Thursday, May 18, 2017

To prevent another Trump, open the primary elections in every state at every level

The bile and the acid Clinton Democrats have flung at Sanders supporters has become a river. It is particularly evident on Facebook, especially now, with a class action lawsuit underway against the Dingaling National Committee and Debra Wasserman-Schultz for "tipping the scales" for Clinton. Given the deep and wide Clinton News Network, it is hardly a surprise that there is a virtual blackout on the story. I guess that would explain why the press has turned to the story on Trump and Russia.

Clinton supporters claim that Sanders wasn't a real Democrat, but conveniently omit the fact that he registered as a Democrat to run as a Democrat. He met all the criteria to run for president as a Democrat, and the DNC allowed him to run, but to Clinton supporters, he's not a real Democrat. He's caucused with Democrats in the Senate and in the House and voted with Democrats in both houses, but he's still not a real Democrat. Sanders wasn't just running for president, he was ringing a bell. Did any of you Clinton supporters hear it?

Clinton supporters tell me I should just stop whining and get with the party, that I should have voted for Clinton. That her loss is my fault. How convenient it is for them to omit that Clinton collected commitments from more than 400 superdelegates before the first primaries were held. How convenient it is for Clinton supporters to omit that mainstream media were there to apologize for her and cover her butt and used their positions of power to create an implicit bias against Bernie Sanders. And somehow, she still lost the general election.

Through it all, Clinton was supported by Barack Obama, nearly every sitting Democrat in federal and state office, and the DNC, despite losing more than 900 seats nationwide during the 8 years that Obama was president. How did they lose those seats? By acting like Republicans and voting for policies that redistributed income upwards. By fundraising like Republicans (that link is to a ginormous 1986 article that describes ground zero - the point at which the Democrats lost their way) and ignoring their base. Clinton ignored Sanders supporters at her own peril and lost.

Do you think that Democrats losing more than 900 seats nationwide had anything to with Clinton's loss? I do. Democrats lost those seats because they failed to offer a meaningful and progressive liberal alternative to Republicans.

Clinton supporters have told me how I have to stop crying over the loss that Sanders suffered. I demur. I'm not crying for Sanders. As an independent voter, I'm crying for relief from the disenfranchisement imposed by both parties with their allegiance firmly held for Boss Tweed. Here are some well known quotes from Mr. Tweed:
I don't care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating.
The way to have power is to take it.
From the Wikipedia article on Boss Tweed:
According to Tweed biographer Kenneth D. Ackerman:
It's hard not to admire the skill behind Tweed's system ... The Tweed ring at its height was an engineering marvel, strong and solid, strategically deployed to control key power points: the courts, the legislature, the treasury and the ballot box. Its frauds had a grandeur of scale and an elegance of structure: money-laundering, profit sharing and organization.
What happened at the DNC is probably the best demonstration we've seen in recent history of how much control the wealthy seek to maintain over the nomination process. And when I say "wealthy", I'm not talking about your small business owner pulling a few million a year in gross business income. I'm talking billion dollar businesses running defacto monopolies. Think Walmart, Amazon, Facebook and Google. Think Mobil, Exxon and Shell. Think Comcast, ATT and Verizon. I saw coverage of the Convention and all the logos everywhere.

Sanders said he's nobody's savior, that his campaign was not about him and he never told us who to vote for, anyway. He told us over and over again, that his campaign was about the issues, not about him. I agree. The debate is not about Sanders losing the nomination to Clinton even though there is serious contention as to that point. The context of the debate between Clinton supporters and Sanders supporters is about accountability.

The DNC is not willing to be held accountable to the people they claim to represent because the people they serve (the real party in interest), do not want any changes. The DNC claims to represent "Democrats", but after what I saw in the news about the nomination process, I will not call them "the Democratic Party", anymore. The superdelegates are unaccountable and are not democratic. The primaries are all for show because, with a few exceptions like Bernie, the vast majority of candidates must win the "money primary". That's where Boss Tweed chooses who gets to run and do well in any election.

The DNC defense in the courtroom over a motion to dismiss in the class action lawsuit can be summarized as follows:
  • We have the right to tip the scales to any candidate we choose.
  • Votes don't matter.
  • We're a private organization with zero fiduciary duty to anyone who sends us money.
Seriously? This is an organization that claims "democracy" in their namesake yet refuses to listen to the will of the people they claim to represent?

And what's with this "we" business? Who is "we"? If the DNC has no obligation to follow the will of the people as expressed through their votes, why are they here? They are here as a conduit for the concentration of power. If the vote doesn't matter, who do they represent? The 0.02% who use money to exert control over the outcome of the primary elections. They don't really care who votes in the general election, they just want control over the nomination process, and it would follow, the nominee. That is the walled garden erected by the wealthiest people in this country. This is the context of the struggle between the middle class and those who seek to marginalize the middle class.

My opponents in this debate on Facebook (and elsewhere) insist that primaries should be closed for the people who work so hard to cultivate a candidate, to prevent the primaries from being hijacked by the opposition party. It takes two to tango. If one party can do it, the other party can return the favor. Our party politics are so very polarized precisely because we have closed primaries. And once you close the primaries, then the 0.02% can go wild, serving us up with candidates many of us neither needed nor wanted. Like Trump and Clinton.

Opening the primaries in every state would provide a check on the power of the dominant parties. It would necessarily moderate the choice of candidates for office by each party. Open primaries would allow independents, now 45% of voters, to have a say in who they want to vote for in the general election. Indeed, it is a neat trick to see that the Republicans with 26% and Democrats with 30% of the national voter registration maintain absolute control over state and federal politics. Open primaries would go a long way to reducing the extreme polarization of our politics.

It would seem to me then, that extreme polarization of our politics is by design rather than an accident, for nothing in politics is accidental. Closing the primaries has increased the polarization of our politics, dividing our nation and preventing us from acting as one. Opening the primaries at every level of government would dilute the polarization. Open primaries would serve as a reminder to political parties running as private organizations, that they serve the public at large, not just a few very wealthy and organized interests. Open primaries would allow the entire country to work together, to prevent a hijacking of our government by a few very wealthy and entrenched interests.

It also follows that we need to open our debates. The Democrats and Republicans must not be allowed to keep the debate stage and the free media exposure that follows, to themselves. The tide is starting to turn on the Commission for Presidential Debates and the courts are starting to take notice. In Leveling the Playing Field v. FEC (Case No. 15-cv-1397), a federal court has ruled that the Federal Election Commission must reconsider their rules in light of the evidence presented in that case. They must acknowledge that only one third party candidate has appeared in a presidential debate since 1988. Just one in nearly 30 years.

The antipathy directed by Clinton supporters to Sanders supporters must be seen as an excruciating example of resistance to change, rather than a desire for it. The tension created by Clinton supporters demonstrates a clear lack of empathy for Sanders supporters. Sanders supporters wanted someone who was not of the old guard. They wanted someone they could trust and did not find that in Clinton.

So dear Clinton supporters, if you want the Democrats to win in the midterms, remember, we're progressives and we're here. We're waiting. We'd like to see some inclusion. We'd like to be welcomed. We'd like to agree upon a candidate that all of us progressives want. But if you continue to browbeat us, I'm sure Sanders supporters like me will find something else to do.
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