Tuesday, October 04, 2016

This is not 2000; Jill Stein is not Ralph Nader

The short version: 
  1. I'm a former Democrat, former Green, now unaligned, left-of-center, independent. 
  2. It was Bill Clinton's first term that chased me out of the Democratic Party. 
  3. I proudly supported Ralph Nader's Green Party candidacy in both 1996 and 2000, and have no regrets (Gore lost all by himself, get over it). 
  4. I have been a fan of Bernie Sanders since he became Mayor of Burlington, VT 35 years ago and was thrilled to be able to give him my vote for President earlier this year. 
  5. I have had serious reservations about Hillary Clinton (and have taken heat about expressing these opinions on Daily Kos). 
  6. Nevertheless, I believe that a vote for Jill Stein (or Gary Johnson) is a foolish, unproductive, and dangerous act, and I urge all Greens and left-leaning independents to join me in supporting Hillary Clinton.
The long version: 

I don't need to get into much detail on #1 and #2 above; I've told the story many times before. With the election of Bill Clinton, the "third way" of the Democratic Leadership Council had officially replaced the progressive liberalism of the Democratic Party I grew up in. That, and the arrogance of my local Democratic State Assembly member, telling me he didn't care what I think because "Who else are you going to vote for?" made me realize that I did have other choices to explore.

For me, Ralph Nader entered the Presidential electoral arena at just the right time. Here was somebody who I had considered a hero since my 1960's childhood. In '96 I volunteered for the campaign. Going to hear him speak when he visited Sacramento (where we lived at the time) was an experience unlike any other political event I've ever been to. Here was truly one of the most intelligent and thoughtful people to ever seek office, speaking for hours without a single sentence that could be considered pandering for votes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I Got Them Old #DemExit Blues

I'm no stranger to political disappointment.

My first presidential election cycle (at 19) was in 1980. I voted for Ted Kennedy in the primary. Come November, as I was driving from work to my poling place, a little before 7 PM, Pacific Time, President Carter conceded the election to Ronald Reagan. I went in and voted for Carter anyway, just for the hell of it, even though the election was technically over.

In 1984 I became an early fan of Gary Hart and he was my primary choice. He was way in the back of the Democratic field that year (when the time came, I got behind the Mondale-Ferraro ticket, like any good little Democrat would), but for the next four years I read all I could by and about Hart, and was ready for him in '88.

Although an early leader in 1988, the Hart campaign went down in flaming hubris. Talk about disappointment: I'd just spent four years promoting the jerk who dared the press to follow him and "accidentally" discover him with his mistress. My second choice, Jesse Jackson, got my primary vote. Jackson didn't get the nomination either. I voted for third choice, third-rate, Mike Dukakis, in the 1988 general election. He didn't win.

In 1992 I distrusted Bill Clinton and the whole Democratic Leadership Council gang, but once my primary choice, Jerry Brown, was out of the race, I watched the Democratic Convention, drew a deep breath, and volunteered to help elect Bill. After a dozen years of voting, I finally backed a winner!

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