Force the Democratic Party to listen to Progressives while helping to build momentum and enthusiasm for the 2018 election the similar to how the Tea Party controls the Republican Party. Reform the Democratic Party NOW!
The new party would only run candidates against non-progressive candidates and it would prefer to endorse Progressive Democrats in 2018. In 2020 it would only run a Presidential candidate if there is no suitable Progressive candidate or if the DNC locks us out of the Primaries.
I hear your talks about how people dropping out because they are discouraged is not OK. The problem with that argument is that it is out of sync with the reality of the situation and we need to keep the conversation in the realms of reality right now. The reality is that the ongoing behaviour of the Democratic Party will hand the Republican Party a supermajority in 2018 and Trump a second term in 2020 if we don’t do something about it! We need to reform the Democratic Party NOW!
I know you know this is true and this letter means to offer to you what I think the only short term solution is to this problem. The problem can be solved in other ways, but the way I see it is that any other way of solving this will take a lot longer and we really do not have that much time.
There are a lot of people looking to you for leadership, but as was made painfully clear back in November, many of them will only follow you if they believe in what you are working towards. We are not blind followers and the current self serving Democratic Bankers Party is not something the people can believe in. Therefore there is a very good chance the Democrats will lose big again in 2018 if we don’t take drastic measures right now and we desperately need you to take a different direction now, while we still have a chance to succeed in 2018 and 2020.
I do not need to explain the numbers to you and both you and I know that if you take California out of the equation than Donald Trump won the popular vote in 2016. If you take the West Coast and the North East Coasts out of the equation, then Donald Trump heavily dominates over the Democratic Party.
The maps would look drastically different if you are in control of the party and the only way to get Middle America back is if you take over the leadership of the party. The problem is that those coasts are already relatively under Democratic Party control and nationwide, Trump is more popular than it looks like to the people in those regions. (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/donald-trump-popularity-polling-234630) Compounding this is the fact that there are 3x as many Democratic Senate seats up for reelection in 2018 than Republican seats. This combined with the damping effects on enthusiasm caused by the continual arrogance and game playing of the Democratic Bankers Party (i.e. the contingent of the Democratic Party that is in bed with the banks).
Furthermore, every time the Democratic Party does something like the reappointment of Ben Ray Luján to head the DCCC and pushing through Tom Perez to chair the DNC despite the obvious majority support for Keith Ellison, they are frustrating more and more of their base and thereby helping Trump and his agenda. It wasn’t just the Presidency that was lost as a result of the corruption that occurred during the 2016 Primary, the entire Democratic Party took a major hit as a result and that trend will continue as long as the Democratic Party continues behaving like a Democratic Bankers Party.
That is all in the past now and we need to move forward. The only reasonably short term solution I see is you joining the “Draft Bernie” movement and using that third party as a leverage against the Democratic Party in much the same way the Tea Party pushes the Republican Party to adopt the Koch Brothers agenda. The third party would then be able to endorse candidates regardless of party affiliation as well as running candidates of its own. Pro banker Democrats will be able to be replaced while progressive Democrats positions will be strengthened.
I think this is the only way to force the Democratic Party’s hand in a reasonable time frame. It is also the only way I see you reactivating your base back to the levels they were at during your campaign. Then in 2018, you will be able to say who stays and who goes simply by the nature of who you endorse in 2018. The entire Democratic Party will benefit greatly from this process. Then after 2018 you will be able to decide if you want the third party to endorse a Democrat or if it should run it’s own Presidential candidate.
Then, moving forward, new leadership will arise and the third party will serve as an ongoing check against the bankers taking over the Democratic Party in much the same way the Tea Party continuously influences the Republican Party with their Koch Brothers fueled agenda.
If the Democratic Party wants to play along, this new third party will be more of a way for controlling the Democratic Party than a party that actually runs candidates. Candidates would typically run as Democrats in much the same way Tea Party candidates run as Republicans. If they don’t then the new Third Party would emerge as the predominant party in lieu of the Democratic Party.
If you do not do this now and the Republicans gain seats in 2018, then even if a Democrat wins in 2020, they will be so constrained that will take years to recover. We can minimize the damage now, but that can not happen in the short term without your help.
Please carefully consider this plea and if you want to test the waters, just slip out a little message in one of your interviews mentioning that you would consider joining the Draft Bernie movement if it raised at least $20M in small contribution pledges or something like that. Then we will have a goal to meet you with.
It is important for us to understand what happened during the 2016 election so that we do not let it happen again. We need to seriously and honestly analyze the 2016 primary and election cycle, draw some conclusions as to what drove the elections the way it did, and analyze where the U.S. voters are at. Then we need to use that information to figure out how to move forward with or without the Democratic Party. We need to understand the media bias and why the Democratic Bankers Party lost 1043 seats nationwide between 2010 to 2016. We will need to work hard if we want to turn around this trend in the 2018 and 2020 elections!
