblown by the media at this point. There are many more traditional small-government, fiscally conservative Republicans who are uncomfortable with many of Bush's policies. In fact, it's strange to see Bush use a lot of the rhetoric of the small-government side of the party (especially in tax reform, or this Social Security business), yet turn around and spend, spend, spend. And at the rate he continues to cut taxes, there are those on the right who do not like this method to his madness. In other words, the Republican party and the right is not as united as it wants to be, or appears to be in the mainstream media.

For those familiar with political theory - both abstract and historically based - one commonly held axiom is that political parties (and this is true throughout the history of our two-party system) tend to hold stronger when the opposition is stronger. In other words, look at how the left unites in opposition to Bush, despite our many differences and dissatisfactions with the Democratic party. In turn, the right remains solid behind the Republicans in opposition to the Democrats.

What happens if the left falls apart? Let's say current Democrats abandon the party for the Greens, or even more unlikely, the Democrats actually move back to the left to shore their up traditional base?

More than likely, middle-of-the-road voters go to the the Republicans. But the Republican tent is not large enough to serve all newcomers, or even all of its current factions, and eventually the Republicans splinter, especially without a firm opposition on the left. What comes out in the end is very possibly a 3-party system - a lefty party, a right-wing party, and a centrist party. This would be the ideal situation, as then no party could get anything done without concessions to the other.

Not likely, I know, but regardless, the historical lesson is this: all realignments in our history have been voter based. With only one or two exceptions, politicians do not form new parties or dramatically change platforms on their own. Such changes are always reactions to dramatic shifts in voter allegiances. So, if we want change, the only way is with our vote. Hanging on blindly to the Democrats isn't going to bring it around.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 6th, 2005 07:43 pm (UTC)
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Interestingly something like this has apparently happened at the Champaign County Board. Before the recent election the 27 person board was dominated by Democrats 15-12. Greens ran against three of the Democrats which, if we'd all won, would have made the board 12-12-3 and a coalition would have to be formed to create a majority. Of course, none of us won. The Democrats lost one seat elsewhere to make the board 15-13. But in the end, after the Democratic party hemmed and hawed about how dangerous that kind of loss of majority would be...3 Democrats (including my opponent) broke ranks with their party and allied with the Republicans in order to prevent the Chairperson apparent from getting elected.

So now our County Board is essentially a 3 party system even though it only has Democrats and Republicans because of these three rogue Democrats who vote as a bloc.
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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:February 8th, 2005 02:04 pm (UTC)
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I don't understand why Libertarians are associated with Republicans, or why anyone with libertarian leanings would feel strongly about voting Republican*. As a person who agrees with almost every plank of the Libertarian platform, I'm much more drawn to the Greens (or even Democrats).

(*Philosophically, Libertarians should have as much in common with Dems as Reps. One shares economic liberalism, the other social liberalism.)
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 8th, 2005 02:20 pm (UTC)
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Well it's just that traditionally and demographically, the Libertarian Party has drawn more voters from Republicans (e.g. Libertarian candidates tend to do better in predominantly republican precincts) just as the Green Party has drawn more voters from the Democrats. It's annoying to talk in those terms though because Greens draw Libertarians and Republicans and Libertarians draw Democrats and Greens. Greens and Libertarians have very different and novel political philosophies from either the Republicans or Democrats. It's hard to say the Republicans or Democrats really even have a clear political philosophy given that their marketting image, their rhetoric, and their actions are so totally out of sync.

The Greens and Libertarians are both broad parties with appeal to a wide variety of types of people.

So who "should" be drawn to the parties and who has "historically" been drawn to the parties are two different things.
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