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You will notice that it's centre-left voters who stay home, because they cannot bring themselves to vote for the left, and won't hold their nose and vote for the centre-right.
And... remind me again how enthusiastically you endorsed the primary challenge against Lieberman?
Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.
Net result: The Independent went to DC, the Democrats got practical experience in organising a campaign. If they learned from that and do better next time, that was a net win. If they didn't learn and won't do better next time, it was neither a win nor a loss relative to the alternative.
Considering how well you appreciate the importance of practical on-the-ground organisation for left-wing political groups, I would have thought that you would see the value in that sort of exercise.
As some here might have noticed, I am a member of the Swedish Pirate Party. Despite gaining no seats in national parliament elections, political successes to date includes having converted about 10% to a position of supporting legalisation of filesharing and having the EU Data Storage Directive postponed time and again, despite Sweden being one of the driving countries for enacting that Directive in the first place.
I think proportional elections make all the difference. Since all votes affects the seats, parties need to protect their flanks in another way and are therefore more sensitive to challenges, even if those fails to take away seats in the short run.
A vote for PES is a vote for EPP!
A vote for EPP is a vote for PES!
Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
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