The Real Purpose of a Primary

It’s really tempting to vote for a savior in the Democratic Primary, but part of being a progressive pragmatist comes with knowing that’s not what the primary is for.

The purpose of a primary is not to perfect the Democratic Party. The candidates your chosen candidate is running against in the primary are NOT “the enemy” and they cannot be treated as such. The Democratic Party is not choosing their savior; they are choosing the general who will be best able to lead them into war against the actual enemy.

With a primary, our job as Democratic voters is NOT to choose the candidate most likely to do progressive shit, but rather, to choose the candidate that is most likely to beat the Republican.

Yes, that’s right. If you think the purpose of a Democratic primary vote is to choose the most progressive candidate, you’re not very smart and you don’t have the slightest idea what politics is all about. In the primary next year, we are choosing the standard-bearer who is most likely to beat Trump, or whomever the GOP nominee will be after Trump resigns in disgrace.

This is the mistake most “progressives” made in 2016, and it was a key to leaving us with Donald Trump in the White House.

My chosen candidate in 2016 was Martin O’Malley. Early on, it was clear that he had no chance, but at no time did I ever trash Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. Even when I chose Hillary Clinton as the person most likely to beat the GOP, I didn’t trash Bernie. I would have happily voted for whoever won the nomination. That’s because the two parties are decidedly not “the same.” They are nothing alike and the current version of the Republican Party has done enough damage over the past generation, and they should not be allowed near the controls of government ever again.

You can yell and scream and insist the Democrats are “corporatist” and are just as bad for the country as the GOP. But it is a simple fact that you can’t back that contention up with any evidence. Democrats passed the ACA, and the GOP continually has tried to kill it. They have also spent the better part of a century try8ing to destroy every part of the New Deal, they keep trying to damage Social Security and Medicare and there is no government function they haven’t tried to privatize, so their biggest supporters can make even more money.

Then, there is the practical matter of it. It’s hard to think of a recession or depression in the last century that hasn’t been caused by Republican policies, and that includes the Great Depression and the Great Recession, as well as the very deep Reagan Recession. And while Republicans love to bitch about deficits and debt, virtually all of the current National Debt was caused by Republican policies.

Republicans cannot govern, period. Democrats are decidedly imperfect, but they are not the enemy of the people. The Democratic Party is still the “Party of the People,” as evidenced by their base, which consists of People of Color, immigrants, women, LGBT and virtually everyone except straight white people. Therefore, when you whine and cry that Democrats are NPT “the Party of the People,” you are essentially complaining because they’re not “the Party of the WHITE People.” And that should embarrass you.

Don’t be embarrassed. Embrace and support the Democratic Party. It’s the only choice for an actual progressive.

Also published on Medium.


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