Thursday, December 17, 2015

Democracy for America OVERWHELMINGLY endorses Bernie Sanders

Mark your calendars and diaries, because today Bernie Sanders officially became "electable". The truth is out. Now all the media pundits and the Democratic party elites can eat crow — because the people have spoken, and they want Bernie, not Hillary.

[* Editor's note: I'll be monitoring the CNN and MSNBC cable news shows to see if they also report this news — but I suspect they'll still be blathering about Donald Trump.]

Bernie Sanders defeats Hillary Clinton

Today BuzzFeed reported:

"Howard Dean couldn’t sell Hillary Clinton to Howard Dean’s grassroots progressive group ... Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders added more progressive grassroots support to his campaign Thursday, picking up the endorsement of the Vermont-based Democracy For America (DFA), which was founded out of Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign ... It’s the first time DFA has endorsed in a Democratic primary since its founding, and the group pledged Thursday to throw its weight behind Sanders as the homestretch to the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries begins ... Dean’s support for Clinton fell on deaf ears among the progressive faithful at DFA."

Hillary Clinton couldn't pull the wool over the eyes of real progressives when she claimed she was a progressive in the first Democratic debate:

  • Anderson Cooper: You told the crowd you’d, quote, “take a back seat to no one when it comes to progressive values.” Last month in Ohio, you said you plead guilty to, quote, “being kind of moderate and center.” Do you change your political identity based on who you’re talking to?
  • Hillary Clinton: No. I think that, like most people that I know, I have a range of views, but they are rooted in my values and my experience. And I don’t take a back seat to anyone when it comes to progressive experience and progressive commitment ...
  • Anderson Cooper: Just for the record, are you a progressive, or are you a moderate?
  • Hillary Clinton: I’m a progressive. But I’m a progressive who likes to get things done.

Democracy for America had set a very high bar, and said it would only endorse if one of the Democratic candidates reached DFA's super-majority threshold of 68% (over two-thirds of votes cast). And today they just reported:

"With 271,527 votes cast -- and all three presidential candidates campaigning directly for your vote -- the results are in and they are extraordinary. Bernie Sanders has earned Democracy for America's endorsement in the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary with an astonishing, record-breaking 87.9% of the vote. [Hillary Clinton only earned a measly 10.3%]

This is also remarkable because it mirrors the results from TIME magazine's "faceoff" poll pitting Bernie against Hillary.

TIME magazine's "faceoff" poll pitting Bernie against Hillary.

All other online polls also show the most favorable results for Bernie Sanders:

  • Poll: A comprehensive survey of more than 75,000 voters in all 50 states conducted over several months shows Sanders has the highest approval rating of any U.S. Senator.
  • Poll: Bernie Sanders is the most "electable" candidate in either party.
  • Poll: www.Democrats.Com (with over 130,000 votes) had Bernie last leading Hillary 46% to 32%
  • All online polls showed Bernie winning the first and second Democratic debates by landslides.
  • Editor's note: Even my humble poll on the right side of this page shows Bernie way ahead of the pack.

Politico reported that the DFA executive director Charles Chamberlain wrote in an email to supporters today:

"This isn’t the first time DFA has stood side by side with Bernie Sanders. Our organization has been working with him to make progressive change happen for years. Together, we’ve run issue campaigns focused on raising the minimum wage, overturning Citizens United, and stopping the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership — and he has regularly chatted with our members on several DFA Live conference calls over the years. With today’s endorsement, DFA members are joining Bernie’s political revolution and working to take it both to the White House and up-and-down the ballot, in races coast to coast."

TIME reports that even as the Democratic establishment [pro-corporate moderate Democrats] is backing Hillary Clinton, much of the party’s liberal grassroots is lining up behind Bernie Sanders. The Vermont Senator also reached 2 million contributions to his campaign last night, a mark of broad support among liberals. And last week Bernie also won the endorsement of the Working Families Party (another grassroots Democratic group).

  • The Nation: The Working Families Party endorses Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination after an overwhelming 87.4 percent of the membership vote [Note, Bernie won their endorsement by the same margins as the DFA and TIME polls. There is a pattern here — it's not a coincidence.]
  • Huffington Post: The Working Families Party endorsed Bernie Sanders. It is the first time the party has formally backed a candidate in a national election [Just like it was a "first" for the DFA.]
  • New York Times: [Rank-and-file members voting against union leadership] The Working Families Party, the labor-aligned third party, endorsed Bernie Sanders.

DFA, which cites a membership of 1 million, said it would run a 100% positive campaign in support of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for President in 2016. For those of you who don't know Howard Dean, and why the Vermont-based DFA endorsement was so significant, Dean was once ...

  • A member of the Vermont House of Representatives from 1983 to 1986.
  • The Lieutenant Governor of Vermont from 1987 to 1991.
  • The Governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2003.
  • A candidate for the Democratic nomination in the Presidential Election in 2004.
  • Founded the Vermont-based DFA in 2004 (the progressive political action committee that just endorsed Bernie).
  • Was the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) from 2005 to 2009.
  • Wasn't asked to be a part of Obama's new administration in 2009.

