Presidential elections always bring out many more voters that do the local ones. And at times, this has meant that there will be long lines at the polls. Here in Massachusetts probably not more than an hour (there are states and countries where it may be DAYS!!). But there are always ideas being floated, to try to make voting as easy, as fast, and as accurate as possible.
We all know there is NO human activity which is always 100% accurate, foolproof, predictable and perfected in all ways. But we keep trying to improve what we have. WE have already done a lot here in Worcester: we have new voting machines; we have 50 polling places, distributed around the city so as to be as close as possible to voters’ homes; and we work hard to keep our lists updated and accurate.
A number of other states have done something additional in order to make voting easier and more convenient: they have gone beyond the traditional 13-hour voting day (This year it will be on Tuesday, November 8th). They have added “early voting days.” Our election commission unanimously endorsed a plan to establish five early voting locations in Worcester, distributed throughout the city according to the five city council districts. They would be available between October 24 and November 4th and would provide four days of early voting at each site.
The state legislature had already passed a law authorizing early voting, and Worcester’s proposal exceeds the minimum required. To open the five sites in Worcester would cost $72,800, according to our election commission.
We already have done much to make voting easier: you can vote ahead of time by absentee ballot – and you can plan voting day so that at some point during the 13 hours that polls are open, you can take a few minutes to get in to do your civic duty. And, of course, most important, you can get – and stay – informed about the issues and the candidates.
There can be no democracy without an INFORMED electorate.
DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS SHOULD ABANDON CAUCUSES, SUPERDELEGATES, UNPLEDGED DELEGATES AND CLOSED PRIMARIES
By Steven R. Maher
Sometimes one gets the impression that America democracy is dissolving before our eyes as the rank and file rebel against the party elites through the candidacies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.
Part of what voters are rebelling against are the rules set up by these elites to preserve their own privileges and the huge amount of money flooding into the political process because of the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United. Together these two toxins are poisoning the American people’s belief in the Democratic process.
The antidote to these poisons is uniquely American – let the voters decide, not the super-delegates,unpledged delegates, or the party bosses.
The first thing each party should do is abolish caucuses, replacing them with primary elections where party voters choose the candidates. The caucus process embraces a fundamentally un-American concept that everyone knows what candidate you voted for. Unlike a primary, voters can’t go into a voting booth and in privacy select the candidate of their choice. They have to go “caucus” in the corner of the meeting hall for their candidates, where their choices are known to all. This is a situation which lends itself to retaliation and boycotts in which individuals can be targeted for reprisals for supporting a particular candidate.
Caucusing imposes what I call an “availability tax” on working business persons or single parent mothers. If you’re a small entrepreneur (Republican) trying to get a business up and running, taking three or four hours out of the day to caucus means foregoing business opportunities. Likewise, a single working parent (Democrat) trying to support several small children on a minimum wage job (or two jobs) may have to cut back on food, the electricity or some other vital expense to pay for a baby sitter to watch their children while Mom caucuses.
The caucus system is an expensive privilege for many, not a right.
For the two reasons cited above, both parties should replace caucuses with a primary election where voters can walk in, cast a ballot, and leave with the knowledge that their input, anonymously made, counts.
In 1972 the Democrats had one of the worst electoral defeats in history when Richard M. Nixon defeated George McGovern in every state but Massachusetts. After this, the party created “superdelegates.” Wikipedia defines ‘superdelegates’ this way: “These Democratic Party superdelegates include distinguished party leaders, and elected officials, including all Democratic members of the House and Senate and sitting Democratic governors. Other superdelegates are chosen during the primary season. Democratic superdelegates are free to support any candidate for the nomination.” The same website put the number of superdelegates at 719.
Superdelegates were created to prevent another George McGovern from winning the nomination. It seems tailor made to block Bernie Sanders. It reeks of the rancid belief that the people can’t be trusted to make their own choices, and the party bosses should in some exigent circumstance select the nominee against the will of their own party. Selecting the candidate with the most votes is the American way.
The Republicans don’t directly make members of the party’s political establishment “superdelegates” the way the Democrats do. But they do allow their state organizations considerable leeway in creating electoral processes that are favorable to party patricians, and in the case what I call “mini-conventions,” which almost totally disenfranchise the lower party ranks.
