Jefferson or Burr

I can’t take credit for the title. I got that from #TeamWarren.  I am a #WarrenDemocrat.  Ironically, I have no desire for a cult of personality, as I’ve seen enough about how that goes. For those who spent time with the Warren campaign, you know that the spirit of the campaign was uplifting. It was top to bottom supportive and all about hearing people’s needs and voices.  It was nothing if not inclusive.

The plans she and her team crafted could be accomplished by anyone, and that’s something I believe Elizabeth Warren would even say. She wants the plans to go on.  When Inslee, Booker, Gillibrand, and Harris dropped out, she approached them. She wanted to include some of their plans with the ones she developed. She wanted those plans to get done, and I want those plans to get done.

The virtue of her plans are that they don’t suggest you can flip a switch and just turn on a massive structural change.  She talks about it in phases, stages, and in a variety of ways. She talks about offsets, and ways to pay for it, or how to fund it. I can’t stress this enough. She doesn’t care about the credit, she just wants the change.

Since I don’t get the best candidate, perhaps since Hillary Clinton, I have to make a choice. Don’t even speak to me about Secretary Hillary Clinton, until you watch the entire documentary, without being on another device. The fact that the media consistently put Trump on the same level as a once in a generation legal and political mind, was an insult. #SorryNotSorryChrisMatthews

So my choices are Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.  I haven’t voted yet. My primary isn’t until the end of April, which means I have some time to see how they match up. I get to see how they behave, and how their campaigns behave toward me, my friends, and family. The following are their strengths and weaknesses, as I see them, and which way I’m leaning.

Joe Biden has been a statesman most of his career.  Long before I was paying close attention to individual Congressman’s or Senator’s names.  He has fought the NRA and is the reason we have VAWA. I’d love it if we would renew that already.

One of my many issues with Joe is that he is so boastful.  It’s not even accomplishments, it’s just that he was there when it happened.  He likes to throw President Obama’s administration over himself like an Afgan blanket. He takes credit for the good, but distances himself from the criticism. We just don’t need another boastful old white man in the White House. Sorry, elephant in the room.

I am leaning toward Biden, though.  Look, say what you will, we have to choose one of these 2 remaining candidates for the nomination. When I look at the differences between them, I see that Biden might be willing to compromise, listen to people, learn other points of view. If I’m right about that, then it is no contest.  We will see, though.

For a bit now, I thought there were signs he might nominate Buttigieg as VP.  He does that, and I will swing towards Sanders pretty quick.  That will mean he absolutely is not paying attention to the voters and the public. If he nominates Warren, Kamala, or Abrams, well that would solidify it for me.

Sanders has been in Congress 29 years.  In that time, what has he gotten done?  If you talk to his supporters, or engage with them online, you would think the had cured cancer.  But he hasn’t.

He’s mostly been talk. He’s said he wants to cure cancer, and that we should, and that people who don’t want to are bad. I want to cure cancer too.  That doesn’t mean I can realistically get it done. I do know that if you are going to get anything big done, you need to form coalitions. As it is, no one wants to work with him, and no one wants to be tagged as a socialist, which makes that even more unlikely he will get support for any of his agenda.

He accepts endorsements from misogynistic people like Cenk Uygur and Joe Rogan.  He looks the other way when his surrogates and supporters go online and harass people. He equivocates when he talks about them, never owning up to his own abusive campaign without trying to tag every campaign as abusive.

There is a difference and he damn well knows it. That kind of behavior was absolutely condemned in Team Warren. You are not a supporter, if you act like that.  We are not here to attack people. Sander’s narcissism will result in a toxic, abusive, and unhealthy dialogue in this country.  I cannot and will not support that. For all his supporters, I voted for Bernie in 2016.  I was 100% feeling the Bern.

The day after the nomination, I saw him in an interview.  The journalist asked what he would say to Bernie Bro’s or Bernie or Bust.  He said, with a straight face, that he couldn’t snap his fingers and just tell people what to do.  Apparently he liked to say that.

I was dumbstruck. Had I not just seen months of rallies, massive rallies, where he would stand on stage for an hour screaming at people what we had to do? Was he not mobilizing his revolution?  He took no responsibility.  That’s the day I was done with him.

His toxic campaign, harassing anyone who attempts to raise criticism or concern, spreading conspiracy theories about a rigged election are sealing this door for me again.  You will be the reason he fails again. Don’t worry though, so will he.  A campaign is a reflection on the candidacy.  You are a representative for him, when you engage with voters, if you are going to say you are a supporter or surrogate. If he does not set the standard, who will?  I have not seen his willingness to be transparent or accountable to the people. I have just seen him use my party as a chew toy.

Since 18, I have been a member of the Democratic party. I made a commitment to be a member of a party, with the goal of advancing our ideals and our approach to how our government should run. It’s not just a party I run to, when I want something. I volunteer with them, I support their candidates, I work to get out the vote.

Sanders switches his party affiliation back and forth, never wanting to help us be stronger, but rather attacking the party as “establishment”.  Meanwhile I have yet to see him at an INC convention. I googled Independent National Committee and I couldn’t find one.

His supporters are so convinced he can make all his noise translate into action, and I’m not convinced he can get his campaign in order.

So yeah, I’m not thrilled about these choices, but the bar is so low, it’s in the Mariana Trench. What’s worse, Trump doesn’t know what that is.  Yeah, that’s how bad this is. We must win in a blow out, and we must flip the Senate. McConnell has got to go. I’m leaning towards Biden, but I’ve also got 2 months til I vote. That is a lot of time for October surprises, considering those happen every damn day Trump is in office.

We need the nominee to listen, to learn, and to work with a massive coalition to flip down ballot races and energize every bit of the vote. It’s got to be the most positive, healthy, inclusive campaign imaginable. Both of these candidates appear to have a fundamental issue, as far as I’m concerned. Sander’s appears to have this problem worse, but who knows.

They seem to believe the means are justified by the end.  It’s a misnomer. Of course reaching a goal is defined by how you get there. If it is accountable and transparent, that will be what our country needs. If it is anything else, it will just be better than Trump, but will forever fall short of the American promise. I want to believe they can do it, but for right now I want to see how they shape this campaign, now that it’s just between the two of them. May the better than Trump win.

