George Graham

Why We Have to Vote for the Democrats, Anyway


I don’t have to tell you how low politicians have sunk in the esteem of most Americans. You’ve probably seen the poll results, and they are not pretty. The last report I recall is that 82 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing. So what can we do? Stay home and sulk?

Speaking for myself, I am going to vote as I always do, and I’m going to vote for the Democrat on every ballot.

Not because I approve of the party’s performance. I would be crazy to do that. But because the Republicans are so much worse.

In a dispatch today from a service called Truthout, Mike Lofgren, a Republican who spent 30 years as a Congressional staff member, explains why he quit the party. And his explanation pretty much sums up my perceptions:

Both parties are rotten – how could they not be, given the complete infestation of the political system by corporate money on a scale that now requires a presidential candidate to raise upwards of a billion dollars to be competitive in the general election? Both parties are captives to corporate loot. The main reason the Democrats’ health care bill will be a budget buster once it fully phases in is the Democrats’ rank capitulation to corporate interests – no single-payer system, in order to mollify the insurers; and no negotiation of drug prices, a craven surrender to Big Pharma.

But both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The Democrats have their share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bagmen, egomaniacs and kooks. Nothing, however, quite matches the modern GOP.

To those millions of Americans who have finally begun paying attention to politics and watched with exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt ceiling extension, it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. To be sure, the party, like any political party on earth, has always had its share of crackpots, like Robert K. Dornan or William E. Dannemeyer. But the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today: Steve King, Michele Bachman (now a leading presidential candidate as well), Paul Broun, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Allen West. The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy…

Lofgren says the Republican Party is becoming “an apocalyptic cult,” and he repeats this quote from John P. Judis:

Over the last four decades, the Republican Party has transformed from a loyal opposition into an insurrectionary party that flouts the law when it is in the majority and threatens disorder when it is the minority. It is the party of Watergate and Iran-Contra, but also of the government shutdown in 1995 and the impeachment trial of 1999. If there is an earlier American precedent for today’s Republican Party, it is the antebellum Southern Democrats of John Calhoun who threatened to nullify, or disregard, federal legislation they objected to and who later led the fight to secede from the union over slavery.

I could add quite a bit to Lofgren’s litany, but I think he’s already made the case for voting in 2012 – not so much for the Democrats as against the Republicans.

See you at the polls.

Click here to read the Lofgren piece.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for