James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Democratic self-mutilation

Posted by James McPherson on May 20, 2008

I suppose cutting off your nose to spite your face would make it easier to stick your head up your butt. Beyond that, however, I understand the rationale of the Hillary Clinton supporters who say that they will refuse to vote for Obama even less than I understand the conservatives who say they support Hillary over John McCain.

Once the Dems choose a nominee–especially if the loser endorses the winner–probably most of those folks will overcome their hurt or distrust of the their party’s nominee and vote in their own best interest. But not all, of course, as amply demonstrated by Ralph Nader’s assistance in giving us eight years of George Bush.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve voted as an independent in almost every presidential election since my first in 1976. And I agree with what I once heard folk singer/storyteller Utah Phillips say, “Remember, if you vote for the lesser of two evils, you’re still voting for evil.” But on the rare occasions when it appeared that my vote might actually matter (mostly I’ve lived in heavily red states where the outcome was a foregone conclusion), I’ve had enough sense to vote for the person whom I most trusted to be in a position to support my interests.

One thing I do know: Conservatives will revel in the irony if disgruntled women voters give McCain the votes he needs to win and, in their view, finally guarantee the Supreme Court Majority that will overturn Roe v. Wade. Of course much of the reason for the current court majority, as I’ve discussed in more detail elsewhere, is that Republicans who disagree on various things–taxation, immigration, war, abortion, etc.–manage to put aside their differences to vote for one bad nominee after another. As a result, we’ve all lost–but progressives have lost the most. And those who care about women’s rights may be the biggest losers if McCain wins.

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4 Responses to “Democratic self-mutilation”

  1. […] I’ve noted previously, most of the voters who consider themselves to be progressives or liberals likely will […]

  2. […] War veteran who became famous as a folk singer and storyteller (coincidentally, I quoted him in a post just last week). After serving for three years in the military he became a pacifist and a major […]

  3. […] has claimed “Party Unity Means Action.”). PUMAs obviously are wrong and misguided, in my view but passionate. And now they’re getting what many of them want most, some media […]

  4. […] Democratic self-mutilation […]

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