THE MOST IMPORTANT PRIMARY DECISION IN 40 YEARS

If Edwards wins the Iowa caucuses, it will be the most significant progressive primary win since Eugene McCarthy got 41% of the vote in New Hampshire in 1968.

While those who prefer the personal, albeit single digit, purity of supporting a Kucinich may scoff, even Ralph Nader agrees that an Edwards nomination would be a historic shift in the political landscape. While the iconographic liberals – those placing ethnic or gender symbolism ahead of real change – dismiss Edwards, the obese media and the Washington establishment certainly agree; from the start they have tried mightily to bury Edwards in the purgatory of silence.

Presidents don’t make change as much as they reflect it, profit from it and manipulate it. Those seeking our, or their own, salvation from a president come to the wrong altar. What politicians do extremely well, however, is to reinforce whatever is already happening. Lyndon Johnson, for example, was about as far as a saint as one could imagine, yet the 1960s could not have happened without him. Put Barry Goldwater in his place and the story would have been totally rewritten.

That, in fact, is what helped bring an end to the 1960s. Nixon simply stopped the draft and convinced the record moguls to cease advertising in the underground press. An era was over.

Edwards’ election would signal the end of another era, namely that of Reagan, the Bushes and Clinton – one that has wrecked social democracy, returned the economy to robber baron standards and caused us to be hated around the world.

Finally we can begin again. This would not be a reflection of Edwards’ virtues so much as of the strength of a constituency for change that this country has not seen for a long time. And it would be a victory for all of us. – Sam Smith

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