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“What Is Bernie’s End Game?”: Hillary Not Likely To Adopt Agenda Of The Guy Who Is Losing

For a while now, Greg Sargent has been speculating about Bernie Sanders’ end game in this presidential primary. The candidate himself has said that it will be up to Clinton to win over his supporters. And at times, he has even suggested that she will need to adopt some of his campaign promises in order to do so – like advocating for single payer and free public college tuition. It’s hard to know if he is really serious about that. But at any rate, it is not going to happen. Clinton ran on her own platform and is winning the primary. She’s not likely to adopt the agenda of the guy who is losing.

Yesterday, Sanders seemed to indicate a push for the Democratic Party to adopt some changes to their election rules and strategy. Specifically, he called for three things:

  1. Automatic voter registration
  2. Same-day registration and open primaries
  3. A 50-state strategy

To the extent that Sanders intends to push to have these issues included in the Democratic platform during the convention this summer, that would be an interesting discussion. If adopted, they would set these up as goals for the Party to work towards. But the national party can’t simply make them happen. The first two involve state parties and legislatures – who establish these rules. This is something that Sanders often fails to articulate – like when he promised that at the end of his first term as president, the U.S. would not have the highest incarceration rate in the world. He failed to mention that reaching that goal would primarily be up to states.

But the 50-state strategy is an interesting one on a different level. As Howard Dean demonstrated, it is certainly a priority that is set by the DNC. But if anyone remembers the argument over that one, it had to do with how the national party distributes funding. Those who opposed a 50-state strategy wanted the DNC to target its limited resources to races where they had determined it could actually make a difference. Dean wanted the funding to be distributed to state party leaders and let them decide.

From the perspective of Sanders and his supporters, this raises a couple of interesting questions. The most obvious is that the resources that are under discussion are the very ones he has criticized Clinton for helping to raise. Remember how the Sanders campaign reacted to the fundraiser hosted by George Clooney? It was all about raising money for the DNC and state parties. In other words, the money that would enable a 50-state strategy.

But the other issue is that Howard Dean’s success with the 50-state strategy resulted in the election of what we often call “Blue Dog Democrats” – especially in the South. They are also the ones who lost in 2010 and 2014. Many of the Sanders supporters I know were pretty happy to see them go.

I would suggest that these are all questions that would be good for Democrats to discuss. But as we’ve seen very often with Bernie Sanders, they lead to much more complicated questions and answers than he has articulated.

 

By: Nancy Letourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, April 29, 2016

May 1, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maine GOP Chair: We Must Make It Harder To Vote Because ‘Democrats Intentionally Steal Elections’

For nearly four decades, Maine has been one of eight states which provides same-day voter registration to voters at the polls. This policy of enfranchising the greatest number of Maine voters is likely to end, however, now that the GOP-controlled state legislature has passed a bill ending same-day registration and Tea Party Gov. Paul LePage is expected to sign it. Worse, state GOP Chairman Charlie Webster explained it was necessary to disenfranchise the thousands of Maine voters who take advantage of same-day registration every election year in order to save Maine from one of his paranoid fantasies:

“If you want to get really honest, this is about how the Democrats have managed to steal elections from Maine people,Webster told a columnist for the Portland Press Herald in a piece published Friday. “Many of us believe that the Democrats intentionally steal elections.”

Sadly, Maine’s voter disenfranchisement bill is only the latest example of the Republican war on voting that began almost immediately after the GOP took over several statehouses this year. Numerous GOP state legislatures have rammed through “voter ID” laws which disenfranchise thousands of elderly, disabled, and low-income voters. Republicans typically justify these voter disenfranchisement laws by claiming that they are necessary to combat voter fraud at the polls, but in-person voter fraud is only slightly more common than unicorns. A recent Supreme Court decision upholding a voter ID law was only able to cite one example of in-person voter fraud in the last 143 years.

Nor are voter ID laws the only front in the GOP’s war on voting. As Jonathan Chait explains, their efforts also include measures “restricting early voting, shortening poll hours, [and] clamping down on students voting at their campus.” And in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R) even plans to  gut his state’s public financing program — a program designed to make candidates less dependent on wealth donors — in order to pay for a voter disenfranchisement law.

Yet, while the Maine GOP may have won a skirmish in the war on voting with their repeal of same day registration, it is anything but certain that they will win this war. The state’s Democrats hope to invoke Maine’s “people’s veto” process, which allows the voters to repeal a newly enacted state law by referendum. To invoke this procedure, they must collect just over 57,000 signatures before a 90-day window closes.

By: Ian Millhiser, Think Progress, June 13, 2011

June 15, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, Equal Rights, GOP, Government, Ideologues, Ideology, Lawmakers, Maine, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States, Tea Party, Voters | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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