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Why Greens should vote for Kerry


During my lifetime, the Democratic nominee for President has never received more than 50% of the popular vote. LBJ was the last Democratic nominee to get more than 50% of the popular vote, in 1964. Before that, you have to go back to FDR in 1944. Before FDR, you have to go back to 1876 (and Democrat Samuel Tilden still lost the electoral vote to the Republican).

Democratic candidates for President are rarely popular with a true majority of voters.

As bad as GWB is for the country, most people aren't swarming to support Kerry instead.

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Four years ago I liked Nader and the Green Party a lot. But, despite sporting a Nader bumper sticker on my car, I still voted for Gore, because I lived in a state where Gore needed my help to beat Bush.

Now I live in DC, where Bush won't even break out of single digits; it won't hurt Kerry if I vote Green this time ...

Many progressives are telling their friends and followers to vote for Kerry if they live in a swing state, and for Cobb (the Green) if they live in a safe state. The problem with this strategy is that it keeps Kerry from getting a majority of the popular vote. So even if Kerry wins, he won't have a true mandate for governing the country. He might, like Bush did in 2000, narrowly win the electoral college while losing the popular vote. Even if he wins, Kerry will be forced to deal with moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats to get anything done.

Progressives like to think they are moving the country to the left if they vote their conscience, by voting their hopes instead of their fears. But that strategy makes Democratic candidates move to the right to form winning coalitions, and deprives Democratic candidates of the large majorities necessary to govern effectively. When FDR and LBJ won by large majorities, they moved the country to the left. Clinton didn't win a majority of the popular vote, to survive he had to "triangulate" by stealing issues from the Republicans.

Given the way our system has worked in the past, I think progressives should publicly support Kerry and vote for Kerry if they want to build a majority capable of moving the country in a progressive direction. Forget all this "swing state" crap. Forget your pet stands on your pet issues. Help Kerry to form a governing coalition of the left.


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