Depending on the website you wish to cite, there are 168 unpledged delegates (Politico) or 457 (Mother Jones). “The only people who get unpledged status are each state’s three Republican National Committee members,” says Wikipedia. “This means that unpledged delegates are only 168 of the total number of delegates. However, unpledged delegates do not have the freedom to vote for whichever candidate they please. The RNC ruled in 2015 that the unpledged delegates must vote for the candidate that their state voted for; the unpledged RNC members will be bound in the same manner as the state’s at-large delegates, unless the state elects their delegates on the primary ballot, then all three RNC members will be allocated to the statewide winner.”
The Mother Jones figure seems to include those states, like Pennsylvania, which elected 57 delegates unpledged to any candidate. Some of the Pennsylvania unpledged delegates, to their credit, said in advance they would vote for Trump if a majority of their constituents did. Others stated they would not vote for Trump under any circumstances, regardless of how the majority of the people voted.
Particularly insidious are the “mini-conventions” like that in Wyoming, where Ted Cruz won 14 out of 14 delegates. In these shams, voters go to precinct meetings, where delegates are elected to a county convention. At the county convention, delegates are chosen for the state convention, where delegates are for the national convention are picked. This is what Trump has accurately described as a “rigged process.”
Closed primaries are those where only someone who has been a party member for six months or more are allowed to vote. In Massachusetts, Independents can take either a Republican or Democratic ballot, and revert back to being an independent after they vote.
This writer understands why some party members would prefer that the party nominee espouses their party’s basic liberal or conservative brand. A good example of this can be illustrated by the reference to the two second-tier parties in Massachusetts, the Libertarians and the Green Party.
Libertarians advocate shrinking the size of government and reducing governmental interference in Americans’ private lives. How would Libertarians feel if thousands of left-wing Democrats voted in a Libertarian primary for a Libertarian nominee who wanted to double size of government and insert government totally into the private lives of all Americans? Probably the same way the Democratic Party establishment felt about large numbers of independents entering the Democratic primary to vote for Bernie Sanders.
The Green Party is at its heart an environmentalist party. How would the Greens feel if thousands of right wing Republicans entered the Green Party to pick a nominee who favored fracking and land strip mining? Probably the same way the Republican establishment felt about thousands of independents flooding their primary to support Trump.
The two party system has served America well. To preserve this system, the two major parties need to have the elasticity to absorb elements such as those supporting Trump or Sanders. The closed primaries should be abandoned. Otherwise, as John F. Kennedy warned in his inaugural address: “Those who make peaceful evolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.”
We’re doing fine. We really are. We’re doing just fine.
The Powers that Be, the billionaire class and their flaks and agents, are doing their best to stop presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Their message is: Candidate Hillary Clinton is Inevitable, Resistance is Futile … Give Up and Go Home!
They actually believe that because Clinton won a few primaries they’ve got us beat, and we’ll sober up and admit it, or at least Bernie will. They actually believe we’ll slink back into line and get with the program!
They think they’ve got us beat, but they don’t. Every day the Bernie campaign goes on in any corner of this country, more people are thinking and talking about Bernie’s ideas. And every day we continue is a win because this revolution belongs to us all. It belongs to the people of Indiana who vote next week. It belongs to the people of Puerto Rico and California who vote in June. Every phone call we make, every Bernie Journey, every dollar we donate helps build it.
They think they’ve got us beat, but they can’t beat us because you can’t kill an idea, and once an idea is loose and in people’s hearts there’s no stopping it.
There’s a Big Idea they’ve been trying to keep bottled up ever since any of us can remember. Like Aladdin’s genie, it’s out of the bottle now and no one can put it back! And it changes everything!
Thanks to the Sanders Campaign millions of Americans are now talking about the whole spectrum of issues that confront us. But none of it by itself is new. So what’s this Big Idea?
It’s not the idea of massive job creation through public works and projects. There are people alive today who remember that’s what President Franklin Roosevelt did and plenty who’ve been saying we need to do it again.