Before I go any further I want to point to what I think some of the solutions are. I elaborate on these at the end of the article in the “What Can We Do” section.
Push for ranked choice voting and multi congressional districts. (see FairVote.org)
Secure, open source, verifiable voting using block-chain technology (see FollowMyVote.com)
Push for a constitutional convention to force Congress to get money out of politics. (see Wolf-Pac.com)
Boycott the anti-Bernie Sanders mainstream press and fund progressive news.
If the DNC continues to refuse to work with the 99% move to Third Party.
One major point to understand is that Bernie Sanders was vastly more popular than anyone was willing to admit. He ran openly saying that he was a Social Democrat running under the Democratic ticket, so conventional wisdom is that he should have not gotten any following to speak of outside of a far left fringe. Yet, every time he spoke, his popularity rose in that region, and Bernie Sanders drew the largest crowds of any candidate, including Donald Trump. Also, the vast majority of the positive social media activity was about Bernie Sanders.
Bernie Sanders should have been the BIG story of the campaign season and yet there was a near total media blackout of his campaign. For example, on March 15, 2016 the networks showed speeches from Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, and they even showed the empty podium waiting for Donald Trump to arrive — yet they barely even gave the Bernie Sanders campaign a mention, even though Bernie Sanders had by far the largest crowd that night and consistently drew the largest crowds of the entire campaign. Major network coverage was weighted between 23 to 1 and up to 200 to 1 in favor of Donald Trump over Bernie Sanders, which did not echo actual public sentiment.
If any major news company did say anything about Bernie Sanders, it was usually a minor mention in an article about Hillary Clinton, or trying to equate Bernie Sanders with Donald Trump. I a particularly low point, The New York Times even coined the phrase “Bernie Bros” in what was a largely fake news opinion piece about Bernie Sanders. They ran with completely false narratives calling Bernie Sanders a single issue candidate, which was interesting because the only reason Hillary Clinton was talking about half the issues she talked about was in response to the many issues Bernie Sanders was actively campaigning about.
Hillary Clinton even colluded with the DNC to reduce the number of debates just to keep Bernie Sanders from getting any extra airtime. Hillary Clinton claimed media bias, but the bias was really very heavily in her favor, as clearly shown in the article entitled “2016 Presidential Media Blackouts: Not Just Conspiracy” . The graph below, which was taken from this article shows just how heavily the media coverage was weighted versus what the public interest was for that candidate as shown by Google search queries. As the graph showed that if you look at coverage as compared to public interest, then the media was clearly biased more towards Hillary Clinton than any other candidate, even when compared to Donald Trump. Even more stark is the evidence that the media underrepresented Bernie Sanders in their coverage. These results hold true even after accounting for age variances in computer use. The facts are blatantly obvious that there was an intentional media blackout against the Bernie Sanders candidacy.
This graph shows how the media coverage was biased towards each candidate as compared to what the public interest was for that candidate in Google search queries. Taken from “2016 Presidential Media Blackouts:Not Just Conspiracy” http://decisiondata.org/news/political-media-blackouts-president-2016/
Even NPR and PBS conspired in the boycotting of the Bernie Sanders campaign. The DNC colluded with the Hillary Clinton campaign in violation of its own rules. There were massive voter purges in New York and Arizona, as well as in several other states, all favoring Hillary Clinton. Exit polls were off nearly everywhere and in nearly every case the errors massively favored Hillary Clinton. I could go on, but the point is that Hillary Clinton was getting less and less popular every time she spoke while the crowds attending Bernie Sanders rallies kept getting larger and larger and Bernie Sanders was getting more and more popular whenever people learned about him. Bernie Sanders could fill any stadium in the country with less than an hour notice, while Hillary Clinton could not even fill a high school gym.
Then, once it became clear that Donald Trump would be the Republican candidate, poll after poll showed that Bernie Sanders would fair far better in the Presidential race against Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton would. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find an honest poll that said otherwise and this is inspite of the media blackout, the DNC collusion, as well as all the other biases against Bernie Sanders and yet the news outlets like the New York Times were running articles with headlines like “Bernie Sanders Does Better vs. Trump? Wouldn’t Be Prudent to Assume That”! The article is an opinion piece, so it can’t be labeled as fake news per say, but it sure is infuriating to anyone who has actually looked at the mountains of evidence confirming the polls predictions. The article itself alludes to the fact that most of the polls point to Sanders faring better against Trump than Clinton does and yet they continue ignoring any and all evidence that does not fit their narrative, making it hard to believe that they even believe their own opinions. This type of reporting played over and over again in the mainstream press during the primary season, with reporter after reporter repeatedly asking when Bernie Sanders would finally drop out of the race.
This continued throughout the primary season with the corporate media ignoring the obvious election fraud being perpetrated by the DNC and Clinton campaign while disenfranchising and infuriating the majority of the Democratic base. There was a clear divide between people who sourced their own news and the ones who only used mainstream sources.
