Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Texas Voter Registration Certificates For 2018


by Michael Handley

Pursuant to Texas state election law, new Voter Registration Certificates are mailed to all "Active Status" registered voters in December of odd numbered years. “Suspense Status” voters do not receive a new certificate.

New yellow color certificates were printed by the election registrar office of each Texas county and mailed between November 15th and December 5th. Voters whose renewal certificates are returned to the registrar as undelivered will be placed in "suspense" by January 2, 2018, following the mailing.

The certificates are valid for two years beginning January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2019.

Certificates must list jurisdictional numbers for seven designated territorial units: Congressional & State Legislative Districts, County Commissioners’, Justice of the Peace precincts and the City and School District precincts, if defined. In addition to the aforementioned, counties may include 3 additional districts for a total of ten jurisdiction.

You MUST be registered to vote in the county in which you currently reside, and have a currently dated government issued photo I.D., to vote in any Texas election. You must be registered, or have mailed your registration application to be postmarked, no later than midnight of the thirtieth day before the election date. And, as of the date of this article, you are still required to present photo I.D. at the polling place to vote in person. The last day to register to vote in any election is the 30th day before Election Day.

Every registered Texas voter should have received their new 2018-19 yellow Voter Registration Card (VRC) by the first part of January 2018, or within thirty days after you submitted your registration application. If you asked to register to vote while updating your driver's license with the Texas DPS, and you never received a VRC, your registration application may not have been processed.
If you have not received a new VRC, you may NOT be properly registered to vote. You should immediately check your registration status and take action to properly register, if you find you are not registered to vote in the county where you reside.

To check your Collin Co. registration status - click here. To check your registration status in another Texas county - click here. If you find you are not registered to vote, you can find the Voter's Registration application for Collin Co. by clicking here or any county by clicking here. For specific information about voting in Texas, click here to find the Secretary of State’s pamphlet on Texas Voting.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Al Franken: The Obvious Setup and Liberals Took the Bait

Last Thursday, Los Angeles conservative radio host and Fox News Sean Hannity guest regular Leeann Tweeden charged that Franken forced her to kiss him, mistreated her when she rebuffed him, and took a photo with his hands grabbing her breasts when she was asleep—all when they were both touring Iraq and Afghanistan with the USO, entertaining American military personnel, back in 2006.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Will Tax Repatriated Earnings Boost American Economy?

Brookings Institution: As the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans attempt to overhaul the U.S. tax code, one focal point will be how to “repatriate” the $2.6 trillion of overseas profits accumulated by U.S. corporations. Given how we talk about these earnings, you could be forgiven for thinking U.S. companies have stashed their cash inside a mattress in France. They haven’t. Most of it is already invested right here in the U.S.

To clear up a common misconception, ”repatriation” is not a geographic concept, but refers to a set of rules defining when corporations have to pay taxes on their earnings. For instance, paying dividends to shareholders triggers a tax bill, but simply bringing the cash to the U.S. does not. Indeed, nearly all of the $2.6 trillion is already invested in the U.S.

Proponents of the Republicans’ Big 6 Framework are fond of arguing that “bringing earnings home” will increase funds available for domestic investment and growth. That’s not only illogical—it’s disingenuous. Here’s why:


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Disinformation “News” List

The following is a list of False, Misleading, Disinformation, or Biased sources compiled by Melissa Zimdars, assistant professor of communication at Merrimack College.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Democrats Offer America A Better Deal

"When you lose an election with someone who has, say, 40 percent popularity, you look in the mirror and say what did we do wrong?" Schumer said, speaking on ABC's This Week Sunday. "And the No. 1 thing that we did wrong is ... we didn't tell people what we stood for."

The simple truth is, Democrats haven't talked much about the fact that America is no longer working the way it should for "We the People" Americans. Democrats haven't been talking about incomes and wages not keeping up with the cost of living.  Democrats haven't been talking about wage stagnation, underemployment, the exploding cost of a college education and the erosion of pensions are leaving many without hope. From rural towns to inner cities, Democrats haven't been talking about the millions who can no longer achieve the American dream. Meanwhile, the American people have watched as Washington special interests, millionaires and billionaires at home and foreign, and powerful multinational corporations acquire more and more wealth and power to dominate America's citizens and democratic institutions from local school boards to the federal government.
"In the last two elections, Democrats, including in the Senate, failed to articulate a strong, bold economic program for the middle class and those working hard to get there," wrote Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a New York Times op-ed. "We also failed to communicate our values to show that we were on the side of working people, not the special interests. We will not repeat the same mistake. This is the start of a new vision for the party."
On Monday, House and Senate Democrats unveiled their A Better Deal legislative agenda that will again make America work for "We the People."

The "Better Deal" campaign strategy is modeled after the GOP's 1994 "Contract With America" legislative agenda campaign that resulted in Republicans gaining 54 House and 9 U.S. Senate seats.

The "Better Deal” message also plays off the title of President Trump’s first and best-known book, “The Art of the Deal.” It is true that Trump has so far shown himself to be one of the worst dealmakers ever to reside in the White House, unable even to get his own party to agree on something it has been promising for seven years, the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. It is also true that Trump has reneged on all of his populist promises, instead following the standard GOP game plan of tax cuts for the rich and entitlement cuts for everyone else.
But if there is one lesson Democrats should have learned from 2016, it is that opposition to Trump is not by itself enough to win elections. If Democrats use the "Better Deal" simply as a stick with which they beat Trump's in ability to close any legislative deal, they could lose more Congressional and state house seats the 2018 midterms.
The Monday morning Better Deal rollout focused on three broad parts of the “A Better Deal” legislative agenda: creating new jobs; lowering prescription drug costs; and restraining the power of corporations:
1) Pharmaceutical companies can without restraint  raise the price of lifesaving drugs without justification. Democrats demand rules to stop prescription drug price gouging and further demand drug companies justify price increases to the public. Democrats will also pass legislation to allow and mandate that Medicare negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower drug prices for older Americans.

2) Current antitrust laws are designed to allow huge corporations to merge, padding the pockets of investors while sending costs skyrocketing for everything from cable bills and airline tickets to food and health care. Democrats will pass legislation to again level the competitive free market playing field by breaking up corporations that have bought up all their competitors to create single seller market monopolies, and by reinstating FTC and SEC regulations to make sure big multinational corporations can not - through acquisition of all competitors - become a market's single seller of goods and services.

3) There are millions of unemployed and  underemployed Americans, particularly those without a college degree.  Democrats will pass legislation to foster secure full-time, living wage jobs. Democrats will pass legislation to give employers, particularly small businesses, a large tax credit to train American workers for unfilled jobs. This will have particular resonance in smaller cities and rural areas, which have experienced an exodus of young people who aren’t trained for the jobs in those areas.
In the coming months, Democrats will roll out additional legislative agenda proposals, from rebuilding rural America, to guaranteed healthcare availability, to fundamentally changing our trade laws to benefit American workers, not multinational corporations.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Mike Collier Officially Announces For Texas Lt. Gov.


Incumbent Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is getting a Democratic challenger when he seeks re-election in 2018. Mike Collier officially announced he is running for the state office at a campaign stop in Round Rock, Texas.

A crowd of supporters gathered at the Sharon Prete Main Street Plaza in Round Rock on Saturday, June 17, 2017, to hear Collier announce he will challenge Patrick in 2018. He told the crowd they need a lieutenant governor that will bring Texas together, not apart.

Many in Texas Politics consider the lieutenant governor to be the most powerful person in state government because the person holding that office sets the legislative agenda for the state senate. Nothing passes the Texas Senate without the lieutenant governor’s approval.

Collier has criticized Patrick for not prioritizing legislation to fix Texas' public school funding, which places heavy property tax burdens on Texas home owners.
"We're very different in terms of public education," Collier said Saturday. "I'm pro-public education. I'm pro-teacher and retired teacher and he's not. We have very different points of view in terms of tax policy. I attribute high property taxes to republican fiscal policies. I'll show that on the campaign trail."
Collier announced in March of this year he was preparing to run for Texas Lt. Gov. in 2018. At the time, Collier said he planned to travel around the state and listen to voters to gauge support for his campaign before making a final decision to run for the office. "I will make an official announcement to run when I am confident I can run a winning campaign," Collier said in March.

In an email sent to supporters in March, Collier said, "Our Lt. Governor simply isn’t living up to our expectations," Collier said in the letter. "Texans want someone to fix our broken politics. It starts with sending Dan Patrick back to the radio entertainment business and putting someone serious in charge of the Senate." Collier wrote:
I love Texas and I’m proud to be a Texan. We're no nonsense, we love our families, and we have a generous spirit.

We expect our leaders to reflect these values, and when they don't, it's time to make a change.

Our Lt. Governor simply isn’t living up to our expectations. Instead of solving problems, bringing Texans together, and showing genuine compassion, he’s playing political games and pitting Texan against Texan.

Like you, I’ve had it.