It’s not the idea of making healthcare a human right, available to everyone rich or poor. President Harry Truman tried to get that past Congress in 1948, and folks have been fighting for it ever since.
It’s not the idea that the billionaire class has corrupted and bought our political system and that we need campaign reform, that we need to get Big Money out of politics. People have been saying that, fighting for that, for years.
Nor is it the understanding that the super-rich, the billionaires, have rigged the whole economy so they’re getting richer and richer while the rest of us get screwed. Or the idea of breaking up the big banks, freeing our young people from student debt or equal pay for women.
It’s not the idea of banning private prisons, or ending the war on drugs, ending police violence against people of color, immigration reform or bringing our jobs home from Mexico and China. Nor the idea of ending foreign tax havens, taxing financial transactions or making the millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share.
It’s not even the idea of bringing everyone together to fight for all of these once, although that’s getting closer.
So what’s this Big Idea that ties this all together?
It turns out we all knew most or all of the things Bernie’s talking about already. Bernie didn’t suddenly come along and start preaching the truth and suddenly the scales fell from everyone’s eyes. Bernie is telling us things we all already knew were true!
And we already knew that the TV Networks, the news media were manipulating us and creating illusions, but most of us believed the final illusion: that of all those other lazy stupid people out there watching TV and believing it all. And so we played it safe and didn’t speak out.
The Big Idea is this: We’re all in this together, we all know what’s up, and if we come together, speak out, stand up for each other, and stand together to confront the billionaire class and demand our country back, there’s nothing we can’t do! And that idea, with your help, is spreading like wildfire across the land! It’s an Emperor’s New Clothes moment, when everyone starts speaking what everyone already knew was true but afraid to say.
So courage, my friends! Let’s organize and carry on! This is only the first stage! A lot can happen between now and July, but win or lose, it’s not over!
This is just the beginning!
Stay tuned for phone banks this weekend and Tuesday to call Indiana. It’s their turn to Feel the Bern, and our turn to support them! Exciting news coming about national mobilizations in June and July. And please let us know if you are interested in our upcoming all-day retreat.
So candidate Bernie Sanders won six out of seven Democratic Presidential Primaries and Caucuses in the week of March 21 to 26, by Yuuge margins!
And I’ll bet lots of you reading this didn’t know! Bernie Sanders’ campaign for President, the “Political Revolution”, is on fire and growing, but you’d never know it from watching Network News, listening to talk radio or reading telegram.com! Many – especially young folks – are getting their news from the Web or from Facebook.
But not everyone can.
For those who can’t, small local independent news sources, especially ink-and-paper weeklies like InCity Times, are a blessing. So thank you, Rosalie, for keeping it alive! Bernie Sanders just had three blowout wins on Saturday in Washington State, Alaska and Hawaii. The Telegram Online did run an AP story covering it, but it underplayed the wins by not mentioning the huge margins – Hawaii 70% to 30%, Washington State 73% to 27%, and Alaska by an astonishing 82% to 18%! – or that Bernie won every single county in all three states!
Worse, the story, and Telegram Online, never ran a single word about the other four contests that week. I had to really go digging on the Web to find them Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
First, last Monday March 21 the results of the Democrats Abroad Primary – with 13 delegates at stake – were released:
34,000 US Citizens in 170 countries gave it to Bernie by a lop-sided 69% to 31%.
Then Sanders won two out of three contests on Tuesday, by even more lopsided margins: Utah 78% to 20% and Idaho 79% to 21%.
Arizona went for Clinton 58% to 40% – in a primary election so scandalously mismanaged that it made international news and is expected to trigger an investigation by the Justice Department.
The number of polling places in Maricopa County had been reduced from 200 to 60, mostly by eliminating stations in poor and Hispanic neighborhoods. Voters were still standing in line to vote at midnight!
And many thousands of independent voters who had switched to Democrat found that their registration had been lost, and had to cast provisional ballots which were apparently also lost!
Did you see a word about that in telegram.com? Nope!
So there you have it. Sanders won six out of seven contests in the past week, by Yuuge margins! Yet I keep meeting people who are all depressed because they think Hillary’s won, her lead is too big to overcome – and they haven’t heard about this week’s results!
