Sen. Sanders the New Democratic Party Leader

Photo Credit: Washington Times
Photo Credit: Washington Times

Sen. Bernie Sanders lost the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary. However, he has emerged from the general election loses as a new Democratic Party leader. He is concerned with rebuilding and growing the Democratic Party.

I stand with Sen. Sanders in his effort in doing this!

The Democratic Party has become a party more concerned with raising money from wealthy individuals than they have been about bringing working people into the party and taking on the billionaire class, taking on Wall Street, taking on drug companies or the insurance companies – Sen. Sanders (Garver)

Therefore, Bernie believes that the party must have a “fundamental reassessment.” He believes that the Democratic Party cannot continue to dependent on wealthy donors and big money interests.

Instead, he thinks that the party must reorient themselves to the electorate and stand in strong opposition to President-elect Trump’s oppressive policies.

Additionally, Bernie believes that there must be a change in the leadership of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and he is supporting Representative Keith Ellison for DNC Chair.

Rep. Keith Ellison is a leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and was a supporter of Sen. Sanders during the primary. He has gained the endorsements of Sen. Bernie Sanders, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Chris Murphy, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Rep. Joseph Crowley, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (Washington Post).

Join the movement: Keith for DNC
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Blair Lawton for IDP Chair

14956434_1272438012819316_4901109538472250760_nThe 2016 general election was bad for Democrats, and we lost, and we lost big. We lost control of both houses of Congress and the presidency. Here in Iowa, we lost control of the House and Senate again.

Many people feel down and want to give but we cannot. Now is the time to stand up and fight back. Now is the time to create real change in the Democratic Party.

Moving forward, I believe that we must listen to the voices of the youth, which are the next generation of Democrats. We must work to bring in new people into our party and gain the trust of those first-time caucus and primary voters who voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders but then left the party when they felt that their voices were unheard and their opinions were not valued in the general election.

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Therefore, we must elect new leadership and hold people accountable at all levels. This is why I am supporting Blair Lawton for Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) Chair.

Blair is a campaign staffer who has worked on the Obama, Sanders, and Mowrer campaigns.

This election showed that the IDP needs a renewed focus on building the party from the grassroots up. To me, that means getting serious about organizing in rural areas. It means contesting every legislative race, as well as spending less time courting big donors and more time cultivating donations from grassroots activists – said Blair Lawton.

I support Blair for Chair because he has a history of being a professional campaign organizer and he knows how to bring people together. This is what we need to rebuild our party and to start winning elections again.

To join the campaign like the Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/blair4chair/
Sign up to volunteer here: Sign Up!

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.

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.