That’s why today, I’m assembling a campaign team to run against Dan Patrick for Texas Lt. Governor. I'll be traveling the state, listening to Texans, raising money, building grassroots support, and when I am confident that I can run a winning campaign, I'll make a formal announcement.

We need a Lt. Governor that brings Texans together, not an ideologue that chases headlines and drives us apart.

Over the last few years, I’ve traveled all over Texas, talking to Texans who love our state and are worried about our future. Texans want someone to fix our broken politics. It starts with sending Dan Patrick back to the radio entertainment business and putting someone serious in charge of the Senate.
Collier ran an unsuccessful campaign for Texas Comptroller in 2014, losing to Republican Glenn Hegar in the lowest turnout election since 1942, during WWII.

Mike Collier, served the Texas Democratic Party as its finance chairman, from early 2015 to March 2017. He resign that post in March to focus on his campaign for lieutenant governor.
“Over the past year, Mike Collier has dedicated his time and talent to help build the permanent party infrastructure necessary to win,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, the state Democratic Party’s chairman. “In no small part due to his efforts, Texas Democrats had the resources and vision to earn the best election cycle in two decades.”

Mike Collier Speaking At 
A 2016 Collin County Town Hall
Should Collier, a Houston-area resident, win the Democratic nominating primary in March 2018, he will challenge Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who was elected to his first term in 2014. Patrick said early this year he would run for re-election in 2018. While the GOP holds a clear advantage in statewide elections, Patrick has become a key lightening rod for Democrats as they focus on the 2018 midterms.

Collier says his number one legislative priority as Lt. Gov. will be strengthening Texas' public K-12 schools and universities. His number two priority, which is related to his goal of strengthening Texas' public schools, will be the state's tax policies. Collier says the tax scales in Texas have been tipped to place the mounting burden to fund Texas' public schools on Texas homeowners, as Republicans have increasingly eliminated business taxes paid by corporations doing business Texas. Collier says corporations, who depend on a well educated workforce, should pay their fair share of educating their future work force.

Collier's number three priority is corruption. He believes the one-party system in Texas, where Republicans have controlled the state's financial decisions through one party control of the state legislative, executive and judicial branches of government since George Bush was governor, has left the state's public education and transportation systems in decline.

Mike Collier joined BlogTalkUSA's Eyes Wide Open DemBlog Talk talk radio program co-hosts Michael Handley and Rheana Rheana Nevitt Piegols on several occasions over the past two years. Listen to these programs to get to know the new candidate running for Texas Lt. Gov.




Mike Collier joined BlogTalkUSA's Eyes Wide Open DemBlogTalk co-hosts Michael Handley and Rheana Nevitt Piegols on May 30, 2017 to talk about how his campaign for Texas Lt. Gov. is shaping up.

Program Link

Mike Collier joined co-hosts Michael Handley and Rheana Nevitt Piegols on April 11, 2017 to talk about his just released book, in which Mike relates stories about his experiences running for statewide office in 2014, and traveling the state since talking to Texans.

Program Link
Find Mike Collier's book, "Out of Comptrol: A Converted Democrat's Improbable Quest to Save Texas Politics," at the following links:
Mike Collier joined co-hosts Michael Handley and Rheana Nevitt Piegols on March 7, 2017 to discuss his decision to run for Texas Lt. Gov.

Program Link

Mike Collier joined co-hosts Michael Handley and Rheana Nevitt Piegols to talk about Texas' state budget and economy on Tuesday, December 8, 2015.

Program Link

After the 2014 election, Mike Collier embarked on a 2015 Texas "listen tour" talking Democrats across Texas for Texas Democratic Party Chair, Gilberto Hinojosa. Mike joined co-hosts Michael Handley and Rheana Nevitt Piegols on a September 2015 program to share what he learned on his listening tour.

Program Link



Mike Collier Speaking At A 2014 Campaign Stop,  When He Was 
Running For Texas Comptroller

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sen. Bernie Sanders Responds To Pres. Trump

Senator Bernie Sanders recorded a 14-minute long video response to President Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night.
“Tonight, President Trump once again made it clear he plans on working with Republicans in Congress who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, throw 20 million Americans off of health insurance, privatize Medicare, make massive cuts in Medicaid, raise the cost of prescription drugs to seniors, eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, while at the same time, he wants to give another massive tax break to the wealthiest Americans,” Sanders said. ...“Let me be very clear in stating that I think those priorities are wrong.”
He also brought up the numerous contentious town halls that took place across the country recently.
“As a result, the Republicans are getting very, very worried,” he said. “They’re not so cocky anymore about simply repealing Obamacare. And they should be worried.”
Sanders also called upon Americans affected by the health care act to “keep showing up, keep calling Congress and continue the fight. The Republicans are now on the defensive, and we have to continue to push them back.”


Senator Bernie Sanders

Watch former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear deliver the "official" response to President Trump's first address to a joint session of Congress for the Democratic Party.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Democrats: Talk To Older Voters About GOP Plan To Repeal Medicare Benefits

The Affordable Care Act (ACA)  not only provides affordable access to health insurance for working-age Americans and their families, it also provides older Americans covered by Medicare and Medicaid a list of additional covered benefits. The ACA, a.k.a.Obamacare, improved Medicare coverage, boosted taxes and reduced program spending. Older Americans on Medicaid also would face a significant loss of benefits, because any effort to repeal Obamacare would affect the law’s major expansion of Medicaid, including how Washington pays states for administering the program.

For starters, the ACA greatly expanded the roster of tests and procedures that Medicare enrollees can get with little if any cost to make sure enrollees are healthy and to help them stay that way. Medicare’s list of so-called wellness provisions includes many items added by the ACA:
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
  • Alcohol misuse screening and counseling
  • Bone mass measurements
  • Breast cancer screening (mammograms)
  • Cardiovascular disease (behavioral therapy)
  • Cardiovascular disease screening
  • Cervical and vaginal cancer screening
  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Depression screening
  • Diabetes screening and self-management training
  • Glaucoma tests
  • Hepatitis C screening test
  • HIV screening
  • Lung cancer screening
  • Medical nutrition therapy
  • Obesity screening and counseling
  • Prostate cancer screening
  • Sexually transmitted infections screening and counseling
  • Shots (flu, pneumococcal, and Hepatitis B)
  • Tobacco use cessation counseling
  • “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit
  • Yearly “Wellness” visit
Good health does cost money, of course, but so does having to treat people who have not been taking care of themselves. Perhaps all of these measures would survive the repeal process. However, considering that some of these benefits might disappear, Medicare enrollees ought to work with their doctors right now to make sure they’re taking full advantage of these wellness benefits.

Another main Obamacare feature has been its reduction in out-of-pocket spending in Part D Medicare prescription drug plans. This has been accomplished through the elimination of the so-called “donut hole” by 2020. Medicare says enrollees have saved more than $2,000 per person, on average, because of this single change.

It’s quite possible, of course, that the donut hole will be totally gone by the time the “replace” components of “repeal and replace” actually have taken effect. Given the shouts from both parties about high drug prices, it seems unlikely that Republicans would have much appetite for being tagged with efforts to make people spend more money on prescription medicines.

Obamacare’s other big Medicare impact came via financial improvements it put in place to help the program. It raised a bunch of taxes, including requiring high-income wage earners to pay higher Medicare payroll taxes and stiff premium surcharges for Medicare Part B and D premiums. Health providers and Medicare Advantage insurance plans were also willing to accept lower payment levels from Medicare in exchange for the law’s provisions that would expand their access to more insurance customers.

Before the passage of the ACA, the Medicare trust fund that pays claims for Part A hospital and nursing home expenses had been projected to run short of funds by 2017. The ACA has pushed that date out more than 10 years.

Republicans reportedly want to do away with many of these taxes. Unless other funding streams are created to replace them, the longer-term finances of the program would be at greater risk. Ironically, these actions would “force” Republicans to cut health care spending to curb runaway deficits.

As actual GOP plans come into sharper focus, sharp Medicare battle lines will form for politicians and the public alike.  Expect the proposals to come coated in friendly sounding packages that tout health care improvements. But it will be crucial to look inside the packages to get an understanding of whether the Medicare program that would emerge from their enactment is one you want to have.

READ MORE: How plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act could affect Medicare

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Race For DNC Chair Tightens

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley announced Saturday he has decided to withdraw his bid to be the Democratic Party's next national chairman and back Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison to lead the party.
"While it was a tremendous honor to run for DNC Chair over the past few months, I am proud to throw my support behind Keith so we can ensure that the next Chair of the DNC is dedicated to investing in and strengthening state parties and ensuring that the DNC is an accountable organization," New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said in a statement today. "As I've talked to the DNC membership, it's clear Keith has widespread support, and I know as our next DNC Chair Keith will successfully unite and grow our party."

Ellison said he is "proud" to have Buckley's support. He added that he asked Buckley to "lead our effort to provide the support and resources the state parties need in a new and innovative 57 state strategy." (There are 50 state parties and seven in the territories and the District of Columbia.)
Ellison has the backing of many Democratic Party leaders, including U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (MA), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Al Franken (MN),  and numerous other party leaders including members of Congress and state Democratic Party leaders.

