Progressives, Democrats, and others on the Left need to plan their post-election strategy.
1. If Obama loses
If Obama loses, there will be panic and outrage on the left. Many people will claim that the election was stolen. They may be correct. How should the Left react? Will there be protests and other action against voter fraud, as promised by http://nomorestolenelections.org/?
If Obama loses, should the Left blame him? It’s clear that he failed to bring change to Washington, largely because of GOP opposition and because of the inertia of vested interests in the military establishment and elsewhere in D.C. (See “What Obama is up against” for a report on this from 2009.) The system is thoroughly corrupted and broken, and Obama probably couldn’t have pushed for major changes without risking revolt from the military establishment and from moneyed interests.
But there’s no denying that Obama also contributed to his own poor performance. He surrounded himself with the very Wall Street cronies who crashed the economy; he escalated the disastrous, hopeless war in Afghanistan; he expanded the use of drones; he enlarged the police state; he prosecuted only the whistle blowers; he implemented a health care plan designed by the Heritage Institute; he ignored the issue of climate change, and so on.
If Obama loses, will the party move to the Left, where it belongs? Will the corporatists be repudiated?
2. If Obama wins
On the other hand, if Obama wins, how can progressives act to hold him accountable and to prevent him from continuing to act contrary to the ideals of the Democratic Party?
Political parties let their leaders get away with all sorts of crap, especially during election campaigns. During the Bush, Jr. term in office, I’m sure lots of Republicans we’re damn upset at Bush for his warmongering, corruption, and wasteful spending. But they dared not criticize him too strongly, lest they help the Dems. A similar thing happened during Obama’s first term: lots of Dems were pissed at Obama, but they were shushed because the Repugs are even worse. After the election, we’ll be free to criticize Obama again.
Whether Obama wins or loses, what can progressives and Democrats do to prevent a “grand bargain” with the Repugs that would weaken Social Security and Medicare?
Similar questions arise for Washington State politicians. See The Cancer in the Democratic Party