Spreading the good word
One of the nice things about living in a progressive district is that when an old liberal lion like Waxman retires, the scramble to replace him features a bunch of candidates speaking to progressive issues. Like State Senator Ted Lieu who's running in my own district to replace Henry Waxman:
It's nice to see my concerns addressed. Many of the other candidates are also running ads that speak to the issues in a progressive way. And that, in turn, reinforces those ideas. It's a feedback loop. This is why it's important to support candidates who want to speak in these terms even when they are not going to win. Campaigns are educational opportunities as much as anything and if people never hear a candidate express liberal views or espouse a progressive agenda they have much less chance of ever knowing about them or feeling compelled to leave their house and go to the polls. It may not pay off in the short run, but over the long haul some people's minds may even be changed by it.
The Democratic Party's job is to elect Democrats, period. But the progressive movement has a different goal. They often intersect as they will here in California's 33rd. I'm sure the Party will welcome whichever Democrat wins (and if it's Independent marianne Williamson, I'm sure they'll welcome her too.) But where there is a progressive in a race against a party backed centrist or conservative, progressives have no obligation to back them over someone who hews more closely to their beliefs in primaries, even if the centrist or conservative has a better chance of winning, for all the reasons I just set forth. Unfortunately, for some reason, there are a lot of Democrats who become livid at the idea of anyone running for office in a conservative district who they believe is not "serious" because they espouse the very beliefs that virtually every candidate in my district are running on. It's as if such ideas are never even to be spoken of outside liberals enclaves on the coasts.
I feel just terrible that this makes some people uncomfortable (not), but the truth is that progressive ideas deserve a hearing every place in this country. There are people who believe as I believe all across the nation in all 50 states and while they may not be a majority who can win their district, they have a right to have their voices heard and perhaps persuade a few of their neighbors that the centrist, moderate or right wing worldview are not the only ways to look at the world. Who knows, maybe some day one of these liberal cranks will actually win a seat because of the groundwork that was laid by a few people who decided to run for office so they could talk about progressive ideas.
Anyway, if you think it's worth it to pay a couple of bucks so that progressives around the country can hear the kind of thing that Ted Lieu is proudly running on in my district, then you can throw a couple of bucks the Blue America 14 slate (which includes Lieu, by the way, who I'll be voting for tomorrow.)