Open Letter to Democrats Who Threaten a Boycott Vote in November

Fellow Democrats:

I’m increasingly disturbed by reports (or perhaps merely polls) that some Democrats will “boycott” the general election, or even vote for John McCain, if their preferred candidate doesn’t win the Democratic nomination.

After nearly 8 long years of the Bush White House, scandals and wars and torture, after the twisting of the meaning of “executive power” and constitutional rights, after the trashing of America’s image to its allies and the world….after all of that, are you seriously ready to vote for “a third Bush term with a different face” simply because your favored candidate ends up not getting the nomination?

If you can really look at the last 8 years, and still decide to throw your vote away or vote for McCain in order to protest not getting your favorite nominee, then shame on you.

As I’ve said previously, both here and to many friends, I’m supporting Barack Obama. Perhaps not surprising, given my demographics. But as I’ve also said, I will happily vote for either Hillary or Barack in the general election. We’re in the middle of a particularly protracted and hard-fought primary battle. And the reason why it’s hard-fought and protracted is that — surprisingly — the Democrats actually fielded two viable candidates this time!

We need to recall that the number of viable candidates for President we typically field is somewhere between ZERO and one. If we’re damned lucky it’s been one per election. In my whole lifetime, it’s often it’s been closer to zero.

So two strong candidates is an embarrassment of riches, and we ought to stop the incendiary language and threats of boycotts. First of all, there’s another six long months for all of us Democrats, regardless of who we support now, to really get to know John McCain and our chosen nominee, whomever it turns out to be. And are you really going to say, right now, that you’re willing to irretrievably throw your vote to McCain, before you know what we’re all going to find out once the general election campaign begins in earnest?

Frankly I don’t buy it. I think you’ll reconsider once the difficulty of this primary season fades into the “swift-boating” and right-wing media blitz to come. I think you’ll come home to the party and support our chosen candidate, whomever it turns out to be. And yes, I know it’s difficult to read my references to “whomever” it turns out to be and not think that I’m simply gloating over Obama’s perceived chances of victory. But I really mean it — whomever our nominee is, has my support, and my vote.

And if some of you choose to make good on your threat and abandon our nominee — then I ask of you one simple thing. Look back at the last 8 years, in detail. Look at the run-up to Iraq, at Abu Ghraib, at Guantanamo Bay, at the torture memos, the attitude to constitutional rights, the Supreme Court nominees, at Valerie Plame and the politicization of intelligence, at the secret energy committee we still don’t know much about….look at the last 8 years as a whole, and know for certain that if you make good on your threat then you’re voting for more of the same, and that when it gets even worse because of all the precedents set by the Bush Administration, that you have only yourself to blame.

But I don’t think you’ll throw your vote away. I think that no matter what happens in the primaries, Democrats on both sides of the nomination fight cannot, and will not, look at the last 8 years and decide to — in effect — vote for more of the same.

That’s why I think it’s going to work out, why the party will remain unified, and why we’ll all rally around whichever candidate soon emerges as the nominee. I hope I’m right.


2 Comments so far. Comments are closed.
  1. John Bostrom,

    Well said. I agree that over the next few months democrats will see how McCain has abandoned his 2000 appeal and show he is the same wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  2. I appreciate you saying this. But I know some hard working people, you know, white, who disagree with you. That’s a much broader way to think about this issue, yes?