It has been nothing if not an interesting three years. In 2009, progressives and Democrats, two often but not always overlapping groups, were excited about a man most of us knew almost nothing about. We elected him in no small part due to his overwhelmingly positive message and his general refusal to play the mean spirited games that both mainstream parties of our nation are usually guilty of.
In the time since then he has been harried by political opponents lacking in any coherent or legitimate concerns. He has compromised to the point of near abandonment of his base and still they pillory him (metaphorically speaking, of course, though I am sure they would love to do so literally.) Many of his allies, myself included, have been disappointed in these compromises.
Some of our disappointment has been short sighted, he did after all run as a centrist candidate. Some of it has been spot on. While I am glad DADT was repealed, it took too long considering he had the support of the most powerful figures in our military and of the general public. He let his SoHHS take a legitimate, safe contraceptive off the shelves for purely political reasons. Regulation on the financial industry has been too slow and until Warren Buffet, one of the few members of that industry capable of long term thinking, spoke up he did not speak out about the disparity in our tax codes.
That said we, as progressives have had wins. He did pursue and oversee the repeal of DADT. He told his AG to not defend the indefensible Defense of Marriage Act. We did get the Consumer Protection Bureau and while we did not get the leader for it we wanted, its very existence is a huge win. He has not been awful for progressive causes, just not the leader he could be on them. Ultimately though, that is not why I am voting for him.
I am voting for him because the most moderate of the Republican hopefuls is so far to the right that he makes Ronald Reagan look like Jimmy Carter. I am voting for him, and likely volunteering on his campaign, because the rest of that group would gladly tear apart this country to destroy anything different or “less” than them. I am voting for him because while he has bowed to corporate interests on multiple occasions during his Presidency, all of the Republican candidates would gleefully hand the shortsighted leaders of plutocracy the keys to the kingdom. Yes I am voting for him because he is the lesser of all evils.
I will not tell my fellow Greens to not vote for their party. You should always vote your conscience and that is never wrong no matter what anyone says about splitting votes. That said, I hope they do consider the last paragraph when they make their decision. I also hope they consider our energy might better be spent winning our local races so we become more familiar to the public.
This is likely to be a contentious race, no matter how close it is. There are people on the far right that, while not as numerous as they would like to think, are very motivated. They are people who view anyone not like them, wealthy, straight, Christian (of a certain stripe of course), and/or white as an infestation that needs to be flushed out of “their” country. Almost all of the candidates vying for the Republican nomination have proven most willing to pander to that group and more than a few are unapologetic members of it. I intend to do my part making sure they do not gain the levers of power needed to victimize the rest of us.