Per necessity, this would have ended during the (primary) election phase of the race, and the media outlets would have had a very hard time ignoring the Bernie Sanders campaign had he gotten the nomination. Furthermore, the debates would have been between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, and the Bernie Sanders campaign would have received a huge media boost from those debates if the DNC hadn’t stolen the nomination from him. The fact is that Bernie Sanders would have received a lot more news coverage during the post primary election season despite the efforts by the mainstream media organizations to boycott the Sanders campaign. This in turn would have resulted in a lot more excitement in his platform, which in turn would have been a gigantic boost for progressive issues in general as well as all the progressive candidates down ticket. Instead we got a debate about which candidate was worse and a near complete buzz-kill on the Left and a lot of Progressives just stayed home.
I came to the conclusion while knocking on doors in Nevada and Utah that Bernie Sanders could even take heavily Republican States. I know from that experience that Bernie Sanders would have won handily against Donald Trump by a large margin and that Hillary Clinton would have lost that race. She was universally disliked by the Left and the Right. I came to this conclusion because I am not one to just follow instructions, so instead of just knocking on the doors MiniVan, the voter outreach software used by both the Clinton and the Sanders campaigns, told me to, I walked faster and even jogged from door to door so I could knock on every single door. What I found was that nearly everyone, Republican, Democrat, Independent, young or old, regardless of ethnicity or race, all said they liked Bernie Sanders even if they were not planning on voting for him. They all respected him and his message, viewed him as honest and trustworthy. They all liked him, even if they were not planning on voting for him. Even the Republicans said they thought Bernie was a good guy. Many of them, even Republicans, did not like Donald Trump. Even starker was the message that nearly everyone disliked Hillary Clinton. They thought she was dishonest and not trustworthy. The Republicans who disliked Donald Trump and liked Bernie Sanders almost universally hated Hillary Clinton. Maybe one in 50 households was a Hillary supporter in the Salt Lake City area and the towns surrounding it. Hardcore Republicans who would say things like, “I can’t vote for Bernie, because I am a Republican, but I respect him and all of my kids are voting for him!” Whenever I mentioned Clinton on the other hand, they nearly always had very negative things to say about her.
So, consider the tallies of the November 8th Presidential election, and let’s do a little thought experiment. Let’s break the voters up into logical groups as a thought experiment:
Third party voters..
Eligible abstainers and uncounted presidential ballots due to being left blank or an ineligible write-in.
Now here is how I think this would have played out and although you may argue about the level of the claims, I think it is hard to argue with the validity of them.
Of the Hillary Clinton voters how many would have voted for Trump, a third party or not voted if Bernie was the nominee? Seriously. Bernie Sanders would have gotten the Hillary vote! Think about it and be honest.
Of the Trump voters, how many voted for him because of Hillary Clinton? This is probably a substantial number. Based on my non scientific survey in Nevada and Utah I would put this at 50%, but to be realistic let’s say this number is 10% — and then just to be ultra conservative, let’s divide this by 10 and only give Bernie Sander 1% of the Trump vote as a switchover. You know this number is too low, so now at least we can’t argue about it. Besides, 17% of the people who voted for Trump said they didn’t like him so this number should probably be 17%!
3a. Of the Jill Stein voters how many would have voted for Bernie Sanders? Pretty much all of them. Jill Stein would have more than likely told her base to vote for Bernie Sanders, so count the Jill vote for Bernie. (This is about 1% overall, but this is an easy number to get by State.)
3b. Of the Gary Johnson voters, how many voted for him because they couldn’t vote for Bernie? Probably most of them, but let’s say 50%. Overall this was 3.28% so say 1.5%, but again it is an easy number to get per State.
3c. Of the other independents, I’m pretty sure most of their voters came out of frustration of only having Trump or Hillary to choose from, but let’s say 50% here. To be clear, these were non-candidates who where only even listed in a few States. People who voted for these candidates were intentionally throwing away their votes!
4a. How many eligible non voters or abstainers would have voted for Bernie Sanders if he was the nominee? This is actually quite a large number. People were very excited about Bernie Sanders and a lot of people abstained because Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee. A substantial number of people even either left the presidential field blank or wrote in Bernie Sanders name. Instead of a marginal election turnout, it likely would have been a record breaking turnout election year if Bernie Sanders would have been on the ballot, even beyond the 2008 turnout. But let’s stick with the 2008 number which would add 2.2% to the total.
4b. How many MORE Republicans would have come out specifically to vote against Bernie Sanders. I’d say this is a non category because the Republicans who were motivated to vote against Bernie Sanders were also motivated to vote against Hillary Clinton, so 0%.
