To liberals and progressives: know the difference between imperfect allies and actual enemies

Calling out bad Democrats and illiberal liberals is fine. Confusing imperfect allies with actual enemies is just mystifying and inexcusable.

Such has been and continues to be the case with some on the left.

Despite the stranglehold that Republicans have at every level of government, some on the left are doubling-down on the inexplicable idea that the way to reform the Democratic Party is not by joining it in order to move it to the left from the inside, but instead to remain outside of it and demanding purity and fealty first before they will grace the Party with their ideas, their efforts, and their votes.

That makes absolutely no sense to me.

For the record, I’m a life-long liberal. Until 2015, I was registered Non-Partisan. I registered as a Democrat that year solely for the purpose of voting for Sanders in the closed PA Democratic primary.

Let me be clear. I believe it’s fine – and necessary – to call out “bad” Democrats. I’ve been doing it for most of my life. There’s plenty of recent evidence in this blog site. Just search for words like ‘liberal’ and ‘Democrats’. You’ll see.

But to my fellow lefties who can’t seem to hate Democrats enough, let me say that for you to go on demanding from the outside that the Democratic Party change to your liking while also criticizing the idea that liberals and progressives should join the Party in order to actually change it from within is not only illogical, it puts you into a category of people who can’t seem to tell the difference between an imperfect friend and an actual enemy.

Democrats are not the enemy. No, they are not perfect. No one is, but they are the only major Party that represents progressive and liberal ideas and policies. No, not enough and not strongly enough for some, including me, but they do represent them.

When it comes to discerning friend from foe, don’t take my word or the word of someone on Facebook. Look up your favorite antagonist at to see what bills they sponsor and support, how they vote, and where they are on the ideological spectrum.

Here’s the chart for recent Angry Buster target, Cory Booker.

Cory Booker

That grey dot on the extreme left is you-know-who. That’s right, no one is left of Sanders.

That doesn’t make everyone else in blue an enemy.

So, I ask anyone who thinks they can change the Democratic Party from the outside these questions.

What if all the “calling out” actually did force out present-day bad Democrats, what then? Let’s say you get your wish. Who replaces them if not members of the Party?

And, seriously, do you expect all the rank-and-file members and all the leaders to simply throw up their hands, fall to their knees, and exclaim, “Hallelujah, you are right! We are evil and wrong and bad. We abdicate! The Party is yours! Thank you for saving us!”

It just makes no logical sense to go on believing that somehow the Democratic Party will change if only enough people outside of the Party screech long enough and loud enough about how terrible the Democrats are.

I’ll add this. It requires an ego that rivals Trump’s to think that all that screeching will eventually convince enough people to also join up in throwing away their votes in battleground states because that “sends a message” to Democrats to be more like them, or else.

I have bad news for those folks.

No political party cares what 1% of the total electorate thinks.

The Democrats aren’t trying to figure out how to win 100% of the 1% who voted for Stein. They’re trying to figure out how to win more of the overall electorate in districts and states where it matters.

So, here’s my advice to the Greens, liberals, and angry Busters who hate Democrats and the Democratic Party:
If you want the Democratic Party to change, become part of it; otherwise, you’re leaving the Party to those who are part of it, and they’re going to go on without you and your ideas.

See you at the MoveOn/Bernie rally?

Bernie Sanders: Senate healthcare plan is ‘ugly, anti-working class’

Bernie in the Burgh

The Pittsburgh rally will begin at 7 p.m. in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.

“The immediate task is to defeat one of the worst pieces of legislation ever presented in the history of this country,” Mr. Sanders said in an interview, “legislation that would raise premiums on older workers [and] defund Planned Parenthood.

We need to rally the American people to oppose legislation that would deny people health care to give the rich tax benefits.”

Today is also on those who “couldn’t vote for her.” A Facebook conversation.

The following could be called “a Facebook conversation.”

