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How to fix the Democratic Party ... by Bernie Sanders

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How to Fix the Democratic Party

By Bernie Sanders, Politico

11 November 17


It’s time we come together to enact real reform—only then can we defeat Donald Trump and retake the country.


Donald Trump’s presidency represents an unprecedented crisis for our country. His campaign, and now his White House, seek to divide us using racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia and xenophobia. His economic agenda is the agenda of the billionaire class. He wants more tax breaks for the rich, while cutting education, nutrition, affordable housing and other programs desperately needed by working families. And his refusal to acknowledge the great danger of climate change is a threat to the entire planet.

There is nothing, nothing more important than defeating Donald Trump and his extreme right-wing agenda. But this will not happen without an effective opposition party.

Victories in Virginia, New Jersey, Washington, Maine and other states around the country on Tuesday are an important first step in pushing back against Trump’s radical agenda. It was especially gratifying to see thousands of working people and young people jump into the political process, volunteering, knocking on doors and winning elections to state legislatures, city councils and school boards. But the longer-term trend for the Democratic Party is worrisome.

Since 2009, it has lost more than 1,000 seats in state legislatures across the country. Republicans now control the White House and 34 (soon to be 33) out of 50 governorships, as well as the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

In 26 states, Republicans control the governor's mansion along with the entirety of the state legislature. This is not just in so-called deep red states. It is true in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Florida and New Hampshire, all of which will be critical to defeating Trump in 2020, and in drawing congressional districts following that year’s Census.

What is especially absurd about this situation is that the American people strongly oppose almost all elements of the Trump-Republican agenda. Fewer than one-third of Americans support the Trump and Republican tax cuts for the wealthy, and just 12 percent supported their plan to throw tens of millions of people off of their health care. The majority of Americans understand that climate change is real.

Donna Brazile’s recent book makes it abundantly clear how important it is to bring fundamental reforms to the Democratic Party. The party cannot remain an institution largely dominated by the wealthy and inside-the-Beltway consultants. It must open its doors and welcome into its ranks millions of working people and young people who desperately want to be involved in determining the future of our nation.

Last year, Secretary Hillary Clinton and I agreed upon the need for a Unity Reform Commission to move the party in a new and more democratic direction. In a few weeks, this group will have its final meeting in Washington, D.C., and will decide if we are going to move forward in an inclusive way or continue with the current failed approach.

This is not some abstract, insular debate. The future of Democratic Party institutions has everything to do with whether or not Democrats have the grass-roots energy to effectively take on Trump, the Republican Party and their reactionary agenda—or whether we remain in the minority.

What are some of the reforms that are desperately needed?

First, it is absurd that the Democratic Party now gives over 700 superdelegates—almost one-third the number a presidential candidate needs to win the nomination—the power to control the nominating process and ignore the will of voters.

Second, in contrast to Republicans, Democrats believe in making voting easier, not harder. We believe in universal and same-day voter registration and ending antiquated, arbitrary and discriminatory voter registration laws. These same principles must apply to our primaries. Our job must be to reach out to independents and to young people and bring them into the Democratic Party process. Independent voters are critical to general election victories. Locking them out of primaries is a pathway to failure.

In that regard, it is absurd that New Yorkers must change their party registration six months before the Democratic primary in order to participate. Other states have similar, if not as onerous provisions.

Third, in states that use caucuses, we must make it easier for working people and students to participate. While there is much to be said for bringing people together, face to face to discuss why they support the candidate of their choice, not everybody is able to participate because of work, child care or other obligations. A process must be developed that gives everyone the right to cast a vote even if they are not physically able to attend a caucus.

Finally, if we are to succeed, we must fully appreciate Brazile’s revelations and understand the need for far more transparency in the financial and policy workings of the Democratic Party. Hundreds of millions of dollars flow in and out of the Democratic National Committee with little to no accountability. That simply is not acceptable.

