Opposing Trump’s Agenda: Setting Priorities

Donald Trump put out so many deplorable executive actions in his first two weeks that it was hard to know where to start, what to respond to first. At least one writer has suggested that Trump’s rapid-fire activity is intended to knock us off balance and create “resistance fatigue“. I can believe it. I personally felt overwhelmed after the first ten days.

How to Decide?

Although Trump thinks he alone can turn the country around, I think most of us know that there are very few jobs that only one person can do. And no one of us can do everything. So I think each of us has to do what calls to us. That might mean making phone calls to your senators and representatives in Congress. It might mean sending financial support to the protesters at Standing Rock or to Planned Parenthood. The most important thing is to do something as often as possible.

Right now, for me, that’s opposing Betsy DeVos—and letting Senator Dick Durbin know that I’ll be likely to support his opponent in the next primary if he can’t get it together to vote against her. If you are an Illinois voter, please call Senator Durbin to let him know you’re watching, too.

Monday, when I called, his D.C. office (202-224-2152) answered with a recording that said their business hours were 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. “If you’re calling between those hours, please call back later.” Hey, thanks, Dick. I guess it’s an improvement over last week, when Durbin’s message box was full. Either way, the message is “I don’t really want to know what you have to say.” However, on Monday, a human being answered at his Chicago office, 312-353-4952, and graciously took my message.

The D.C. office also has a “vrs” line that purports to take a message. It appears on his web site, though the recording doesn’t tell you that it’s Durbin’s office.


What Do Bernie’s Supporters Do Now?

This post was first published on www.LiberalAmerica.Org

Bernie Sanders gave Hillary Clinton his full endorsement on July 12, 2016. As Tiffany Willis, founder of Liberal America, reported, many of the #BernieorBust activists refuse to follow him down that path. Folks have been discussing a few options:

  1. Backing Jill Stein and the Green Party;
  2. Holding their noses and voting for Hillary;
  3. Voting for Trump and trusting that he won’t get enough cooperation from Congress to get anything done;
  4. Protesting in Philadelphia at the Democratic convention; and
  5. Continuing to insist that Bernie should be the nominee.

Continue reading

What should Sanders do now? Keep his word and fight for fair elections

Many of Sanders’s supporters now concede that Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee and say that they will support her because the possibility of a President Trump is too awful to contemplate. There are some who believe that many of Clinton’s victories wouldn’t have been victories without the disenfranchisement of many Sanders voters, as discussed in my last post. Continue reading

Why won’t Sanders concede? Didn’t Clinton win?

On June 7, 2016, California, New Jersey and four other states held their primaries. Bernie’s campaign had high hopes for California, in particular.  In polling, the gap between Sanders and Clinton was within the margin of error. Then, on election day, Hillary Clinton appeared to win by about 15 percent of the vote.

Did Bernie’s slacker supporters fail to show up when it counted? Where were the thousands of folks who were at the rallies?

A rigged system?

The Sanders campaign  has complained that the Democratic Party establishment “rigged” the primary system against him. The mainstream media (MSM)  concentrate on the closed party system as if that’s the complaint. But, in fact, many Sanders supporters believe that Clinton benefited from misconduct by election officials, not just in California, but in Arizona,  Illinois, Iowa, and New York. And the MSM has largely ignored the allegations.

The Los Angeles Times reported on primary day that chaos and incompetence robbed Sanders supporters of their right to vote.  The  lists of registered voters were neither current nor complete. Pages were missing from hard copies. Many lists did not reflect the voters who had registered in the final days leading up to the deadline. The effect was to prevent many of those new voters from voting.

I’m not arguing that any specific California Democrats created this system to benefit Hillary.  Greg Palast says there is no evidence to support that conclusion, and I believe him. But Palast says that page 49 of the state’s own election manual instructs election officials, “A No Party Preference voter will need to request a crossover ballot from the Roster Index Officer. (Do not offer them a crossover ballot if they do not ask).” An election worker claims that during the training before the primary, the workers were instructed to give NPP voters provisional ballots, not crossover ballots. She said specifically that the crossover ballots were not even mentioned during the training.  Even if the voter asks why there are no presidential candidates on the NPP ballot, election officials were instructed to tell the voter only that the parties’ candidates for president do not appear on the NPP ballot. The voters were not to be told that they had to ask for a Democratic crossover ballot. If they didn’t use the word “crossover” along with Democratic, they wouldn’t get the ballot.

As a volunteer assisting phone bankers for Sanders, I heard that some voters had registered as Independent believing that was the same as not affiliating with a party. But they couldn’t vote in the Democratic primary because California has an Independent Party.

Alleged abuses in other primaries

Registered Democratic voters in other states were denied Democratic ballots, dropped from the rolls, or removed from the list of Democrats without their knowledge or consent. In Arizona,  one election official testified that the computer system would not permit her to give Democratic ballots to 36 voters in her precinct who could show they were registered Democrats. Secretary of State Michele Reagan confirmed that voters’ registrations were deleted or their party affiliation changed without their knowledge or consent. She told reporters that it had happened to someone in her office. Reagan acknowledged that complaints about mysterious changes of registrations  were up significantly compared to previous elections.

In Illinois, a recount of 5 percent of the vote was required. Members of Who’s Counting Chicago and the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project testified before the Chicago Board of Election. They described in detail how the election staff conformed their count from the audit to the numbers they had from election day, erasing and changing ballots, rather than trying to get an accurate count.

Similarly, in New York, the City Board of Elections removed thousands of voters from the rolls without notice.  In fact, about 126,000 voters were purged in Brooklyn alone. The Executive Director claimed that the removal was limited to people who had not voted in several elections and did not respond to a written notice, but many people claimed that they had registered recently but were not listed. Mayor Bill de Blasio said that entire buildings, and even whole blocks, were dropped.

Hacking the machines?

Doug Johnson Hatlem, a Chicago-based writer, analyzed the allegations in depth in a series of articles in CounterPunch. He makes a convincing case that election officials suppressed the vote for Sanders in Arizona, Chicago and New York, and perhaps in California. He also considered the possibility that the electronic equipment that scans or counts ballots was hacked. Hacking would explain, for example, why the election results in California and elsewhere were so inconsistent with the exit polling.  He noted that if the polling was 95 percent accurate, then the voting results would be consistent 19 times out of 20, and the discrepancies should occur randomly. The Republican results differed significantly from the exit polls on occasion. Cruz, Trump, and Rubio benefited in different states. In the Democratic races, however, the discrepancies favored Clinton.

Fool me once…

The allegations of voter suppression are serious, and public officials and the media must investigate them.  The outcome of the 2000 election was changed because of voter suppression. Technical glitches, such as hanging chads and the infamous butterfly ballot, led to the disqualification of many votes for Gore. But a purge of purported convicted felons from the Florida voting rolls caused incorrect removal of many people with similar names from lists of eligible voters. And Florida officials knew that but directed their contractor to purge voters whose names differed up to 30 percent from that of the convicted felon.

There is good reason to believe that the presidential vote in Ohio was  manipulated in 2004 as well.

Voters have sued to invalidate the results in New York. The court has already dismissed a suit that challenged the Arizona primary results.  Other suits are planned to challenge the results in California and elsewhere. But litigation is slow and risky.

Unfortunately, there is not time for a do-over between now and November, let alone before the convention. All we can do is make sure that it does not happen again. You can sign a petition to ask the Sanders campaign to request recounts here on the change.org site.