The Republic of T.

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Kucinich & the Polls

This is interesting. Isn’t it?

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I grabbed that shot yesterday. It’s the results of an online poll at the Democratic Party of Virginia’s website. Granted, it’s an online poll, so it’s not anywhere near scientific.

But it’s still interesting that Dennis Kucinich beats out Obama, Clinton, and Edwards. What’s even more interesting is that the poll is still open.

The party’s website said from the start and continues to say that the straw poll voting closed at midnight on December 23rd. In reality, it is still possible to vote and to change the totals. Since the 23rd, the numbers have increased very slightly, though not enough to alter the results. Presumably, this is because most voters are unaware that the voting is still open.

Kucinich supporters, fearing some secret plot to flood the election with votes for another candidate, have been collecting screen shots of the results each day from the website and attempting unsuccessfully to get party officials to explain why the voting is still open.

I’m on Kucinich’s mailing list, and his campaign didn’t send out an email about the poll, asking people to vote. I found out about it at his website a couple of days ago. He did speak at a rally in Charlottesville, VA, on December 7th.

The results at IndependentPrimary.Com are even more interesting.

Democratic Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich, who has been the runaway winner in polls of the Party’s progressive, grassroots base in recent weeks, scored another huge win yesterday by capturing almost 77% of the vote in a nationwide poll sponsored by a coalition of Independent voting groups across the country.

Of the more than 80,000 votes cast for Democratic candidates at http://www.independentprimary.com by self-described independent voters, the Ohio Congressman received 61,477, burying second place finisher, former Senator John Edwards, who received only 7,614 votes, or 9.5 percent.

…This is the latest in a string of exceptionally strong finishes by Kucinich in national on-line polls. Last month, he topped all other candidates in 47 of 50 states in a poll sponsored by Democracy for America (DFA), in which he received almost 32% of the 150,000-plus votes cast — more than Edwards and Senator Barack Obama combined. In that poll, Kucinich won both Iowa and New Hampshire. In a survey by the 90,000-member Progressive Democrats of America, Kucinich took 41% of the vote nationwide. And, in a poll conducted by the progressive The Nation magazine, he won with 35% of the vote. Obama came in second with 24%, and Edwards was third with 13%.

Sure, online polls are meaningless, but there may be a reason why the polls above turned out the way they did, as David Swanson (whose post about the VA Dems poll is linked above) put it in his AlterNet post,“Make Your Primary Vote Mean Something.”

The following are majority positions among Americans, and overwhelmingly majority positions among Democrats: end the occupation of Iraq, impeach the vice president, create single-payer not-for-profit universal health coverage, withdraw from corporate trade agreements like NAFTA, and slash the Pentagon budget in order to invest in diplomacy, foreign aid, education, jobs, and green energy. Only one presidential candidate supports this platform: Dennis Kucinich.

I’ve asked before, if Kucinich’s platform lines up with what people really want—or even what progressives really want—why are so few supporting him. And the answers I’ve gotten, when you put them altogether, amount to “He’s too weird.”

After all, someone who hangs out with the likes of Shirley Maclaine and wants to establish a Department of Peace and says stuff like this “can’t be taken seriously.”

“Obviously, I connect with all religions,” says Representative Kucinich (D) of Ohio, in the midst of his second presidential campaign. “All manners of belief and even non-belief come from a common font, and that is the transcendent power of the human heart…. All those things that would separate us are based on misunderstandings of our nature.”

They’re somewhat unusual religious views for someone who still considers himself essentially Roman Catholic. But then, little about Kucinich is orthodox.

But, and you’ll pardon me if this is a bit crass, how can we take seriously people who take the words anonymous first century writers so literally that they’ve dubbed I-35 West the “Holy Highway” because they think it’s in the Bible, believe the earth can’t be much older than 6,000 years, and celebrate war in the Middle East because they believe Jesus is going to meet them in the mid-air sometime next week and save them a front row seat to watch those of us who who are left behind get out “guts pulled out by God.”

I don’t know, but we do. Or at least our candidates take them seriously enough to try and appease them, and win them over by bending over backwards to (a) not offend their beliefs and (b) suggest that that share most if not all of those beliefs.

Those beliefs are no more “wacky” than Kucinich’s beliefs, but they’re so privileged in America that you can say so.

Kucinich’s beliefs aren’t any crazier than Clinton’s, Obama’s, Edwards’, Huckabee’s or Romney’s. And no less founded in reality either.

But never mind their beliefs, which shouldn’t be an issue in any political campaign. What about their platforms? If it’s true that the positions mentioned above are majority positions, why aren’t any of the “serious” candidates—the “electable” ones—presenting platforms that look like that?

One Comment

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