It happened on a closed group, so I won’t name names. For some reason, Facebook wouldn’t let me post it, saying, “Sorry, there’s a temporary problem with this post. Please try again in a few moments.”

I’m posting it here so that my discussion partner and others may see it.

His comments are the numbered statements. My responses follow each one. At the bottom is the prior Facebook post that prompted his responses.

The whole conversation, as you might suspect, is much more involved than this and included others; however, short of copying in every single Comment, I think this will give anyone reading it an appreciation for what is being discussed and where agreements and disagreements still remain 7 months after the election.

The post that started it all was a one-line post I made to the group on the day Trump announced he was pulling America out of the Paris Agreement.

It simply read….

Today is also on those who “couldn’t vote for her.”

Thank you for responding. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. Please allow me to offer more of mine on each of the points you’ve listed.

1. I’m not a “Hillary Hater”.
Good to know. Neither am I. For the record, I didn’t say you were one.

2. I did not vote for Stein.
Neither did I. I voted for Clinton after voting for Sanders in the closed PA primary. May I ask, are you an American citizen? If so, for whom did you vote, and do you live in one of the battleground states? You don’t have to say, of course. I’m just curious about the person with whom I’m having this discussion.

3. Clinton was the party’s clear favourite as the leaked emails illuminate and as is further clarified by the current lawsuit.

Yes, she was the favorite of the Party leadership AND the membership. The primaries proved that, too.

And as I tried to explain above, why is that surprising? Even better to ask is why is that such a big issue? Clinton was a life-long Democrat. Sanders was NEVER a Democrat until it suited his purposes. He took advantage of the system and the Party to run as a Democrat.

Why then is it so surprising and disconcerting that actual Democrats would prefer Clinton over him?

Not that this matters either way, but Jill Stein sure seems to me to be the Green Party’s anointed one. I have yet to see anyone complain about how she seemed to be the only one getting any air time, support, and attention. Nor have I seen one word of criticism about the Green Party rules for narrowing the field of candidates from which their party members get to choose.

I found 10-1.2 and 10-2.1 worth particular attention.

This whole issue of favoritism smells like a long-dead red herring to me. Of course any Party’s leadership will have favorites. Some favorites may just not be yours or mine.

And, finally, it must be said that it’s not like the Democratic Party was foisting someone upon the rank-and-file who had no experience and no qualifications to be president.

Sanders was my first choice. When he lost – and even before he exhorted his followers to vote for Clinton – my mind was easily made up as to whom would be the better choice to become President. Bernie said it, too. That should have been enough for everyone.


4. Sanders lost but the system is not open to independents – as everyone knows – and he continues to (correctly, in my view) push to open the Dem primaries to independents.

I disagree. It *is* open to independents. He and I are proof of that. All you need to do is to become a member. He and I both did that. It’s not really asking all that much, and party affiliation and registration can always be changed back.

Open primaries are a mistake, in my opinion. I no more want Republicans influencing the Democratic Party’s choice for candidate than they want me influencing theirs. I believe that’s a real possibility in safely blue and red states and especially after events like Super Tuesday and as the primaries progress and the writing tends to be on the wall more and more for who will win.

Besides, I just don’t like the idea that someone who isn’t a member has a say in what any organization does. I don’t get to vote for Apple’s board if I don’t own shares. I don’t get to vote for the mayor of the next town over from mine. I don’t get to tell the Kiwanis what to do, and people who are not members of political parties should not get a vote for which candidate will represent it.

Want a say in who will run as a Democrat or a Republican? No problem. Join the Party.

One last point on this. If I’m not mistaken, it’s the Party leadership state-by-state that decides by what process they will choose delegates, how those delegates will be apportioned, and then it’s the national convention in which the candidate is chosen.

If they let me make the rules, the first thing I’d do is to do away with caucuses completely. Talk about your archaic and elitist way to make decisions. How many poor people working multiple jobs and counting on public transportation can spend entire mornings and afternoons debating their neighbors to come to some conclusion that isn’t even really a vote? I’d make closed primaries the rule, and they all would be held on the same day. That day and election day would be mandatory federal holidays in which every business (with exceptions for public safety) would be required to be closed or to give employees paid time off to vote.


