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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Beyond the Bad News of 2012: Getting it Right Next Time

The likelihood that Ron Paul will not be a contender in the general election is not an encouraging prospect. The debates between President Obama and Governor Romney are likely to focus on rhetorical rather than substantive disagreements.  Where there are significant policy differences, neither party will be able to claim a mandate given the nature and rules of the US Senate.

The most likely outcome of this campaign is an Obama victory given the fact that many of Ron Paul’s followers will vote for Gary Johnson or write in Ron Paul.  I would like for that to be encouraging since I voted for Obama and support much of the agenda his rhetoric espouses (at least as we get closer to election time). However, I do not believe that much will change during Obama 2.

If Obama is reelected, 2016 will have a about two dozen candidates to choose from. Surely there will be at least one or two libertarian candidates in the Republican field and a similar number among progressive Democrats. This makes it even less likely that a either a libertarian or a progressive will be nominated since the coalition needed to get close will not be available during the primaries and caucuses.

I would therefore propose that the top progressive Democrat and the top libertarian Republican should get together for an independent run not long after Super Tuesday. 
In anticipation of this trans-partisan ticket several conferences in a variety of locales ought to be convened for the purpose of building a coalition among cultural conservatives, libertarians and progressives. 

I add the first of these three because they are as much victims of corporatism as the other two. Even though they are more theologically disposed to supporting such political sadomasochism, we should not give up hope that cultural conservatives will see the light, that libertarians and progressives threaten their values much less than do corporatists.

Participants in such conferences ought to be encouraged to create and consider legislative proposals which bridge their ideological divides in the most mutually empowering ways. The goal need not be creating a new party or political synthesis (although such an outcome might be very much welcomed).  These conferences ought to aim at composing a coalition platform and recruiting congressional candidates to support it. Before the midterm primaries we ought to agree to a list of candidates to endorse at least at the federal level.

When we compile this list we are likely to find candidates from both major parties, alternate parties and among the growing non-aligned. While such candidates may have good reasons to stay with their current affiliation, they should be encouraged to register to run in the most opportune primary. Additionally voters among the coalition should be encouraged to register to vote for the candidates in their respective districts who endorse the coalition platform. 

What we most want to avoid is running two coalition candidates in the same race. Diluting the vote is a sure way to undermine our cause. Caution should be taken to ferret out posers working in conscious or unconscious concert with establishment parties and campaigns.

It is unlikely that we would get a large number of candidates who would endorse a coalition platform, but where they are found they should receive ample support locally and nationally, taking care to match candidate with districts more likely to go coalition. This may or may not be a swing district. It is more likely that we stand our best chances in districts without an incumbent in the race. A shorter list of candidates also means that resources can be more focused.

Avoiding the typical wedge issues as litmus tests is essential. Whether a candidate is pro life or pro choice should be tertiary in importance, considered mostly for demographic fit. Emphasis should be placed on issues of debt, jobs, war, peace, and civil liberties. 

Here's the basic theme for this coalition to contrast with the duopoly's corporate platform: The corporate establishment believes that war means more jobs and they would be right except that the jobs of war create more costly destruction. Peace frees up money to pay down debt and invest in the infrastructure of a green economy. A green economy is a life giving economy which reduces costs and frees up more money for more debt reduction, savings and spending. 

This message and platform could evolve over time into a new synthesis but that should not be the aim, at least not before we are successful in overthrowing the corporate beast. My guess is we will eventually move forward not to a post-partisan era but toward a multi-partisan mix of competition, cooperation and transitory coalitions.

Making this plan before grieving the current loss may be unrealistic but we must head off the easy and much expected tribal reactions. Corporatism has won this battle; they can only win the war if they keep this coalition from happening. Their ultimate goal is just enough stability to keep those on the edge hopeful, afraid and powerless.

I'd like to try again to bust their agenda if anyone is interested in doing what it takes rather than retreating to our tribal sects.

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