Lets Make a Party

Thought experiment time.

In the 2016 Democratic Primary, once all the votes were counted, Hillary Clinton got 55% of the popular vote. Bernie Sanders got the rest: 13,210,550 votes.

The Sanders voters were crushed and defeated and a number of them didn’t go on to vote for Hillary in the General. The majority of his supporters kept up the fight and in 2020 Bernie got over 9M votes while not even competing past Super Tuesday. He also had a similarly focused opponent in Elizabeth Warren who picked up another 3M. 

So in 2016 and 2020 there were about 12-13 Million supporters of Progressive Presidential Candidates. 

Here is where my experiment kicks in. What would have happened in 2016 if after Bernie (and then Hillary) lost, he did a national address and said something along the lines of: “I urge all of my supporters and anyone else who believes in the things I do to help me start a new political party. Today I form the Peoples Party and I want you to join right now”. He could have done the same thing in 2020.

Imagine if overnight a new political party was formed with 10 million members. Would that be a good start? Would it push the party past some tipping point where with some marketing and messaging they could turn that 10 million into 20? I say yes. There are millions of Americans who have consistently pushed for “change”. They are ready and willing to do anything to get there. In 2016 Stein and Johnson got 5M votes. Which party are those voters allied with?? I think my 20M number is actually quite conservative.

So, what would a party of 20M mean in our political landscape? Well, the Democrats currently have 45M and Republicans have 33M. Assuming some of the new party members come from those two, that would put this new party on almost equal footing (in terms of membership).

But, you rightly argue, a party is not just its members. It’s the elected leaders as well. In State Houses and the US congress, there are almost no members who aren’t a D or R. That would take YEARS to build up the infrastructure to support the candidates locally. Fundraising as well. 

Let’s talk about that for a second. Do you believe that everyone in office right now believes in their party strongly enough to not switch over as well? I think that within weeks of the formation of this new party that a number of office holders would switch immediately and I believe their constituencies would reward them for it. And locally, there are organizers in cities around the country ready to support anything that will break down the two party system. 

Fundraising is also not much of an issue. Sanders and Warren in 2020 raised Millions of dollars from online small money donations. A new party would raise a ton overnight and continue to do so as it built momentum.

What I’m talking about here doesn’t need to be a thought experiment. I believe that it could happen for real if national leaders like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would decide to make it happen. 

What I’m arguing for here is something that is extremely bold and ambitious but isn’t that what is called for right now?

The Democratic Party Has Left Us

I was born and raised in a very politically active family. I was 8 when my father, a Democrat, was elected to the State Senate. He went on to serve for over 30 years and during that time I spent a lot of time meeting and hanging out with all sorts of political characters: committee people, ward leaders, representatives, governors, etc. Before I was even born my dad was active in Democtatic politics. And he was serious about it. Especially his hatred for the Republicans. As an example, I clearly remember growing up that anything elephant related (a picture, a statute, a mug) was banned from our home. 

I tell you this to explain that not only do I know a bit about politics but also that I was deeply indoctrinated into the Democrat/Republican divide early on. I was pretty much trained to hate Republicans like they were the most evil and awful people in the world and that I was to be a Democrat for life. 

It wasn’t until later in life that I really started to focus on being active in the political world. After the election of George W. Bush I started to really pay attention to world events and the more I learned, the more angry I got. Bush and his entire Executive Branch were all doing some awful things.

I needed to channel this rage in some way for good so I started actively blogging (many of that right here), posting on Facebook and talking about politics to anyone who would listen to me. I listened a lot do Dan Carlin and the now defunct “Common Sense” podcast and I learned that it wasn’t just the BWH (Bush White House) doing damage and it wasn’t just Republicans, it was all of Congress. They were collectively ceding power to the Executive as a reaction to 9/11. Remember the war in Iraq? Remember Warrantless Wiretapping? This was both parties in Congress.

What I think angered me the most was that nobody else was doing anything about these injustices I was seeing. There was no real opposition from anyone.


And then came Barack Obama. All of a sudden, here was someone speaking directly to me about things that were making me so angry. He was this “Change” candidate that was telling me how things were going to be different. I was filled with so much “Hope” that I was donating my time and money and doing whatever I could to see him get elected. 

