Tag Archives: Democratic Party

Revolt Of Working Class Voters

In my local community, I’ve heard many explanations, often seasoned with a teaspoon of blame, on how and why Donald Trump prevailed in this week’s presidential election.

White people elected Trump!

Or, men elected Trump!

Or, small-town and rural America defeated the big cities.

Or even, less-educated voters — those without a college degree — elected Trump.

In my opinion, it is more accurate to say that the neglected, aggrieved working class revolted against the Democratic Party and against the perceived elites. The working class AND the middle class! The dividing line between working class and middle class these days is about as thin as a dollar bill.

The working-class vote that elected Trump is mostly white, it is true. But it is not exclusively male. Many working-class women, as well as working-class men, voted for Trump. And many college-educated men who do not hold prestigious, high-paying jobs, voted for Trump as well. Call them working class or middle class. What’s the difference?

Bernie Sanders had it right. The Democratic Party cannot turn its back on working class voters. They should be our voters! Shame on the Democratic Party if it allows Republican candidates to win the allegiance of the working class.

It was the revolt of the working class and the middle class, male and female, high school educated and college educated. And, when we drill down a little deeper into the election results, I suspect we will find that a significant number of working class black men voted the same way as working class white men.

The revolt of the working class, of whatever gender or race, added to traditional suburban Republican voters, made  Donald Trump president.

Also let the record show that the 2016 general election was a low-turnout election. When turnout is high, Democrats can win; when turnout is low, Republicans win. Nothing new or surprising about that!

Some working-class folks who never voted before turned out this year. A few women and men who might have voted for Hillary Clinton, or would have voted for some other Democratic candidate, simply stayed home. Similarly, minority voters didn’t turn out for Hillary in quite the numbers that voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. At least a few younger voters who were inspired by Bernie Sanders also stayed home, or perhaps voted for the Libertarian or Green party candidates.

Every vote counts. Every Democratic voter who decided to stay home enabled the revolt of the working class and the middle class to put Donald Trump over the top in the electoral vote.

The working class has made it clear that they are angry and worried. Donald Trump is the president-elect.

What will the Democratic Party do now?

— John Hayden

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Bernie Sanders Wants To Change The Democratic Party

Give Justice A Chance

Bernie Sanders made it clear last night in California that he’s no longer running against Hillary Clinton. He’s running against Trump.

But more importantly, Bernie continues to run because he hopes to imprint his values and issues indelibly on American politics.

Bernie wants to establish a left-of-center political movement that will live on long after the 2016 primary season is over.

As Bernie said last night, he wants to see a political party embrace the values of economic justice, social justice, racial justice, and he added environmental justice.  He wants the Democratic Party to open its arms and clearly, wholeheartedly, embrace those values. Is that too much to ask?

The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind.

It appears that Bernie’s justice values, which have their roots in Dr. Martin Luther King’s  civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, are the values of the American political future in the 21st-century.  That’s the conclusion I draw from the apparent fact that the younger generation of voters has enthusiastically embraced Bernie’s program.  Those voters are the future of democracy in America.

All Bernie is asking, is that the Democratic Party open its doors wide and welcome the young voters and the working-class voters who have supported him so enthusiastically.

He’s asking that the Democratic Party make clear that it is the party of social and economic justice, racial justice, and environmental justice.  He’s asking that the Democratic Party make it clear that it is the party of the working class, not the party of the privileged elite. It would be a tragic failure if the Democratic party concedes the working class vote to the Republicans, he said.

All he is saying is, “Give justice a chance.”

To an old baby boomer, that seems to echo the memorable chant:

“All we are saying, is give peace a chance.”

— John Hayden

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Bernie Sanders Is Winning The Contest For The Democratic Nomination

News flash: Bernie Sanders is winning!

Why does the mainstream media report over and over that Hillary Clinton is almost certain to be the Democratic nominee?