If you didn’t know these stats, the odds are most of the folks around you don’t either.
You might want to check them out for yourself at nytimes.com/elections/results.
And then … Repeat the news to your friends, relations and co-workers, everyone you meet. Because the networks, the talk shows and the daily paper won’t.
After putting in more than 14 hours at the Worcester polls, watching Worcester voters come in, cast their ballots and leave – with little time to think, as there was a steady stream of people coming through from the opening, at 7 a.m., through to 8 p.m., now I finally have time to reflect, having looked at the final figures, after a good night’s sleep.
While there were only four ballots, because there were only four parties running candidates, I was amazed at the number of legally listed parties who COULD have run someone. The names were all over the map, even including a “Pizza Party,” as well as two different “independent” parties. There is not room here to list them all.
But throughout the political campaigns, and with all the commentary before and after, I have been troubled by some fundamental assumptions: I came to America in 1941, before we started unashamedly asserting that “Greed is good” and “Money is everything.”
In those days, there were two distinctive types of people in public office: statesmen and politicians. The Statesmen came to the aid of their government, often giving up very lucrative salaries and positions in the private sector, to SERVE, not themselves or their businesses, but their country and its people. So we had the “Dollar a Year” person and those who contracted to produce weapons and equipment for the war effort for no more than 3% profit, and they produced quality goods and equipment quickly and efficiently.
And of course there were the others, the “politicians, who were there for other reasons: to acquire power, to enrich themselves, to hire their relatives and friends, to influence legislation in their favor – all the litany of malfeasance which we now take for granted as ”business as usual.”
Now we all seem to assume that it is OK to soak the taxpayers with outrageous profits to supply less than adequate goods and supplies to our soldiers and to take huge donations from businesses that want something from our elected officials.
Now we assume that the voters will not elect anyone who does not spend outrageous amounts of money and that everyone has a price.
We pay good salaries and give good benefits to our public servants – which is as it should be, if you want great service. But we should not have to assume that to get an elected position, it should take tens of millions of dollars to get in.
At one time, the public owned the airwaves, and access to airtime should have been available to anyone wishing to communicate with the people. What has happened to that precious privilege?
Break in a WHOLE NEW WAY OF LOOKING AT WOMEN AND POWER in America!
HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT!
Sure, there will be more bathroom breaks if Hill becomes the next POTUS, but they’ll be way more kids in Pre-K (cuz it’ll be universal!) … and paid maternity leave! They’ll be someone in the White House who’s gonna be the original Tiger Mom for girls in China … girls in Afghanastan, Syria, Senegal, the South Side of Chicago … even poor girls growing up in Green Island.
WHAT A BLAST TO BE A LITTLE GIRL GROWING UP IN GREEN ISLAND AND TO TURN THE TV SET ON AND SEE A WOMAN PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!
Your President! The leader of the free world!
Arguably the most powerful person on the planet!
People calling this woman, just about your grammy’s age, MADAME PRESIDENT!
FUCKING MADAME PRESIDENT!!!!!!!!
It doesn’t get any more sublime than that for THIS Green Island Girl!
So break out the bottles of blonde hair dye!
Break out the scrunchies! (remember how Hill wore them – and everyone laughed – just before hubby Bill became prez?!)
Break out the Dove Chocolates (cuz we ladies do love our chocolates when under pressure-cooker circumstances!) Break out the mascara (does Madame President wear dark brown or black? – we can’t imagine her stroking on the purple!)
Break out the brilliance, the years of experience, the deep, deep knowledge, the political know-how, the true grit, the idealism (yes, still there!), the killer work ethic, the great laugh, the philandering but politically astute husband … and the ability to speak in compound complex sentences.
Break ON THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT DAMNED GLASS CEILING!
The one that holds back millions of American women every single day costing us millions of dollars in lost wages and keeping so many of us from realizing our true potential. SELF-ACTUALIZION, BABY! It is all about being FREE TO BE YOU!!!! Driving home after a long day of (you fill in your job here, ladies) thinking: SHIT! IT’S STILL A MAN’S WORLD! SHIT! AND I’M SMART, CAPABLE AND I TRY SO HARD!
