I Will Vote My Conscience (not what you might think)

ballot-voteMillions of voters support Bernie Sanders.

And then he didn’t win the primary and Stein came along, right to the Democratic National Convention, and some of them were persuaded to go along with the greens.

The thing is, the notion that voting for a third party for president is one that has been encouraged by such things as “voting your conscience”. But, one’s conscience – especially in this crucial election – might need to be re-examined. Because, at the end of that day – November 8th – if Trump is elected, it will be too late to turn back.

My conscience tells me to listen closely to Bernie Sanders. He is a brilliant politician and strategist who has fought for all of us his entire career. He did not sell out, regardless of what anyone says.

There is no armchair politician who understands politics better than he does. He is fighting the long game. I don’t like her, but I don’t have to. She’s not much more than a pawn in Bernie’s game. 

The most progressive platform in history is at stake here, as well as blocking Trump. Blocking Trump in the short game – the platform and building a Brand New Congress is the long game. Bernie and others will be pushing her so hard, she won’t have much choice but to play his game.

There is no gain in immediate gratification. Either the Democrat or the Republican candidate will be elected and every vote helps one of them.  Those votes not cast for Clinton help Trump. It is that simple. I do not want a Trump presidency on my conscience.

Millions of voters support Bernie Sanders. And yet, they question his judgement? His rationale? His clear words? Ludicrous.

“I’m the longest serving independent in the history of the U.S. Congress, but I think that before you cast a protest vote, because Clinton or Trump will be president, think hard about it.
This is not a governor’s race, it’s not a state legislative race, this is the presidency of the United States,” Sanders told the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday. “And I would say to those people out there who are thinking of the protest vote, think about what the country looks like and whether you’re comfortable with four years of a Trump presidency.”
“Let us elect Hillary Clinton as president, and the day after, let us mobilize millions of people around the progressive agenda,” Sanders said.

“This is not a governor’s race, it’s not a state legislative race, this is the presidency of the United States.” Let that sink in. Please.
Bernie Sanders: Think hard about a protest vote this year



Correct the Record

As Bernie Sanders so aptly put it, David Brock is the “scum of the earth”.  Here is the wikipedia bio summary:
David Brock (born November 2, 1962) is an American political operative, author, and commentator who founded the liberal blog Media Matters for America. He has been described by Time magazine as “one of the most influential operatives in the Democratic Party.” Brock began his career as a right-wing investigative reporter during the 1990s who wrote the book The Real Anita Hill and the Troopergate story, which led to Paula Jones filing a lawsuit against Bill Clinton. In the late 1990s he switched sides, aligning himself with the Democratic Party, and in particular with Bill and Hillary Clinton. In 2004, he founded Media Matters for America, a non-profit organization that describes itself as a “progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.” He has since also founded super PACs called American Bridge 21st Century and Correct the Record, has become a board member of the super PAC Priorities USA Action, and has been elected chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The Nation has described Brock as a “conservative journalistic assassin turned progressive empire-builder”; National Review has called him a “right-wing assassin turned left-wing assassin”; and Politico has profiled him as a “former right-wing journalist-turned-pro-Clinton crusader.

David Brock

Let’s talk about Correct the Record (CTR), the organization created by Brock and that pays him $4500 a month. Yes, they heavily targeted Bernie supporters during the primaries. But by the first of June, they had switched their focus entirely to Trump. Entirely. This was apparent by simple observation of the CTR website.

There are no CTR Trolls who are being paid to harass anyone except Trump supporters. So, it is high time that people who are not Trump supporters stop accusing other non-Trump supporters of being CTR Trolls.

If someone chooses to follow Bernie Sanders’ lead and support Clinton rather than any other candidate in this presidential race, it is inappropriate to call that person a Correct the Record Troll, Paid Troll, Paid Shill, Bot, or any other name. Again – CTR is only targeting Trump.

Come to think of it, I could really use the money. Maybe I should sign up. Nah. Don’t have time for that.

Good reference links:
How David Brock Built an Empire to Put Hillary in the White House
Correct the Record website
What Is “Correct The Record”?
Meet The Shills


Democracy Spring After the DNC

Democracy Spring way fwdI just had the pleasure of reading Democracy Spring’s piece entitled “Democracy Spring After the DNC”, posted on Medium. It spoke not only to me, but also for me. Here is my summary, or rather Cliff’s notes version of that piece. The link to the full version will be at the bottom of this page. It is well worth your time.

First, the social view of power tells us that popular movements can win regardless of who holds authority in government.
Further, voting must be clearly understood, as Noam Chomsky argues, not as “a form of individual self-expression [but rather] as an act to be judged on its likely consequences.” Predictable social impact, not preferred alignment with personal values, must guide us.

Second, the fundamental structure of the United States electoral system limits our options for effective political action. Denying these constraints won’t help us change them.
Ours is a first-past-the-post, winner-take-all, single-member district electoral system. Further, if a minor party candidate gains substantial minority support they actually empower the major party most opposed to their positions by pulling a potentially decisive margin of votes from the more closely-aligned major party. The “spoiler effect” is real.
At no level of government is this more true than the Presidency. In the US, the presidential candidate who wins a majority of electoral college votes wins the race.

Thus — a third key point — in the US, movements win by mobilizing popular support to shift the political landscape and force at least one of the two parties to adopt and institutionalize their demands.

Together, these three points lead to a clear conclusion: strategic voting and effective electoral engagement for progressive struggles in our country requires that, with rare exceptions, we shape the terrain of political struggle in our favor by supporting egalitarian challengers like Bernie Sanders in Democratic Party primaries and — to defeat Republicans who firmly oppose our demands — critically supporting Democrats in the general election.

First, we must defeat Trump. In this populist moment, Trump’s fascism represents the greatest possible threat to the democracy movement and any progressive insurgency.

Second, we must accept the fact that Trump will only be defeated by electing Hillary Clinton. Because of the electoral rules we reviewed above, a minor party candidate like Jill Stein — despite her bold progressive platform and transformative aspirations — simply will not win.

However, let us be very clear. By voting for Clinton, we are not choosing a friend, a leader, or a champion of our values. We are choosing the better option among two possible political battlefields.

We must also acknowledge — if only to recognize the victories and power of progressive movements — that Clinton has been pushed to adopt many just positions including the key demands of our movement, DAPA, the fight for $15, debt-free college, and opposition to the TPP. These promises matter not because Clinton is a trustworthy leader, but because the support of a presidential nominee legitimizes our positions, shifts the debate in our favor, and creates political costs for elected officials (including her) who fail to enact our demands.

Third, we must remember that despite the importance of the Presidency for defining the political landscape, control of Congress is even more critical for our fight.

With the Equal Voice For All Declaration (EVFA) and decentralized nonviolent direct action. We will challenge competitive Congressional and down-ballot candidates across the country to sign the EVFA and go on the record in support of democracy reform.

No reform, we shut it down. Then in 2018, we take over.
Full article: Democracy Spring After The DNC