One of the biggest problems I think we have as progressives is that it's tough for us to really organize ourselves into committed, long-lasting movements. The primary reasons for this in my opinion is as follows:
1). We have no support from the media, so our organizations and small victories we may score go unreported in the news. Everything we do in this sense has to be grassroots. The media also defines what 'mainstream' views are, and these views are generally quite conservative.
2). Our organizations have trouble fighting for change because there's a strong impulse to let our values be coopted by attempts to elect the 'lesser of two evils'. Even though I think progressive views are strongly rooted in the minds of many Americans, these people, come election time, are usually torn between those who vote their conscience and those who think that doing so is handing the election to the Republicans, who they may view as only slightly worse than the Democrats that they will be voting for. I think this issue is actually one of the biggest problems facing the movement.
So last night I was thinking about this, and I thought of one solution. The progressive movement, instead of focusing its efforts on rallying support for the Green Party or for Dennis Kucinich, should focus its efforts on convincing people to vote their conscience and to agree on a limited number of progressive goals that any candidate must meet to get their vote. A benefit of doing this is that one's efforts from one election cycle don't go wasted for the next election. So rather than simply rallying for Kucinich, who may not run again next election, the activist energy that you put in today could be then applied to a different progressive candidate in the future. Also, by having people commit to issues and not politicians or parties, the movement can also avoid being stuck to a party which may go conservative. So if the Green Party all of a sudden changed its platform, it would automatically lose the support of those who had agreed on the issues that they felt were necessary to qualify for a vote.
Now, for the movement to gather momentum, people will want to see it grow and see that it's making progress. This is why this effort would need a name. My first thought for this name would be the 'Progressive Popular Front'. And basically how it would work is that we'd need to establish some basic progressive goals that the PPF supported. Some suggestions would be universal healthcare (the real, non-for-profit kind), some sort of election reform (IRV or something along those lines), legalizing same sex marriage, legalization of abortion, end the war on drugs, clean energy (with some details to be provided on its nature), fair taxes, diplomacy over war (again in actuality, not politicians paying homage to diplomacy while preparing for war), etc. The exact list needs to be progressive enough to be worthwhile but also not too radical so that we can have a substantial following. We would then attempt to convince people that they should only vote for candidates who can meet these criteria and ask them to sign on to being part of the 'Progressive Popular Front'.
So now what we would have is a movement which was issue-oriented, and uncompromising with its votes. Also, it would be easy to keep the movement cohesive because we've put all these issues under the umbrella of the Popular Front. So rather than saying "hey, do you support x,y,and z, and will only vote for someone who also supports this?" you can simply say "hey, are you part of the Progressive Popular Front?", and if not, convince them to join.
Now to show that the movement is making progress, because it won't be reported on in the media, we can have tshirts, a website giving statistics, Popular Front icons for blogs, and bumper stickers saying "I support the Progressive Popular Front". Each person who puts this on their car will show to others that they are not alone (I think alientation is one of the reasons why people let their political desires be coopted). As the movement grows, more and more people will have this displayed and this will help prevent people from voting for the "lesser of two evils".
The Popular Front website will give analysis each election cycle to help the members determine which candidates support the views they signed off on. Perhaps we can have some sort of internal election so that the Popular Front can officially endorse a candidate.
Now these ideas are very rough, but I wanted to get your opinion on it. If you like it, we could start and get the ball rolling. It'll of course start out small, but if the idea is good it should grow in size.