We have got to ditch our antiquated family/kids/women policies, America! Ditch the antiquated MIND SET!
Swing that big ass, Hill, and America’s mind will follow!
Get ready for our next President of the United States – bold, brassy, caring, a mom, a grandmom, a grind … a goddess!! to all us second-wave feminists! (Yes! I’m one of them! Starting in college when I saw Gloria AND Betty at the UMass Aud and was THRILLED at what they had to say to me, a 20-year-old girl, smart and ambitious, trying – WANTING – to find MY PLACE in this big, beautiful world!)
So when our next President of the United States, HILLARY CLINTON!!!, steps onto the tarmac, straight off a trip from some important world city where she pushed for new lows in green house gases or new highs for girls in India or demanded we ABOLISH GLOBAL CHILD LABOR NOW! (in some countries it is toddler labor!), I will be sitting before the tv or computer screen awestruck, bedazzled, PROUD, PROUD, PROUD!!!!!!!
I only wish my beautiful late mom – she was a rabid Hillary supporter the first time around and working, single-mom, head-of-household, first-wave feminist! – were here to see this awesome day!
· Your vote in the Massachusetts Presidential Primary has a huge impact.
And the whole country will be watching!
· Democratic contest: If you are registered as “No Party (unenrolled)” or “Democratic Party,” you can go to the polls on Tuesday and draw a Democratic ballot.
· You will be given a choice of a number of candidates for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. The only two that matter are Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
O’Malley has dropped out and the other candidate is only running in Mass.
· Your vote will help determine how many delegates for each candidate go to the Democratic Convention in July that will choose the candidate.
· Republican: If you are registered as No Party or Republican you can draw a Republican ballot.
· Green: There is also a Green Party contest.
· Voting Times: Polls open on Tuesday March 1 from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.
· Absentee ballots: If you can’t get to your polling place to vote on Tuesday, you can still submit an absentee ballot, but you will have to hand deliver it to your Town or City Clerk or Election Commissioner by Noon Monday. You can download an absentee ballot at http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/absentee_ballot.pdf.
Changing hats now …
Bernie Sanders was a Civil Rights activist, mayor of Burlington Vermont, and for 25 years the independent Congressman and Senator from Vermont. He is challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for President.
Bernie is calling for a “Political Revolution”, bringing working class and middle class people of all races, nationalities together into a great movement to take back our corrupt political system from the “billionaire class”, to rebuild our country and restore economic, racial and social justice.
Bernie is hugely popular with many who know or have paid attention to him. However many others – especially those over 45 and the working poor – know nothing about him, because up until about six weeks ago the networks and newspapers ignored him almost completely.
Plus, practically the entire Democratic Establishment has thrown its weight behind Hillary.
Whether Bernie wins the nomination depends on how many of his supporters actually make it to the polls. If you support and love Bernie, if you want him to be our candidate and our next President, then you should:
· Promise yourself you will get out to the polls on Tuesday
· Plan exactly when you are going to do it.
· Ask someone to “hold your promise” and call to remind you on Tuesday.
· Make a list of everyone who told you they’re going to vote for Bernie.
· Call or drop in on each of them to remind them the election is this Tuedsay and ask for their promise to get out and vote.
· Check in with them again around noon Tuesday to see if they’ve voted yet!
People talking to people and holding each other accountable – that’s the starting place for our revolution!
I was delivering InCity Times today when I spotted the beautiful Mia and son enjoying the lovely weather at our lovely Elm Park! I had to snap a pic! So cute! – R.Tirella
The case for Black, Brown and Latino Leadership in the Sanders Campaign
By Chris Horton
Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president is unleashing something very powerful, something that has been locked away in the hearts of millions of Americans for decades. He is speaking simple truths about the big issues of our lives and country, truths that have been banned from the airwaves almost since the beginning. Millions are responding with passion, even joyfully, to this coming of the light.
Sanders’ vote in the Nevada caucuses, while not a win, was far higher than anyone thought possible even a month ago. His win of a majority of the Latino vote is encouraging. But it is very concerning that Clinton won 3/4 of the African American vote, just as it is very concerning that in Worcester, few Black, Brown or Latino leaders have stepped forward for him.
