The latest anti-Hillary lies about that DNC lawsuit

First, a disclaimer: I supported Bernie in the primaries, and believe that had he won the nomination, he may very well be President today. But that’s an issue for another day.

Some rabid Bernie people (perhaps spurred on by Trump people behind the scenes who troll liberal pages and try to get us fighting each other) are making absurd claims about the recent lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee.

Basically, the lawsuit was filed by some Sanders supporters.  I’ll summarize their argument here:  “Waah! The Democrats were mean to us!”bernie-and-hillary

Okay, it’s a bit more complicated than that. What they said was that the leaders of the Democratic party were biased against Bernie and were doing what they could to make sure he didn’t get the nomination. The lawsuit complained that the DNC worked behind the scenes to schedule debates in a way that helped Clinton; that the people in charge supported her; that they planned events in ways that harmed Sanders. (The lawsuit did not claim — nor could it — that any laws were broken.)

Oh noes! Whoever thought there would be politics in politics!

Setting aside the problem of an outsider suddenly joining a group and demanding to be in charge of it and how that group would react, the lawsuit faced its first challenge that all lawsuits face: A Motion for Summary Judgment.

This is where the defendant in the case (the DNC) tries to get the case thrown out. The law requires the judge to say “assuming the plaintiff’s recitation of the facts is true, is there a claim for action here?” In other words, just because you may claim to be hurt doesn’t mean the law provides a remedy.

The judge rightly concluded that there was no case here and threw it out. Instantly, memes and blog posts started popping claiming that the judge found that everything the plaintiffs claimed was true. That’s not how it works.

The Democratic party is a private organization. They can set whatever rules they want for picking their candidate. The don’t have to have primaries (and in fact, many states have a caucus instead). They don’t have to sponsor debates. They can go back to the old days of choosing candidates in smoke-filled rooms (although being Democrats, it would be in a “smoking not permitted, have some latte and a croissant” room).

Don’t like it? Join the party and work to have the rules changed, instead of, you know, being an independent for your entire political career, joining the party just in time to run for office, and then quitting the party again as soon as you lose.

Did the DNC violate its own internal rules? Very likely. But that’s an internal problem they need to deal with — it’s not subject to a lawsuit.

So if you see someone claiming that the judge found that everything in the plaintiff’s lawsuit was true, they’re either completely unaware of how lawsuits work or else they are aware and are lying to you.

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Why the Bernie supporters lost their seats

Apparently, a group of Bernie supporters were denied entry to the convention last night. (Supporters, not delegates. The delegates remained.) These supporters are quite upset about it.

But let’s step back a bit and think about it.13631489_562587023923545_9030153240511055177_n

The way to win elections is to have four nights of a convention with no protests — with unity. Free advertising on TV for four nights! Democrats needed to put on our best image.

Some Bernie supporters are complaining that the whole primary system was unfair because the DNC leadership had already chosen a candidate years ago. But that’s what always happens. There’s always an insider. Eight years ago, it was also Hillary Clinton. That time, she lost. Obama got more votes. And then Hillary’s supporters showed up at the convention, didn’t protest, and cheered on the nominee because they were Democrats who knew what was best for the party and the country.

On Monday, a bunch of Bernie supporters (upset with the fact that he had lost) disrupted speeches, argued with other attendees, and showed the party to be at war with itself. Or was it with itself?

Let’s face it, Bernie was not a Democrat. He became one, ran, lost, conceded, and then announced that he had resigned as a Democrat and is now once again an Independent. He bolted from the party even before the convention was over.

He is no longer a Democrat. He is no longer in consideration for the nomination.

So now a bunch of people dedicated to someone who isn’t even a Democrat and is not in consideration for the nomination want admission to the Democratic convention? For what purpose?

The Democratic convention is not a place for non-Democrats. And after the way the Bernie supporters disrupted Monday’s convention, you can see why they weren’t exactly welcome.

The key is this: If you really care about the Democratic party and what it stands for, and especially if you realize how important this election is, then you look after what is best for the party (and America).

You don’t get to crash and disrupt my party and then get mad when I ask you to leave.

The parties from 50 years ago are not the parties of today

“More Republicans supported civil rights in the ’60s than Democrats did!”

I hate that argument, and anyone who says it should be ignored. They clearly know nothing about history.7546-004-7F54297C

First and primarily, it wrongly assumes that the Democratic party and the Republican party are exactly like they are now.

The Republican party was originally the liberal party, fighting against slavery (with Lincoln) and income inequality (with Teddy Roosevelt). But that morphed, and we went through a long period where each party had liberals and conservatives. There were conservative Democrats (mostly in the south) and liberal Republicans (mostly in the north).

The civil rights movement in the ’60s was largely led (in our government) by President Lyndon Johnson (a Democrat) and mostly fought by George Wallace (a Democrat). There were people in both parties on both sides of the issue.

What you can say with certainty was that it was the liberals from both parties that supported civil rights in the ’60s while the conservatives from both parties fought against it.

Today, there is a parallel: liberals are the ones supporting gay rights and conservatives are the ones against it. It just so happens that our parties no longer look like they did 50 years ago — now all the liberals are in one party and all the conservatives are in another.

This is actually a very bad thing, because it discourages compromise. Our government would get a lot more accomplished if we had liberals, moderates, and conservatives in both parties. We can mostly blame gerrymandering for the divisiveness we now have in America.