The presumption of a Hillary Clinton nomination is based on a dwindling lead of fewer than 300 pledged delegates, with 18 states yet to vote.

Hillary’s lead is based entirely on Democratic primary victories in the former Confederate states of the Deep South, from South Carolina to Texas. Is the Democratic nominee going to win any of the Deep South states in November? Highly unlikely. We are conceding the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton based a handful of Southern states? I think this is wishful thinking put out by the vast Democratic Party establishment, and repeated by cable TV pundits as if they were parrots.

Since the contest moved on to other parts of the country, Bernie Sanders has reversed the momentum. Sanders shocked the Clinton campaign by winning the Michigan Democratic primary. Michigan, unlike the South, is a state the Democratic party can win in November. Clinton held off Sanders in two other important states, Illinois and Ohio. But Sanders won Minnesota. It looks like Wisconsin will be the tiebreaker in the big Midwestern states.

(Full disclosure: I’ve donated more than $200 but less than $300 to the Sanders campaign in recent weeks, mostly in $27 increments. I am a confirmed Sanders supporter.)

This past weekend, Sanders won all three contests. He won by margins of 70 percent or more in Washington State, which may be a bellwether for the West, and in Alaska and Hawaii. And still the mainstream media anoints Hillary as the winner? Sanders has also won a slew of other Western states, such as Colorado. 

Of the states that have held Democratic primaries or caucuses to date, Hillary Clinton has won 18, and Bernie Sanders has won 14, if my arithmetic is correct. Several of the largest and most Democratic states have yet to vote.

An epidemic of blindness, delusion and denial is sweeping the U.S. establishment, in both Democratic and Republican parties. Just my opinion.

Next up, Wisconsin and New York.

I had this email message today from Jeff Weaver, who is Sanders campaign manager:

“For the past several years, Wisconsin has been ground zero for worker’s rights, women’s rights, and voting rights. Those people cannot afford to wait for incremental change — they need a president who will think big about the transformational change required of this moment.”

Do you think there might be a big turnout in Wisconsin?

Both Sanders and Clinton are campaigning hard in Wisconsin. But only Hillary is dodging Erin Burnett on CNN.

Earlier this evening, I watched Erin Burnett’s live interview with Sanders in Milwaukee. He answered all her questions, and none of them were softballs.

At the end of the interview, Burnett turned to the camera and said to the viewers: “I want you to know. . .”

What she said next is this:

Hillary Clinton, who is in Wisconsin, was also invited for a live interview with Erin Burnett on CNN. Sanders accepted the interview. Clinton demurred.

Sanders is seeking a debate in New York before that state’s primary. Hillary is dodging that request.

To sum up, we’re coming up on big primaries in Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, and other states, including Maryland. I wonder what the primary results will be in California.

Remember, you heard it here first. Bernie Sanders is winning.

— John Hayden

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Bernie Sanders For President

Bernie SandersSen. Bernie Sanders announced today that he will run for president of the U.S. in 2016.

Sanders, the Independent U.S. senator from Vermont, will run as a Democrat. He calls himself a democratic socialist. Remember those two words:  democratic socialist.

I could support Bernie Sanders for president. Let me think about it.

For video of the Sanders announcement, see Politico.

I’ve been a participant-observer in Democratic Party politics for a long time. Usually, I think long and hard when two or more Democrats are competing for the same office.

Thinking back to 1968, I was a Democratic college student during the Vietnam War. Like many students, I supported Sen. Eugene McCarthy, the peace candidate, for president, My memory is unreliable, but after Bobbie Kennedy entered the battle for the Democratic nomination, I was torn between McCarthy and Kennedy. It was a tough decision, and I don’t remember which way I came down. I also respected Vice President Hubert Humphrey, the more traditional candidate that year. Bobbie Kennedy, of course, was assassinated after the Democratic primary in California. Humphrey won the nomination in Chicago, while the Chicago Police Department ran riot amidst protesters on the streets. Humphrey lost to Republican Richard Nixon in November.

