Fellow Travelers

Friday, November 11, 2016

The arc of the moral universe is long

Trump only won by 1% in three states to win the election. The Republicans are taking this to be a mandate, even though the Democrats picked up a seat in the House and Senate. Good. They're overreaching. 
The majority of younger voters voted Democrat. The majority of voters didn't vote for Trump. But the Republicans still think they have a mandate. Good. They're overconfident. 
They think that votes against corruption and bad trade deals and machine politics were votes for Republican ideology and for discrimination, and they're wrong about that. Good. Gloating victors, ingracious in their victory, are engaging in a wave of harassment and hate crimes. Good. They're showing their true colors instead of hiding it behind false smiles, or worse expressing their hatred through worse violence like bombings and mass shootings.
Every year there are fewer conservatives. 
Every year they lose electoral power. 
Moreover, every year there are fewer corrupt old guard liberals like the Clintons, who used social issues simply to get people to then back exploitative neoliberal economic policy and a destructive militaristic foreign policy. The militarism supports by the Clinton camp of Democrats, as well as by Republicans, made us many enemies by the millions oversea. The Clintons didn't care, same as they don't actually care about us.
Politics are a pendulum. It swings one way, and then it swings the other.
Let the Republicans be overconfident. Let them overreach. Let them get their petty barbs in. Let them fill Trump's cabinet with buffoons and corrupt Republican machine politicians. 
Get mad about it, get mad about everything he does, and be the pendulum that swings back. 
Remember 2004 and 2006 and 2010. The Republicans control a majority of state governments, the US Congress, and now the White House. They're behind the wheel now, and they have no idea how to drive, and we will outlive them. 
Lenin reportedly said "the capitalist will sell you the rope to hang him with." Well, the Republicans will sell us the rope we can use to bury their ideology forever.
Instead of gridlock in Congress for 4 years, four years of any Democrats who felt so inclined having to defend the corruption and mismanagement of Clinton's policies and government, we have the offense now. The Democrats fumbled. The Republicans got the ball and scored. Now we're on offense.
We may have lost the rest of this decade, but in so doing, we won the next one, and probably the future. If we hadn't, if we been able to lurch through the rest of this decade, we'd have likely lost the 2020s and been sunk until the 2030s. Maybe more, because a Clinton victory could have led to Republicans rewriting the Constitution to suit them, at the state level. Now, that's not a danger. The Republicans will take what victories they get and think those were the war. But the war is ours to win.
Everything the Republicans do, every single overreach, only strengthens the inevitable backlash. It only puts fuel on the fire of our revolutionary fury. Let them come.
MLK said "the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice." He was right, but he was quoting an earlier preacher, a Unitarian minister and devoted abolitionist called Theodore Parker who wrote a sermon in 1853:
"Look at the facts of the world. You see a continual and progressive triumph of the right. I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.
Things refuse to be mismanaged long. Jefferson trembled when he thought of slavery and remembered that God is just. Ere long all America will tremble."
Things refuse to be mismanaged long. That was 1853. In 1854, the Republican Party was formed. It was formed as an abolitionist party, a progressive and radical left wing party. In six years, they'd elected Lincoln. In a little over ten years, slavery was defeated.
Anne Braden was a civil rights activist from the south jailed in the 1950s for the work she did to fight institutional racism. Ten years later, the Civil Rights Act became law. She said once:
"What you win in the immediate battles is little compared to the effort you put into it, but if you see that as a part of this total movement to build a new world, you know what cathedral you're building when you put your stone in."
We will win. Either as part of the established political parties, like when we took over the Democrats, or by starting a new political party like when we made the Republicans, or maybe even both, but we will win.
All we have to do is keep fighting.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

To The Left: Come Back In Off The Ledge

The Democrats lost the presidency. To Donald Trump no less! Somehow the Democrats, in supporting the Hillary Clinton campaign to their fullest extent at every point, managed to put up a candidate who managed to lose to Donald Trump. Surely this is the end of all things, yes? Surely we will all be put in cattle cars on 1/20 and shipped to gay conversion camps, even the straights, right?

Well, not so much. Actually I’m about as happy as could be expected. I wouldn’t have wanted Clinton or Trump to win. I had also largely resigned myself to Clinton winning. I had resigned myself to 4 years of machine politics coupled with liberal smugness, scolding those of us idealistic unrealistic dreamers who think that maybe we shouldn’t be in undeclared wars everywhere at once, and explaining to us why we’re sexist if we don’t support the Clinton Administration’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, which they'd tell us she has personally fixed and which really is the gold standard now.

Make no mistake. Trump or Clinton, I’d likely be opposing nearly anything they’d be likely to do. Neither of them were progressives. The problems would come from trying to successfully oppose a centrist capitalist democrat as a progressive or as anybody else on the radical left. Speaking with the experience of someone who has tried to do just that through eight years of Obama, it isn’t easy. So here are some reasons to be cheerful.