Donald Trump = 45.95% – 1% (switch Trump to Bernie) = 44.95/1.022 = 43.98
The new spread would be 8.6% or 6.51% higher than the spread between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton… and remember, I divided the switch vote by 10 just so we couldn’t argue with this number because in reality it would have been much higher!
OK, so now let’s look at the States that Trump won from Hillary Clinton by less than 6.51% and try to figure out how many of those would have gone to Bernie Sanders instead of Donald Trump. The States are: Michigan(16) 0.22%, Pennsylvania(20) 0.72% Wisconsin(10) 0.76%, Florida(29) 1.20%, Nebraska (NE-2)(1) 2.24%, Arizona(11) 3.55%, North Carolina(15) 3.66% and Georgia(16) 5.13%. The total electoral college vote represented by those States is 16+20+10+29+1+11+15+16 = 118
In order for Bernie Sanders to have won he would have only needed 43 more electoral college votes to Clinton’s totals, so just flipping Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin would have been enough and as you can see he would have done way better than that based on these very cautious assumptions. In fact, the Jill Stein vote alone would have gotten Bernie Sanders Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, so Bernie Sanders would have won even if all the other assumptions are wrong. On the other hand if the Donald Trump to Bernie Sanders flip vote really would have been 10%, Bernie Sanders would have won nearly every State.
Even crazier, if you look at States like Utah where Trump won from Hillary by 18.08%, the independent vote was 25.87% and Bernie Sanders may have even stood a chance there. Think about it, Bernie Sanders, a self proclaimed Social Democrat could have won in Utah! It would have been an overwhelming landslide for Bernie Sanders if he was the candidate.
Furthermore, all the down ticket Democratic candidates would have had a boost from the Bernie Sanders campaign, so the entire government would have looked a lot more blue if Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic nominee.
OK, so It is pretty hard to deny that Bernie Sanders would have won from Donald Trump and that was pretty well predicted by nearly every honest poll that measured how the candidates would fair against each other during the primaries. We knew this in time, yet the mainstream media refused to run those stories and the Democratic Party refused to admit their flawed strategy. What does that get us now?
The main thing is that it gives us a picture of what happened and a clear direction on which way to go. We need to understand that there is a HUGE hole in the political center and the Democrats just keep jumping in it. It is clearly impossible to win from the Center, even from a Republican candidate as weak as Donald Trump! So now it is time for the Democratic Party to either take that lesson to heart or for us, the 99%, to push them aside. Why are there no viable candidates running against the Nancy Pelosi’s and Chuck Schumer’s of the House and Senate?
Bernie Sanders keeps saying that Donald Trump spoke to the “hurt” middle America is feeling, but I think that that was less of a factor than the outright disdain for Hillary Clinton and the type of campaign she ran. I really do not think that Donald Trump won the election. Hillary Clinton just flat out lost and she can not blame anyone but herself for the defeat.
Sorry, but it wasn’t the Russians, since even if they were the ones who put the leeks out there, the leaks were not new information. All the leaks did was confirm what both the Trump and Bernie supporters already knew.
Hillary Clinton can’t blame the “Bernie Bros” either. Just watch some video clips from the Democratic Convention and look at how the DNC treated the Bernie Sanders supporters. It’s not exactly a great example of how to win friends and influence people.
Hillary Clinton cannot even blame the media. The most egregious and damaging “fake” news articles were the anti Bernie Sanders ones as published by outlets such as The New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, the Washington Post, NPR, PBS, etc. As shown earlier in the article, the media was as good to Hillary Clinton as they possibly could have been, but there were just too many inescapably bad things to say about Hillary Clinton’s behaviour. One good article on this topic isWhich Part 1930s Did You Not Get Americans Finally Learn Cooperate National Suicide, which states “For every fake scandal that the ‘fake’ news accuses Bill and Hillary Clinton of doing, there is an equally bad or worse REAL scandal that isn’t being reported on”. I could give you a long list, but let’s keep it to the ones that affect all of us like the fact that one of the authors of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, the primary legislation that led to the 2008 financial meltdown, was the CFO of the Hillary Clinton campaign or that Hillary Clinton colluded with the DNC during the 2015-2016 presidential primaries and when the DNC had to fire Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Hillary Clinton hired her to work on her campaign. Hillary Clinton even cheated during the debates with Bernie Sanders and was given the questions she was going to be asked during the debates. I could write an entire article on the REAL Hillary Clinton scandals, but you can also Google it… or you may have to use DuckDuckGo.com, because it turns out that Google was also party to the collusion.
