Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Popular Vote vs. Electoral Votes — and Unions

Bernie Sanders on the issues

POLL: Who would you like for President in 2016?

In 2000, George W. Bush was declared the winner of the general election, but he didn’t win the popular vote. Al Gore garnered 540,520 more votes than Bush. However, Bush won the electoral vote 271 to 266 (Also read: The Florida Re-Count of 2000)

By contrast, in the 2012 election Obama beat Mitt Romney by 4,856,948 popular votes — 65,446,032 popular votes (332 electoral votes) for Obama and 60,589,084 popular votes (206 electoral votes) for Romney. But the Republicans kept the House in Congress.

Wiki: "Although Democratic candidates received a nationwide plurality of more than 1.4 million votes (1.2%) in all House elections, the Republican Party won a 33-seat advantage in the state-apportioned totals, thus retaining its House majority by 17 seats. (House Clerk's Statistics)

The Nation: In May of 2000, seven months before Bush v. Gore descended into a Dockers-clad conservative riot, the Boston Globe’s crack investigative team led by veteran reporter Walter “Robby” Robinson broke a story saying that George W. Bush had gone AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard for a year in the early ’70s, while less fortunate sons were fighting in Vietnam.

In the newly-released movie "Truth" we learn that elite national outlet CBS, where producer Mary Mapes works with anchor Dan Rather, wanted to run the Bush-Guard story very badly in 2000. But she was forced to drop it when her mother died. If she hadn’t been grieving, one character says, “There’s a very good chance Al Gore would be president.” (And there would have been no Iraq war, etc.)

Truth: Starring Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett, Dennis Quaid and Stacy Keach (among others)

In 2014 during the mid-term elections, the Republicans (besides keeping the House) also won back the Senate and took control of Congress with gerrymandering, voter suppression laws, wealthy campaign donors and low voter turnout (to name but a few reasons).

Fewer than 4 out of every 10 eligible Americans had voted that year — the lowest mark in 70 years. Many believe this low turnout is the key reason Democrats lost so badly in that election.

IMHO, I believe Bernie Sanders can energize the base in 2016. I don't see Hillary being all that exciting and motivating. If Hillary is the Democratic nominee, we might also see a Republican president in 2016, because voter turnout won't be near as great for Hillary as it was for Obama — because Obama was "new" with Hope and Change. Whereas, Hillary is sort of "stale" with Ready for Hillary. Personally I like Feel the Bern!

But how can Bernie win the primary to be the Democratic nominee in the 2016 general election when the political playing field is so tilted (politically corrupted) in Hillary's favor?

Presidential Primaries: (Wiki) States vie for earlier primaries [like Iowa and New Hampshire] to claim greater influence in the nomination process, as the early primaries can act as a signal to the nation, showing which candidates are popular and giving those who perform well early on the advantage of the "bandwagon effect".

National party leaders [the DNC and the RNC] also have an interest in compressing the primary calendar, as it enables their respective party to reduce the chance of a bruising internecine battle — and to preserve resources for the general election campaign.Hillary Clinton on the issues.

Because the candidate's time is limited, paid advertising may play a greater role. Moreover, a compressed calendar limits the ability of lesser-known candidates to corral resources and raise their visibility among voters, especially when a better-known candidate enjoys the financial and institutional backing of the party establishment (See photo at right for one example.)

Former Senator and chairman of the Republican National Committee William (Bill) Brock said: "Today, too many people in too many states have no voice in the election of our major party nominees. For them, the nominations are over before they have begun."

Why have Labor Unions Endorsed Hillary Clinton?

Just because in the past it was "traditional"? The Clinton family name goes back to NAFTA and PNTR for China. The Clinton name is associated with offhoring good high-paying union jobs to China, India, Vietnam and Mexico (and all over the world). It's a slap in the face that union leaders would be supporting another Clinton today. What have Democrats done over the last 40 years to stop the decline in union participation? Absolutely nothing. Just the opposite: They were complicit. The only thing Democrats can say is, "We weren't as bad as the Republicans." In 2008 and 2009, when they had a president and both chambers of Congress, they could have raised the minimum wage...but didn't.

As the State of Nevada goes, so goes the nation: (The Nation) Hillary Clinton is pressing hard for an early endorsement from unions in Nevada — a far cry from the candidate who, in 2008, told SEIU leaders here: “I don’t need you to win.”

[Full disclosure: As a union member in Las Vegas for 20 years, I support Bernie Sanders 100% — and would be heartbroken (and angry) to see local unions endorse Hillary. The Clinton family polices have mostly benefited the casino owners, and not the workers.]

In 2008, Clinton took the state and its powerful unions for granted. She’s not making that mistake again. The “Nevada 2016 Delegate Selection Plan”—the state party’s rule book for the caucuses—runs to 50 pages. With 1,754 precincts choosing just 23 delegates to the Democratic National Convention, it’s a complicated process, but the first stage—neighborhood by neighborhood—is the one that matters. In 2008, Hillary Clinton, wounded by a loss to Obama in Iowa, scraped a win here, taking 50.8 percent of precincts, though Obama actually ended up with more delegates. Winning in a caucus state requires commitment—what the pros call “intensity”—as well as a ground campaign able to identify supporters, train them in the intricacies of the process, motivate them to turn out, and keep them organized through what can be a very long day. Caucusing is not a sport for novices.