I’m Keeping My Pinky Promise

No, I never got a pinky promise. I never got a selfie. I’m definitely heartbroken Elizabeth Warren didn’t make it to my state, but I know that the pinky promise is still there.  The promise to dream big and fight hard will persist.  The Saturday, before Super Tuesday, I set up to host a phone and text bank at my house. I got mini muffins, fruit, a veggie tray. I set up a pot of coffee and prepared for a day of training people and getting out the vote with Team Warren. 3 people came and I set them up to do texting. We talked about our mutual admiration for our candidate. I was online doing volunteer leader shifts, with the campaign in their slack community.

Sunday, I set up for another phone/text bank.  4 People had signed up, but no one showed.  I was online all day, doing volunteer leader shifts.  Nevertheless I persisted. 10 AM til about 8 PM.  I took off Monday and Tuesday, so I could again host GOTV events at my house,and spend the entire day supporting the campaign.  Tuesday was lit.  I was volunteered from 10 AM til 8 PM and I teamed up with another volunteer leader.  Together we help assign and re-assign texts to volunteers, all psyched to reach out to voters about this important election and why we believed Elizabeth Warren was the best candidate for the job.

One thing we were sure of, once people get to know Elizabeth, they like her.  If only we had more time.  I somehow got myself to tune out the news on Tuesday.  1 person showed up for my phone/text bank that day.  He got set up and we talked about the race. I put Elizabeth Warren’s YouTube channel on in the background, so we could be inspired through the day.

While this campaign didn’t get a fair shake in the media, and we didn’t get the outcome we wanted, I do not regret $1 spent or 1 minute of the time I gave volunteering with Team Warren. I was fulfilling my civic duty, and fighting hard for a vision I believed in. I still believe Elizabeth Warren’s records, and her plans, were the best shot we had right now of fulfilling the promise of our nation. It’s a promise that has yet to be fulfilled.

Wednesday I saw that we did not hit the mark in terms of delegate wins, and I knew what was coming.  I wished we could have had a hail mary delegate rush, but it didn’t happen.  Instead, I had volunteers reaching out to me on social media, texting me, and calling me wanting to know what was happening.  I conveyed that Senator Warren would make her choice, and we would know when she was ready to tell us. I respected that this was her choice, and I would support her choice whatever it was, and when she was ready to give it. The last thing she needed was to be rushed.

Thursday morning, I woke up to an overflowing toilet, water in the basement, and Elizabeth Warren suspending her campaign.  Great day.  I joined the volunteer call at 6, to hear from Senator Warren, and I read her statement. I sent some love to the staff and volunteers I got to work with on the campaign, and watched Rudy, like any sane person would.

I also took a call from someone working on a State Senate campaign. They are meeting to carry petitions this weekend.  I signed up. I know we aren’t getting the best candidate for President, but we must carry on.  Warren hasn’t endorsed anyone yet, and I respect her right to endorse or not endorse as she wishes.  I know we need to keep fighting and I will keep my virtual pinky promise. I’m going to keep dreaming big. I’m going to keep advocating for plans like the ones Elizabeth and her team crafted. They make sense.

One thing I loved about her campaign, is that she approached Booker, Harris, Castro, and Inslee, to ask if she could include some of their plans in her platform. I have no doubt she will be working like hell to get the next person to adopt as many of her plans in their platform as possible.  She doesn’t care about the credit. She wants the change. (I should totally write slogans).

Because I’m in a lot of Warren friendly groups, and knew Warren supporters, I read a lot of the chatter that Biden or Sanders should make her their VP, or have her be the next Treasury Secretary.  The option I liked the most, was flipping the Senate and making her Majority Leader.  Can you imagine how much we could get done for working families and the under represented, if we had Nancy Pelosi leading the House and Senator Warren as Majority Leader?  It would be phenomenal.

So there it is. We can still have big dreams.  We just need to be willing to fight hard for them.  We must create a coalition out of this primary, and we must energize the vote, so that we can win not just the Presidential election, but flip the Senate and win down ballot races. I will still campaign for the nominee. I will still volunteer for local and state legislative races. I am working out an outline for a course I want to offer in my community, to make voting more accessible to people.  My thought is to explain the process, how to look up your registration, how to register, checking for deadlines, knowing who your reps are, how to state in contact with them, and the state level voting rules.

I believe that patriotism is an act. It’s fulfilling your civic duty, and it’s something that is on each of us to do. In 2016 about 120 M voted, but 90M didn’t.  Until we get this government being truly run by the people, it will never be for the people.  I want to see if I can do my part to try to change that locally.  They say think globally, act locally, so that’s what I will do. I’ll volunteer to swing left red districts. I’ll work to register people and get out the vote, because every citizen should be paying attention and I want to make that more accessible to everyone.

I’ll keep on fighting, and I’ll leave teeth and blood on the floor if I have to. Pinky swear.

What a Super Tuesday

Being a volunteer on a a political campaign is an interesting experience. We spend our time reaching out to people who are registered to vote. Voter registration is public, and can be requested from any state board of elections or Secretary of State. I have been doing this for 20 years. I’ve helped to “GOTV” or get out the vote, on local campaigns, county level, district or state, and I have volunteered on national campaigns.

When volunteers like myself reach out to voters, we get a lot of common responses. Sometimes they support the candidate I support, sometimes they support someone else, sometimes they’re undecided, and then there are those who have no desire to be involved in politics, and everything is just so messed up there’s no point. Their vote doesn’t matter, and every excuse in the book is thrown out to not be involved. Sometimes people even tell me I’m wasting my time. They tell me to get a life.

It baffles me. What could be more important, than upholding our civic duty? This is how I show my patriotism. I participate in my government, I do my best to be an informed member of the electorate, and I uphold my part of ensuring that this democracy is by the people and for the people.

I am fascinated that people do not seem to draw the line between our government’s dysfunction and our lack of participation in it. If you owned a business, and I’m sure many of you have, would you hire someone and never check on the work they did?

