This will sound like a joke. But I'm asking everyone to consider it seriously.
Suppose that lots of us on the left half of the political spectrum pulled together an independent campaign, not connected to the Democratic Party. We set up an organization, raise money, recruit volunteers, print buttons and bumper stickers and lawn signs and all that, organize rallies and marches, spend money on media ads if we get enough to do that. With this theme:
RE-ELECT OBAMA: THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS
A button or sticker: HOLD YOUR NOSE AND VOTE DEMOCRATIC!
some signs: OBAMA: HE'LL SLOW THE DECLINE
ENERGY POLICY: NOT QUITE AS HOT WITH OBAMA
CIVIL LIBERTIES: LESS LAWLESS GOVERNMENT WITH OBAMA
NO NUTS! NO NUTS!
VERY SLOW WITHDRAWAL FROM THE WARS
And so forth. Loudly and proudly giving faint praise to the Democrats and the Obama administration, and urging everyone to get out and vote for them, because the alternative is worse.
The best part (or maybe the worst) is that no one will be sure if we are sincere. This is, after all, the exact argument that we have heard many times before, FROM people in the Democratic Party, meant seriously. However disappointed we may be with Obama and the Democrats, we must support them, because we have no alternative. Third-party bids are both useless and harmful. Primary challenges are almost as bad because if unsuccessful they weaken the centrist candidate, and if successful they put someone in the ballot who will lose the general election.
The only strange thing about this campaign would be that, though everyone has heard this argument before, and may even have made it before, always meant seriously, no one has ever said it loudly and proudly. Perhaps if we do it, it will shame the Democrats into having more spine.