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Showing posts with label Democratic Party. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Democratic Party. Show all posts

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Vote VI - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
08.22.2020

Vote     VI


The stage is set on the race is on, there are seventy-three days to go until the general election.

It has been two days since the Democratic National Convention concluded, having played out remotely due to the material necessities imposed by the global pandemic, COVID-19.

Many media analysts have said that the web based teleconference style of the presentations played well with the viewer, the fact that there was no-big-stage, the absence of crowds, the lack of cheering and the endless prattle of the pundits allowed for a more conversational presentation of the case the Democratic Party is making for their candidates and their platform, for our candidates and our platform, then would have been possible in the standard format.

The speeches that were given were somber yet hopeful, personal and hard hitting, they successfully portrayed Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the thoughtful intelligent human beings that they are…if you believe it.

Unfortunately, the self-styled “progressive” left, which I refer to as the fundamentalist-wing of the democratic party, they have taken no time at all to disparage the Biden/Harris ticket as not representing their interests, not in touch with the base (whatever that means).

They are unhappy that the spotlight has moved away from them, unhappy that the PARTY writ large is putting up the big tent in the hope of turning out a landslide victory against Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the treasonous traitors that make up the Republican Party.

All I can say is, STOP IT!

Stop talking about turning against Joe Biden the day after he becomes the President Elect, stop complaining about the former republicans, and Never-Trumpers who spoke at the DNC. Stop making the swing voters, whether they are traditional swing voters, or people who are going to shift party for the first, stop making them feel uncomfortable, they have come to the dance, let them in.

For the first time in their lives they are talking with us, with you, this is an opportunity for dialogue…take it.

Say your piece and listen, find common ground and hold it.

It is impossible to know what will happen seventy-three days from now, we may wake to find ourselves rejoicing, we may wake in a state of anxiety, we my wake to a state of despair, whatever it is that we are going to face lets face it together, with purpose and resolve.

Let me be clear…Your vote is so important, we need everyone to vote, to vote early, to ensure that your vote is counted, to stir your friends and family, to get them to the poles as well.

It is equally as important that everyday between now and then you spread the same message of hope and strength through unity of purpose.

Check yourself, and check those around you. Check the self-styled “progressives” if they won’t come along, tell them to keep quiet, the real change-agents are working now.

It is time to lead or follow, or get the hell out of the way.  



Saturday, March 7, 2020

Momentum Shift - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
03.07.2020

Momentum Shift

And so it happened, the momentum in the race for the Democratic Party’s nominee for President has shifted.

It is important to note that the shift is not hypothetical, it is marked by the fact that primaries and caucuses have been held and the people have come out to vote. The field has winnowed and we are down to a two person race.

There are many people who cast this race in terms of so-called “progressive wing” and the so-called “corporate wing” of the Democratic Party. Please be aware that while Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have many different policy proscription for what ails America, they have much more in common with each other, and their values are far more closely aligned with the values of the average American than the vacuous and amoral menace, that confused and cowardly villain who is currently operating a criminal regime out of the oval office.

There are many of my friends who are upset about what took place in the primaries over the last week, suggesting that the elites in the democratic party rigged the vote against Bernie’ no they didn’t. The voters voted, and the votes that were cast came from a demographic sampling that represents America, and the Democratic Party.

One condescending friend of mine, a middle-aged, middle-class European American had the nerve to suggest that the Presidential race has come down to two white-racist-septugenarians, and he was angry about it. Never mind the fact that African Americans voted overwhelmingly for Joe Biden. My out-of-touch white friend thinks he knows a thing or two about racism, and about what is good for people of color, and he wants everyone else to think that people of color don’t know what is good for themselves, and thought hat person is a friend of mine, I think the sentiment is disgusting. He and all the other Bernie supporters need to just settle down and check their own implicit bias at the door.

Be mindful, the race is far from over. The momentum has shifted, but only enough to make it a contest. The next few weeks might show us that the shift in momentum represent ted a C change, but we are not there yet.

