Friday, May 20, 2016

Bernie, Please Consider Running Third Party Through Novemeber

Dear Bernie Sanders,

42% of Americans identify as Independent, and 65% of Americans would support a third party candidate. On the Republican end, 25% say they will consider a third party candidate if Trump wins the nomination. As I'm sure you've seen during your campaign, Americans are clamoring for another voice in the race.

You've said repeatedly that you will do everything you can to make sure a Republican doesn't make it into the White House. It turns out there is a mathematical possibility of an Independent winning the race. And by running Democrat, you have already secured the 15% requirement in national polls that would allow you to join the presidential debates along side Trump and Clinton.

You yourself have seen the polls that show Trump beating Hillary nationally. It's estimated that a fourth to a third (sometimes even higher margins) of your supporters refuse to vote for Hillary in a general election. Outside of your supporters, it's scary to realize Clinton's favorable ratings continue to drop and that she's never been able to raise her poll numbers in any campaign she's run.

I still have hope that you can overtake Hillary's delegate lead and present a challenging case to the superdelegates in July. But if that doesn't happen, if Hillary is the Democratic nominee, I ask you not to put yourself behind such a weak candidate who could so easily lose the general election. Your campaign has always had the momentum. I ask you to keep it going.

If, for whatever reason, you can't or won't continue, I ask instead that you endorse Jill Stein. Many of your supporters are already interested in her campaign. Many are also prepared to vote for her in lieu of writing in your name on the November ballot. Your endorsement could raise in her the polls, giving her the 15% she needs to join the debates. Not only, would she provide a fresh voice against Trump and Clinton, but she'd represent a woman candidate for President worth voting for.

I will continue to fight for your win, but if it doesn't happen, please don't back the establishment we've all been fighting against. That would be the biggest momentum killer of all.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

We Were Awake Before Bernie Sanders Got Here

The Nevada convention was a mess. And after allegations of alleged violence from Bernie Sanders supporters, the media insisted Bernie needed to tell his followers to tone it down:
"It's not wrong for Sanders to see corruption baked into the law and the political process as it currently exists. Nor is it out of bounds for his campaign to point out the very flaws he is fighting to change. But the Campaign should remain cognizant of the fact that suggesting the entire political process is unfair is quite different from drawing policy contrasts - and more likely to have negative and destabilizing consequences for the party as a whole." -- The Atlantic
"He's suggesting that the win is being stolen by a corrupt establishment, an impression which will be validated when his phony prediction turns out not to be true. Lying like this sets you up for stuff like happened over the weekend in Nevada. As I said, it all comes from the very top." -- TPM
"Bernie Sanders himself could help clear the air by informing his supporters that while there are many things about the Democratic nomination process that ought to be changed, no one has "stolen" the nomination from him or from them. Perhaps a thousand small things gave Hillary Clinton an "unfair" advantage in this contest, but they were mostly baked into the cake, not contrived to throw cold water on the Bern." -- New York Magazine
Here's what they don't get: Bernie Sanders supporters were awake before Bernie Sanders came along.

We know it was a rigged system that allowed George Bush to gain the presidency in 2000 and 2004. We know that voting machines are easily hackable. We know that our political system runs on money, not votes. We know that Democrats and Republicans are two heads of the same snake and deliberately shut out other voices to keep themselves in power.

When we first heard Bernie Sanders speak about a rigged system, we didn't say, "Hey, this guy has a point!" We said, "Finally, a politician who aligns with my views!" If you believe the rigged system is a lie, Bernie Sanders didn't perpetuate it. We've been discontent with the political system long before he came along.

So when we learn the DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz was co-chair of Hillary's presidential campaign in 2008, when we see how she's the stacked the deck in Hillary's favor, when we hear Bernie votes have scrubbed in audits, we see that exit polls where Hillary wins states do not add up, when we we learn the official fired for the NY voter purge has Hillary campaign ties, we don't need Bernie Sanders to tell us what we already fully understand. The system is rigged.

Close your eyes to it if you want to, but we are and always have been awake. You are ones who are just now finding out about it. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

6 Big Reasons Not to Vote for Hillary Clinton

Mindy Fischer put out a blog post titled, "6 Big Reasons To Vote for Hillary." I have Hillary supporter friends, and one of them posted the article on Facebook. I rolled my eyes and tried to ignore it, but I couldn't. So, here we go. A response to each of Mindy's points.

There's a tight race looming in the distance with a very possible Hillary vs Trump general election. Many fear Trump and gawk at the #BernieOrBust or #NeverHillary movements. Surely Hillary is a far better candidate? Well, not really. 

