It can get confusing at times whether or not a candidate is for you or not. There had been a Washington Post quiz going around to see which candidate you’re most aligned with, like an e-harmony between voter and candidate. This isn’t that.
Here’s a simple list of how to judge candidates given who has been President since 2016.
The Mueller Report makes it clear that: i.) the Russian government tried to help Trump win; ii.) the Trump campaign was eager to benefit from hackings targeting Democrats; and iii.) Trump’s campaign advisers had a lot of troubling ties to Russia.
See all articles and news clips dealing with “Trump Impeachment.” At televisions near you.
Trump paid a $2 million settlement to 8 charities admitting that he misused funds from Trump Foundation for his campaign and settle business debts.
25 cases of sexual assault and harassment and counting.
Trump faced two lawsuits in California and one in New York against fraud allegations that were wrapped into one civil suit against Trump University. A federal court approved a $25 million settlement with students who said they were duped by Trump and his now-defunct Trump University.
a) The US Department of Justice under the Nixon administration sued the Trump Management Corporation for violating the Fair Housing Act. Federal officials found evidence that Trump had refused to rent to black tenants and lied to black applicants about whether apartments were available, among other accusations. He signed an agreement in 1975 agreeing not to discriminate to renters of color. There’s a lot more where that came from! Here’s a full timeline. b) Senior advisor to Trump and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon on Saturday told a crowd of far-right French politicians to let people label them as “racist,” and to consider it “a badge of honor.” Bannon was the founder and once executive editor of Breitbart News, which he “proudly” told a Mother Jones reporter at the 2016 Republican National Convention is “platform for the alt right,” referring to Breitbart News. The alt right is a loose network of individuals and groups that promote white identity and reject mainstream conservatism in favor of politics that embrace implicit or explicit racism, anti-Semitism and white supremacy. Bannon was only let go by Trump due to seemingly disparaging remarks he made in a book about Trump and his family. c) Stephen Miller is a Trump senior adviser and architect of Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda as well as a far-right political activist. In November 2019, over 900 emails were made public that reveal him to be a supporter of white nationalism. 59 civil rights groups cited Miller as a promoter of “white supremacy, violent extremism, and hate,” and demanded Trump fire him. Given the revolving door of his staff and inner circle, this should’ve been easy. Miller has yet to be fired.
I mean, how important is it to vote? It’s not like you’re marrying the person. That person will only be in charge of your health, like whether you die from diabetes or can afford insulin or are ever able to see a doctor or go broke trying to; if you can ever afford a home or watch as Jeff Bezos buys his tenth home paying a $1 in taxes as you fork over half your paycheck; whether you have clean water or fresh air to breathe; if your children can get a fighting chance in this world with a good education (if they aren’t traumatized due to school shootings or chronically ill due to an inability to pay for health insurance); and whether we are embroiled in a world war. So it’s not to the level of marriage but it does bear some importance.
An admirable quality of Trump supporters and enablers is their unflagging faith, whether due to fear, ignorance, or bullying, there is a resoluteness that Democrats lack. The sky can be blue, and yet if Trump says it’s green, so say they. What I am hearing as of December 2019, before even the primaries kick-off is a “woe-is-me” cry that Trump will win. “I don’t want him to but…”
But what? It is entirely within your control. The outcome may not be but let’s not forget three very important factors:
1. It’s not over until it’s over. Just ask Al Gore. Politics is an endurance game and you have to be like Serena Williams fighting down to the last point of the last game in the last set.
Part of me wants to scream and curse because WHY? There’s no hard data that he’ll win. It seems so obvious that if you are so against something then why believe something that will make it come true? Up until a month, even two weeks before the election, Hillary Clinton seemed a “shoo-in” even by the Trump campaign internally.
There will always be doubt as to an outcome, so fight to the tooth for the candidate you believe in — or do your values mean so little? Does a candidate have to razzle and dazzle with oratory flair in order for there to be groundswell of support? Doubts weaken your candidate. In either case:
Stop Saying He’ll Win.
2. In February 2017, Ezra Klein wrote the “real reason” Hillary Clinton lost which applies today. She lost due to us. Put aside the numbers and Wikileaks and emails and Russia. Swing states, electoral votes, and scandals aside, Trump was Trump. The candidate who said that the Mexicans are rapists, made fun of the disabled, was heard saying “grab’em by the pussy,” rife with sexual assault allegations and corruption lawsuits, links to white supremacists on his team, riddled Russia and mafia ties, and with zero qualifications (almost as an aside). None of that was fake news. He said it. There’s footage. We all heard all of the above. And half of us didn’t. And he won.