Since then Howard Dean has been a part-time pundit praising Hillary Clinton on MSNBC — the cable station who fired progressive hosts like Ed Schultz for criticizing Hillary Clinton. Dean also served on the board of the National Democratic Institute — and Dean has spent time as a lobbyist as the Senior Strategic Advisor and Independent Consultant for the Government Affairs practice at the law firm McKenna, Long & Aldridge (which has since merged with Dentons earlier this year — and is the world’s largest law firm) where Howard Dean is now a Senior Advisor for Public Policy and Regulation.

A year ago (on December 10, 2014) Howard Dean posted a gushing op-ed at Politico titled I’m Ready for Hillary:

"Hillary Clinton is by far the most qualified person in the United States to serve as President. If she runs, I will support her. I have known Hillary for almost twenty-five years. We first met when I was the governor of Vermont and she was the First Lady..." (bla, bla, bla...)

Two months ago at MSNBC, where Howard Dean sometimes appears as a guest, they reported that he was to start campaigning for Hillary Clinton:

"Dean endorsed Clinton in December, snubbing Sanders, who is currently mounting an insurgent presidential bid similar to one Dean ran 11 years ago. And Dean appears to be stepping up his work for the former secretary of state’s campaign as the threat from Sanders becomes more real ... In his book Outsider in the White House, Sanders called Dean “a moderate-to-conservative Democrat,” which might as well be a four letter word for Sanders ... Dean’s support for Clinton has separated him from many of his former supporters, who have lined up behind Sanders and previously tried to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren into the 2016 presidential race. In fact, Dean ended up at odds with his own brother, who runs the group that spun off of Dean’s presidential campaign, when that group worked to draft Warren."

But today, Democracy for America endorsed Bernie Sanders — even after Howard Dean had specifically asked the group's members to support Hillary Clinton. (Wow! Talk about a snub to a snubber!)

And let's be perfectly clear: Dean is not a true progressive, or he would have endorsed the co-founder of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (Bernie Sanders), instead of endorsing a moderate Democrat (Hillary Clinton). So the back-stabbing from the lobbyist/media pundit Howard Dean got him nada, zip, zero, zilch.

As an aside: On May 20, 2015 Denton's announced that Newt Gingrich (former Speaker of the House) was also joining Howard Dean's mega-law/lobbying firm as Senior Advisor for Public Policy and Regulation practice (I wonder if Newt and Howard ever bump into each other in the hallways. One thing is for sure, you'll never see Bernie in those hallways.)

The DFA endorsement today was the second endorsement of the day for Sanders, who also got the endorsement of the CWA — the Communications Workers of America union, which represents around 700,000 workers across the country. Despite a long record of supporting unions and marching on picket lines, Sanders has struggled to lock down national union endorsements from union leaders — although it appears most of the rank-and-file union members don't agree with their leaders, and support Bernie.

According to ABC News, CWA President Chris Shelton said: "It would have been an empty endorsement coming from me. He could have gotten 22 votes from our executive board. This way, he will have 700,000 votes."

Unlike all the other labor unions, CWA decided to back Bernie Sanders based solely on a vote by its members, rather than a decision by their leaders. Unlike all the other unions, CWA did not ask Sanders to answer a questionnaire or sit for interviews with their executive board. Their leadership instead helped develop questions for a live interview conducted at the AFL-CIO summer meeting. Bernie Sanders said, "What I would have hoped is that unions who believe in democracy would have done what the CWA did, which is really create a wide-open process. We would have a lot more national union support than is currently the case."

The Atlantic:

Sanders criticized the influence of big money in politics and repeated his promise to stay far away from super PACs. But CWA president Chris Shelton indicated the union is likely to use its super PAC to support the candidate: "We will use whatever we need to [and] do every single thing we can to get Bernie Sanders elected to the presidency of the United States, so we will use our PAC money. If Bernie doesn’t want to take it, okay, I respect that.”

For his part, Sanders sought to draw a distinction between grassroots political activity organized by labor unions and the power of billionaires to buy elections: “Any comparison about working people knocking on doors as opposed to billionaires making a contribution, I think, would be a false comparison. As you know, I have said I do not want a super PAC. I will never raise money for a super PAC.”

The labor union echoed that logic. Candice Johnson, a spokesperson for the union said: "We will respect Bernie's wishes but we will use all legal and possible resources to get him elected. We do have a super PAC, but it’s a super PAC of a union of 700,000 working people, not a couple of billionaires. That’s a big difference."

Yes indeed, a VERY big difference. If Bernie has his way, he'd get $$$ out of politics and all future elections would be publicly funded — and all the candidates would be campaigning on a level playing field. If that were true today, Bernie would have already been officially "electable" a long, long time ago.

The previous corporate-sponsored polls don't truly reflect the real support that Bernie Sanders has enjoyed among the "commoners" — as all online polls already shown — because younger people (who mostly support Bernie) use social media a great deal more and almost exclusively use cellphones; but the corporate-sponsored polls rely too much on landline phones (which also might help explain why African-Americans poll so much better for Hillary.)

