Posts Tagged ‘Election’

Biden, Harris and their hidden constituency

October 15, 2020

Joe BIden and Kamala Harris have turned their backs on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.  Biden rejects Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.  Harris promised a Biden administration won’t ban fracking.  Biden is possibly more of a war hawk than Trump isSo is Harris.

Why would they refuse to pay even lip service to popular reforms?  I think it is because they are appealing to a different constitutency—-the un-elected parts of the American power structure, the permanent government, the deep state, the power elite, call them what you will.

These include Wall Street, Silicon Valley, the military-industrial complex, the intelligence agencies, the news media, the corporate lobbyists and the big campaign donors. 

They’re fed up with Donald Trump’s antics.  They’d prefer someone more predictable, provided that person doesn’t threaten their power or wealth.  Biden and Harris fit that bill.

Trump is losing support because of his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.  I think he’s also hurt by his administration’s hamstringing of the Postal Service.  Many people depend on prompt mail delivery of medications and pension checks.

His only path to victory, as I see it now, is in Republican interference with the election process.  This includes purging of voter rolls of minority voters and students, making it difficult for minorities and students to vote and demanding that results be announced before all the votes are counted.

This isn’t new.  Such tactics provided the margin of victory for Trump in 2016 and for Bush in 2000 and, according to investigative reporter Greg Palast, for Bush in 2004 as well, not to mention whole lot of other Republican governors, senators and congressional representatives.

I think we’re  in for a repeat of the 2000 Florida recount crisis, except spread across many states.  In that crisis, the news media, the Supreme Court and other powers that be sided with George W. Bush.  But I don’t think the powers that be will side with Donald Trump.  Biden and Harris haven’t given them any reason to.


Rochester AFL-CIO Calls For General Strike if Trump Steals Election by Mike Elk for Payday Report.

How Could Everyday People Stop a Coup? by Enzo Lorenzo with Unity and Struggle, an anarchist collective. 

[Added Later] Why would anybody in the political establishment want to risk mass strikes and political demonstrations if they could keep their power without that risk by supporting Biden and Harris?

Exercising the right to vote

November 4, 2014


Source: Candorville.

John Oliver on America’s invisible election

November 4, 2014

John Oliver pointed out in this broadcast how state legislatures pass the most of the laws that affect Americans on a day-to-day basis, and yet Americans know little about their operation.

I admit this is true of me.  I know much less about the records of New York State Senator Ted O’Brien and Assemblyman Harry D. Bronson than I do U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Louise Slaughter and, I admit, less about any of them that I do about President Obama.

A voter has to be pro-active to learn these things.  You have to do more than read your local newspaper or watch your local TV newscast.

The state legislatures also help determine the outcomes of national elections.  They draw the boundaries of congressional districts, which often are incredibly skewed in order to produce a pre-determined result.  And they write the laws about election procedures and voting eligibility, which also are skewed to produce a certain result.

I’ve written posts about the bad choices that American voters face, and the futility of always settling for the lesser evil.  That doesn’t mean that voting is unimportant.  I just say that voting should be based on positive reasons, not negative reasons, and not limited to Democrats and Republicans.   When I wrote that passive voting alone will not change American politics, I meant that it is only a first step, not a last step, not that it is meaningless.

A lesser good is good, but a lesser evil is still evil

November 3, 2014

There is a thin but important line between saying that half a loaf is better than none, and saying that the lesser evil is better than the greater evil.

Vote-Chop-LegCircumstances alter cases, and there are tragic situations when the lesser evil is the only choice.   But people of good will should not allow themselves to be trapped into accepting lesser-evil-ism as a general rule of life.

The best may be the enemy of the good, but the lesser evil also is the enemy of the good.

When you settle for the lesser good, you still have good.  Achieving lesser goods may bring you step-by-step to the greater good you hoped for.

When you settle for the lesser evil, you still have evil.  Accepting lesser evils will bring you step-by-step to the greater evil you feared.

What if Obama loses?

February 1, 2012

What happens if President Obama loses the election?   The Washington Monthly has a good special issue making the case that it could be worse than you would think.

Mitt Romney, the most probable Republican nominee, is, like Barack Obama, a defender of the status quo rather than a radical of the right.  But a Republican victory would mean not only Romney, Newt Gingrich or a dark horse Republican as President, but a new Republican majority in Congress.

Experience teaches that Republicans will use their majority more effectively than the Democrats do.  The Republican leadership will never tolerate the abuses of the filibuster and cloture that the Democrats have, and will be much less likely to either desire nor need compromise.

According to the Washington Monthly’s team of writers, we can say goodbye to the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank financial reform law before they are even implemented.  We can forget about any meaningful action on global climate change, and a more brass-knuckle approach to foreign policy.  As a friend of mine summed up, the objective is to make United States like Rick Perry’s Texas writ large.

Click on the following links to read the series.

This Time It’s Different

What If Obama Loses?: imagining the consequences of a GOP victory

Campaign Promises: what they say is how they’ll govern

The Tea Party: picking the candidates and writing the agenda

Congress: the good news is … no more gridlock

The Courts: the conservative takeover will be complete

Foreign Affairs: the “more enemies, fewer friends” doctrine

The Environment: the end of the EPA as we know it

Financial Regulation: back to the good ol’ days of 2008

Obamacare: it’s toast

I agree a Republican victory is likely to take the country from bad to worse, but I see little to hope from a continued Democratic incumbency.  The Republicans would move the country in the direction it already is going, but at a faster and more reckless pace.

