We Lost this Battle, but the Fight Isn’t Over

2016-11-09t08-06-16-133z-1280x720-nbcnews-ux-1080-600We have elected another president nearly half of the country. The other half the person is not who they hoped for, and it was a major upset in political history. The United States elected Donald Trump, president. President-Elect Trump won 279 electoral votes and 59,695,628 popular votes. Sec. Hillary Clinton won 228 electoral votes and 59,920,291 popular votes. There are still where states where the race is too close to call.

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  As a progressive Democrat, I was proud to have voted for Sec. Hillary Clinton and I am deeply saddened by the results of this election.

Immediately following the announcement that he had enough votes to take the electoral college, I needed to find answers to how this happened. Thus, I started running through the exit polls and election results in the battleground states.

Additionally, I looked for information for other sources who know a little more than me about elections to see what they thought. Here is what I found out.

Throughout the nation there seemed to be a racial backlash against Barack Obama and the racial and gender power shift that Obama and Hillary represented. This was seen in the new numbers of rural white voters that showed up at the polls (Walsh).

Furthermore, when you look at the demographics of the vote minority votes from the African Americans dropped from 13% in 2012 to 12%, while others such as the Latino vote went up from 10% to 11%. However, the youth vote remained the same at 19% (Borosage).

However, Hillary had a Democratic firewall. How could that fall? Here is how that happened. In Michigan, 57% of the voters that thought trade cost jobs voted for Trump. This means that those opposed to trade policies such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership favored Trump. This was the same for states like Pennsylvania and Ohio (Borosage).

But, she still had all those Democrats voting for her right?

Not necessarily, see Hillary received less of the vote from many constituency groups than President Obama did in 2012. He won 96% of African Americans, and she won only 88%. He won 71% of Latinos and she 65%. He won 60% of the youth vote and she only 55%. He won 67% of unmarried women, and she won 62% (Borosage).

From here you can move to the results, and the map makes a little bit more sense. Look at Youngstown, Ohio, and President Obama won by 20 points in 2012, this election it was a draw. Trump even won many of the traditionally Democratic and industrial towns along Lake Erie. Counties that went for Obama in 2012 went for Trump by 20 points (Cohn).

North Carolina, was perhaps a different story, there might have been voter suppression. Yes, the NAACP won their case to the federal appeals court on the state’s draconian restrictions that the legislature imposed. Nevertheless, the state and local elections officials were left up to making a decision on where to put polling locations and how many to have. They decided to eliminate 158 first-week early-voting polling places in 40 counties (Walsh).

Moreover, progressives did not lose everything. There were many wins for progressives. Just look at the state level. In many states, such as California, Nevada, Washington, Colorado, and others, they all passed progressive ballot measures. However, first let’s look at the results of the Senate and House elections.

In the Senate, Democrats did not gain control, but we did pick up two seats from Republicans. This means that it will make it hard for them to get a 60-vote majority to do many of the things Trump wishes.

In the House, Democrats again did not pick up enough seats to win a majority. However, they did pick up several seats from Republicans.

The following are ballot measures that passed in the states that are progressive wins for Democrats.
Arkansas
  • Legalized medical marijuana 53% yes
California
  • New background checks for ammunition and prohibits possession of large capacity magazines 63% yes
  • Legalized marijuana for use by adults 21 and over 56% yes
Colorado
  • Raised the minimum wage 54% yes
  • Allow terminally ill patients to end their life with assistance of a doctor 65% yes
Maine
  • Legalized marijuana for use by adults 21 and over (98% reporting) 50% yes 50% no
  • Raised the minimum wage 55% yes
Massachusetts
  • Legalized the possession of marijuana 54% yes
Montana
  • Legalized medical marijuana 58% yes
Nevada
  • Expanded gun background checks 50% yes
  • Legalized marijuana 54% yes
North Dakota
  • Legalized medical marijuana 63.7% yes
Washington
  • Increased minimum wage 58.8% yes

 

Our revolution continues! The time is now to join organizations that will continue to fight for the change that we believe in and fight for the change that we need so sign up now to help groups like Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution to fight on! Sign up here: Our Revolution 

Works Cited

Borosage, Rober. “Why Trump Won” thenaiton.com. The Nation, 9 Nov. 2016 Web. 9 Nov. 2016.

Cohn, Nate. “Why Trump Won: Working-Class Whites” nytimes.com. The New York Times, 9 Nov. 2016 Web. 9 Nov. 2016.