OK, I’ve thought about it. I believe I’ll support Sen. Bernie Sanders for president of the U.S. in 2016. Things can change. I might change my mind. But I doubt it.

The times were right for Gene McCarthy or Bobbie Kennedy in 1968. The times are right for Bernie Sanders in 2016. In 1968, the issues were war and peace and civil rights.  In 2016, the issues are economic equality and civil rights. Not since 1968 has the line been so clearly drawn between the elites and the people.

I believe Bernie Sanders could win a Democratic primary election in my state, Maryland. A U.S. Senator named Barack Obama upset the establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton, here in 2008. It has happened before; it could happen again.

A quote for Democrats to think about from The Washington Post blog, The Fix:

“Sanders will be the beating heart of the party while Clinton will, always, be its head.”

May you live in interesting times. More later. Anyone else ready and willing to commit to a candidate?

— John Hayden

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Maryland Democrats Snooze Three Weeks Before Election

The election is three weeks from today. Why does my Democratic gut feel like it needs an Alka-Seltzer?

This is the saddest year for Maryland Democrats since Spiro Agnew won the governor’s mansion. At least Bob Ehrlich was a seasoned Maryland politician with years of service in Congress and the General Assembly. Who is this year’s Republican candidate? He’s the son of someone by the same name who was a congressman when I was a teenager, in the last century.

This year, we have two candidates who look sort of gubernatorial, no election for the U.S. Senate, and no contest in any of the state’s eight congressional districts. In Montgomery County, my home county and the largest jurisdiction in Maryland, there’s no visible sign of an impending election. I mean “no sign” literally. You see a few lonely lawns sprouting signs for Republicans. But Democratic signs, nada. And why should there be? Ike Leggett has a lock on the county executive’s office and nine Democratic council candidates are cruising to Election Day on automatic pilot. It’s no wonder the voters are disconnected. This is no way to run a democracy.

Not a single political message in my mailbox since the primary. (Email is a different story. Messages every day from Democrats begging for contributions.) The only candidate to be seen or heard from in Montgomery is Robin Ficker.  Seriously, Ficker is the only candidate I’ve seen since the June primary. I attended three Saturday-night outdoor concerts at Black Rock Theater in Germantown during the summer, and Ficker was working the crowd all three times. I seriously doubt, BTW, that Ficker can win, but stranger things have happened. If any Republican has a snowball’s chance in MoCo in 2014, it would have to be Ficker.

I chalk up the political disinterest to two factors.

First, there’s not a single exciting contest to stir the voters’ blood, not in MoCo, and not in Prince George’s County or Baltimore City, the state’s two other Democratic redoubts. If anyone knows of a General Assembly cliffhanger in Central Maryland, please let me know.

The second reason is related to the first. The Democratic Party in MoCo, P.G., and The City is the victim of its own success. Democrats so dominate politics in the big three that all suspense, energy and conflict has been drained from the system. Could you write a good novel or screenplay without CONFLICT?

Without conflict, there is no story. If there is any conflict left in the Big Three, it would be in the primaries, not the General Election. Alas, the entrenchment and almost certain re-election of Democratic incumbents in the local and legislative races has drained excitement even from the primaries. The turnout in June’s Maryland primary is Exhibit A.

With the days ticking down to the start of Early Voting, and the electorate snoozing, a Republican has been creeping slowly up behind the Democrat in the only statewide race that matters, the governor’s race. The candidates are Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, the Democrat who should be the runaway favorite; and Republican Larry Hogan, who unlike Agnew, Ellen Sauerbrey and Bob Ehrlich, the other serious Republicans to run for governor in modern history, has never held elective office.

That’s right. Agnew was county executive of Baltimore County, at that time one of the three most populous jurisdictions. Sauerbrey was minority leader in the House of Delegates, and Ehrlich was a congressman. What are Larry Hogan’s credentials? I can think of two: Hogan looks old enough to be governor, and he promises to cut taxes. Now, even Brown, the Democrat, is promising no new taxes.