It is critically important that the American people have leadership that they trust at this dangerous moment in history. The economy is sliding toward a terrible new crisis. Wars are spreading across the globe and the danger of a new World War has never been greater. And – right on schedule – fascism is rearing its ugly head, here and abroad. Yet these threats are all man-made, and Bernie is showing us the promise of a brighter future on the other side. He shows us there is nothing we can’t accomplish when we all come together and take our government back from the billionaires.
But history teaches us that racism in all its forms has been and remains the greatest obstacle to winning that brighter and better future. It also teaches us that the broad unity we need is only possible when we have Black, Brown and Latino leadership at every level:
– for the numbers;
– for the strength, experience, understanding and passion “people of color” bring to the battles,
– because the alternative is wasting our strength on fighting each other.
Black, brown and Latino leadership in the struggle is a necessary idea, necessary for believing that a winning combination is possible.
I rarely pass up the chance to talk with Trump supporters. The working-folk among them know and understand a great deal of what Bernie is saying. Most will admit their reasons for supporting Trump are nonsense. But they sense that the “us” they imagine coming together to fight – an all-white, native-born “us” – is incapable of confronting the billionaires who are the actual problem. This leads to fatalism, and so they either drop out or turn to stupid outrageous stuff that at least feels good and expresses their anger and disgust. Thus, curiously, I think many may be drawn to Trump because the Sanders Campaign looks “too white to win” in the larger battles to follow.
So why has Bernie’s support among Black, Brown and Latino voters been building so slowly?
Do they detect insincerity, a shallow understanding or pandering? Does Clinton have something more or different or special to offer? I have hesitated to write about this because I know I can’t really understand what it’s like to grow up and be black in America. But time’s running out, we vote in 9 days, so it’s long past time to take a risk.
So here is my case:
First, Bernie’s core economic program will benefit all working folk, but are most urgently needed by Black, Brown and Latino working folk His plans for massive job creation, bringing our work back home from overseas, raising the minimum wage to $15, requiring benefits like family leave and paid vacations, medical care as a right for all, expanding Social Security, breaking up the big banks behind our foreclosure crisis and free public college – and for making the rich and the billionaires pay for it – will go far to restoring the health of all of our communities, but none more so than Black, Brown and Latino communities.
This is not the same as reparations for slavery, but it would accomplish much the same economically and it is a program around which we can build broad unity.
Second, Bernie’s challenge to the “white working class” to reject racist thinking and stand together with Black, Brown and Latino folk is not based on moralizing or shaming but on a well-founded appeal to common self interest, and to the need we have for each other in the struggles to win our common objectives.
Third, Bernie far more than any other major party candidate for President has responded to challenges from Black Lives Matter activists, by putting their issues and demands forward strongly, including an end to police violence against Black folk, demilitarizing police, abolishing private prisons, ending mandatory minimum sentences, ending the war on drugs and decriminalizing marijuana. And he states these strongly not just in urban centers but, as I have seen with my own eyes, at town hall meetings in rural nearly all-white towns.
Finally, the record clearly shows that Bernie has cared about and fought for these issues over the course of his 55 years as a political activist, mayor and legislator.
— His record of introducing, fighting for and winning legislation supporting racial justice and civil rights in the Senate and House is second to none. The NAACP and the ACLU both regularly give him top ratings.
— In 1988 when Jesse Jackson ran for the Democratic Nomination for President, not one elected Democratic official endorsed him, even after he had won eleven primary and caucus contests. The lone elected official in America to endorse him was the Mayor of Burlington Vermont, Bernie Sanders, who went on to organize Jackson’s win in the Vermont caucuses. Listening to his endorsement speech from 1988 is like listening to his campaign speeches today, only the statistics have gotten a lot more shocking in the intervening 28 years!
— Some would belittle Sanders’ Civil Rights work in Chicago, but that was and still is a real battleground. Chicago was then arguably the most-segregated city in the world, and probably still is. As a 19-year-old college student I was present at the Battle of the Willis Wagons on Chicago’s South Side in the Summer of 1963, where the City was putting mobile classrooms on the playground of an all-Black elementary school rather than changing the boundaries to put some students in a neighboring all-white school. While I don’t remember meeting Bernie personally I remember the commitment and seriousness of the members of his campus group, the Young People’s Socialist League or YPSL. We spent many days and a night with community folk preparing for the battle to stop the bulldozers. How proud I would be now had I stayed and been arrested with Bernie! But then, my whole life might have taken a different and perhaps more useful path.