Both candidates, and everyone who follows them should stay positive, spend their time and energy articulating the values of the Democratic Party, move forward, and not succumb to the kind of internal feuding that the Trump campaign and Russia are fueling.

That should both stay in the race until it mathematically impossible for them to win, and then the certain loser should drop out, endorse the other, and work not just for their election, but work tirelessly for democratic candidates up and down the line, in both local and national races.

I have this last thing to say to my progressive friends.

The progressive platform they are dreaming of and working toward is a grass roots movement. Grass roots movements do not typically work through the implementation of executive action at the top. They work from the ground up, and if we want the Green New Deal, Single Payer Health Care, College Financing Reform etc…we are going to need Senators and Representatives in Congress to author and sponsor and pass that legislation.

If you want Constitutional Amendments, you need to have super majorities everywhere, not just in Federal Offices, but in State Houses and Governor’s Mansions all across the country.

If we refuse to stand together, then we will fall apart.  

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Why I am Supporting Bernie Sanders - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
02.08.2020

Why I am Supporting Bernie Sanders

With all of our eyes on the presidential campaign, and the nominating process in the Democratic Party, with all of the interested parties taking up positions and staking out ground in loosely organized “caucuses,” such as the so-called “progressive-caucus,” we have to be mindful of the fact that there is a lot more at stake in 2020 than the presidency.

We need a Democratic president to sign Democratic bills into law, but if we seriously hope to get any of our bills to the signing desk, we need to keep control of the House of Representatives, we need to increase the majority of the democratic caucus in the House and we need to take control of the Senate, we need to send Mitch McConnel packing.

This is why it matters who we pick for our standard bearer.

Even if we lost the presidency, taking control of the Senate would put more power behind progressive causes and give us more effective oversight over the executive branch. We need a candidate who can generate that enthusiasm and get people to the polls, and we need to stick together.

It is not just the presidency that is on the line in this election, it is Congress, and it is not just the 2020 Congress that is on the line, it is the make up of Congress for the next five elections.

The most important thing the legislature will do in the next congress is redistricting, following the apportionment of Congressional seats after the census. If we are serious about pursuing our progressive agenda for the long term, we must control this process. If we want the government to respond to the will of the majority on any number of things: from taxation to gun control, from executive oversight to a woman’s right to choose, from criminal justice reform to the War Powers Act, from…you name the issue, if we want to be governed by the will of the majority we must control this process.

The apportionment of electoral college votes follows the apportionment of congressional districts. We cannot eliminate the electoral college unless we are able to pass constitutional amendments, I will address these numerical challenges shortly.

If we want to see more equitable representation of the majority in the electoral college right now then we must control congressional apportionment and redistricting. If we have simple majorities in congress, and a democratic president who is willing to act, we can make the apportionment process fairer. Even if we don’t have a president willing to change the apportionment laws in US Code Title 2, simple majorities in congress will help us to create congressional districts that represent the people on a more equitable basis.     

Keep this in mind, until we get the number of votes in congress, in the House and the Senate, and in State Houses across the country, unless we get a sufficient number of Governors and a President willing to pass a constitutional amendment there won’t be any constitutional amendments and the struggle for justice and equality will have to take place through the legislative process.

There are two ways to amend the constitution: the process either requires that two thirds of the members of both houses of congress vote to approve it, and then it must be ratified by two thirds of the states, or that two thirds of the states call for a constitutional assembly to amend the constitution in which proposed amendments must be ratified by three fourths of the states.

People talk about passing constitutional amendments all the time, but this is a very difficult process and if want to see it happen, to do this we would need:

1.      290 votes in the House of Representatives, the house is currently divided 233D to 197R, there is one independent (who typically votes with the republicans, and there are four seats currently vacant.
2.      67 votes in the Senate, the Senate is currently divided between the democratic and republican caucuses 53R to 47D (this includes independents who caucus with the party most closely aligned to their values) with a tying vote going to the republican voce president.
3.      34 States to ratify, State governments are currently divided between democrats and republicans 26R to 24D, while their legislatures are divided 67R to 37D

These numbers represent the numerical hurdles the people would have to cross in order to affect enduring changes to the structure of our democracy. We cannot pin our hopes on this, it is pie in the sky thinking.

