The Nation casts its vote

In the ongoing should-we-or-shouldn’t-we debate as to voting once again for Barack Obama, The Nation takes stock of the situation and says yes:

Progressive opinions on Barack Obama’s first term are as conflicted as his record. These differences are a sign of a diverse and spirited left, and we welcome continued debate in our pages about the president’s record and policies. But that discussion should not obscure what is at stake in this election. A victory for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in November would validate the reactionary extremists who have captured the Republican Party. It would represent the triumph of social Darwinism, the religious right, corporate power and the big money donors who thrive in a new Gilded Age of inequality. It would strike a devastating blow to progressive values and movements, locking us in rear-guard actions on a range of issues—from the rights of women, minorities, immigrants and LGBT people to the preservation of social insurance programs and a progressive tax structure. Inside the Democratic Party, Obama’s defeat would embolden the Blue Dogs and New Dems, who have greased the party’s slide to the right. Whatever disappointments we have with Obama’s first term—and there are many—progressives have a profound interest in the popular rejection of the Romney/Ryan ticket…

Indeed, this is true for any cause that progressives care about. Republican rule in Washington promises not just the closing of progressive possibilities but the repeal of gains won by the great social movements of the twentieth century. It would mean the entrenchment of the class interests of a tiny, disconnected elite that looks down on the rest of society with barely concealed contempt and has made explicit its aim to shred the social contract and rig the game in its favor, whether through an assault on voting rights, an expansion of the power of big money in politics or by stacking the courts with right-wing extremists.

The threat is clear: we can’t afford a Romney/Ryan victory…

Notice how it’s really more about defeating Romney than supporting Obama. But it looks as if that’s the only good option we’ll have next month: holding our noses and hoping for the best.


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