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Kuchinich's Peculiar Strategy
Write-in "Doug Mann" for School Board
by Doug Mann, 29 Oct 2004, Submitted to the Star-Tribune for publication 28 Oct 2004
The following is posted with permission from the author.
From: email@example.com (Mato Ska)
Subject: Kucinich's Peculiar Strategy
In discussions around Kucinich I am curious about the lack of substantive discussion of his underlying political agenda- its origins and its impact on his strategy. I am not talking here about his positions on issues. They have been tailor-made for his campaign and are designed to meet the needs of his campaign strategy.
As an urban populist, Kucinich is well acquainted with rising movements and upsurges of popular resistance. His election as mayor of Cleveland took place in a period of rising struggles of steelworkers within the Rustbelt against plant closings, attacks on union democracy, and economic dislocations of steelworkers. Kucinich and Traficant are products of that era.
It is curious that Kucinich continues to see that his base of support comes from outside the Democratic Party. He has focused a lot of attention on recruiting Greens for his campaign. His 2% support within the Democratic Party has not shown any sign of increasing. He has made it clear that he will not leave the Democratic Party and that he will support the Democratic candidate, no matter who it is. I would suggest that his urban populism leads him into his current strategy of riding a wave of Green opposition.
When Kucinich got elected as mayor of Cleveland, he did so without the support of the Democratic Party in the city. This impacted on the support of the predominately African-American wards and precincts. It also cost him in his ability to implement his program. Ten months after being elected there was a recall effort which he barely survived. In the study, THE AMERICAN MAYOR, he is listed as the seventh worse mayor in US history. Something which is not raised much in discussions.
I would suggest that a successful effort is more realizable when a Democrat becomes Green or Laborite, then when they stay Democrat and "fight within, to change the party". Such is the scenario being seen in San Francisco, where Matt Gonzalez is currently leading in the polls in the run-off election there. The old line that "Greens can't win" is now being replaced with "Now is the time for all good Democrats to come to the aid of their party."
Hopefully, people will realize that the Green Party really is an alternative party, and not just a left wing of the Democratic party. That is a prerequisite to function as an independent party. Otherwise, the presumption will be that a third party is an interloper, a "spoiler", and needs to conform their electoral decisions about where and when to run on the basis of what the Democratic Party's needs are.
My suggestion to Mr. Kucinich is, if he wants to be taken seriously, he would be better off finding a new partner. The one (the DP) that he came to the party with has already left with someone else(the DLC). Since I take him at his word as far as his strategy goes, I won't promote any illusions in that regard.
Martin (NM Green Party)