When he won, I remember taking days off from work so I could watch his inauguration and his first few days. I was waiting to see Guantanamo closed and the Bush people brought to justice. But those few days were a bit disappointing to me. I remember thinking, ok, well he’s new, let’s give him time. But what ultimately happened was that Candidate Obama didn’t match up with President Obama very much. He gave away a lot to corporations to get the ACA passed and then he started killing Americans overseas with drones. The NSA got more brazen. It was kind of awful. I was genuinely confused as to what had happened.

What started then and continues to now is a realization that the two party system that I grew up with, along with the mantra of “Republicans are bad, always vote blue to elect Democrats” was not correct. That it could be possible that both parties were kind of two sides of the same coin. That instead of working for the people, they could very well be working for big money interests instead. 

I had known about lobbyists. Remember, I grew up with a father who was a stage legislator. But I knew him pretty well and while he was lobbied all the time, at the core he made decisions that were focused on the well being of his constituents. It had never really occurred to me that Congress would be doing otherwise. 

But they were doing otherwise. It was the only thing that made sense. Money in politics became a central theme in my thinking. Nothing could change unless we removed it and we couldn’t remove it with the current people in power because they all were corrupted. Somewhere along the line the Democrat/Republican theme became kind of irrelevant and what took over was Big Money/Corporations v. Citizens. When I look back with that lens it really becomes clear to me that we the people have been left behind a long time ago.

What I see now is that there are a lot of people who feel the way I do and they see what I see. And I also think they voted for Obama because they thought, like me, that he could change things. I think they also voted for Trump for the same reason (something I could have seen myself doing as well, but for various direct personal reasons I knew better). 

Americans by and large are working people and they have been fucked over for quite some time and they want to see change happen. Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren. They all exist and are popular because they are speaking to those people. There is a commonality of all of their politics, it’s called Progressivism. It’s about speaking truth to the real power and fighting for the citizens instead of the big companies.

I subscribe wholeheartedly to this message of Progressivism. I believe that money has corrupted the entire American system to the point that it is completely off the rails. If we don’t do something soon, I believe all is lost.

Many would tell you that we should just keep fighting to make sure we get out the vote and hope that voting “blue no matter who” will solve everything. I don’t agree at all. The Democratic party has let us down again and again. Our leader in the House is known for two things: (1) she got the ACA passed (see above) and (2) she is one of the best fundraisers in the party. Do you know where all that money comes from? Large corporations.

The Democratic Party does not speak for us at all. For example, yesterday began the Democratic National Convention for 2020 and the official platform didn’t include Medicare For All, and doesn’t include a restriction on big money donors. 

There are many, many other examples of how the party has abandoned the working families in this country and how they have supported wars and military spending over healthcare and the environment or how they haven’t fought hard enough for workers.

The time to leave the party is now. 

The time to start a new one is now.

And next I will give you my thoughts on how we do it.

Back

It’s been a while since I wrote here but I’ve got some things to say and there’s no better place right? Stay tuned. I plan to publish a couple of articles about what I think we need to do to save our democracy. No bigs.

For those of you looking backwards, you’ll find a lot, a lot of writing through the years. My previous blog hosting died and I lost a lot of the links to the photos in the posts. I’m sorry about that. Just no time to recover it all. But I got the words so that’s something right?

I also had this series of posts about the Democratic Primary. I kind of gave up on that after a while. But between the last post and today I had become a giant Warren fan and I was out there going door to door and I even collected enough signatures to get on the ballot as a Warren Delegate. In fact, today (if she had campaigned in PA, which she didn’t) I may have been “at” the convention as a delegate. Oh well.

So, whatever, watch this space. I’m going to save us all.. Well, you are if you read and share!

Biden Bashing

I like Joe Biden. I think he’s a cool guy and all. I went to school and was friends with his late son Beau. My father is good friends with him.

But guess what? I 100% do not want him to run this time around. He would probably be an OK president, but you know that I don’t want someone who is an establishment person, someone who is a centrist. Joe Biden is not a candidate for our times. He hasn’t been for quite a while. He is very much everything that I didn’t like about Hillary: Pro-Iraq war, connected to giant money interests, a DC player. Medhi Hasan lays it out quite well in his piece “Joe Biden Is Hillary Clinton 2.0 — Democrats Would Be Mad to Nominate Him

The Democratic establishment is all about him, he polls very well (due probably to name recognition), but guess what? He will get crushed by Donald Trump.

