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Do Democrats Have Any Right to Expect Progressive Support?

{ Submitted by wesler1 on Sun, 2014-11-09 18:00 }

A Democrat named Jack posted a criticism of retiree activist Fred Klonsky for sitting out the recent Illinois gubernatorial election. Klonsky, Jack charged, had voted for Bruce Rauner because he hadn't voted for Quinn. Klonsky dismissed the accusation as "wrong in so many ways."

I think a more complete answer to Jack’s question is needed. The issue Jack raises involves a question of moral responsibility. That’s why the issue is important.

We may all agree that it is usually wrong to cast a ballot for any Republican. We may all agree that it is always wrong to vote for someone like Bruce Rauner. I would also assume that most, perhaps all, of you readers, including Jack, would agree that ordinarily it is always wrong to vote for someone like Patrick Quinn.

So what happens when our choices are dictated?

That’s the question some of us, including Jack, are wrestling with. We answer a moral question of this sort by first determining what issue is in play. That’s the issue Jack is wrestling with still. So, exactly what issue was in play on Tuesday, November 4th? Once we can answer this question we can deal with Jack’s question.

I would suggest that the issue is this: The system as structured is fundamentally undemocratic. Someone else decides what our alternatives will be. We are being asked to accept those alternatives as a given. That was the only issue in the November 4th election.

If the system is undemocratic, we should withhold our support. Accepting the alternatives is the only way we can be wrong. On Tuesday our moral obligation as citizens was to reject the system’s undemocratic alternatives. However we did that was the right way to vote, whether we stayed away from the polls, whether we selected the pro-union write in candidate, or whether we left that ballot line unvoted. The only wrong vote, from a moral standpoint was to accept the unjust choice, by voting for Quinn or Rauner.

Either choice would have been wrong. A moral question of this sort is best answered by rejecting the alternatives unjustly forced on us.