From the Publisher
The Winter Is Over
In a recent CNN/Gallup poll, registered voters were asked whom they would vote for in the fall presidential election. Senator John Kerry led President George W. Bush by 5 percentage points (Kerry 50%, Bush 45%). Voters were then asked who they thought would win the election. Bush led Kerry by 5 percentage points (Bush 53%, Kerry 48%).
If there is one idea we can help plant this spring it is that not only can John Kerry win but that he will win. Even after all of the controversies of the last year, in some parts of this country there still exists the idea that a second Bush presidency is inevitable, that there is no way a “Massachusetts Liberal” can beat a “war-time president”. Of course to believe this you must first believe in the validity of those definitions. To the people who do believe this, all I ask is that you keep on believing. You should be confident in your candidate but I warn you: You will be shocked come November 4 when John Kerry is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States.
John Kerry will win because all Democrats, most Progressives, and enough Independents are united behind one goal: the defeat of George W. Bush. They sense that this country is in a time of great crisis. They see the Bush administration’s plans for this country, plans based on open-ended wars, unsustainable deficits, and reactionary social agendas. John Kerry became the Democratic candidate because he represents the best chance to beat Bush in November. I was overjoyed when I heard those first results come in from Iowa not because I was a Kerry supporter at the time but because people were voting with their heads. They wanted one thing above all others: the defeat of George W. Bush. If we stay united underneath that banner then that is what we shall get. We will be unstoppable.
There is no doubt that Howard Dean was the first one to sound the Democratic call to action. Dr. Dean, his campaign staff, and all of his supporters should be proud of the work they did. They breathed new life into the Democratic Party and relit the fire in its belly. The problem with Dean was that he would proudly tell you that he alone represented “fundamental change in Washington”. After the polls closed in Iowa and New Hampshire it was obvious that most voters do not want fundamental change. They just want somebody who can beat Bush and they see Kerry as the man to do it.
We people who do want fundamental change in this country should not be discouraged by the faltering of the Dean campaign. We must come to terms with the idea that we are a minority in a larger party and we must learn how to work toward our goals within the larger framework of that party. We must accept the fact that this country is currently based on a two-party system. It is us versus them. Yes, parties have come and gone throughout American history, but do we really want to aid in the defeat of the Democratic Party at such a pivotal point in this nation’s history? Do we really want to risk having Republican Party rule for another four years? Look at how much damage they have done already. Progressives in this country have already proven that we can lose an election. In 2000 enough of us voted for Ralph Nader to put some close states like Florida into the Bush column. In 2004 we will prove that we can win an election not for ourselves but for the sake of this great nation.
We will take a page from the religious fundamentalists that have been working within the boundaries of the Republican Party for the last 35 years. People must remember that the Republican Party was traditionally the party of “laissez-faire” and individual rights, not the party of intrusive radical social policies that it is today. The fundamentalists were lured in by Nixon. They found a patron in Reagan. They tried and failed with their own candidates like Pat Robertson and Gary Bauer. It took them years to finally get one of their own in the White House. A third party based in religious fundamentalism would get only slightly more votes than the Green Party did in 2000 but they played within the boundaries of the two-party system and won.
We progressives must do the same. We will. We know the stakes are too great. Can anyone other than Ralph Nader still say that he sees no difference between the Republican and Democratic Parties?
The end of the administration of George W. Bush is inevitable.
It does not matter how much money they raise. We will match them.
It does not matter how many lies they tell about us. We will let the public hear the truth.
It does not matter how many times they hit us. We will hit back even harder.
Their time is done. The winter is over.