Republicans aside, it’s not that Clinton lost due to a narrow margin that should give us pause. It’s that Trump won due to a narrow margin.
Much of that was due to half the country not voting. Nonchalance. The kind of thinking then fueled by “she’ll win but I don’t like her for some vague reason,” that pervades to this day.
Whether sexism is involved or not (it is as polls and data show but that aside), that senseless purity for candidates had once been fueled by “I don’t like her” to now “I don’t want Trump to win, but I don’t like any of the others. No one can win.”
Well, progressives and any champion of sanity, due to that thinking in 2016 we not only threw the baby out with the bathwater but we burned the house down. If we still insist on having “tests,” here’s a list of qualities candidates to judge candidates by since 2016 , ex. have any of the other candidates been found guilty of less than 3 corruption cases? DING! Better than Trump! Less than 25 sexual assault cases? DING! Whiffs of treason? DING! White supremacist ties? DING!
If anyone you like has any of those qualities, then Stop Saying Trump Will Win.
3. Even if Trump is in the lead: what will you do to stop it?
Here’s a guide as to what you can do to be proactive in getting a Democrat elected. Think what you will of Dems, but as our current 2020 party system stands, it will either be a Republican or Democrat as a winner so given all you know of Trump and the GOP, if they don’t sit well, then do what you can. This guide shows you how and what with links, everything from how to submit a vote to actively campaigning, there’s a wealth of options to choose from based on your resources, time, and level of involvement. Choose ONE.
And Stop Saying He’ll Win.
4. Politics is a number game: voters, electoral votes, gerrymandering, districting. I’ve outlined this in another post but this ties into “it’s not over until it’s over.”
Rail against the electoral college all you want but it’s here for 2020. Nothing at the systemic level, like the electoral college, will change unless we have the right judgeships which can only happen if they are appointed, which takes a steady stream of progressives in the Executive and Congressional branches. Why do you think Mitch McConnell is so focused on judgeships? Voter suppression, gerrymandering, the electoral college have all worked in the GOP favor so they won’t make any changes.
To make any of that happen, we need the votes. For the votes, we need voter turnout. For voter turnout, we have to fight for every vote — at the mass media, social media, mailbox, door knock, phone call levels.
And we have to Stop Saying He’ll Win.
5. The data does not support that Trump is a shoo-in winner. Not only do I firsthand speak to thousands of voters and know it not to be true from my slice of life but national and state polls do not bear this up. By the way, merely three weeks prior to the 2016 election, Trump’s own team told him that he had a 15% chance of winning based on polls. It’s not over until it’s over.
More importantly, we need to go forward with steadfast resolution. What has happened — whether it’s climate change, the environmental policy deregulation, the corruption, the inhumane immigration policies — pick one that most resonates and fight for it.
I don’t believe much of this country is Trumpland. I don’t believe most of this country is seething with racism and predators. I believe any country can bring out its ugly with the right cocktail at the top and we now have that cocktail of hate and vitriol, shaken not stirred. Don’t drink it.
Go into this election year holding your values close and speaking out loud for those values with the confidence of a rich, white man or Lizzo.
Do you want systemic change? You don’t have to do too much else but vote. And there’s proof. Community Change Action, along with three others reached out to infrequent and never-voters in Michigan, Nevada and Florida. What they found was astonishing:
When you add new voices and change the electorate, you can shift what is politically possible. ..This method of deep organizing blows up business-as-usual electoral politics. It threatens the huge paychecks of political consultants and strategists on both sides of the aisle who parachute into communities for elections. The progressive political industry spent $5.7 billion on congressional races alone in 2018. Much of that went to the usual Beltway power brokers who focus on tired attack ads or the vote for so-and-so emails.
“Now is not the time to give up. It’s not the time to be silent. And it’s certainly not the time to quit….we can’t afford your disillusionment, no matter what side of the political aisle you are on….
Do something. Do anything! Truly, anything. Sign up to make calls for a local candidate, or your favorite presidential candidate. Commit to canvassing one day a month. Text five friends asking if they’re registered to vote and helping them figure out how if they’re not.”
Join the millions who have protested in Hong Kong, India, Chile, and other countries who are tired of governments bordering on fascism, fueled off hate, supportive of gender and ethnic violence, denying climate change as our earth burns, and preventing progress into a more inclusive, economically and socially just world.
But a lot more seats are empty in Congress and real change with the steps necessary to undo the harm caused by the Trump administration as the nation heals and thrives — needs a progressive Congress that supports a progressive President. Here are the people you can vote out of office, who have been Trump enablers no matter the cost down to overlooking racism, sexism, even crime and their Constitutional duties — and who to support instead.
