Those were the days

Hey, remember when Hillary ran against Obama eight years ago?  hillary2And how she stayed in the race all the way to the convention even though it was clear she wasn’t going to get the nomination, because it allowed her some negotiating power (which is what politics is all about)?  And remember how no one in the Obama campaign posted all over the internet how she should just “face the facts” and “drop out for the good of the party” and otherwise imply that she was a spoiler and would ruin the general election because of it?

Yeah, those were the days.

We need money to fight money

Some Bernie supporters are posting memes about how terrible that awful liberal George Clooney is. Did you hear? He hosted a fundraiser for Democrats where rich people paid a lot of money to eat with celebrities. And then that money went to Democratic candidates across the nation (including Hillary — apparently that was the part they disliked the most).politifact-photos-ClooneyNBCscreenshot

Now, I understand the complaint that we need campaign finance reform and that the system is bad because so much money is needed to campaign. In fact, George Clooney agrees. “I think it’s an obscene amount of money,” he said.

But the fact is that in order to change the system — to get rid of Citizens United and to enact campaign finance reform — we need to win. And how do you win? With money. It’s a vicious circle.

Come on, you know the Republicans are doing this, too. If we didn’t raise as much as we could, too, we’re giving up before we even start. And it doesn’t help us at all if we’re protesting ourselves. We can’t laugh at how stupid the Republican candidates are being for attacking each other constantly while we’re doing the same thing.

Money in and of itself isn’t evil. And there’s nothing wrong with being rich. The problem is in how you get the money and what you use it for.

I support Bernie, really I do, but some of his supporters are making it difficult. They complain about party rules that have been in place for over 40 years while they’ve done nothing to change them, and they often don’t understand how it all works — they confuse the rules for the primary elections with rules for the general election and just kind of look naive.

In many ways I am an idealist as well but I think it’s important to be an informed idealist.

Stupid Hillary Attacks

Look, there are legitimate differences and comparisons that can be made when deciding which candidate to support. However, I have seen some pretty ridiculous ones lately from Bernie fans trying to knock down Hillary.

The first shows Hillary’s home in comparison to Bernie’s. The implication is that Hillary is out of touch with us because she lives in a nice rich mansion while Bernie lives in a standard family home. Uhfg62B

But come on — Hillary was married to the freakin’ President of the Goddamn United States of America, you know. I’d like to think that our Presidents can live nicely. Hell, I’d love to have a house like that. What’s wrong with living in a nice house that you worked all your life to earn?

So why does that disqualify her or make her less of a good candidate? Because she has money? Some of our best Presidents have been insanely rich — Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy weren’t that bad, nor for that matter was George Washington. And Hillary was not born rich like those guys were.

The second meme that’s bugging me today me compares the years each has been in public service, as if that was all that mattered. Really? All it takes is more years than the other person? Well, by that standard, Senator Orrin Hatch is the most qualified guy in the country to be President. And boy, that Strom Thurmond had more experience than anyone — who cares if he was a hypocritical, lying racist bastard unfit to even step into the Capitol building?

Many of these same anti-Hillary people supported Barack Obama at a time where he had much less experience than she did — but now, apparently, that is important.

Mind you, I am a Bernie supporter but this is not how I want him to win. Seriously folks, talk about their differences on the issues. Let’s not debate silly things. Leave that for the Republicans.


An alternate scenario for November

by Guest Blogger David Gerrold

So, here’s an alternate scenario for November.

Let’s look at the numbers.

Donald Trump does not break 40% in his primary victories. That’s not 40% of the electorate — it’s 40% of the republican voters. That’s the fanatics, the whackadoodles, and the energized rednecks. It’s the ignorati — the ones who hold up signs saying, “Keep your govt hands off my medicare.”Keep-Your-Government-Hands-Off-My-Medicare

Let’s assume he gets the republican nomination. Despite all the machinations of the party, lets assume he shows up at the convention with 1237 pledged delegates. The convention turns into a massive floor fight. The convention is supposed to be that moment when the party unifies — but not this time.

Or, let’s say he shows up with 1236 pledged delegates and loses the first nominating ballot. The convention turns into a massive floor fight and possibly a riot. There will be protesters and demonstrators outside the convention hall. There will be a lot of tension. Things will get ugly.

Either way, the convention becomes an embarrassment and the party adjourns in greater disunity than ever before.

(By the way, Trump broke the law when he promised Carson a cabinet post for his endorsement. Will there be an indictment? Or will this be conveniently forgotten?)

The key point here is that the republican convention will not unify around Trump — and if anyone else gets handed the nomination, he will not be able to unify the party either, because the Trump supporters will be so angry, they’ll quit or walk away or try to mount a third party effort.