Everybody Loves Hillary: (My post) The labor unions, who were against the TPP trade agreement, support Hillary, even though she pushed the trade deal 45 times to Bernie Sanders's "zero times". So despite Bernie's long history favoring unions and fighting for worker's rights (and even walking on picket lines), it seems that the union leaders love Hillary — but maybe not so much the rank and file. Politico: AFL-CIO leader tries to quell pro-Sanders revolt

The AFL-CIO's largest union (AFSCME, although, not the AFL-CIO itself) recently endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. The Clinton family dynasty regularly promotes endorsements from unions like the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, as well as the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers.

Seven national unions have endorsed Hillary Clinton so far (according to Clinton's campaign) — and this includes the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers — and (hard to believe) the International Longshoremen’s Association, who is also supporting a first woman president. (What a bunch of wimps! Will the Teamsters be next?)

So far the SEIU and the AFL-CIO have withheld their public endorsements — who they said had been waiting to see if Joe Biden would run (with no mention of Bernie Sanders). And the International Association of Fire Fighters hasn't endorsed any candidate either.

Our Corrupt Political Duopoly Denies Voters Real Change: Why do we have to rely on "delegates" to make our choices? It seems we already have the technology to vote online. Americans can already renew their auto registrations and driver licenses on line, as well as buy stocks and bonds, do their commercial and private banking, order pizzas and shop for anything we want online.

So why can't Americans also and register and vote online in their local State and Federal elections? It seems that this would be very beneficial for those of us who can't take the time from work or make arrangements for child care to have to physically go to a designated voting poll — especially for those who don't have access to a car or public transportation. Imagine how great voter turn-out would be!

The Republican and Democratic party machine can't say we're too ignorant to vote, because anyone can always go online to check a candidate's positions on the issues, check their voting records (and other official records) and read their local newspapers to see what's happening. And voters wouldn't have to rely on short (edited) sound bites from TV news or radio talk shows — or worse, be forced to rely on only what a candidate's campaign or super PAC ad wants us to know.

We can make our own informed choices and vote accordingly — online, quick and easy — from our home computers or smart phones (like a voting app for an iPhone). If internet correspondence is safe and secure enough for our Secretary of State (who handles classified material in emails), then it should also be good enough for average voters at election time too. But it's appears the two-party political machine doesn't want this for us. Why?

Selecting Presidential Nominees: The Evolution of the Current System and Prospects for Reform
by Scott Piroth at the University of Vermont ( September 2000)


  1. The Nation:

    Why Grassroots Democrats Don’t Have a Problem With Democratic Socialism: "They know that Bernie Sanders is advocating an old American tradition—in fact, Democrats now favor socialism over capitalism by 12 percentage points."

    (* But in the delegates might vote against the popular vote again.)

  2. A whopping 95 percent of the TV ad spending in the Republican presidential race has come from outside groups and Super PACs, while just 5 percent comes from the actual campaigns.

    The opposite is true on the Democratic side -- 95 percent of the TV ad spending in the Democratic presidential contest has come from the campaigns, versus just 5 percent from outside groups.

  3. The Supreme Court seems conflicted about whether a Maryland man may proceed with his complaint that the redistricting process in the state is unconstitutionally partisan.

  4. Who got balls? Postal workers!!!!

    Labor For Bernie Sanders Activists Say They Are Undeterred By Union Endorsements of Hillary Clinton

  5. Elizabeth Warren Wants to Give Seniors a Raise: The senator is introducing a bill to provide a one-time Social Security pay bump.

  6. National unions representing more than half of America’s 14.6 million unionized workers are already in Clinton’s corner, and many of the rest are heading in that direction. It is creating significant tension in some of the organizations and raising the question of whether the Sanders campaign is faltering or if union leadership has lost touch with its rank and file, large numbers of whom are turning out to support Sanders with unrivaled enthusiasm.

    About 80,000 union members have enlisted in the Labor for Bernie campaign, through which they are pressuring the heads of their various unions not to endorse Clinton. They launch social media campaigns denouncing their union leadership when they are ignored. Local chapters of unions in key early states have gone rogue and thrown their support behind Sanders. Many of them parrot Sanders’ call for massive change — the kind union leaders have been demanding for decades — and they are resentful that their organizations would back the establishment at a time the insurgency finally has so much momentum.

    The AFL-CIO praised legislation Sandersd introduced last month to replace secret balloting with a system in which workers trying to organize need only get a majority of colleagues to sign cards. The Teamsters expressed delight with his legislation to protect worker pensions.

    [But the union leadership is hedging their bets on CLinton's "electability".]

