Senator Elizabeth Warren


In 2016 when everyone was so excited about Hillary Clinton and I was saying how much I didn’t like her, on some occasions I was accused of not liking Hillary since she was a woman. My response was simple : If Warren were running I would be voting for her right now. That was true then. Is it still true? This year we have a number of potentially interesting candidates (many are women too) so I’m going to do some more thinking on who I’m going to support but if I had to choose right now with no thinking, Sen. Warren would be in serious consideration.

Let me get this right out of the way: I do not care a whit about if she is (or claimed to be) a Native American. This story is just typical of the crap that gets talked about instead of real issues by our media and I’m not going to engage it. I try very hard to just ignore reading about gossipy stuff like this. If I’m wrong and this is more than what it smells like, let me know. And I’m not alone. There are many people tweeting about how the MSM and others care way more about this issue than her policies. As an example:

So anyway, why do I like Warren? She has consistently gone up against Wall Street and has fought against the Billionaire ruling class in America since the beginning. She is very much aware of and is fighting against the corruption that that class has laid into the foundations of our government. On top of that, she’s quite smart and she’s not afraid to stand up for people.

Today as I write this she has just formally declared her candidacy and I urge you to give her speech a read. Its exciting, it hits all of the major points that I’m interested in and it will resonate with most of America as well. As we all know, the message of economic security is going to be one of the things that captures most of us.

And she isn’t going to take Billionare money or accept money from Super PACs. This fact (outlined in her speech) was super obvious a few weeks ago when she proposed her Wealth Tax. If you haven’t been paying attention, her tax would be a tax on accumulated wealth for people with assets over $50M. This tax is supported by over 60% of voters including over 50% of Republicans! So I’m sure not many super rich people are in favor of her candidacy. This is good. Very good.

Warren is a writer and has published a lot of works. One of them, written before she made it into public office is called “Two-Income Trap”. I haven’t read it but I did read this article about it and if you’re interested, you should as well. It has some good insights.

Can we beat Trump?

Everyone seems to care about electability of the Democratic Nominee. As in, can that person beat the Donald? Here’s what I say: Anyone can beat him. Even you.

The reason he won was that he was considered an outsider and someone who was going to change the government and “drain the swamp”. This is why Obama won and also why Bernie Sanders almost won over Clinton (of course you know I believe he would have won had there not been interference, but that’s another discussion).

But the Donald has proven to not be any of what candidate Trump was about. People know this now and there is no way he wins PA, OH and MI this time around. It was only by a slim majority did he win those in 2016 and remember, he lost by 3M votes.

Also his approval rating is below 40 and it shows no signs of getting better now that the D’s are in charge of the House. They will halt his agenda and hassle him for the next 2 years with committee hearings. This is all not even taking into consideration what may come when Mueller drops his report. Lastly, there is nobody competent left that will work with him and help him run his campaign.

Unless something significant changes things, ANYONE can beat him in a general election. Here is a poll out of Michigan that gives you an idea of what I’m talking about.

Biden, Bernie, Beto and Bloomberg

NBC News had a post a little while back called “2020: Waiting on Biden, Beto, Bernie and Bloomberg” that talked about what they said were the four big questions left of the 2020 field. Since I’m heading out for a little vacation, this post is set to drop in the future. I wonder if the question of weather these men will run is settled or not. But in either case, here are my initial thoughts about these 4.

Joe Biden : I’m dreading when Joe Biden will enter this race, and I’m pretty sure he will. He will be declared the immediate favorite and he will overshadow and distract from all the progressive goodness that’s been happening so far. A giant number of black voters will fall behind him and a giant number of Obama fans will as well. If he doesn’t self-destruct he will do quite well in the primaries. Why am I dreading this? Because he represents, to me, exactly what I don’t want to see in our nominee. He’s part of the party elite. He’s an insider. He is not a progressive. And if he wins then he probably doesn’t beat Trump (see : insider v. outsider)

Bernie Sanders : See my post on Bernie for now.

Beto O’Rourke : I don’t know a lot about Beto. What I do know for sure is that he almost won his US Senate race. In Texas! Versus Ted Cruz (asshole)! That means, to me, that there is something this guy is doing right. I like that he’s young and I like that he has the ability to campaign in Red Country. I do not know anything about his platform and his beliefs. If he joins, we can dig into all of that later.

Michael Bloomberg : From what I know about Bloomberg, I like the guy. He’s smart, he knows how to be a political executive and he seems to have a lot of progressive views (we would need to dig deeper on that when the time comes). His only negative so far is that he’s a rich old white dude. We shall see.

The Progressive Agenda

Currently I’m a Democrat. Before that I was an Independent. I switched because I wanted to vote for Bernie Sanders in 2016 and I continue to stay a Democrat because I want to become a delegate at the Democratic Convention. It’s a long-shot but it would be a no shot if I went back to being an Independent.

Why do I not want to be a Democrat? Pretty much because the party doesn’t represent me. It’s fully corrupted by big money and I think that supporting them by being a part of them doesn’t really help fix the problem. The solution is for all of us to drop out of the two parties entirely.

