Hijacking the Political Process — Just for Fun!

Well, the Democrats passed their spending bill which will fund the Iraq war through August, 2008 — although, don’t bet there won’t be requests for more money.  Contemplate that as you wrestle with your Form 1040.  That’s where your money is going.

Also, despite his threats, don’t bet that Bush won’t sign the bill when it eventually arrives on his desk.  He may not like the timetable, but other than that he gets to escalate the war for most of the rest of his term, and there are loopholes which could keep it going indefinitely. For more details, see
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/03/30/201/

But let’s leave discussion of the unconscionable Democratic dereliction for another time. 

Just for fun — and I’m a firm believer in making politics fun — why not create a little political theater of our own?  The Democrats are clearly thinking it’s still business as usual.  How about throwing a wrench in the works?

Suppose we were all to register or re-register with another party, say, the Green Party, a party with an unambiguous anti-Iraq-War platform.  Most states allow you to change your registration.  In California you can change up to 15 days before the election.
Would the Democrats get the message if they suddenly discovered overnight they had lost 10% of their base?  Vanished.  Phffft! I bet we would get some articles of impeachment moving through committee realfast!

Of course, you could still vote for a Democrat later if you thought it was the prudent thing to do.  Or you could just change your registration back to Democrat, or whatever it was.  But imagine shaking things up like that! 

Watch the pollsters spin.  Watch the pundits sputter. Watch the politicians scramble.  It’s like voting in the 2008 election right now!

Right now, Democrats appear to be turning their backs on all the voters who turned out to  stop the war in Iraq.  But this re-registration strategy could spread like wildfire — if you do a little spreading of your own!  Send it to your own email lists.  Write about it on your blog.  Mention it in conversations. It’s a loophole, one of the few remaining avenues of personal political expression not compromised by money.  It’s a small loophole, but if we run enough of our disaffected Democratic friends through it it will definitely have an effect!

Re-registering is free, it only takes about 5 minutes, it’s satisfying, and it could turn out to be highly entertaining. Do it right now, while you’re thinking about it. California voters can go here, to fill out the form online:
http://www.ss.ca.gov/elections/elections_vr.htm

For more information about this strategy, check out:
http://switch2green.org/

Seriously, we have to let both the Democrats and Republicans know that we have other choices.  (And not-voting is not a choice, since that has no effect on an election’s outcome.)  At some point, Democrats have to learn that they have to do more than just not be Republicans!  This strategy is a painless way to remind them that ultimately they serve at the pleasure of the public.  They seem to have forgotten.

Liam

P.S. I’m interested in knowing how many people re-register, so if you do so, please drop me a line.  Thanks.

2 thoughts on “Hijacking the Political Process — Just for Fun!

  1. One person responded with the concern that re-registering as Green (or whatever, non-Dempublican) would weaken progressive voices in the Democratic Party and prevent voters from influencing who the Democratic candidate is. Below is my response:

    The caucuses and primaries don’t start until January, 2008. The “Hyper-Tuesday” which will include California and New York is February 5, 2008.

    Today is April 8, 2007. The primary is nearly a year away.

    There is plenty of time between now and then to re-register!

    If it seems like voting in the Democratic primary makes sense, I have until January 16, 2008 to decide. In fact, I think it probably *will* make sense to vote in the Democratic primary, for the reasons you mention.

    Re-registering *now* is more about jerking the Democratic leadership around a bit. A way of expressing dissatisfaction with their continued funding of the war.

    Would people re-register back to Democrat? I think the kind of person who would be sophisticated enough (or desperate enough) to adopt this strategy in the first place would still be wise enough in 2008 to re-register.

    Polling in January —

    The Post-ABC poll found that 53 percent of Americans favored setting a deadline for troop withdrawals. Among those who favored a deadline, 24 percent said they would like to see U.S. forces out within six months and 21 percent called for the withdrawals to be completed within a year. The rest of those who supported a timetable said they do not support withdrawing all troops until at least a year from now.

    And that’s *all* Americans, not just Democrats! In California the numbers are even more striking.

    The point is that in continuing funding of the war(s), the Democrats are pursuing a strategy that is strongly opposed by a majority of Americans, an even greater majority of Democrats, and a massive majority of Democrats in California and New York, and other high population, liberal states. But because there is no viable political choice, Dems can get away with that.

    A significant exodus from the Democratic party *right now* might have several consequences —

    • Strengthen more progressive Democratic voices and candidates like Kucinich.
    • Pull regressive ones more to the left.
    • Strengthen influence of whatever party re-registrants choose, e.g. Green.
    • Persuade Dems to take a tougher stance toward Bush and the war.

    How would the DLC react if they lost even, say, 10% of registered Democrats? I’m not sure. They might be sanguine in the belief that those voters would come back by the primary, or the general election. Or, they might panic. Or, they might adjust their behavior to better reflect the wishes of their constituencies. I don’t know. I would be curious to see, though, wouldn’t you?

    I don’t see much of a down side to this strategy, frankly. And there are several possible positive outcomes… including the edification of creating a little political drama.

    The situation in the Middle East will not improve in the next year, from a U.S. elite point of view. It is likely to get worse. Maybe much worse. Popular dissatisfaction with both parties can be predicted to grow commensurately.

    Voters will come to see the Dems as partially responsible for starting and continuing the war. This may be wishful thinking on my part. However, it happens to be true. Currently the Dems are playing as if they only have to be less to blame than Bush. It’s worth remembering that as bad as Bush’s approval rating is, Congress is right down there with him.

    Also, I think it’s a strategy that has a chance of working. We live in a connected age. Suppose we were to put our collective will into this? Persuading friends to switch parties until the primaries. Discussing it on the *radio*, writing about it on our blogs, on other people’s blogs, in letters to the editor. Making Youtube shorts about it. Being persistent. Look how fast things happen on the net!

    If we don’t like the politics of either party, re-registering Green is a way of voting None of the Above — symbolically — and we can do it now, we don’t have to wait for 2008.

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