  1. Clinton winning would have been a disaster to the Democrats, for reasons explained in my earlier post from back in July. Now we have a real shot for the 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential election. Sure, we’re told that “You could have just challenged her in 2020!”, but anybody who seriously believes that is somebody with a serious disconnect from the realities of party politics. The 2020 Democratic Party would be crippled, demoralized, fractured, and ready to hand the reins of the 2020s over to the Republicans.
  2. It’s a perverse reality in national politics that nothing defeats a movement like winning. And nothing alloys and empowers an opposition like losing. This gives us the chance to clean out the Democratic Party, to say goodbye to the days of the Hillary Clinton Victory Fund, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, John Podesta, Donna Brazille, Huma Abedlin, and all the rest of that irreconcilably corrupt crowd. It lets us unite as activists in opposing Trump and the many wrongheaded and unrealistic and ineffective policies he’s going to likely propose. Meanwhile, the Republican base, the alt-right Trump voters, will be exultant up through the inauguration at least, but inside of about a year they’ll be angry and disillusioned. By 2018, once they don’t get their ponies, they’ll be sitting home in anger. Conversely if Clinton had won, the Republican base would be very angry. We had a very real risk of, at best, 1990s levels of domestic terrorism. Like a repeat of the OKC bombing, but more so, and probably quarterly. And at worst, a full nationwide multi-faction violent insurgency. There were an awful lot of ways that a Clinton victory could have gone very violently wrong.
  3. Republican incumbent politicians over the next 2 years will have to decide if they’re going to oppose Trump or work with Trump. If they work with Trump, they’ll be opposed by the left and by centrists in 2018, who will be able to attack Trump as president without being saddled with the defense of Clinton. If they oppose Trump, they’ll be opposed in primary fights by the alt-right who will view them as traitors, as they already do Paul Ryan, John McCain, and others. This opens the door for us to get some great candidates in office for the first time, or promoted to higher office, in 2018 and as prep for 2020.
  4. We're now much better positioned for 2020, and 2020 is all the marbles. If you remember 2010, the 2010 Census led to redistricting that gave the GOP a stranglehold on the US House of Representatives for the 2010s. 2010 was a midterm election and a backlash election for Democrats, and this got Republicans into state legislatures nationwide. Those state legislatures are where state level politicians draw the political districts both for the US House districts and often for the state legislature seats. In Ohio they turned three competitive districts into one packed safe Democrat district and 2 safe Republican districts. These districts were carefully gerrymandered down to the street level, if I lived in the next subdivision over I'd be in the GOP district. Now, in 2018 and 2020 the left probably isn't going to take back the US House, although it'd be nice. But what we can do is make huge gains at the statehouse level. This sets us up to carry out fair redistricting after the 2020 Census, which will give the Democrats a much better chance not only of taking back the House in 2022 (but maybe as early as 2020), but of holding it through the 2020s. 
  5. The Republicans have controlled the White House, House, Senate, and Supreme Court all at the same time before. From 2004-2006. It led to a massive Democrat wave in 2006 and Obama's election in 2008. And they didn't put gays in camps or overturn Roe v. Wade. In fact, the worst things the Bush Administration ever did, he had bipartisan support in doing, and prior to 2004 no less. Having single party control over the government leads to the opposition setting their heels in and actively resisting everything, and it leads to a backlash from voters. The backlash from Bush was pretty good, the backlash for Trumpism will be amazing.
  6. Trump was completely full of shit pretty much 100 percent of the time. This will hurt him with many of the people who voted for him because a lot of the things he said he'd do, he can't or won't do. Take gay marriage for example. It's a good wedge issue to stir up Republicans to get them to vote for you, and essential if you want to keep them voting for you in the general. But 60 percent of the country supports gay marriage, and that number isn't going down, so repealing it is political suicide plain and simple. They're going to talk about it, but they're not going to do anything. On top of that, there are quite a few Republican Senators in the US Senate who won re election and who support gay marriage. Rob Portman is one. Any GOP senator for a state where gay marriage is heavily supported is not going to want to fight that fight. 
  7. Anything that Trump and the Republicans actually manage to accomplish will lead to a huge backlash. It'll suck in the short term, but be much better in the long term. Say they actually manage to repeal Obamacare. Well, Obamacare sucks. It does some things well, but it does a number of other things very badly. If it is repealed, none of the underlying problems that caused Obamacare to be passed into law go away. Instead they return, stronger and worse. 
  8. The Clinton campaign for some reason decided to embark on a dangerous anti-Russian course. Putin is terrible. He's done terrible things. The Russians are a huge problem. The resolution to that problem isn't blaming them for hackers getting your poorly secured emails, or arming militias fighting a government armed by the Russians. Under a Clinton administration we faced a very real threat of increasing and escalating brinkmanship. Including a worst case scenario of the US military directly fighting the Russian military in Syria. Which could very easily lead to World War 3. Assume that the worst case scenario put forth by the Clintons and their media friends is true, and Trump is directly a puppet of Putin. Hey, that sure makes World War 3 a lot less likely? We can come back from Trump and Putin dividing up the world like Molotov and Ribbentrop, we couldn't come back from a nuclear war. Maybe Japan and Saudi Arabia get nukes... but Israel and Pakistan and India already do. And I'm less worried about a handful of nukes in those countries than I am about a full nuclear exchange between the US and Russia. 
  9. The TPP is dead now. It isn't going to be lost on Trump or on Republicans or on Democrats that he won the Rust Belt, and in no small part because he was the only candidate credibly opposing the TPP. Clinton supported it as a Secretary of State, unconvincingly changed course when running for office, was shown by her emails to be posing for votes https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/8452 , and she lost union households in Ohio probably as a result. Now it and other abusive trade deals are very likely dead in DC for the foreseeable future. 
  10. Probably the best result from this is that the Clinton way of politics has been resoundingly defeated. Big money has failed. Corrupt domination of the primary process has failed. Collusion between the media and a political party has failed. And in so doing, it has been irrevocably tainted. I wrote before about the risks of the Hillary Clinton Victory Fund and the dangers of that way of politics becoming standard. Well, it's pretty fricking dead now. Whoever the Democrats put up as candidates in 2020, they'll be the product of a populist process, not least because the old guard of Democratic politics is old now and aren't likely to be on deck to run in four years. Whatever remains of the Democratic establishment in 2020, they'll be very hesitant to try and force an unpopular candidate on the voters. 

Now, if you're a communist (I am), or LGBT, or a religious minority (I am), or an immigrant, you have a good reason to be worried about the coming four years. Because Trump and the Republicans could do all sorts of terrible things. But if it seems like working class rural Americans don't care about your problems so long as their concerns get addressed, well, at least now you have some idea of what it feels like to be a civilian in Syria or Yemen or Pakistan or Iraq, living under the constant threat of death thanks to Obama's foreign policy, with a bunch of Democrats in the US completely uncaring about your problems so long as their concerns get addressed.

Atheists and homosexuals are killed by the government in Saudi Arabia, the country working with the US to massacre Houthis in Yemen and arm militants in Syria, the country that gave between 10 and 25 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation. Life under a Democratic administration sucked for a lot of people in the world, life under a Republican administration will suck for a few more people, including those in the US, for a little while. And when the Republicans try to go to war somewhere now, maybe the Democrat establishment will actually help us oppose it, instead of the enthusiastic cheerleading that American militarism has enjoyed under Obama and would have enjoyed under Clinton.

To put it more succinctly, are you scared? Under the Obama Administration, Pakistani children learned to fear the sky. They were scared too. And now, with Clinton out of the picture, we have a good chance of joining with the Democrats and with the rest of the world in fighting these policies instead of tacitly or openly supporting them under the umbrella of lesser-evilism.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Well, I'm definitely voting for Jill Stein now

I was legitimately on the fence. No, really. I wasn't sure if I'd write in Bernie Sanders, or vote for Gary Johnson, or even suck it up and vote for Clinton. Or out of utter perversity and in the privacy of the voting booth, vote for Trump. Probably not that last one. Don't think I could live with myself. But I don't think I could vote for Clinton either. 

Now it's certain. What pushed me over? What guaranteed my departure from an already extremely tentative presence in the Democratic Party? Well, today I was the recipient of not one but two smarmy mailings from a big money DC SuperPAC scolding any recipient of daring to consider voting third party.

I have pictures!

Obama says third party votes help Trump! Sanders says now is not the time for a protest vote! Well shoot, if Sanders says it, I better obey. I'm just a mindless millennial living in my parents' basement who doesn't think for himself, who was a blind Sanders personality cultist.

Oh wait, no. I said from the start I'd never vote for Clinton. I gave an abundance of reasons for this. I backed Sanders because if he won, then there'd be no chance of Clinton getting elected. I was lucky in that one of the Senators who I can stand the most (though still a far cry from being an anti-capitalist and a genuine socialist) emerged as the most credible challenger. And he got close, and that's great. Even better, his defeat showed how fiercely the wealthy establishment Democrats will protect their own, how they will collude behind the scenes to subvert and corrupt the Democratic process and any pesky party bylaws, how they will work with their friends in the media to ensure favorable treatment for their favored candidate. In short, it showed the activist left that the establishment centrists posing as the left do not give a shit about us and that achieving change is impossible through an electoral process they control. 

Some Sanders supporters were willingly sheepdogged back into the Democratic fold, but a few have been successfully radicalized by the whole experience, which as an anarcho-communist is always nice to see.

Long and the short of it is that I'm not going to vote for Clinton just because Sanders sold out and got in line to protect his committee appointments (probably). 

The back of the first mailing is as follows:

A vote for a third party is not an option? Well, I'll show you then. And Clinton believes everyone should be treated fairly? Then why does her Foundation take money from oppressive Middle Eastern regimes that oppose human rights for women and homosexuals and atheists? Why did Clinton not support gay marriage until after a Republican Senator came out in support of it? Our own Rob Portman, incidentally, the Republican Senator from Ohio running this year against former governor and dedicated Clinton hatchetman Bill Strickland. Needless to say, voting Green in that contest too.

Here's the second mailing. It has SCARY NUMBERS.

The threshold for a political party to get federal election funding is five percent of the national popular vote. If this was accurate and Stein is at 4%, then I'd have to vote for her to get the Greens up over 5%. 

However, that's an oddly specific survey and time period. Very outdated too, even by the mailings standard. A closer look:

If you regularly follow the RealClearPolitics 4 way tracking poll, and I do, you recognize the NBC News / SM poll. It's got a huge sample size. You also recognize it as a poll that comes out pretty offten, as it is a weekly tracking poll. 

And you recognize that poll as an outlier, and the highest polling that Johnson has had since the start of September. The Obama quote they used is dated 9/28. The NBC/SM polls from that same time period show the following:

And it hasn't gotten better for the third parties. The most recent NBC/SM poll shows Clinton at 46%, Trump at 41%, Johnson at 7%, and Stein still at 3%. Incidentally that seems to indicate that the stern finger waggling by Democrats at third party supporters has led to a handful of people moving from a "hopeless" third party... to Trump. Bravo, fuckos. 