Would you not tell them what you wanted them to do, while working for you?
Would you not require that they be accountable and transparent to you?
Would you not expect them to accomplish your agenda and not their own?

If they didn’t do those things, would you keep paying them or would you find someone else?  I imagine in some businesses, you might even do the job yourself. You might recruit someone and vet candidates until you found the right person. Someone moral and ethical. Someone hardworking and intelligent. Someone who speaks clearly about the challenges and offers good solutions. Above all, someone trustworthy.

A healthy democracy requires that all citizens pay attention to it, ensuring that their voices are heard, and that everyone’s voices are heard.  We are all meant to vote. We are meant to communicate with our representatives on matters that concern us. We are meant serve in the government if we choose. We can serve in public service, civil, government, or military. These can be callings for people, just like becoming a teacher, a doctor, a scientist, or an athlete.

Patriotism is not wrapping up in a flag, or wearing the flag as a piece of clothing in violation of the US federal flag code.

Patriotism is participating in your government.
Patriotism is fulfilling your civic duty.
Patriotism is taking pride in your government, and the work of the people who proudly served in it.

People who work in public service are not all corrupt, and they are not all bad. It is an excuse to people use, so they can absolve themselves of the responsibility to pay attention. I have worked with many representatives, public servants, or people who serve the public. I have campaigned with and for them, I have worked on issues with them, I have helped to find people resources to information or assistance that they needed, I have helped register people to vote, I have helped people find their polling places, get rides to the polls, and I have helped explain the system, so that participating in our democracy and voting can be accessible to everyone.

We can all do our part. At the very least we must pay attention and not roll our eyes at campaigns and elections. We can make them better but first we have to at least take them seriously. We have to stop listening to the pundits, and the polls, and the backspin, and the speculation. We need to look at each campaign as they are. We need to read their vision, their plans, and look for who really has the most comprehensive platform.

Please spend 10 minutes looking directly at each candidate’s plans for this country. Decide who has the best plan. Show your patriotism, by showing up and doing the work. We can’t control what anyone else does, but can choose to do our part to ensure our democracy is by the people, and that it includes our voice.

Elizabeth Warren:

Joe Biden:

Bernie Sanders:

If you want a quick way to compare the plans, I made this Google Sheet, comparing a handful of plans:

2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Front-runners – Comparison of Plans (Google Sheets)

If you are wondering why there are some holes, I explain that here:
Let Me Make This Simple Democratic Voters

Choose wisely. This is your one chance to vote for the best candidate, nominee, President. The rest is just sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing. 
~ William Shakespeare, Macbeth

How Hard Will You Fight?

I often participate in get out the vote efforts.  To me, it’s our civic duty. I was posting about it earlier this week. If we want our government to be for the people, it must be by the people.

While I mean this for all citizens of our country, right now I’m writing this for my fellow Elizabeth Warren supporters.  We know how amazing she is.  She is intelligent, thoughtful, accountable, transparent, and effective as hell.  The problem is, it’s not just enough to support her. It’s not enough to just vote for her. We must be off the sidelines.

Tonight is an FEC deadline. Tomorrow is the South Carolina primary. Tuesday is “Super Tuesday” when 14 states, 1 US territory, and Democrats Abroad will be voting (What is Super Tuesday and why is it important?). About 1/3 of the delegates will be awarded.

Bloomberg has spent $500,000,000 already on ads, and he’s not stopping.  Warren tried to get everyone in the field to swear off Super PACs, but no one would, and so now she wants them all to disclose their donors, including the one backing her. She didn’t ask for this, and she will make it a priority to get money out of politics, but first we have to get her elected.

Right now pundits are consumed in their punditry, and when we listen to them we get caught trying to play that game. Who is electable? Who is “safe”? Who will beat Trump?  This distracts everyone from our true civic duty, which is choosing who will be the best President, not the best politician.

No amount of money can outweigh our votes.  The challenge we have, is to reach enough voters and convince them that we must Dream Big and Fight Hard, to get the democracy we want. A primary is the exact right time to vote for the candidate you want, not the one who you think will win now or later.

So what will you do tonight? What will you do this weekend? What will you do between now and Tuesday? What will you do between now and the convention, in July? If you aren’t sure where to start, that’s why I’m writing this. I meet people all the time, who want to help, but don’t know where to start.

Fortunately Elizabeth Warren has a plan for everything, and her campaign is full of amazing people. This is a link that has all the information you need to get going.

Elizabeth Warren Volunteer Toolkit

Choose the activity that you can help with, and read everything in the corresponding tool kit. There is so much useful information in there, and they don’t put anything in there that is not needed. It’s all great stuff. Any questions, feel free to ask and I will do my best to help answer them, or find you someone who can help.

There is also a handy donate button at the top.




Warren is the President Americans Don’t Know They Want

It’s certainly interesting to watch the media continually erase her from the narrative. They go out of their way to not mention her. Is it because billionaires own the media and she is coming for them to pay their fair share? (These 15 Billionaires Own America’s News Media Companies) Is it because she’s a woman? (The Erasure of Elizabeth Warren Continues)  Who knows.  Meanwhile, Democratic voters are figuring out who to support, and they get most of their information from pundits and polls, which are leaving out this amazing candidate.

What metrics should voters use, to decide who to support?  Should it be who won the first primaries? What about the top 3?  Is it who has the most money to spend? Is it who gets more media attention or runs the most ads? I’d like to suggest some metrics that I believe can be applied to all candidates, and I am confident Elizabeth Warren will come out on top.

For starters, let’s put aside the need to decide who is the best “candidate”. It’s not our job as voters to choose a savvy politician who speaks in platitudes. It’s not our job to pick someone who will be a verbal bully. Our civic duty is to be an informed member of the electorate. It is our job to pick the person who will serve the public as the best and most effective President.

I believe that person is by far Elizabeth Warren. Let’s lay out some characteristics I look for in a President and how I believe Warren meets or exceeds those traits.