If Trump does get the nomination, the idea that the republican party will try to mount a third party effort against him, so as to throw the election into the house of representatives is a fascinating scenario, but don’t hold your breath. Organizing that would be a monstrous problem.

So … it’s either Trump or Cruz or Romney or who the hell knows, trying to unify a party that has been trumpripped apart by evangelicals, tea partiers, Trump supporters, and what remains of a tattered establishment.

If it’s Trump — and I suspect it will be Trump — if he’s only pulling 40% of the republican vote now, how will he do in the general election? (Or substitute Cruz, who does even worse.) Not well.

This fracturing of the republican party means that many republicans will stay home in disgust, feeling that there’s no one to vote for.

It also means that many republican women — even those who hate Hillary Clinton — will end up voting against their own party’s candidate. (This is not wishful thinking on my part. This was a real phenomenon in 2008 and 2012. It will be even more so in 2016.)

I don’t think the remaining primaries are going to be easy on Hillary — but, the prolonged primary season of 2008 was good for both Hillary and Barack Obama, because it gave them both good practice. It hardened Obama for the campaign ahead. This year, Hillary and Bernie are both being tempered (strengthened) by the forges of the primary battle.

But this is the point — the democrats, for all their various faults (all of which the concern trolls will be quick to list) have learned how to organize, have learned how to unify, and have demonstrated that they have learned the importance of a well-planned ground game.

The democratic convention of 2016 will be as well-constructed a show as it is possible for them to create — it should be at least as good as the 2008 convention.

So, post-convention, the republicans will see a slump in their numbers. Post-convention, the democrats will see a bump. This should result in adding 5% to the lead of the democratic nominee.

If Trump is the candidate, he will attempt to bully the democrats. It won’t work. The debates will be fascinating. Either Hillary or Bernie will demonstrate just how little Trump actually knows about anything.

If Cruz is the candidate, he’ll have to run on what a terrible job President Obama has done. This will give the democratic candidate the opportunity to point out that DESPITE REPUBLICAN OBSTRUCTIONISM, including Cruz’s own effort to shut down the government, President Obama has still managed to cut the deficit and get the economy back on track.

If Cruz or Trump attempt to denigrate Obama’s record, it’s the perfect opportunity for Clinton or Sanders to list the successes of this president and promise to build on those successes. It’s a bear trap for the republicans.

And … President Obama has made it clear he intends to lend his support to the democratic nominee. If it’s Hillary, she’ll have the President, she’ll have Michelle, she’ll have Bill, all campaigning for her. She’ll have three of the most popular democrats working to energize the base and get out the vote. A lot of other high-profile democrats will be given their moment in the spotlight too.

And if it’s Hillary, expect there to be an evening for Bernie Sanders to speak to his supporters and explain that even if they haven’t won the nomination, they have won a very big victory — they will have been able to force more progressive issues into the party platform, they will have moved not just Hillary Clinton, but the whole party in the right direction — and that it’s time to keep pushing in that direction because every step in the right direction, even a few small ones, is a good thing.

If it’s Bernie — well, the convention will be an old-fashioned revival meeting that leaves people breathless and inspired — and Bernie will pull a lot of Trump’s voters away from him.

Now this might all be wishful thinking on my part — but it’s based on two things.

Every time I’ve said the republicans can’t be that stupid, I’ve been wrong. So this time, I’m predicting they will be that stupid.

Every time I’ve said that the democrats have a pretty good idea on how to win the election, I’ve been right. So … I’ll stick with that.

The one thing that is every bit as critical as the presidential election is the downticket races. This is one area that the dems have not mastered as well as the republicans. But this year, with the republican ground game possibly in tatters, who knows?

We shall see.


Nebula and Hugo award winning author David Gerrold is the author of over 50 books, several hundred articles and columns, and over a dozen television episodes. TV credits include episodes of Star Trek, Babylon 5, Twilight Zone, Land Of The Lost, Logan’s Run, and many others. Novels include WHEN HARLIE WAS ONE, THE MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF, the “War Against the Chtorr” septology, The “Star Wolf” trilogy, The “Dingilliad” young adult trilogy, and more. The autobiographical tale of his son’s adoption, THE MARTIAN CHILD won the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novelette of the Year and was the basis for the 2007 movie starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, and Joan Cusack. His web page is here.

Primary Elections vs. General Elections

The way we choose candidates and elect them is really screwed up.

Just because someone does well in the primary/caucus stage doesn’t mean they would be the best candidate to take on the other party in November.

We can see this perfectly in this election cycle. Just about every poll shows that Sanders would be a better candidate in November against any Republican, and Trump would be the worst possible choice for the Republicans.