Then, as if all this isn’t bad enough, Hillary Clinton and the DNC can not even blame election fraud. Yes, there was lots of it, and it favored Donald Trump during the election, and the voter purges were not orchestrated by Russia. The CIA isn’t even saying that. They were not even orchestrated by Donald Trump. They are in fact just politics as usual in Washington DC. They are part of the anti-voter movement orchestrated primarily by the Republican party that wants to limit voter rolls to favor more conservative, less popular candidates. This happens at both the State and Federal level with the courts throwing out the Voting Rights Act in 2013, new voter ID laws implemented in Republican controlled States and States implementing programs like the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/the-gops-stealth-war-against-voters-w435890), which massively increases voter roll purges, result in clear election fraud and general partisan politics that we so desperately need a politician like Bernie Sanders to fight. Unfortunately for us, the Supreme Court will more than likely be heavily stacked with extremely conservative rightwing ideologues for many, many years to come now that Donald Trump will be the 45th POTUS, so things are going to get worse before they get better now.
Then to add insult to injury, you can just take the election fraud articles and YouTube videos describing the election fraud and voter roll purges, etc. from November and change the dates and replace the RNC with the DNC and Trump with Clinton and you have pretty much the same videos the Bernie Sanders supporters were showing during the primary season, long before the Democratic Convention even happened. For Bernie Sanders supporters those articles and videos were deja-vu and incredibly painful!
Yes we need to fix election fraud, but the DNC needs to start with just not committing it. So yes, the voter purges threw the election to Donald Trump but as mentioned above, they were orchestrated way before the election, and since the DNC did the same thing to the Bernie Sanders supporters, Hillary Clinton has no grounds to legitimately complain about the shenanigans. It’s a dirty trick both parties played, and it is one of the things that we, the people, the voters as citizens, need to stop. No, we can’t accept it or let it happen again, but there is very little we can do about it retroactively and we have to live with a Trump presidency instead of finally having a Bernie Sanders as our President. And this courtesy of the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign…sorry, but there really isn’t anyone else to blame but Hillary Clinton for the Donald Trump presidency. It was painfully obvious during the primaries that Bernie Sanders was the better candidate and any honest evaluation of the primary shows the Bernie Sanders would have been the nominee if the DNC and the Clinton Campaign would have played with integrity and by the rules, but then again, integrity was the real problem to begin with
Oh, but you say all politicians are the same and Bernie Sanders would have been just like Barack Obama. Ummm, I don’t think so. I have never, ever seen anyone, let alone, someone who has worked as a Congressperson in Washington for over 25 years, be so consistently Progressive as Bernie Sanders! All the signs were pointing to Bernie Sanders continuing to do and say exactly what he has been doing and saying his entire life and the contrast between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton could not be more stark. Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were as similar as Red, Green and Blue are on the color spectrum. You really can’t compare any of them to each other, because each of these three candidates could not be more different to each other. Bernie Sanders has integrity and experience, Hillary Clinton lacks integrity but has experience, Donald Trump has neither integrity nor experience.
Hillary Clinton also can’t and actually isn’t blaming the electoral college because, yes, it was a defeat and Donald Trump won. If the DNC and/or the RNC want to change the rules, they have to change them before the election. The one thing you can’t do is try to change the rules after losing. Not only is that just not going to happen, it also just makes the people trying to change it look like sore losers. What we can do is look at what we did to make this happen, and commit to never doing that again. We can and should also take a serious look at what the key problems are that we can fix, make a long term plan detailing how we plan to fix them, and then we need to get to work! We may only be able to do small baby steps by 2020, but regardless, be need to keep going and execute the plan like the Oligarchic elite ‘Koch Bros class’ has done.
Many people felt incredibly betrayed by Barack Obama, many even before he took the oath of office! His supporters felt betrayed by his cabinet appointments, for putting the crooks who caused the meltdown in charge of the bailout, for having drone kill lists, for not pushing for single payer or a public option, for allowing the banks to kick over 7 million people out of their homes and on and on. People who don’t like Obama look at the Clintons as a bad version of the Obamas. There is just nothing there for anyone in the Center. The ONLY solution is for We The People to replace the centrist candidates with true progressive candidates and for the entire Democratic Party to move to the left. WAY TO THE LEFT!
Left, like where the Democratic Party was before Bill Clinton took office.
Left, like New Deal left!
The Third Party Option
The current Democratic Party has really become a party for the bankers, oil tycoons, and Goldman Sachs Wall Street 0.01 percenters. The Democratic Party needs to be rebranded to the “Bankers Party,” because they really are a VIP party for people with a lot of money in the bank. The Neoliberal Democratic Party as represented by Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi needs to be completely overhauled if we are going to salvage it.
We also need to commit to the only contingency left to us if we can not ‘occupy’ the Democratic Party and be ready to take charge with a real and viable third party. Sure, we could maybe accomplish that without Bernie Sanders’ leadership, but it would be much easier and much faster it we had him and Elizabeth Warren on board with such a plan, and we will clearly need to act on this immediately after the DNC Chairperson selection in early February 2017 if the Democratic Party goes against the Progressive Caucus’s wishes and installs a Neoliberal to chair the DNC.
Yes, a third party would make it much harder for progressives to win, so it is not the best option, but it may very well be the only one we have if the Democratic Party does not want to work with us.
