There has been a debate amongst Socialists about running against Democrats in elections. There are even arguments and good stances on debate. But it boils down to this.
Recent surveys and statistics indicate that only 33% of eligible voters turn up at
The polls and vote. The vote is mostly for a two party system represented by the Democrats and Republicans.
These two parties have nothing new to offer and any inkling of Left ideology is gone from the Democrats.
Even when elected, the Democrats failed to maintain there Left position and completely dissipated it for the sake of big dollar votes. In the day, the Democrats used Socialist policy to gain votes and install the New Deal and Great Society programs. Harry Truman undermined workers democracy bills, while Ford and Reagan dismantled the New Deal and Great society programs. The Democrats are not fighting to get them back.
How ever, statistics show that when an Alternate Party individual runs for office, the voter percentage goes up.
33% vote in the United States, while in Europe, Voter turn out is 99%.
The Alternate Party is tainted in the media as a bunch of whacky people with whacked out ideals. Unfortunately this can be true from time to time, but that not always the case.
The ideals of political mavericks can be quite alarming. Let’s look at Ross Perot.
His Reform Party had quite a few good ideas, but when his organization became popular, the Reform Party became incredulous.
But we have something lacking in the United States. That is freedom of expression and ballot suppression.
First, lets explode the myth that Alternate Political Parties can take votes from the popular party and that the next to left will essentially win. There is no proof of this. How ever statistics show that the more parties on the Ballot, the more people are inclined to vote.
In Italy, 10 parties are on the ballot. Conservatives, Liberals, two Socialist Parties, the Greens, and Communists. There are a smattering of independent parties.
Never, ever is it a question of whether any of these parties will steal votes from the other.
In a Democracy, it is expected that three to ten parties will run for office.
It would be quite OK for a Socialist to run against a Democrat since Democrats are not Socialists and have never adapted a Socialist Program.
In Socialism we are trying to put an end to Capitalism and convert society to a Democratic Socialist Government.
We know what the pitfalls are. And we also realize the transformation to Socialism will be very gradual. It took Rome a long time to fall.
If the Socialist Party USA doesn’t run Candidates, in the long run people will ask who we are, and what have we done. We must have something to show for our efforts.
2. What is needed is equal access to the media-publicly funded campaigns and equal access to all media sources. People have no idea who we are or what makes us Socialists. Especially the young. We have to look at the success pasts socialist have had and recapture the magic. We also must state our approach to Socialism as differing from the Socialist Labor and Socialist Workers Party. And now the Green Party, which isn’t Socialist, but contains a Socialist International ideology.
When I am campaigning some people will ask me, “Why is it that I haven’t heard of this Socialism before?”
Our approach is very important to the decision of the voter.
3. Candidates must get the word out. And the word is Public Funding of Elections, Proportional Representation, and Instant Run Off. The two party system isn’t fighting for this.
Proportional Voting is when the public votes according to ranking a candidate they would like to represent them. As 1 vote may have gone to Gore, 2 to McReynolds putting him in Second place, and maybe a third to Bush.
When the votes are tallied, the first choice wins by the most choices, and the second place determines the Alternative.
In Instant Run Off, this only happens during a tie, a second vote is taken two weeks later, the top three are voted for with a first and second choice.
And there is a distinct winner.
4. The next problem is Ballot Access. In many states it takes thousands of signatures to place candidate. In NJ 100 for Congress, 800 for Governor, 800 for President. In all states, a bonnified party should just fill out a notarized affidavit
and register their candidate.
The Socialists Party USA, is a standard bearer of the American Left
But we cannot count our Victories on election turn outs either. When We marched in NYC in the Anti-War Parade, was amazed about how our fellow protesters clamored to march with us, Even though they were not party members. They were joyful and affectionate toward the SPUSA.
I heard about how some folks saw Maggie Phair on LA TV. and some folks Voted for Thomas, and how some youngsters marched with us because they loved our Party and what we represent. The size of membership and vote totals may not be as significant as how many people like us and how many people sympathize, and how many people we can potentially bring into the party. I remember those feelings when I was young.
There is a particular psychology here. If we do not run a candidate, the image is perceived the SPUSA is politically dead. We have to avoid that at all costs. This is a serious matter!
It is even an ego gratifying experience to have people walk up to you on the street and acknowledge your campaign. It almost seems important to people that, even though we will loose by big numbers, that we appear on the ballot. It represents their ideals and hopes.
In reality it is going to take more then elections for a Political Party to be successful. We must also gain strong numbers and start building a living model of our movement. Job Harrison tried that near Los Angeles with his Co-operative Community. One day we should try it on a larger scale perhaps similar to Co-op Atlantic in Canada. People need to be freed and untied from the Machine and Poverty.
As Socialist in any campaign-Symbolically we represent the hopes and dreams of a nation. And we are America’s premiere Democratic Socialist Party. We need to strike that Iron, we need to keep the spark of the movement no matter what.
BREAD AND ROSES!