Why I am staying in the Democratic Party

Homepage | Forums | Main Forums | General Discussion | Why I am staying in the Democratic Party

  • Author
  • #307526

    • Total Posts: 5,365

    For most of my adult life, I was an independent and always voted for any third party candidate that wasn’t batshit crazy. That changed in 2003, when I saw a video clip of the Dennis Kucinich speech “Prayer for America.” When he declared for the presidency that year, I eagerly signed up, and what he asked his supporters to do was to join their local Democratic organization and canvass our neighbors. At the time, I wasn’t sure what my precinct was, and went to the wrong legislative district meeting before I got to the right one. I got a voter contact list for my precinct, and headed out.

    Kucinich had baseball-card-sized handouts, with his picture on one side and a list of his ten program priorities on the other. My expectation was that I could talk to people about getting out of Iraq and universal health care. What I found was that very few people cared about his program—they wanted to discuss his picture. I would get asked how old he was, and got comments that he looked pretty young for age 59. That often led to banter about how when he was Mayor of Cleveland at a young age, he kept getting mistaken for the newsboy, and how that turned into an advantage with ageing since he looked like a younger adult even past 60. It came as a complete shock to me that almost no one wanted to discuss policy, given that the Greens and various local socialist parties all operated on the assumption that voters would read the information pamphlet carefully and vote for the best policies.

    I decided that if I was ever going to get any of my neighbors more interested in policy, I’d have to keep contacting them and handing out information, and leave it to them to decide when and whether to get more involved. I’ve been canvassing the same area for 15 years now, and actual voter turnout has been boosted over that time in my precinct. I also get occasional comments like “So you’re the one who’s leaving me all those doorhangers—they’re really helpful.” It’s rare to find more than a third of voters actually home on any given canvass day.

    I also discovered that members of Dem organizations tend to be much more progressive than their representatives. The WA State party platform is easily as progressive as that of the Greens, and those platform items come directly from the membership. I also found that the congressional Progressive Caucus (Kucinich was a member, and at the time, the only Senate member was Bernie Sanders) is the largest congressional caucus. I also checked out overall voting records in 2008, and discovered that there was almost no overlap between Democrats and Republicans. (Of course, that only applies to legislation that actually came up for a vote, and did not consider proposals like single payer and raising the minimum wage that never made it out of committee.) In that sense, both parties are the same in not wanting to buck elite consensus. Nonetheless, I can’t see the point of ignoring legislation that directly benefits people which is supported by Democrats and almost always opposed by Republicans.

    Electoral politics has lots of limitations, but those limitations are almost never addressed by third parties that refuse to talk to non-policy wonk voters. There are of course exceptions, like Socialist Alternative in Seattle, which mobilized 400+ volunteers to canvass voters for Kshama Sawant citywide in 2013. She ran against the only city council member who did not vote for paid sick leave and won narrowly. Two years later, given that in that same year Seattle voted in favor of having seven districts plus two at large members, she had to run again in District 3. That was much easier, as her district was where she had gotten the strongest support two years earlier. It was interesting to note that several Democratic executive board members in the 37th state legislative district displayed Sawant yard signs openly.

    Outside of Seattle, if you want to support progressive candidates, it’s the Democrats or nobody. In 2017, several seriously reactionary candidates ran for the Burien City Council. Burien being a town of 40K or so in southwest King County, whose city council had just passed a sanctuary city resolution 4 to 3. Some of them were supported by a national white supremacist organization. Their four opponents included two Latinos. Though 40% of the local school district is Latino, there has never been a city council member who was. The King County Democrats and the King County Labor Council campaigned for all four. The one incumbent (aided by a truly horrible opponent in addition to name recognition) won easily, and the other three won narrowly. No doubt Socialist Alternative might have wanted to help, but they couldn’t since their voter list (which I helped them design in 2013) stops at the border of Seattle. In fact, no third party has anything remotely resembling a voter database that can be used outside of major cities, and few even care about talking to the voters (by far the majority) who are not already policy wonks.

    And that’s why I am staying a Democrat. Seattle itself has only a third of the population of King County, itself the second largest county after LA County in the country. It has parts of three congressional districts, seventeen state legislative districts, more than 30 cities or towns outside of Seattle, and unincorporated territory with school, sewer and water boards. If you want progressive policies anywhere outside of Seattle, it’s Democrats or nobody.

    Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

  • #307545

    Betty Karlson
    • Total Posts: 438

    Morning Rising with Kristal Ball and Saagar Enjeti


    Voters who vote for the same party in the first two cycles in which they are eligeable to vote, are likely to remain loyal to that party for the rest of their lives.

