The Biden Administration’s recent decisions to send deadly cluster bombs to Ukraine and to appoint despicable imperialist Elliott Abrams to a State Department Commission on Public Diplomacy are the latest examples of how progressives just cannot trust them to do the right thing.
Who is Elliott Abrams? Here is how he was described in an article distributed by the Fellowship of Reconciliation:
“Abrams was a defender in the 1980’s of the Guatemalan Montt government, a regime so brutal that its actions — mass murder, rape, and torture of the indigenous Ixil Mayan people — were later classified as genocide by the United Nations. Over the 12 years of the Reagan/Bush Sr. administrations, under Abrams’ watch, 75,000 Salvadorians lost their lives. . . Asked in 1994 about the U.S.’s record on El Salvador, Abrams called it a ‘fabulous achievement.’”
And cluster bombs? 120 countries have ratified an agreement prohibiting the production, use, stockpiling, and transfer of this weapon. Among those who haven’t signed it are the USA, Russia and Ukraine.
Cluster bombs that explode spray out as many as several hundred so-called “bomblets” over an extensive area. They are explicitly “anti-personnel.” They’re not intended to damage buildings but to kill and maim people. In addition there’s what’s called a “dud rate” as high as 40%, bomblets that don’t explode upon ground contact and which can lie on the ground for as long as decades. These bomblets can blow up when picked up or stepped on. Children who have done this while exploring or playing have been badly injured or killed.
Instead of a continual escalation in the amount and type of weaponry being sent to Ukraine, Biden and his people should acknowledge the reality that the war is stalemated, there is great risk that it could escalate into something much bigger, and they should move to advance a ceasefire and serious negotiations.
These outrageous recent decisions, on top of major problems with the Biden Administration’s climate policies and weaknesses in a number of other areas, will unquestionably have the effect of depressing and demobilizing the turnout of voters next year. They are a boon to Trump or whoever gets the Republican Presidential nomination.
All of this will also likely increase the number of votes the Green Party Presidential candidate will get, whether it’s strong progressive Cornell West or someone else.
There is zero chance that the GP candidate will win, and very little chance he/she/they will get more than a low single-digit percentage of the votes nationally, but it is possible they could be a factor in battleground states where it’s always a close race—Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Hampshire and possibly others.
This is assuming the Green Party does what it has done for every Presidential election it has taken part in since the Ralph Nader/Winona LaDuke campaign of 2000. Every four years they make major efforts to get on the ballot in every state and to campaign for votes in every state. In 2020 they nominated a Black woman, Angela Nicole Walker, to be Vice President from Wisconsin but because of mistakes made in submitting petition signatures to get on the ballot in Wisconsin, they were knocked off. If this hadn’t happened, it is possible, maybe likely, that Biden would have lost in Wisconsin.
There is an alternative for the Green Party, and its leaders know it. For many, many years the idea of a “safe states strategy” has been supported by some GP members. Before I left the GP years ago, I was one of the proponents.
The basic idea is simple. Instead of getting on the ballot and campaigning in battleground states, they should publicly declare that they are not doing that and will instead be focusing their campaign in the states where past voting history can predict whether it will be the Democrat or the Republican who wins. They can campaign hard in New York and California and Mississippi and Kentucky and Maryland and many other states. They can say to progressives in those states, don’t waste your vote, we know who is likely to win in this state; have an impact by voting Green and showing that there is mass support for what it stands for.
The USA’s corporate-dominated, winner-take-all, electoral college electoral system are the primary reason why third parties of either the Left or the Right have had a major problem showing political strength, which is needed if we are serious about substantive progressive change. Those impediments to democracy have to be removed. Until that happens, we need to use tactics that are appropriate for our current reality that both defeat the ultra-rightists and strengthen the independent progressives who must grow in strength in the face of the fascist danger.
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