Being accountable. If there is one thing a Trump Presidency has shown this country, it’s what it looks like when the President thinks themselves a king and not a public servant.  All elected offices are positions of public service, and they have a duty to be accountable to the people.  Elizabeth Warren shows this and it isn’t a stunt. She continually takes responsibility for her actions and has a willingness to be held accountable. (Black Womxn For Supports Elizabeth Warren for Admitting Her Mistakes)

Being inclusive. It’s not just enough to say you support all groups of people, you have to back it up with legitimate plans. When Elizabeth Warren sees that a group of people are not being heard, she doesn’t just hand them a mic for a second, she pulls up a chair and fully includes them. She doesn’t just invite them to join her team, she joins their team. She is a bridge builder. This is just one example, and its one I have yet to genuinely hear about from any other candidate: Warren: “Non-negotiable” For Campaign to Be Fully Inclusive of People with Disabilities

Being effective. She is the only candidate who has created a federal agency from scratch. Critics will bemoan the complicated issues the agency faces and the revolving door that financial lobbyists are making in the agency, but that happens anywhere.  Doing big things is no where near easy, but she gets it done. She doesn’t just move the needle. She moves the line.  (Why Haven’t We Heard More From Warren About the CFPB on the Campaign Trail?)  There is still work to be done, and Elizabeth Warren is the one who will get it done.

Being transparent. People criticized her for taking the DNA test, but it was a rebuke to Trump’s lack of transparency.  She has apologized and acknowledged the damage that her carrying family folklore into the public arena, does to Native American people.  Like I said at the onset, everyone makes mistakes, whether they are running for President or not.  The true measure is whether they will be transparent about their life, who they are, and what they hope to gain from the Presidency. (Elizabeth Warren’s DNA Test Shows How She’s Weaponizing Transparency) When she stumbles, she gets back up, wipes off her hands and gets back to work. She has a plan for honoring and empowering tribal nations and indigenous peoples. (Honoring And Empowering Tribal Nations And Indigenous Peoples)  She doesn’t just own up to her mistakes with the level of transparency we deserve, she makes substantive changes to her policies and her way of thinking.  She evolves.

Look, there are a lot of ways you can slice up this primary. You can even run a poll and leave out the person in 3rd. I hope the voters will do what they did in 2008.  People said Barack Obama didn’t have a chance, but then the Democratic voters voted for him anyway.  I hope people do that now, with Elizabeth Warren.

She will restore transparency and accountability to the White House and to our federal government. She will root out corruption, and she will close the revolving revolving doors to lobbying. She is effective because her plans make economic sense, and she knows economics. Read the linked articles in here, to get background on that. She is a lauded professor of bankruptcy law, and she knows how to get the power of the dollar back into the hands of working families. Out of anyone in the field, I believe she will use her power to do that, and she will get it done.

She truly is the candidate, people don’t know that they want, and she’s the President we need.

A President’s Day Nomination

Today is President’s Day, which is really George Washington’s birthday, so happy birthday to him.  I decided today would be a good day to write out my endorsement for the Democratic primary. I’m going to try to keep it succinct which, if you’ve read even one of my blog posts you know, is a challenge for me.

Every registered member of a political party has the privilege and the responsibility to choose their party’s nominee.  Our vote is our individual nomination.  My vote is to nominate Senator Elizabeth Warren.

The media is working hard to erase this amazing candidate, and the polls show people are supporting candidates out of fear and an outdated sense of what is “safe”. I just don’t see how that will ever get us to a better place. It’s a misnomer, a fallacy, that voting for another billionaire will do it, or supporting someone who uses PACs and PAC money, will get us the transparency and accountability our federal government needs.

I used to think Senator Warren was too left, too radical.  Then I spent more time listening to her speak.  She knows her stuff.  This is a bonafide nerd. A Harvard professor, who did the work and really studied economic systems. She sees where the corruption is, she sees what it’s doing to the power in our government, and she knows where that power needs to go; in the hands of the people.

I had a dream the other night, that she called me, as she is known for calling people who donate to her campaign.

In my dream, she was thanking me for donating and volunteering with the campaign. I was pumped! I was flustered, wanting to tell her how fantastic her plans are, and how much hope it gives me that I don’t have to merely vote against Trump, or convince people to vote against him. I believe in her and want to vote for her, as well as convince voters to do the same.  We talked and laughed and became best friends, as happens in dreams.

Most people will say I’m naive and unrealistic, but I respectfully disagree.  At this point in the primary, in 2008, everyone said Senator Barack Obama didn’t have a chance.  People saw the polls and heard the pundits, but they voted for him anyway.  State by state his support increased, and he stunned everyone, by winning the nomination.  I want the Democratic party to do that with the candidacy of Elizabeth Warren.  If you think her candidacy isn’t legit, please take a look at just some of her plans. I compared her plans with Biden and Sanders.

You can read about that here: Let Me Make This Simple Democratic Voters

Here is a list of some of her plans:

Topics Warren
Public Education
Student Loan Crisis
Jobs and Wages
Addressing Washington Corruption
Social Security
Supporting Soldiers and Veterans
Health Care
Gun Violence
Disability Rights
Affordable Housing
Child Care
Paid Leave
Women’s Reproductive Rights
LGBTQ+ Equality
Private Prisons
Native American Rights
Marijuana Legalization

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There are too many plan to list here, but even her website is logically arranged. I have such respect for efficiently organized information.  You can view all of her plans here: Scroll down about 1/2 way and you can search for the issue or topic of interest to you.

The reason my focus is on these plans, is that my goal in vetting the candidates is not to weigh their platitudes, the polling, or how the news covers them (or doesn’t, in her case).  Instead, my priority is the choose the candidate who has the best plans for running this country. My vote must be for the candidate who will make the most effective, principled, and honest leader.  Elizabeth Warren has made mistakes, but despite people hammering her, she has legitimately apologized and instead of trying to sweep anything under the rug, she has shown she has the capacity to learn and evolve.