CNN announced Friday it will host a debate next week for the candidates running for chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The event in Atlanta is being called "Debate Night: Democratic Leadership Debate" and is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET, just days before Democratic officials vote on a new chairman at the DNC's meeting in the same city Feb. 23-26.
"CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash and New Day anchor Chris Cuomo will moderate the primetime event live from the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia just days before the Democratic Party chooses a new national leader," the network said in a press release. "The candidates will debate their visions and strategies for the 2018 midterm elections, how to rebuild the Democratic Party and the role of the DNC under the Trump administration."
Since mid-January, the DNC chair candidates have participated in four "DNC Future Forums," the last of which was last weekend, as well as several additional forums host by various activist groups.

More:

Monday, February 13, 2017

DNC Chair Candidate Forum In Baltimore

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) held it's fourth and final regional day long 'Future Forum' in Baltimore last Saturday, in advance of its February 23rd-26th meeting to elect new party leadership. As with the first three forums, DNC Chair candidates, DNC members, guest speakers, and other Democrats discussed how the party goes forward after losing to Republicans, over the last 8 years, more than 1,000 state and federal level legislative and executive branch seats held by Democrats.  

Ten candidates for DNC chair lined up on stage for 90 minutes to discuss their views on how the party goes forward:
  • Sally Boynton Brown, Executive Director of the Idaho Democratic Party
  • Ray Buckley, Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party
  • Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana
  • Keith Ellison, U.S. House of Representatives, Minnesota 5th District
  • Jehmu Greene of Texas, Democratic strategist, Fox News political analyst, and former Rock The Vote president
  • Jaime Harrison, Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party
  • Tom Perez, 26th United States Secretary of Labor
  • Peter Peckarsky, a Wisconsin attorney and Democratic progressive activist
  • Sam Ronan of Ohio, activist and Air Force veteran
  • Robert Vinson Brannum, Veterans Committee chair of the NAACP’s Washington D.C. branch
When they meet on February 23–26, 2017, the 447 members of the Democratic National Committee will elect a new Chairperson and other party officers.
The DNC chairperson candidates offered opinions during their 90 minute discussion forum on why over 1,000 of the party's incumbent office holders lost elections to Republicans during the 2010 - 2016 election years.

GOP Bill To Repeal ACA - Obamacare

Republicans in the House (Tea Party) Freedom Caucus voted among themselves Monday night to band together and support only a 2017 Affordable Care Act (ACA) "Obamacare" repeal bill that is at least as comprehensive as the repeal bill passed by the Republican controlled House and Senate in 2015.
“If it’s less than the 2015 [bill], we will oppose it,” Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) told a small group of reporters Monday night.
By insisting the 2015 repeal bill effectively be copied as the initial 2017 repeal bill, the GOP again confirmed the party's hard line intent to repeal affordable healthcare for millions of Americans.

The 2015 ACA repeal bill was passed by the Republican controlled House and Senate in late 2015, but was not signed by President Barack Obama when it reached his desk in January 2016.

The 2015 repeal bill rolled back Medicaid expansion funding to pre-2010 levels and ended the mandate for businesses over a certain size to offer group health insurance to employees along with the subsidies that helped pay for the mandated insurance, plus more...

Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Repeal Bill of 2015 (December 7, 2015 @ healthaffairs.org).


Arctic Sea Ice Volume Collapsing

Polar weather has been far warmer this winter than any winter on record, shocking scientists who are watching sea ice volume decline to record lows for the date. Winds have driven large amounts of the oldest ice out of the Arctic while the weather has been far too warm for months for the ice to thicken like it normally does by February. And now the north pole is fifty degrees F above normal. Again.

Read the full story at Daily Kos:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

8 In 10 Americans Support Social Security

AARP: Fifty-five million working Americans do not have a way to save for retirement out of their regular paycheck. With many American workers anxious about their financial security, there is strong support among conservatives and private sector workers for policies that would make it easier for workers to save for retirement, according to a new AARP survey.

The nationally representative survey of private sector workers ages 18-64 shows that 8 in 10 (80%) support state-facilitated plans designed to help employees save their money for retirement. There is also broad agreement among American workers of all races, ethnicities, and political ideologies that elected officials should help small businesses offer their employees an easy way to save for retirement.

Other key findings from the survey include:
  • Three in four (74%) private sector workers feel very or somewhat anxious about having enough money to live comfortably through their retirement years. Just a quarter say they are not anxious. Anxiety is high among all racial groups, with large majorities of Latinos (77%), whites (74%), African Americans (73%), and Asian Americans (70%) all saying they are anxious they will not be able to financially support a comfortable retirement.
  • Eighty-three percent (83%) agree elected officials should do more to make it easier for workers to save for retirement.
  • Eighty-one percent (81%) of political conservatives agree that elected officials should do more to make it easier for workers to save for retirement, as do eighty-six percent (86%) of moderates, and eighty-nine percent (89%) of liberals.
  • Eighty-four percent (84%) of private sector workers age 18-64 say elected officials should make it easier for small businesses to offer their employees a way to save for retirement.
  • Seventy-six percent (76%) or three in four political conservatives agree that elected officials should make it easier for small businesses to offer retirement plans to their employees, as do about four in five moderates (85%), and liberals (90%).
This survey was conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago with funding from AARP. Data were collected using AmeriSpeak®, NORC’s probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population including the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and a supplemental address-based sample from TargetSmart. Interviews for this survey about retirement security were conducted online and via phone between November 1, 2016, and January 16, 2017, with 3,920 adults ages 18-64 employed in private sector industries. Interviews were conducted in English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Republicans Looking For Obamacare Replacement Should Work With Democrats


NY Magazine: "The Republican Party, faced with the catastrophic real-world consequences of repealing the Affordable Care Act, is divided over how to proceed. Some nervous Republicans want to figure out what they want to put in place of Obamacare.

Senator Mike Lee insists that Republicans repeal Obamacare first, before they decide on an alternative. And his reason is straightforward: If people saw the Republican alternative, they might not like it! “There is a lot less agreement about what comes next,” he tells Julie Rovner. “If we load down the repeal bill with what comes next, it’s harder to get both of them passed.”

A Republican ad promises, “Health insurance that provides more choices and better care at lower costs, provides peace of mind to people with preexisting conditions … House Republicans have a plan to get there, without disrupting existing coverage.”

But when people find out what Republicans plan to put in place of Obamacare they will see the Republican "Repeal and Replace" ads were less than empty promises. It's time for Democrats to promise their "replacement" for Obamacare - Medicaid for All.


Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) has introduced his bill, The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act," in every Congress since 2003. It is co-sponsored by more than 50 Members of Congress and support continues to grow. If Republicans want to repeal and replace Obamacare, tell them to replace it with Medicare for All.

Rep John Conyers: "Half a century ago, addressing the convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights, Martin Luther King Jr. declared, "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."
"I strongly agree with Dr. King, which is why I have been a firm supporter of President Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA has resulted in 17.6 million uninsured people gaining health coverage as the law’s coverage, and minorities have seen the largest increase in insurance coverage: About four million Latino adults gained coverage, an 11.5% drop in the uninsured rate, while nearly three million African-Americans gained insurance, a 10.3% reduction. Another seven million white adults became insured, representing a 6% drop.

But there is still much more to be done to eliminate injustice in health care in the United States, while making our system more cost-efficient. The United States still spends almost twice as much per person on health care as any other country, yet our key outcomes – life expectancy, infant mortality and preventable deaths – too often lag behind our peers. A recent Commonwealth Fund study ranked the U.S. healthcare system dead last among 11 highly developed countries in terms of quality, efficiency and access to health care.

That is why I am leading the charge in the House of Representatives for single-payer, universal healthcare system.  By implementing a “Medicare for All" system – the standard for health care throughout the industrialized world – we can achieve hundreds of billions of dollars in cost savings that can be used to cover the nation's remaining uninsured and upgrade coverage for millions of underinsured citizens. More and more people across the country understand that a single-payer healthcare system is the only way to guarantee quality care and at the same time reduce medical costs. A poll from [date] showed that more than half of Americans -- including 80 percent of Democrats and a quarter of Republicans -- support expanding health reform to "Medicare for All."

That is why I have introduced my bill, The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, in every Congress since 2003. It is co-sponsored by more than 50 Members of Congress and support continues to grow. "

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Sanders And Cruz Debate Healthcare Repeal For American Workers

Senators Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz debated the future of health care in the US Tuesday night. The town hall debate highlighted some of the issues surrounding the GOP's committment to repeal the Affordable Care Act -- a sweeping health care law that diectly covers some 20 million Americans as well as who have health insurance through their employers. The evening began with each lawmaker laying out starkly different views of the controversial law.

