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.

Parties, primaries, processes, and paying for democracy

This article from April by Ezra Klein in Vox, “This presidential campaign is developing a legitimacy problem,” is worth reading even though it’s now July.

Bernie future

The videos with it were helpful, too. I especially liked the explanation about why we don’t have a single day for primaries – something I’ve always wondered about.

Seems to me that issue rests at the feet of this anachronistic idea called state’s rights. To the point about a lack of national standards made by a friend of mine, when political parties in 52 jurisdictions get to make up their own rules, why would we expect anything but chaos, corruption, and questionable outcomes? I think we need national standards like single-day primaries and the ‘retirement’ of caucuses – another anachronistic idea that serves to exclude more Americans than it includes.

Tax Status of Parties and the Cost of Elections

I found this article, “Tax-Exempt Political Parties Have Money and Resources to Keep Elections Rigged,” from IVN while researching the question of the tax status of political parties. It’s from 2014. Political parties are, according to IVN, non-profit 527s, not for-profit corporations. Perhaps there was a time when they were for-profit? I’m asking because I don’t know.

Another point made in this IVN piece that I hadn’t really considered before is just the straight-up “operational” costs to have polling places.

Candice Nelson, a professor with American University’s government department, balks when asked whether states should do anything to restrict funding, tax-exempt or not.

“[I]t costs money to put on elections — to have a voting booth and have a place to go and vote,” Nelson said. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable for states to pay for the funding of those elections.”

The quote got me thinking about the costs that go into making it possible for us to cast our vote, and that includes campaigning and primaries.

It does cost money, and I do see elections as a function of the public sector that benefits the public good. I think the process should be funded by taxpayers, even those who choose not to participate. That’s their choice. (I’ll get to open vs closed primaries next.)

What I am totally against is privatizing anything that has to do with our electoral process, and that includes how political parties are funded, how campaigns are funded, and how the electoral process itself is funded. Privatizing any (more!) of that would, it seems to me, only strengthen the grip of power those with all the money have already over us and our politicians.

IVN t-shirtPublic service announcement:
I’d like to encourage everyone to kick a few bucks to IVN as I just did and have done in the past. I have the t-shirt to prove it.  😉


As for open vs closed primaries, I admit to being more for closed primaries under the current process because I tend to think that a party’s members should be the people who choose who represents their party. This is where I’m admittedly not aligned 100% with IVN.

I don’t see primaries as the election. I see primaries as the means by which parties choose whom they wish to represent them. While IVN’s arguments do hold up that, for all intents-and-purposes under the present system, primaries serve in a big way as proxies for the actual election, they are not, in my mind, actually that. Here’s why.

Some people I know will tell you that they plan to cast their vote outside the two parties in November because they don’t like either candidate. If that’s the course they choose to follow because their candidate didn’t get enough support within a respective party, then they still have that as their prerogative.

I also think under the current system that closed primaries are the best way to keep people from rigging the outcomes even more perversely than is claimed that they are today. Democrats don’t want Republicans showing up to cast a ballot in the Democratic primary, and vice versa, just as Greens and Libertarians probably don’t want Democrats and Republicans despoiling their selection processes.

For a really interesting review of primaries in the U.S., see this Wikipedia page, Primary elections in the United States. Per this page, there are only 11 states that have closed primaries.

Now, as I see it, if we had single-day open primaries, then I think these problems are mostly solved. Bear in mind that nothing is perfect; however, under this scenario, everyone can vote, they all do so on the same day so crossing-over is reduced, and unaffiliated voters can participate but, as in any election, only a single vote gets cast. I’d also turn this whole electoral process, primary and general, into instant-runoff voting so that a second, third, and even fourth choice actually has a chance to win.

What I am absolutely all for is more parties. Figuring out how to fund parties seems like the thorniest problem to resolve. I don’t claim to have any answers. I sometimes think publicly funded elections are the best way to go, but then the question becomes how to distribute public funds to the parties? Is it relative and based on size of membership, or is it a flat amount? Then it feels like we’re right back to the question of party membership and open vs closed primaries.

Why have parties at all?

I think it’s human nature. We are not individuals. We are social animals who instinctively, emotionally, and for all kinds of practical reasons need each other to survive. As such, we’re going to coalesce into groups, and groups tend to take positions for or against all sorts of things based on what the group’s individuals collectively want, need, and believe. I think this “for or against” human tendency explains a lot about why there are only two major parties with lots of less popular and less populated parties who haven’t gotten traction. Most people don’t want to be in a group with little to no power and influence.

There’s no question that our political system is clearly broken and rigged to favor the present duopoly. I firmly believe that we need a different way of running our campaign, electoral, and political processes. As those who know me know, I’ve been advocating for years for ideas like the American Anti-Corruption Act and for the work that the people like Represent.Us and are doing on this issue. I support them along with the Independent Voter Network, and hope that everyone reading this will, too.