DISCLAIMER: PVI DOES NOT ENDORSE ANY SINGLE CANDIDATE OR PARTY. THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF PVI OR OTHER AUTHORS.
By Jon Green
My friend Chris Laursen argues those of us who vote for Sec. Clinton have abandoned any claim upon calling ourselves progressive. I disagree.
In a different world, Laursen’s support of Dr. Jill Stein might be well-considered, even courageous. But not in our world. Regardless of whether we like it or not, the world in which we find ourselves is a messy place filled with flawed systems and imperfect actors.
By segregating us into black and white groups, Laursen and his fellow travelers would make the perfect the enemy of the good, forsaking the historic opportunity for progressive change we have fought hard to win.
We can spend from now until Election Day – Election Day 2020 – arguing over the best meaning of progressive, but I hope we might agree that progressives stand for, ahem, progress. Supporting Dr. Stein does nothing to progress our politics. In fact, it increases the potential of a Donald Trump presidency, which is anathema to progress. It is, plainly speaking, the regression Laursen decries.
Imperfect critters that we are, the moral arc of history does bend slowly toward progress. Not because of some law of physics, but because people fight at every turn. Because Democrats – sometimes helped along by others such as Sen. Bernie Sanders – have defined progress. Because Democrats have defied forces which would slow our progress, even if sometimes imperfectly.
Often our progress seems halting and insufficient and I do not argue we rest. I do argue the Democratic Party, the party of FDR, JFK, LBJ, Carter, Clinton, Obama and yes now Clinton again, is the best vehicle to continue that progress.
Dr. Stein and the Green Party represent a failed vehicle for change. They promise total victory but cannot deliver a federal legislative seat, or governorship, let alone the presidency. As valuable as their voices are to this contest, they have for years gone not with the half loaf of the possible, but without any bread at all, holding out for everything. And too often their absolutist positions have not only kept them from victory, but progressives fighting under other banners, as well.
Laursen is right that fear is a lousy motivation to vote for Sec. Clinton. I would encourage progressives to vote for her so that we may continue to win, often slowly, frequently frustratingly but nevertheless winning. A vote for Dr. Stein is not only a vote for no progress but a bet against it. That isn’t (merely) scary, it is the observed order of our world. I invite Laursen to join us in it.