I’ve talked to a lot of voters, and people say “she used to be Republican” or “she used to take PAC money” or “she claimed she was Native American”.  I’m not her, and I don’t represent her campaign. My perspective is two-fold. One is that all of the candidates have weaknesses, within the Democratic primary contenders, and on the Republican side.  When I weigh her weaknesses with theirs, it’s not even close.  The biggest reason I still back her, is the 2nd part of my perspective in all of this.  She is the only candidate I have ever seen genuinely apologize, not punt, not pivot, and not refuse to take responsibility.  She was Republican, and then she learned that the party didn’t represent her values.  She did accept PAC money, until she saw the insidious cost, that people wanted to buy access.  This was the opposite of why she went into politics and more importantly public service.  She proved she will do the hard work to forge a new path, when she sees the one she is on (with so many others) is untenable.

Some people dream of being a doctor, or a teacher, or an athlete.  I am not sure many realize that public service is also a calling.  It wasn’t Elizabeth Warren’s. Her dream was to be a teacher.  My dream was public service, but behind the scenes, supporting the representative I believed in. The calling for public service is one of caring about who represents us in public office. It’s believing in the ever-moving and resilient democracy. It’s knowing that it is up to us to show up and run our government. It’s a belief that alone we are one, but together we are more than individuals. We are a collective, with a common wealth, and a common vision that can lift us all up together.

It’s hard to see that vision in the current landscape, I admit. That’s why I’m supporting Elizabeth Warren. I think the hardest criticism to get passed with Elizabeth Warren is the Native American claim.  People call her Pocahontas, and we all know it was the petulant and childish person in the White House, who started that.  It is being used as an insult, but that name should not be used to insult people.  I learned a lot when this happened, because I am much like Elizabeth Warren. I grew up being told that we likely have Native American ancestry, and my Aunt even told me a story of our family and how there was a love tryst with a tribe we communed with.

I’ve never gotten a DNA test, because I’m 1/2 Jewish and I take issue with giving my DNA to some DNA company.  I never marked Native American on a job application, but that’s because I always figured it was more for people who didn’t have white see-through skin like me, who were more likely to receive prejudice when applying for a job.  I still don’t feel I need to cancel Warren for doing this.  I truly believe she didn’t realize that she was causing damage. Native American people have approached her, because of this, and she did what many don’t do in politics. She listened. She learned, she apologized and she sees how much Native American tribes and peoples are marginalized and erased.  This is just one way us white people have been known to perpetuate that.

I’d rather nominate and elected Elizabeth Warren, than any other primary candidate, because I know she truly cares about Native American people, despite this mistake. It wasn’t malicious or intentional.

At the end of the day, we all have to do what we think is right.  Ever registered member of the Democratic party has a responsibility to show up and vote in this primary.  Anyone sitting it out to see who the rest of us vote for, is abdicating their duty as a member of the party to shape who the nominee is.  Don’t want Sanders? You better get up and support a different candidate. Don’t want another “billionaire bully” like Bloomberg? You’ve got to show up and back someone else.  Don’t think Buttigieg is at all ready for this?  Let me tell you, Warren is ready.

Reject the media, and the polls.  Donate $5 to the candidate who is not funded by dark PAC money. Join her grassroots campaign to get the vote out.  Support the candidate who has a goal and vision to lift up this country, clear out the corruption, and get our government working for all Americans, not just the wealthy and well-connected.

Make your President’s Day a time when you decide that not only are you ready for a woman President, you’re ready for a President who has plans to dream big and fight hard for every American.

I know I said I would try to keep this short. I apologize for my failure. Now let’s go nominate Elizabeth Warren!

Featured photo from RollingStone (

In American Democracy The Ends Should be Defined by The Means

We have only completed 2 of the state primaries in the elections that will occur, for the Democratic Presidential primary.  This is a race involving 50 states, DC, 5 territories and Democrats Abroad (  This primary was already one with incredibly high stakes.  The Republican party went all in on selling it’s soul for a racist, narcissistic and unbalanced nominee, who encouraged foreign influence to win an election.  He has continuously flouted the law, demeaned our institutions, and brought disgrace to the office he sits in.

What is not discussed much is that there is a divide between ideologies in this country. It’s not left and right, as it transcends both sides. This is about whether people believe the ends justify the means or whether they believe, like I do, that they are defined by it. This is not just a Trump or GOP problem. This is an American problem. This is a problem that faces us at every level of society.

Now we have a protracted battle for the Democratic primary, to determine who will be the nominee for President. People lamenting this have one of two goals. One to suggest nominating their candidate will unify us quicker. The other is the media prerogative to stoke the frustration of viewers, and those social media, to demand immediacy for the sake of catchy headlines. 

If we make the wrong choice, we stand to lose our republic as we know it. The problem is, no one can really profess to know who will make the best candidate to beat Trump and right this ship. Anyone who does is not speaking in good faith, but rather with a selfish agenda to further their own nominee. Anything can and will happen between now and then. Trump, the GOP, and Russia et al (other adversaries) will push disinformation, and they will relentlessly attack whomever is chosen to be the Democratic nominee.

They will dig up dirt. There will be as many “October surprises” as they can possibly manufacture, no matter how ridiculous they may turn out to be. They will attempt to divide the party through this nomination process and through the election.  This is going to happen no matter what. It’s futile, for registered members of the Democratic party, to choose their nominee based on some sort of attempt at predicting who will make it through the inevitable gauntlet and still be standing strong.

It seems to me, that we need an impenetrable way to choose our candidate. Maybe that is by viewing how they run their campaign, as a reflection on the merit of their candidacy. That coupled with their record getting things done for others, seems to be strong metrics.  When I say getting things done for others, that can be activism and/or their record in elected office, sponsoring bills that have passed, co-sponsoring and voting for or against legislation, and creating initiatives or agencies aimed at helping citizens of this country. 

In this past week, some of the Democratic campaigns are showing their true colors, and they should be red flags for Democratic voters in this primary that has 98% still to go. My first criticism is for Michael Bloomberg. This campaign has really hit every button of being an insidious campaign. Not only is Bloomberg completely unwilling to acknowledge the damage of his stop and frisk policy and redlining, his focus is on quieting the criticism instead of acknowledging it. He uses racist justifications and has not shown any respect for what his policies did to black and brown citizens he was meant to represent (

Now it’s clear he’s not just buying his campaign, he’s buying his way toward getting people to support him ( It’s disingenuous and it’s an illustration of a white man so sure that he is the one to save us all, he will use his imagined ends to justify bad faith campaign maneuvers. 

