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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Advice For Candidates, Supporters And Successors

What? A post not about my cancer or featuring disco music? WHAAAAA...? It's true, though. I start with a quote:

You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you might find
You get what you need
(The Rolling Stones)
With Pennsylvania and four other states having held their primaries yesterday, Republican Donald Trump and, especially, Democrat Hillary Clinton are both closer than ever to clinching their party's nominations. FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver says that Trump's sweep of all five states makes it likely that if Indiana wants Trump (whether he can go back there or not) the Cruz-Kasich tag-team, formed much, much too late, will be probably be unable to stop Trump from preventing the contested GOP convention they so desperately need.

FiveThirtyEight also says that, barring a miracle, Clinton (winning 4 of 5, including the big prize of PA) will have more total elected delegates than Bernie Sanders, and adding in the superdelegates (more on them in a bit) makes her pretty much the a certainty to win the nomination in Philadelphia in July. (Side note: if health permits I plan to volunteer at the convention here in some capacity.)

So with that, and the comments I'm reading from supporters of both Bernie and Hillary ranging from angry to smug, bitter to ecstatic, desperate for a miracle to anxious to fast-forward to the fall, and too much it nasty, I've decided to spend a few minutes dispensing some advice -- I'm a little more focused on Sanders, any progressive candidates who may come in his wake, and his supporters, many of whom are younger and idealistic -- certainly much younger than myself and somewhat more idealistic. :o . But I'm nothing if not an equal-opportunity advice giver.


Go fuck yourselves. Hard. All of you. America doesn't need to be made great again. It's already pretty dammed great and getting better, no thanks to any of you, you bunch of racist, misogynistic homophobes and religious zealots.


I still maintain that there's no such thing, but giving them the benefit of the doubt, here goes: Leave the GOP. Now. En masse. Join the Democrats if you can. If you can't bring yourselves to do that, join another party, form your own party, or become independents. But LEAVE THE GOP NOW. Face the facts: they left YOU a long time ago. If you're truly not one of the aforementioned bunch of racist, misogynistic homophobes and religious zealots, you don't belong in their party any longer. By staying Republicans, you give them numbers, a support structure. You're enabling them to spread their hate. You're nothing but cowards.


Hillary. Gurrrl. I feel you know a lot of this because you're smart. First, reach out to the Sanders boosters, especially the younger ones. To see the passion in them, for their causes, makes me feel better than I have a while for the future. There are a lot of good ideas out there. Some may require skillful handling to get them enacted, some others need tweaking, but you can do that. Don't dismiss anything out of hand. Give the Bernie fans a fair and respectful hearing. Convince them you DO have their interests at heart, and that you're "not the same as Trump."  Because, dammit, YOUR'E NOT THE SAME AS TRUMP!  Don't let the right distort your record to give people thoughts such as this. And don't be afraid call the right-wing extremists the liars that they are.

In conclusion, Hill, I say to you in my best RuPaul voice from Drag Race: Good luck...and DON'T fuck it up!

And to the Hillary supporters: I think a lot of you, generally skewing (but not exclusively) older, are too arrogant and smug, in your support for Hillary and your disdain for Bernie and especially his younger supporters. You should debate topics, certainly, but not just put down Sanders and his fans, even those who say things like "Hillary's the same as Trump." I repeat: HILLARY CLINTON IS NOT THE SAME AS DONALD TRUMP. You know that. I know that. I think even they know it. They're lashing out in anger. You need to debate issues, but with facts. Not just spin, and not with insults and condescension. You are alienating these people when you need them -- not just to win the White House but to mount a serious effort to take back the House and Senate. Because we all know getting anything substantial through a GOP-controlled Congress will be extremely difficult for any Democrat.


BERNIE! YO! (fist bump) I voted for you! Maybe not for the reasons you'd expect, but still...so anyhoo, I voted for Hillary in the 2008 PA primary, and she went to lose the nomination. This year I voted for you...and you're going on to lose the nomination. (Hmmm...maybe future candidates should pay me NOT to vote for them?) You now need to face that and achieve what you can. I'm not saying you should drop out now. But your focus needs to be on: 1) continuing to push for your agenda items, especially in the Democratic platform; 2) in doing so, avoid severe attacks on Hillary, because that just gives more ammunition to the right-wing, as well as those who like to say things like "Hillary's the same as Trump." Because as I've said before: HILLARY CLINTON IS NOT THE SAME AS DONALD TRUMP. It seems that you may be heeding this advice already. Good!