CAMPAIGNS: DONATE, CANVASS, OR CALL
The biennial election for representatives from all 435 Congressional Districts will take place on November 3, 2020. The Democratic Party currently controls the U.S. House, where 218 seats are needed for control (when there are no vacancies). We need to keep that lead.
Tedra Cobb (D, NY-21)who has spent the past 30 years in public service jobs is running against the incumbent, Rep. Elise Stefanik, one of the leading GOP defenders of President Donald Trump in the House impeachment inquiry.
Democrats need to net three Senate seats — and win back the presidency — in order to control the chamber after Inauguration Day 2021.
M.J. Hegar (D, TX) running in the most flippable Senate seat against Republican Senator John Cornyn. Hegar is a former Air Force helicopter pilot and mom who nearly beat an incumbent Republican House member in the heart of Texas last year. Donate here.
Sara Gideon (D, ME), the Speaker of the House for Maine is running against Sen. Susan Collins, Trump enabler who voted for Kavanaugh and for tax breaks for the wealthiest. Gideon isn’t just against Collins, she’s for progressive policies.
Jamie Harrison (D, SC) running against Trump’s #1 supporter, Sen. Lindsey Graham. Harrison rose from poverty to become a teacher then became the first African American man to become South Carolina Democratic Party chair from 2013 to 2017, and is an associate chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Amy McGrath (D, KY), former Marine fighter pilot and 2018 congressional candidate coming in strong as a contender for the uber-GOP Trump enabler’s top spot, Mitch McConnell aka #MoscowMitch whom Julian Castro rightly described as the leader who “has done as much or more damage than Donald Trump over the years to our democracy” by packing courts with conservative judges while ignoring hundreds of bills languishing in the Senate, playing dirty to prevent a Merrick Garland appointment while rushing through Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, and making obstacles at every step of the way for the Mueller Report and the impeachment trials rather than do his Constitutional duty to investigate a President who may have conspired with foreign powers.
Mark Kelly (D, AZ)runs against Sen. Martha McSally, appointed after the election to serve part of the late Sen. John McCain’s term. Kelly is a Navy veteran and retired astronaut married to former Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot and seriously wounded at a constituent event in 2011.
Cal Cunningham (D, NC) and State Senator Erica D. Smithare running against Sen. Thom Tillis , “a man with the backbone of a squid and zealous supporter of President Definitely No Quid Pro Quo Donald Trump, has the lowest approval ratings of any sitting member of Congress, according to a poll from Morning Consult.” Cunningham is an Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, an environmental services company leader and former legislator who served as Vice Chairman of the Governor’s Crime Commission. Smith currently represents Senate District 3 in her third term.
FAIR & JUST REPRESENTATION
Support Fair Fight. Efforts to discourage and disenfranchise voters—in voter registration, ballot access, or counting of votes—have a catastrophic effect on our democracy and our communities. Nowhere was this more clearly seen than in Georgia’s gubernatorial race between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp, who was the Republican secretary of state in charge of state elections before he beat Abrams to become Georgia governor–in charge of the very elections in which 1.4 million voters were purged, majority black voters. Now Stacey Abrams is taking voter rights protection nationwide through Fair Fight.
Support All on the Line. With the redistricting process less than a year away, All On The Line is already in full swing — especially because 2020 is a census year. Here’s what you need to know about the role that the census plays in redistricting.
→ The census is the foundation for redistricting. Without an accurate count, it will be impossible to create fair maps that truly represent the communities who live there.
→ The census count will determine how many congressional districts each state will have for the next decade. With 435 representatives total, that means states could gain or lose a district based on population changes.
→ The Supreme Court stopped the Trump administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the census, but we expect that map manipulators will try to find new ways to suppress the power of certain communities in an attempt to maintain their own power.
We vote because we have a voice. That voice may not win out but our democracy is based on the constant struggle to make this “a more perfect union.” That’s why so many of the ills of society could be amended: to make way for the African American voice, to make way for the voice of women. That is what our vote should be. That is at the heart of how our system works and why we critique it to make it better.
Right now the biggest obstacles for a fair election are:
Election security: given 2016, not to mention issues in other close elections, foreign government interference and our own methods of counting votes needs major security beef ups.
Voter Suppression: not everyone is able to vote, which Stacey Abrams is tackling;
Gerrymandering: which manipulates how votes are counted giving an unfair political advantage to one party, the GOP in this case, that therefore ensures the other party’s voice is never heard
Special interests: the money driving candidates and elected officials.