The backside of this flyer is here:

1. Like it or not, supporting the two party system legitimizes it and supports it. It will never change as long as people keep voting for it.

2. That's the problem of the Democrats and the Republicans.

3. Donald Trump is all of those things. Meanwhile Clinton is a compromising and compromised racist and bigot, and one whose foreign policies have led to people all over the third world being plunged into war and instability. Say what you will about Trump, he didn't destabilize the Syrian government, or orchestrate the death of Gaddafi for daring to get together a bunch of gold and silver to create a gold-backed currency in Africa.
This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA).
(Source Comment: According to knowledgeable individuals this quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion. French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya.)
The military action in Libya led to this:
There is, however, ample documentation by journalists, academics, and human rights groups demonstrating that black Libyan civilians and sub-Saharan contract workers, a population favored by Gaddafi in his pro-African Union policies, were targets of “racial cleansing” by rebels who saw black Libyans as tied closely with the regime.[1]
Black Libyans were commonly branded as “foreign mercenaries” by the rebel opposition for their perceived general loyalty to Gaddafi as a community and subjected to torture, executions, and their towns “liberated” by ethnic cleansing. This is demonstrated in the most well-documented example of Tawergha, an entire town of 30,000 black and “dark-skinned” Libyans which vanished by August 2011 after its takeover by NATO-backed NTC Misratan brigades.
These attacks were well-known as late as 2012 and often filmed, as this report from The Telegraph confirms:
After Muammar Gaddafi was killed, hundreds of migrant workers from neighboring states were imprisoned by fighters allied to the new interim authorities. They accuse the black Africans of having been mercenaries for the late ruler. Thousands of sub-Saharan Africans have been rounded up since Gaddafi fell in August.
It appears that Clinton was getting personally briefed on the battlefield crimes of her beloved anti-Gaddafi fighters long before some of the worst of these genocidal crimes took place.
Hey, seems like Trump was actually right when he said she's a "nasty woman", although not for any of the reasons his tiny brain imagined.

4. Clinton as the "most qualified" option requires one to consider a decidedly cloudy political heritage to be "qualifications". She was Secretary of State for a few years and was an utter nightmare in that role. She was a Senator... who voted for the Iraq War, providing the Bush Administration with the political cover to claim the invasion was "bipartisan". But, her supporters say, she was tricked into doing this by a dishonest Bush White House. Well, supposedly she has eight years of "experience" as First Lady. She should have known better than anyone that the White House could and was lying. After all, she'd been in the White House just a few years prior. Maybe that vaunted First Lady experience wasn't as valuable as we're told.

5. If a vote for Stein or Johnson is a vote for Trump, is a vote for Trump then actually two votes for Trump? Considering that no shortage of Republicans proclaim a vote for Stein or Johnson to be a vote for Clinton, my vote for Jill Stein counts as a vote against Trump and against Clinton, as well as for Clinton and for Trump. And also for Stein. Works for me.

Needless to say, I'm not convinced. On top of this, and scare tactics notwithstanding, the current state of the race following the three presidential debates and the VP debate is much changed from early September. In the RCP aggregate, Clinton is still at 46%, Trump is still at 40%, but Johnson is down to 5.5% and Stein down to 2%. This leaves 6.7% at undecided or Other. Third parties can hardly be blamed at this point for Clinton's continued struggling.

Instead, her inability to seal the deal is rooted in the fact that the Democratic Party establishment utterly failed to put forward a decent and qualified candidate. They ran the only Democrat who could conceivably lose to Donald Trump. For their part, the Republicans ran the only "Republican" who could conceivably lose to Hillary Clinton.

To wrap this up, who sent these mailings out? The party on both is shown:

While I'm super sure that there's absolutely no communication between the "LCV Victory Fund" and the Hillary Clinton campaign:


This still leaves the question who the fuck are they? So I went to google and found their website.

Their mission statement is as follows:

LCV works to turn environmental values into national, state and local priorities. LCV, in collaboration with our state LCV partners, advocates for sound environmental laws and policies, holds elected officials accountable for their votes and actions, and elects pro-environment candidates who will champion our priority issues.

Hillary Clinton backed the Keystone XL pipeline. Bill Clinton said Americans should embrace it. Clinton has done nothing to support the Standing Rock protests in North Dakota, where oil industry construction with the active militarized support of the police are building a pipeline through Native American burial grounds. The Atlantic described her environmental record as "mixed".
When Hillary Clinton kick-started her second presidential campaign on June 13 at New York's Roosevelt Island, environmentalists were all ears—and so were environmental reporters. For weeks, I'd been pestering Clinton's Brooklyn-based operation for information about her environmental platform, to no avail. Clinton had said little about climate and energy policy thus far in her campaign, beyond a few shout-outs on the economic benefits of continuing to grow the U.S. renewables industry. She had, to be sure, been talking about the need to address climate change for two decades, and she'd initiated clean-energy programs as secretary of State. But she had yet to take a stand on two of the hottest environmental issues of the moment—approving the Keystone XL pipeline and opening Arctic waters off Alaska's coast to drilling—much less to roll out an ambitious plan for carbon reduction or green energy.
What sparked the LCV's full-throated support? Well, that's in there too:
 They didn't get much of either on June 13 in New York. Clinton neither bypassed green issues nor gave them much emphasis. She called climate change "one of the defining threats of our time," vowed to "make America the clean-energy superpower of the 21st century," and took shots at Republican global-warming deniers. Beyond the boilerplate was only the slimmest reed of policy—"using additional fees and royalties from fossil-fuel extraction to protect the environment"—although that was enough to inspire the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, one of the establishment groups more friendly to Clinton than McKibben's crowd, to give "kudos" to the candidate for "building on her long record of environmental leadership."
It's almost as though they were waiting for an excuse, however slim, to get on board for the big win.

There's a reason for this. As a DC establishment political group, they're not interested in actually solving problems, they're interested in raising money to pretend they're solving problems. The Board of Directors page for the LCV, in addition to showing ties to the Rockefellers and Barclays Capital (the company that bought Lehman Brothers), shows that the Chair of the Board for the "League of Conservation Voters" is Carol Browner from the Center for American Progress.

If that name sounds familiar, it's because it's an arch-capitalist neoliberal think tank whose president, it was revealed by Wikileaks, advised against the Clinton Administration joining the "Fight for $15".

In late April 2015, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio sent an email to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, campaign manager Robby Mook, and longtime Clinton aide and CAP chief Tanden offering them a preview of an email he would later send out describing the progressive agenda he planned to promote. 
“Following up on my conversations with each of you last week, I want to keep you updated on the next steps in our efforts to organize progressives nationally to take on income inequality. Below is an email going out today for an event coming up in 2 weeks. I believe you will agree with much of this content. Please let me know if you want to discuss. Thanks – Bill,” he wrote. 
“Should we care about this?” asked Podesta. The policy agenda DeBlasio laid out in the email included a $15 federal minimum wage. 
Tanden shrugged it off. 
“Substantively, we have not supported $15 — you will get a fair number of liberal economists who will say it will lose jobs,” she wrote back. “Most of rest seems fine (obviously trade sticks out). Politically, we are not getting any pressure to join this from our end. I leave it to you guys to judge what that means for you. But I’m not sweating it.” 
Bear in mind this was only two weeks after thousands of workers in over 200 U.S. cities took part in demonstrations asking for $15 an hour. 
The Center has been the object of increased criticism by observers who see it less as a center of progressive reform, and more as a Hillary Clinton White House in waiting.
But, of course, as the flyer I received claimed:

"not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee"

Well, LCV and CAP and DNC and the entire machine, I'm voting third party. Jill Stein isn't perfect. In fact I wouldn't want to see her (or Johnson or Clinton or Trump) as President. But I would like to see the Greens break 5%, and the Libertarians break 5%, and have some more voices in what will be a hotly contested 2020 race. I'm not the only one backing a third party. 