At a time when we have a Republican president and Republican Party whose leadership and agenda are strongly opposed by the American people, now is the time for real change. It is critical that we come together and reform the Democratic Party. When we do that, we will win local, state and national elections and transform our country."

Bernie's right once again!

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It's not just the National party. There's a group, Forward Majority, that's got a novel strategy to regain control of Statehouses.

In August, Virginia Democrats polled Debra Rodman’s suburban Richmond district to determine whether they should support her race.

The poll, which cost $3,800, found John O’Bannon, the 16-year Republican incumbent in Virginia’s House of Delegates, with a 12 percentage point lead. Nearly half of voters said they’d support him. That was enough for the state party to spent no more than $3,800 in that race, said Noah Dion, Rodman’s campaign manager.

“They said, you know what, we have a number of candidates we need to put money into,” and Rodman wasn’t one of them, Dion said in an interview. He doesn’t blame Virginia Democrats for focusing on other races. But he says he knew O’Bannon, a “Trumpcare” supporter who voted to allow concealed carry for machine guns, could be defeated.

That’s where Forward Majority came in.

The group invested at least $14,000 each in nine House of Delegates candidates in Virginia, according to data shared with Mic. Five of the candidates won with help from Forward Majority, a Democratic super PAC launched this year to help Democrats win back state legislatures. None of those were in the Democratic party’s top tier or expected to flip on Tuesday night. Two of the races the group-backed candidates lost were by less than a percentage point. The group invested nearly $500,000 in Virginia House races overall.

https://mic.com/articles/185978/democrats-success-in-virginia-would-not-have-been-possible-without-this-key-group#.AH9EoSfG6

Check out the article. Their strategy helped elect an admitted Socialist who had been abandoned by the National party because he was too "progressive" and because the seat was assumed to be hopelessly Red. Read the article.

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Deus X wrote:It's not just the National party. There's a group, Forward Majority, that's got a novel strategy to regain control of Statehouses.

In August, Virginia Democrats polled Debra Rodman’s suburban Richmond district to determine whether they should support her race.

The poll, which cost $3,800, found John O’Bannon, the 16-year Republican incumbent in Virginia’s House of Delegates, with a 12 percentage point lead. Nearly half of voters said they’d support him. That was enough for the state party to spent no more than $3,800 in that race, said Noah Dion, Rodman’s campaign manager.

“They said, you know what, we have a number of candidates we need to put money into,” and Rodman wasn’t one of them, Dion said in an interview. He doesn’t blame Virginia Democrats for focusing on other races. But he says he knew O’Bannon, a “Trumpcare” supporter who voted to allow concealed carry for machine guns, could be defeated.

That’s where Forward Majority came in.

The group invested at least $14,000 each in nine House of Delegates candidates in Virginia, according to data shared with Mic. Five of the candidates won with help from Forward Majority, a Democratic super PAC launched this year to help Democrats win back state legislatures. None of those were in the Democratic party’s top tier or expected to flip on Tuesday night. Two of the races the group-backed candidates lost were by less than a percentage point. The group invested nearly $500,000 in Virginia House races overall.

https://mic.com/articles/185978/democrats-success-in-virginia-would-not-have-been-possible-without-this-key-group#.AH9EoSfG6

Check out the article. Their strategy helped elect an admitted Socialist who had been abandoned by the National party because he was too "progressive" and because the seat was assumed to be hopelessly Red. Read the article.

Thanks! I just joined and donated. Great organization and not under the DNC's thumb. All the better!

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Wordslinger wrote:Thanks!  I just joined and donated.  Great organization and not under the DNC's thumb.  All the better!

Exactly right. The DNC should be renamed the Clinton/Wall Street Political Crime Family. If Forward Majority is successful, we may be able to drive the moneylenders out of the Temple and return the Democratic Party to its FDR-era roots. If the Democrats don't start working on the State legislatures issue, we're gonna be really screwed come the 2020 redistricting and this seems the best hope.