"If you are one of 20 million Americans who finally has received health insurance, forget about it -- you're gone," Sanders warned about repealing Obamacare. "That means when you get sick, you ain't gonna be able to go to the doctor. And when you end up in the hospital, you'll be paying those bills for the rest of your life, or maybe you'll go bankrupt."

Cruz, a Texas Republican who made his name in national politics by fiercely opposing the health care law, said former President Barack Obama made a series of promises that were broken.

"If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor ... Millions discovered that was not true," Cruz said.



Related:

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Democrats Framing The Story Of Us?

The Story of Us by David Leonhardt - NYT Op-Ed Columnist

If any number of things had gone the other way — James Comey, Russian interference, a less distrusted nominee — the Democrats might now be starting their third straight term in office. And of course Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote, by no small margin.

So I understand why many sober Democrats have urged the party not to exaggerate the political lessons from the 2016 election. But it would also be a mistake to underreact.

Presidential politics are, by far, the party’s strong suit — and it still couldn’t beat Donald Trump. In addition to the White House, Republicans hold the House, the Senate and about two out of every three governorships and state legislatures.

Monday, February 6, 2017

GOP Use Double-Speak To Hide Gutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

LATimes: Politicians aiming to cut Social Security and Medicare use weasel words to hide their plans. Let's call them on it.

In this era in which the Orwellian manipulation of language by politicians to say the opposite of what they mean has reached a fever pitch, we should be especially wary when conservatives hide their plans to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits behind a smokescreen of euphemism.

Jared Bernstein, a fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and a former chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden, has put in a plea to journalists to call out policy makers when they pull this stunt—and not to empower politicians by doing the same thing.

Read the full story at the LATimes.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

DNC Chair Candidate Forum In Detroit

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) held it's third of four 'Future Forums' in Detroit Saturday, giving DNC members and other Democrats a chance to speak about how the party goes forward after losing to Republicans, over the last 8 years, more than 1,000 state and federal level legislative and executive branch seats held by Democrats.

The Detroit forum event began at 9 a.m. Saturday and continue throughout the day, featuring guest speakers and candidates for the several DNC leadership positions, including the candidates for DNC chair:
  • Sally Boynton Brown, Executive Director of the Idaho Democratic Party
  • Ray Buckley, Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party
  • Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana
  • Keith Ellison, U.S. House of Representatives, Minnesota 5th District|
  • Jehmu Greene, Political Analyst
  • Jaime Harrison, Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party
  • Tom Perez, 26th United States Secretary of Labor
  • Peter Peckarsky, a Wisconsin attorney and Democratic progressive activist
  • Sam Ronan of Ohio
  • Robert Vinson Brannum, Veterans Committee chair of the NAACP’s Washington D.C. branch
When they meet on February 23–26, 2017, the 447 members of the Democratic National Committee will elect a new chair.

Regional forums with DNC chair candidates have already been held in Phoenix and Houston, and another forum is scheduled for Feb. 11 in Baltimore. Click here to view the recorded live streams of the Detroit, Phoenix and Houston forums.
United Steelworkers Local 1999 President Chuck Jones told attendees of the Detroit Future Forum gathering of Democrats Saturday working class Americans need to be brought back in the fold of the party, arguing that President Donald Trump convinced many likely Democratic voters to switch sides in 2016.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

GOP Agenda To Cut Seniors' Healthcare


Republicans working to repeal the Affordable Care Act are working to stick it to one of the most important voting blocks within the GOP base - Senior Citizens. Based on exit polling, many of the demographics that would be hit hardest by the repeal voted for Trump in the presidential election.

A sizable minority of Americans don’t understand that Obamacare is just another name for the Affordable Care Act, according to a Morning Consult survey. In the survey, 35 percent of respondents said either they thought Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act were different policies (17 percent) or didn’t know if they were the same or different (18 percent). This confusion was more pronounced among people age 18 to 29 and those who earn less than $50,000 — two groups that could be significantly affected by repeal.

Among Republicans, a higher percentage (72 percent) said they knew Obamacare and the A.C.A. were the same, which may reflect the party’s longstanding hostility to the law. Though Republicans were more likely to know that Obamacare is another name for the A.C.A., only 47 percent of them said expanded Medicaid coverage and private insurance subsidies would be eliminated under repeal (compared with 79 percent of Democrats), while 29 percent said Medicaid and subsidies would not be affected and 24 percent said they didn’t know. A large block of Republican voters do not understand repealing Obamacare will affect the popular provisions of the A.C.A. AARP is working to change that political equation.

AARP, the nation’s largest organization of senior citizens, with a membership of 38 million older Americans age 50 and older, announced Monday it was launching a comprehensive campaign to protect Medicare and Medicaid from the GOP's chopping block. Repealing "and replacing" the Affordable Care Act also takes big bites out of Medicare and Medicaid.
“The average senior, with an annual income of under $25,000 and already spending one out of every six dollars on health care, counts on Social Security for the majority of their income and on Medicare for access to affordable health coverage,” wrote AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins in a recent letter to Congress. “We will continue to oppose changes to current law that cut benefits, increase costs, or reduce the ability of these critical programs to deliver on their benefit promises. We urge you to continue to do so as well.”
The GOP's wish list for radical restructuring America's Social Security, Affordable Care, Medicare, and Medicaid benefit programs will literally destroy the quality life earned by America's retired seniors. Here are just two examples of how the GOP's restructuring goals will hit seniors hard with their repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. One of those proposals would relax or eliminate the ACA’s “age bands” cap. The other would transform Medicaid into a so-called block grant.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Democrats Must Build A 21st Century Party

Robert Reich isn’t the only person to notice that the Democratic Party is in dire straits. All the Democrats in the running to be the Democratic Party's next leader are saying it too.

The former Secretary of Labor and UC Berkeley professor wrote an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle to confront the party with seven hard truths. His conclusion, if they don’t deal with these realities, is harsh: a third party is going to form that will replace them.

Here are those seven realities:

BlogTalkUSA: Eyes Wide Open DemBlogTalk - 01/31/2017

Listen to this week's BlogTalkUSA.com "Eyes Wide Open DemBlogTalk" talk radio program cohosts Rheana Nevitt Piegols and Michael Handley and their guest Bruce Horst discuss affordable healthcare as the moral choice for Christians. With Republicans about to repeal the Affordable Care Act — labled Obamacare by Republicans — Bruce steps forward from the ranks of Christian Evangelicals to say his fellow Evangelicals have driven him from the church over their stance Christians must oppose legislation that extends healthcare to the poor and children and other Americans denied healthcare because of financial barriers or preexisting health conditions.
Bruce Horst, a former Conservative Evangelical Christian from Texas, caught our interest when he took to Facebook about 2 weeks ago to brilliantly call out his former Conservative Evangelical Christian brethren for cheering the idea of 20 million people losing their health insurance! You will not want to miss this interview that starts at the 30 minute time mark of the recorded program!

Dems to David Brock: Stop Helping, You Are Killing Us

As David Brock attempts to position himself as a leader in rebuilding a demoralized Democratic Party in the age of Trump, many leading Democratic organizers and operatives are wishing the man would simply disappear.

Brock’s political evolution is well-known: the former anti-Clinton right-winger who starting in the late 1990s transformed into a relentlessly pro-Clinton Democratic operative who operates Media Matters for America as well as the American Bridge and Correct the Record super-PACS.

Brock's Correct the Record PAC operation coined and pushed the "Bernie Bros" bashes against supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, trolling them with that meme on social media. Clinton's supporters quickly shared Brock's Bernie Bros memes, virally pushing them into the primary's discourse.

Brock's PAC operation also published opposition articles and ads against Sanders and Donald Trump's GOP opponents during the 2016 primary cycle. Some of the "bad blood" still circulating between Sanders and Clinton supporters tracks back to Brock's less than factual negative attack campaign against Sander and his "Bernie Bros" followers during the primary. Another of Brock's primary goals was to help Trump win the GOP nomination on the theory Trump would be the weakest general election candidate against Clinton.

The friction between Brock and Democrats is widespread among alumni of Senator Bernie Sanders' and President Obama’s campaigns and White House, as well as Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 run. They all say they want Brock to stay far away from the Democrats’ future plans.

“I don’t think David Brock has been helpful to the party to date, and I don’t think he will be a big part of its future,” a former senior Clinton campaign official told The Daily Beast.

Another senior 2016 Clinton aide, who asked not to be named because the ex-staffer did “not want to deal with Brock’s bullshit,” described Brock and his organizations in 2016 as “useless—you might as well have thrown those [tens of] millions of dollars down a well, and then set the well on fire.”

Bottom line, what Democrats across the board seem to be saying about David Brock is, with friends like him, who needs enemies.

