Web Letters | The Nation

Where Elections End and Politics Begins

Why progressives should all vote

Everyone with a progressive agenda ought to go right out and vote for Barack Obama. I am as disappointed as anyone, but I’m not looking at Obama himself here, I’m looking at my agenda for what needs to be done—and I know that Obama did a lot of the items on our list in the last four years and will try to do a lot more on our list in the next four years, while Romney would reverse as much as he could of what has already been accomplished. The agenda is what counts for me, and voting for Obama is the means to that end. I don’t think of Obama as the “least bad” candidate. He’s a politician who can be inspiring, sure, but primarily he’s a means to accomplish some more of the things on our list. So I am feeling that a protest gesture of staying home because I’m unhappy with a lot that Obama did, and didn’t do, in the last four years is nowhere near appropriate. Instead, I hope Obama is re-elected, and then I hope the progressive community will put all the pressure we can on him to do as many of the things on our agenda as possible. It seems to me that the election is not the time to do the protesting. The protesting needs to be done in-between elections, but to do that we need a president in office who can actually be pressured to do progressive things. That is what could build up momentum for a candidate who would do still more after 2016. I’d rather elect the person who will further our agenda to some extent than see the person who will set back our agenda by 100 years get elected. If we want to be goal-oriented, not candidate-oriented, we need to vote.

Edward Thornton

Swarthmore, PA

Nov 1 2012 - 2:29pm

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