    Sanders is not the first labor absolutist to confront this kind of betrayal. Other similarly positioned Democrats have been through it, including former presidential candidate Tom Harkin. Ironically, it is now Harkin, a former Iowa senator now supporting Clinton, who is trying to rally laborers for the establishment candidate [Hillary]. Harkin took a swipe at Sanders this week during an interview on Boston radio, heard in New Hampshire, where Democrats are threatening to disrupt Clinton’s march to the nomination by voting for Sanders.

    “Bernie Sanders has been in public office longer than Hillary Clinton,” Harkin said. “What makes him not establishment?” [Frigging a-hole Harkin!]

  7. If any congressional district is gerrymandered, or if any vote is suppressed, then no law that Congress passes is legitimate — because it doesn't truly represent the will of the people.

    If only 4 out of every 10 eligible Americans had voted last year, then Congress only represents 40% of the population. So when a member of Congress says: "This is what American people want" — that's not necessarily so.

  8. New York Times:

    A Democratic group called iVote pushes voter registration,” by Michael D. Shear: “As Republicans across the country mount an aggressive effort to tighten voting laws, a group of former aides to President Obama and President Bill Clinton is pledging to counter by spending up to $10 million on a push to make voter registration automatic whenever someone gets a driver’s license. The change would supercharge the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, known as the “motor voter” law, which requires states to offer people the option of registering to vote when they apply for driver’s licenses or other identification cards. The new laws would make registration automatic during those transactions unless a driver objected. The group, called iVote — which is led by Jeremy Bird, who ran Mr. Obama’s voter turnout effort in 2012 — is betting that such laws could bring out millions of new voters … Many of those new voters would be young, poor or minorities — groups that tend to support Democratic candidates, Mr. Bird said.'

    Government Corruption:

  9. SEIU’s former deputy national political director, Heather Stone, became Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff in August. An SEIU endorsement would be a huge labor “get” get for Clinton, but not a surprising one, given that she’s already collected endorsements from unions representing more than half the nation’s union workers. She has received endorsements from the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Machinists, among others.

    Rival Bernie Sanders is labor’s sentimental favorite, but as of today, he has only two major union endorsements to his name, the California-based National Nurses United — and the American Postal Workers Union (APWU). In a recent statement, APWU President Mark Dimondstein said:

    “Politics as usual has not worked. It’s time for a political revolution. Sanders doesn’t just talk the talk,, he walks the walk. He is a leader in the fight to protect the public postal service. Bernie Sanders is a fierce advocate of postal reform. He staunchly opposes postal privatization, and supports enhanced postal services, including postal banking Based on his Senate record, we are confident he will appoint good people to public office and end conflicts of interest. No other candidate has his record of exposing the rule of the billionaire class. Sanders is refusing all corporate money. He doesn’t have a super-PAC. No other candidate has his record of standing with workers on picket lines, fighting for a $15 per hour minimum wage, supporting free public college tuition, and advocating for veterans’ benefits."

    The AFL-CIO won’t likely endorse before primary voting begins. (WIMPS! Also, I haven't heard from the Teamsters either!)

  10. Center for Public Integrity:

    "A staggering 77 percent of the $26.2 million Bernie Sanders, an independent U.S. senator running as a Democrat, collected during the third quarter came from contributors giving $200 or less. The haul helped Sanders narrow the fundraising gap between his campaign and that of Democratic Party frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who raised $29.9 million during the same period ... The strongest small donor campaigns are not about raising money, they’re about raising enthusiasm and getting actions ... Dollar for dollar, small-dollar donors are worth more than big-dollar donors. Those are the donors that can keep giving over and over [and] such donors are also likely to turn out to vote for a candidate, and possibly volunteer as well."

    But Democratic political consultant Joe Trippi, best known for serving as Howard Dean’s campaign manager in 2004 when the former Vermont governor broke fundraising records during his failed presidential bid, says:

    "Both party establishments are pretty good at making sure that a candidate who isn’t of the establishment doesn’t make it ... It’s not just the money. A lot of the rules and things are set up to stop insurgent candidates ... The entire Democratic establishment would come out of the woodwork to stop Bernie Sanders from being the nominee. The establishment fervently believes that a socialist cannot be president of the United States."

  11. Union LEADERS endorsed Hillary; union MEMBERS voted for Bernie.

    Jim asked NPR that his last name be withheld because his union, AFSCME, has endorsed Hillary Clinton, and he supports Bernie Sanders — so he can't be quoted publicly going against his union.

    Jim: "We're pissed off. We haven't gotten raises. Our pensions have been cut. Our healthcare's increased."

    Ryan, a member of a building trades union in Cleveland, who also asked NPR not to use his last name because his union has endorsed Clinton, feels the same way as Jim.

    Ryan: "She's [Clinton] seen as the centrist candidate. And she's a big-money candidate. And big money and centrism hasn't been working for middle-class America for the past 30 years...since Reagan."

    Bernie Sanders overwhelmingly won voters in Michigan who thought trade deals cost American jobs by 2-to-1.