Read the full article at the Daily Beast: Dems to David Brock: Stop Helping, You Are Killing Us

Saturday, January 28, 2017

GOP Hit Seniors With Higher Healthcare Costs

NPR: Republican lawmakers meeting in Philadelphia this week say they want their replacement of Obamacare's Affordable Care Act to be done by spring. There is no consensus on a plan yet, but several Republicans in Congress have already circulated proposals that could reduce or eliminate features of the federal health law that have benefited older Americans. Here are some examples:

Prescription drugs

The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicare's prescription drug benefit. Before the ACA, people on Medicare had to deal with a gap in that insurance coverage that came to be known as the doughnut hole. That's the point at which Medicare would stop paying part of the cost of drugs, and beneficiaries would have to buy them at full price. Then, when the patient's out-of-pocket costs reached a level deemed to be "catastrophic," Medicare would start paying most of the cost of the drugs again.

A 2011 study from the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that when patients had to pay full price, they'd skip some of their prescribed medications — and that could, potentially, result in sicker patients and higher costs for Medicare.

Gradually, the ACA has been closing the doughnut hole coverage gap. According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, beneficiaries have saved more than $23.5 billion in prescription drug costs. It's unknown if this program would be maintained in a Republican plan that replaces the ACA.

Medicaid

Medicaid is commonly thought of as the program that provides health care for the poor. But it also pays for long-term care for a lot of older people, including the majority of nursing home residents.

One idea in some of the Republican proposals for replacing the Affordable Care Act is to turn Medicaid from a guaranteed benefit into a block grant to states. States would get a fixed amount of money from the federal government, and could make their own decisions on how to spend it.

That's an idea that's been popular for some time among conservatives such as House Speaker Paul Ryan. They argue that states know their needs better than Washington does, and the block grant would give states flexibility in meeting those needs.

Critics fear this could do away with many protections that federal law currently provides for vulnerable older people. They also worry about what might happen in an economic downturn, when the demand for Medicaid goes up, but the amount of federal money allocated for it stays the same. For example, would states have to choose between cutting services for poor children versus cutting programs for the frail elderly?

Limiting the cost of insurance premiums for older adults

Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could charge people in their 50s and 60s many times more than they'd charge a younger person for the same policy. The affordable care act put a limit on that. Now Insurance companies can only charge older people three times as much as they charge people a few decades younger. But the various GOP replacement proposals either set higher limits — five or six times higher — or they don't have any limits at all.

A study sponsored by the Rand Corporation and the Commonwealth Fund found that if older Americans were charged five times more for insurance than younger people, about 400,000 would no longer be able to afford to buy health insurance.

Friday, January 27, 2017

GOP Looking For A Healthcare Strategy

The Washington Post has obtained a secret recording of a closed-door meeting between Republican lawmakers – and it reveals them expressing serious doubts about how they are going to live up to their promises to the American people of getting rid of Obamacare, while at the same time initiating a replacement without creating chaos.

In the recording, a number of concerns were raised, but chief among them was how they were going to do this in a way that wouldn’t hurt them when the next election comes up.

What’s most striking about the conversations, however, was that key Republicans admitted that they didn’t know what to do as far as a replacement plan is concerned.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

But Clinton Won By 2.86 Million Votes

Democrats who are having trouble moving on from the first stage of grief — denial — over Hillary Clinton's loss to Donald Trump still defend the loss by saying, "but Clinton won by 2,864,974 votes nationwide, even if she did lose the electoral college vote." But a critical look at the numbers reveals a national problem for Clinton, and Democrats in general.

Clinton’s 2.86 million-vote edge came from but 489 of our 3,144 counties. In 2016, 209 of the 676 counties that cast majorities for Obama in both 2008 and 2012 backed Trump, many in the Midwest. The space between is best measured by economics. The 16 percent of counties supporting Clinton account for 65 percent of our GNP, and their median home price is 60 percent higher than in counties carried by Trump.
It was Obama voters who didn't vote in 2016, or who voted for Trump, who “put Trump over the top in Michigan and possibly Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. If Trump produces, they’ll reward him with a second term. If he doesn’t — and he needs to create lots of high-paying jobs in the face of automation and a global economy moving in other directions — then they’ll be ripe to come home to the Democratic Party — if Democrats give them an appealing nominee.”
The state that gave Trump his largest margin of victory was Texas, where he beat Clinton by only 807,179 votes out of 8,969,226 total votes cast. While Trump won 30 states, his margin of victory ranged from less than 100,000 votes up to just over five hundred thousand votes, state by state, except for Texas and his 642,000 vote margin in Tennessee.

Clinton won 21 states, including DC, but her margin of victory in the states she won was not as good as Trump's victory margin, in the states he won.
Ave. margin of victory in winning states:
Trump: 56%
Clinton: 53.5%
_________________
Trump: + 2.5 points
Clinton's national vote lead comes from seven states where she won very out-sized victories over Trump. These seven states, topped by California, allowed Clinton to run up her popular vote victory by 2,864,974 votes. In fact, Clinton loses by 1.4 million votes when California's vote tallies aren't included as part of the national aggregate of votes.

State Clinton Trump Win
Margin
CA 8,753,788 4,483,810 4,269,978
NY 4,547,218 2,814,346 1,732,872
IL 3,090,729 2,146,015 944,714
MA 1,995,196 1,090,893 904,303
MD 1,677,928 943,169 734,759
NJ 2,148,278 1,601,933 546,345
WA 1,742,718 1,221,747 520,971
California is the only state where Clinton's margin of victory was bigger than President Obama's in 2012 — 61.5% vs. Obama's 60%. Clinton got 6% more votes than Obama did In 2008, but the number of registered Democrats in the state climbed by 13% over those years.

What's more telling is the GOP won almost all of the swing state Senate elections, including a robust showing in the diverse swing state of Florida, and a blowout in crucial Ohio.

In the U.S House distributed national aggregate of votes, Republicans topped Democrats by more than 2.7 million votes, nearly equaling Hillary Clinton's national popular vote total — not because more people voted Republican, but because fewer Democrats turned out to vote for Clinton, so they didn’t vote for their House, or Senate, Democratic candidates.

An astonishing spectacle of the election aftermath is the false account of why Trump won. The accepted wisdom is that Trump succeeded in awakening a popular movement of anger and frustration among white, blue-collar, less educated, mostly male, voters, particularly in non-urban areas. Trump promised them jobs, safe borders, and dignity, and they responded by turning out in masses at his pre-election rallies and eventually at the ballots, carrying him to victory.

This story is mostly wrong. Trump did not win because he was more attractive to this base of white voters. He won because Hillary Clinton was less attractive to the traditional Democratic base of urban, minorities, and more educated voters. This is a profound fact, because Democratic voters were so extraordinarily repelled by Trump that they were supposed to have the extra motivation to turn out. Running against Trump, any Democratic candidate should have ridden a wave of anti-Trump sentiment among these voters. It therefore took a strong distaste for Hillary Clinton among the Democratic base to not only undo this wave, but to lose many additional liberal votes.

Take Michigan for example. A state that Obama won in 2012 by 350,000 votes, Clinton lost by roughly 10,000. Why? She received 300,000 votes less than Obama did in 2012. Detroit and Wayne County should kick themselves because of the 595,253 votes they gave Obama in 2012, only 518,000 voted for Clinton in 2016. More than 75,000 Motown Obama voters did not bother to vote for Clinton. They did not become Trump voters – Trump received only 10,000 votes more than Romney did in this county. They simply stayed at home. If even a fraction of these lethargic Democrats had turned out to vote, Michigan would have stayed blue.

Wisconsin tells the same numbers story, even more dramatically. Trump got no new votes. He received exactly the same number of votes in America’s Dairyland as Romney did in 2012. Both received 1,409,000 votes. But Clinton again could not spark many Obama voters to turn out for her: she tallied 230,000 votes less than Obama did in 2012. This is how a 200,000-vote victory margin for Obama in the Badger State became a 30,000-vote defeat for Clinton.

This pattern is national. Clinton’s black voter turnout dropped more than 11 percent compared to 2012. The support for Clinton among active black voters was still exceedingly high (87 percent, versus 93 percent for Obama), but the big difference was the turnout. Almost two million black votes cast for Obama in 2012 did not turn out for Clinton. According to one plausible calculation, if in North Carolina blacks had turned out for Clinton as they had for Obama, she would have won the state. I saw a similar downtrend in my own eyes: I voted in a predominantly African American precinct in the south side of Chicago, and I can testify that the lines for early voting at the polling place were much shorter than they were in 2012.

Whatever Trump successfully stirred among GOP voters was not enough to win the election. Trump won despite being flawed in many ways, because Hillary Clinton was deemed even more flawed by her own base.

It is remarkable and surprising that the elections were decided by Democrats distaste for Clinton and not Trump’s ability to reach expand the Republican vote. Think back to the weeks leading to the elections. There was a shared sense that the Republican party was losing and even disintegrating because it was unable to clamp down on a renegade candidate, having allowed populism to prevail in the primaries. The Democratic party, by contrast, was thought to be on the verge of victory and even a sweep of the Senate because it was cold calculated, using its ironfisted internal machination to discard the populist candidate and to present the then-thought more “electable” Clinton. How wrong that perception turned out to be!