One potential way to mitigate this issue would be to have the new third party openly state its intention to rejoin the Democratic Party if and only if the Democratic Party meets our demands and gets back to its roots from the FDR years. If they force us to Demexit than they will need to come to us to rejoin them and not visa versa.
Deep State, Deep Problems
An important thing to realize is that the political center has been a moving target for the past 40 years. Democrats keep making the mistake of trying to compromise with the unyielding Neoconservatives who keep moving the target as soon as the Democrats start to move towards it. There cannot be any compromising under those circumstances, because you can’t compromise with someone who is not only not compromising, but actually moves the target based on your compromise.
These ultra elite Libertarians include mega corporations and billionaires, chief among them are the Koch brothers. They abuse “philanthropy” to divert their taxes to fund conservative think tanks to manage and market their agenda. Then they buy up news outlets, pay lobbyists, and even fund college tuitions to create their own primary sources and implement their plans. They are very intentional, well organized, and absolutely ruthless — and Progressives need to understand what they are up against. Bernie Sanders frequently refers to these people as the Oligarchy.
Progressives do have the truth on their side. Marketing can sell just about anything short term, but how long does it take to get buyers remorse? How long can this spike in income inequality, greed, and disrespect for Mother Nature continue? The ultra right use tools like the police state, racism, religion, and whatever tools they can because they are absolutely ruthless. No bridge is a bridge too far for them, and they will literally stop at nothing to implement it. They have a long term plan and we need to understand what we are up against if we want to have any chance at all of countering it.
What Can We Do?
We cannot think small or work on short sighted goals. We need to be bold and have long term offensive plans of our own. We need to think of things like ballot initiatives and constitutional conventions and actually work to change the underlying structures that are allowing these to happen. Most of all we need to stop herding cats and agree to work together and that together can only be on the progressive left. There is a huge sucking sound from the vacuum in the political center where the Neoliberals want to take us, so how about We just stop following them.
Here are a few initiatives that seem worthy of support:
Continuing the Bernie Sanders movement (see OurRevolution.com)
Secure, open source, verifiable voting using block-chain technology (see FollowMyVote.com)
Wolf-pac.com: Constitutional convension to change voter laws.
FairVote.org: Undo Gerrymandering and implement better voting strategies like “ranked choice voting” and multi congressional districts.
BrandNewCongress.org: Replace bad Neoliberals and Conservatives with Progressive candidates.
Boycott any news outlet that is under management owned by the ‘Big 5’ media conglomerates and channel those dollars to progressive media like Democracy Now.
Break the Reaganesque ‘big government is bad government’ myth, move away from the Bankers Party and use the third party option if necessary.
The good news is that we actually saw a crack in this election cycle. We came a lot closer than we have since Roosevelt’s victory in 1932.
Continuing the Bernie Sanders movement is an obvious one. OurRevolution.com may very well incorporate several of the other initiatives and I am very interested to see where they take it. The main thing I hope is that they do not just support democrats because they are democrats. They will need to embrace a major shift to the left of the DNC away from the Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi leadership roles and push to replace neoliberal candidates with true progressive candidates. They need to work with organizations like BrandNewCongress.org and others who are filling the Progressive pipeline at all levels of government.
Both the Democrats and Republicans seem to love the broken election system, since it keeps incumbents in power. We can no longer let this be OK so we need to push for an election system that has a clear audit trail, that allows everyone to vote without having to wait in 5 hour lines and yet, maintains voter privacy. All this is well within our technological grasp and although it may net be ready for 2020, we should have Internet based voting for everyone no later than 2024! Using robust security systems like the current internal key system in the new Apple iPhones, high level encryption and blockchain verifiability would allow a voting system to be secure and auditable. Allowing people to vote as often as they like, but only counting the last vote would help against coercion making that a non-issue while also giving voters complete voter privacy. Using multi-mode verification like a fingerprint, a retinal scan or face recognition along with a name and address or whatever works would allow anyone with a smartphone or a cheap USB voting device to vote securely while still allowing non-smartphone users to vote from any device, a polling place or even a paper mail-in ballot and since there would be far fewer paper ballots those would be easier to verify. The Blockchain would need to be open source so the voters can know that there is no cheating in the software implementation. The voters would need to be given a verification code that would show that their vote was counted exactly as they intended without revealing how the voted and since the code would be created by their choices they would know that their votes were counted just as intended them to be. If a voter voted multiple times all of their codes would be valid even though the earlier votes would be ignored so the coercer would not be able to tell that you changed your vote and with future improvements to technology such as that in the new Apple iPhones the voter will know that no one else voted for them. FollowMyVote.com did a trial run of their technologiy during the 2016 Presidential campaign and it is my hope that this technology will gain widespread adoption in 2020 or 2024 at the absolute latest. Face it, even a paper ballot has no reasonable audit trail, so we absolutely need to make something better.