With a supposedly liberal Democrat in the White House and Democrats in control of the Senate, the United States is drifting toward war with Iran.  The United States is waging war in more countries than it was under President George W. Bush.  President Obama has claimed even more un-Constitutional powers than his predecessor did.

The two most significant reform laws enacted during his administration, the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, are complicated, hard to understand, hard to implement, easy to sabotage and require great integrity and capability in the way they are administered if they are to work.  The authors of these laws consciously rejected simpler and stronger measure, such as a public option on health insurance, or a limitation on the size and activities of banks with insured deposits.  Maybe the ACA and Dodd-Frank will help; the odds are against it.

There is little point in enacting new legislation if existing laws and regulations are not enforced.  President Obama has been actively hostile to prosecuting financial fraud; he evidently thinks that a threat to Wall Street is a threat to America’s financial stability.  I don’t mean to say that every single thing he has done has been wrong.  Some of his policies, such as repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell or his modest public works program, are good; others might turn out to be good; others arguably are less bad than the Republican alternative would be.  But the case for re-electing President Obama is not hope for something better, but fear of something worse.


Election results 2010

November 3, 2010

I think that the 2010 election results show displeasure with the Obama administration and the Democratic leadership more than an endorsement of current Republican leadership, just as the 2006 and 2008 election results showed displeasure with the Bush administration and Republican leadership more than endorsement of then-current  Democratic leadership.

I think the pendulum is going to keep going back and forth between the two parties until one of them finds a way to make things better for the majority of the American people.  I think talk of the United States being a “center right” nation is irrelevant to this.  I think what matters to the American people is what is done about nearly 10 percent of the U.S. work force being unemployed and 13 percent of homeowners’ mortgages being delinquent or in foreclosure, not the relative position of politicians and parties on an imaginary spectrum.

If the Republicans show they can do something about this, they will become a true majority party.  If not, the Democrats (or maybe a third party) will get a chance to present themselves once again as an alternative.  Unfortunately, with a divided government, it’s likely that the current bad economic situation will continue and each party will try to blame the other for it.

In a democracy, there is no final election.  The party in power always has to justify itself.  The party out of power always has another chance.


Improving the electoral process

November 2, 2010

This year New York state did away with its mechanical voting machines.  I will miss them.  Pulling down the levers was a quick and easy process, you couldn’t spoil your vote because the machine wouldn’t let you vote for more than the authorized number of candidates, and I enjoyed the satisfying “ka-ching!” sound when I pulled the lever.

The new system reminds me of the machine-graded multiple-choice examinations I took when I was in college.  You take a paper ballot, ink in circles next to the names of the candidates you favor, put the ballot in a paper sleeve (so nobody else can see it) and feed the ballot into a machine.

Ever since the Florida Presidential election in 2000, I’ve felt uneasy about electronic scanning of votes.  But I guess it is all right.  The original ballots remain to be recounted if there is any question about the result.  And someday, when I’m older and more feeble than I am now,  I may be glad I don’t have to push that heavy lever.


My dilemma as a voter

November 2, 2010

My dilemma as a voter is that, much as I would like to punish the Democratic leadership for their inadequacy, putting the Republicans into power under their current leadership is too high a price to pay.

Truman’s dictum

October 31, 2010

If you run a Republican against a Republican, the Republican will win every time.

Democrats then and now

October 29, 2010

The Democrats in 2008 ran for office based on what they promised to do if elected.

The Democrats in 2010 are running for office based not on their record, but on what they say the other party will do if elected.

“Vote out all incumbents”

October 15, 2010

I was walking down one of Rochester’s tree-lined streets, enjoyed the beauty of the fall weather and the turning leaves, when I noticed a sign in a window – “Vote out all incumbents.”

Does this make sense?  Suppose you owned a business with 535 employees, and the business was failing.  Would you fire all 535 employees and hire 535 others at random?  If 10 or 20 employees are performing badly, the fault is probably with them as individuals.  If every single one is performing badly, there is something systematically wrong with the way the business is run.  You have to fix the system failure before you can judge individual failure.

Some years back I came to the conclusion that my plumber was taking advantage of me.  I stopped using him, and found another plumber, whose honesty and competence I trust.  If I judged plumbers the way some people judge politicians, I would have hired a fellow homeowner with no training or experience as a plumber, whose qualification was indignation at dishonest plumbers.

It is not enough for we the people to reject the choices we are offered, and hope somebody comes up with something better.  We need to figure out what it is we want, tell the candidates what we want, and use our votes to reward and punish.  One thing that I have learned in my 73 years is that if you don’t say what you want, you’re not likely to get it.

No use “griping and groaning”

October 4, 2010

President Obama is right.  It’s no use “griping and groaning” about the state of politics.  The only way to make things better is to support candidates who are working for the things I believe in. No matter how discouraging the political situation, there always are some candidates worth supporting.

Senator Russ Feingold

I admire the steadfastness of my congressional representative, Louise Slaughter, but her reelection is virtually certain.  Instead I have sent a contribution to Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin.  He was the only U.S. Senator to vote against the USA Patriot Act in 2001 and one of 28 to vote against authorizing President Bush to invade Iraq.  He joined with Senator John McCain to successfully introduce the McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act.  He opposed the bank bailout and favored a single-payer national health insurance plan (although in the end he voted for the Affordable Care Act).  He opposed the new financial regulation law as inadequate.

He is in his third term in the U.S. Senate, but is in danger of losing his seat to Ron Johnson, a conservative businessman new to politics, who is outspending Feingold three to one in the campaign. Click on Russ Feingold campaign if you’re interested in helping him.