Saturday, March 22, 2014

Political Movements Led from the Top Never Succeed

The opposition to the Bluegrass Pipeline has succeeded so far in large part because it has no single "leader."

The pipeline opposition arose among individuals who recognized early on the threat the pipeline posed to their land. They researched natural gas liquids, pipelines, and the company. They educated themselves, talked to their neighbors, wrote letters to the editor and sought support from elected officials.

Among the thousands of Kentuckians who oppose the Bluegrass Pipeline, there are a few dozen who are most active, but no one person who speaks for all. No politician making promises in return for votes. No billionaire buying television commercials.

The pipeline opposition is a pure grassroots movement. And it's the only kind that really succeeds. 

Steve M. at No More Mister Niceblog:

Instead of one Bernie Sanders (running for president) in 2016, why aren't there a couple dozen Bernies in seemingly hopeless state and local races this year? I'm not sure if Sanders is right about the potential for winning over the tea party:
One of the goals that I would have, politically, as a candidate for president of the United States is to reach out to the working-class element of the Tea Party and explain to them exactly who is funding their organization -- and explain to them that, on virtually every issue, the Koch brothers and the other funders of the Tea Party are way out of step with what ordinary people want and need.
But I wish a few people were trying to beta-test the notion this year in congressional races. Go out there in some district where a Republican expects not to even have to campaign, possibly a district where no Democrat is even bothering to run, and talk about raising the minimum wage and dialing back tax preferences for the wealthy and putting people to work by building infrastructure. Just try it -- there's really no downside risk, no chance of electing Scott Walker as president. Maybe twenty people would run and a few would put scares into their opponents; maybe one or two would make it a race, or even win.

That's how I'd like to see a movement built. Or bypass electoral politics and fight issue campaigns instead -- that's what the civil rights movement did, and that's what the gay rights movement is doing now.

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