Clinton is currently doing better with the delegate selection, but many people seem confused at the way the system works and are only paying attention to the number of states won by the candidates. This primary/caucus season is not like the electoral college where the winner of a state takes it all. If you win by a small enough percentage, you could have two candidates coming out of the election with the same amount of delegates.

But there’s something else to consider. Look at this map showing who has won the various states on the Democratic side so far:

demo map

When I first started thinking about this, I said, “Who cares that Clinton won Alabama or that Sanders won Oklahoma? Those states are never going to vote for the Democrat in November.”

In November, we Democrats are assured some states but need to win some of the “purple” states that can go either way. On this map (of the states that have already voted), those would be Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Nevada. While all four of those have gone Democratic in the last two elections, they were close and easily could have shifted Republican.

Sanders won two of those states and Clinton won two. So does that tell us anything?

No, not really, and that’s the problem. While I was hoping to show that Sanders has a better chance in November in the purple states, instead I find an inconclusive result.

If we didn’t have that stupid electoral college, things would be much different…

The way we choose candidates and elect them is really screwed up.





Voting for Bernie is a Win/Win

Look, I know Bernie doesn’t have a great chance of winning his party’s nomination.

So you can give up and not vote for him and then we get Hillary Clinton — or you can vote for him and he loses, and then we get Hillary Clinton (who even Bernie says is “100% better than any Republican”).bernie

And maybe, just maybe, he might win.

So what’s the harm in voting for him if you really support him? As long as you vow to support whichever Democrat gets the nomination, what exactly is the downside?

On the positive side, if Bernie goes into the convention with a lot of delegates, that gives him some power to make demands concerning the platform, nominees, and the direction of the general election campaign. And, more importantly, it shows everyone that it can be done — that it is possible to run for President without having to get money from the insiders, lobbyists, and PACs. It will set a great precedent for future elections.

On the negative side ….  Sorry, I can’t think of anything. What, Hillary will be weaker in November? Not if Bernie encourages all his supporters to work for her election and not stay home. Getting people who normally don’t vote going to the polls is something Bernie has shown to be much better at than Hillary.

A stronger Bernie helps all Democrats. A grass roots movement that encourages voting will benefit us all.

Complaining that he should drop out now or just give up is the best way to alienate all those voters and keep them away from the polls in November. I’m sure it’s what President Trump will want.

Look, the primaries are not like the electoral college. Every vote counts, because they aren’t “winner take all” races. If Bernie gets 40% of the vote, he gets 40% of the delegates. It’s a loss but not a complete loss.

And don’t be discouraged by his poor showing in the south on Super Tuesday. So what if Hillary does better than him in Alabama? There’s no way Alabama is voting Democratic in November.

So keep voting your heart. There are no downsides.


Who cares what Hillary thought when she was 15?

Sanders supporters: It is possible to make comparisons between your candidate and Hillary without making bad ones. There are issues that these two hold in opposition to each other. Talk about those.hillary

But the meme going around that compares Sanders’ work for civil rights in the 60s to Hillary’s family’s support for Barry Goldwater is ridiculous.

Hillary was 15 years old during that campaign. She couldn’t even vote for another seven years. She was following her parents’ lead, which is what most kids do at that age.

To criticize her for positions her parents held 52 years ago is a ridiculous comparison. You just make yourself seem petty when you post that meme comparing what a college kid did as opposed to a freshman in high school at the exact same time.

Hillary wised up in college, and very publicly resigned from the Young Republicans group specifically due to their position on civil rights. Got that? When she got as old as Bernie was when he was fighting for civil rights, she too took the same position.

I am a Bernie supporter, and the fact that he fought for civil rights and was even arrested for protesting only makes me like him more. Comparing his actions to what a young girl did at the same time doesn’t change that — all it does is make me think less of you.



Hillary versus Bernie: Who can accomplish more?

There is a difference between being a loyal Democrat and being a mindless follower.

While there are Bernie supporters and Hillary supporters that are being completely unreasonable and are spending too much time shooting friendly fire at each other, there are also those who are saying that we should not question either of them because, after all, we want one of them to win in November.hilbern

I have criticized both of them before — just like I have criticized Obama when he says and does things I disagree with. I don’t think anyone should be above reproach. I will still happily vote for whichever one gets the nomination over any of the Republican candidates.

We can debate which one would do better in November without attacking the other.

One of the biggest criticisms of Bernie that I am hearing from Hillary supporters is that she knows how to get things done and he won’t be able to accomplish anything — therefore, we shouldn’t aim too high.

I hate that for two reasons:  (1) This is politics. We should aim high. We should dream of great things we can accomplish;  (2) The idea that the GOP will work with Hillary is ridiculous.