Clinton's 2016 loss culminates a trend of losses for Democrats over multiple election cycles. Democrats lost another net 43 seats in legislatures across the country in 2016, after previously losing 910 seats during Obama's administration. Republicans added to their historic 2014 gains in the nation’s state legislatures with the addition of five state House chambers and two state Senate chambers in 2016.


Democratic Decline Down Ballot

The economically ascendant counties Clinton won, largely urban and suburban, are geographically isolated. Democrats occupy archipelagos — islands of the relatively privileged surrounded by what has become, to them, an unknown largely rural land, in which less educated and more aggrieved voters dog paddle to survive. The counties that switched their votes from voting twice for Obama to Trump were far smaller, whiter, and slower-growing than the rest of the Obama coalition. The population of counties that flipped to Trump was 78% white. But individual voters in those counties that flipped didn't switch from Obama to Trump, for the most part they just didn't vote for Clinton or they voted for a third party presidential candidate.

The growing economic disparity among voters aggravates a growing “despair gap” of in equality. A study by the Center for American Progress found a direct correlation between the percentage of “underwater” homes and counties that voted for Trump. Similarly, a sociology professor at Penn State found Trump fared better in counties where the mortality rates caused by drugs, alcohol, and suicide were highest. What issued from Trump’s America was a desperate and angry cry for economic help.

After the 2016 election, Republicans are now in control of a record 67 (68 percent) of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers in the nation, more than twice the number (31) in which Democrats have a majority, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Republicans hold more total state legislative seats in the nation, well over 4,100 of the 7,383, than they have since 1920. Democrats now have total control of just 13 state legislatures.


States With Unified Party Control
Republicans dominate state legislatures to gerrymander political power in America.

Republicans gained 2 more states' governor-ships in 2016, after already gaining 12 over the last 8 years, increasing its total to 33, a record high last seen in 1922. Democrats had also lost 69 US House seats and 13 US Senate seats since 2009 and barely managed to stem further losses in 2016, with only a net two seat gain in the U.S. Senate resulting in a 52-48 Republican majority, and net six seat gain in the U.S. House, resulting in a 241-194 Republican majority.

Number of electoral votes won:
Trump: 306
Clinton: 232
_________________
Trump: + 68

Popular vote total:
Trump: 62,958,211
Clinton: 65,818,318
_________________
Clinton: + 2.8 million

Popular vote total outside California:
Trump: 58,474,401
Clinton: 57,064,530
_________________
Trump: + 1.4 million


Some blame James Comey and the FBI. Some blame voter suppressionand racism. Some blame Bernie or bust and misogyny. Some blame third parties and independent candidates. They will blame the corporate media for giving him the platform, social media for being a bullhorn, and WikiLeaks for airing the laundry.

But this leaves out the force most responsible for creating the nightmare in which we now find ourselves wide awake: centrist neoliberalism. That worldview – fully embodied by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party – is no match for right wing extremism. The choice to follow the neoliberal centrist policy strategy is what sealed our fate to losing more than 1,000 elected office seats to Republicans. If we learn nothing else, can we please learn from that mistake?

Here is what we need to understand: a hell of a lot of people are in pain. Under neoliberal centrist policies of deregulation, privatisation, austerity and corporate trade, their living standards have declined precipitously. They have lost jobs. They have lost pensions. They have lost much of the safety net that used to make these losses less frightening. They see a future for their kids even worse than their precarious present.

At the same time, they have witnessed the rise of the Davos class, a hyper-connected network of banking and tech billionaires, elected leaders who are awfully cosy with those interests, and Hollywood celebrities who make the whole thing seem unbearably glamorous. Success is a party to which they were not invited, and they know in their hearts that this rising wealth and power is somehow directly connected to their growing debts and powerlessness.

For the people who saw security and status as their birthright – and that means white men most of all – these losses are unbearable.

Donald Trump speaks directly to that pain. The Brexit campaign spoke to that pain. So do all of the rising far-right parties in Europe. They answer it with nostalgic nationalism and anger at remote economic bureaucracies – whether Washington, the North American free trade agreement the World Trade Organisation or the EU. And of course, they answer it by bashing immigrants and people of colour, vilifying Muslims, and degrading women. Elite neoliberalism has nothing to offer that pain, because neoliberalism unleashed the Davos class. People such as Hillary and Bill Clinton are the toast of the Davos party. In truth, they threw the party.

Trump’s message was: “All is hell.” Clinton answered: “All is well.” But it’s not well – far from it.

Neo-fascist responses to rampant insecurity and inequality are not going to go away. But what we know from the 1930s is that what it takes to do battle with fascism is a real left. A good chunk of Trump’s support could be peeled away if there were a genuine redistributive agenda on the table. An agenda to take on the billionaire class with more than rhetoric, and use the money for a green new deal. Such a plan could create a tidal wave of well-paying unionised jobs, bring badly needed resources and opportunities to communities of colour, and insist that polluters should pay for workers to be retrained and fully included in this future.

It could fashion policies that fight institutionalised racism, economic inequality and climate change at the same time. It could take on bad trade deals and police violence, and honour indigenous people as the original protectors of the land, water and air.

People have a right to be angry, and a powerful, intersectional left agenda can direct that anger where it belongs, while fighting for holistic solutions that will bring a frayed society together.

Such a coalition is possible. In Canada, we have begun to cobble it together under the banner of a people’s agenda called The Leap Manifesto, endorsed by more than 220 organisations from Greenpeace Canada to Black Lives Matter Toronto, and some of our largest trade unions.

Bernie Sanders’ amazing campaign went a long way towards building this sort of coalition, and demonstrated that the appetite for democratic socialism is out there. But early on, there was a failure in the campaign to connect with older black and Latino voters who are the demographic most abused by our current economic model. That failure prevented the campaign from reaching its full potential. Those mistakes can be corrected and a bold, transformative coalition is there to be built on.

That is the task ahead. The Democratic party needs to be either decisively wrested from pro-corporate neoliberals, or it needs to be abandoned. From Elizabeth Warren to Nina Turner, to the Occupy alumni who took the Bernie campaign supernova, there is a stronger field of coalition-inspiring progressive leaders out there than at any point in my lifetime. We are “leaderful”, as many in the Movement for Black Lives say.

So let’s get out of shock as fast as we can and build the kind of radical movement that has a genuine answer to the hate and fear represented by the Trumps of this world. Let’s set aside whatever is keeping us apart and start right now.

The Democratic Party has been obliterated. Hillary Clinton's narrow loss to Donald Trump was the shock felt 'round the world, but there's been an even deeper decline in the Democratic Party at the state and local level. The Obama administration has overseen the loss of roughly a tenth of the party's Senate seats, a fifth of its House and state legislative seats, and a third of its governorships, something which hasn't been seen since the repeated routs of Republicans in the 1930s.

There are unquestionably many factors behind this result. But I want to focus on the biggest one that was completely under Democrats' control. It is the same thing that killed the Republicans of Hoover's generation: gross mishandling of an economic crisis. Democrats had the full run of the federal government from 2009-10, during the worst economic disaster in 80 years, and they did not fully fix mass unemployment, nor the associated foreclosure crisis. That is just about the most guaranteed route to electoral death there is.

In the 1970s, the Democrats gradually embraced the neoliberal ideology of markets and deregulation, setting the stage for later disasters. One under-noticed corollary of this was forgetting the previous generation's economic wisdom. More and more, Democrats embraced the ideas that markets were self-regulating, that unions were not worth defending, that monopolies were nothing to get worked up over, and that large deficits were by definition bad.

A similar process of forgetting had been happening within the profession of economics, and so outside of a small minority of heterodox critics, the 2008 Great Recession struck economists unawares. The ones who hadn't forgotten their Keynes and Minsky, like Paul Krugman, quickly regrouped and presented the Democrats with the policy that solved the Great Depression: huge fiscal and monetary stimulus. When there is a self-fulfilling collapse in spending, the government must step in as the spender of last resort, as it did during the New Deal and World War II.

In the early months of the Obama administration, when it seemed like the world was falling apart, this logic gained much purchase, leading to the passage of the Recovery Act stimulus package. But even then Krugman and company ran headlong into a problem of ideology. Centrist Democratic senators insisted, for no reason other than sticker shock, that the stimulus could only be so big — not even close to the estimated size of the economic hole left by the collapse. Krugman's arguments that it should be massively larger than that estimate — in order to hedge against an underestimation of the size of the collapse, which was prescient indeed — fell on deaf ears.

And after the first stimulus failed to restore full employment, the ideology problem got much worse. The D.C. political and media elite, including President Obama and most other Democratic big shots, became absolutely obsessed with cutting the deficit. The ensuing austerity (much of it caused by post-2010 Republican obstruction, to be fair) dramatically slowed the recovery. It is only in the last year that unemployment has declined to a reasonably good level, and the fraction of prime working-age people with a job is still worse than the bottom of the previous two recessions. What's more, the fruits of the recovery have been highly unequal, with much of the income flowing to the top 1 percent, and most rural places left out. (Sound familiar?)