    Voters who vote differently or irregularly in those first two cycles, are likely to remain fickle supporters of a party for the rest of their lives, if they commit to a party at all.


    The Democratic elite have turned a potential asset (Millennials and Gen-Z) into a huge liability for themsselves.


    I understand your loyalty to the Democratic Party.

    I hope you understand my position.

    • #307852

      • Total Posts: 552

      @bettykarlson writes,

      “Voters who vote differently or irregularly in those first two cycles, are likely to remain fickle supporters of a party for the rest of their lives, if they commit to a party at all.”

      Good to know!

      My first vote, in a presidential election, was in 1992. I turned 21 that year. And I did not vote for the same political party in 1992 and 1996.

      This is interesting.

  • #307549

    • Total Posts: 534

    but progress will only be possible from within the democratic party.

    that probably explains my current attitude of angst and despair.


    suppose howie hawkins does win in november.  how likely is a bipartisan senate to confirm a green epa chief, much less a supreme court justice?

  • #307556

    • Total Posts: 1,187

    And it won’t have any influence on shaping public policies.

    The opinions and personal views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and should never be taken seriously.

  • #307559

    • Total Posts: 790

    From what I see, the Democratic Party has turned into a cult, much of the credit goes to CNN and MSNBC.

    I’ve watched as the Democrats have heated up the Cold War and brought back McCarthyism.

    I give you credit for trying to change the Party but it will be a long uphill battle, which might, or might not be successful.

    In the meantime, I’ll vote my conscience.

  • #307567

    • Total Posts: 788

    Not worth the time or insults from    the party itself.  Change imo comes usually from the outside in the form of pressure.

    Fear not the path of Truth for the lack of People walking on it. - RFK

  • #307570

    • Total Posts: 3,777

    That is how they legislate.  In their own best interests, not the people’s best interest.  And the most progressive Democrats elected still have to get past Pelosi and Schumer, who control committees and decide if a bill will even get to a committee, or to the floor for a vote, and “whipping” votes means “coercing” for votes.  So the Democratic Party would have to change both ownership and their guard dogs at the gates of Congress in order to become progressive, and IMO that is not going to happen.  That Third Way advised New Democrat Coalition has the say in legislation, not progressives.  I do not want to be a member of that party.  There is nothing anyone who comes to my door or calls me on the phone can say to override my dislike of its nature.

    The DNC is the scorpion being given a ride across the river on the voters’ backs now, IMO, and it will sting when it gets to where a yacht will save it from drowning, and we all know it will do that when we give it a ride.

  • #307573

    David the Gnome
    • Total Posts: 2,267

    Generally, I do not consider ones political party relevant to policy anymore.  I dont really care if someone running for office is d or r or whatever.  I care about their actions and their intentions.  As such…

    Well, there are precious few worth voting for.  I will vote for those few, who ever they might be.  The rest of the corporate, establishment bootlicking shits can go to hell.

    As for party registration, I suppose I remain a registered Democrat because I dont give enough of a shit to go change it at this point.  Not like my vote matters anyway.

    Still, even if it is just a matter of principle, I will likely vote overwhelmingly for greens and third parties in any general.  Remaining a registered Democrat for the time being will give me the option to vote for someone like AOC if she runs in 2024, or 2028, or what have you.

  • #307583

    Red Cloud
    • Total Posts: 982

    Not enough to get rid of our cutthroat rigged economic system. We just saw how billionaires are getting even richer during the pandemic. Can you vote that away? Can you vote the pollution makers away? What about our lousy healthcare system? How banks charge so much and you get a few pennies on your savings and then get taxed on top of that. Many of our greatest problems are not on the ballot. Our politics is clearly a toy for super-rich who mainly don’t care. Last I checked over 1/7th of the entire wealth of our planet was HOARDED away. That means stuck in personal vaults. Not invested. Not being used. Not available as loans. They have so much money, they stuff it away like old clothes.

    When that brief ray of sunshine comes in, and the common people have their day at the ballot box, in come the crapitalists to poop all over everything. In Vzla, they saw Texas and Oklahoma oil workers protest the change in government. The US propaganda news failed to call them that, imstead depatriotizing them to Venezuelan oil-workers so it sounds like a popular uprising. Look at Chile. How was that government respected? Look at Bernie! Did they respect him in Texas? HELL NO! They shut down about 500 polling places to make it tough on his base. Same in Wisconsin. California tried to make it really tough for Bernie voters. And what is the message of the Democrats? Run with us and we will skewer you for not being a life-long Democrat. Just vote for us and SHUT THE HELL UP! We got this! And they never do.

