Thoughts on “We reject attempts to take over the Democratic Party”

Robbie W.

Thoughts on “We reject attempts to take over the Democratic Party” (if I was more organized I’d have made an amendment removing this statement).

In the vast majority of the country, running as a third party is incredibly difficult. The main obstacle is the spoiler effect. Take a solid democratic district that votes about 60% democrat and 40% republican. If a left 3rd party runs against a mainstream democratic, there are a few possible outcomes. One is that the left candidate does amazingly well and earns something like 55% of the vote and wins. That would require a vast majority of democratic voters abandoning the moderate and voting for the independent, with high new voter turnout. This would be awesome of course. Another possible outcome is that the left candidate does well, very well considering they are a political outsider running in a new, controversial party, and they earn 35% of the vote. They are much more popular than the democrat, who earns only 25% of the vote. This would be a monumental victory for the left! Except unfortunately, that left candidate would actually lose the election to the republican who wins with 40%. Most people realize this is a very likely outcome if they decide to vote for the independent left candidate. So, they make the rational decision to vote democrat because they don’t want the republican to win. So with this in mind, the left candidate will get an insignificant vote share and lose. A disappointment, and a position that is impossible to build on. Even the most charismatic candidate, with the best possible campaign, will likely end up splitting the vote and handing the election to the republican. If that happens, good luck trying to do it again next election. Everyone will abandon the party once they realize the consequences of voting third party. 

This is all very depressing isn’t it? Its completely rigged against us! And yet… 

There is a loophole! The most amazing thing is that the left can run as democrats and avoid all of these hurdles!! This doesn’t mean we have to change our platform, or our politics at all. We just simply run in the democratic primary, win with a simple majority of democratic voters, and then go on to defeat the republican! It’s so much easier. Wow! 

Given that this option exists, I find it hard to understand why anyone would prefer to deal with the terrible odds that running as a third party presents. I get that people don’t like the democratic party. I get that the party establishment can use it’s clout to try and stop their left rivals within the party. But I assure you, dealing with these challenges are a cake-walk compared to the mountain that is trying to run as a third party. 

In fact, running as a democrat really doesn’t mean anything. It really just means you run your race in two sections instead of one: first against the moderate democrat, and second against the republican. The voters get to choose who wins in the democrat party. The Democratic Party could in fact be a left wing party if the left primaries out the establishment. It’s just a silo, a vehicle, an empty shell. The driver can be who we want it to be. 

Ok ok, so actually in two states, California and Washington state, this logic doesn’t apply. We have a different electoral system which doesn’t completely suffocate any third party attempt! So in California the left really could create its own party.

It’s fine for folks to go after the independent party idea in California. Primarying the Democrats may still be a route that many choose in Ca, but if candidates can set up a party and win- all power to them. However, we have to realize it’s not a strategy that will work anywhere else (except Washington state). So we could have a workers party outside the democratic party in parts of Ca and Wa, but inside everywhere else. 

Given this, it seems strange to reject taking over the Democratic Party. Taking over the Democratic Party will need to be the strategy in the vast majority of the country. If we do build an independent party here in Ca, it needs to be one that realizes other states don’t have the opportunity we do, and works with and supports (and perhaps is in fact a part of the same organization as) left candidates who are running within the democratic party. 🥰