Thursday, July 07, 2016

I read the news today, oh, boy. Believer it or not, there is still hope for Bernie and his movement.

While the earth burns...Hillary is not going to be indicted (I'm still in a daze on this one). Oh yeah, and it seems that FBI director James Comey inadvertently proved that Hillary Clinton committed perjury. Bernie is "working" with the Clinton campaign. Trump can't keep his foot in his mouth without pulling the trigger. Obama brought Hillary Clinton on Air Force One?

Close your eyes and click your heels together three times. Remember, "Not my circus, not my monkeys".

It's easy to get depressed over all this news and more. But there is actually some good news out there. I know, it seems hard to believe. But remember, we're dealing with the mainstream media, guided by a Democratic National Committee determined to shape the narrative without their fingerprints on the stories they pass on to the press as news. Sanders supporters who listen to or read the mainstream news are exposing themselves to a message that says, "Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated."

I am writing to you dear reader, to let you know that there is always hope and that I'm not the only one who feels this way.

First, there is John Laurits. He's got a great series of articles on the delegate math and can see a path to 50% of the delegates at the convention, a path that you will never see reported in the mainstream media. Remember, we're all supposed to be depressed that we didn't win, and we're not supposed to have any hope that we might win. The mainstream media would like us to believe that the Sanders campaign is dead. It's not.

Laurits has pointed out that the hope for winning the nomination is to fund the delegates. There are a few delegates who are suffering from sticker shock and may or may not get to the convention if they don't get the money to go. Funding the delegates will get them to the convention. It's important to note that at a few statewide conventions, Clinton lost votes because her delegates were MIA. We don't want to suffer the same fate. So if you have some money to spare, fund a delegate!

I find one of the most interesting sources of Sanders news at Naked Capitalism. Their posts are deep, long and intellectual. If you scratch them, you won't get a simple answer. From time to time, I poke around there to see what they're talking about. It's mostly macroeconomics, but they also get into politics, and today, they've got a doozy. It's a bit of a long read, but it's worth the effort, "The Sanders Revolution: North Dakota as an Example of the Long Tail of Grass Roots Activism". It's a republication of an article from David Morris, co-founder of The Institute for Local Self Reliance, or ILSR.

Some old timers who know my blog may well remember that name. The Institute for Local Self Reliance is parent to the Community Broadband Networks, a blog devoted to the public option for internet access, maintained by Christopher Mitchell. What are they about? In a nutshell, they are about distributing political power rather than centralizing it. The article by David Morris is long on history, but it's very useful history for those who support Bernie Sanders and others who think like him.

Morris rightly notes the history of the state of North Dakota and how a socialist party managed to infiltrate the early Republican Party of that state. He shares with us, the story of the Non-Partisan League and how they worked as a group to develop and assert power against the monopolies that prevailed at the time. We also learn how they set the foundation for the public option in that state, as well as the institutions that remain there to this day, like the Bank of North Dakota. And finally, we learn that the public option has given the citizens of North Dakota a fiber network for internet access that is world class with real competition from local providers.

But the takeaway, the meat of the article is about how grassroots movements create lasting change in a way that media manipulation can never match. The grassroots movements of North Dakota in the first 25 years of the last century created institutions that conservatives today would be crazy to try to abolish today. Because they started from the bottom up, they created not just a party, but a way of life and thinking that still permeates the culture of North Dakota today.

Why is that important to Bernie Sanders? The Sanders campaign has grassroots stickers plastered all over it. Grassroots means an unprecedented 7 million+ contributions averaging $27 each, or a total of more than $222 million in campaign finance to work with. That grassroots campaign gave the establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton, a serious run for her money and it's still not over.

Better yet, Sanders has encourage people to run for office with a central plank of getting big money out of politics (you can sign up here at his website). More than 12,000 people have signed up to learn how to run for office. Sanders polls better than Clinton with young people by a landslide. They are the next generation.

If this movement takes hold and can maintain momentum past November and beyond, we could well see some serious changes in the next mid-term election. Already, we are seeing incumbents who supported Hillary Clinton matched up with primary contests they weren't expecting to fight. Just ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz. I guess they thought they were in safe seats. A few Sanders supporters have already won primaries for their Congressional districts, too.

What does media manipulation get for you? A contingent of independent voters that is larger than the two dominant parties combined. Even in this article, NBC News is trying to spin it to save the two dominant parties, Democrats and Republicans. But the fact remains that at the current rate of growth, independent voters will outnumber both parties combined. Both parties are truly disconnected from the public with 26% for Republicans and 30% for Democrats.

Here is one more pearl of wisdom bestowed upon us by the State of North Dakota from the same article:
To gain power the NPL relied on a political tool born of the Progressive movement: the political primary. To make government more responsive and transparent, Progressives urged states to bypass political conventions, political bosses and backroom deals and adopt direct primaries. By 1916, 25 of the 48 U.S. states had adopted the primary as the vehicle for nominating political candidates.
The primary system gave people the power to elect candidates of their political party, but the key to the remarkable political revolution that swept through North Dakota was its adoption, in 1908, of an “open primary” law that allowed anyone to vote in a party’s primary even if unaffiliated with that party.
The NPL recognized the right of nomination and that it resides with the people. They eschewed big money in politics and promoted open primaries. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Even if Sanders does not win the nomination, and there is a pretty good chance he won't, he landed an enormous blow against establishment incumbents in Congress and in many statehouses. As more people become motivated to run for office following that one simple principle to get big money out of politics, establishment supporters will find it harder and harder to field their own candidates. Why? The people they claim to support will have become wise to their game.

This is not about hate. Don't hate Clinton. Notice what she's doing and oppose her. Don't hate the adversary, for it is not the opposite of love. The opposite of love is indifference. Indifference says, "You know what? I really don't care anymore what you do. I have other plans."

Love says, "I care more than ever about my country and where it's going. I'm willing to volunteer, I'm willing to write, to share and even run for a seat on the school board or the water district. I accept that it took a long time to get here, and that it may take awhile to get back on track. But I'm willing to do the work to get our country working for everyone again."

Sanders came in peace to save the Democratic Party. The DNC was not wiling to listen. That's OK. We may have to form a new party to get a brand new Congress and a president who actually represents the rest of us.
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