How My Support for Sanders Gets Chipped Away

Let’s get this out of the way first. I think that caucuses are idiotic and undemocratic. We’re no longer a nation of farmers looking for ways to spend off-season winter hours debating our “neighbors” in churches, libraries, and private homes in order to determine which candidate should represent us.

What’s happening in Iowa is the latest chipping away at my support for Sanders. His people are behaving like cultists and blatantly saying they intend to cherry-pick and spin Iowa’s rule changes and numbers; changes they are credited for having inspired.

The details are in the Snopes piece, “New Iowa Caucus Rules Could Spark Clashing Claims of Victory.”

In short, the rule changes were made in Iowa “as a nod” to Sanders supporters who (still) claim he was cheated. The change is that Iowa will report additional numbers in 2020. The new ones are the before and after vote counts that will accompany the one number that matters in this anachronistic process; the delegate count.

Putting aside the fact that I think caucuses belong only in history books, what troubles me is what Misty Rebik, Sanders’ Iowa state director, says she’ll do:

“<Rebik> said that “the popular vote is very important. We fought for (the reporting change), and we’re proud of that.” Rebik suggested the campaign is going to tout the first alignment numbers no matter the outcome.

“We want to emphasize that the way that we beat Donald Trump is by having the biggest, largest grassroots coalition, and that’s through pure numbers,” she said.

What? You’re going to tout the number you like best no matter the outcome because that’s how you think we beat Trump?

It’s absolutely outrageous that she’s cherry-picking data. Just as bad, she’s making an unequivocally false statement about how to beat Trump. It’s absolutely NOT through ‘pure numbers.’ That’s not how presidents get elected, and sadly, that’s not the worst of it.

Thinking you can pick the number you like instead of the one that matters is the very definition of cherry-picking, and I’m betting that this is all in preparation for claims of DNC rigging and cheating and ignoring the will of the voters should Sanders not win Iowa.

I realize that this will be seen by many of my fellow Sanders supporters as an incendiary position, and that it will likely elicit some emotional responses from some. I’m writing this because I think we as Sanders supporters must speak truth to one another and to Bernie and his team.

The truth I see is a strategy by the Sanders team meant to intentionally mislead, misinform, and likely gin up outrage depending on the outcome in Iowa.

On a personal note, I’m really getting pretty fed up with the petulance, self-righteousness, and arrogance of the Sanders team and some of his supporters. It seems to me that all too often all that one would have to do is replace “Trump” with “Sanders” and whatever the claim, complaint, or criticism was coming from the supporter or staffer would be indistinguishable sans context.

Iowa looks to me to be another example of this.

This change in Iowa purported to be of his team’s doing and intended to increase transparency is now something THEY say will be cherry-picked no matter the outcome? Where have we heard that before? Where do we hear it still?

I’m also admittedly pretty fed up with unsubstantiated claims of rigging and cheating against Bernie. Please, save your tirades about the DNC emails. There’s no there there, and I don’t want to have to rehash how predictable and justifiable it would, in fact, be for every Democrat at every level to prefer Clinton, the life-long Democrat, to the usurper, vocal critic, and fellow Democrat-of-Convenience, Bernie Sanders.

Please also spare me the complaints of how our guy is mistreated by mainstream media, too. I hear enough of that from Trump and his supporters, as well as from the biased and unreliable sources on the Left that make pretty regular appearances here.

What’s happened in Iowa in terms of transparency is a good thing. It improves a terrible process a little.

What I think should piss everyone off now is that Sanders’ team is already telling us THEY will cherry-pick and spin the data.

If you’re thinking of telling me that this isn’t what Bernie wants or supports, then how is this not a troubling sign in and of itself?

If that defense is true, then he’s either out of a loop he clearly ought to and must be in, or the claim that he isn’t is actually a lie. Either way, it’s a signal to me that he’s either not engaged enough as the leader of his own organization, or that he’s willing to go too far to win Iowa.