Indeed, I'll be joined in this by no less than the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board. They make the case for voting third party in A principled option for U.S. President: Endorsing Gary Johnson, Libertarian

Some choice quotes:
The Republicans have nominated Donald Trump, a man not fit to be president of the United States. We first wrote on March 10 that we would not, could not, endorse him. And in the intervening six-plus months he has splendidly reinforced our verdict: Trump has gone out of his way to anger world leaders, giant swaths of the American public, and people of other lands who aspire to immigrate here legally. He has neither the character nor the prudent disposition for the job.-Now as in the primary season, Clinton knows she is proposing orgies of spending, and taxing, that simply will ... not ... happen. She is promising Americans all manner of things she cannot deliver.-Time upon time, Clinton's behavior affirms the perception that she's a corner-cutter whose ambitions drive her decisions. One telling episode among the countless: Asked by a voter if she was for or against the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, she replied, "If it's undecided when I become president, I will answer your question." As we've asked here before, will Hillary Clinton ever get over her consuming fear of straight talk?-We reject the cliche that a citizen who chooses a principled third-party candidate is squandering his or her vote. Look at the number of fed-up Americans telling pollsters they clamor for alternatives to Trump and Clinton. What we're recommending will appeal less to people who think tactically than to conscientious Americans so infuriated that they want to send a message about the failings of the major parties and their candidates.
I disagree with a lot of their economic motivations for their choice, unsurprisingly as they complain about Clinton moving "to the left", but I agree with them that she's lying about actually moving left. And I definitely reject the cliche. They're voting for Johnson, and that's fine. I'm voting for Stein. Not only in spite of big money DC mailings, but in no small way because of them. Not to throw away my vote, but to avoid throwing it away on an unacceptable option.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Trump is not the end of the Republicans. Probably.

I got a message on Reddit after a post discussing how the Republicans can come back in 2018 and 2020, and how Trump isn't the death of their party. 
If Trump loses as often predicted, does the GOP stand a chance of winning in 2020?
The reason I'm asking you this question is I'm trying help a friend of mine who is among the center-right #NeverTrump crowd, and understandably despairing over the state of the party, to try and give him some hope things will inevitably work themselves out the better for Republican/Conservative voters like him.
There was more but you get the idea. Here's my answer:
Saying the Republican Party "can't be stuck in the 1980s," Kasich described Portman, a former colleague in the U.S. House, as representing "21st Century thinking" on the environment, civil rights and other issues.
Right now, the Democrats feel like they are ascendant, triumphant. It is unthinkable that the Republicans could challenge them. The Presidential election is as good as won, the Democrats very possibly could take back control of the Senate, and as soon as the 2020 redistricting goes through the Democrats will fix the problems in the House and take back control of it. You don’t have to look hard to find plenty of liberals and Democrats with this mindset today, confident that Trump has doomed the Republican Party.
It’s a familiar refrain for me, because I heard the same thing after the 2004 elections. Bush had been re-elected. The Republicans increased their majorities in the Senate and House. State constitutional amendments banning gay marriage passed in eleven states. Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah. Clearly the country liked how the Republicans were handling the economy, didn’t approve of liberal social policies, and trusted the Republicans to handle national security and the war.
Two and four years later, all that changed. Because that’s the only constant in politics, change. And in 2008, the Democrats were ascendant. The Republicans had bungled the economy. The wars were dragging on. And so on, and so on. American politics swings like a pendulum.
The damage Trump is doing to the GOP is, I think, overstated. People have short memories. And people also love rebranding. What Trump does is make ideas toxic. He’s made those ideas of the Republicans that were stuck in the last century toxic, so that the Republicans can more readily discard them. Trump is the rock bottom that will facilitate the necessary rehabilitation of the party.
It’s difficult for an incumbent to be unseated, unless that incumbent is seen as the third term of a two term president. It hasn’t happened often, but the Reagan and Bush administrations are a good parallel. Anything that goes wrong between now and 2020 will be blamed on Clinton, on the fact that the Democrats have had the presidency for twelve years. It’s extremely unlikely that Clinton will accomplish anything positive, certainly anything substantive to resolve the serious problems we face as a country.
On top of that, she lacks the charisma that Bill has (or had), and possesses all the arrogance and then some. It will be an endless four years of scandal, and not only will there not be a single republican on her side, but she’ll be alienating progressives, libertarians, on and on. Numerous people, Democratic voters presumably, have said that if Clinton doesn’t play ball with the left she can “simply” be primaried. Of course, that’s not happened since before the Republican Party existed, but it’s the “carrot” they’re holding out to us, probably with the hope that we’ll just forget between now and 2019 or so.
There’s a road map for the Republicans to come back in 2018 and 2020, and that is to abandon social conservatism and adopt some more libertarian ideas. I think you’ll see a lot of outreach to libertarians leading up to 2018. The focus will be Small Government, and anti-corruption. Those will be the two areas where Clinton is the weakest, and where libertarians and even aging social conservatives see eye to eye. It is a message that will succeed in states like Texas and Georgia.
I would advise the center-right Republicans to 1) accept that Clinton is winning this year, 2) vote for Gary Johnson and make it clear it’s because they’re small government and for national unity, and 3) work to bring together libertarians and social conservatives going into 2018 and 2020. Make no mistake, the GOP is down but it is not out, and there is a lot of opportunity for them over the next four years. And there are a lot of GOP strategists and thinkers who recognize this and are working towards that end.
It’s also worth noting that the GOP has unprecedented dominance at the state level. There are 23 states where the governor, upper chamber, and lower chambers are controlled by Republicans. In 31 states the upper and lower chambers are both controlled by Republicans. This will give them a huge advantage in controlling those 2018 and 2020 elections. Some of their abilities may be curtailed by the Supreme Court with Hillary appointees on it, but this will just strengthen the positions of libertarians and encourage Clinton opponents. Now, what the Democrats are hoping is that, in 2020, in state level districts for state senate and state house that were thoroughly gerrymandered in 2010, they can win those seats so that they can “repair” the gerrymandering in a direction favorable to them.
What this ignores is that, in order to win these seats, the Democrats need candidates. They need candidates for governor, for state senator, for state representative, for US House representative, for US Senate, for all the jobs like Treasurer and Auditor and state-level Secretary of State. And in many states, those candidates aren’t there. This is because there’s been that 6 years of gerrymandering, and probably ten by 2020, where young candidates don’t have a chance to come up through the ranks. Obama, before he was President, was a US Senator. Before that, a state senator. In Ohio this year there is a Senate election between the Republican incumbent, and the best the Democrats can put forward is the former Democrat governor, who had the misfortune of being the state’s chief executive when the financial crisis hit in 2009, and who wound up taking the blame for the results of that crash. He has a very good chance of losing to Portman, the Republican incumbent. And he was the guy chosen by the state level Democratic establishment. In a lot of ways, there isn’t anybody else.
In 2010 when the GOP gerrymandered Ohio more so than it already was , they went with Packing instead of Cracking. Say you have a metropolitan area that normally votes solid blue. Cracking will split that area between multiple districts, each having a little bit of the metro area and a massive bit of the wealthy suburbs and rural areas. This didn’t work out too hot in 2008 in central Ohio, which was split between OH-7, OH-12, and OH-15. After very expensive and contentious fights, including one in the recount margin, the Democrats took OH-12 and OH-15. After the 2010 census and the following redistricting, the GOP remedied this by packing the Columbus metro area into a new OH-3, a district carefully drawn street by precious lefty street to ensure that conservative votes were in OH-12 and OH-15, and liberal votes were in OH-3. This meant that while OH-3 will always be represented by a liberal, the GOP and DNC doesn’t have to spend money to run contested elections in central Ohio.
This also means that the OH-3 representative becomes somebody so liberal that they can’t hope to be elected to a statewide office. So it limits the future prospects of any career politician in OH-3 or the other Packed districts in Ohio. Anybody who could run on a wider level is too liberal to win. But on the Republican side, gerrymandering frees up libertarian and centrist Republican candidates to run and win, because if they can make it through the primary, they have an effectively guaranteed general election. This is the mechanism by which the party can be pulled both towards the center and towards libertarianism, and also one which gives the Democrats a harder path to make the miracle turnaround they need in 2020 to control the redistricting.
Republicans are mocked online now. I remember as a leftist being attacked and mocked online plenty in the 2000s for being anti war, especially since I opposed it from the start. Being pro gay didn’t help. This happens. But the mockery and demonization has a backlash. Young voters coming up who want to be individuals and iconoclasts, independent people, will see that mockery and align themselves against it.
So here’s my prediction.
The Republicans soften on social conservative issues. They point to the corruption and inefficiency and arrogance of the Democratic Party under Clinton’s leadership. It won’t be hard. She’ll give them no shortage of opportunity. The GOP looks at the relative popularity of the Libertarians this year, not just with young up and coming voters but with already established Republicans. Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Reid Ribble from Wisconsin (a House rep), and more, they’ve all indicated they might vote for Gary Johnson, and in so doing indicated their support for the Libertarians. The Republicans reach out to the Libertarians. A lot will come over, some won’t. Some social conservatives will leave the GOP in disgust, but most won’t, for the same reason a lot of progressives stay with the Democrats. I know, because they’re my relatives. With a rebuilt and rebranded Small Government Anti Corruption Conservative Coalition, the GOP could become a place for centrist Republicans, and libertarians, for young and old voters, and could go on to win big. Or at least, not have the losses in 2020 that they’d need for the Democrats to put them in the ground.
In closing, every party is at its best after it is declared dead. It’s a freeing experience.
Here’s some reading:

