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As a progressive-leaning person, I’m deeply disappointed by Joe Biden and the Democratic Party. I’m an independent and have no allegiance to either party. The Republican Party, dominated by Trump, is a non-starter for me. The Democratic Party is corporate dominated, a party of the moneyed interests, so I have little interest in it at the national level.

The Progressive Caucus keeps praising Biden instead of pushing him, so they’re part of the problem. The so-called Squad (AOC and company) never seem to use their combined power for anything meaningful. A concerted minority can make a difference: look at the Tea Partiers. But the Squad basically does as they’re told by Nancy Pelosi.

People tell me the Squad is small and their influence is limited by the mathematics of Congress. But what Congressional hills have they chosen to hold fast and fight on, if any, to effect true change? United, a squad of progressives could drive policy because Pelosi often needs their votes. Yet they refuse to come together to drive change that might upset Pelosi/Biden, so how progressive are they, truly?

When you look at the specifics of Democratic actions, they (the actions) disappoint. A climate change bill saluted and applauded by the oil and gas industry. Changes in drug pricing that don’t take place until 2025, and only to a short list of drugs. The complete abandonment of a government-option for health care. Basically, the Democrats have kowtowed to lobbyists for fossil fuel, big pharma, and private health insurance companies.

In short: nothing has fundamentally changed, exactly what Biden promised to his big donors. He is what he’s always been: a conservative-leaning Democrat who serves the moneyed interests, who supports expanding police forces and prisons, and who believes the best way to promote peace is by supporting massive military budgets and overseas wars.

Even if there’s truth to my critique, my Democratic friends say, you must still vote blue no matter who, because the Republicans are so much worse. Yet if we continue to vote for Democrats because they give us a few more crumbs than the alternative, all we’ll ever get is crumbs.

A colleague of mine, Matthew Hoh, is running for the Senate as a Green in North Carolina. The Democratic Party there did everything it could, legal and less-than-legal, to block his access to the ballot. It took a lawsuit and a federal judge to get his name added to the ballot.

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Matthew Hoh, candidate for the U.S. Senate in North Carolina

Matthew Hoh, candidate for the U.S. Senate in North Carolina

Matt Hoh is a former Marine and State Department guy who resigned publicly to protest the Afghan War. He has strong progressive principles and unassailable integrity and supports policies most Americans would loudly applaud. Again, the Democrats did everything they could to block him from the ballot.

Some people say that a vote for Matt Hoh and third-party candidates like him is a vote for Trump and the Republicans. For me, that’s total BS. Candidates like Matt Hoh help us. They drive an agenda that’s truly for workers, that’s truly for change. If nothing else, they force corporate-tool Democrats to turn slightly leftward rather than always toward the right.

Perhaps you know the saying about Democrats: fake left, run right. They fake left in the primary, exciting the “liberal” base, then they run right in the main election and, if they win, they then rule and legislate from the right as well. The mainstream corporate press terms this “sensible” and “moderate.”

We need more principled leaders like Matt Hoh to drive real change. If they “help” Trump and the Republicans by “stealing” votes, that’s not their fault: it’s the fault of the Democrats who are reluctant to be seen as truly liberal or progressive and who are basically tools of the moneyed interests.

If Matt Hoh wins lots of votes in North Carolina (and I hope he does), all credit to the voters for seeing him as he is and for voting for what they believe in. Indeed, instead of people insisting that Matt Hoh should drop out to help the mainstream Democrat, it’s the mainstream Democrat who should drop out to help Matt Hoh.

I do my best to vote for what I believe in. Which is why I won’t be voting for Trump, or DeSantis, or Biden (or Harris or Mayor Pete or whomever) in 2024. I’ll be voting for candidates who in their words and deeds promise us something more than crumbs. Leaders like Matt Hoh.

Crossposted from Bracing Views