Most troubling of all is how a mindset like Misty Rebik’s has all the hallmarks of a cult follower……
Our leader is the best ever. Only he can save us. He’s under constant attack by those in power and the non-believers. Power hates him because he threatens them, and non-believers will never understand him. They are his and our enemies, and he and we must do whatever is necessary to protect him, advance his cause, and elevate him to power; otherwise, our enemies will destroy him and us.

Sound familiar? It should. Let’s not be like that.

Let’s hold Bernie and his team and ourselves to higher standards, and let’s call out poor decision making, bad behavior, biased information, and corrupt strategies and tactics when we see them. That’s all I’m trying to do here.

#TooFarLeft is misdirected outrage

There’s a difference between imperfect allies and actual enemies. Those upset with Obama need to remind themselves of this.

Obama TooFarLeft???
It has me thinking that I should cancel my email subscription to Common Dreams.
As I see it, that article isn’t news. It isn’t even good journalism.
I see it as obvious clickbait meant to rile up Sanders and Warren supporters.
I say that because other than the repeated link to the same NYT article (which is far more worth reading, and which produced the link below), all that Jon Queally ends up offering little more than a list of Tweets presumably meant to outrage the reader by channeling carefully selected outrage coming from the Twittersphere.
The more interesting question for me is why such an article even gets written?
To what end does trying to cast Obama as a villain work to anyone’s favor other than Trump’s?
In my humble opinion, casting Obama as the enemy really kind of closes the loop on this election cycle’s liberal/progressive circular firing squad.
Yes, we can and we must debate what each candidate claims to be their vision and their policies for realizing it, but casting Obama as an enemy as part of that debates makes no sense to me at all.
Yes, I agree that he wasn’t liberal and progressive enough.
Yes, he made mistakes, and yes, he advanced policies with which I disagreed. He wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t pure. No one is, but he and Biden were worlds better than McCain/Palin and Romney/Ryan, and I’m proud to say I voted for Obama and Biden twice.
Cory Booker, another oft-cast villain, summed up my sentiments really well when asked about Obama’s remarks:
“Let’s stop tearing each other down, let’s stop drawing artificial lines,” he added. “I’m tired in this election of hearing some people say, ‘Well if this person gets elected, I can’t support them,’ and then other people say, ‘If this person gets elected, I can’t support them.’ Are you kidding me?”
Omar tweetRep Ilhan Omar appears to want to pick a fight with about as classic a strawman as I’ve seen in a long time.
When did Obama say in his remarks that….
….healthcare is NOT a human right?
….he DOESN’T want future generations to live on a healthy planet?
….student debt shouldn’t be cancelled?
….he opposes a $15/hour minimum wage?
….he opposes gun reform?
….he thinks families belong in cages?
That tweet, in my view, is the height of intellectual dishonesty. It causes me to call into question what I had begun to believe was Rep Omar’s thoughtfulness, mindfulness, and authenticity.
Do I think Obama probably meant Sanders and Warren and their supporters more than Booker, Buttigieg or Biden, and their “wings” of the Democratic Party?
Yes, of course.
(But, be sure to read my Comment for a contextual analysis of Obama’s remarks.)
That, however, doesn’t excuse the mistake I think “the activist wing of the party” is making; reacting with outrage with Obama.
I can just picture lots of Democrats – actual rank-and-file Democrats who have been registered with the Party for years and decades – seeing this hashtag and asking themselves, “What the fuck? How the hell can people who call themselves progressives now be attacking Obama? How does their outrage with Obama help? How is that outrage with Obama going to get more Democratic voters to the polls so that piece of shit squatting in the White House is run out of town and, hopefully, into a prison jumpsuit?”
I’m asking those same questions.
What worries me is how this attack on Obama looks to be another example of out-of-control and inexplicable purity testing that I saw in 2016 and that I see more and more of all the time coming only really from one camp – my fellow Sanders supporters.
I really don’t see how that’s supposed to work and to what end.
I’m not saying we surrender. I’m not even saying that we have to compromise on everything, but compromise is how democracy works. No one elected leader, and no one group of voters, gets their way on everything. Not in a democracy.
Yes, we can and should stand on our principles, our values, and our desires for sweeping, meaningful, and overdue change. I just think we should do that without casting everyone who doesn’t agree 100% with us as villains.
That most certainly includes the last Democratic president.
Trump, Republican voters, and GOP politicians who are willing members of his cult are the real villains. Let’s focus our outrage at them, not on Obama.
And, we must remember this:
There’s a difference between imperfect allies and actual enemies.
We will need those imperfect allies next November.