And that’s not counting the fact that women are kind of skeeved by him and he’s had a few credible accusations about inappropriate behavior. If you look into his record in the Senate you will find someone that was not really too good on woman’s issues over the years. Remember Anita Hill for example? There are dozens of reasons why women should not support him. Many are outlined in this incredibly thorough look at him.

Here is what I want to say about Joe. If he jumps into this, he’s going to be a terrible distraction and he’s going to take away a ton of the glorious progressive energy in the race. If he doesn’t loose the nomination, he will loose in 2020. I’m sure of it and you should make yourself aware and be sure of it too!

Um. No.

I’ve been an early fan of Tulsi Gabbard as you can see in the early posts of this very blog. And since then I’ve liked her a lot. Along the way, however I’ve heard a number of people complaining about how her positions were kind of anti-American and some went as far as calling her a Russian agent. I was fairly certain that this was a reaction to her anti-war stance and her anti-establishment progressive views.

That was until I saw this video:

 

In it, she maintains a position on Donald Trump and the Mueller “findings” even though not one of us has seen the report yet. She even goes further and suggests that we were maybe on the brink of a civil war.

This video reeks of propaganda and I have to say that it seems really suspicious. What the hell is she talking about? Is she a Russian agent? I mean, it’s possible she’s been compromised in some way or even complicit. In either case, I get a super weird vibe when I watch this video and my support for her has dropped by a lot.

What do you think?

Iowa

At times like this I so wish I lived in Iowa.

I have often complained about how stupid and unfair it is that one state pretty much determines which candidates move forward in the primary race for president. I could go on and on complaining about it. But right now I won’t. I will pretend I live there.

If I did I would be really into this process. I would be out there on the streets (farmlands?) and joining up in the caucuses and participating in grass roots government. The entire state would be alive with excitement and I would be able to see candidates in person almost every single day.

For example, here is a candidate tracker site by the De Moines Register. Just look at all those candidate events! There are websites like this one that track the entire horse race. They cover staff and endorsements by local residents and groups. I mean how much fun would this be? If I lived there I would be right in the middle of everything!!

God dammit, I can’t get around how dumb this is, that this tiny state with a population smaller than my city gets to choose who is going to be the next president way before I even have a chance to!

So Much to Write About

Things I need to write:

  1. More about Elizabeth Warren since I think she’s a super candidate
  2. A scorecard about where all the candidates seem to be right now in my mind
  3. A bit of discussion about the Klobuchar Town Hall on CNN
  4. Discussion about voting in general and how we pick candidates
  5. Bernie has entered the race!

Stay tuned.. I think #2 is next

The Debates

We’ve a long way to go until we start seeing debates but you can imagine how crazy it’s going to be when we see 25 people on the stage debating the issues.

The Democratic Party is starting to release details about how they will decide who is getting on the stage and it seems that they will be using polling results _and_ interestingly enough, the number of small donor donations. Not the value, but the number. So that means if you want to see your candidate on the debate stage you need to “vote” with your pocketbook and donate $1 or so.. It will make a difference! I’m going to donate to all the people I want to see debating.. I hope my spam folder doesn’t blow up!

Lets Run For President

I’ve kind of fallen in love with Ballotpedia. There is a TON of info there. One thing that I came across that I found pretty incredible is this chart:

Screenshot 2019-02-16 17.24.16

What does that tell you? Just look at that!!

This should tell you all you need to know about the Trump presidency. He is WILDLY unpopular. Unpopular enough for pretty much everyone to feel they need to jump in and take him down.

Of course you can read it another way: People feel “shit, if he can do it, so can I”.

What do you think?

Electability

This article is behind a paywall but here’s two paragraphs I found interesting:

The problem with judging candidates on electability is not just that we tend to be bad at it, but also that it means that instead of asking who you like, you’re asking who you think other people will like. Go too far down that road and you wind up with a nominee no one is too enthusiastic about. On the other hand, when parties nominate candidates who make their base excited, even if they don’t look electable at the outset, they have a better chance of winning. That’s how we got President Barack Obama. And also how we got President Trump.

and then it goes on to say that we should look at how well candidates will govern. It then notes:

Democrats have a history of nominating experienced, competent, serious people who would have been excellent presidents but never got the chance because their campaign skills weren’t as impressive. Thinking only about how they’ll perform in office tends to get you nominees such as Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton.

That’s what I hope to dig into with this blog. I want to not only figure out who is the most electable, but also who would make the best president. This is a hard task. What do you think?