Notes on the Atrocities Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...
Thursday, June 26, 2003
Why you should be backing Kucinch
The most common thing I hear when I urge people to support Kucinich is: "why?--he can't win." (Actually, the first thing is often "Who?" But that's a different story.) Unelectable? Really? Let's review the facts.
Elections in General The polls are all over the place. Kucinich gets anywhere from 1% to 8% in national polls I've seen. Other candidates poll differently as well, depending on how well the constituency knows the candidates. And then when the base is polled, Dean and Kucinich do far better than when the general public is polled (Kucinich finished second in the Move On straw poll). Which is to say, few of the candidates have any real momentum right now. All the talk about "electability" is wildly premature.
And of course, there are the classic example of the upsets. The most recent--and the most relevant--was when Jesse Ventura won a remarkable upset bid in Minnesota. In September of 1998, he was polling at 2.7%. Two months later he won the 3-way election with 37% of the vote. Ross Perot similarly captured the voter's attention in '92, and in the summer was leading Clinton and Bush. Had it not been for his scary paranoia and extremely poor Veep selection, he might well have won the election.
In both cases you had an angry electorate ready for revolutionary change. Sound familiar?
Backing Kucinich now: no risk If everyone who admires Dennis Kucinich's politics starts supporting him and his campaign gets a few million dollars, this talk of "electability" is out the window. Anyone's electable who has the support. In my view, Kucinich is--at this moment--far more electable than Joe Lieberman. Joe's damaged goods. Kucinich is a tabula rasa candidate--the sky's the limit.
If any progressive is ever to be elected in this country, we have to stand up and support him. Choosing to support Kucinich now doesn't mean you can't support Dean later, if he wins the nomination. Kucinich, a Democrat, will support Dean. He's not a Nader spoiler candidate. With 15 months left before the election, we should all be supporting the person we really admire, the person with the best politics.
The "electability" issue is one for the candidate who emerges. At this point, electability is all about having a good, solid base of support. In that regard, Kucinich is a very strong candidate. Go look at Kucinich's platform. If you like it, have some courage, support him. He's a good candidate. He offers a very serious alternative to George W. Bush, and he's a man you can be proud to support. What do you have to lose?