Sunday, 26 June 2016 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

A Vote for "Draft Warren" Is a Vote for a Democratic Primary

Wednesday, 24 December 2014 09:27 By Robert Naiman, Truthout | Op-Ed
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) exits a caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo: Drew Angerer for The New York Times) Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) exits a caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 13, 2014. (Photo: Drew Angerer for The New York Times)

If you object to the proposition that Hillary Clinton should become the Democratic nominee for President in 2016 without having to substantially engage with Democratic primary voters and caucus-goers about what she would do as President, speak now or forever hold your peace. Whether this proposition succeeds or fails is likely to be largely determined in the next few months.

In 2016, if Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee without having to defend her positions in front of rank-and-file Democrats, it is certain that some people will loudly complain. Here's what I will then say: "Take away from me the noise of your songs, to the melody of your harps I will not listen." The time to act to forestall this outcome is now.

MoveOn and Democracy for America have a plan to forestall this outcome: draft Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run for President.

Opposition to this plan can be sorted into two categories:

1. People who want Hillary Clinton to become the Democratic nominee without having to substantially engage Democratic primary voters and caucus-goers about what she would do as President.

2. People who think that "Draft Warren" is an imperfect vehicle for opposing "no primary."

To the advocates of "no primary," I would say this: do you think we have too much democracy in the United States right now, or too little? Do you think we have too much popular participation and engagement in the political process, or too little?

If you think we have too much democracy, participation and engagement in the political process right now, then you and I are not playing for the same team.

But if you think we have too little democracy, participation and engagement in the political process right now, how can you support the idea that the Democratic nominee for President should be chosen without a political contest? Is it defensible to complain about the role of big money in the political process, yet take a dive on "no primary"? What difference does it make what the limits on big money campaign contributions are, if we are content to have a Soviet-style election with only one candidate?

Suppose that we agree, then, that the position of "Democratic nominee for President" should not be determined without a meaningful political contest. If we know this, we should try to act upon it. To act meaningfully, we must act in concert with others.

MoveOn and Democracy for America polled their members. In each case, more than 80% supported the campaign to try to draft Warren. Who else has a plan to defeat "no primary" that can boast this level of Democratic support?

If we cannot defeat "no primary," all else is moot. You can add your voice here.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Robert Naiman

Robert Naiman is policy director at Just Foreign Policy and president of Truthout's board of directors. 


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A Vote for "Draft Warren" Is a Vote for a Democratic Primary

Wednesday, 24 December 2014 09:27 By Robert Naiman, Truthout | Op-Ed
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) exits a caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo: Drew Angerer for The New York Times) Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) exits a caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 13, 2014. (Photo: Drew Angerer for The New York Times)

If you object to the proposition that Hillary Clinton should become the Democratic nominee for President in 2016 without having to substantially engage with Democratic primary voters and caucus-goers about what she would do as President, speak now or forever hold your peace. Whether this proposition succeeds or fails is likely to be largely determined in the next few months.

In 2016, if Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee without having to defend her positions in front of rank-and-file Democrats, it is certain that some people will loudly complain. Here's what I will then say: "Take away from me the noise of your songs, to the melody of your harps I will not listen." The time to act to forestall this outcome is now.

MoveOn and Democracy for America have a plan to forestall this outcome: draft Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run for President.

Opposition to this plan can be sorted into two categories:

1. People who want Hillary Clinton to become the Democratic nominee without having to substantially engage Democratic primary voters and caucus-goers about what she would do as President.

2. People who think that "Draft Warren" is an imperfect vehicle for opposing "no primary."

To the advocates of "no primary," I would say this: do you think we have too much democracy in the United States right now, or too little? Do you think we have too much popular participation and engagement in the political process, or too little?

If you think we have too much democracy, participation and engagement in the political process right now, then you and I are not playing for the same team.

But if you think we have too little democracy, participation and engagement in the political process right now, how can you support the idea that the Democratic nominee for President should be chosen without a political contest? Is it defensible to complain about the role of big money in the political process, yet take a dive on "no primary"? What difference does it make what the limits on big money campaign contributions are, if we are content to have a Soviet-style election with only one candidate?

Suppose that we agree, then, that the position of "Democratic nominee for President" should not be determined without a meaningful political contest. If we know this, we should try to act upon it. To act meaningfully, we must act in concert with others.

MoveOn and Democracy for America polled their members. In each case, more than 80% supported the campaign to try to draft Warren. Who else has a plan to defeat "no primary" that can boast this level of Democratic support?

If we cannot defeat "no primary," all else is moot. You can add your voice here.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Robert Naiman

Robert Naiman is policy director at Just Foreign Policy and president of Truthout's board of directors. 


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus