In my previous posts, I’ve covered some of the aspects of “basic politics.” Over the past three years, I’ve realized that many of the so-called “Left,” including many media pundits, don’t really seem to grasp basic politics, let alone the more advanced aspects. They’re the equivalent of people trying to explain a game in terms of three-dimensional chess, without knowing the rules of three-dimensional chess, and not recognizing that the game being played is checkers. It may be fascinating to read, but it isn’t going to help you that much. So I thought I’d continue on with some of the reasons for the points in my previous post.
My point #2 was “if you don’t vote, you don’t count.” Now, I’ve seen a number of people elsewhere say that politicians do need to address their concerns in order to get them into the voting booth. After all, they need the votes! How could politicians consider them “unreliable,” or “nice to have, but not necessary?” Here’s how:
I used to belong to an organization that put on a big event every year. It required a lot of organizing to put it on, in terms of arranging for speakers, the venue, the set-up, and everything else. It was our major fundraiser for the year as well. We also had a number of other “social events” throughout the year, like summer picnics, a Christmas party, operating booths at fairs, and so on, besides our regular meetings We had one member who we knew was a member because she was on our membership rolls and paid her dues every year. She’d show up at the big event, circulate around, and leave before the end. That was the only time we ever saw her. She never appeared for anything else we did, and lord knows, she never showed up for any of the work.
Then came the year we had an invitation. We were asked to combine our event with a group of other organizations, to make one big weekend. Honestly? It was a good idea. We didn’t have to worry about the venue, we only had to worry about our particular speakers, and lend a hand with a much bigger group for set-up and breakdown. We’d cut our costs, and have a lot less work. Everyone was in favor, except that member. She showed up at the meeting where we were voting on accepting it, proceeded to spend 20 minutes ranting against it, and threatened to leave the organization if we didn’t keep our separate event. We said we were sorry to hear that, voted to accept the offer, and waved goodbye to her. Why wouldn’t she be listened to? Why the hell should we have? Yes, great she paid her annual dues, but in terms of being a “valued member,” she wasn’t.
That’s the category “not voting” or “not voting regularly” puts you in with a political party or politician. Nice that you’re registered, and hey, nice that you showed up to vote in a Presidential election, but they’re not depending on you. I vote in primaries. I vote in local elections. I vote in off-year elections. I don’t “sit out” an election just because I’m angry at a politician or something (or someone) in the party. No politician knows how I voted, but they know that I voted. Which makes me much more likely to get their attention, because they know that the next time there’s an election or primary, I may not vote for them. But I will be voting. You, on the other hand, by “sitting it out” to “send a message,” simply become yet another occasional voter who probably wouldn’t have shown up anyways.
My last point in the previous post was #6 – You don’t win by losing. I saw a lot of gloating on the part of the Left when Democrats lost the House. Yes, it was going to be “better” for the Party, it was going to make it “purer,” and “more Progressive.” 🙄 The reason for the eye roll? Let me give you Milt Shook’s Lesson #3: Until there are 218 or more progressive districts in this country, ousting “Blue Dogs” is not a source of pride; it’s actually dumb.
Nancy Pelosi was replaced by an orange Boner, and that all committee chairs all went from being progressive Democrats to being right wing Republicans. We went from having a House of Representatives that passed hundreds of relatively progressive bills to one that has repeatedly tried to kill Medicare and damage Social Security.
And do you know WHY this happened? In part, it’s because several dozen “Blue Dogs,” almost all of whom voted with Democrats at least 80% of the time, were replaced by right wing Republicans and teabaggers.
Here’ some more to think about. Remember the “Progressive Caucus?” The members of Congress who were identified as “progressives,” the ones progressives counted on to push their agenda in the House? Here’s why you didn’t win by losing:
Of the 20 standing committees of the House in the 111th Congress, 10 were chaired by members of the CPC. Those chairmen were replaced when the Republicans took control of the House in the 112th Congress. (bolding mine)
In case you’ve forgotten, every piece of legislation introduced has to go through a committee. The committee chair has a lot of power, in determining whether those bills get moved forward, whether they’ll be modified, or whether they’ll be allowed to die. By losing, that was handed over to the Republicans. Which, if you hadn’t noticed, means that there’s an absence of progressive legislation in this session. The old phrase “cutting off your nose to spite your face” is applicable. Yes, there might a “purer” House (doubtful, but for the sake of argument), but it was at the cost of being able to do anything.
The only time a “win by losing” strategy “works,” is if you have those 218 districts locked up for progressives. Then, yes, you can afford to lose the Blue Dogs, as long as you keep control of the House. If you don’t, you lose. In reality, the Progressive Caucus amounts to 77 voting members right now. 35% of the necessary 218. So, no, you couldn’t afford it. Failure to recognize that very simple fact means that you didn’t win anything – you just lost. Celebrating just makes you look dumb.
Failure to learn Politics 101 just makes you failures. Great, fine, dandy, you’ve got ideals. I’ve got news for you: So do the rest of us. The difference is that we understand that “ideals” are not “action,” and “action” means knowing how to do it in the first place – while not shooting ourselves in the foot in the process.