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CASH Courier > 2004 Summer Issue

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The C.A.S.H. Courier

Animal Rights and Effective Political Action (Part V)

In the last issue of the C.A.S.H. Courier we introduced some basic rules for picking candidates for our support. Rule #1:”Seek tight races.” we explored thoroughly in the last segment.

The rules that we mentioned but did not get a chance to explain further were:

Rule #2: go with the winner.

Rule #3: get over party politics.

Rule #4: forget past voting history

Rule #5: ignore personal habits of the candidate.

Rule #6: remember this is politics – you’re not here to make friends, to reward good behavior or to punish bad behavior – you’re sole purpose is help to enact of laws that promote Animal Rights.

So let’s examine the remaining rules of engagement:

Rule #2: go with the winner.

There is no point in supporting a candidate who has no chance to win. He may be a real nice guy. He (or she) may understand and support the animal rights agenda – but what can he do for the suffering animals after November if he loses the election? The candidate we pick must have an excellent chance of winning with our support – or it’s not worth our effort. We would be better advised to talk his opponent in accepting our support and our agenda.

There are exceptions to this rule:

a) Suppose a current office holder is running for higher office. (e.g. a county executive is running for Congress). If he loses he will still hold the office he currently holds. We don’t believe he realistically has a chance of winning. We want to continue to work with him in his current capacity. We may support him even though we know he’ll loose – so that he will still be obligated to support our measures.

b) An incumbent office holder has been very strident in rejecting all of our efforts to work with our agenda. He (or she) usually wins 60% to 40%. He is again expected to win by that margin. If we have good chance of nicking his percentage to 55% 45%. We can give him something to worry about and we’ll probably find him less strident in the next session.

As a rule we want to go with the winners but we keep an open mind about special situations.

Rule #3: get over party politics.

Even though many AR-activists tend to be “progressive” on most political issues, we have to keep in mind what out goal is. Our goal is get laws enacted that expand the rights of animals. We are not the ladies auxiliary of the Democratic Party. Where the candidate stands on abortion, gay-marriage, taxes, or any other social issue that is not related to Animal Rights is totally irrelevant. The Gay Rights PAC, the Women’s Rights PAC, the Eskimo Rights PAC and the Flat-Earth PAC do not take a stand on Animal Rights. Even so we may find other social justice causes compelling and even work for them – as an Animal Rights PAC we have to stay focused on our mission which is to promote legislation that furthers Animal Rights. All other considerations are simply not our issue.

We can, on occasion, form temporary coalitions or alliances with other social justice (any other) group to help elect a specific candidate. But we should not be lulled into thinking that the goals of the other groups our goals. We can work with others for the election of a candidate. After the candidate has been elected we lobby for our issues and the other groups lobby for their issues. A permanent coalition of various social justice causes will not work for us. If you need an example look at the deplorable way that the Animal Rights component of the Green Party was dismissed as irrelevant in the 2000 election. The Green party nominees for president and vice-president both supported commercial whaling and trapping of fur-bearers.

Let’s save the last three rules for next time:

Rule #4: forget past voting history

Rule #5: ignore personal habits of the candidate.

Rule #6: remember this is politics – you’re not here to make friends, to reward good behavior or to punish bad behavior – you’re sole purpose is help to enact of laws that promote Animal Rights.

After the next installment we will have covered the basic ideas of operating an Animal Rights PAC if you have questions or comments regarding this enterprise, please write to me and let me know.

 

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