If we want to change our electoral college system we need to do that outside the incumbent ridden congressional system via a constitutional convention. It can’t happen via a regular vote since the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling, so this is a long and hard road and this needs to be done in parallel to all the other projects that are running. It is a good long term goal. The smaller States may not be willing to give up this power however, so it will be a difficult thing to do. Getting money out of politics by overturning ‘Citizens United’ and retracting corporate personhood would go a long way all on its own, especially if we implement a powerful and fair voting system like that proposed by FollowMyVote.com. This is where Wolf-Pac.com comes in. They are working on getting the momentum needed for a constitutional convention pushed through from the State level so we can make a ‘fair elections’ amendment to the Constitution to get money and corporate personhood out of our election system. They are doing this by creating a crowd-sourced team of paid lobbyist at the State level and I think it is a good project to support. The Right has their think tanks and paid lobbyists, so we need to have our own plan and fund ours from the grassroots and crowdsourced projects and Wolf-Pac.com is a good one to start with.
According to BallotPedia.org, the Democratic Party has lost 1043 seats between the State and Federal elected offices since Barack Obama took office in 2009. This has resulted in a massive flip in the balance of power between the parties. In 2008 the Democrats controlled all three branches of government (a trifecta) in 17 States and the Republicans in 10, and the Democrats had a near supermajority in the Senate and a solid majority in the House.. After the 2016 elections the Democrats have a trifecta in only 6 States versus 25 for the Republicans. The Republicans now control 33 Governorships, have solid majorities in both the House and the Senate, control the office of the President and will soon have control over the judicial branch of government as well. The Obama Presidency has devastated the Democratic Party. Furthermore, since there is such a strong deficit of legislators at the State level, there are fewer potential leaders to choose from for future candidates. We need to fill the election pipeline with progressive candidates. BrandNewCongress.org is one of the efforts to this end, There can and should be multiple projects that are looking for Progressive candidates at all levels of government, especially down ticket. Let’s work on getting progressives in every city council all over the United States so we will have plenty of candidates that can rise to the top.
To this end I am also in favor of the Vote 16 initiatives that get high school age kids involved with politics in meaningful ways. Getting involved early leads to a lifetime of political involvement and voting. It is imperative that we get the 99% to vote and the 99% will only vote if they feel like they have someone to vote for. If there is one lesson to be learned from the 2016 Presidential election than this is it. People do not vote if they feel like there is nothing for them to vote for so the political center is a no man’s land and if the Democratic Party stays there, they will lose!
Even if we get a better voting system, we still need the ability to let the popular candidates rise to the top. With the current single choice ballots voters often need to select the ‘safe’ choice instead of choosing the candidate they like best. Ranked choice voting circumvents this problem. With ranked choice voting a voter can safely vote for their favorite candidate as their first choice. Then they can select what they consider their ‘safe’ choice as their second or third choice. This would allow voters to vote for third party candidates without throwing the election in favor of whom they consider a dangerous choice. This would break the stranglehold of the two party system and it would give the 99% a lot more power. This will, of course, never happen if we leave it up to incumbent politicians. FairVote.org is blazing this trail and I think this is one of the most important changes we can implement…assuming we can trust that our votes actually get counted as we intend them to, that is. There are about 25 States with ballot initiative processes so we can start with those States. Furthermore, the DNC is not subject to State rules, so the Democratic primary in 2020 could easily be run via a ranked choice system if the DNC leadership chooses to allow it. This is one of the many reasons we need a Progressive DNC chairperson and if we don’t get what we want now we will need to circumvent the Democratic Party and force the issue by all agreeing to one and only one third party with the goal of eventually replacing the ‘Banker’s Party’ by which I mean the current version of the Democratic Party, with Our Party, the one that will listen to the needs of the 99%.
The mainstream media clearly did not do its job during this election cycle. The reasons for this are pretty clear. The root cause is the consolidation via leveraged wholesale buying up of all of the major news outlets in the United States as a result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which was spearheaded by the Bill Clinton Neoliberals. The Telecommunication Act of 1996 removed the restrictions on how many media outlets one media conglomerate could own so we went from hundreds of independent news organizations to just 5. These five organizations will often allow their news outlets to act like independent news outlets until it really matters and this can make them even more deceptive than any so called ‘fake’ media outlet. I found the more trusted sources like NPR and MSNBC, in particular the Rachel Maddow Show, to be the worst offenders, because of how progressive they seem and as a result, how subversive they are. As mentioned earlier in this article, they were so heavily biased towards Hillary Clinton that they themselves were fooled into believing that she couldn’t lose. Well, I guess even they are not perfect. The solution to this problem is simple. Do not give your money to any news outlet that misled us during the 2016 primary season. The beautiful thing is that we no longer need the major news outlets to get our news, so take that money plus whatever else you can spare for this cause and support independent news organizations. Yes, I’m calling for a boycott of all the news outlets that cheated us out of Bernie Sanders, because they were the second biggest contributors to giving us the Trump presidency. We need to make a list of the anti-Bernie news outlets and make very strong requirements if they want off of this list.