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Democrat Clinton haters are what put Donald Trump in the White House. The woman won by over 3 million popular votes-there's no need for an autopsy. All that is needed is to teach young people that the perfect cannot be the enemy of the good. So long as Bernie Sanders is piping dreams into their heads of things that moderates in this country just are not ready for yet, and as long as they won't accept anything less, the Dems will be split. Donna Brazille is a back stabbing witch, IMO. I was angry when Bill Maher sucked up to her Friday night on his show, but he's disappointed me many times before. He's normally a realistic guy, but Centrist Bashing is not how any party there ever was won an election. Most reasonable people have differing opinions on different subjects, and really superior individuals can even hold two opposing ideas in their minds without crashing. I didn't say that, F Scott Fitzgerald said something like it, but he was right. I am 100% for gay marriage, I am 100% for gay equality in the workplace and society, and I have gay friends. I completely believe those things. I also believe I don't want a transgender person in the bathroom with me if I know they are transgender. Most people draw a line in the sand on some  issues, and far left progressives or far alt
righters expect people to be on their side, issue after issue, or they ridicule or reject them. That's the problem with this country. It's not with Hillary Clinton or the DNC. It's with purists on both side of the aisle who won't even TALK about compromise. Bernie is one of them. I used to like him when he was on Brunch with Bernie on the radio, but I don't think he made any serious effort to get his people to vote for Hillary. I blame him and the kids who didn't go out and vote for Trump's election.  The real Trump loyalists were voting for him no matter what, but Democrats had a choice whether to vote or not, and they just did not. If they couldn't have Bernie, they didn't care who won. Now look what we got.
As far as making it easier for non Dems to vote in primaries, that's one of the dumbest ideas Sanders has. I personally changed my voting registration once to vote for John McCain over George W Bush in the Republican primary, then switched back. I did it for good motives, I liked McCain back then. But I could have just as well thought he had the worst chance against the Democrat, so it would be a good idea to go over to the other side and get a lousy candidate the nomination. Letting indy's vote in primaries and letting people change registration right before primaries is an invitation to some very vile mischief. If you want to vote for a Democrat in a primary, become a Democrat ahead of time. otherwise, it's not your party.

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bigdog wrote:Democrat Clinton haters are what put Donald Trump in the White House. The woman won by over 3 million popular votes-there's no need for an autopsy. All that is needed is to teach young people that the perfect cannot be the enemy of the good. So long as Bernie Sanders is piping dreams into their heads of things that moderates in this country just are not ready for yet, and as long as they won't accept anything less, the Dems will be split. Donna Brazille is a back stabbing witch, IMO. I was angry when Bill Maher sucked up to her Friday night on his show, but he's disappointed me many times before. He's normally a realistic guy, but Centrist Bashing is not how any party there ever was won an election. Most reasonable people have differing opinions on different subjects, and really superior individuals can even hold two opposing ideas in their minds without crashing. I didn't say that, F Scott Fitzgerald said something like it, but he was right. I am 100% for gay marriage, I am 100% for gay equality in the workplace and society, and I have gay friends. I completely believe those things. I also believe I don't want a transgender person in the bathroom with me if I know they are transgender. Most people draw a line in the sand on some  issues, and far left progressives or far alt
righters expect people to be on their side, issue after issue, or they ridicule or reject them. That's the problem with this country. It's not with Hillary Clinton or the DNC. It's with purists on both side of the aisle who won't even TALK about compromise. Bernie is one of them. I used to like him when he was on Brunch with Bernie on the radio, but I don't think he made any serious effort to get his people to vote for Hillary. I blame him and the kids who didn't go out and vote for Trump's election.  The real Trump loyalists were voting for him no matter what, but Democrats had a choice whether to vote or not, and they just did not. If they couldn't have Bernie, they didn't care who won. Now look what we got.
As far as making it easier for non Dems to vote in primaries, that's one of the dumbest ideas Sanders has. I personally changed my voting registration once to vote for John McCain over George W Bush in the Republican primary, then switched back. I did it for good motives, I liked McCain back then. But I could have just as well thought he had the worst chance against the Democrat, so it would be a good idea to go over to the other side and get a lousy candidate the nomination. Letting indy's vote in primaries and letting people change registration right before primaries is an invitation to some very vile mischief. If you want to vote for a Democrat in a primary, become a Democrat ahead of time. otherwise, it's not your party.