Sunday, July 31, 2016

"Name the 38 states that will get Republican legislatures"

The Republicans are very close to controlling enough state legislatures to call and ratify a Constitutional Convention. When this is pointed out, incredulous Democrats have a hard time accepting it. For example, 
Name the 38 states that will get Republican legislatures.
Well, the math isn't terribly difficult. But it is terrifying and imminent.

31 states have them already. Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Goergia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virgnia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. In those states the Republicans control both the upper and lower chamber, often by wide margins.

In 8 states the Republicans control at least one chamber. These are Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Iowa, Kentucky, New York, and Maine. Of those 8 states the Democrats control less than 60% of the remaining chamber in 7 states.

  1. In Colorado the Democrats control the state house of representatives by 34-31, 53%. A 2 seat loss would put it in Republican hands.
  2. In Iowa the Democrats control the state senate by 26-23 with 1 independent, 53%. A 2 seat loss would put it in Republican hands.
  3. In Washington the Democrats control the state house of representatives by 50-48, 51%. A 2 seat loss would put it in Republican hands.
  4. In Kentucky the Democrats control the state house of representatives by 53-47, 53%. A 4 seat loss would put it in Republican hands.
  5. In Maine the Democrats control the state house of representatives by 78 - 69 with 4 Independents on the side, 52%. Not factoring in Independents, a 5 seat loss would put it in Republican hands.
  6. In Minnesota the Democrats control the state senate by 39-28, 58%. A 6 seat loss would put it in Republican hands.
  7. In New Mexico the Democrats control the state senate by 24-18, 57%. A 4 seat loss would put it in Republican hands.

Overall the Democrats are 25 state legislator seats away from having the Republicans control both state chambers in 38 states, the number needed to not only call an Article 5 Constitutional Convention, but to also ratify it.

The Democrats during the last eight years have had historic statehouse losses:
Obama’s record for losses, at least through the 2014 midterms, is historically bad having overseen two horrible midterm elections for Democrats. Overall, Sabato wrote, Democrats during Obama’s presidency lost 11 governorships, 13 U.S. Senate seats, 69 House seats, and 913 state legislative seats and 30 state legislative chambers. (Our analysis of legislative seats is off from Sabato’s by three. The small discrepancy is likely due to run-offs and recounts.) 
The shedding of U.S. House seats, state legislative seats and statehouse control is at least twice the average two-term losses from Truman through George W. Bush, Sabato said.
All the Republicans need to do is pick up 2.7% of the state legislature seats that they picked up under Obama. It's that close.

These are low level races that rarely get a lot of money put into them... unless big money Republican donors see that Trump isn't worth wasting their money, and suddenly they have somewhere downticket to invest, in areas ignored by Democrats who believe that the presidency and the Supreme Court is the only thing that matters.

Another frequent counter claim from ostrich Democrats is
The country is far to polarized to get an amendment passed.
Which is only true if you limit yourself to thinking at the national level. If you look at the Senate and the House, the Presidency and the Supreme Court, and you think that is the only government that exists, then yes, you might get that idea. But the demographic reality is that one end of that polarization is concentrated in a few high population states, and the other end of that polarization is spread out across several medium to low population states. As a visual aid, look at the 2012 election results by county.

Now, when it comes to winning the popular vote nationwide, and when it comes to winning electoral votes, this helps the Democrats. When it comes to an Article V Constitutional Convention, it does not help the democrats. A 6-3 tilt in the Supreme Court doesn't matter at all if you can overturn the Supreme Court with amendments passed and ratified through the state legislatures instead of through the US Congress. This is a fact. The electoral college favors states with big population centers, an Article V Constitutional Convention has nothing to do with the electoral college, and it just matters how many state legislatures you control in total numbers.

Have you ever heard of ALEC? They're the group behind "Stand Your Ground" laws, Voter ID laws, anti-immigration laws, pro-fracking laws, anti minimum wage laws, and pro-oil industry laws. They have been excluded from state anti-lobbyist laws. They write the legislation that Republican legislatures pass and Republican governors sign. In addition to their many unpleasant goals they've got the goal of calling a constitutional convention:
Constitutional Convention for a Balanced Budget Amendment
  • One of ALEC's top priorities is to amend the U.S. Constitution via a Convention under Article V of the Constitution, and it is getting closer each year. Here's the latest:
  • ALEC's balanced budget amendment campaign has attracted little media attention, but the pieces of legislation that could trigger a constitutional convention are moving forward much more quickly than many might anticipate.
  • Although there are many unanswered legal questions about how a convention is triggered, 27 states have enacted such measures, including three in 2015.
  • The Constitution provides that 34 states (two-thirds) can trigger a convention to propose amendments, which must then be ratified by 38 states (three-fourths).
  • That puts convention proponents just 7 states away from victory. (Any controversy over how states are counted would be settled by Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court.)
  • The Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force, which is closely allied with ALEC, has targeted 13 states this year, many of which are deep red: WA, MT, ID, WY, AZ, OK, MN, WI, SC, KY, WV, VA and ME. The biggest threats appear to be VA, WV, OK, SC and WI.
  • This is not a grassroots movement; it is a highly organized and well-funded attempt capitalize on the Republican's historic takeover of state legislatures to lock in the right-wing's discredited "supply-side" economic policies.
  • The balanced budget amendment--which could force deep cuts in vital programs like Social Security or limit the ability of the government to deal with economic or natural disaster or even war--has been supported by Koch-backed groups like David Koch's Americans for Prosperity and the National Federation of Independent Business. ALEC and it's "Jeffersonian Project," a new 501(c)(4) arm, are lobbying for it.
  • Throughout U.S. history, the Constitution has only been amended through a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress on a specific amendment, which is then ratified by two-thirds of state legislatures. If a constitutional convention is triggered it is unclear that it could actually and constitutionally be confined to the balanced budget, and some groups –like the Convention of States–are pushing for much broader amendments to limit the power of federal government, including adding term limits.
The Democrats don't want to face how ominous a prospect this is, not least because there really isn't a way to stop it at this point. The overconfident bluster I see from centrist Democrats these days on the impossibility of an Article V Convention is almost identical to the reaction I got from Republicans in 2005-2006 when I'd suggest the Democrats could take back Congress and that guy from the DNC Convention in 2004 could easily be president in 2008.

