Why the hell would you look to a post on Commondreams for that answer? I get it that you are asking rhetorical questions, but maybe just state your argument without them. I think we should build up third parties at the local level first, since it is easier to win local elections than it is to win national elections. That way you build up an infrastructure. The DSA is currently doing this. Maybe, if it grows large enough, it can break off from the Democratic Party, which I don’t think can be reformed. You build up that infrastructure, and you don’t need one national left of center party.
You get a number of progressive and radical politicians, and they can form voting blocks in government. When it comes to national candidates, like the president, down the road, they might be strong enough to run third party candidates that can fight through the rigged system in this two party state. Until that happens, it is tough to say. We do live in a democracy, and so no one owes the Democrats a fucking thing. They owe voters something, they have to earn the vote. So, if a person identifies with the actual platform of the Green Party, or whatever else, you have no right to chastise them. That is an authoritarian mindset. You appeal to them and offer policies that are a net-positive. If you can’t show that the two parties are a net positive for most people (I know the macroeconomic data well, things have gotten progressively worse no matter who is in power for most people), then what is the exact argument? That the Democrats will make things worse at a slower pace? No wonder turnout is so horrible in this country. There were good people in the Communist Party in the USSR, does it mean you couldn’t critique the Communist Party and couldn’t work towards building an alternative, especially on on the left?
A large percentage of people simply don’t vote. You might notice that many of the DSA type candidates that are winning, they are winning because they are focusing on those that don’t often vote, or at least, not nearly as much as other groups. So, who votes in lower (often much lower) numbers? Low income groups, the poor and people of color, groups that neither party really give a fuck about. And those groups are for policies that neither party at the national level supports, and their donors oppose.
I also think that working outside of the electoral arena is far more important that voting, and is fundamental to democracy. Many in the labor movement were ideologically opposed to voting. They instead focused on organizing unions, forming worker owned cooperatives, producer cooperatives, mutual aid societies, taking over land, organizing strikes and boycotts, mass direct action, and the political system was forced to respond. We didn’t get many of the things we not take for granted simply because of voting. We organized and scared those in power. And because of that, we got the 40 work week, the weekend, overtime pay, safe working conditions, child labor laws, environmental protections, the right to vote, civil rights, etc.
Voting is important, but not anywhere near sufficient.