Friday, May 9, 2008

What We Can Do to End the Race for the Democratic Nomination

by Norman Markowitz

I thought that I would respond through the blog to a reader's
thoughtful comments on my last blog article, suggesting that Clinton
was at checkmate. Here in New Jersey, where virtually the entire
Democratic organization backed Clinton and she did win the primary, I
and others are calling our congresspeoples' offices, our Senators'
offices, and the Governor's office and calling upon them to change
their endorsements now and endorse Senator Obama in the name of party
unity and the necessity of preventing a bitter battle at the
convention which will only aid McCain and the Republicans. We are
also trying to access various Superdelegates(many of whom are party
leaders) and tell them the same thing.

From press reports, it is becoming clear that after Clinton's
failures in North Carolina and Indiana, Democratic party leaders who
previously endorsed her are beginning to quietly withdraw her support.
The mass media, which has been overwhelmingly for her in its
coverage, is also beginning to say that her situation is impossible
and becoming more critical of the campaign that she has and is running.
Our readers who support the Obama campaign should begin to call their
Democratic representatives, Senators, Governors, Clinton supporters
and uncommitted, and call upon them to endorse Obama now. McCain, in
his recent outrageous attack on Obama on Hamas and support for Israel,
knows that Obama will be his opponent in the fall. All that Clinton
can accomplish through her campaign now is to join with McCain in
attacking Obama

As for Michigan and Florida, there is no conceivable way that she can
get those delegates except through a coup at the Democratic
convention. No political organization can permit or does permit
chapters of the organization to openly violate the organization's
rules for their own purposes and then be rewarded by getting what they
wanted by their violations. The state Democratic parties in Florida
and Michigan brought this on themselves.

As a U.S. political historian, I know that convention battles in the
past over disputed delegations have hurt parties(in 1912, it led
Theodore Roosevelt and his supporters to walk out of the convention
and form a third party, the Progressive party) Clinton won't do that,
but the talk that I have been hearing from her supporters here, that
she would stage some kind of picket and protest of her unseated
Florida and Michigan delegates outside the convention, is exactly the
kind of scenario which all Democratic Party leaders, including her
supporters who want to win the election in the fall, should be worried

So, I do see Clinton in reality at checkmate, even though she can
refuse to concede that and, unlike chess, continue to move in ways
that hurt Obama, to in effect try to take him down with her. She has
no moves left that can win her the nomination and this is point that
we should be making to those who endorsed her and those who remain
Norman Markowitz


Harold said...

My how things have changed in a week's time! It's beginning to look like Hillary's campaign is in the final throes... even some of her supporters are calling for her to withdraw. She's become much more conciliatory, perhaps with her eye on the VP nomination prize. Besides all that, her campaign has had to borrow money form her personal fortune again (and she calls Obama the elitist!).

Things are looking up, Norman. At the same time though, all of your suggestions here are good ones that we should all be engaged in.

Anonymous said...

Calm down! Both Obama and Clinton are Trojan Horses. Build your own movement. Don't expect a Democrat to do it for you.

wilfrido said...

The working class is turning out for Clinton in big majorities: how can we try to abort her with this fact in play?

Harold said...

The point, anonymous, is that Obama is providing more fertile ground for the movement to be built upon.

stimbox said...

What can we do to get Comrade Markowitz's articles formatted correctly? ;)

Anonymous said...

I am pretty calm and I have been speaking and writing and working in the streets for socialism for over thirty years. If I sound agitated, it is because I am not a left cynic who sees this moment in history as just another election between two capitalist politicians who will do the same thing and continue to muddle through. Whichever way it goes, I don't see how we can avoid an intensification of the general global crisis, no matter who wins, but we meaning the left and those sections of it which are committed to socialism will have serious opportunities to strengthen labor, reduce real poverty, and both reverse the rightist course of the last thirty years and also begin to enact social legislation that is sixty years overdue in the U.S.. if Obama wins. I may be wrong but those are the reasons why I think it is essential to support Obama now and through the campaign.
Movements are built dialectically. The only chance that we have to develop socialist policies in the U.S. is to strengthen the labor movement and the mass organizations that fight to strengthen the working class, and in the process, push the Democrats to the left. Then we will be in a better position to mobilize working people because they will be in a better position with greater confidence in themselves.
Although we have been coopted in the past, we have also been more likely to be isolated because of our fear of cooption.
Also, I don't expect a "Democrat" to build our movement, but I know that our movement cannot be built with alliances with and to the center, without developing a presence among the millions of people who William Appleman Williams called "socialists of the heart," those who hate the economic and social inequalities that the live under, have no faith whatsoever in the capitalist market place, and want to enact economic and social policies that are called "socialist" or "social democratic in much of the world and "liberal" here. Most of those people either have dropped out of politics or support the Democrats(actually, they are among the Democrats most loyal supporters. Acting like religious sectarians and preaching to those people that the Democrats are corrupt misleaders has never gotten us anywhere. Dropping out of electoral politics hasn't gotten us anywhere either. Keeping our heads down and supporting any Democrat doesn't get anywhere either. Supporting someone who really has a chance to make a huge breakthrough against both a generation of far rightwing reaction and a history of institutional and ideological racism against someone whose experience in and through the Clinton administration was to appease and collaborate with reaction and whose campaign has had a clear racist subtext is the only policy that makes any sense for anyone on the left.
Also, anon, the last person who injected the term "trojan horse" in U.S. politics was Martin Dies, founder of what became HUAC, and he of course used it against the CPUSA, who he called a trojan horse of the devils who lived in the Kremlin.
Norman Markowitz

Harold said...

Wifrido, what you bring up is a fallacy, a myth being perpetrated by the corporate media and Clinton's campaign. Large numbers of working class voters have gathered around Obama's campaign and are working very hard for him because they want their voices to continue to be heard after the election; they know that they would simply be pawns in Hillary's little bourgeois game, never to be heard from again, were she to be elected.