Sunday, July 26, 2015

On fighting back: Checklist vs strategic logic

I decided that I needed to write this because I am constantly reading or being asked questions that operate from a framework that completely misses my reasoning behind why I am not supporting the Sanders campaign.


The checklist logic of supporting or not supporting a candidate

The question about whether or not to support a particular candidate and their campaign is a complex one, involving many possible logics. However, the lack of a discussion about goals and strategy and tactics among the populace, and even often on the left, has led to the reduction of this complex set of logics into the easily consumable logic of “I support candidate X because they are the best candidate out there” (ALSO: this logic often ignores other candidates which have better politics because they are not “realistically going to win”.)

This logic is the most common logic I find behind supporters of Bernie Sanders. Bernie is obviously to the left of all other Democratic Party candidates, and I would argue that his candidacy is only possible because of the amazing work done by Occupy and other movements that have made the left more visible and brought issues of inequality into the spotlight.

This rationale is behind the argument that is thrown at me or others on the Left who aren’t supporting Sanders when people caricature and misunderstand our argument and they say that we are “engaging in purity politics”. They argue that we are just standing on the sidelines doing nothing, waiting for the “perfect” candidate to arrive. This way of reframing the discussion and misrepresenting our argument makes us seem like we aren’t doing anything to further our cause and that we are being “impractical” and “immature”.

However, my reason for not supporting Sanders isn’t about having a checklist of qualities or positions on issues and then doing some kind of math to see if his candidacy passes a bar that I have set arbitrarily high. By only allowing the conversation to operate from the framework of “he is the best and most realistic to win” it brushes aside all other logics for why one might support a candidate/campaign.