Why do Republicans like the Electoral College…. other than 2000 and 2016?

I suspect polling on the question of the EC probably falls along Party lines, and why wouldn’t it? It’s how the GOP ended up in the White House the last two times they did. Republicans know that their appeal to voters as a party is in decline.

Electoral College vs Popular Vote
https://www.msnbc.com/hardball/watch/majority-of-americans-support-getting-rid-of-the-electoral-college-1461998659718

I suspect polling on the question of the EC probably falls along Party lines, and why wouldn’t it? It’s how the GOP ended up in the White House the last two times they did. Republicans know that their appeal to voters as a party is in decline (1).

Another interesting point is that we have to go back to the 1800s to find the only other times when the EC chose a president the voters did not. (2)

As the above linked video shows, Trump used to hate the EC until he loved it. It’s pointless to address this contradiction except to point it out and to let it speak for itself and for who he is.

And as the linked video also shows, John Boehner’s spokesperson, Michael Steel, is making the argument that the founders gave us this system and that eliminating the EC would mean candidates would pay little to no attention to small states.

My response is simple. So what?

One person, one vote means just that, doesn’t it?

Of course the president should care about everyone. To that exact point, there are greater concentrations of people in urban areas. In a system where the popular vote elects the president, of course candidates will do what they’ve always done, and that’s to chase voters and their votes needed to win. If that means urban areas and large population centers, so be it. They still have to motivate Americans to show up on election day, and they still have to inspire Americans to vote for them.

More candidate visits to southern CA and fewer to Madison, WI, is, in my view, better for democracy. And, let’s be real. In this day and age, residents of Madison, Anchorage, and Burlington, VT, don’t need to have a candidate visit their quaint Rockwellian diners for those Americans to know what the candidate is proposing.

IMHO, the EC is a zero-value-add step in the electoral process. And if 2016 wasn’t evidence of the EC failing in their mission, there never will be one.

As Alexander Hamilton writes in “The Federalist Papers,” the Constitution is designed to ensure “that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” (3)

I also wish that some Americans – mostly, in my view, conservatives and Republicans – would also stop with what looks like actual religious worship of the founders.

So what if the venerated founders set down the EC? It’s 2019, and it’s embarrassing to see adults seemingly worshiping and even attributing divine intervention and influence to the thoughts and actions of rich, white, slave-owning men of the 18th century. They were colonial oligarchs, and they weren’t perfect.

Perhaps these very same founder-worshipers haven’t noticed or have chosen to ignore that there are 27 Amendments to the Constitution. Changing how the government operates – including how officials are elected, vis-a-vis the 17th Amendment – has happened before. Why can’t the presidential election be a popular vote? (Even better, why can’t it be ranked choice voting? (4) )

Candidates know how to do math. They do it now. It seems to me that Republicans should be bragging about how Trump “won” because he actually went to more places than Clinton. He even went to some places that Republican strategist, Ryan Williams, called “head scratchers.” (5)

Oh. Wait. That’s right.

They aren’t bragging because he lost the popular vote by 3 million votes.

What Republicans also fail to mention in their vilification of “coastal elites” is that every city also has Republicans living in them, and that not all cities on the coasts.

Fun facts for the fact-averse Republicans:
4 out of the top 10 largest cities – Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio, and Dallas – are in red states (6), and the 25 cities reported with the largest percentage of growth are all in red states except two, Bend-Redmond, OR, and Greeley, CO. (7)

Seems that Republicans should have nothing to fear from a popular vote if they truly believe that they have policy ideas that appeal to large numbers of Americans.

They also should be advocates for making voting easier and more inclusive for all Americans if they don’t fear voter participation.

They should also be confident enough in the value and broad appeal of their ideology and their policy ideas to agree that democracy should be about total votes cast for the president regardless of the state in which they are cast.