So like Obama did in 2008, Bernie's campaign also has to be able to harness the enthusiasm he has from younger voters by getting them to actually go out and vote — and he can start by targeting seniors in high school, who will be able to vote next year — so offering them a free college education is a good selling point.

[* Editor's note: So far I've heard nothing on CNN and MSNBC about the DFA's endorsement of Bernie Sanders. Why am I not surprised?]


  1. Leonardo DiCaprio Interview

    Q: Who should we be listening to?

    A: Look, not to get political, but listening to Bernie Sanders at that first presidential debate was pretty inspiring—to hear what he said about the environment. Who knows which candidate is going to become our next president, but we need to create a dialogue about it. I mean, when they asked each of the candidates what the most important issue facing our planet is, Bernie Sanders simply said climate change. To me that’s inspiring.

  2. ABC News - - - Dec 17, 2015

    We all have talked about Trump ad infinitum and the anti-establishment support he is getting among the GOP, but we haven't focused enough on Sanders and the anti-establishment grassroots he has highlighted. Let us review a few key points:

    1) Sanders is probably the most authentic candidate in the entire race. He has fought for his issues for years. His thoughts, words and actions are in total alignment. And though you might disagree with his prescription, he is genuine in his concern for the poor and what has happened to the middle class in America the last thirty years.

    2) He has by far more grassroots/small dollar contributors than any other candidate that has run for president at this point. This week Sanders' campaign announced that it has more than two million contributions with an average contribution of around $30. Truly impressive.

    3) Though not covered with the same intensity or time, the crowds that Sanders has gathered around the country are nearly as big [They are BIGGER!] and are definitely as energetic as followers of Trump. Though coming from a totally different side of populism as Trump, Sanders "people" power is just as impressive.

    4) When you look at Sanders' percentage in the national polls and what that represents among Democrats (which is a larger pool than GOP voters), he actually has more raw support than Trump. In fact, in polls done this past fall, Sanders actually bested Trump by a larger margin than Clinton did in a general election.

    5) Though Clinton is heavily favored and will likely win the nomination, Sanders has a better chance of being elected president than at least 10 of the Republicans running. There are many in the GOP race who have no real chance of winning any single caucus or primary state. Right now, Sanders is not that far behind in Iowa, and today looks like he will win the Democratic primary in New Hampshire. And none of that can be said for Bush, Cruz, Rubio, Kasich, or any of the others, except for Trump.

    As we head to the Democratic debate in the very near future, we should give consideration to the enthusiasm and atmosphere around not only Trump, but the movement Sanders has touched in America as well. Both these candidates have shown, in very different ways, the frustration and anger at our status quo politics and the party establishment in both parties. There are many in America who are tired of the current duopoly.

    Even though the ratings won't be as high in the Democratic debate as they were in the CNN GOP debate this week, I expect there to be some real differences on stage between Sanders, Clinton and Martin O'Malley. Let's not just tune in to what is occurring on the Republican side -- there is just as interesting a story going on with Sanders among Democrats.

  3. VIDEO: MSNBC didn't break into their regular programming to air this LIVE like they do for Donald Trump's campaign rallies.

    "Bernie Sanders secures major union endorsement 12/17/15, 12:22 PM ET"

  4. NPR - December 17, 2015 - 2:24 PM ET

    "Clinton continues to hold large leads in national polls — but national polling won't determine the way forward in the campaign's immediate future. It's the early states that matter, and right now the two early contests — Iowa and New Hampshire — are a split decision."

  5. MSNBC just reported (without too much enthusiasm) about the DFA's endorsement of Bernie (on 12/17/2015 at 3:55 p.m. PST) -- and also managed to note (without too much enthusiasm) that Sanders currently leads Hillary by 10% in New Hampshire (50% to 40%).

  6. The Nation: "The level of support for Sanders was unprecedented. When the 11-year-old group [DFA] held a similar vote on whether to endorse in the 2008 presidential race, no candidate cleared the super-majority hurdle."

    Huffingtojn Post: "Tonight, Bernie Sanders received the final dollars he needed to break a historic milestone. The senator officially hit two million individual campaign contributions, a feat that no other U.S. presidential candidate has achieved at this point in an election. To put that number in context, Barack Obama's historic 2008 campaign managed to break just one million contributions. Sanders literally has twice what Obama had. Not only that, but Sanders reached two million faster than President Obama reached one."

    Bernie Sanders Says He’s Already Started Writing His Inaugural Address

    "The Revolution will not be televised ... the Revolution will be LIVE." (By Gil Scott-Heron and first recorded in 1970)

  7. If Madame Clinton gets the nomination then there will be tumbleweeds at Democratic-leaning voting booths and the Republicans might walk it in even with the 3rd tier field of misfits they have. I haven't seen one blogpost mentioning her that pulled more than 5% in favorable comments. Even from before Bernie's announcement as candidate. She's box office toxin but if she DOES manage to pull it off somehow, expect her handlers and owners to start shoving war with Iran down the pipeline followed closely by H1-B visa extensions and then massive giveaways to the banks in dropped regulations under the pretense of "clarity".