In the wake of Sanders’ loss I suggested that he should take all of his followers and christen a new party. A party that should have had the following major platform goals:

  1. Money out of politics
  2. Healthcare for all Americans
  3. Fixing income inequality
  4. A voting system that’s fair and allows EVERYONE equal and fair access to elections including an end to gerrymandering and other tricky ways the parties consolidate power
  5. An end to seemingly endless wars and the destruction of the military-industrial complex

I firmly believe that Bernies popularity and Barack Obamas before him and of course Donald Trump all come from the same thing : Americans are sick of corrupt insider politics. A party standing for the things I listed above would be immediately popular and thus powerful. It would be a party for the majority of Americans and it could elect leaders that actually would reform Washington.

I honestly don’t know why Bernie or someone like him doesn’t start something like this. But that’s a discussion for another time.

Since there is no true Progressive Party, there are just ideas floating around but they all pretty much mirror what I outlined above. For example, here’s a blog post that pretty much echos what I’m talking about. And here is a post from the godfather of the modern progressive movement himself. And if you spend some time listening to progressive media outlets (the biggest of which is TYT and highly recommended by me) you will get the message loud and clear. Progressives want an end to all of this bullshit.

Instead we have the closest thing to that dream : The Democratic Party. This is why this blog exists. I want to find and support someone who comes closest to my ideals and also who is electable in our current system. I believe that if the Democratic nominee is that person, they will crush whoever the Republicans put up.

But if you look closely, the party is against these types of candidates. We all know this. We’ve seen it. We see them right now starting to try and take down candidates that are progressive and we see them discounting progressive ideas as fringe fluff.

There is a great article in the Intercept called “Progressive Ideas Matter to Voters. So Why Do Democrats Fixate on the Identity of the Messenger?” that does a great job of pointing this all out. The party and the mainstream media are doing their best to start undercutting the progressive message even though polling is through the roof for things like the $15 minimum wage and Medicare for All.

If anything moves you in this election, please don’t let it be the main stream messaging. Figure out what is important to you and what you want to see in America and let your support head in that direction. Don’t be fooled into thinking that any Democrat will win this election in 2020. In my mind and I think in most of our hearts, we know that the only people who have a shot at winning are ones that honestly believe in the Progressive Agenda.


Tulsi is off to a not great start

I’ve been wondering when Gabbard was going to make her announcement. This article tells me a bit about maybe why I haven’t:

This is a stark contrast to the well oiled rollout of Harris, and it says a lot. If Gabbard can’t manage her campaign then can she manage the country?

You only get one shot to make a first impression.

Kristen Gillibrand

Official Portrait

First off, can I just say how awesome it is to be talking about so many women? I’m pretty excited by it and I think it’s about time to have a female president. Not only because it’s about time, but also because a female temperament may be what we need in office. Anyway, onward.

So Kristen Gillibrand is “launching a presidential exploratory committee” which kind of means that if she can start raising the money and generate enough interest, she’s in. I wasn’t planning to talk about her but I was listening to the recent podcast of “Pod Save America” where she was featured in an interview and I couldn’t finish listening to it. I know I need to since now I’m a blogger and this is what I’m supposed to be doing but her initial answers were super bland and kind of tired right out of the gate. I didn’t even get into what I assume will be a policy discussion of some kind..

Ok. It’s been a minute since the last paragraph and I listened to the rest. She seems to be speaking to some progressive issues but, with the exception of health insurance, she isn’t speaking with a lot of knowledge. For example, her discussion about Climate Change is really not great at all. At one point she referred to “L E E D certified” instead of the very commonly used “LEED certified” (spelling it out instead of saying it). And then she went into saying how clean water was important to the climate change. Um, nope. I mean, it’s sort of in the same category (the environment), and sure it’s important but it has no real impact on climate change.. And then she went into a carbon tax but mixed it up with pollution.. She’s conflating two separate issues. Is she just speaking words in hopes to get people to follow her?

In stark contrast, the ending portion of the interview was quite spirited and she finally came out of her shell a bit. This is when she was talking about immigration.

I don’t know.. in this interview she mostly felt guarded and had little energy and also it didn’t feel like she had command of all of the issues. This are all things that she will improve as she goes along but if it’s not there at the core, then is she someone we want to be our next president? Could you imagine her being able to make a command decision in a time of crisis? Is she a true progressive?

I admit that I could be way off base and I’m going to give her another chance, but first impressions are kind of deadly in this kind of situation.

Kamala Town Hall

I can’t find a link to the whole video (maybe it’s on youtube?) but last night CNN gave Kamala Harris a “Town Hall” in Iowa. Here is the CNN updates from the event.

First of all, I want to say that it feels a bit weird that they didn’t do this for Warren (maybe cause she hasn’t officially declared?) and also for Gabbard (who I think has declared) but maybe they are in the works?

