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The Looming Murder/Suicide of the Democratic Majority

By Matthew Yglesias  

"The Looming Murder/Suicide of the Democratic Majority"

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Greg Sargent offers us a fascinating polling tidbit “A new national poll finds that fully one third of Democratic voters say that they’re ‘less likely’ to vote in 2010 if Congress doesn’t pass a public option, underscoring the possibility that dropping the provision seriously risks dampening the Dem base’s enthusiasm.”

I’m sure you’ll read other progressive blogs today saying this illustrates why “Democrats” shouldn’t sell out on the public option. But realistically “Democrats” have been trying very hard to get a decent public option compromise. Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson are the roadblocks, and they probably don’t have any particular desire to see progressive electoral victories in the midterms.

So it’s also worth sparing a few words for the potentially demoralized voters who are considering staying home. To wit: Grow up. Nobody ever accomplished anything in politics by not participating. Going to vote on Election Day is not a monumental demand on your time, and there is not a single problem in American public policy that will be made easier to solve if liberal stay home on Election Day. If you contribute money or time to political campaigns and you’re disappointed with people you’ve given to or volunteered for in the past, you should of course feel free to decline to offer your cash and services in the future. But you shouldn’t just get depressed and stay home, you should probably write a note and send it in the mail explaining exactly why you won’t be donating this time and laying out which other, more progressive member you’re choosing to support instead. And on Election Day you should go vote for the better candidate and hope he or she wins. Successful from-the-left primary challenges can do good, but letting the worse candidate win a general election isn’t going to make anything better.

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