If we intend to do this then we are back to where we began this essay, the absolute need to control the redistricting process after the census, we must have a willingness to change congressional apportionment if we win both chambers of congress and the presidency in November.

We must elect a president who is willing to sign into law enforceable provisions to restrain presidential power, to enforce the authority of congress to engage in oversight, and to reshape the federal judiciary including the addition of justices to the Supreme Court.

We are in a precarious time, and we must hold together, we cannot attack each other with broad labels intended to vilify one another, we cannot afford to pit so-called democratic socialists against so-called corporate democrats, so-called liberal progressives against so-called pragmatic progressives. There is too much at stake to allow ourselves to be divided this way.

We have to resist it.

I know a lot of people who like to pretend that both parties are the same, and they may have a point, but here is the truth: it is not the parties that are the same, the Democratic party and the Republican Party have radically different platforms.

It is the politicians who are the same, because it is the nature of these politicians, regardless of what side of the political spectrum they are on, it is in their nature to be feckless, cowardly, deceptive, ego-maniacs those are the unifying characteristics of all politicians.

This is not to say that they completely unreliable, that they do not love their families, or that they are all wicked people, but it is to recognize that the power of high office attracts the highly corruptible.

There are two tasks in front of us right now, as voters who care about our liberal and progressive causes, as people who ant to see the Voting Rights Act reinstated and expanded, who want to see structural changes to our representative democracy that takes big money out of politics and returns power to the people, who want to see a woman’s right to equal pay, equal treatment under the law and the right of self-determination to be protected, who want to enforce the separation between Church and State, if we want to curb the rise of white nationalists and domestic terrorists; the first thing we have to do is hold together through the next nine months, and we have to bring more people into the voting process, we have to these things thoughtfully, carefully and deliberately, even if the party does not nominate the candidate we prefer.

With that being said, when I look at the field of candidates running for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, when I look at the size and strength of their respective coalition’s, when I weigh them against each other, I have to conclude that our best bet is to support the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, not because I support all of his ideas, though I am in favor of most of them, it is because he is steady, his support is steady, his message is good, his vision is good for America, and if we all get behind him we will win.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Proceed with Caution - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
06.12.2019

Proceed with Caution

I understand how it must be frustrating for all the Democrats in the presidential primary not getting the attention they feel they deserve, they cannot garner attention for themselves to get their message out.

This is not the fault of the front runner, Joe Biden, or the other people in the first tier, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris.

To the Corey Booker’s and the Bill De Blasio’s out there; there is a reason that you are not in the first tier. You entered the race without enough of a record to distinguish yourself, either that or with too much history already tarnishing your reputation.

You are no Mayor Pete, who is a uniquely gifted speaker; cool and calm, and able to argue dispassionately for what they believe is right and good.

You were not the Attorney General of the largest state in the nation.

You are not the second runner up for the Democratic nomination in the last round, and you are not the most vocal advocate for consumer rights the country has seen in the past twenty years.

Most significantly you are not the last Vice President of the united the United States.

This makes your position as a candidate in this race very week, and if you did not know this getting in then you don’t have the judgement it takes to be president.

If you can’t distinguish yourself by speaking to your strengths and vision, please just drop out.

If all you can do is take offence and vocalize your umbrage at the front runner by misconstruing the intended meaning of some comments he made about a better time in American politics when it was still possible to work with people that you have serious disagreements with, then please just drop out.

If you want to protect the country and help move us forward campaign on your strengths, not by trying to tear other people down. If you can’t do that you will still lose, and you will only have succeeded in poisoning the well.