This last issue of money is the major factor of what has driven Senator Kamala Harris out of the presidential race. Whatever you thought about Sen. Harris as a candidate, her departure was abrupt, and her voice was crucial, especially in an election where the black electorate is heavily coveted and she was a black and South Asian woman that gave voice to that community — the very demographic being wooed.
If money is the sole determining factor in elections, then it will continue to reflect the economic gaps based on racial inequalities. The only other minorities left are Sen. Corey Booker who is struggling to stay in the game, and Julián Castro, a candidate already active in the black and Latino communities and in touch with the issues of the times, who had to drop out but now is back in for the next debate.
That Castro was forced out so early is also a sign of inequity. While the black population may be the target of candidates, Hispanics are projected to be the largest racial or ethnic minority group in the U.S. electorate when voters cast their ballots next year.
The majority of viable presidential candidates are primarily those who do not resemble today’s America, such as two white male billionaires, a white man who is a career politician, a white man who may identify with LGBTQ community but openly has no issues with big money in campaigns; and the white supremacist favorite as per polls (can we do away with “alt right”), Tulsi Gabbard.
Who remains do not represent those who are part of the most coveted voting demographics and those who did no longer have the national stage for 2020.
That points to systemic issues here, folks.
1) One part is the overt sexism. There always needs to be caution to view every situation or individual through the lens of an -ism but not only has the 2016 election clearly showed sexism but as early as last month, one-third of voters say they don’t believe in female leadership as per a recent voters’ poll by Ramussen.
Castro today echoed this in a video he tweeted after Sen. Harris’s announcement about the media’s double standards that worked against her campaign from the start. Whatever other issues her candidacy may have had, as even Sen. Amy Klobuchar pointed out in the last debate: Women are held to a higher standard (like this LA Times’ op-ed which cites Sen. Harris’s apparent lack of qualifications in a race where Pete Buttigieg is soaring — whose sole political qualification is that he has been a mayor since 2012) and women of color doubly so. This isn’t to say one needs decades of qualifications nor that Buttigieg isn’t qualified, it simply means Sen. Harris, with actual decades of experience, is held to a higher standard by the media and voters.
2) Campaign finance needs an overhaul. This is an obvious issue when two billionaires are able to buy their way onto the next Democratic debate while qualified candidates who polled reasonably well with voices that need to be heard on the national stage have been forced to exit.
3) Castro also pointed out another issue that cripples diverse candidates: the order of the Democratic primaries which take place in states like Iowa and New Hampshire that have predominantly white populations.
“I think there’s a narrative that emerged early in this campaign cycle that in order to win, candidates needed to appeal especially to white working class voters in the Midwest,” Castrol said. “I actually believe that in addition to the white working class in the Midwest, we also need to be able to appeal to diverse communities [in cities in the battleground states.]
Election security, the electoral college, gerrymandering, and voter suppression are outside the scope of voters other than voting in reps who will fight for reforms or for the judicial appointees that will overturn these systemic issues. The electoral college is a Congressional issue so indirectly it depends on whom you vote for.
Castro, Warren, and Sanders have publicly stated that they will not accept big money for their campaigns. Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama, has not accepted money from lobbyists, political action committees and executives in the fossil fuel industry.
Only one candidate has actively addressed this issue and who, you guessed it, has a plan: Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (This is not an endorsement.) Here’s her statement to get big money out of politics and her very specific plan to get it done. Warren isn’t to be trifled with given she has already single-handedly conceived of and established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a watchdog agency that helps protect the little guy from Wall Street’s schemes.
No doubt that Sen. Harris will be a success in other capacities. She may become our next Attorney General. She will continue making her mark in the Senate and is going to kill it at the impeachment hearings — and has promised Trump the same.
But we can’t overlook or not examine what’s happening and why if we want this campaigning process to improve. AND we must elect the reps who will support such improvements — campaign finance reforms, the order of the primaries, a push to eliminate or revise the electoral college. Otherwise, it’ll be a vicious cycle as candidates we want can’t progress and others do who may be poorly qualified or can be bought. Such a system doesn’t reflect our choice nor our values we strive for and with poor leadership, no matter who wins, we all lose.
Why should this matter? For one, Nune is overseeing an investigation into corruption in Ukraine, which he himself abused power to investigate. It is a conflict of interest at best and outright corruption. Impeachment is serious and the crimes for which a president can be accused strike at the very heart of our democracy. Such manipulation and tampering undercut our need to ensure a fair impeachment inquiry and trial.
Two, you, as a taxpayer, need to know where your money is going and that your political representatives are not using it for their personal gains, such as overseas trips and entertainment unrelated to political office.