There is a first time for everything, even an ending.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"That would quite literally start a civil war"

The following point was made on Reddit recently:
The Democrats have lost over 900 state legislator seats since 2008. They have lost control of 30 state legislative chambers. The Republicans are currently 3 state chambers from being able to call a constitutional convention, and 7 state chambers from being able to ratify the results of it. They can push amendments banning abortion, banning gay marriage, banning or legalizing whatever they want, and those amendments will be part of the constitution. And it will have been done legally, democratically, and there won't be shit the federal government can do about it.
The reply was
That would quite literally start a civil war.
Well sure. It probably would. Now let's assume that person was right.

First, what would spark a Constitutional Convention? Well, a group called Election Justice carried out an exhaustive study on the results of the Democratic primaries, using exit polls and the same methods used to detect fraud in elections overseas. They discovered that there were significant differences between the exit polls and the final "official" recorded votes. This discrepancy was large enough that it would have clinched the nomination for Bernie Sanders. Earlier claims were met with derision and dismissed by the DNC establishment, claiming that exit polls are not conclusive enough to definitely show evidence of fraud, and that the methodologies of exit polls in the US are different from those used overseas. Here's what they found:
Applying the results of the exit polls conducted in these primaries in an attempt to verify the computer counts revealed that these counts differed widely from the exit poll projections. These discrepancies occurred primarily in the Democratic Party primaries but not in the primaries of the Republican Party. This is remarkable, as the exit polls for both parties were conducted on the same day, in the same precincts, with the same interviewers, and used the same methodologies.  
Comparing the computer vote counts with the exit poll survey results for the Republican Party primaries, the total survey margin of error was calculated to be 32% greater than the usual statistical margin of error applied to such surveys. Ten of the primaries of the Democratic Party had computer vote counts that differed from the exit poll results by more than the augmented margin of error applied to the exit polls conducted by Edison Research.
This has been dismissed by the DNC and by the traditional media, but it has been picked up and I've seen it widely repeated by conservatives, coupled with an expectation that Hillary will rig the November election as well. Let me make something clear. It doesn't matter if Clinton did or did not rig the primaries enough to win, and it doesn't matter if she does the same for the general election. What will matter is whether or not enough people believe that she did. Given what people already believe about Clinton (in many cases justifiably) is it a stretch to think they'd believe this?

Against that background, an outgoing Obama has his Supreme Court Justice approved, giving Democrats a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court. Justice Ginsburg and Justice Breyer retire and are replaced. Before or after this, a state level assault weapon ban gets to the Supreme Court. There are lawsuits on these coming soon based on new laws in Maryland and California. The newly anti-gun Supreme Court issues a landmark decision defining gun ownership as a collective right and not an individual right (the position already preferred by the liberal justices and the ACLU). In reaction to this, Republican legislatures in the many pro-gun states call Article V Constitutional Conventions to correct this and any other of the outrages that the endemically corrupt Clinton Administration won't be able to help committing.

And that brings us up to the point of the original reddit post,
The Republicans are currently 3 state chambers from being able to call a constitutional convention, and 7 state chambers from being able to ratify the results of it.
and its reply,
That would quite literally start a civil war.
There are currently 23 states that have a Republican governor and has Republican control over both chambers of the state legislature. This is assuming that the downticket drag of Hillary doesn't cause any immediate losses in November. That's 23 state level National Guard organizations of which the governors are their commander-in-chief, raised from citizens of those states that have voted for Republicans for the governorship and both chambers of the legislature. Now, the President can call those National Guard units up for federal service. Would they listen?

The US Military is predominantly conservative. This TIME article from the 2012 election gives us some numbers:
But the U.S. military plainly tilts toward the GOP. That’s largely because today’s military is an all-volunteer force increasingly drawn from the Sunbelt, where the Pentagon has focused its recruiting efforts since the draft ended 40 years ago. And traits the military prizes — like aggressiveness and respect for authority — tend to be more pronounced in conservatives. 
The independent Military Times newspapers conducted an voluntary survey among its members that shows them supporting Romney over Obama by a greater than 2-to-1 margin. But the newspaper’s subscribers are older and more senior in rank than the military as a whole, and the fact that it’s a self-selected sample can further distort its findings. 
Indeed, there has been a conservative drift among U.S. military officers since the draft ended. In a 2009 survey of 4,000 Army officers, Heidi Urben, an active-duty officer and doctoral candidate at Georgetown University, found that between 1976 and 1996, the share of senior military officers identifying itself as Republican jumped from one-third to two-thirds, while those claiming to be moderates fell from 46% to 22%. 
Senior military officers who described themselves as liberal fell from 16% in 1976 to 3% in 1996. Urben found that younger officers leaving the Army were far more likely to identify themselves as Democrats than those opting to stay, which would tend to make the more senior ranks increasingly Republican. 
A Pew survey released last year showed post-9/11 veterans’ political leanings are the reverse of the public they’re serving: 36% describe themselves as Republicans, and 21% as Democrats; 34% of the public said they were Democrats, and 23% Republican. Six in 10 vets say they’re more patriotic than the average American.
The Constitutional Convention described above would be entirely legal and constitutional, being organized under Article V of the US Constitution. Every enlisted member of the military swears an oath and the Constitution figures into it very heavily.
I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).
The military is sworn under oath to support and defend the Constitution. If an order contravenes the Constitution, which is the law of the land, it is an unlawful order, and there is an extensive body of military legal history and tradition that instructs members of the military not to obey unlawful orders. Which means that if there was some sort of federal action (perhaps an executive overreach) by a Democrat President to stop a Republican-initiated Article V Convention or its outcome, then the already very conservative military would further be obligated by oath to stop the federal government.

While I'm on the military, you may remember seeing a popular liberal meme and associated blog posts going around a few years ago talking about how federal dollars flow from blue states into red states, and how those red states are mooching off of blue state money. Well, the reason for that is because the red states host the most military bases. There are 222 military installations in the United States. The 31 states controlled by Republican state legislatures are host to 139 or 63% of those. States with both chambers controlled by Democrats States host 58 military bases, for 26% of the total. States with split legislatures host the remaining 22 bases.

Police officers, especially sheriffs and deputies, tend to be overwhelmingly Republican. On top of that you have the added tension between police and the Democrats as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement. I thoroughly support BLM and I think the police in America are too ready to kill and aren't held accountable. The things they get away with lead to police going further until they do something really outrageous, like the Castille or the Walter Scott killings, and these things do incredible damage to the perception of police nationwide and their relationships with their communities. The relationship between police and Democrats isn't great, and things like this, which I do support, don't help with that. You also have a decade or more of surplus military equipment going to local police departments. The police are more militarized now than they have ever been. And they're more conservative and more friendly to the Republicans than they have ever been.

According to Pew Research, the demographics of private gun ownership are similarly skewed. Half of all Republicans own guns. I know alt-right family members with an arsenal numbering in the dozens. Less than a quarter of Democrats own guns. 41% of Conservatives own guns, and only 23% of Liberals own guns.

How often, when Republican gun owners talk about needing their guns to defend against tyranny, are they told by Democrats that their guns would be ineffective against the might of the US military? Who, exactly, do they think will be wielding that might?

If the state governments use Article 5 of the US Constitution to call a constitutional convention, then they are acting entirely legally. A civil war in opposition to that would be an illegal one. Not an immoral one, but an illegal one. Defending the Constitution comes before obeying the orders of the President, and additionally it's only required that lawful orders be obeyed. So you'd have a civil war, sure. And on one side, you'd have

  1. A majority of state governments.
  2. A majority of state National Guards.
  3. A majority of the federal military forces and military bases.
  4. A majority of the police forces.
  5. A majority of civilian gun owners and combat veterans.

On the other side you'd have

  1. A fraction of the state governments
  2. A fraction of the state National Guards
  3. A fraction of the federal military members and military bases.
  4. A fraction of the police forces
  5. A minority of civilian gun owners and a lot of people who think guns are icky and have panic attacks at the thought of seeing one in person.

If that fellow was correct that a constitutional convention "would quite literally start a civil war", who do you think would win it?

Of course, what's more likely to happen is that Congress will impeach a rogue president and remove them from office before things got to the point of Civil War, but that would still, and probably even more likely, result in a right-wing dominated Constitutional Convention.