If you care about the country you will keep yourself attuned to the heartbeat of the nation, serve the country best by being where you can best serve.
The wheel will turn again, and you may find yourself on top, if you are able to stifle your combative tendencies and help move the party along with the progressive agenda forward.



Saturday, April 20, 2019

Impeach Him II - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
04.20.2019

Impeach Him II


The Mueller report is in, but the work is not done. Congress must finish the job.

Impeach him!

Ordinary oversight of the Trump administration must continue, we must investigate his lies and crimes, both before he took office and after.

An impeachment inquiry must begin and the Mueller report is the guide to it.

There is a lot of ground to cover, and it makes no sense for the Democratic Party’s leadership in Congress to take impeachment off the table.

Impeach him, even if it does not mean he gets removed from office. The house of representatives has a duty to impeach this criminal, it does not matter if the senate will not vote to convict him.

Start the investigation in earnest and impeach the Fake President.

Clinton was impeached. He was not removed from office but he was impeached, and that is a permanent part of the record of his presidency.

Trump deserves no less.

Whatever the Democratic Party leadership fears, set it aside. The messaging on this is easy.

Trump deserves to be impeached: Impeachment is the ultimate censure, it is the ultimate rebuke, it can result in removing the President from office, but it does not have to. In fact it never has.

Impeachment without removal from office is still impeachment, and the things this man has done, mark him as the most corrupt president in the history of the United States. The house of representatives needs to impeach him, regardless of whether the senate will toss him out of office, or not.

Impeach him, get on with it.

The man has lied, suborned perjury, cheated, stolen, obstructed justice and abused power, and enriched himself from the offerings of foreign governments, princes and kings. He will not be indicted for his crimes while he occupies the oval office. Therefore he must be impeached.

Impeachment hearing must be held, Trump’s fitness for office must be debated on the floor.

Every congressperson must be forced to vote on it, and everyone in the senate has to be put on the record, stating unequivocally how much they value the principles of our democracy.

Speaker of the House Pelosi, and the rest of the leadership who are hedging on this question, they just need to learn how to tell the story. The narrative is easy, it makes sense.

Impeachment does not need to end with the Trump being expelled from office. Removing him from office is not the responsibility of the House of Representatives, impeaching him is.

The House should do its work, and then the Senate can do theirs.

Do it now.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Impeach Him - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
03.16.2019

Impeach Him

I am not sure what is going on with the work that congress has undertaken to exercise oversight on the Trump administration, to investigate his lies and crimes, both before he took office and after.

There is a lot of ground to cover, and it makes no sense for the Democratic Party’s leadership in Congress to take impeachment off the table.

Clinton was impeached, though he was not removed from office he was impeached, and that is a permanent part of the record of his presidency.

Trump deserves no less.

Impeachment without removal from office is still impeachment, and the things this man has done, mark him as the most corrupt president in the history of the United States. The house of representatives needs to impeach him, regardless of whether the senate will toss him out of office.

The man has lied, suborned perjury, cheated, stolen, obstructed justice and abused power. He will into be indicted for his crimes while he occupies the oval office. Therefore he must be impeached.

Impeachment hearing must be held, it must be debated on the floor. Every congressperson must be forced to vote on it, and everyone in the senate has to be put on the record, stating unequivocally how much the value the principles of our democracy.

Speaker of the House Pelosi, and the rest of the leadership who are hedging, the just need to learn how to tell the story. Impeachment does not need to end with the Trump being expelled from office.

Impeaching Trump is step one and it is the responsibility of the House of Representatives. Expelling him from office is the responsibility of the Senate. If he is impeached and the senate elects to not throw him out, that is on the Senate. He will still have been impeached.

 Do it now.


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Cognitive Dissonance, A Reprisal - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
12.22.2018

Cognitive Dissonance, A Reprisal


Politics is a nasty business, and a foolish one.

My Democratic Party is poised to enter another cycle of self-destruction, another cycle of finger pointing and purity tests, of driving ideological wedges between constituencies, and internecine conflict.

