Why the Democrats need Matt…

Why the Democrats need Matt Gonzalez to win

Op-ed in SF Chronicle by Peter Gabel

As has so often been the case over the last 30 years, the Democrats have got it all wrong — in fact, exactly backward. The reality is that the Greens have not been a threat to the Democrats, but have rather been their lifeline, re-energizing the progressive base that the Democrats have continued to mistakenly abandon in order to appeal — or, to be more blunt, to pander — to a nonexistent “mainstream” they wrongly imagine sits to their right.

In a variation on the same theme, Schwarzenegger defeated the candidates in the gubernatorial election not because a majority of Californians didn’t support the Democratic Party, but because Gov. Gray Davis didn’t stand for anything strongly enough to mobilize the party’s progressive constituencies to save him from being recalled.

What the Democrats really need on Dec. 9 is not a circling-the-wagons status quo victory for Newsom but an insurgent victory for Gonzalez. That is the result that will give life to the progressive majority, not only in San Francisco but across the country as a whole.

That is also the result that will be most likely help inspire a Democratic victory over George W. Bush next November.