Look, they hate her. They’ve hated her from the day she appeared on the scene. They’re not going to work with her. They never have in the past.

Not that they’re going to treat Bernie any better. Any Democrat is going to have to deal with a Republican congress that says “no” to everything.

People are forgetting what the GOP has become. They haven’t let Obama do anything. Remember Bill Clinton? They hated him, too — they freakin’ impeached him. The only way Bill accomplished anything was that he had more Democrats in Congress than we have now.

And that is the bottom line — voting for either Hillary or Bernie won’t make much difference unless we also elect more Democrats to Congress. We have the numbers on our side. All we have to do is show up and vote.

Iowa Caucus Predictions

Both Trump and Hillary will win the caucus for their parties, but not at the percentage that the polls show. Here’s why:

Caucuses are not like primaries. For a primary, you show up, vote, and leave. You could do it in a few minutes if the lines aren’t long. For a caucus, you have to show up on time in your local area and be there most of the night. Speeches are given and debates are held and if a candidate doesn’t get enough votes, then a second vote is held and so on. It’s democracy on a most basic scale.

While Iowans take it very seriously (since no one cares about Iowa except ovote_ballot_boxnce every four years), you still have the very real situation where only the most political and enthusiastic supporters even attend. And even then, it varies from place to place. A rural site where 20 farmers show up can have as much of an impact as an inner-city site where 100 students show up.

And all this hurts both Trump and Hillary.

Trump gets people to come to a rally to see the celebrity and listen to him spout his hatred. But many of his supporters are people who never vote — they’re not your normal political folks. I’m willing to bet that a large chunk of them will find something else more interesting to do that night.

On the Democratic side, you have the very enthusiastic Bernie supporters who will come out to the caucus meetings. They will give Bernie a much better showing than expected but it still won’t be enough to counter Hillary (who, despite a media attempt to turn this into a horse race, is pretty comfortably ahead of Bernie in all state polls except for New Hampshire, located next door to his home state of Vermont).

I’m not saying Hillary will run away with Iowa — it will be close, and the closer it is, the better for Bernie. He may even win the caucus, which could give him the momentum he needs to even the polling in other states. That’s how Obama did it when he was behind Hillary by about the same amount. Obama had the advantage though of being a great speaker and looking like a President, something you should never discount.

In the long run, Iowa is important only to show how good each candidate’s ground plan is. It in no way predicts the ultimate winner.  Just ask Presidents Mike Huckabee, Tom Harkin, and Richard Gephardt.

But then again, who really knows? Trying to predict the caucus is next to impossible. Anything can happen. My prediction is just a guess.  After all, in 2008, everyone was predicting Hillary to win and she came in third, behind Obama and Edwards.


Thoughts on last night’s Democratic debate

It’s clear that the Democratic establishment is for Hillary, since they keep scheduling the debates on weekends when the audience will be the smallest. When you’re ahead in the polls, you want less debates — that’s just normal. Why risk anything?

Overall, the debates always help the challengers and hurt the front-runner. I think Bernie and O’Malley did well and probably improved their chances.  (Ha ha! I implied that O’Malley had a chance!)GTY_Martin_omalley_Hillary_Clinton_Bernie_Sanders1_ml_151012_16x9_992

Bernie was a bit too much like a politician in that he had his talking points he wanted to get out and he was going to work them in whenever possible. He also demanded to respond to comments made by Hillary a few times but instead of responding, he made new points. Not impressive there.

Hillary was quite good in some places and really dishonest in others, such as implying that Bernie was against Obamacare when he was one of the Senators writing the damn thing. “He wants to get rid of Obamacare!” she said. No, Hillary, Bernie wants to replace Obamacare with Medicare for All, a much better plan.

Hillary also argued that we need to be brave and fight for what is right while at the same time saying that we can’t fight for Medicare for All because it just wouldn’t pass. “Vote for me and together, we can accomplish mediocre things!”

So much politics is about personality. If Sanders were 20 years younger and looked and talked like George Clooney, he’d be way ahead in the polls.

When asked how they would bring the country together, Hillary’s answer wasn’t too convincing. “The Republicans have hated me since the 90s but they’ll work with me once I am President. Honest.”

“Democrats: We actually believe in science!” – Martin O’Malley.  Now there’s a good campaign slogan.

This is a major difference between the Democratic debate and the Republican debate: None of the Democrats think a good foreign policy is “bomb them all until they glow.”

Overall, it was a much more boring debate than the Republican ones, partially because these guys basically like each other and agree 90% of the time. No matter who gets the nominations, the others will support him or her. Plus they are sane.