Bernie is the real deal. The campaign against him is focusing on sowing doubts about his honesty, motives and commitment. I would urge we shrug off these attacks as the diversions they are and join in committing to a historic peoples’ victory at the polls and in the urgent battles that will surely follow.
Bernie 60% Hillary 38% in New Hampshire: how did THAT happen?
Bernie scored a huge win in NH, beating all expectations. It was the result of hard work, but it was something more. Something is shifting in American politics, and everyone who’s paid attention can feel it.
The NY Times reports that under 30 voters, the “social media generation”, went for Bernie by more than 80% – many voting for the first time! We saw them at Worcester’s North High School, 4000 wildly enthusiastic young adults turning out on 2 days notice, but Tony from Marlborough says that at the rally at Concord (NH) high school Tuesday night the enthusiasm and energy that filled the room went far beyond that! Dating himself, he said it was “more exciting than a Rod Stewart concert. Bernie has attained Rock Star status!”
The NY Times observed that Sanders had “only” won half the Democratic voters in NH, and his victory margin was almost entirely from independents. Seriously? “Only?” With practically the entire Democratic establishment coast to coast endorsing Hillary, with thousands of Democratic officeholders and operatives – hundreds from Massachusetts including Jim McGovern – commuting to New Hampshire to campaign for her every weekend, pulling even was huge!
Half the Democratic base walked away from their leaders!
Bernie won the bigger cities, but won by huge margins in a lot of small cities and towns, especially the old mill towns along the rivers. Some produced lopsided margins, up to 80% for Bernie (and twice the number of Trump votes.) Stone from Dudley described his old hippie friends living in one of those towns whose politics “had gone underground because “they believed they were surrounded by ignorant fascists,” who “woke up to discover that most of their neighbors feel the same way they do!”
Jack told of a meeting of his gun club this week outside Worcester. About 100 members showed up and everyone was taking about New Hampshire. He estimated the house was evenly split between Sanders and Trump supporters, with the “gun nuts” and “survivalists” lining up with Trump and the “sportsmen” nearly unanimous for Sanders. The two camps had in common being totally fed up and done with politics as usual and the “political establishment”, as personified by Hillary.
To his surprise, he thinks that if Trump dropped out, many of his supporters would come over to Bernie!
Putting this all together, I think what we’re seeing is bigger than the sum of a lot of individual choices. Whole communities seem to have decided “Bernie’s our guy, and we’re all going out to vote for him!”
This might seem like a miracle, but it was already there. Bernie’s not telling us anything we didn’t know – he’s showing us each other! Like Stone’s old hippies, most of us felt alone with what we knew and believed. We believed that what we wanted was impossible and hopeless, could never happen in America. It’s an Emperor’s New Clothes moment.
Everyone already knew the emperor was naked, but they dared not say so because everyone else said they could see his clothes.
There’s a broad consensus starting to form that it’s time for Bernie – and for us. In a way, Bernie IS us! The pundits and odds-makers betting on Hillary will be confounded because they have nothing to compare this to!
But before we get all Kum-by-ya about Bernie’s campaign, I’ll let Bill, who spend many weekends campaigning in New Hampshire, have the last word.
Bernie won not just because the moment, the message and the messenger were right but “because a whole boatload of people put their butts out on the streets, day after day, week after week, talking to the people who thought they might vote for Bernie and getting their commitment to actually do it.” He figured that knocking on 20 doors in an hour was getting Bernie 1 vote.
Many thousands of volunteers putting in dozens or hundreds of hours each added up to hundreds of thousands of votes!
I asked Bill: can we repeat that here in Massachusetts on March 1? “That depends on how fast we hit the road and how many people we can put on it! The work is not hard and you can learn how in 20 minutes. I could tell you what to say but it’s your own authentic conversation that really wins people’s votes.”