The problem was that the party never really internalized the logic of Keynesianism, and as a result was incapable of thinking strategically about their political position. Neoliberalism had become hegemonic ideology, which takes serious effort to lever out of someone's head, and nobody was in a position to do it. Practically the whole party — and indeed the "nonpartisan" media as well — had been raised on the idea that deficits are bad for their entire lives (cemented in place by hundreds of millions of dollars in agitprop spending from Wall Street ideologues). Keynesianism — which implies things like "you can fix a recession by printing money and handing it to people" — sounded extreme and suspect. Media budget coverage to this day is usually written with an implicit presumption that deficit cutting is the ultimate good in budget policy.
That's how the party ended up with its most vulnerable members — centrist Blue Dogs in the South — hawking austerity during the worst mass unemployment crisis in 80 years. Almost all of them lost in 2010. That loss, in turn, paved the way for many of the other major problems Democrats are having. That was a census year, and huge Republican victories allowed them to control the subsequent redistricting process, in which they gerrymandered themselves a 7-point handicap in the House of Representatives and in many state legislatures.

That brings me to the foreclosure crisis, the handling of which was even worse. Instead of partially ameliorating it as with employment, the Obama administration helped it happen. As David Dayen writes in Chain of Title, the financial products underpinning the subprime mortgage boom were riddled with errors, and in order to be able to foreclose on people who had defaulted, they had to commit systematic document fraud. This epic crime spree gave the White House tremendous leverage to negotiate a settlement to keep people in their homes, but instead the administration co-opted a lawsuit from state attorneys general and turned it into a slap on the wrist that reinvigorated the foreclosure machine. There was also $75 billion in the Recovery Act to arrest foreclosures, but the administration's effort at this, HAMP, was such a complete disasterthat they only spent about 16 percent of the money and enabled thousands of foreclosures in the process.

As a direct result, the homeownership rate has plummeted to levels not seen since the 1960s.

This disaster is somewhat harder to explain, because it seems so nuts. Why on Earth would anyone do this? Once again I think the problem is ideology. Neoliberal-inspired deregulation hugely empowered the financial sector, and finance — fueled by impressive-sounding and complicated products developed by the some of the smartest people in the country — came to occupy a disproportionate portion of total economic output and an even larger fraction of corporate profits. From thence it became a major source of campaign contributions. As Washington became saturated with the money and ideology of bankers, assisted by partisans of the "self-regulating market" like Alan Greenspan, it came to seem that the main task of banking policy was keeping an increasingly bloated and unstable Wall Street on its feet.

So when the crisis happened, the main thing the political system managed to do was fling money at bankers until the financial sector was stabilized. Afterwards, the idea that bankers might have committed crimes — might in fact have had whole floors of people committing crimes all day long — was simply too big to swallow. So Democrats — many of whom no doubt had plush consulting gigs in the back of their mind — basically looked the other way. No bankers went to jail, and over nine million people lost their homes.

This is not to absolve Republicans of their obstruction in Congress or President-elect Donald Trump or anything else. But the fact of the matter is that Democrats had two golden years to fix the depression, restore the housing market, hold Wall Street to account, and cement a new generation of loyal Democrats, and they bobbled it.

President Obama's spectacular charisma — and his savvy campaign against a filthy rich vulture capitalist in 2012 — papered over these problems to some extent. But for most of his presidency America has basically ceased to function for a huge fraction of the population. Fair or not, the party perceived to be responsible for that situation is going to be punished at the polls.

Hillary Clinton was an extraordinarily terrible candidate for the Democrats to run in 2016.

Donald Trump's approval rating is 38 percent. President Obama's just bumped up to 57 percent. No amount of furious dissembling from humiliated Clinton partisans will convince me that Obama — and very probably Bernie Sanders — wouldn't have beaten Trump handily.

So what gives?

Let me start by noting that the overallpolls were off, but not by that much. They predicted a Clinton victory by about about 3 points. And in the popular vote, that prediction was reasonably close.

What tipped the election was about 100,000 votes spread across just three states: Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Here's where the polls did seriously botch things. Trump won these states by 1, 0.3, and 1.2 points respectively (assuming the close result in Michigan holds). The poll averages showed Clinton winning these states by roughly 6 points, 3 to 7 points, and 2 to 5 points respectively, depending on who you ask.

Some people did correctly point to this outcome being a possibility. Remarkably, most of them relied heavily on gut-check analysis. Zach Carter and Ryan Grim wrote way back in February that Trump could win by peeling off Rust Belt states, based on little more than intuitions about trade and general voting patterns. Michael Moore hypothesized something similar. Nathan J. Robinson wrote around the same timethat Clinton would lose because she is a wooden, uninspiring campaigner who was almost uniquely vulnerable to Trump-style attacks on character and integrity.

Van Jones was perhaps most prescient of all. In June, he argued that Trump would not gaffe himself out of the election, because outrageous statements help him get attention on social media; that tut-tutting about his lack of realistic policy would not work, because voters neither know nor care about that; and that he could potentially win over Rust Belt whites attracted to Trump's anti-trade messaging, because "we're not paying attention to a big chunk of America that is hurting — that would accept any change, the bigger the better."

With the benefit of hindsight, I think we can add a couple more factors to the pile. First is the self-deception of the Clinton campaign and its media sycophants. She did not visit Wisconsin at all between April and the election, and largely abandoned Obama's working-class message from 2012 in favor of portraying Trump as a dangerous, woman-hating maniac.

They were enabled in this by pro-Clinton publications, which churned out endless slavish portrayals of Clinton as some kind of wizard of politics and policy, whose grasp of fine detail would surely deliver the electoral goods. In fact, it turned out that her vaunted algorithm-driven turnout machine was contacting tons of Trump voters. Paul Romer points to the problem of "mathiness" in economics, where complicated and intimidating theoretical symbolism is built up without establishing clear linkages to the real world. Lots of computers, theories, and datasets might be the most sophisticated way to attack voter turnout, or it might be a way to simply appear sophisticated while dismissing people whose ideas don't come packaged with a science-y veneer. (Something similar seems to have happened to the wonky election-simulator people.)

Then there is the Clintons' omnipresent aura of scandal and corruption, which is about 50 percent unfair double standard and 50 percent totally their fault. The political media has been obsessed with the Clintons for 20 years to a frankly psychotic degree, particularly given how much worse the stories about Trumpwere. On the other hand, the Clintons enable that coverage with a paranoid and secretive attitude, and an obvious hatred of the press. The Clinton Foundation coverage was unfair compared to the much worse Trump Foundation, but then again, there was some genuinely skeezy stuff in there. There's a good chance that FBI Director James Comey's vague letter about emails to congressional Republicans, which led to an extremely ill-timed media firestorm, tipped the election to Trump. But then again, she might have avoided the whole story by following the dang rules in the first place.

I always assumed that if Clinton were nominated for president, the race would be dominated by some weird quasi-scandal that dragged on for month after month. It's not fair, but it is simply the reality of the Clintons. At some point, one simply has to take that into account.

That brings me to a final point: Clinton's general political affect. She is not a great campaigner (by her own admission), a rather robotic speaker, and most of all, a dynasty politician who very obviously got the nomination because the party elite cleared the decks for her. Given how the party has evolved, her political history was filled with devastating indictments of her judgment and priorities. Even after getting a reasonably good party platform (after just barely beating back about the most unlikely primary challenger imaginable), she was a non-credible vehicle for it. Without Obama's mesmerizing charisma and political energy, her image was defined by things like taking millions of dollars for secret speeches to Wall Street banks and refusing to release the transcripts. She simply was not a good fit for the party, and a terrible avatar of the party in a country furious at self-dealing elite institutions of all kinds.

Hillary Clinton was a heavily compromised candidate and bad campaigner who grossly misjudged the political terrain, and thus bled just enough of the Obama coalition to let Trump sneak past. If we ever get to vote again, let's hope the party learns from this epic disaster.

And that, now, is the key question: Where do the Democrats go from here?

The Democratic Party is a smoking crater. Despite winning more votes at the national level, and more votes for the House of Representatives, the party has lost the presidency, Congress, 69 percent of state legislatures, and 33 governorships. Republicans are only a handful of state houses away from being able to amend the Constitution on a party line vote.

What is to be done? A mood of despair permeates the many liberals I know who are talking and writing about the result. Hillary Clinton was a decent candidate running against a deranged, racist maniac who lied constantly and endlessly about everything. Perhaps the thing to do is hope that after four years of Trump looting the country, America will have wised up to the con.

That is a luxury we can't afford, at least if we care about trying to preserve the world biosphere and civilization in anything like its current state. I suggest that the only reasonably promising route forward for the Democrats is full-throated social democracy, with the full complement of race, gender, and LGBT-specific protections. It's the only way to restore enough of the working-class white votes won by Obama without losing margins among black and brown voters.