Obama's Third Term

I like President Obama in general. He pulled us from Iraq and Afghanistan (although not completely), and he passed the Affordable Healthcare Act that was an invaluable boon for me going into college. But we still have people who can't afford healthcare or are underinsured. So, yeah, he's accomplished some great things. But overall I wish he'd done better. Hillary follows many of his short comings.

The Great Recession may be over, but we're still feeling its effects. Jobs are hard to come by and there's a trend toward people saving money rather than spending. Our economy isn't where it should be, and the people have lost faith in it. I have no confidence in Hillary's stance on opposing the TPP, a trade deal Obama sadly supports and one that would only ship more American jobs overseas. This is the last thing our country needs.

On immigration, while Hillary has promised only to deport violent criminals and has specifically state she won't deport children, she stands by her previous decision to send back child refuges from Central America. So which is it, Hillary? You can't have it both ways. Obama deported hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants during his first term alone, reaching a record high. If Hillary really is the next Obama, we can expect much of the same.

Hillary has ties to gas and oil companies. She has promised to install 500 million solar panels across the country along with infrastructure upgrades to improve our transporting systems for coal, oil, and gas. Keep in mind it took her forever to come out against the Keystone pipeline in a decision that should have been a no brainier from the start. Hillary also sold fracking to the world and can't promise to abolish it in the US. Obama's taken some strides in green energy initiatives, but not nearly enough to draw us away from dirty energy. Expect Hillary to follow suit.

Hillary plans on "expanding" Obamacare by making it more affordable. Cheaper care sounds good in theory but it's not a guarantee of ensuring all American citizens have access to affordable quality care. The Affordable Care Act is likely to go in the history books as Obama's shinning moment. I would challenge Hillary to reform it, not simply hold on to it and make it cost less.

Hillary has spoken in support of Dodd-Frank, but if you expect her rail in Wall Street, think again. If her speeches to Goldman Sacs (one of her top campaign donors among other disturbing ties) don't bother you, she also refuses to reinstate Glass Steagall. And she has promised only invoke Dodd-Frank if the banks pose a risk, nevermind the fact that they are now bigger than they were in 2008. Obama's "great" Wall Street reform was to pass Dodd-Frank. Hillary has followed and proposed a weak plan (though she calls it comprehensive) to combat excess spending.

So yeah, if you are happy with all of that and you think it's the direction our country needs to go in for the next 8 years, Hillary's a great candidate.


Hillary's experience has been touted from day one. Mindy herself says "no one in our history has ever come to this office as ready on day one as Hillary." She's wrong. Even if you include Hillary's time as First Lady, Bernie Sanders has 12 more years of experience than she does directly related to governance and congressional work.

Hillary also calls herself "a progressive who gets things done," and the Washington Times touted her record in the Senate and her ability pass laws. But that article is highly inaccurate. You can fact check Hillary and Bernie on yourself and see how the two compare bill for bill. Something less known is Bernie Sanders was called the Amendment King for his ability to pass laws through a Republican held Congress (1995-2007). He's just as capable if not more so than Hillary (he's been in Congress nearly 3x longer than her) to get stuff done.

Along with Clinton's experience, Mindy says, "Hillary has proven herself tough enough to handle anything." Has she? I wouldn't call a woman tough who lets others use sexism as a shield for her and doesn't rebuke it. I wouldn't call a woman tough who can only give her gender as an example to how she's different than Obama or why she's not establishment. I wouldn't a call a woman tough who says one thing and has to use the excuse that she misspoke to cover her tracks. I wouldn't call a woman tough who can't give a position on anything until the political climate is right for it. I wouldn't call a woman tough who has to lie repeatedly about her record and hope no one Google's it. I wouldn't call a woman tough who feels she has to change her accent to match the area she visits visits while campaigning. I wouldn't call a woman tough who tells Bernie Sanders to "tone it down" when she expects to go up against Donald Trump.

I don't expect her to be kicking ass and taking names as president.

Foreign Policy

Hillary's friendship with Henry Kissinger is nothing to be praised. And her foreign policy record is a terrifying thing to wade through, showing one reckless war-addicted decision after another that often ends in destabilization of the area. Iraq. Benghazi. Honduras. Afghanistan. Russia. Syria. Lybia, which is actually credited as "Hillary's War." Hillary says the one thing she learned from Lybia was that the US's presence is needed in the middle east. You can bet as president she'll be sending us into another costly war,

I get when people say Trump would be worse, but that's no reason to hold Hillary up as shinning example when she seems to hold such blatant disregard to lives lost and effected by war.


While Hillary has a plan for gun control here at home, she has no qualms supplying arms deals to her donors as Secretary of State, including Sadia Arabia, Algeria, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Qtar. I wish I was fucking kidding.

