MoveOn moves on

April 29th, 2003 | by Andrew Ó Baoill |

I got a mail from Move On the other day calling on members to join their new campaign – an attempt to make sure Bush doesn’t win in 2004. They claim that their 1.3million members can make a difference, and I am confident of their motives.

However the whole endeavour seems a bit strange to me. The first issue that arises is what positive action they are proposing – apart from opposing Bush what are they supporting? This may not be too important a question when opposing a war (though there were some good alternate proposals there) but it is central to an election. Since they want to stop Bush being elected they must push for someone else to be elected.

And given the nature of the US system – primarily first-past-the-post, with the complication of an electoral college – this means pushing for a single strong second candidate. Given US realities this means supporting the Democratic candidate. Problem is: some of the most fervent activists in the anti-war movement don’t vote for the Democrats, even see them as another wing of the ‘Republicrat’ party.

You’re back to the problem from the last election: should a third party candidate run, to build a third party and engender an expectation of a three-way race in the public’s mind? Or should everything be put into defeating the incumbent? Even if the alternative is a war-supporter like Lieberman? I don’t see Move On as the umbrella that will unite its 1.3 million ‘members’ – especially since this seems to include anyone who signed any of their petitions.

It’s all very well talking about encouraging voter registration, but that is a far cry from advocating for certain policies. Move On is searching for a continued role, a way to encourage an active polity, but this is not it.

  1. One Response to “MoveOn moves on”

  2. By Mark on Apr 29, 2003 | Reply

    Well, it is nice that folks are starting to talk about instant run off voting. . . but not soon enough for 2004.

    I have talked with friends about the Green party and it seems that Nader is going to run. Which I think is good.

    The idea I have been kicking around in my head is that we would want to run a “No Bush” campaign though. If 1 week out, or 2 days, whatever. The Nader campaign, in alliance with other 3rd party groups, whatever, or not, come together to see if the Dems can beat Bush. Then we declare that we are voting in alliance with the Dems to beat Bush.

    This is interesting because I think that many people will feel free-er to express different political positions (I believe more progressive) while sticking with the Dems to defeat Bush.

    I really think that 3rd parties could gain a lot of ground with this strategy, this time.

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