    FDR informed of a rich guy overthrow by Smedley Butler himself did NOTHING! I say during times of war you line up those rich bastards, shoot them for treason. Right, Prescott Bush?

    Dems twiddle their thumbs while JRK, MLK Jr, and RFK get killed and our empire is pushed to the right of their politics.

    Reagan dealt with terrorists to make Carter look weak. NO punishment from Clinton.

    Bush cheated to win. Obama does almost nothing to make voting honest.

    And I suppose Trump will never face execution for his crimes against the American people. Trump has scooped the most diseased psyches out of America’s sewers. He has infected millions with his twisted fantasies. He uses Hitler’s playbook on his brain dead followers. And now he tells them to gulp down bleach.

    • #307631

      Ohio Barbarian
      • Total Posts: 12,973

      If voting made a difference, they wouldn’t let us do it. —Mark Twain

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      If Democrats don’t stand for the people, why should people stand for them?--Jim Hightower

  • #307591

    B Calm
    • Total Posts: 803

    has made it clear that if you are left of center you are not allowed to run for president.  They will do anything and everything to defeat the left from obtaining control of the Democratic party.  I gave them one more chance in this year primary and they decided they had to cheat to keep Bernie from winning, fuck em!

  • #307615

    • Total Posts: 1,794

    I think most JPR’ers want an authentic left government. The question we each ask ourselves is how to get there. Do we fight the inauthentic left and the authentic right equally prioritize one as a target of our efforts more than the other?

    History is replete with examples of the authentic right benefiting from from infighting between the authentic and inauthentic left. But none of us are getting any younger and the frustration of being asked over and over to support the inauthentic left wears more than a little thin.

    More power to you on your decision. I will say that the DP is the only major party that even has a progressive wing, even if it is routinely beaten into submission every 4 years. Could that ever change? Sure. It ‘could’. But is that the best way to go in pursuit of a genuine left government?

    National problems (slavery/racism, income inequality, pathetic health care, weak unions) are not solved with more states' rights. Global problems (climate change, migration, trade, war, pandemics) are not solved with more national sovereignty.

    A CEO, an American worker and an immigrant sit at a table with a dozen cookies in front of them. The CEO grabs 11 of them, then leans over and warns the worker, "Watch out for the immigrant. He is trying to get your cookie."

  • #307627

    • Total Posts: 561

    But eversince Clinton and especially with Obama, they have captured the Democratic party too.

    Both parties serve one master, or one class of masters. No one serves We the People. The political parties serve only those who have accumulated, through aggressive lies, deciet and criminal activity, huge amounts of our national wealth. The filthy rich never earned it and they are afraid you are going to want it back.

    So, they capture our 2 party system and loot to their heart’s content. Where will it end? When We The People stand up to them.

  • #307632

    Ohio Barbarian
    • Total Posts: 12,973

    Right now I wouldn’t vote for a Democrat for dogcatcher.

    It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

    If Democrats don’t stand for the people, why should people stand for them?--Jim Hightower

  • #307646

    • Total Posts: 2,515

    Being a member of a political party isn’t like a marriage.   No vows are taken, no oaths of allegience, no secret handshakes.   It’s a just a group of people who generally agree on issues and wish to see some of them enacted.   No records are kept of your votes.

    I’ve been a Democrat since 1966.   I usually vote for Democrats, have never voted for a Republican, but I have voted for 3rd party presidential candidates without regret when the Democratic candidate didn’t suit me.   I owe no politician or party or philosophy my vote.  I am willing to compromise when I think it’s necessary.  I’m not an ideologue, cult member, or dogmatic in my beliefs.

    I’ll vote for Biden in 2020 not because he’s a great candidate but because Trump is such a bad president.




    Tell me, great captain, how do the angels sleep when the devil leaves his porch light on? Tom Waites