Taxes is the only issue on the voter’s minds this election season. I’ve been making some phone calls to voters — a lot of phone calls, actually. When I ask about issues, the answer is taxes. It’s the next thing to unanimous. I’m calling on behalf of a Democratic candidate on the Eastern Shore, where Red Republicans are thick as mosquitoes, but Democrats and unaffiliated voters in the Blue counties have nearly as much antipathy to taxes this year. Just ask Brown.

So there you have it. Democrats in Central Maryland are in a self-induced coma. Republicans in the provinces are hopping mad, as always. I don’t think it will happen, but we could wake up with a Republican governor on Nov. 5.

— John Hayden

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Montgomery County Council Minimum Wage Power Play (With Comments)

Local politicians have more power to raise the minimum wage than the president of the U.S. and the governor of Maryland.

MarcElrich

MARC ELRICH

The Montgomery County Council, Prince George’s County Council, and D.C. City Council have passed nearly identical bills raising the minimum wage to $11.50 by 2017.

Here’s the backstory: Three neighboring jurisdictions joined a “pact” for a regional minimum wage in defiance of the $7.25 Federal law observed in Maryland. And it’s perfectly legal.

What’s the plot? Is this a holy alliance or a nefarious conspiracy? It depends on your point of view. Either way, it’s a bold maneuver to outflank the minimum-wage prerogatives of both the federal and state governments.

Might this portend emergence of the modern city-state? Something to keep in mind when you vote in local elections. Local is important.

The standard textbook model of a minimum wage ...

The standard textbook model of a minimum wage set above the equilibrium wage. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At this writing, Federal and Maryland governments have been unwilling or unable to junk the worthless $7.25 minimum wage. Dysfunction in Washington and inaction in Annapolis.

Enter intrepid local pols of Maryland and D.C. (stage left) to rescue the working poor.

The three-jurisdiction pact was brokered by Montgomery County Council member Marc Elrich, who apparently demonstrated superb leadership despite the fact that he was not authorized to commit his fellow council members.

Popular support for the minimum wage is stipulated in all three jurisdictions. But so is opposition from the business community. In my view, regional cooperation of this magnitude would not be possible if we had Republicans around to throw sand in the gears. All council members in Montgomery, Prince George’s and D.C. are currently Democrats. Even though they’re all Democrats, they represent a range of economic interests.

Despite Democratic solidarity, Prince George’s and D.C. lacked confidence in Montgomery’s ability to uphold the pact, and with good reason. They told Montgomery County: “You jump off the cliff first.”

And so the Montgomery Council held a snarky debate on Tuesday, Nov. 26. When the dust settled, the members voted 8-1 vote to raise the minimum wage.

Despite the pose of near unanimity, the Montgomery Council was sharply divided. All members claimed to support a minimum wage increase. But six also wanted to placate  the business community. They differed over “how low can we go.” A token raise to $8 or $9 would have been welcomed by some.

A six-member majority of the all-Democratic council was allegedly prepared to delay or defang the wage bill. Only three members — Elrich, Nancy Navarro, and Valerie Ervin —  were fully committed to an $11.50 minimum phased in between October 2014 and October 2016. (That’s three years in the future, for those of you keeping score.)

Minwage3

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With each effort to reduce the wage, Navarro asked why the poor always get thrown under the bus. (My words, not her’s, but same sentiment.) Ervin called for “courage” and “heart” to retain the $11.50 target.

Count Council member George Leventhal as a fourth supporter. However, Leventhal seemed willing to make accommodations with opponents. His many and lengthy statements succeeded in obfuscating his position on the fine points. To be fair, Leventhal is chairman of the committee that reported the bill.

I lost count of the number of gambits (technically, amendments) opponents deployed in efforts to delay or weaken.  Along the way, there was at least one 5-4 vote. That’s how close it really was, not 8-1. Eventually, opponents succeeded in delaying $11.50 until Oct. 2017. (That’s four years in the future.)