Clinton's loss was extremely narrow, resting on only a handful of votes in three Rust Belt states. Many factors could have plausibly tipped the balance: FBI Director James Comey's letter, Republican vote suppression, Clinton's stunningly incompetent tactics and uninspiring campaign, and her lack of appeal to the working class of all races. Remove any one of those and Trump probably wouldn't have made it over the top.

Now, I should admit that I did predict a Clinton win. I blindly trusted the poll aggregators, and that made for some really bad calls. Just about everyone in political writing (with a few exceptions) needs to eat some crow, and I'm no exception.

However, back in April 2015, I also argued that Clinton was disastrously misjudging the politics of the presidential race. I suspected she would pitch her campaign largely to the money seats, and run on fiddly little tax credits instead of strong, simple, universal social programs. I thought she would do this out of some combination of not wanting to alienate the donor class and genuine ideological commitment.

That prediction panned out unfortunately well. But in hindsight, the argument against running such a campaign is even stronger than it appeared. Back then, I argued that Clinton might take a hit in fundraising, but that it wouldn't be a big deal because political spending isn't worth nearly as much during presidential campaigns. But Bernie Sanders' campaign shows that with a credible social-democratic agenda, you can raise staggering sums from millions of small donors. He was quite competitive with Clinton money-wise, and indeed surpassed her in some periods.

Conversely, Clinton's insider ties to Big Finance deeply harmed her. Taking millions of dollars to give secret speeches to banks, then refusing to release the transcripts, looks (and probably is) horrendously corrupt. Democrats' coziness with big corporations, especially the Wall Street swindlers who wrecked the economy, is hurting them coming and going.

What Democrats need is a set of policies and personalities that will mobilize a hard core of committed activists. And again, if the Sanders campaign is any indication, strong, universal benefits — tuition-free college for everyone, single-payer coverage (or the nearest thing to it) for everyone, retirement security for everyone, and so on — coupled to an anti-corruption message, cricket-bat regulation of Wall Street, all sold by a credible candidate, inspires fervent enthusiasm.

People like benefits that are simple, guaranteed, and easy to access. Conversely, ObamaCare is disliked in part because its most visible part, the exchange system, is an obnoxious pain in the neck. Means testing is bad policy and worse politics; the way to make sure billionaires don't benefit unduly from social programs is by hiking their taxes.

As part of this, Dems should also shed their preening "wonky" self-presentation. Hillary Clinton had a whole office stuffed full of policy experts churning out papers on everything under the sun, and it was all for naught. Remember that the point of campaigns is to set values and priorities, not lay out hugely complicated policies that do little but flatter the campaign's sense of its own expertise. How many people were swayed by Clinton's last-minute plan to make the Child Tax Credit somewhat more refundable for certain parents? I'd wager it was in the triple digits at best.

That's not to say that realistic ideas are bad, or that one should be deliberately dishonest, but that the time for drilling down on the minute details is after the election is won.

Genuine, credible populism will also help Democrats with some of their other problems. Vote suppression, for example, often works by making voting a huge pain in the neck, not explicitly illegal. Democrats need real enthusiasm and institutional structures like unions (which will be addressed in the final entry in this series) and pro-democracy nonprofits to help people turn out in the face of these headwinds.

Finally, there is the issue of specific concerns around race, gender, religion and so on. I have not dwelt on this much because I take it as axiomatic that Democrats cannot abandon these constituencies. Some have suggested that perhaps Democrats should ditch identity concerns so as to better pursue white voters, like Bill Clinton did when he attacked a black female rapper and oversaw the execution of a mentally disabled black person in 1992. But not only would it be morally monstrous to abandon minorities at this time (Trump surrogates are already defending a proposed registry of Muslim immigrantsby referencing Japanese internment camps during World War II), the country is far more diverse now than it was 24 years ago. Any capitulation to social conservatism risks bleeding off non-white votes the party cannot afford to lose — and besides, all you need to win the presidency at least is a handful of white voters in a few key states. Democrats must abandon neoliberalism, not social justice.

Therefore, the new party leadership, both formally and in the figurehead sense, should be diverse and committed to left populism. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and especially Keith Ellison (who looks to be a lock as chair of the DNC) are excellent choices. They are the most credible populist voices that simultaneously demonstrate that the party has a place for everyone, even white men. Indeed, they are where the party's coalescing center of gravity already is now that the Clintonite wing has completely discredited itself.

The best place to start is by a scorched-earth opposition against the building Republican plan to destroy Medicare and replace it with some sort of voucher system. It's probably impossible to save ObamaCare at this point, but Medicare is immensely popular, and old people vote more than any other age demographic. Trump, by contrast, is already horrendously unpopular. Once it becomes clear that his "Make America Great Again" shtick is a complete fraud, Democrats should be able to do extremely well promising to protect and expand social insurance.

For all her generally terrible electoral performance, Hillary Clinton did do well in some unusual places. Broadly speaking, these were rich areas — like Orange County, California, which went Democratic for the first time since 1936, and the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which is chock-a-block with financiers. Of course, it didn't compensate for Clinton falling far behind Barack Obama's margins with the working class, both black and white.

But one place where Clinton managed to hold on was Nevada, where tremendous effort from unusually strong local unions managed to win her the state — and preserve a Senate seat for the Democrats as well. As Democrats think about how to rebuild their shattered party, there is no way around labor unions.

For decades now, America's few remaining strong unions have been locked in something of a codependent relationship with the Democratic Party. As union density has eroded from a third of all workers down to about a 10th, and a mere 7 percent in the private sector, unions have spent tons and tons of money trying to elect Democrats. As of late October, unions had spent well over $100 million on the 2016 election— an increase of nearly 40 percent compared to 2012.

Unions do this out of fear of Republicans, who loathe unions and smash them whenever possible, and out of a desire to remain influential in the Democratic Party. This latter strategy was particularly noteworthy in the Democratic primary, where most of the big, left-leaning unions lined up behind Hillary Clinton despite the undeniable fact that Bernie Sanders was the more pro-labor candidate. (Just examine who was on the picket lines.) The union leadership judged that Clinton was going to win, and got in line so as to preserve their status among the party elite, particularly the notoriously grudge-prone Clintons.

This is a good example of when operational conservatism slides into mere timidity. Sometimes the less risky move is also the bolder, more aggressive one. It was reasonably clear even by the spring that Clinton was an extraordinarily weak candidate and nominating her was a terrific gamble. Had the big unions thrown their weight behind Sanders, he might have won the primary, and quite possibly would be president-elect now — the greatest political victory for labor in decades. At least he could not have done any worse than Clinton.

But more fundamentally, in terms of positive, pro-labor policy, unions have little to show for their loyalty. Since 1976 Democrats have repeatedly sold out the working class with deliberately vicious recessions, trade deals that led to massive outsourcing and job losses, and weak at best domestic policy. In 2009, when Democrats had super-majorities in both chambers of Congress, they barely even tried to pass a card checklaw which would have made it easier to organize a workplace. Both moderate Democrats and the Obama administration basically gave up on that without a fight.

The calculation seemed to be that since unions can't possibly get behind Republicans, then Democrats can just take them for granted. That way they can cater to big business and Wall Street as well. But they failed to understand that the decline of unions is undermining the party's political strength. Unions are what turn alienated working people into energized political actors and voters.

Both the union leadership and the Democratic Party elites have their priorities skewed. Unions ought to be concentrating almost all their efforts on organizing more people. Spending tens of millions of dollars to elect a candidate who barely cares about unions, who then proceeded to lose to the most unpopular presidential nominee in the history of polling, was a mind-boggling waste of money. They didn't even manage to deliver their own members, who only went to Clinton by 8 points.

In return, Democrats must understand that without unions, there is no prayer of restoring the party's broad competitiveness. Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote, but at the state and local level the party has been virtually annihilated. Without an organized core of support, they simply cannot contest the right-wing advantage in money and their associated army of ideologues. And when it comes to bedrock left-wing institutions, it doesn't get any more foundational than unions. For centuries they have been the signature way the working class makes its political presence felt.

So Democrats should do what unions want without asking. They should understand that unions' job is to organize, and their job is to make it easier for unions to organize, with credible promises to pass card check, repeal Taft-Hartley, and update the labor law framework, when they get the chance. They must become a labor party, and quick, because the hour is late. National anti-union legislation and legal harassment is probably coming, and public sector unions are going to be hit hard. It will take a furious effort to simply keep labor from being rolled back, much less expanded.

But there are few other places to turn for Democrats, and none with the proven track record of labor. This will mean, of course, losing some of the rich votes Clinton rolled up in Orange County and the Acela corridor. But luckily, there aren't that many rich people, and Trump's pose as a defender of the working class looks for all the world to be a complete sham. Trump is already deeply unpopular, and will become even more so when his presidency sinks into corruption. It should be easy enough to win back most of those union voters who did go for Trump. More important but more difficult, if the party and organizers can help each other to create tens of millions of new union members, they can start winning back political power at every level of government.

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