He’s not alone either. Bernie Sanders campaign also reflects a reckless narcissism, that is frustrating to see. I supported Bernie in 2016, and even voted for him in the primary. I had committed before the convention, to supporting the nominee, and I fully supported Hillary Clinton once she secured the nomination. That was when I also saw the bloom come off Sander’s proverbial rose.  He was interviewed shortly after the convention (it may have been the next day). 

The question was posed to him, what he intends to do about the Bernie or Bust/Never Hillary crowd. With a straight face he said “I can’t snap my fingers and tell my supporters what to do.” I was able to find that clip on youtube until recently. Now I can’t seem to find it (there are so many Bernie interview clips now and from 2016). He spent months telling them what to do, but now he was taking his ball and going home. His supports decry that he campaigned for Hillary, but it was clear to me the he was a sore loser who didn’t campaign for her, and for the sake of this country anywhere near as hard as he campaigns for himself.

Let me be clear. I would prefer Bernie Sanders to Bloomberg, any day.  He is progressive, and I trust him more than Bloomberg to genuinely fight inequity in this country. Bernie has been a loud voice in the Senate, for decades, bringing attention to critical issues.  I thank him for that.  The problem is, Hillary was right. I’m not sure no one likes him. He’s a pretty likeable guy, from what I’ve seen, but he is very much a “my way or the highway” guy, and that’s not how you get stuff done in a bipartisan government. In his storied Senate career, he has been the original sponsor of 7 bills ( Two were to name Vermont post offices, and one was for “Vermont Bicentennial Day”. The others were more substantial, and regarding caring for our Veterans. 

Beyond his record, his campaign is not as genuine as his rabid supporters would like us to believe.  He found a loophole to disavowing PACs, by forming a non-profit one ( As a life long registered member of the Democratic party, I am insulted at Sanders refusing to join our party unless he gets to be in charge.  According to Wikipedia he has been a registered Independent from 1978 – present. He switched to the Democratic party in 2015, but switched back to Independent when he didn’t win the nomination. Now he’s back, only because he wants the nomination (

This is opportunistic and not how political parties are meant to work. Commit to the party and work with them to make them reflect what you want the party to stand for, but don’t demand that you will only join the party if you get to be king. I just can’t respect that. I’ve never ascended to anywhere near his level, but I’ve been in the dirt working with the party at the local level. It takes work and commitment. This is a slap in the face to everyone in the Democratic party, who is doing the hard work from the inside, instead of lobbing attacks from the outside.

Finally, his campaign is a hotbed of abusive and duplicitous behavior, for which he barely acknowledges and he fails takes tangible responsibility for shutting down. If he can’t get his base to reflect his campaign accurately, how will he ensure that his Presidency will effectively be healthy for this country? It seems that his is more happy to have the fanfare, and will ignore the cost. Some examples:

Toxic “Bernie Bros”:

Harassing critics:

One offs that are hard to trace:

As frustrating as it is, I will support them if they win the nomination, but we have a long road ahead. Instead of focusing on who will likely win, by reading the tea leaves of any one state’s primary results, the polls or the noise from the pundits, I suggest we focus on what matters.  Their record, the efficacy of their campaign, and how likely they can achieve their platform as President. I would also note, that I notice how the candidates respond to criticism. Some candidates acknowledge the criticism, can show they have learned and have an ability to evolve.  Others will deny the criticism, reject its worth, and dismiss it. If a candidate can’t admit their imperfections, how can we trust them to be honest when they make a bad decision?

To me, the ends are defined by the means, and how these campaigns are run speaks volumes.

Americans Need Patriotism

Patriotism in America used to mean something.  It wasn’t about just draping yourself in the flag, It wasn’t about being free to not vote. It wasn’t hating other countries, or hating anyone who was different. It wasn’t about hating and dismissing all elected representatives.

Patriotism was founded in this country, on the principle of self-governance. We were meant to have a say. We were meant to vote for who would represent our interests and the interests of our communities.  We were meant to tell our representatives how to represent us.  In this age of information, we have no excuse not to. Our country used to be thought of as the leader of the free world, yet our citizens spend a lot of time complaining about our government, and little action to do our part. A self-governing government can’t govern itself. Say that a few times. 

You would think we would have 90% or higher turnout, but instead, a local election year we see around 30%, depending on where you live (30% is generous for my community).

Monroe County,  New York Voter Turnout in 2015. Source:

In 2016, we had 65% turnout, among registered voters. It was 58% of eligible voters, according to this:

I am considered among those who know me, to be a politically engaged person. I work in IT, but that is my day job.  I have a BS in political science. I have worked on campaigns, run a campaign, and worked with the Democratic Committee in my county.  In 2016 I took election day off work. I volunteered at my county Democratic committee office helping people verify their voter registrations, find polling places, get a ride to the polls, and answer questions. It was a fantastic day engaging with voters and other volunteers committed to helping as many people vote as possible.

Now I’m volunteering with the Warren campaign.  I am someone who loves to talk about politics, and I love to engage with people on the issues.  I know most people hate politics, roll their eyes, and would rather do anything else.

The problem is, the only way we are ever going to fix our government and make sure it’s working for us, is if we make it a priority in our lives. I know everyone has too many priorities. The problem is, this affects every one of them.  Got kids in school?  Education. Drive on roads? Infrastructure. Military family? Military and veterans affairs.  Got a body? Health care. Over 65? Social security.

I hope I’m making my point.  

I did phone banking to voters in North Dakota, trying to help re-elect Heidi Heitkamp in the midterms. I have good Senators in NY, so I wanted to help other states. Even though she didn’t win, I had some really good conversations with people, and yes in the red, red state of North Dakota, Trump supporters would have a good conversation with me a life-long liberal Democratic voter.