One month after a solid victory in the House of Representatives, in state houses and gubernatorial seats across the nation, the first straw polls for the 2020 presidential election are coming in and the camps are dividing.

A friend of mine posted an article published by the Guardian, to his Facebook page, the article digs into the voting record of Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, calling out his history of voting for Republican legislation, and asking the question; “Does he deserve our support?”

I trust the Guardian, it is a reputable news service. I don’t have an issue with the article, I do have an issue with the divisive headline.

Other reporters are sharing the news that, as Beto O’Rourke makes strong appearances in these early polls, the political machinery of the so-called progressive caucus, the “Bernie Bros” and others, are seeking to tarnish his luster.

They want to bring him down.

It is politics and I know that. It is the same old self-serving non-sense that drove deep wedges into the Democratic constituency in the last cycle. It is as if we did not learn anything.

The same gang of supposed super-liberals have already spent a lot of energy tearing down Corey Booker for some votes he took supporting pharmaceutical companies.

Duvall Patrick, of Massachusetts won’t even get into the race on account of his connections to Wall Street and private equity firms.

If these super idealogues have paid any attention to the reporting on the havoc Russia caused in the 2016 election, they would stop with the nonsense, and let the field sort itself out.

The Democratic Party needs a galvanizing candidate, someone capable of turning out the vote, of exciting the masses, we do not need to live through the tired old passion play of the Bernie Sanders acolytes, the Elizabeth Warren fanatics, the Joe Biden fans.

We don’t need a repeat of the Jill Stein betrayal, and that is exactly what these articles by the Guardian, the posting and the sharing and the sensationalizing of them is meant to do.

Let me be clear, I am not coming out for Beto O’Rourke, not at this stage in the game, but shame on anyone who is trying to tear him down this early in the process.

I would like to see what Jerry Brown plans to do in the 2020 race, and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and I want to hear more from Kamala Harris too.

My hope is this; wherever you fall on the spectrum of left wing politics; whether you are a wing nut or a corrupt-corporate-centrist, you are prepared to tell the world that anyone of our candidates, no matter how flawed they might be (and they are all deeply flawed individuals or they would not be in politics in the first place), no matter what their ideological issues are, they are better than that criminal currently occupying the Oval Office, as better than that white haired imp serving as Vice President, and better than anyone else the right wing could ever put on their ticket.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Primaries are Here - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
08.011.2018

The Primaries are Here

I guess I’ll vote in the primaries on Tuesday.

It is not something that I normally do, but there is a lot on the line this time, both nationally and here at home.

We have the Governor’s race to think of, the Senate, a new member of congress for my district. I voted for Martin Sabo, and I voted for Keith Ellison, and now there is choice…whatever choice we make we will likely be locking it in for a generation; Attorney General, Hennepin County Sheriff…this is a big deal.

I am not exactly a “dyed in the wool,” though for the most part I do vote DFL, straight down the party line. I do vote for Republicans from time to time; have on the right side of the isle for President, Senate, and Governor too, on the rare occasion when I just could not tolerate the candidate my Democratic Party has put up.

Idealistically I am about as far left as left can go, but anyone who has read my political commentary can tell you that I do not think politics and idealism mix well.

Politics is about pragmatism, it is about holding the line against bad policy, while incrementally advancing the good. Only occasionally is politics about making a stand for something come “hell or high water,” and that is because political choices are being made long after the crises which prompt us to get up and make stand have faded away, and the choices that end up getting made are always about building consensus, deal making, and compromise.

If we brought back the good old days of earmarking bills, and pork barrel spending, we would have a much more functioning government…of course that is why the leadership in congress did away with it, too many rank and file members were in the habit of cutting deals across the isle, talking to one another, funding each other’s projects.

I think its okay to vote for Richard Painter over Tina Smith, for the DFL nomination for Senate even though he spent his whole life as a Republican, worked in the Bush white house and before he took up the fight against the current President, he and I would probably not have agreed on much.