Walsh, Joan. “Everything We Thought We Knew About Politics Was Wrong,” thenation.com. The Nation, 9 Nov. 2016 Web. 9 Nov. 2016.

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Don’t Let Hate Win!

13710452_1194869870569540_2942808506993206748_oLet’s not let hate win this election!

Next week make sure you vote and vote for progressives. Progressives who stand for moving our nation forward. We can only do this by voting for progressives at all levels of government city, state, and federal. For us to get a progressive agenda moving, we need a Democratic House and Senate to work with a Democratic President next year. This means we must be sure to vote for Hillary Clinton next Tuesday. 

By doing this, we can stand up to the gun lobby, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour or higher, pass a paid family and medical leave act, provide clean alternative energy, and pass single payer health care. 

Yes, I had the honor to volunteer and worked for Senator Bernie Sanders and the policial revolution. That revolution continues. It continues with the fight for real progressive change and standing up against hate. We fought during the primaries to make our government work and represent us all not just the one percent. We fought to change our Democratic Party to make it more progressive, inclusive, and welcoming. We had made wins. However, Sen. Sanders lost the primary, and now we must stand behind Hillary Clinton to defeat the monster which is Donald Trump. Then, on Hillary’s first day as President, we must hold her accountable to the Democratic Party’s platform.

Remember, as Sen. Bernie Sanders says,

This is the time to elect Hillary Clinton and then work after the election to mobilize millions of people to make sure she can be the most progressive president she can be.

The power is in your hand!

Go out there and vote on Nov. 8th!

Tuition Free & Debt Free College is a Moral Right

downloadDo you remember the times when our nation thought big and did substantial things?

There was a time when we did think big. We overcame the Great Depression, fought and won two World Wars, rebuilt Europe on the Marshall plan, and yes we passed and upheld the Affordable Care Act.

We thought big when we passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (the G.I. Bill), which provided veterans with many benefits including grants to cover tuition and living expenses for college, graduate school or professional training.

Just think about it. We provided affordable college to thousands of veterans then and now we still provide some resources to veterans, however not enough to send all of them to college. Perhaps it’s not such a crazy idea to what the G.I. Bill originally was drafted to do. Perhaps a higher education should be a human right.

 “[the G.I. Bill] contributed enormously to the release of economic and intellectual energy that carried postwar America to the summit of the world.” Historian Arthur Schesinger Jr. Wrote (Swig, Mar et. al.)

Thus, if the G.I. Bill was able to allow more people to get a college degree which created an infusion of new minds that pushed our nation forward then, why not now?

I propose, that we do make public colleges and universities tuition and debt free. I believe that this is necessary for several reasons.

  1. It is the moral thing to do. I believe that higher education is a basic human right.
  2. It will create more jobs by the influx of new students.
  3. It would raise the education level of our nation.
  4. New energy would be infused into our science fields and our economy.

Need more reasons?

I believe we should because of the outrageous cost of a college education in the U.S. Just in 2014, the average student-loan debt was $28,950 which was a 56 percent increase from 2004 where the average was $18,464 (Anderson).

The tuition for undergrads was $13,222 for a year at the University of California in 2014. At Penn State, it was $18,464 (Anderson).

How can we do this?

I have looked at several plans to do this. I have come to the conclusion that a combination of two of the plans from Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sec. Hillary Clinton might be the best.

The plan that I think might work the best is the following. However, I think that it should be passed in a larger bill that has provisions that would take effect at certain time intervals after the passage. This way we can so-called “lean” into tuition and debt free college.

  • Refinance Student loans (within the first year)
    • Allowing students to refinance their loans at current rates
  • Enroll in income-based repayment (within the first year)
  • Cut student loan interest rates (within the first year)
    • Set a formula for student loan interest rates to go back to where they were in 2006 to 2.37%
  • Require states to freeze and lower tuition (within 6 months)
    • Stop the skyrocketing increase in tuition and lower them to earlier years.
  • Re-institute the Buffet Rule (within 30 days)
  • Create a financial transactions tax (within 60 days)
  • Tax the wealthiest by 1% (the following fiscal year)
    • Tax those making $100 million or greater by an additional 1%
  • Eliminate college tuition for working families (within 3 years)
    • Families making up to $200,000 will qualify to pay no tuition.
    • The income threshold will increase by $12,000 each year over the next eight years.

This can be done. Already, states are making community college tuition-free including Tennessee (2014). If Tennessee can make community college tuition free for in-state students, then we can begin to have a serious discussion about making public colleges and universities tuition and debt free (Wiener).