5. I do not and have never claimed that you or anyone else is “bullying” those who chose not to vote for whomever. My claim is that you are simply wasting time as it is irrelevant.

I’m glad you don’t feel bullied, and it’s my time to use however I like.


6. The Dems claim to be running a ’50 state strategy’ but have missed opportunities to make significant inroads in Kansas and Montana. The idea that they want to simply focus on a small percentage of traditional Dem voters is a strategy that misses the current opportunity and… Once again… shows a disengagement with the current reality of American society, the almost violent dissatisfaction among Republicans (as witnessed in recent town halls) and the overlapping interests of those who are conveniently labelled ‘left’ and ‘right’. Playing to the traditional ‘base’ is simply ‘politics as usual’. We need something more that that right now.

I don’t disagree with you. I was just giving you my opinion about what their strategy might be.

As I see them, political strategies are about winning elections. Period. Today, and sadly only for the president, that’s about the Electoral College. Talk about another archaic institution that needs to be trashed. If this wasn’t the election it was designed to guard against, I don’t know what one is.

Again, this is just me, but I sincerely doubt that very many Democratic strategists are investing a lot of effort in figuring out how to win blood red states like Montana (3 EC) and Kansas (6 EC). Yes, let’s hope voters in the center of the country start coming to their senses about the GOP, but I don’t look for the Democrats to spend any more time at the national level trying to win them over when they lost the presidency by 78,000 or so votes in PA, MI, and WI.

Here’s part of what I base this on. It’s my Congressional District. The Democrats haven’t even bothered to field a candidate to run against my Republican House Rep in the last two elections, and I live in Pennsyltucky.

I think we’re going to be waiting a long time before you see any significant Democratic investment of time and treasure in the blood red states.


8. I’m not ‘upset’ about your post. Once again, blaming the nearly 150 million people who did not feel impelled to vote for Hillary is missing the damn point and is, in fact, a continuation of the thinking that got you Trump in the first place. People are fed up with politics as usual. These times must be met with vision and creativity. The ay forward could not be clearer… See the recent election in Britain for reference. ‘Don’t block up the hall, for he who gets hurt will be he who has stalled’, as Bob Dylan once sang.

I appreciate that you’re not upset even though that’s not a consideration for me either way.

I will go on reminding you that Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million. More people were compelled to vote for her than Trump.

I will also go on blaming Americans who didn’t vote for Hillary for why Trump is now president. The only alternative was Trump, they knew that, and for them to not do whatever was necessary, including holding their nose to vote for her to keep him out of the office, was in my view an unconscionable act of either complete selfishness or inexplicable stupidity or both. That’s my view of it.

Finally, let me suggest that you immediately stop saying 150 million people “did not feel impelled to vote for Hillary” as that is patently a strawman argument that at its best plays fast and loose with the data.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in November 2016, there were 224,059,000 citizens 18 and older.
– Of that, 157,596,000 were registered to vote.
– Of that, 137,537,000 voted.
– Of that, Clinton got almost 66 million to Trump’s 63 million, leaving the remainder to Johnson, Stein, and others.

Even with the most generous application of simple math, you get…..
224 million who could vote (forgetting for a moment that nearly 66 million aren’t even registered)
138 million who did vote which
equals 86 million who could have voted for either candidate but didn’t. Again, 66 million of that 86 million aren’t even registered.

Being as generous as possible, 86 million is nowhere close to your purported 150 million unless, of course, you really want to abandon all logic and reason by adding in Trump’s 63 million.