But the other reason to ignore this comment is because it so stupidly tries to distract you from the real issue:  What do Republicans support today? Usually, a conservative will use this argument when they’ve been attacked for supporting racist policies. “Oh yeah?” they reply. “Well, we were right 50 years ago!”

That certainly doesn’t mean you’re right now.

Democrats Can’t Lose What They Never Had

by Guest Blogger Adam J Nicolai

If you’re a Democrat like I am, the polling for tomorrow’s election doesn’t look good.  And if you’re a grass roots contributor to the Democratic party like I am, the emails you’re receiving want very badly to scare you.  Subject lines like “CRUSHING FAILURE” and “All hope is lost” aren’t meant to make you feel better, after all. democrats-spot-a-backbone

Maybe we should be scared.  The prospect of the Republicans getting control of the Senate and trying their best to hinder or eliminate climate change policies is frightening.  And as a father to a little girl, I should be terrified of the possibility of Mitch McConnell getting to pursue his agenda of female body control.

But the notion of Democrats losing control of the Senate doesn’t scare me.  What scares me is the fact that they haven’t controlled it in years.

Despite having Democrats in charge of the Senate, there was no action on gun control after Sandy Hook.  There have been no successful efforts to correct the atrocious and increasingly jury-rigged voting system.  And there’s been no legislative action on one of the greatest and most immediate risks to U.S. national security we face today: climate change.

Sure, a lot of that has to do with the fact that even if something does pass the Senate, it just dies in the Republican-controlled House.  I recognize that, and I don’t blame the Democrats for not being able to pass anything through the House.

But I do blame them for losing the House in the first place.  I do blame them for losing Democratic votes by not standing up for what they believe in and defending their achievements.  And I do blame them—oh boy, do I ever blame them—for letting Republicans set the message.

I challenge you to name one major policy discussion in this country that Democrats have set the tone on.  Just one.

Healthcare?  Obviously not.  Even before Republicans tricked Democrats into passing the Republicans’ own healthcare plan, they were setting the message on it with such shocking catchphrases as “Death Panels” and “Socialist Medicine.”  And after the ACA was passed, Republicans renamed it “Obamacare.”  They did this so effectively that even the President has publicly condoned the title, a surrender in the messaging war more critical than any single election’s result.

Climate Change?  Not only have the Republicans won the messaging war on this one, Democrats let them name the war.

Birth control?  Gun control?  Democrats are making progress here, but it’s an uphill fight—and in the meantime, the entire Progressive agenda has been rebranded under the twin bugaboos “Socialism” and “Sharia Law”—which is doubly infuriating because both of these terms are completely inaccurate.

What does any of this have to do with the stalemate in Congress, you ask?  Everything.

You have to give credit where credit is due: the Republican messaging machine excels at political Judo.  When Republicans control they message, they control what voters hear.  They control the context for everything the candidates say.  With this control, they can steal their opponents’ strengths and turn them into weaknesses—and that is what they have been doing with impunity since nearly the turn of the century.

The biggest, saddest, and most stomach-turning example of this is, of course, the Affordable Care Act.

The boasting from Democrats about their success with the ACA should be deafening.  Was it a perfect implementation?  No.  Is it a perfect plan?  No.  But by and large the implementation has been successful, where governors have allowed it, and some of the Act’s baseline provisions—elimination of pre-existing conditions, keeping children on their parents’ policies until age 26, and tax credits for small businesses—are wildly popular.

But when Republicans set the message, they can force their opponents to call it “Obamacare.”  Just hearing the word “Obama” will rile up anyone with even an ounce of racism in them, and don’t think for a second that his name was associated with this law by accident.  Democrats are losing from the moment they say the word “Obamacare.”  From there, it only gets worse.  Since the only thing anyone ever hears about the ACA is that it raises taxes, raises premiums, and kills Grandma, any Democrat has a mountain of lies to fight through before they can even attempt to claim the credit they’re due, and most of them don’t even try.  They run from it instead, making themselves look exactly as guilty as their Republican opponent wanted them to look.  Mission achieved: Democrats did something awesome, and are being blamed instead of praised for it.  Strength turned into weakness.  And in five or ten years, when Obamacare is working well for everyone, watch the term suddenly become “State Exchanges” and the Republican messaging machine glibly claim credit for successful state implementation.

It doesn’t bother me that they do this.  It’s brilliant political strategy, and it works.  Fair play is fair play, and for whatever reason, Republicans are incredibly good at it.

What bothers me is that even today, ten years after they lost their first election on messaging, the Democratic party still doesn’t get it.  They still let Republicans set the tone.  They still don’t try to beat the Republicans in the messaging race—indeed, they don’t even seem to know there is a race. And when they fall behind, they dodge and scrape and whimper and look bewildered.

This is why they won’t win tomorrow.

This is why their agenda has been frozen since 2010.

This is why Obama’s presidency has been such a crushing disappointment.

And until something changes, until the Democratic party realizes that they need a Frank Luntz of their own, they will continue to lose—whether they have a majority in Congress or not.

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Adam J Nicolai is a Kindle Suspense bestseller, a father of two, an atheist, and a lifelong nerd.  He’s a decent novel writer, but sucks at biographies.  You can find more of his writing on adamjnicolai.com.