In the official, final vote, Council member Phil Andrews was the diehard holdout. It may or may not be pertinent that Andrews is challenging County Executive Isiah Leggett in the June 2014 Democratic primary.

(Instant analysis: With one vote, Andrews won conservatives and minimum-wage haters for the coming election battle. That’s if there are any conservatives in Montgomery County, some might say.  Yes, Virginia, conservatives really do exist in Montgomery, and they are not generous like Santa Claus. Many conservatives vote in the Democratic primary, registering as Democrats for that very purpose. However, it may safely be predicted that NOT ENOUGH conservatives live in MoCo to prevail in a Democratic primary. At least, I hope not.)

The next day, Wednesday, the Prince George’s Council, with all nine members as cosponsors, passed a similar bill.

On Tuesday, Dec. 3, the D.C. Council completed the hat trick, unanimously.

The federal system shows signs of entropy. As a result, Maryland and other states have an opportunity to assert more power. Regions capable of political cohesion, such as Montgomery, Prince George’s and D.C., can assume more local control.

The rare success at regional solidarity is not yet a done deal. The D.C. mayor and executives of the two counties could theoretically veto the bill. But the P.G. and D.C. Councils apparently have enough votes to override a veto. And Montgomery’s Leggett is unlikely to veto.

All this is not unprecedented, but it is unusual. A number of regional efforts have stood the test of time in the D.C. area. Local minimum wage bills have passed in a few places, most notably San Francisco. Maybe Montgomery will become the San Francisco of the East.

The takeaway: The regional minimum wage pact is a big deal, maybe. The federal system shows troubling signs of entropy. States like Maryland have an opportunity to grab more power. But if states are unable to pass minimum-wage laws and fund programs such as education, authority might devolve downward to cities and counties. Enter the modern city-state. Local pols will be alert for any regional arrangement that works, including pacts that cross state lines.

— John Hayden

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Forgiveness of Student Loans Should Be THE Democratic Issue For 2014

Protecting Social Security and Medicare — the strong and fundamental safety net for older Americans — is a core mission of the Democratic Party and Democratic voters.

Equally important — it’s a moral obligation — is making sure we don’t leave younger generations bereft of opportunity and buried in debt. We must preserve hope for everyone from today’s elementary school children to today’s forty- and fifty- somethings.

President Obama’s call for quality early childhood education for all children gets us thinking in that direction. But what about today’s working adults, from age 21 to age 62? Too many will find themselves caught in the middle between the costly (privileged?) senior generation and the expensive (and essential!) younger children.

I’ve long been troubled by the accusation that preserving Social Security for today’s elders will lead directly to the indebtedness and impoverishment of our children and grandchildren. Continue reading

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Who Speaks For The People?

Today, Dispatches from ConsterNation publishes a guest post by Judy Davis:

Since the election of Woodrow Wilson in 1912, the Democratic Party has used our government to make laws which have improved working conditions, provided elderly support, promoted racial equality, protected the environment and addressed other social concerns. Wilson established the Federal Reserve Board, making banking safer and monitoring financial markets. The Clayton Antitrust Act allowed workers to petition for better working conditions, shortened work days and initiated child labor laws.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal” programs provided relief, recovery and reform to ease the Great Depression. FDR is responsible for initiating Social Security, which provides Old Age, Survivors and Disability insurance. Through FDR’s efforts, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation increased water development facilities in the U.S. and provided work for the unemployed.

What do these two leaders have in common? They were Democrats!

John Fitzgerald Kennedy established the Peace Corps and negotiated a ban on nuclear weapons testing with the United Kingdom and Soviet Union.

His successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, passed numerous socially significant programs, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and “The War on Poverty” – Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, Work Study and food stamps.

Jimmy Carter is a human rights advocate and has worked to promote peace in the Middle East and limit the number of nuclear weapons. He encouraged energy conservation to ensure an energy-secure nation.

