Friday, April 29, 2016

Hey Bernie Fans, you say you want a revolution?

"It's time for liberal progressives to occupy government. We have the momentum and the power. Let's use it. Or we lose it." (Kimberly Johnson, blog in Huff Post Politics, April 27, 2016).

"Agree. I wish Bernie wouldn't just "downsize,"  let his people go, and keep running against the tide, but give his enthusiastic base a state-by-state plan to elect a new US Congress with a Democratic majority that will move the political process toward the changes he says he wants."  
This map from UVA Center for Politics used in Politico article cited below is a good start. The cream colored states are considered "swing" states for the Presidential election, much as in last couple of elections, but it is helpful to apply to Congressional elections too.Those are states where Bernie could harness the enthusiasm of his fan base to elect a Democratic majority in the US Congress on Nov.8, 2016. Other important states for grassroots action are Iowa, Arizona, Minn., Nevada, Florida, Texas, & Wisconsin, and support for candidates in any state targeted by the Koch Brothers & Tea Party obstructionists, such as Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada.
Hey Bernie fans, you say you want a revolution? Well you're in the right place at the right time. To bring about the changes you say you want, especially in the area of income and wealth distribution, to actually pass legislation and make laws regulating the big banks and big money in politics like the Koch brothers, sanctioned by the US Supreme Court, we need to strengthen the three branches of government: the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary.  This is the only way systemic change will happen. If we're all Democrats in this together, believing America is the story of progress toward our ideals, not perfect but hopeful, then we have to stop whining like a Trumpster and work to make this happen.  We need a Democratic majority in the US Congress, a Democratic president, and a progressive and fair Supreme Court that looks and thinks like America in the 21st century.

On November 8, 2016, America will vote for a new president, for all House members, for Senators, and for governors, as well as in many state and local elections. Will we feel the Bern in the states where action is urgently needed? As Kimberly Johnson wrote in the Huff Post,  "If you're truly interested in a revolution, then you will keep the momentum going. You will stay in the game when a battle is lost because the goal is to win the war."

It seems to me that the bottom line for the Democrats and the Bernie enthusiasts is to work state-by-state on every contested election, against every candidate supported by the Koch Brothers, Trump supporters, and Tea Party obstructionists. The mantra should be "A Democratic Congress in 2016."

Obama's presidency, obstructed at every turn by a do-nothing Congress noted for having no alternative policies, no legislation, nothing concrete in the way of options, has shown us how hard it is to get any change whatsoever when an extreme right wing unwilling to compromise controls the House and Senate. The refusal to consider Obama's Supreme Court nomination, obstructionist in the extreme and unconstitutional to boot, is just the most recent tip of the iceberg.  Even John Boehner, former Speaker of the House, sees the rampant dishonesty and pure obstructionism of the Tea Party members, Ted Cruz foremost among them, who would rather shut down the goverment than find common ground. No doubt Obama had to give up the kitchen sink to get Obamacare, and though people rail against him for it, it was, really, the ONLY way he could get it. This is the state of our US Congress today.

Want a revolution? We need to start with this reality. Bernie could develop and lead a game plan for grassroots progressive action from now until November. Bernie's base and Dems working together could help get it done if they really want to increase the chances for positive reform after November 2016. 

I did a little online research just to start thinking about a plan. In the US Senate,  34 of the 100 seats are being contested this November. The winners will serve six-year terms from January 3, 2017 until January 3, 2023. All  "class 3" Senators are up for election; class 3 was last up for election in 2012, when Republicans won a net gain of six seats. Currently, Democrats are expected to have 10 seats up for election, and Republicans 24 seats. Special elections may also be held to fill vacancies. Republicans, having taken control of the Senate in the 2014 election, currently hold the Senate majority with 54 seats. This needs to change if change is what you want. 
In the House of Representatives, all 435 congressional district seats are up for election in each of the 50 states. The whole House up for grabs! Non-voting delegates from DC and the other five territories will also be elected. The winners of this election will serve in the 115th Congress, with seats apportioned among the states based on the 2010 US Census. Think of what a Democratic majority would mean for any change agenda! Tired of political gridlock, Tea Party extremists, and the do-nothing Congress? Get rid of them.
What candidates should a Bern plan be targeting? From what I can gather through a quick online search, here are the Senate Democrats up for re-election who need support: Richard Blumenthal (Conn. Bennet (CO), B.Boxer (CA) retiring ,Patrick Leahy (Vermont),Barbara Mikulski (MD) retiring, Patty Murray (Washington), HarryReid (NEV) retiring, Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Charles Schumer (New York), Ron Wyden (Oregon).

These are the Republican Senators up for re-election:Kelly Ayotte (NH), Roy Blunt (Missouri), John Boozman (Ark), Richard Burr (NCarolina),Dan Coats (Ind) retiring, Mike Crapo (Idaho), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), John Hoeven (N Dakota), Johnny Isakson (Georgia),Ron Johnson (Wis), Mark Kirk (Ill), James Lankford (Okl), Mike Lee (Utah),John McCain (AZ),Jerry Moran (Kansas), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rand Paul (KY), Rob Portman (OH), Marco Rubio (Florida) retiring, Tim Scott (S Carolina),Richard Shelby (Ala),John Thune (S Dakota),Pat Toomey (Penn), and David Vitter (Louisiana).

Some of these folks are more politically astute than others. No problem. But get rid of the Tea Party and extremists candidates who diss America without any alternative policies. Clean House!

From what I can tell these are the states where there are contested elections for the House: AZ, CA, FL, NH, NV, IL, Iowa, Maine, Minn, NY, TX and WI.

These are the states where there are heavily contested elections for Senator: Nevada, with Harry Reid retiring, Florida, for Rubio's seat, Avotte in NH. There may be others. Sen. Roberts, Kansas, has to go for example.  I think it's really critical to have a Democratic majority in the Senate. Just look at what McConnell is doing to the democratic process by refusing to hold hearings on the President's Supreme Court nominee. Today I saw that Republican Senator Roberts of Kansas is stalling an Obama nominee for Army secretary, who happens to be gay. These guys are among the most anti-American trolls going, dissing America at every turn and undermining democratic principles. Get rid of them.

The Bernie research teams and state teams could get on this now, draw up a plan for action, keep the momentum going. How much stronger a progressive America would be if we had a Congress and a President who worked together. It would also mean a stronger, more modern Supreme Court. Bernie could help make it happen. It's probably the most important change of all.

Some sources: 
--Google "House and Senate Political Rankings at 2016." and "do nothing Congress." Wikipedia has basic information on the electoral process.
-- Why we need a new Congress to bring about the kinds of changes Bernie says he wants.
--http://www.opensecrets.ood/2016elections/fl/Senate-Seats-up-for-Election-in-2016.htmrg/races/  for interesting info on who's getting what financial support, and
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