Mark Hand at Press Action makes an interesting proposal:
If those of us who have never completely understood the Left’s reflexive attraction to the Democratic Party vow to give the party’s repugnant nominee for president our vote this election season, will the lefty [anybody but Bush contingency] promise that Election 2004 will be the last time they endorse a Democratic nominee and pledge to begin working on Nov. 3 toward building a separate political party with the goal of eventually giving the Republicrats a run for their money?
I voted for Nader in 2000, and I don't regret that at all. Ideally, I think one should always vote for the candidate with whom one most closely agrees - not taking into consideration electoral strategy. Unfortunately, the two major political parties in the United States dominate the electoral process and make sure that there is not an effective alternative. I think this is patently undemocratic. I also, though, feel like I cannot make all my decisions based on some ideal - there are real consequences to be considered, and they're not always obvious. Life is messy and complicated, and I don't have all the answers. So, what's a guy to do? Well, the state that I live in is considered to be solidly in the Bush camp. So, there's a very good chance that no matter for whom I vote, Bush will take all the electoral votes from my state. That's the reality.
I have been supporting the Democratic party this go-round because I decided that I think it's better to have the (albeit probably small) progress in having a Kerry administration rather than a Bush administration. It's very troubling to me to hear Kerry say that he wants to follow in the foreign policy footsteps of John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, but I think the reality is that another four years of not just Bush, but Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, and their ilk would be far worse than four years of a (hopefully) gridlocked government under Kerry.
I think that Hand is absolutely right about one thing - the need for progressives to organize a viable political party that can present a clear alternative to the two dominant parties.
I feel like I'm stuck in one of those morality puzzles:
You are on a footbridge over the train tracks. You know trains and can see that the one approaching the bridge is out of control. On the track under the bridge there are five people; the banks are so steep that they will not be able to get off the track in time. You know that the only way to stop and out-of-control train is to drop a very heavy weight into its path. But the only available, sufficiently heavy weight is a large man wearing a backpack, also watching the train from the footbridge. You can shove the man with the backpack onto the track in the path of the train, killing him; or you can refrain from doing this, letting the five die.
Is it morally permissible for you to shove the man? Yes or No
Questions like this are interesting until you have to face them in real life. So, I tell you what - if you want to start organizing a real progressive political party, give me a call. I'm all for it. In the meantime, I have not been convinced of a better, realistic alternative to a vote for the Democratic party this November.