Monday, May 9, 2016

The Future's Here (and the Political Revolution is Now)

Like the song says, the future's here today--and Bernie's big win in Indiana proves that he has the stamina and the momentum to keep the Political Revolution alive and well in the days to come. This week we're focusing on how to keep the grassroots excitement carrying on throughout the campaign season and beyond.  What things are broken in our political system and how do we go about reforming them? Never forget--we are the Revolution. "And when the people stand together, there is nothing, nothing we cannot do."

Democracy is Not a Spectator Sport, either. Join Place a Vote where you can discuss and vote on current issues affecting our country. Brand New Congress means what it says--it wants to help progressives get on the ballot throughout the USA. Sign up and become involved. The season of being a couch potato is over. Let's take it to the streets, Berners!

Election Reform to Support Grassroots Candidates

by Ryan Hamer

The existing two-party primary system has been a disaster for democracy, making it difficult for grassroots candidates like Bernie Sanders to have a fair chance. Some have suggested eliminating the primaries and going straight to a general election where multiple candidates can compete and the one with the most votes wins. Unfortunately, if two of the candidates have similar views, they can end up siphoning off votes from each other, giving an unfair advantage to the third candidate.

Approval voting provides a way around this. Instead of voting for just one candidate, each voter gets to indicate approval or disapproval for each

candidate, with the person receiving the highest approval rating declared the winner. Since voters can approve of more than one candidate, it enables them to vote for both the candidate they truly want to win and a backup choice.

 As a hypothetical example, let’s say three candidates are running for president: Trump, Clinton and Sanders. Let’s assume that 35% will only vote for Trump, 10% will only vote for Clinton, 20% will only vote for Sanders, and 35%  would be okay with either Clinton or Sanders. Suppose that in the primary those who are okay with either Clinton or Sanders end up voting for Clinton on the assumption that she has the best chance of beating Trump, so Clinton wins the nomination 45 to 20. We’ll assume that Trump wins his party’s nomination uncontested (this is, after all, hypothetical). Come the general election, Sanders supporters resign themselves to voting for Clinton to keep Trump from being elected, so Clinton wins 65 to 35.

Now suppose we switch to a system where all three candidates face off in a general election without a primary. Let's say Trump gets his 35%, Clinton gets her fully-committed 10% plus another 23% from those who are okay with either Clinton or Sanders, and Sanders gets the remaining votes. That makes 35 for Trump, 33 for Clinton and 32 for Sanders, so Trump wins.

Going straight to a general election with approval voting yields a very different result. Trump would have a 35% approval rating, Clinton 45%, and Sanders 55%, so Sanders wins.

 Approval voting provides underdog candidates with a real chance of winning, and voters a chance to vote for their real choice and not just a fallback position. This is a change that would benefit all voters, regardless of party affiliation.

Bio: Ryan says that he is "Busy conducting research on poverty and its elimination, universal health care, the protection of civil liberties and the environment, and making the political process more collaborative, fairer and more civil."
This Woman is Bernie Strong
a weekly commentary featuring one of Bernie's female supporters

Bernie's Meta-Campaign 
by Barb McMillen

Bernie's is a meta-campaign. I use the term meta as in metagaming. From wiki: "Metagaming is any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed rule set, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. Another definition refers to the game universe outside of the game itself."

Bernie's campaign has from the very start been both his own as well as referential to the outside world of campaigning. As he moves from announcing his campaign to actually running for delegates through votes and caucus processes his own events become referential to those of the larger issues of campaigns in this country. What is the role a party plays in relationship to candidates running for the party? What is the relationship of the party the candidate and the media? What is consensus? What is gerrymandering, bribery, the people's choice? How do economics and democracy function together?

Every step of the way, Bernie's campaign has been a lantern shining its light through, and thereby exposing, the cracks in our democracy.

His campaign will be reviewed for years to come as an historical moment in the United States, the moment when the people became aware of the reality of their own politics. Bernie has had to carry not only his own weight but that of the system and that of the hopes and dreams of those of us who want to see him win despite everything that is mounted against him. Because we would like to see that yes, there still exists We The People, By The People, For The People

He is our warrior. Watch him, listen to him, and through the campaign know thyself. #ForeverChanged #FeelTheBern #Bernie2016

Bio: Barb is a co-founder of The Bernie Blog and a Bernie delegate from Ohio to the DNC convention this summer in Philadelphia.


Superdelegate Reform Needed!

I’m Dave Shanley, I’m age 62 and retired, I live in upstate New York, and I’m a Democrat who supports Bernie Sanders.

My comment/concern has to do with superdelegates and how news organizations are reporting delegate counts in the Democratic primary.

Specifically, in an interview with Chris Hayes of MSNBC on March 9, Representative Debbie Wasserman Shultz, Chair of the Democratic National Committee stated, "and at the end of the day we've not ever nominated a candidate for president as our party's nominee with anything but the pledged delegates that are selected by the voters."

That seems right and fair to me.  Can you imagine what would happened if a candidate got the most votes and won the most states and the superdelegates gave the nomination to another candidate?  An example of superdelegates following the lead of voters is when Hillary's lead in 2008 started to evaporate as superdelegates moved to Obama as he started to win races.

Most news organizations report Hillary ahead in delegate count 1645 pledged/520 super to Bernie's 1318 pledged/39 super (as of April 30).   By including the superdelegates in the overall delegate count without any explanation gives an inaccurate picture of the actual status of the campaign.  It gives the false impression that Hillary's nomination is all but inevitable.  It gives a big advantage to the Clinton campaign and is very unfair to the Sanders campaign.

As the chair of the Democratic National Committee made clear, ultimately, the "pledged delegates that are selected by the voters" will be the ones that will determine who will be the Democratic candidate for president.  The current pledged delegate count is Hillary 1645, Sanders  1318.  It's a significant delegate deficit, but given the number of delegates outstanding and given the states where those delegates reside, it can be overcome.

I’m sure there are many voters who are not aware of the significance of this and that concerns me.

We have the chair of the Democratic National Committee’s own words.  How do we get news organizations to report the delegate count in a more accurate and fair way? 

West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon: It's that time. Get to the polls and get ready to vote for Bernie! #FeeltheBern #LoveTrumpsHate



  1. The more that passes in this election the more obvious it seems electoral fraud is taking place on a huge scale. The Voting Rights Act should never have been repealed, and must be restored at once. It's ridiculous to witness America imposing democracy by force upon other countries yet it can't manage it in its own back yard.

    1. "Practice what you preach," is an old saying that Americans would do well to heed. Also, "Take the log out of your own eye before you take the speck out of your brother's eye." We need election reform and the reinstatement of the Voting Rights Act. These are necessary things because look what happens when these rights aren't guaranteed--we get the oligarchs and their flunkies rigging elections for their personal gain. It's time for ordinary citizens to step up and participate in returning Democracy to our shores! Vote Bernie!


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