A Time to Vote
Our Open Letter to Progressives:
Vote Cobb Here and Kerry There
There is no greater political imperative this year than to retire the Bush regime, one of the most dangerous and extremist in U.S. history. As people dedicated to peace, economic justice, equality, sustainability and constitutional freedoms, we are committed to defeating Bush.
The only candidate who can win instead of Bush in November is John Kerry. We want Kerry to replace Bush, because a Kerry administration would be less dangerous in many crucial areas, including militarism, civil liberties, civil rights, judicial appointments, reproductive rights and environmental protection.
But while helping Kerry-Edwards defeat Bush-Cheney, we don't want to endorse Kerry positions that are an insult to various causes we support. We are involved in the movements for global justice and peace that have burgeoned in recent years. Indeed, we want to communicate to Kerry and the world that we oppose many of his policies, including some that are barely distinguishable from Bush policies.
Accordingly, we encourage progressives to organize and vote strategically this year.
In the dozen or so "swing states," where but a few percentage points separate Bush and Kerry, we encourage activists to mobilize voters behind John Kerry.
In "safe states" (including Washington, D.C., New York, California, and 35 others), which are so overwhelmingly pro-Bush or pro-Kerry that we can be confident of who will win in November, we encourage activists to mobilize voters behind Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb.
In all states, we encourage activists to engage in election-year vigilance to ensure that all votes count, especially those of racial minorities. And we encourage everyone to advocate for Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) and any other reform that will enable voters in future elections to support the candidate they most believe in without risk of electing the candidate they most oppose.
David Cobb has earned our endorsement in safe states by deftly steering the Green Party toward a nuanced strategy dedicated to ousting Bush, while seeking to grow a grassroots party that stands unapologetically for peace, racial and social justice, economic democracy, civil liberties and genuine ecology. The Green Party gives political voice to movements that challenge Bush's Iraq policy and resist trade arrangements that trample on workers' rights, human rights and the environment.
Despite a Democratic Party base that is increasingly progressive, anti-NAFTA/WTO and anti-war, John Kerry has lost the strong, brave voice he had as a young man who challenged the Vietnam War and now offers a faint echo of too many Bush policies. From Iraq and military spending, to the global trade regime and corporate coddling (e.g. Kerry's plan to reduce corporate taxes), Kerry is exceptionally disappointing.
We are also disappointed that, four years after the Florida disaster, Kerry and leading Democrats (with a few exceptions, such as Dennis Kucinich, Jesse Jackson Jr., and Howard Dean) do not promote common-sense electoral reforms, like Instant Runoff Voting that would once and for all eliminate the "spoiler" risk that deforms U.S. elections.
So, with our electoral system yet to be fixed, we are left this year with the improvised solution of endorsing one candidate in some states and another candidate in other states. This dual-endorsement solution is preferable to endorsing either a candidate with important positions we oppose or a solidly progressive candidate whose votes in swing states could help Bush get four more years.
In this crucial election year, we encourage progressives to work tirelessly to vote Bush out -- as we build grassroots networks and coalitions to hold the Kerry administration accountable to the progressive values and policies shared by most Americans.
(All signers have endorsed this statement as individuals, not as representatives of any groups. For informational purposes alone, we list their affiliations.)
Medea Benjamin (Code Pink, Global Exchange); Peter Coyote (actor); John Eder (Maine state legislator/Green Party); Daniel Ellsberg (Pentagon Papers whistleblower); Angela Gilliam (professor/feminist scholar); Kevin Gray (Jackson '88/Sharpton '04); Tom Hayden (former California State Senator/activist); Elizabeth Horton Sheff (Hartford City Council/Green Party); Rabbi Michael Lerner (Tikkun); Robert McChesney (communications professor/author); Norman Solomon (author/columnist).
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