Just a little more advice for you -- or anyone who follows in your footsteps, whether running for President or other offices: build coalitions of like-minded candidates at all levels. We had a guy running for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate here in PA. Maybe you've heard of him? John Fetterman. Very atypical politician. Little money to spend, no party support, and endorsed you for President. You...did nothing in response. Why?

Imaging if you joined with Fetterman and you both worked together, each building on the other's strengths, providing each with support, financial or otherwise. In essentially a three-person race (one candidate was taken off the ballot and reinstated by court order just before the election, and he was pretty much ignored). Fetterman, by himself, managed to get damned near 20 percent of the vote in the primary! Imagine if you worked together. Imagine if you did that nationwide! Surely you could have helped get some of your candidates to win. Your coalition could have a stronger influence on party policies...such as superdelegates. Or if not, you have the basis for the beginning of a new party. Imagine if your coalition combined with those "moderate" Republicans I talked about earlier. If you all were serious about working for the good of all, realized neither side would get what they want all the time, and you broke the logjam in Washington. This could be not just a viable third party, but one capable of taking the place of one of the big two. Imagine it!

BTW, your supporters are angry and upset you lost in PA, and really up in arms about this superdelegate issue. I don't particularly blame them. I'm not saying this system is fair or just. However, superdelegates have been part of the Democrats' nominating process since 1984, so any serious candidate should know/have known by now to have a plan to fight for as many as them as possible. So my closing plea to you, Mr. Sanders, as you go onto the convention and beyond, keep engaging your supporters. You did a great job in inspiring them and energizing them. Now you need to refocus them to the number one goal from now through November: keeping the Republicans OUT of the White House.

And, finally (deep breath) thank you for waiting your turn so patiently, Bernie fans. First, let me get this out of the way...

Hillary Clinton is not the same as Donald Trump.

I feel that needs to be said as often as necessary until it really sinks in.

Though not exclusively so, Sanders's support skews (say that three times fast) younger. And that is awesome. So much of the good things that are happening (especially in Philly) are due to the young. The milliennials. And that is awesome. Seriously, you are giving me LIFE right now, and with my battle continuing against the cancerous tumor in my brain continuing, I can really use that energy.

But that's not going to happen if you have an extended sulk because Bernie Sanders lost in PA and is about to lose the national delegate race, to the point where you don't vote at all in November, or write in a name, or -- God forbid -- vote for an actual Republican instead of the one some think Hillary is.

You have to realize that while Hillary is not perfect, and nor was her husband, much of what he did/she wants to accomplish, is being viciously fought by the Republican party. They despise the Clintons only slightly less than they despise President Barack Obama (because racism, duh). They wasted valuable time and money on a fruitless impeachment, and they're now wasting valuable time and money on a fruitless email "scandal."

Think of all the things you want to see happen in the near future. Do you want full equality for the LGBT community in everything, and not just marriage rights? Housing? Employment? The right to use a public restroom that corresponds to your gender identity? An increase in the minimum wage? How about the right for a woman to make her own health choices without government and/or church interference? Or more public accountability for incidents of police brutality? Or an end to gerrymandering to protect the party in charge by creating legislative district borders convoluted beyond reason but which contain larger numbers of the "correct" party (i.e. the one in control)? The list can go on for a while...


As you get older you'll realize, as I have, that no one candidate is perfect, and none of them can accomplish anything by themselves. Which is the other reason voting in November: to take the Senate, and maybe the House, out of GOP hands. This will reduce the chances of completed obstructionism, as we see so much now.

It is said that politics is the art of the possible. You've proven this. You propelled the Bernie campaign farther than the vast majority of pundits thought was possible. You now have the opportunity to prove it again, by crushing the dreams of the Republican racist, misogynistic homophobes and religious zealots.

I close...with another quote:

The world only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has come. Bye now. You are fabulous creatures, each and every one. And I bless you: More Life. The Great Work Begins. 
(the final lines of "Angels in America: Part Two: Perestroika)

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