Naomi Klein, The Intercept - June 21, 2019
"The very last thing we need is for the two strongest left/progressive candidates and their supporters to tear each other apart for the next eight months."
... Liberals in the U.S. often say the Trump presidency is Not Normal. And yeah, it’s a killer-clown horror show. But the truth is that from most outsider perspectives, there is nothing about U.S. politics that is normal — particularly the interminable length of campaigns. Normal countries have federal elections that consume two, maybe three months of people’s political lives once every four to five years; Canada caps federal campaigns at 50 days, Japan at 12. In the U.S., on the other hand, there’s a total of about nine months in every four-year cycle when politics is not consumed by either a presidential or midterm horserace.
It’s a spectacle that comes at a steep price. The relentless process of picking electoral winners sucks up intellectual energy, media airtime, movement muscle, and boatloads of money that are badly needed elsewhere. Like organizing to stop war with Iran, for instance. Or supporting movements trying to free migrants from Trump’s concentration camps. Or figuring out what a transformative Green New Deal should look like on the ground. Or building international alliances with people in countries facing their own hate-filled authoritarian strongmen.
There’s another reason to resist attempts to turn Sanders vs. Warren into a redux of the 2016 primaries eight months before the first vote is cast. Today’s electoral dynamics are absolutely nothing like 2016. That was a two-way race between two candidates with radically different records and ideas, in which one candidate’s gain really was the other’s loss. A winner-takes-all race like that pretty much always turns into some kind of death match.
These primaries are another species entirely. There is a small army of candidates, with two of the leaders running on platforms so far to the left, they would have been unimaginable for anyone but a protest candidate as recently as 2014. The frontrunner, meanwhile, is eminently beatable (especially if Joe Biden keeps showing us exactly who he is, as he did about six times this week).
All this means that for leftists and progressives, the name of the game is not canceling out each other’s candidates. It’s doing everything possible not to end up with a Wall Street-funded centrist running against a president with the power of incumbency. That means making the case against the idea that candidates positioning themselves as the “safe choice” are in any way safe, whether at the polls or once in office. And it means helping to bring more and more people to one of the genuinely progressive frontrunners. There’s plenty of time to worry about vote-spitting down the road — the task now is to enlarge the number of votes available to be split (or combined).
Because Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was absolutely right when she said on ABC’s “This Week,” “We have a very real risk of losing the presidency to Donald Trump if we don’t have a presidential candidate that’s fighting for true transformational change in lives of working people in the United States.” ...
Read full article at The Intercept