Is that how you get to 149 million? If so, you must know that that’s completely and utterly ridiculous as it makes a case that is devoid of any intellectual honesty. Yes, 150 million people didn’t vote for Clinton. 66 million weren’t registered to vote at all, and 63 million voted for Trump. Are you really trying to make some sort of case that had she been a better candidate she would have beaten Trump by even more than the 3 million she already had beaten him by? Perhaps, but to go around saying, “….blaming the nearly 150 million people who did not feel impelled to vote for Hillary is missing the damn point,” is attempting to set the point at a place – 150 million – that makes no sense.

BTW, don’t take my word for it on the numbers. Download the data for yourself at

(Here is my Comment which preceded the above and to which my partner in this conversation was responding.)

I don’t know if any of this will be helpful. I don’t know if I’ve just wasted an afternoon thinking this through, but here it is anyway.

I became a Democrat in 2015 for one reason; to vote for Bernie in the closed PA primary.

I am not a partisan. I’ve voted for Independents, Democrats, and Republicans in my life.

I don’t claim to speak as a Democrat or for Democrats. That said, here are my views on some of the thinking I’ve encountered here and pretty exclusively from people who seem to hate Hillary apparently so much that they were fine not voting for her knowing what the alternative was.

To put an even finer point on it, this really applies only to voters in a few battleground states. Sadly, third-party votes and not voting at all has no significant impact on elections in safely blue and red states.

1) Hillary’s “Coronation”
To my knowledge, the DNC did not restrict anyone from being a candidate. Biden could’ve run. Booker could’ve run. Warren could’ve run. They chose not to run.

Others besides Bernie did choose to run; former Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley, former Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb and my personal favorite, Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig.

The only other one to get traction was Bernie who, like me, was NEVER A DEMOCRAT until it became convenient to do so.

It’s important to keep this point in mind. He and I and I suspect some reading this are Democrats of Convenience. To complain that the Party had a favorite is to deny the fact that Bernie and we were the party crashers demanding the party hosts do what we say.

Bernie took advantage of the Democratic Party process to register and run as a Democrat despite being Independent before (and again after) the primaries. It bears repeating. He was NOT a Democrat, but he ran as one.

Then he went and lost. By a lot.

According to his website and, he is back to being Independent.

C’est la vie, and so much for unifying and changing the Party from within, I guess.

Call it a coronation if it satisfies your conspiracy theory needs, but I think it’s far simpler than that. Sanders crashed the party, and the people already in the Party voted him out.

(Please save your conspiracy theories about debate schedules and emails, too. Those are empty arguments unless your Social Security eligible, don’t have Internet access, and don’t own a TV.)

2) Primary rigging
Anyone upset that hardcore and life-long Democrats inside and outside the Party’s inner workings would work against Bernie and for Hillary is refusing to admit some pretty basic human psychology.

Bernie was an outsider. To make matters worse, he ran as a Democrat but made attacking the Democratic Party – not just Hillary, the Party – a key part of his message. How was that supposed to work? How was that going to attract and appeal to people who had called themselves Democrats for years and decades?

Yes, Bernie had appeal especially for those who had not been very politically active and to those of us have been concerned for years about Big Money, campaign finance, and voters’ rights.

But, here’s the reality. Bernie lost by 3 million votes. 3 million out of a total of 30 million cast. That’s a lot of rigging.

Are people actually giving the DNC that much credit to pull off that scale of rigging and corruption? I’m not.

3) Bullying
Everyone is free to make their own decisions on Election Day. Two candidates had any reasonable chance of winning. Two. That’s the reality.

If you live in a battleground state, and if you call yourself a liberal or a progressive or a Democrat or some combination, AND you didn’t vote for Clinton knowing – and you simply cannot deny this knowing – that Trump was the only other candidate capable of winning, then this presidency is on you.

If you call that bullying or claim you were bullied, I’d love some details.

Seems that both the Hillary and Sanders camps want to claim the other bullied them. Some probably think that’s what I’m doing.

I think they are all wrong.

This isn’t bullying. It’s pointing out facts, and I don’t intend to ever stop reminding people of these facts.

