According to a posting on the Single Payer Action (SPA) blog, widely shared by the anti-Sanders “left”, the Sanders successor organization Our Revolution (OR) declined to invite Green Party New York congressional candidate Matt Funicello to a candidate’s forum, citing his “aggressive and divisive” behavior during the campaign.
Funicello claims to be “confused.” But anyone on the receiving end of Funicello’s steady stream of abuse towards Sanders and his supporters will understand if not sympathize with the decision.
More importantly, anyone familiar with the facts would also know that that is not the only reason to deny Funicello’s participation or even the main one.
That has to do with another misleading claim in the piece, namely that Our Revolution’s actions violate its “pledge to support the most progressive candidate in the race – Democrat or not.”
But SPA leaves out a crucial word from OR’s mission-namely that it only supports “viable” progressive candidates.
Funicello, who won 11% of the vote in his previous run, is among the strongest Green Congressional candidates. Even so, the race is between a Republican and a Democrat and Funicello is a sure loser.
Funicello seems to think this doesn’t matter assuming that based on his progressive program he is entitled to OR’s endorsement.
But this is a parade example of what Adolph Reed described in a recent interview as the “‘if they build it then they will come’ understanding of the way politics works.”
As Reed notes, “that’s just not how it happens. . . A lot of people could put together a good program. But what it takes to win elections is having resources and political capacity. The Greens haven’t shown the organizational capacity. They haven’t shown that they have the resources.”
OR recognizes that failed candidacies not only reflect badly on the candidate and the organizations supporting them but also marginalize the issues on which they are based.
And so it demands its candidates bring the table a level of organization and discipline necessary to run competitive races.
They are right and we as a movement should be supporting OR in setting the bar just where it should be.
If 3rd party candidates can’t clear it they need to re-examine their strategy.
In the case of Funicello, it could begin by reconsidering and apologizing for his “aggressive and divisive” attacks on Sanders supporters who might have strongly supported his campaign and may still do so subsequently.
If he does so, and if he sets his sites, first, on a winnable office, Funicello could eventually run a competitive campaign for congress. And he could gain the support of OR which, despite what has been frequently claimed, is in no way on principle opposed to third party candidates.
When they can win.