You make a number of valid and interesting points. And I think you're right about young voters refusing to vote when the candidate was Hillary. I voted for her because I won't waste a vote and recognized that if Trump got in it would be a disaster. But I also recognize that the DNC and it's cozy relationship with lobbyists and the corporate reps they choose as super-delegates has disastrous consequences. The truth is, the DNC still wants to hang on to its rich, corrupting donors while telling us regular folks they fully represent our needs. And now all progressives know that's bullshit.

To be frank, whether its a fully owned DNC or RNC doesn't matter to me much. I want a government for the people, not for the monied. And for any democrat who is too middle of the road to recognize that medicare for all is the best and only solution for a country in which close to 40% live at or below the poverty level, it's time for all of you to wise up. And a free college education will guarantee a lot more jobs than Trump's bullshit mantra of bringing factories back. That asshole refuses to acknowledge that robotics are fast replacing unskilled workers. Factories that used to employ hundreds now get by with fifty or less -- and the trend isn't slowing down.

You sound just like the NRA-republicans who, after a mass shooting say it's
"too early" to talk about gun control legislation. I read yesterday that three rich individuals in America now possess more cash assets than 40% of middle and lower class Americans combined.

Fuck compromise . . . and as they now stand, fuck the DNC too. And I represent maybe 60% of the progressives who like Bernie and/or Elizabeth Warren. Reject us and the other side wins.

You need to face reality; you can't win without us ... and we're sure as hell not willing to sign over our lives to the oligarchs who now feed the DNC.

I'm 81, so I won't be around when the millennial finally take the reins. If you wise-up, you'll recognize that its you middle of the road conservative democrats who must compromise ... because we won't.

The republicans are in exactly the same boat; they can't win without Trump's basket of deplorables, and it's beginning to look like they can't win with them either.

The party establishment bends or breaks. Reality.


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Wordslinger wrote: That asshole refuses to acknowledge that robotics are fast replacing unskilled workers.  Factories that used to employ hundreds now get by with fifty or less -- and the trend isn't slowing down.

It's getting cheaper too:

In factory after American factory, the surrender of the industrial age to the age of automation continues at a record pace. The transformation is decades along, its primary reasons well-established: a search for cost-cutting and efficiency.

But as one factory in Wisconsin is showing, the forces driving automation can evolve—for reasons having to do with the condition of the American workforce. The robots were coming in not to replace humans, but because reliable humans had become so hard to find. It was part of a labor shortage spreading across America, one that economists said is stemming from so many things at once. A low unemployment rate. The retirement of Baby Boomers. A younger generation that doesn’t want factory jobs. And, more and more, a workforce in declining health: because of alcohol, because of depression, because of a spike in the use of opioids and other drugs.

In earlier decades, companies would have responded to such a shortage by either giving up on expansion hopes or boosting wages. But now, they had another option. Robots had become more affordable. No longer did machines require six-figure investments; they could be purchased for $30,000, or even leased at an hourly rate. As a result, a new generation of robots was winding up on the floors of small- and medium-size companies. And at Tenere Inc., where 132 jobs were unfilled on the week the robots arrived, the balance was beginning to shift.