Volunteering with the Warren campaign, I have received some of the same feedback as I did from voters in 2016, during the 2018 midterms, in last year’s local election, and on social media.  People have a few popular responses to a conversation about politics or an election. One common response is that all elected officials are bad.  Not only is it an excuse for not paying attention or voting, it’s a 100% false statement.  Before you dismiss me, who has met, volunteered, campaigned, and talked with more candidates and elected representatives, you or me? Hint: If it’s you, this isn’t meant for you.

For the rest of you. It’s time to make this a priority. You don’t have to make it your number 1 priority, like I do, but there are some things that I need you all to do this year, and going forward. These need to go on your to-do lists. A lot of them don’t take that much time.  

In order to start making this at least a priority, try to spend 15 minutes a day working on the list below. Imagine what we can get done, as a nation, if everyone does this.

  1. Verify you are registered to vote, and register if you are not:
  2. Look up your representatives. To do this, google the county you live in and “Board of Elections”, e.g. Cool County Board of Elections
  3. Get signed up on a tool that will let you be in contact with your reps in Congress.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to start paying attention.  I get that the news sucks, but not all of it is political, and the politics is what you need to pay attention to. It’s important you know what your reps are saying and how they are voting, or what they are signing into law, repealing, or vetoing. This is the civic duty of citizens in a self-governing democracy.  We all know it’s a democratic republic, but we have always cherished that our founding fathers wanted this country to be, if nothing else, a truly representative democracy. 

Use an app like countable, and you can see what bills are circulating in Congress. You can vote on the app, for which way you want them to vote and send them your comments on it. You can go straight to the House and Senate websites to see what they are voting on, and what’s in committee.

Now that you have gotten this far, I want you prepare for the election. Not just 2020, but every year.  This is real patriotism. Honor your civic duty.  Our government can only function if we run it.  Would you run a company, hire someone, and never check on their work? If the person you hired wasn’t doing what you asked them to do and what they said they would do, or acted in unethical and/or immoral way, would you keep them on or would you hire someone else? 

We talk a lot about how elected representatives aren’t doing their job, but we aren’t really doing ours. It feels like it would be a lot of work, but once you do it, once you really get informed and aware, there is a good reward to it.  There is service to our government. Not every elected official is corrupt or bad.  Some people dream of being doctors, some want to be athletes, or go into music, or be farmers.  Some people want to want to go into public service.  They want to represent people’s interests.  

I have met them, I have worked with them, I have supported their campaigns, and I am volunteering with one of them right now.  None are perfect, and yes there are a lot of bad apples, who self deal and have insidious aims. There are also many, who are good and decent people. There are people out there who believe that our government can cultivate a common wealth and common vision for the interests of every citizen.

The reality is that good representatives are accessible, accountable, and transparent with their constituents. They will hold town halls, and their staff are on hand to answer your questions and help you find resources when you are in need.

I know the idea of paying attention, being informed, making the tough choice of picking the best representative out of the candidates on the ballot, seems like a lot. Democracy, and being the leader of the free world, takes work. I am also only asking for 15 minutes. 15 minutes a day to see if we can do our part to make sure our government works for all of us, and not only for those who decided to show up and those with the most influence and money.

If you see that value, then having finished the to-do items above, please work on the following until you registered party’s primary election:

  1. Check when your primary is:
  2. Research each candidate.  That’s right. At least know something about them. Not rumor. Not what you saw from some post on social media with no source. 15 minutes, getting to know 1 candidate a day for yourself. At least those polling in the top 5, if you are a Democratic voter or planning to vote in the Democratic primary this year.  Google them and go to their website. Look for their plans or agenda. Read up on what they want to do and decide if you think it’s the best approach for where we are right now.
  3. Pick a candidate. One of them will represent us, in this election and in office if they win.
  4. Vote in the primary.  Saying none are good is not an option. You are part of picking the nomine and these are the choices. One will be chosen. It’s up to you to pick who you think will be the best out of those who showed up to do the job.

Now we know who is running in the election. If you are supporting a candidate who doesn’t take PAC money or high donor contributions, know that they rely on small donations to run their campaign. They are up against massive dark money influence. If you can’t donate, consider volunteering some time.  Phone bank, text, canvass. Do something to ensure our government is run by someone who will serve our interests and not serve that which is not in our interests. Talk to friends and family, and make sure the people in your life know that you are taking your civic duty seriously, and they should too.

Pay attention to who has a plan and is using facts, figures, recorded factual information and who is making claims without any proof or solid information. Vet the information. Make sure the information is solid.  Remember 15 minutes a day.  

The more we pay attention, the more we can ensure our government isn’t just by people but for people.  It’s time we acknowledge that running the government is a big, complex job and it needs all of us to contribute for it to be a success. 

When we can do that, We can ensure everyone has health care. 18 countries have been able to do that, and there is no reason why we can’t. (

We can ensure everyone has a livable wage, and the resources to ensure our homeless are not abandoned on the streets. 

We can ensure secure elections, fair elections, and accessible elections for every eligible citizen.

We can ensure we have maintained roads, bridges and tunnels.

We can ensure excellent public education for every child and we can ensure child care.

We can ensure that our borders are safe, and so are immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers needing our help.

We can ensure a healthy and thriving environment, renewable energy, and the means to address pollution.

If we stand up and do the truly patriotic act of fulfilling our civic duty, we can ensure our government lives up to the legacy of our nation. We can ensure it lives on.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for your time. I hope this took less than 15 minutes. I hope it gave you something to think about. If you are willing to do the above, and give me 15 minutes a day, to be an informed member of the electorate, then I thank you as a fellow citizen of this country. If you have questions about any of the above, would like more or specific resources, or have feedback, please leave me a comment.

Once you do the above, you have just one more thing to do, in November:

  1. Vote.

Let Me Make This Simple Democratic Voters

A lot of Democratic voters wish the Democratic Party was stronger. So do I.  I have been a registered Democratic voter since I turned 18. The thing is most of our party, at least the average registered voter, does little to make the party strong. They complain and lob attacks at the leaders, the ones who bothered to show up. I fail to see how that helps.  I worked at the Board of Elections, and I worked as Director of Operations for the Monroe County Democratic Party. I can tell you how this works, based on voter registration and voter turnout.

