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The 'Teach-the-Dems-a-Lesson' Myth
  by Bob Parry


If my e-mail inbox is any indication, many American progressives plan to use the Nov. 2 election as
an opportunity to “teach the Democrats a lesson” by either not voting or casting ballots for third parties,
even if this contributes to the expected Republican (and Tea Party) landslide.

The thinking seems to be that the loss of the congressional majorities will punish the Democrats for
accepting half-measures and compromises on issues from health care and financial reform to job
stimulus and war. The Left’s hope apparently is that the chastened Democrats will then shift toward
more progressive positions and be more assertive.

However, modern American political history tells us that this strategy never works. After the four key
elections in which many progressives abandoned the governing Democrats – in 1968, 1980, 1994 and 2000
 – not only did Republicans take U.S. politics further to the right, but the surviving Democrats tacked
more to the center and grew more timid.

All four elections also were marred by GOP dirty tricks that drew little or no reaction from either the
governing Democrats or the progressives, emboldening the slash-and-burn Republicans to operate in
an ever more audacious style.

Tragically, too, the Left’s sideline-sitting contributed to the unnecessary deaths of millions of people
in wars from Vietnam and Central America to Iraq and Afghanistan. Arguably even worse, U.S. inaction
on global warming – a neglect surely to be continued if Republicans and Tea Partiers are victorious in
Election 2010 – may doom the future of a livable planet.

In other words, the “teach-the-Dems-a-lesson” strategy not only doesn’t work, it’s extremely dangerous.

Bob Parry - when he's not suffering from Hillary Derangement Syndrome, he makes a lot of sense.



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