Women's Rights

Those who question Hillary as a feminist, point to her record of silencing women who came out about sexual assault by her husband. Others point to her defense of a child rapist and her decision to paint the victim as "attention seeking and emotionally unstable." I personally have no respect for a women who uses the deaths of children as a political ploy. Though these issues can be pushed aside for situational reasons, they are still unsettling.

Other concerns include Hillary taking donations from countries that oppress women and cutting programs while head of the Children's Defense Fund.

She takes donations from Monsanto, a company that dumps tons of pesticide into the ground and waterways, abuses workers and local farmers, and is pushing against legislation to mandate GMO labeling on foods. Hillary also served as Director of Walmart for 6 years, a company known for its aggressive anti-union practices, unlivable wages it provides its employees, and a tendency to accept goods from near-slavery condition factories. Though she has since left the company, she has yet to speak against it. Those against Hillary argue her ties to such companies bring her convictions into question. If she wants what's best for women, why would she accept or give support to such groups that hurt women, their families, and their children?

Hillary's policies on mass incarceration, big oil, climate change, health care, and unions are also criticized as being too lax for women and children who would benefit from stronger reform.


Is Hillary better than Trump? I suppose you could say that. Is she a champion of women and children? Hell, no. Should you vote for her anyway? Both of them are horrific candidates, and it's time as US citizens we take the presidency into our own hands and stop voting for the lesser evil because there is another choice.

Write in Bernie Sanders for the general election or vote Green.

You roll your eyes. You laugh. No third party candidate has ever won a single state. Writing in Bernie Sanders is "throwing away your vote." But that's only true because you believe it.

If every single person in the US who looked at Trump and/or Hillary and said "hell no" voted third party we really would have a political revolution on our hands. Stop voting scared, and vote with integrity. We have more choices than just two. It's up to you to decide whether to give in to this sick, destructive cycle of crap-ass candidates the Republicans and Democrats keep throwing at us or to take a chance and vote for the country's future.

If the only benefit of voting for Hillary Clinton is to stop a greater evil, we gain nothing. It's still a vote for evil.

UPDATE 5/17/16: added paragraph on "getting stuff done" under Experience.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Bernie Sanders and Superdelegate Math

Bernie's plan to win Superdelegates comes in a total of 3 parts:
  1. Convince undecided superdelegates to support Bernie
  2. Convince Clinton-supporting superdelegates of states where Bernie won the majority to support Bernie
  3. Convince superdelegates who pledged their vote to Clinton at the very beginning of the primary season when a rival to Clinton was not conceivable to consider supporting Bernie
Would any of this help? Could Bernie win the DNC convention? Let's look at the math.

Currently, AP is reporting that Clinton has 520 delegates and Bernie has 39. It's worth noting that these are estimates and different sources are reporting different numbers. For math purposes, I'm using Wikipedia solely because they provide a break down of the delegates than can be counted and manipulated. They are reporting Hillary at 498 and Bernie at 41.

If Bernie is able to persuade all undecided superdelegates (and one O'Malley superdelegate) to his side, he would gain 176 votes. In states where he won the majority vote, there are 49 total superdelegates that have pledged their vote to Clinton. If Bernie were to win the remaining states in the primary, there are currently 89 pledged superdelegates in those states pledged to Clinton the he would need to convince to come to his side.

Adding all of this up and subtracting pledged superdelegates from Clinton, would make the final superdelegate tally (Bernie +176+49+89, Clinton -49-89):

Clinton 360
Bernie 355

If we go with the AP report, the scores would be Hillary 382, Bernie 353
(or slightly lower for Bernie given 20 delegates unaccounted for in the AP numbers).

The math seems unlikely. After all, how could Bernie convince ALL the superdelegates he needs? Even with the numbers so close, it still seems the convention would go to Hillary. How could Bernie possibly win? This is where part 3 comes in.

Bernie has a higher favorable rating than Hillary, he polls better than her against the Republican candidates, and Bernie is bringing out the youth and independent vote - huge voter bases that can make a difference in the general election.

Bernie Sanders is all around a stronger democratic candidate than Hillary for the general election. Winning the superdelegates hinges on how many of them can acknowledge this fact. Winning the remaining primary states would also be a good push for Bernie in convincing superdelegates that he can go the distance. But in order to win votes Bernie needs our help, now more than ever.

What can I do?

When writing superdelegates, be respectful! It should go without saying that threats, aggression, name calling, and the like only serve to hurt our cause. If you can't be respectful, ask a friend who can be to help you in writing your communication or use this sample letter

The path to victory is narrow, but we can win if we're determined to fight.