Bill Clinton passed the Omnibus Budget Act, which cut taxes for 15 million low-income families, made tax cuts available to 90 percent of small businesses, and raised taxes on the wealthiest 1.2 percent of taxpayers.

President Barack Obama has regulated banking and credit cards, extended health and unemployment benefits, implemented hate crime legislation, passed an economic stimulus package spurring job creation, modified bankruptcy terms, reinforced Iran sanctions, and reformed health care. No small feat for less than 2.5 years!

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.” — ROBERT F. KENNEDY,  from www.democrats.org/issues.

Democrats speak for the people! We are responsible for each other and should provide the safety nets needed to ensure basic rights for all.

— Judy Davis

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If Alvin Greene Can Win, Maybe We Really Can ‘Take America Back’ (Vote Here)

People with moxie and common sense are starting to climb on board the Alvin Greene Bandwagon To Take America Back. Here’s five reasons to vote for Mr. Greene, courtesy of Huffington Post.

Where is it written that you have to wear thousand-dollar suits, have $400 styled hair, cheat on your wife, AND be bought and paid for by at least one, zillion-dollar international conglomerate, in order to qualify for the U.S. Senate, or, for that matter, governor of South Carolina.

For your convenience and amusement, let’s have a little mock election right here and now.

Above top, Mark Sanford (SC), John Edwards (NC); second row, Sarah Palin (Alaska), and Alvin Greene (SC Dem Party photo). (The Sanford, Edwards and Palin photos are from Wikipedia.) Sanford and Edwards are “Establishment.” Palin and Greene are “outsiders” (Ok, Mr. Greene is a new outsider, and Ms. Palin is a veteran outsider.) Sarah Palin represents the Tea Party, and Alvin Greene represents the Mockingbird Party (unless someone comes up with a better name).

Your vote counts! In fact, your vote is the most important vote! No poll tax! All races and  genders welcome to participate. Is this a great and free country, or what?

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Alvin Greene, The Real Deal, And Maybe The First Nominee of the Mockingbird Party

South Carolina is waking up to the amazing but true story that Alvin Greene is the real deal, the unknown “everyman” who won against all odds.

Alvin Greene is the small-town guy who went away and served in the Army for a long time, then came back home, ran a very low-key, under-the-radar campaign, and astounded everyone by winning! Alvin Greene is today the official and legitimate nominee of the South Carolina Democratic Party for the U.S. Senate. Exactly what about that is hard to understand?

For the first exclusive and respectful interview with the political phenom, see OpEdNews.com. Here’s a quick sample:

My campaign is about jobs, better education for children and justice . . .

We spend much more of our taxpayer dollars on inmates than students. We must get our priorities together in South Carolina and across the country.

Truth to tell, I doubt you’ll find many African-American Democrats in South Carolina who disagree with Mr. Green’s views. Looks to me like Alvin Greene is going to come out smelling like the hometown hero.

Here’s a prediction: I’m going to be sending the Alvin Greene campaign a small check, and so are thousands of other people from across the country. Alvin Greene is the Democratic Party’s answer to the Republicans’ Tea Party movement. Just my opinion.

What about that spurious “charge” against Greene, which S.C. officials have not even bothered to prosecute? ROFL. Everyone who has ever read “To Kill A Mockingbird” has a pretty good idea what that’s all about. Come to think of it, Alvin Greene is so soft-spoken and gentle, he reminds me of a mockingbird. Maybe the Democratic answer to the Tea Party will be called the Mockingbird Party. I like the ring. Remember, you read it here first!

Here’s another prediction: Alvin Greene is going to win approximately 97 percent of the black vote in South Carolina on Election Day in November. If he can add the votes of a few open-minded white Democrats and Independents, he might just win, and I will write a book and call it “Mr. Greene Goes To Washington.”

For an even more enthusiastic opinion than mine, check out the Washington Post’s PostPartisan Blog.

— John Hayden

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