Our Revolution to Left: No More Beautiful Losers

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.

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5 thoughts on “Our Revolution to Left: No More Beautiful Losers”

  1. If a vote for Stein is somehow determined by Democrats to be stealing a vote from Hillary, the assumption must be that there is a common ground between Stein and Hillary that would result in a split vote.

    A vote for Hillary in a state where she is sure to lose is a wasted vote since it has no effect on the outcome of the election.

    So if Hillary would campaign for Stein in states where Hillary is sure to lose and Stein would campaign for Hillary in swing states to ensure a Hillary win over Trump, then both would stand to win something from the participation of each other in a joint move to the left.

    A CBC broadcast claimed that this worked in Canada where two liberal parties, where instead of splitting the liberal vote to the advantage of the major conservative party, the liberal parties coordinated to defeat the major conservative party.

    If Hillary did coordinate with Stein to ensure a more certain defeat of Trump, she would demonstrate that she considers a candidate to the left, and a move to the left, is a lesser evil than a possible Trump win.

    If Hillary did not cooperate with Stein she would demonstrate that her real interest is in consolidating the power of Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans to defeat Trump in a move to the right.

    In other words, Hillary will be in a position to choose a rightward move to defeat Trump with the support of anti-Trump Republican votes or a leftward move to defeat Trump with the support of Green Party votes.

    In a close election Hillary must decide from her perspective whether Trump or Stein is the lesser evil.

    If Sanders could still become the Green Party candidate and coordinate with Hillary in the way proposed here, Sanders would not go down, as he fears, as the “Ralph Nader of 2016”, but as making the decisive move in the defeat of Trump.

    Sanders has already subordinated himself to Hillary so this would not be a stretch, and would also empower the movement of his supporters.

    1. Of course Hillary and the elite constituency she represents regard the right wing politics represented by Trump as the lesser evil compared to the greater evil of a serious left wing insurgency-namely that of Sanders (not Stein, since the Green Party is not serious for obvious reasons). Any analysis which doesn’t take this for granted is hopelessly naive and useless as a foundation for a political strategy.

      1. This Electoral College election system has been gamed by the oligarchy against democracy from its very inception.

        My proposal is a means for voters to game the gamed system in return, without inadvertently contributing to a result grossly contrary to their interests.

        It is in the interest of the State to appear to exercise its control over the people without direct violence, which would illegitimize its unwarranted status as a democracy.

        I believe references to this legitimization can be found in Chomsky and Herman’s “Manufacturing Consent”.

  2. Since neither party of the duopoly will campaign in any state except where the polls are so even that they present as swing states, all votes for a sure loser in those states are wasted votes. It doesn’t matter if Hillary loses by one vote or by a million votes, she will receive absolutely zero Electoral College votes from that state.

    For example, if a state is given up as a lost battle for Hillary with Trump at 60% and Hillary at 40%, then all votes for Hillary are wasted votes because they have absolutely no impact on the number of Electoral College votes Hillary receives because Electoral College votes are allocated by winner-take-all rules.

    If millions of votes that would otherwise be wasted in voting for Hillary were instead given to the Green Party, the Green Party would become viable by exceeding the 5% vote total to be recognized as a national party in all states.

    Bernie Sanders could campaign for Hillary Clinton in swing states as he has pledged to do from the very beginning and still campaign for the Green Party in states where votes for Hillary would otherwise count for absolutely nothing.

    This would further strengthen the electoral power of the very voters that supported Sanders in the primary without splitting the vote and ensuring a Trump win.

    1. There is absolutely no evidence that “by exceeding the 5% vote total to be recognized as a national party in all states . . . the Green Party would become viable.” Rather they may very well use the federal financing for continuing to attempt failed presidential runs in each subsequent quadrennial electoral extravaganza doing nothing to develop themselves as a national party. Furthermore, based on the GP’s track record, there is good reason to believe they would sign off on the global neoliberal consensus, which is what they have done everywhere they have been in positions of influence-e.g. the Green warmonger Joschka Fischer and the French austerity maven Daniel Cohn-Bendit. The delusions about the Greens and their potential to play anything other than an insignificant role is an obstacle to having a serious discussion on these questions.

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