Kamala has made a smart move by officially declaring and also by doing it early. She is setting the race rules and issues all by herself and she’s making her answers be the standards that others will have to compete with. I like her bravery and intelligence here.

So how did she do? I’m sold. She came out and kicked some ass and directly answered questions. Green New Deal? She is totally into it. Healthcare? Medicare for All and let the private health insurers die thank you. The Wall? Are you kidding me? Get that shit out of here!

She also did a pretty good job defending her prosecutor past. I’ve come across some tweets that have videos of some of her old speeches that I haven’t looked at yet, but they could be an interesting contrast.. When I get back from vacation in about 10 days we will circle back.

For now, she’s looking serious and ready.

Also, the same question came up 2 times: We are willing to give up on our beliefs and accept a Democratic nominee who we don’t agree with as long as they can beat Trump. Can you do it?? Let me just say this: I am 100% sure that anyone competent can beat Donald Trump in 2020. If the election were tomorrow, Hillary would beat him hands down. This is a relevant question, but not an important one. Donald will be beaten, that is a total lock.

Kamala was a “cop”

This is going to be a giant issue in the beginning of her campaign, no doubt. Not only was Kamala a DA but she was also AG for the state of California. That made her the “top cop” in the state. That in itself isn’t an issue at all. What is at issue is what she did when she was there.

Vox put up a really good post that gives an into to the conundrum. It walks through her entire history from a policy perspective. As with everything in politics, its a balancing act : in order to change things, you need to “work the system” a bit and give on some areas and take on others. In other words, the job requires a nuanced approach.

Our job is to try and see through all of this and determine what is in Kamalas heart. What does she actually believe? Once we have a handle on that, we can predict with a little bit of accuracy what she will do in the future as president. Of course, we have seen instances where the candidate was somewhat more progressive than the actual president (see Obama, Barack).

This article in Mother Jones from a year ago gets into this stuff more and I recommend you read it. One thing that strikes me is how as AG she defended some things that are kind of shitty. But the question is this : What is the job of the Attorney General? Does the AG set policy? Or do they defend the policy decisions of their state? Can they move things in the right direction? Or should they try and win cases where they know they can win and let the others die? I’m inclined to give her a pass for her work as the AG (in terms of policy).

After reading the MJ article, one thing comes clear. Kamala is a big believer of changing things from within. Her family background and her time before she became a prosecutor tells the story of a person who is very much born into values around civil rights. The more I read, I think I’m digging her more and more. We need someone as president who is able to get things done using the traditional tools of US politics. We need someone pragmatic while still being idealistic. Is this who Kamala is?


Bernie Sanders

Landscape architect Mitch Rasor installs sculpture

This guy. Back in late 2014 I was talking to a friend of mine about the upcoming election in 2016 and he said something along the lines of “I think you owe it to yourself to check out Bernie Sanders”. I remember thinking, isn’t he that super old senator, who the hell is he and what does he have to offer? Flash forward about 14 months and I was walking door to door in my city reminding voters that between him and Hillary, the choice was obvious.

And in 2016 there was really no choice as far as I was concerned. Hillary represented everything I hated about the establishment. Sure she would be an ok president but what were her views on income inequality? On sending our troops to war? Money in politics? I remember a quote somewhere saying something like “Bernie attacks the rich while Hillary wants to raise money from them”. In my mind at the time, Bernie would beat any candidate the Republicans put up (I think it was pretty much Trump by then). I still believe that.

But of course Bernie didn’t win the primary. But he came super close. This despite the fact that the Democratic party and the media did everything they could to make it hard for him. If you read a book like Donna Brazile’s or even read her post in politico at the time, you will see my point.

I love this guy. And I’m not alone. Here’s an awesome piece by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone that you should read. Hell, just read the tagline: “You have to be crazy to take on the donors who run Washington. Bernie Sanders doesn’t care”.

Look, I want change. I want real progressive values to be the platform of the Democratic nominee. And I know Bernie will fight for that. The new question for 2020 is this: Are there better candidates that will take his lead? That’s what the next year (and hopefully this blog) will be all about.

Will he run? That’s another question I don’t know the answer to. He may be happy with the giant leap in popularity that he’s gotten since 2016 and he may use that to help his work in the Senate. He’s already changing the debates we’re having. But what will we loose? What will not be debated if he’s not in the race? Will the others like Gabbard and Warren cover the issues I care about? Here is a really good summary of the things that Bernie would bring to the debate that we could maybe not see if he doesn’t run. I’m torn. If he runs, he could pull a lot of votes from other progressives*. Like everything else, we shall see!

* one note: I wrote about this a lot in my previous blog and I will try to recover some of those posts to put here but my views about fair voting are super strong and I firmly believe that the way we vote in America in multi-candidate elections are extremely unfair and also do a lot of harm to our system. People vote strategically instead of who they actually want to represent them and that is just awful. If you read just one thing from this blog, make it this book : Gaming the Vote. I can’t recommend it enough. In short, math proves that plurality voting (our current system) is pretty much one of the worst systems we can use. There are better ones, more fair and easy to implement.