Monday, July 25, 2016

For the Progressive Left to win, Clinton must lose

Apparently this needs a tldr, because 7 pages about the political future of the country is too long for an electorate raised on 30 second sound bites. So, here's the summary:

1. Clinton is demonstrably corrupt, as is the DNC machine that got her the nomination, and electing her rewards that corruption.

2. With a corrupt and unpopular incumbent, the Democrats lose downticket elections in 2018 and 2020, as well as allowing someone even worse than Trump to take over the Republicans and beat Clinton in 2020.

3. The president's party loses seats in the midterms more than 75% of the time.

4. Democrats have lost 900 state legislature seats since the reasonably popular Obama was elected, and it'd be much worse under Clinton.

5. Republicans need 38 state legislatures to be able to overrule the Supreme Court and change the Constitution and its amendments however they want.

6. Currently Republicans control both chambers of the state legislatures in 31 states, and one of two chambers in 8 more.

7. If Trump wins, it will be a disaster for Republicans for the same reasons that Clinton would be a disaster for Democrats.

8. Trump isn't nearly as bad as he's presented, and his worst excesses would be limited by the leadership in his own party.

9. For these reasons, it is imperative that Clinton loses in November, because the alternative is 12 years of Democrat losses. A Trump presidency would be bad but it wouldn't be that bad, but it would lead to 12 years of progressive wins.

10. Vote for whoever you want. Clinton, Trump, Stein, Johnson. Trump perversely actually does have the best and the most specific trade policy right now, Johnson is pro-TPP, and Clinton is lying about opposig it. I'll probably be undecided until I push the button on the Diebold machines only to have it get edited in post to a Clinton vote.

Recently emails were released that were hacked from DNC email servers showing something we all suspected, that the DNC was extensively colluding with Clinton and with the media to favor her campaign over that of Bernie Sanders.

This is in violation of DNC bylaws. Article 5, Section 4 of the charter and bylaws of the Democratic Party requires the DNC chair to remain impartial during the primary process, a rule that Schultz seems to have violated in these emails:
In the conduct and management of the affairs and procedures of the Democratic National Committee, particularly as they apply to the preparation and conduct of the Presidential nomination process, the Chairperson shall exercise impartiality and evenhandedness as between the Presidential candidates and campaigns. The Chairperson shall be responsible for ensuring that the national officers and staff of the Democratic National Committee maintain impartiality and evenhandedness during the Democratic Party Presidential nominating process.
“She finally did, but not before speaking with President Obama — and not without a fight, according to Democrats familiar with the negotiations.”
“I want to thank my longtime friend Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her leadership of the Democratic National Committee over the past five years. I am grateful to Debbie for getting the Democratic Party to this year’s historic convention in Philadelphia, and I know that this week’s events will be a success thanks to her hard work and leadership. There’s simply no one better at taking the fight to the Republicans than Debbie–which is why I am glad that she has agreed to serve as honorary chair of my campaign’s 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country, and will continue to serve as a surrogate for my campaign nationally, in Florida, and in other key states. I look forward to campaigning with Debbie in Florida and helping her in her re-election bid–because as President, I will need fighters like Debbie in Congress who are ready on day one to get to work for the American people.”
She was forced out for misconduct, for actively working against Clinton’s challenger, and she was immediately rewarded for that. It’s corruption as plain as day, as plain as the nose on my face. And to me at least, it is inexcusable.

How do we as voters, as regular people, force the Clinton campaign to see real world repercussions for this? How do we keep Clinton and DWS from getting away with it? We have only one option. 

Don’t vote for her.

If Clinton wins in November after all this, it will become the way politics are done. She presents herself as the status quo candidate, and this will be the new status quo. It will be impossible to get anyone in office again at the federal level, certainly as a Democrat, who is not in the pockets of the wealthy. Anyone who hasn’t benefited from years of patronage and dealmaking. It will be eternal corruption.

Donald Trump right now is the candidate of racists and idiots. And he may be one himself, or it may be an act. Certainly Tea Party conservatives and republicans are unquestionably the easiest people to manipulate as a politician. The only thing you have to do is say what they want to hear. There’s a very important point in the existence of Trump’s base that can’t be ignored, and yet it often is, and this is that point:

Trump’s supporters would be present in American politics with or without him.

These are people whose positions and beliefs and viewpoints have been shaped by their lives and by the economic circumstances they’re living in. If Trump loses, they’ll still be there, except they’ll feel even more desperate and pissed off and powerless. And in the highest office of the land we’ll have one of the most flagrantly corrupt politician in many people’s memories.

This will leave conditions right for a far right strongman politician, one who is actually everything Trump pretends to be, somebody who has the Republican establishment on his side and who has the alt-right racists and white supremacists on his side. He’ll promise to clean up DC’s corruption, and he’ll have an easy time getting into office on the backs of national exhaustion following 4 years of Clinton crony corruption.

That’s a hypothetical, admittedly. What is not hypothetical is that the party of the incumbent president tends to lose seats in midterm elections. In the 21 midterms since 1934, the incumbent party has lost Senate seats 76% of the time, and has lost House seats 86% of the time. This is also a trend that holds over into local and state elections. The Democrats have lost over 900 state legislator elections since Obama’s election:
“The bottom line: Republicans now control about 56 percent of the country’s 7,383 state legislative seats, up 12 percentage points since 2009.
Thirty-five states posted double-digit seat losses for the Democrats in state legislatures, including more than 50 seats each in Arkansas, New Hampshire and West Virginia.”
Why does this matter? Well, the Democrats have focused their energy on winning federal elections, and occasionally on Senate and House and Governor elections. Republicans have realized that they have a very hard time winning on the federal level, so for at least the last decade they’ve focused on the state legislatures.

If Clinton wins the presidency this year, that trend likely continues. The Democrats continue to lose Senate and House seats in the midterm, and the Republicans increase gains in the state legislatures. We’ve seen the drastic and tone deaf missteps that Clinton in her unbridled arrogance can’t stop making. That’s going to happen during a Clinton presidency too, and it will be a lead weight dragging on those downticket races.

There are two very important reasons why this could be disastrous. First, we’re coming up on the 2020 US Census. Whoever wins state legislature seats in 2018 and 2020 will be the ones deciding redistricting following the 2020 census. When Republicans got into office in 2010, they gerrymandered the House districts in their states and ensured that their midterm gains would be solidified and could be expanded upon. It’s why the Republicans held the House for the last three congresses and why the Democrats aren’t even talking about taking back the House, just *maybe* the Senate. Effectively, and what we’ve seen from recent political history, whoever wins the state legislatures will decide who holds the US House through the 2020s.

That’s the best case scenario.

The other reason ties into a growing progressive movement called the Wolf PAC.  They have a plan to overturn Citizen United and get big money out of politics by using state legislatures to call for an amendment proposing convention.
“According to Article V of our Constitution, Congress must call for an amendment-proposing convention, “on the application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States”, and therefore 34 state legislatures would have to submit applications.”
That number is a very significant one. 34 state legislatures would have to agree. If 34 state legislatures move for a Constitutional Convention, it happens, and it would take 38 states to ratify the results of that convention.

Right now the Wolf PAC is a long shot. It’s only passed in a handful of states. Its supporters will tell you that these sorts of political movements work slowly but grow rapidly. There’s a problem with that.

Right now the Republicans control both the state house and the state senate (or equivalents) in 31 states. In 8 more states they control one of the two chambers. This means that the Republicans are 3 state chambers away from being able to call their own constitutional convention, and only 7 state chambers away from being able to ratify it.

The US Constitution is effectively the operating system code for our country. If they can change it, they can change anything they want. Rewrite the 1st amendment to not apply to Muslims? Ban gay marriage? Ban abortion? Abolish the minimum wage? They could do all that. They could do anything they wanted.