In 2018, he used political donations to pay for nearly $15,000 in tickets to Boston Celtics basketball games as well as winery tours and lavish trips to Las Vegas, according to reports from the Federal Election Commission and two nonpartisan watchdog groups.
Three, corruption left unchecked increases the harm to our communities because our reps are no longer working for us but for the highest bidder, and the system of law is weakened. Nunes has long been under scrutiny for his abuse of office in using taxpayers’ dollars for personal use since at least 2018. Instead, he became the House Intelligence Committee chairman and Trump’s foremost supporter and has sought to obstruct all inquiries for Robert Mueller’s investigation and Congress’s impeachment investigation.
In turn, his name has grown as much as his PAC. Nunes’ own PAC, New PAC, has raised $7 million, almost four times as much as the $1-2.5 million he has raised in previous years. There’s no way of knowing whether its due to the favors he curries by supporting Trump that led to such a meteoric fundraising rise because of how intransparent PACs are but it’s worth noting.
A report by the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center and Issue One, released Thursday, spotlighted the various ways members of Congress use leadership PACs to “subsidize lavish lifestyles on their donors’ dimes.”
Campaign Legal Center
All of this speaks to bigger systemic issues voters need to know is the dire need to reform the regulations and laws of PACs:
The House Ethics Committee rarely enforces the ban on the use of leadership PACs for personal use.
The Federal Elections Commission has not issued clear directives on whether or not the funds can be used for personal matters.
The CLC and Issue One report cited numerous trips by Congress members to Las Vegas. Why?
The person with the most trips to Vegas: Devin Nunes.
On Martin Luther King’s Day we might make the mistake that today is a day where we simply remember a courageous hero of humanity but if anything, this is a day where we must reflect and act. Dr King was, as he himself said, on the shoulders of hundreds of years of resistance and thousands of people who made sacrifices, who did small acts daily — or even once in their lifetime — that resulted in a societal shift. People who had families, who were sole income providers, who didn’t have the mental or emotional or economic reality or sometimes, even the interest, to be a part of the Civil Rights Movement yet still did so by merely living their life with inclusion and justice. Justice isn’t simply in a court, it is how you act towards your fellow human beings daily.
I just saw “Hidden Figures” with my daughter and learned three things. One, those women were heroes as much as anyone but so were their parents and spouses and bosses who chose not to live as society demanded, either as part of patriarchy (at that time when women weren’t working much) or as part of the white male class. True, they didn’t have the same repercussions for going against the grain but without them — the boss, the judge, the husband, the boyfriend, the parents — there would have been no forward movement.
Two, there is a long way to go. I live in the Bay Area and my spouse works in the heart of Silicon Valley. I still rarely see African Americans. If STEM is to work, we have to start in the area where I focus: early childhood. If children don’t have access to the education and school books and resources, they cannot hope to compete in high school or for college to become scientists or engineers. We can’t just have programs that start at the intern level. It’s too late by that time.
Three, in order for the above to happen, we must focus on economic progress. Anyone who lives in a city and takes its public transportation as I did for 20+ years knows which stops has which demographics sadly, and it is almost always along economic lines as much as ethnicity lines. We have a long way to go. Dr King’s last campaign was the Poor People’s Campaign. He knew even before the term was coined about intersectionality. You cannot have racial or gender justice without economic justice, and the two must be advanced simultaneously.
Without economic stability and opportunity, there was little hope for African Americans to advance, indeed for anyone whether they be black, undocumented immigrants, or women. The degree of advancement an individual can achieve of course has to do with systemic bias as much as anything. After all, if the legal system and law enforcement are against you at every step, there is little hope for recourse. In “Hidden Figures,” had the judge not granted Mary Jackson the right to attend an all-white school — granted, it was only at night — but if he had not allowed that, no amount of courage on her part as an individual would have sufficed.
Together with eradicating systemic obstacles, in order for change to come to areas like Silicon Valley, there must be more resources devoted to education, job training, child care (so parents can get to the schools and jobs they need to advance), and economic initiatives. It must all happen together as we work on all fronts, and on the fronts where we can — promote whom we can, give where we can, lend a fellow parental hand where we can.
As neighbors, co-workers, supervisors, friends, acquaintances, we can all do our part. A movement is not just a protest or march. It is the thousands of daily acts that reinforce the changes we seek towards greater societal equality.
Although just this year I began formally working in policy and legislation, I’ve worked in social justice my entire adult life. I keep Dr. King’s quote in my home and on my Facebook profile page as a reminder in my work in public policy as well as in my life that it doesn’t take much but it does take participation. Listen and engage. How will you engage?