Take a look at other industrialized nations such as Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, they all have free college. In France, working families pay nothing, while wealthier families pay about $200 a year. We also have Germany who did introduce tuition, but over the years every state in Germany has abolished it (Wiener).

To even start working on this we must elect a Democratic president.

Works Cited

Anderson, Sarah et. al. “Want Debt-Free College? Tax the Rich” nation.com. The Nation, 18 Feb. 2016. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.

Swig, Mary et. al. “In the Spirit of the GI Bill, Cancel All Student Debt” ourfuture.org. OurFuture, 10 Oct. 2016. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.

Wiener, Jon. “It’s Time to End Tuition at Public Universities – and Abolish Student Debt” nation.com The Nation, 6 April. 2015. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.

Is Sen. Bernie Sanders a Marxist?

In my opinion, Senator Bernie Sanders uses Marxist sociological theory in his political activism. Does this make him a Marxist? I don’t believe it does. While Bernie uses Marxist theory in his political activism, I don’t think he is a Marxist. Instead, he uses the theory to better understand the world and the conflict between the rich and poor. Therefore, what is Marxism? It is a sociological analysis of class relations and social conflict.

History of Bernie Sanders

bernie_2Bernie’s story began in Brooklyn, New York where he attended high school and later college before he transferred to the University of Chicago. Within Bernie’s first year at the University of Chicago, a scandal erupted when an interracial group of students uncovered the systematic housing discrimination at the university-owned apartment buildings. At the time, Bernie was a chapter leader of the Congress of Racial Equality (which organized the Freedom Rides) and launched sit-ins at the office of the university’s president to end the policy. After 15 days, a compromise with the administration was reached.

This was Bernie’s first experience with class conflict. In this case, socially constructed classes were forced against each other. the classes included white students with the privilege of being able to live in the apartments, the people of color who were not, and the property owner (the University, with the most power). In this situation, Bernie chooses to be a participant and take direct action or revolt against the property owners (bourgeoisie).

Additionally, Bernie has been politically active since college. He witnessed racial and economic inequality which pushed him to find answers. Bernie used his passion for justice and equality to become Mayor of Burlington, Vermont. He did this while even self-describing himself as a “socialist.” He also was elected to the U.S. House and then U.S. Senate in 2007. Bernie has become the longest-serving independent politician in Congress.

Inequality and Exploitation

Bernie has proved that throughout his life, he has been fighting for the working class and against the exploitation of the workers. He has done this through his work as Mayor of Burlington, Congressperson, and Senator. He has been talking about income inequality and injustice, and his message hasn’t wavered. He understands the struggles of the poor and the working class, including the origins of injustice and inequality. Therefore, I believe that Bernie uses Marxist theory to help him understand these complex inequalities.

Thus, during Bernie’s political life and campaigns he has shown that he does indeed see the problems of capitalism. This is evident in his work and his messaging during his campaigns. More on this later.

Bernie’s Understanding of Marxist Theory

During the Democratic primary for president, Bernie called out the bourgeoisie for their growing power over the government. “We are living in an increasingly undemocratic society in which decisions are made by people who have huge sums of money,” said Sen. Sanders (Kruse). I believe that what Bernie is saying here is similar to the same idea that Marx had about capitalism and its control over the government. And this is what both Sanders and Marx were getting at. “It has agglomerated population, centralized means of production, and concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralization” (Marx in Calhoun 2012, p. 159).

Furthermore, Bernie calls for a political revolution. “I am talking about bringing in the voices of millions who have given up on the political process,” said sen. Sanders (Johnson). He works for this because he understands that the only way for the proletariat to gain equality in all forms of life is to acquire political supremacy. This is an idea that many revolutionaries get from Marx. “Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy, must rise to be the leading class of the nation, must constitute itself the nation, it is so far, itself national, though not in the bourgeois sense of word” (Marx in Calhoun 2012, p.169).

He also calls out the exploitation of the work who works longer hours for low wages even though technology has made productivity increase. “Do you think it’s right that despite an explosion of technology and an increase in worker productivity, the average worker is working longer hours for low wage?” said Sen. Sanders (Kruse). This is another point that shows his influences by Marx where he believes that as productivity increases so should pay.

“Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of monetary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there is too much civilization, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce” (Marx in Calhoun 2012, p. 160). This quote from Marx is talking about where we are at today. It is talking about why we have so many poor. It is because of the phenomenon in capitalism where people must work to live, and their lives revolve around work, where prices continue to go up, and profits for the wealthy continue to rise, but wages are stagnating.

Marx saw this then and Bernie sees it now. “Is it right that the middle class continues to disappear while there has been a massive transfer of wealth from working families to the top one-tenth of 1 percent? Trillions of dollars in the last 30 years have flowed from the middle class to the top one-tenth of 1 percent, ” said Sen. Sanders (Kruse).

Summary

Is Bernie Sanders a Marxist? No, he is not. However, he is influenced by Marxist theory in a way that helps him understand the world and the exploitive effects of capitalism. He uses class conflict in his campaigns where he explains how the working class’s interests are inherently different from that of the top 1 percent to mobilize millions of people to stand up and get involved in the political process to create the change that they seek.

Works Cited

Kruse, Michael. “14 things Bernie Sanders has said about socialism” politico.com. POLITICO, 17 Aug. 2015 Web. 9 Oct. 2016.

Johnson, Dav. “Sanders’ Socialism Speech: America is For All of Us, Not just Wealthy” ourfuture.org. Campaign for Ameria’s Future, 19 Nov. 2015 Web. 9 Oct 2016.

Let’s Build a Progressive Country

lets-work-together1Together we can win! Together we can build the progressive United States where everyone can get a high-quality education, free to low cost health care, and a fair living wage. We can do this!

However, we cannot do this without electing strong progressive candidates. We need to take back the Senate and House from regressive Republicans and corporate Democrats. We need to elect progressives regardless of party affiliation.

By doing this, we can stand up to the gun lobby, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour or higher, pass a paid family and medical leave act, provide clean alternative energy, and pass single payer health care. We can do this when we stand up to those who say no!

Yes, this does mean voting for Hillary Clinton for president. As Senator Bernie Sanders says, 

This is the time to elect Hillary Clinton and then work after the election to mobilize millions of peope to make sure she can be the most progressive president she can be.

 

 

Thus, we need to elect progressives in all levels of government. The following are some candidates who I think you should support.

U.S. Senate
Russ Feingold (Democrat – WI)

Russ has been endorsed by Our Revolution.

  • Represented Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate from 1993-2011
  • Russ opposed the Iraq War
  • Only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act
  • Co-sponsor of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law
  • Supports Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan to allow students to refinance their student loans

Go here to find out how to help Russ win! Our Revolution

Tammy Duckworth (Democrat – IL)
  • Serves in the U.S. House
  • Former helicopter pilot in the U.S Army
  • Former Director of the Illinois Dept. of Veterans Affairs
  • Former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Go here to help Tammy win! Tammy Duckworth for Senate

Patty Judge (Democrat – IA)

End Citizens United endorsed Patty Judge

  • Elected to the Iowa Senate in 1992
  • 1998, she became the first woman elected Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture
  • 2006, she was elected Lieutenant Governor
  • As Lt. Governor she advocated for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in Iowa’s civil rights code

Go here to help Patty win! Patty Judge for Iowa 

U.S. House
Tulsi Gabbard (Democrat – HI)

Tulsi has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, IBEW, AFSCME, NEA (National Education Association), Planned Parenthood, AFL-CIO, PDA, HRC, LIUNA, and Our Revolution.

  • Serves in the U.S. House
  • Served on the Honolulu City Council and the Hawaii’s State Legislature
  • Severed with the Natural Guard and was deployed to the Middle East twice
  • At age 19, she co-founded Healthy Hawaii Coalition (HHC), it’s mission was to protect the environment and improve individual and community health
  • Opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • Co-sponsored 14 LGBTQIA equality bills including bills to end bullying and harassment, the Healthy Families Act, and the Equality Act

Go here to help Tulsi win! Our Revolution

Pramila Jayapal (Democrat – WA)

Pramila has been endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Keith Ellison, Former Governor, Secretary of Commerce, and U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, Democracy for America, MoveOn.org, EMILY’s List, Wendy Davis, Planned Parenthood, NOW, NARAL, NEA, SEIU, UAWU, Our Revolution, and many more.

  • Serves as a Washington State Senator
  • In 2013, she was recognized as a White House “Champion of Change”
  • Supports single-payer healthcare
  • Supports making all public universities and college tuition free

Go here to help Pramila win! Our Revolution

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By the way, I also support the continuation of the political revolution that was started by Senator Bernie Sanders and thus I stand with Our Revolution!