Tenere manufactures custom-made metal and plastic parts, mostly for the tech industry. Five years earlier, a private-equity firm acquired the company, expanded to Mexico, and ushered in what the company called “a new era of growth.” In Wisconsin, where it has 550 employees, all nonunion, wages started at $10.50 per hour for first shift and $13 per hour for overnight. Counting health insurance and retirement benefits, even the lowest-paid worker was more expensive than the robots, which Tenere was leasing from a Nashville-based startup, Hirebotics, for $15 per hour.

http://theweek.com/print/839/54592/when-new-coworker-robot

With the advances in artificial intelligence and robotics, this is just the beginning. Workplace robots are just about at the Apple II stage now and innovation is accelerating. They'll be at the laptop stage in two or three years. Springsteen nailed it: "Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain't comin' back"

Eventually we're either going to have to drastically reduce the workweek--a 30-hour week of 6 hour days would be a good start--and cut the retirement age back to 50 or we're going to have to start paying people NOT to work. This will be doable when politicians finally accept that MMT is an accurate description of economic reality.



We probably ought to thank that arrogant bitch Hillary for losing. Trump is giving progressives a real shot at making some serious changes in 2020.

P.S. I don't think Comey did near as much damage to Hillary as her "deplorables" comment. Image hearing that if you're a laid-off factory worker in Michigan or Pennsylvania trying to decide who to vote for. Fuck Hillary, she's the political equivalent of Toxic Shock Syndrome.

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The ground swell of the tea party had less to do with the Republican Party than people getting involved in politics. It ended up as the establishment Republican Party slowly morphing into Dixiecrats. The ground swell in the Democratic Party is less about Bernie or Hillary than regular people realizing that Donald Trump would not have been elected if people simply got involved and ran for dog catcher to senators. I do not think either party has control over their constituents anymore. I am seeing Democrats working traditional Republican districts in Western Illinois and it is the real deal......people are showing up at village hall meetings. It is correction time.

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I agree with you Seaoat -- I have inordinate faith in the population-at-large. Your people and my people. The oligarchs are fast approaching self-destruction. I'm not sure how it will go, but I know that ultimately the people will win.

Unlike most politicians, I think the average Joe and Janice are good-hearted and want everyone to enjoy being alive.

Monsanto and Bayer and big pharma are surely doomed.

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See, here's the problem with the article about rebuilding a broken party- the party is not broken. I'd like Medicare for all too, and I think most Democrats believe that way, even the Centrists. Hillary Clinton, as hated as she is by a lot of people, still won the election by over 3 MILLION votes. That's not results from a broken party. It reminds me of when the Republicans preach about Obamacare being broken when it's their refusing to fund it fully that has put it in jeopardy. It's democrats refusing to bend a little and listen to each other that is messing up the party. It isn't coming from outside. It's not the DNC and it's not the Clintons. As a purist you can say the party is too involved with big money but you will never compete with the Republicans without it. That won't work until corporations aren't people, so until that happens, we have to take their money too. You have to compete to get back into power and change the system-running off into the woods and screaming against Capitalists just won't do it.
I know we have a fundamental difference in opinion here, and I'm pretty sure we won't change each other's minds. But one thing I can promise you is that I will continue to vote Democrat so long as the Republican party represents pure evil to me. I just wish all the purists out there would make the same pledge, because it's the only realistic option we've got.
And as for Sen. Sanders, he's evidently gone back to being an independent since he didn't get the nomination, so he doesn't need to tell the democratic party how to conduct themselves.



Last edited by bigdog on Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:24 pm; edited 1 time in total

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The Republican Party had more brains than the Democrats in 2016.  I knew three weeks before the election that Wisconsin was in play because of the local tv station covering Wisconsin news, and reporting that Johnson was going to win the senate seat.  What does the Democratic Party do.......with Hubris and arrogance they went into Georgia and Arizona and spent precious resources while Hilllary did not visit Wisconsin.  If that is not broken........I do not know what the function of a political party is........you win and implement your platform, or you lose and pretend........white blue collar folks are NOT the enemy of the democratic party. Taking them for granted was a mistake at the party level.