  • #307648

    • Total Posts: 627

    Thanks Eridani

    I get what your saying about how the party works. My thoughts are Seattle is not like most places. Having said that I was the vice chair in charge of pco’s in olympia and we had a guy who like you for years walked his precinct and his precinct had amazing turnout. Sadly no matter what we did the other PCO’s would never do this. I was never sure why they ran for the election. My team when I was elected, I thought was amazing they had all this stuff they wanted to get done and change. Within a year it was clear the chair’s only interest was higher office, and this was true with several others. They got nothing done. On top of that you had the old boys who loved playing parliamentarian and would hose up meetings every time. The chair of the Washington state party was a status quo kind of guy and put road blocks up every chance he had. Unlike Seattle we ended up with milk toast, for a city council. Right wingers at county commission. I lasted a year when I realized how horrid obama, cantwell. Murray, smith , heck all were, as I watched them all look the other way at the death of Puget Sound at the destruction of the air ways, road ways, and of course Puget Sound by the US Military I was sickened, and the dems keep voting these shits in.  I watched the die off in Puget sound first hand while fighting the shellfish industry and the Finfish industry while the corporations involved, bought off Inslee, Murray, Cantwell ,Heck, Kelmer and Smith. Not to forget the University of Washington who used a shellfish farmer to write horrific non pier reviewed science.They bought off the Democratic Party with their oyster feed all the while dumping massive amounts of PVPs in the sound sewing up the shorelines so Salmonoids had nowhere to feed on their way to the ocean, going into Eld, Totten ,Hammersly,  inlet in the middle of the night and slaughtering birds. Poisoning sand dollar beds and destroying eel grass. Jay Inslee did nothing! Oh he did start several save Puget sound organizations that had shellfish farmers at every level. He new that there were several agencies dealing with the sound that had shellfish farmers working on the very issue. I watched as everything that made me love puget sound left  or died. I was so tied to the water I had to leave we moved to Oregon.  So yes  you can sometimes make a difference I know what you mean, but in the bigger picture corruption in our system has  gotten worse. We are now seeing how they have no problem watching us die or lose our homes or starve as long as their corporate donors get more and more.

    I will add a side note to my Puget Sound Story   We sued the Army Corp and we won and it looks like we won big!  We were told to work out an agreement the shell fish industry has refused to communicate with us so the judge is pissed and has given us everything including a no more harvesting order after the final decision. He has given them a day for oral arguments and then the decision will be done. We think the industry is going to cry about sanctions and Covid and you should feel sorry for us. I think the judge is way beyond that!


  • #307656

    • Total Posts: 2,966

    You make a good point. The membership is far more progressive than the candidates. This suggests there is sort of a “sleeping” possibility of electing progressive candidates as Democrats. The problem lies with the party leadership, as we saw when we caucused for Bernie in 2016. We gave Bernie a solid victory and they reversed it. The only way I can see to cause a change in leadership is to defeat their quisling candidates in primary elections.

  • #307659

    Fugitive Birdie
    • Total Posts: 236

    Good on you for staying in the Democratic Party.

    Changing either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party is the only way we will rest control from the oligarchy.

    However the only way to do that is to have a credible threat to both parties in the form of a third party.

    It will take a lot to do this because of the artificial divisions the elite have devised to keep us from doing just that.

    • #307893

      • Total Posts: 5,365

      Socialist Alternative was willing to do that, but Seattle is only 1/3 of the population of King  County.   How do you fight racism in the rest of King County without voter contact lists?

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

  • #307662

    • Total Posts: 1,428

    I have been telling quite a few to keep the D, just to vote for primaries.

    I considered moving back and forth from Unaffiliated to being a D, but am just keeping the D since it is such a hassle to let go of it each time.

    I will be voting write-in or 3rd party unless the D in question was worth it.

    In any case, this is so that records show I am still engaged in the process.  Otherwise, if I don’t vote, then I am completely disregarded.

  • #307897

    Snort McDork
    • Total Posts: 3,542

    The Democratic party is beyond reform. Having Bernie run twice and get screwed both times proves that there is no reform of the party. It is corrupt. It is dirty. It has only one goal: to enrich itself and it’s members. Do you remember? It’s a big club and we ain’t in it.

    I'm Snort McDork and I approved this message.

    "I like birdy num-nums"

  • #307912

    • Total Posts: 672

    It’s always been one of the biggest ironies for me.

    “You support the party that laughs at you.”

    I’ve been to a couple of CA Dem Conventions in Sacto…

    And after all the meetings and votes, and all is wrapping up…

    There is usually some sort of party… with food, drink, and music.

    And it was at those events, I noticed “The Swells”, as they used to call them decades ago.

    They’d have a drink in their hand, be ogling the young ladies, laughing at the naive dorks, and totally confident that they had sealed the deal on our votes.

    So I get it all too well.

    Thing is… and I forget who said it (Churchill ???)

    With Democracy… you get the government you deserve.




    • #307944

      Ohio Barbarian
      • Total Posts: 12,973

      Churchill had some good ones, though. The best argument against democracy is a 30 minute conversation with the average man on the street. And Democracy is the worst form of government ever devised by man, except for everything else. 

      Oh, and one of my favorites, You can always trust Americans to do the right thing, after they’ve tried everything else. 

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      If Democrats don’t stand for the people, why should people stand for them?--Jim Hightower

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.