The animal movement is politically impotent. The 2016 election cycle demonstrated just how insignificant we are. There is little leadership, no unity, and no defined purpose to most voters who care about animals.
Animal activists are easily manipulated and are routinely ignored.
They had no impact on the presidential race, as their voices were a cacophony of contradictory messages.
Many followed the lead of Mark Markarian of the Humane Society Legislative Fund and voted for Hillary. Others voted for Trump or Jill Stein. A few voted for Clifton Roberts of the Humane Party.
One thing is abundantly clear. Animal activists were not a decisive factor in the presidential race, and will have little, if any, influence in Trump’s administration.
Having little influence is the political norm for the animal movement.
In 2012, I attempted to quantify how animal activists vote by party.
I conducted both email and online polls of several hundred people who identified themselves as animal activists. They split 55% Democrat and 45% Republican. If that is indicative of the movement as a whole, it means the movement has only one tenth the political influence of its numbers.
The Democrats cancel out the Republicans and produce a net vote of 10% of our number. That percentage is apparently further fractured by third party voters.
A ridiculous waste of our voting power. We squander our potential influence in every election cycle. For every contested office.
In very closely contested races, the animal movement vote could determine the outcomes were we all to vote as a bloc.
The model we should be emulating is the so called “Pro-life” movement. Focusing on the tactics and strategies they employ would serve the animal movement, and the animals, much better than the haphazard, directionless, and ineffective approach we have followed for decades.
The Pro-life movement essentially consists of single-issue voters, those opposed to abortion. They support candidates who oppose abortion and punish candidates who support choice. All other issues and considerations are secondary.
The effect of their strategy has been to drive the Republican party to the right. It has caused abortion to be an issue in almost every campaign. It has made the issue part of the national dialogue.
Animal rights and animal protection are never addressed by national candidates. Animal issues are footnotes to campaigns, raised only to pander to activists or to raise money from them.
We now have a president-elect and a vice-president elect who are unabashedly Pro-life. We have an incoming House which will be supportive of Pro-life legislation, and an incoming Senate which will overwhelmingly support Pro-life judicial nominees.
All of that political power and influence is the result of a well organized and dedicated single-issue strategy that Pro-life organizers perfected over the past 40 years.
Had the animal movement been doing the same, animal protection would be a national issue, the movement would have grown exponentially, and the Democratic party would have animal activists as a core constituency with actual influence. Animal protection legislation would be the norm, animal concerns would be as ubiquitous as are environmental concerns. Calls to end vivisection and defund the National Institutes of Health would be as mainstream as are calls to defund Planned Parenthood.
Animal activists must embrace single-issue voting as an article of faith. We must be willing to ignore every other issue, to convince friend and foe alike that animal protection will be our litmus test for any candidate for any office.
• I am unaware of any other blog with the Armory’s mission of radicalizing the animal movement. I certainly hope I am not alone, and that there are similar sentiments being expressed by comrades unknown to me.
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