After the financial crisis the Obama administration bailed out Wall Street to the tune of Trillions of dollars, but gave no stimulus to mainstreet. The money was clearly there for Wall Street and it is there whenever we have a war, but when mainstreet needs help, there is no money. This is out of the lack of political will and decidedly not due to any budgetary restraints. The right wing mantra, “big government is bad government” that was sold to the American public by Ronald Reagan, is a simplistic strawman argument. The real issue is one of priorities; if the Obama administration wanted to bail out main street it could have and if it had done so the economic crisis would have ended much quicker and the overall economy would be much more stable than what we have now. No one wants the needless red tape, but that does not mean we should allow lead in our water system. We need to stop confusing the two; regulation and needles red tape are not the same things! We need a government that works for us and we need to allow for the natural ebb and flow of government. During hard times like 2008 we need to allow for ‘New Deal’ type programs to buffer the blow and keep the economy going. The great thing about that is it allows us the fix infrastructure issues when the industry isn’t using the full workforce. This works and we are still benefiting from New Deal projects today, our highway system being case and point.There are many, many projects and issues here, but the bottom line is to pay attention and to get involved. We need to actively support progressive policies and candidates. The squeaky gear gets the grease and the left needs to start squawking! Make those calls! Write those letters! Go to those town hall meetings! In the current media climate, legislators can ignore protests, but they can’t ignore people who show up to their offices, their meetings and fill their phone lines! The left needs to look at how the Tea Party accomplished so much and adapt their model. If the progressive left does this and gets organized instead of acting like a herd of cats, they will win because there are so many more of us than of any other group in The United States. It would be much easier if the Democratic Party wants to work with us, but if they don’t, we need to be ready and willing to go on our own with a third party. Hopefully they will work with us, but that is not a requirement. We are the 99% and as long as we work together we will win!
Now, after losing hundreds of State seats to the Republicans, after losing 63 seats in the Congress and even after losing to the openly misogynistic, racist, and egomaniacal candidate Donald Trump, the Democratic Party still does not seem to have learned the lesson that being the party of the bankers and Wall Street lobbyists and moving farther and farther to the right has not been a winning strategy. It should be very, very clear that there is no Center to win. If the Democrats want to gain seats in 2018 and have any chance of winning back the Presidency in 2020 than they are going to have to take a dramatic swing to the Left, while at the same time break away from the corporate lobbyists and superpacs, and focus on their constituents. The Democrats need to embrace Democratic Socialism or the 99% will need to act decisively and quickly to focus all of their efforts on ONE third party. At this moment this could easily happen if Bernie Sanders decides to abandon the Democratic Party all together, which is something we could lobby him for if the DNC fails to heed our warnings and installs a centrist DNC chair. And even if we do get a progressive DNC chairperson, we will need to keep vigilant and stay on top of the Democratic Party every step of the way. We can no longer afford to sit back on our laurels just because ‘our person’ won. Just winning the seat isn’t good enough… look where that got us with Obama! We need to keep our candidates on track and come down hard on them when they veer off course.
The repercussions of Hillary Clinton’s disingenuous campaign are far reaching and worldwide. Instead of the USA setting an example of how honesty and social responsibility benefit us all, we are going to the other extreme. Largely as a result of the cheating from the Hillary Clinton campaign, we are now seeing right wing radicalism gaining ground all over the globe. Bernie Sanders would have been a fresh break for the World, but instead we digressed 40 years and the lunatic fringe is coming out of hiding and into the open.
Moving forward has gotten a lot harder… the only potential silver lining is that maybe, just maybe, there will be a galvanization on the left — but this will only happen if the Hillary Clinton camp can deeply comprehend what they have done. If they can not comprehend this, then we are doomed for many, many more years of crisis. In that unfortunate case it will take an actual World War that reaches US soil to solve the problem. Let’s hope it does not come to that ugly scenario! Please, let the Democratic Party back away from the Center while the Center implodes on itself. Please, let the Democratic Party move to the Left!
The Left can only win if we stop acting like cat herders and begin to work together. We need to understand the divide and conquer strategies the extreme right implements with their campaign funding strategies that have overtaken our political system. We are the 99%, so we have all the power if we want it.
What are you going to work on? The holidays are over and it is really, really necessary that the Progressive Left gets and stays more involved with politics in very deliberate, organized and effective ways. You can do it and YES WE CAN fix this! Now it is time to seriously roll up our sleeves and get to work. I will be focusing on FairVote.org, but Wolf-Pac.com and BrandNewCongress.org are also great projects. Roll up your sleeves; let’s not let this crisis go to waste!