More voters are registered with the Democratic party, than the Republican party.  Republican voters turn out in higher numbers.  This results in close races, and the Democratic party has to woo Democratic voters.  They have to convince them to turn up.  The Republicans use 2 obvious tactics and they work every time.  One method is, they suggest that the Democratic candidate is going to win, which causes Democratic voters to think they don’t have to turn out. The other tactic is, they convince Democrats that the Democratic candidate is no better than the Republican candidate. Thanks, Susan Sarandon.

So this is the deal.  We get what we put into our party and our government.  We can lament the corruption, but what do we expect?  Would you own a business, hire someone, and then not monitor their work to ensure they were faithfully doing the job you are paying them to do?  Would you keep paying them if they weren’t doing their job?  Would you keep them on if they weren’t transparent and accountable to you, in any conflicts of interest, or that they were behaving ethically and morally?

Our government can only be by the people and for the people, if the people are doing their part in the process.  That means not bemoaning elections and campaigns. It means vetting candidates, voting, and holding elected officials to the job of representing the interests of the community.

I get that we don’t all have time for that.  Between work, family, friends, responsibilities, it’s a lot.  We can’t afford not to pay attention, though.  There is too much at stake.  It’s not just health care, and education, and basic civil rights. It’s not just the environment, breathable air, and coastal erosion.  It’s the worst corruption attempting to strip our voting rights, stack the courts, and ensure that there is only power when the right party is in control.

This post is my attempt to make it a little easier for Democratic voters to compare the candidate’s plans on a variety of issues.  I made up a spreadsheet, listing different topics.  I then went to the top 3 candidates’ websites and looked for a plan or policy, or narrative on how they plan to “move the needle” on that issue.

This is what I came up with: 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Front-runners – Comparison of Plans (Google Sheets)

I added columns at the end, so that I could grade each candidate on each topic. My goal is to review and grade each of them.  If instead of using A-F, I will use 1-10 (1 = low and 10 = high) then I should be able to total them up and see a clear winner.  I didn’t do that before posting this, because I’m not trying to sway Democratic voters.  My only goal is to make the information as accessible as possible, so voters will not sit this out. This is our opportunity and our responsibility, to choose the best candidate, from those who showed up to run, and then to vote for that candidate, in our state’s primary. 

I hope this information helps.  You will notice some holes in that list.  I reached out to both the Sanders and Biden campaigns to ask for links to the topics I wasn’t able to find info on. I emailed their general info/ Contact Us from their campaign sites. I have received no response from Sander’s campaign, but now I am receiving emails from Biden wanting me to join their team and donate to them:

I also tweeted to their Press Secretaries.  I am sure they are busy, but I figured they might be able to help.  Neither have responded.

If either campaign wants to fill in the holes, they are welcome to send me links and I will update the spreadsheet.

Is this helpful? Let me know in the comments. Thanks!

O-M-G The Democratic Party is Like So Weak

How many Democratic voters lament their party’s weakness in public or online?  I’m a life-long member of the Democratic Party. By that, I mean I was raised by progressive parents and once I turned 18 I was so excited to register as a Democratic voter and vote for progressive Democratic candidates.

I didn’t get really engaged in politics online until about 2015. Once I did, there was a shocking amount of criticism about the Democratic party.  It wouldn’t have been shocking if it was from the Republican party and conservative voters, but it was seemingly from members of their own party.

Here’s the thing. Just because a candidate or elected official is registered with the party you are registered with, doesn’t mean you owe them allegiance. You have the right to criticize their actions, voting, and rhetoric. Of course you do. That’s democracy. You have a right to support challengers to incumbents within your own party.  That’s how we get a Rep like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which is what we need. We need people who care about the community they represent, and you know actually go to that community and listen to the constituents.

There is a difference though, between speaking your mind to a specific representative’s work to represent the people, and attacking the entire party. Painting them with a brush that says “the establishment is horrible and wrong and poopy”.  It’s a lazy cop-out and it neglects to account for what the attacker is doing to help.

People love to throw rocks from the outside, but how much are they working to make the party stronger? Most of them will respond with saying “I’m making them stronger by telling them how to get there.” Really?



Here is my challenge to Democratic voters, who wish their party was stronger. Ask yourself what you have done to roll up your sleeves and work to make your party as strong as it needs to be, to beat the bad faith actors in the GOP.  There are a number of ways to help:

  1. Pick a candidate and volunteer in their campaign
  2. Make phone calls
  3. Canvass to gather petitions to put them on the ballot
  4. Host a phone bank
  5. Host a rally or watch party
  6. Make small contributions to support their campaign, so they can run their campaign without owing lobbyists and wealthy execs
  7. Become a delegate for them at the convention
  8. Register people to vote
  9.  Talk to other voters about why they are the best candidate – remember how you respect people is a reflection on the candidate you support. You are representing them
  10. Do the hard work of putting together your top issues, and then go review the plans of each primary candidate on those issues, and grade them. Your grade. Who is the best?  Not perfect, but which candidate gets the highest grade? If none of them do, are you being realistic? Because the alternative is Trump, so grade him too.

My point is, if you have a beef with the Democratic party, each out to them directly, instead of trashing them online.  If you really want them to be stronger, reach out to the local committee (county level), the state party, or the DNC.  Become more active in the party, so that it can reflect more of what you want to see.

Expecting your party to work exactly as you want, with you doing nothing else than shouting at them, is like a toddler throwing a tantrum in the store, because their parent won’t buy them the toy. Well, the child hasn’t cleaned their room, doesn’t eat their vegetables, and the parents are on a fixed budget.

So this is my challenge to you.  Get involved. Start to look at each candidate and elected official individually. Don’t write them off because of one thing they said, or one vote. Take a real look at their record and give them a reasonable grade, knowing that the job of representing people is not as easy as it may seem.  If you still aren’t satisfied, then run for office and be the representative who will deliver on what you want.

We need Democratic voters off the sidelines in 2020 and going forward. We certainly need them to stop attacking their own party, as if that will help anyone but Trump and the Republican party. We get out what we put in to your party and to your democracy. It’s time we make some lasting investments.