But he has divorced himself from the Republican party, he has promised to caucus with the Democrats if nominated, but he has not promised to toe the party line. I think there is some risk in that, but I also think it is okay, because he is one of T-Rumps staunchest opponents and his the rhetorical chops to take the fight to him.

Tina Smith…I don’t know, I see her commercials and they are telling me nothing about her, nothing at all, just a Minnesota nice lady with a Minnesota nice smile. I think she thinks she can just walk away with the NOD, not showing up in public forums to engage her rivals. She is taking the seat she was appointed to for granted, and that is never cool.

Keith Ellison has my vote for Attorney General.

Lori Swanson’s people are all coming out against her, telling us that she is corrupt. There is no way she can sit in the Governor’s Chair, its going to have to Walz, I will miss Mark Dayton when he is gone, I hope the next person who holds that office has the same grit as him.

Ihlan Omar, its your turn.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Reassessing the Constituency of the Democratic Party



Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
02.04.2017

For nearly the entire twentieth century the Democratic Party has been identified with labor unions, farmers, the working class, the marginalized and the poor.
In my home state, Minnesota, the Democratic Party is known as the DFL, Democratic Farmer Laborer Party, just to make this more connection with its constituency more explicit.
For the last fifty to sixty years the Democratic Party has also been known for its commitment to human rights, civil rights, the rights of minorities, and the rights of women.
Just about thirty years ago, with the election of Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party began to shift. It developed favorable relationships with banking, promoting big business and multi-nationalism, democrats became “free-traders.”
The Democratic party has, for the most part, retained the loyalty of Labor unions through this transformation, even though some of those trading policies significantly hurt the American manufacturing sector. As free trade expanded, many jobs left the United States for Foreign markets. Whole communities dissolved, and faded away.
On the macro scale, our trade policies have been good for the United States. We are exporting more goods. Jobs have been created in other sectors to make up for the jobs we lost. Employment is up, inflation is down, wealth is up…but the wealth gap has grown.
Most economists, those without an axe to grind, will tell you that those policies have been neutral, but that is small comfort to those who have had to rearrange their lives because their jobs and their homes and their town disappeared.
In the last couple of election cycles many democrats have suffered at the poles. One thing you hear from the critics is that democrats no longer know how to speak to their constituency, they need to re-establish their relationship with the unions, the laborers, and the farmers. The Democrats need to recover their ability to speak to the working class, to rural Americans.
I am calling this logic into question.
Democrats need to be the party of the majority/minorities, whether there are laborers, chefs, farmers, servers, artists, doctors, lawyers, or bankers.
Democrats need to be the party of women, no matter where they live.
Democrats need to be the party of science, of criminal justice reform, of civil rights.
Democrats can forget about the white rural factory worker, the white rural factory farmer, the protectionist, English language only, NRA member.
We do not need them, we do not need to twist ourselves into knots trying to speak their language.
Republicans began to master the art of getting that constituency to vote against their self interest in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s. Through the Christian right, and now the Tea Party, that group is lost to us.
I watched my own father, a Republican, become the president of his union, just so that he could tear it apart, weaken it, and make it ineffectual. There are many unions that remain the natural allies of the democrat party, but there are many other unions who have been co-opted by the right, and actually work against the interests of their membership.
All of these relationships need to be run through a gamut of discernment.
Teachers unions, nurses unions, hospitality sector unions, the unions of educated para-professionals, skilled labor, and artists, these are the unions we need to support. We need to support the unions with higher concentrations, of women and the majority/minorities that is the future of America.
The Democratic Party must give up the prospect of trying to bring in the no-nothings of the right wing, the climate change deniers, the evolutionary science deniers, those who believe that America is a Christian nation, those who want to control the bodies of women.
That constituency is lost to us.
Our new constituency is urban, intellectual, artistic, technological, and professional.
Embrace it.