24 October 2006
I commend and thank C.A.Conrad for raising awareness of the truth about the exclusion from the ballot of Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli by the corrupt, partisan antagonists to democracy in Pennsylvania’s court system. Strategic voting can be justified; strategic obfuscation cannot be.
Bob Casey has opened a 13-point lead in the Pennsylvania primary, which means casting a write-in vote for Carl Romanelli is a responsible vote of no confidence in the political elite that brought this decision against the only candidate of the top three that does not support a war overwhelmingly opposed by the public. My previous views on Casey’s brand of populism and my faith in computer balloting can be found here.
On the question of voting for the Democrats nationally this year, I think of how in 1965 Jean-Paul Sartre’s critiques of François Mitterand were at their most acerbic, but on the eve of the election, faced with the De Gaulle’s scaling back of union rights and social spending to pay for nuclear weapons, he issued the statement:
"To give Mitterand your vote is not to vote for him but against personal power and against the drift of socialists to the right."
We can disagree over whether the Democratic Party is devolving or evolving at a snail’s pace, as this legal episode is an apt illustration of the party’s true commitment to electoral representation. However, the Democrats have managed to evolve to the point where they allow their nominees to be decided by public ballot in which each party voter gets to cast one vote as a free and equal citizen. Gone are the days when nominees were decided in smoke filled rooms without the possibility of electoral challenge, and conventions when the delegates intervened on behalf of the people to decide the candidate during multiple ballots.
The Green Party or whatever liberal party is to come to the fore must have as their goal the placement of their primary on the ballot across the nation alongside the primaries of the Democrats and the Republicans. Creating a political debate which deals with the facts rather than the mythologies of the Washington elite and Madison Avenue depends on it. Allowing the people of each region of the nation to have a formative, participatory function in determining what populist ideology best represents them is essential to creating a liberal party with the structure suited to representing the populist majority that always has existed and always will exist in our land.
I am skeptical about whether the Green Party can wrest itself from the ambitions of its own bureaucracy to allow this to happen. The repugnant, self-destructive episode in 2004 when party functionaries who use the party to promote their non-profits and law firms that receive donations and clients from Democratic benefactors smeared Ralph Nader and manipulated a byzantine balloting system to elect a ticket that purposefully inflicted damage to the party is a symptom of that which obstructs it from representing the populist majority that exists in the grass roots.
In addition to public primaries, a liberal party should have a blueprint for making one of the two parties obsolete (the corruption and deficit spending of the Republicans suggest they no longer serve a representative function for the polity) in order to eliminate the problem of splitting the vote amongst the progressive majority. The Green Party grew initially in the parliamentary system in Bremen, Germany and a liberal party in America must, to serve a benign function, transform a two party system that was not intended by the constitutional framers. For this to happen, no compromise or acquiescence to cynical strategic motives is advisable once the blueprint for representing the majority is in place.