And Republicans at the highest levels know this. It’s a long term goal of ALEC, an otherwise little known conservative group you may not have previously heard of:
Cruz, along with fellow Republican presidential aspirants Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Gov. John Kasich (Ohio), has endorsed an old conservative goal of a Constitutional amendment to mandate a balanced federal budget. The idea sounds fanciful, but free-market ideologues associated with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a secretive group of right-wing legislators and their corporate allies, are close to pulling off a coup that could devastate the economy, which is just emerging from a recession. Their scheme could leave Americans reeling for generations. A balanced budget amendment would prevent the federal government from following the Keynesian strategy of stimulating the economy during an economic depression by increasing the national debt. (Since 1970, the United States has had a balanced budget in only four years: 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.) 
Article V of the Constitution lays out two routes for changing the law of the land: An amendment can be proposed by Congress or by a constitutional convention that is convened by two-thirds of the states (34). Either way, three-fourths of the states (38) have to ratify it. Previously, changes to the country’s founding document have been achieved by the first process. But as of today, 28 states—six shy of the two-thirds threshold required by Article V—have passed resolutions calling for a constitutional convention to consider a balanced budget amendment. 
The ALEC-affiliated Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force (BBATF), which proffered the pledge signed by Cruz, is hoping to meet that 34-state threshold by July 4. BBATF is one player in an astroturf movement backed by the billionaire Koch brothers and embraced by right-wing state legislators.
Picture four miserable years of a Clinton presidency with Trump crowing from the sidelines the whole time. The Democratic Party and its voters demoralized from having to defend every terrible tone deaf arrogant corrupt move from the Clinton White House. Picture losses in 2018, and a loss in 2020 to somebody more charismatic than Trump but so much worse. Picture increased Republican control over the state legislatures, to 34 states and maybe even 38.

We’re told Hillary Clinton must be elected if for no other reason than for Supreme Court nominations. First off, we don’t know that her Supreme Court nominations will be anyone we want to see on the Supreme Court. Look at her record. Look at her priorities. Look at what she considers acceptable. And imagine her picking a Supreme Court Justice. But that’s beyond the point. Even if she picked perfect Justices, it won’t matter if there’s a constitutional convention. It won’t matter even a little bit.

The whole point of the predominantly left wing Wolf PAC is to overturn a Supreme Court decision using a constitutional amendment pushed through state legislatures. Republicans have the same goal, they are a lot closer to it, and they have a lot more Supreme Court decisions they want overturned. Additionally if Clinton gets a solid left majority on the Supreme Court, it will feel urgent and imperative to Republicans that they do exactly that. You’ll see a nationwide movement for it.

Where does that leave us? Yes, it’s common to share memes saying “If everybody who says they’d vote for a third party but third parties can’t win would actually vote for a third party then that party could win.” But let’s be honest. The United States federal system of government favors two parties and two parties only. Sometimes a party will break up and another will take its place. Nobody is currently alive from the last time that happened, when the Republican party was formed. Other times the goals and ideals of a party will shift over time, as happened with the Democrats and Republicans in the middle of the 20th century. Nothing has changed on that front since the Civil Rights Era, but it’s at least more likely. However, at this exact moment in time, barring force majeure like somebody dropping out of the race entirely, either Trump or Clinton will be elected in 2016.

What happens if Trump gets elected? Well, the racists will feel like they’ve won. And as we’ve seen with progressives after Obama got elected, people tend to think that winning the presidency is all they need to do and then they can sit back and take it easy, that they have accomplished their goals. Meanwhile Trump will be politically toxic for anyone in Republican governments to support. He’ll be a danger to any Republican Senator or Representative who works with him, especially anybody from a purple state. Republicans will love working with Democrats to block the worst of his insanities in Congress. Even if he tries to put utter loons up for the Supreme Court, they’ll be blocked by Congress.

This will lead to dissension in the ranks of the Republican Party, as the racist loons in the Republican Party see so much opposition from Congressional Republicans. From that you’ll get primary efforts in 2018 and 2020 to those Congressional Republicans, and Democrats have a good chance of picking up seats in those cases if a moderate Republican loses a primary. You may also get a primary challenge to Trump in 2020.

Meanwhile the incumbent President’s party, the Republicans, lose seats in 2018 and 2020. This helps the Democrats with redistricting after 2020, and a resurgent progressive wing will be able to put progressives in Congress through the 2020s. It also pumps the brakes on a Republican constitutional convention. And the Democrats will have a new person up in 2020, the result of a wide open primary without any “presumptive nominee”, somebody untainted by association with the toxic Clinton political brand that couldn’t even beat Trump. On top of this, you’ll have an electorate that is much more liberal, much more progressive, much more energized, and it will have spent the last 4 years outraged at Trump, instead of outraged at Clinton.

Will Trump kill terrorists and their families? Maybe. But Obama is doing that already. He's done a lot of that, and personally I'd welcome having the left opposing it again as they would under Trump, instead of excusing it as they are under Obama and would under Clinton. 

We’re conditioned in the US as voters to only focus on the current election. We’re conditioned to never think ahead, like a chess game, two more elections, three more elections, and so on. The electorate is like a bull, and the red cape of the other party is waved in front of us with the hope that we will charge, every time, only to have the cape be pulled away so we can be stabbed. Trump is a hell of a red cape, but he’s a cape nonetheless. And we know from leaked emails that the Clinton campaign and the DNC (is there a difference?) has been colluding with the media. Considering that, how bad do we actually know Trump is? Oh, he’s bad, sure, but is he the end of the world? Certainly the DNC wants us to think that, and the media coverage he receives makes him look that way, but we know the DNC works with the media to push false narratives. We have the proof in writing.

On top of that, if you read some of Trump’s more recent speeches, he’s not a *complete* moron. Take for example this speech on jobs and the economy from June. It’s said that Trump doesn’t offer specifics, but here he assuredly does:
Here are 7 steps I would pursue right away to bring back our jobs. 
One: I am going to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has not yet been ratified. 
Two: I'm going to appoint the toughest and smartest trade negotiators to fight on behalf of American workers. 
Three: I'm going to direct the Secretary of Commerce to identify every violation of trade agreements a foreign country is currently using to harm our workers. I will then direct all appropriate agencies to use every tool under American and international law to end these abuses. 
Four: I'm going tell our NAFTA partners that I intend to immediately renegotiate the terms of that agreement to get a better deal for our workers. And I don't mean just a little bit better, I mean a lot better. If they do not agree to a renegotiation, then I will submit notice under Article 2205 of the NAFTA agreement that America intends to withdraw from the deal. 
Five: I am going to instruct my Treasury Secretary to label China a currency manipulator. Any country that devalues their currency in order to take advantage of the United States will be met with sharply. 
Six: I am going to instruct the U.S. Trade Representative to bring trade cases against China, both in this country and at the WTO. China's unfair subsidy behavior is prohibited by the terms of its entrance to the WTO, and I intend to enforce those rules. 
Seven: If China does not stop its illegal activities, including its theft of American trade secrets, I will use every lawful presidential power to remedy trade disputes, including the application of tariffs consistent with Section 201 and 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 and Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. 
President Reagan deployed similar trade measures when motorcycle and semiconductor imports threatened U.S. industry. His tariff on Japanese motorcycles was 45% and his tariff to shield America’s semiconductor industry was 100%.
He knows the specific sections of these trade deals that can be used to correct the wrongs. Those things would not be terrible to have happen. What’s more is they’re going to resonate in the Rust Belt, in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and so on. Tim Kaine, in addition to being a poke in the eye to progressives, was a desperate attempt to get blue collar white voters back for the Democrats. But Tim Kaine supports trade deals. A credible job and trade plan could easily put Trump over in the swing states he needs to win.

Am I likely to vote for Trump? Probably not. But I don’t know who I’d vote for; I have serious problems even with Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. The Green Party supports homeopathy, and Gary Johnson recently came out in favor of the TPP.

I definitely think I’ve shown that Trump winning wouldn’t be the country ending disaster we’ve been told it would be, and that many of us believe it would be. And indeed, Clinton winning could be worse in many ways. Vote for whoever you want to vote for, but do not feel pressured into voting for Clinton as though the world will end if she doesn’t win. Because there’s a very real chance our country as we know it could end if she does.