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I don't think Hillary Clinton took white working class voters for granted at all. But historically speaking, those are easy Democratic states to win. And don't forget the polls there showed her ahead as well.
I don't know why Dems bother with the South either, Southerners are too hard headed to ever change and Obama was absolutely right when he said it was about Guns, God an Gays down here. He didn't say race because it would have been tacky for him to do so, but he had the issues down pat. I don't know when Southerners will ever catch up with the rest of mankind. I heard a joke that the best place to live on the day the world ends would be in Alabama, because they're always a good 20 years behind everybody else on everything.
The morons came out to vote in those states up there, the reality TV viewers who thought voting for Trump would be fun and who, once again, just HATED the Clintons. This election was about hate and nothing else. And some of that hate came from progressive Democrats who should have known better. The news wanted to say it was about jobs, but the economy really wasn't that bad at election time. Unemployment was way down already. This was all about hate.

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I'm not a big Bernie fan (I like most of his ideas, he just hasn't impressed me at all with having any actual realistic plans to make them work), but he's right about some of this.

I'd ditch the superdelegate thing. Never liked that, and it's been a huge bone of contention several times now. And, yep, voting should be made easier, absolutely.

One thing I notice him ducking -- probably because most of the states he won were gotten this way -- was the caucuses. Don't make them easier -- do away with them. There should not be caucuses at all. Every state should let the people vote themselves, not depend on delegates. The hell with the caucus system, there's nothing democratic about that process.

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zsomething wrote:I'm not a big Bernie fan (I like most of his ideas, he just hasn't impressed me at all with having any actual realistic plans to make them work), but he's right about some of this.  

I'd ditch the superdelegate thing.  Never liked that, and it's been a huge bone of contention several times now.  And, yep, voting should be made easier, absolutely.

One thing I notice him ducking -- probably because most of the states he won were gotten this way -- was the caucuses.  Don't make them easier -- do away with them.   There should not be caucuses at all.  Every state should let the people vote themselves, not depend on delegates.  The hell with the caucus system, there's nothing democratic about that process.



Well stated! I agree 100%.

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bigdog wrote:See, here's the problem with the article about rebuilding a broken party- the party is not broken. I'd like Medicare for all too, and I think most Democrats believe that way, even the Centrists. Hillary Clinton, as hated as she is by a lot of people, still won the election by over 3 MILLION votes. That's not results from a broken party. It reminds me of when the Republicans preach about Obamacare being broken when it's their refusing to fund it fully that has put it in jeopardy. It's democrats refusing to bend a little and listen to each other that is messing up the party. It isn't coming from outside. It's not the DNC and it's not the Clintons. As a purist you can say the party is too involved with big money but you will never compete with the Republicans without it. That won't work until corporations aren't people, so until that happens, we have to take their money too. You have to compete to get back into power and change the system-running off into the woods and screaming against Capitalists just won't do it.
I know we have a fundamental difference in opinion here, and I'm pretty sure we won't change each other's minds. But one thing I can promise you is that I will continue to vote Democrat so long as the Republican party represents pure evil to me. I just wish all the purists out there would make the same pledge, because it's the only realistic option we've got.

And as for Sen. Sanders, he's evidently gone back to being an independent since he didn't get the nomination, so he doesn't need to tell the democratic party how to conduct themselves.

Your statement above: "As a purist you can say the party is too involved with big money but you will never compete with the Republicans without it. That won't work until corporations aren't people, so until that happens, we have to take their money too. You have to compete to get back into power and change the system-running off into the woods and screaming against Capitalists just won't do it." Look, once again, how does the DNC get a $15 minimum wage passed if their biggest campaign donators disagree?

You need to also realize that, using Bernie Sander's remarkable fund raising ability gaining millions of dollars from small donations from average supporters as an example, it's obvious that as one of two major political parties, if you inspire your supporters you can win big without any huge contributions from corporate or big business interests.

We're not going to get lowcost, high quality health care as long as big pharma and health insurance companies are running the show. Get real. Face the truth: right now, big business is able to have its way legislatively with almost complete loyalty of the leadership of both parties.

Your approach is to continue the same process that's decimating the income of all but the ultra rich. IT WON'T WORK.

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