The president is supposed to represent people, not states.

—-
Sources
(1) “America hits new landmark: 200 million registered voters”
https://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/how-many-registered-voters-are-in-america-2016-229993

(2) “Presidents Winning Without Popular Vote”
https://www.factcheck.org/2008/03/presidents-winning-without-popular-vote/

(3) “The Reason for the Electoral College”
https://www.factcheck.org/2008/02/the-reason-for-the-electoral-college/

(4) “Ranked Choice Voting / Instant Runoff”
https://www.fairvote.org/rcv#where_is_ranked_choice_voting_used

(5) “Where have Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton spent their time?”
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/analysis-where-have-donald-trump-and-hillary-clinton-spent-their-time/

(6) “Cities and metropolitan areas of the United States”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_and_metropolitan_areas_of_the_United_States

(7) “These 25 cities are seeing a huge boost in residents as population grows”
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/economy/2019/03/22/population-growth-us-cities-experiencing-boost-resident/39199145/

Time to end the romance?

The reason you’re looking at this right now on a high speed network that doesn’t cost so much that only rich people could afford it can be traced to the breakup by the federal government of AT&T way back in the Stone Age of the 1980s.

I think it’s time for some more break ups, and this is why Elizabeth Warren has my attention.

Elizabeth Warren
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Scott Olso/Getty Images)

 

I was “there” in the 1980s when AT&T was broken apart. Thanks to that action, I spent a large part of my early career working for new competitors who never could have come into being without the forced breakup of AT&T’s monopoly.

In Warren, I see someone with the courage to go after rich and powerful corporations. I applaud her for that, and for making this a visible plank in her campaign.

There is a fundamental truism about monopolies that everyone should understand and that everyone should talk about when it comes to conversations about the balance between capitalism and so-called free markets, and the role of oversight and regulation government is supposed to play. That truism is this.

Monopolies are terrible for everyone except for the people who own them and run them.

Monopolies have zero incentive to innovate. Why would they invest any profits into innovation when the market has no alternative but to use their goods and services?

Monopolies have zero incentive to offer their goods and services at competitive prices. Same rhetorical question as before tells you why this is true.

Monopolies have zero incentive to be good corporate citizens. Do I need to say it again?

And, no, you don’t have choices. Choice is an illusion. Just ask George Carlin or the Merovingian.

By definition, monopolies mean you have no choice but to use whatever they offer at whatever price they choose, and in whatever manner in which they choose to operate.

Ok. Fine. You can choose not to participate at all in the market they rule, but understand this reality, too. A monopoly cannot arise unless they offer something people want or need; otherwise, no one would be in that market.

And, yes, I suppose you can choose to chuck it all and move to Alaska or Belize or some off-the-grid locale. May not be a bad idea. Hell, maybe you can even sell the rights to your own “reality” show to those empty-headed nitwits at The Discovery Channel. Watch out, Swamp Loggers.

Seriously, I hope people will think about what’s been happening when it comes to corporate power and influence, especially during conversations with people who complain about, scoff at, or mock Elizabeth Warren and people like her who are now calling for this era’s tech giants – and big banks – to be broken up.

That’s advice for my fellow tech business people, too. Put greed and every last nickle of profit as the goal aside, and think long-term and for the greater good on this.

As for politicians, Democratic Party apparatchiks, and industry groups, we can expect to hear from the likes of Rob Atkinson, the president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, and Ed Black, president of Computer and Communications Industry Association, whine and wail and gnash their teeth over Warren’s plan. They’re shills for big money; it just happens to be Big Tech Money, and not Big Oil Money or Big  Bank Money. It’s still Big Money

There are no shortage of articles on Warren and this topic. Here’s one from the Washington Post in which the aforementioned group leaders are quoted.

“Does Elizabeth Warren’s breakup plan for the tech giants mark the end of a political romance?”

Certain liberals and progressives nowadays have no shortage of litmus tests they seem to relish in applying to every candidate.

It will be interesting to see how they test for the idea of breaking up with Silicon Valley and their money.