If that makes you feel bullied or angry or uncomfortable or whatever, that’s not my intention and that’s really on you. I’m simply pointing out facts as I see them and know them.

4) Now what?
If as a California, New York, Florida, Texas or overseas voter you thought you were sending a message to the DNC by voting for Stein or not voting at all, I think you are sadly narcissistic.

The only message you sent was that you care more about ideological purity than you do about all the peoples who will be harmed by a Trump presidency.

Besides, the DNC isn’t trying to figure out how to win over some big percentage of a small total number of Stein voters and Johnson voters. That math does not work for them.

What they are doing is trying to figure out how to win back some small percentage of the voters they’ve won before in places like PA, WI, and MI. That’s what made the difference despite her winning the popular vote by almost 3 million.

(BTW, the argument that the 2016 election was some kind of “down year” is another false claim.)

In the final analysis no one cast your vote but you.

If posts like this upset you, ask yourself what it is that truly is upsetting you. Is it me reminding you that there are consequences to elections, because if it’s not that, I don’t know what it is that is upsetting you.

Hey, Liberals, we’ll need to get together soon



I get that we’re all still processing what happened, and some deplorable Trump supporters need to be thrown in jail right now, but I am wondering when we liberals will stop blaming one another and realize that, all in, we’re like 3% apart.



So were the polls, apparently.

Take the time you all need to process, to grieve, and to muster the strength you know you have.

We have a lot of work to do, and the sooner we get to it, the better.


Bernie is right. Right now is not the time to be supporting a protest vote.

Bernie is right. Again.

“Right now is not the time to be supporting a protest vote.”
– Bernie Sanders

One-on-one with Bernie Sanders
One-on-one with Bernie Sanders

In my opinion, for anyone to accuse him of being a sell-out, or to now hold the view that they should no longer follow his advice, seems to me to be a possible marker for not really and truly understanding him, what he was and still is all about, what he’s still working for on our behalf, and the reality of how our political processes work.

I’m very much with Bernie on this issue of protest voting in this election cycle.

I agree with him on his support for Hillary.

It’s important to note that he’s not just saying that she’s the only alternative to Trump. It seems to me that he’s speaking pretty clearly and pretty directly in support of her and her positions on real issues.

Here’s what else he says. These excerpted comments come from an exchange which begins around the 5:50 mark if you don’t have time to watch all 9 minutes.

“Election days come and go….Change does not occur in a 2-week period or in a 6-month period. It is a constant struggle……..My goal is to get Secretary Clinton elected, but if you think I’m going to stop the day after, you’re wrong…..Then the goal is to mobilize the American people to make sure that Congress does the right thing….fulfills the platform that we wrote for the Democratic Party, which is the most progressive platform in the history of American politics.”

Is the Democratic Party as progressive as I would like? No. It never has been.

Is that platform and a Clinton presidency a real and meaningful step in the right direction? Yes, I think it is. It’s why, after 36 years as being registered Non-Partisan, I registered as a Democrat in this cycle. It was so that I could vote for Bernie in the closed PA primary.

Bernie was my first choice. He didn’t win. At this point, I think it’s a near-meaningless waste of energy and oxygen to continue to speculate, agonize, and complain over the reasons – real or imagined – for why he lost. It’s done. It can’t be changed. (And, please, spare me the orange jumpsuit predictions. After 35 or 40 years of relentless right-wing attacks, nothing has stuck. Maybe there’s a reason for that other than another layer of conspiracy.)

So, what I’m going to do in November is what Bernie is suggesting that we all do, and that is to vote for Clinton and to continue to advocate for progress toward a better world for everyone by supporting people down-ballot who share that vision.

Sanders has a vision I share. He’s also pragmatic about how and what it will take to realize that vision.

It will take longer than one election cycle.

As a Sanders supporter, if you cast a protest vote in November, you need to understand that Sanders sees it as I do. It’s a vote for Trump.

Your vote can make a statement, or it can make a difference.

It’s your choice.