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Only Bernie - 2020! Yes, there are other good candidates, but ...

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In another year, I might well support Elizabeth Warren and probably consider her one of the best presidential candidates I'd ever backed. Or I could be with Tulsi Gabbard as an up-and-comer, with maybe a few rough edges still to be worked on. Or maybe Mike Gravel, who appears on the presidential scene periodically and is generally right in what he says. At the very least, in other years I'd probably be grateful that they were in the mix, spreading good ideas in the debates. But instead, for 2020, I'm recommending to all who'll listen that they not flirt with any of these other candidacies, their considerable merits notwithstanding, and simply stick with Bernie Sanders. Why? To ensure that the superdelegates to the Democratic Presidential Nominating Convention the ones we thought we'd buried don't rise from the dead.


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It was just last August that the Democratic National Committee downgraded this controversial group's convention role by not allowing them to participate in the voting unless the nomination process required a second ballot. And since the last Democratic Convention to go to a second round was the one that drafted Adlai Stevenson in 1952, that would seem to have effectively shelved the group's voting power. But has it?

Constituting nearly 30 percent of the vote total needed for nomination, the 2016 superdelegates included 433 DNC members and appointees, 238 members of Congress, 21 governors, and 20 party leaders. Unlike regular delegates, the superdelegates were not bound by the preference of the voters in their respective states' primaries and caucuses. Ultimately, superdelegate votes did not actually alter the convention outcome in that Hillary Clinton had won a majority of the elected delegates but their presence loomed large in the campaign's early days. As Sanders put it in his most recent book, Where We Go from Here, "In 2016, this grossly unfair situation became very apparent when Secretary Clinton received the support of some 500 superdelegates before the first popular vote was cast in the Iowa caucuses." With their meaning and origins remaining something of a mystery for much of the general public throughout the 2016 campaign and judging by their reporting, possibly to some in the newsmedia as well these appointees played a key role in the Clinton campaign's strategy of projecting her as the inevitable nominee, who should only be the subject of praise not competition.

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This time around then, with the superdelegates' voting wings clipped and their nature more widely understood, the idea was that no candidate with great inside-party support like Joe Biden, for instance would be able to parlay that into an aura of inevitability comparable to that surrounding Clinton. But still, they're there, which raises the question: Could there actually be a second ballot again, after all these years?

Well, with seven Senators currently in, four current and two past House members, three current and one former mayor, two current and one past governor, one past vice-president, and an author and a tech exec also drawing significant national attention, we're looking at a field so large that they won't all fit in one debate and the Democratic Party has been drawing up regs to decide who makes the show. Some of them will almost certainly be gone before the first delegate is chosen, but could enough of them hang in until the end and deny a majority to any one candidate? Impossible to say now, of course, but the fact is that multiple ballots were once quite common and there seems no reason to rule out their future possibility.

This combined with the fact that a healthy share of big-money Democratic Party donors regard the possibility of a Sanders nomination with intense fear and loathing suggests that we might want to think twice about the possibility of spreading progressive interest and attention out among multiple candidates, no matter how appealing the others may be.

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Understandably, turning one's glance away from them may not be easy for a lot of people. After all, Elizabeth Warren has in some cases jumped out even in front of Sanders in the specificity of her solutions for some of the issues his campaign brought to the fore in 2016 college debt relief, free public higher education, and the taxation of wealthy individuals and powerful corporations in addition to venturing into areas such as abortion rights and maternal care that were not the Sanders campaign's bailiwick. In truth, she looks as if she might make an excellent running mate for Sanders were it not for the geographical proximity of their states that will probably rule out such a pairing.

And while Tulsi Gabbard may not bring the same kind of cutting edge policy acumen to the mix and may still need to put more years between her and the reversals of some past positions, the fact is that her current stances are generally excellent, particularly on foreign policy. That, combined with the fact that she's only 38 and has a military background so beloved by the political consultants may tempt more than a few Sanders supporters to want to contribute to the effort to keep her in the mix.

And then there's the unusual case of candidate Mike Gravel, the former Alaska Senator and Vietnam War opponent who allows that he is not actually seeking the nomination and was not counted in the candidate roster previously listed but actually would prefer to see Gabbard or Sanders in that order win it. Among other things, his presence in the mix and his efforts to garner media attention may offer a bit of a tempting lifeline to other publicity-seeking aspirants for lower offices to latch onto. And his overall positions, too, are generally quite fine.

So it's not that this group of other-than-Bernie candidates are a bad bunch. Far from it they are, on the whole, a very good bunch and for the most part any differences we might have with them would be within the normal range of disagreements that inevitably rise when a large range of issues are considered we don't all agree with each other on everything (and there'll, of course, be areas where we'll wish Sanders himself would say or do something differently). Nor is the argument here that we should we feel obligated to fixate on what differences there are. Unaccustomed as we may be to not promoting our own candidate by finding faults in other candidates, this is probably the standard we need to aspire to in our current situation.

So, whether the temptation be to make a modest contribution to one of the other campaigns, give it favorable mention in a poll, or even appear with one of the candidates, this year I find myself saying, "Liz, Tulsi, Mike love ya, but we just can't see each other. Perhaps some other year."

N.B. None of the above should be construed as an argument for abstaining from voting for the Democratic nominee in the final election, should it turn out to be someone other than Sanders or one of the others favorably mentioned.

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Tom Gallagher is a Bernie Sanders delegate elected from California's 12th Congressional District. He is the author of "The Primary Route: How the 99 Percent Takes on the Military Industrial Complex."

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Tom Gallagher

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Warren, Gabbard and Gravel have much to recommend them, but we need to keep our eyes on the prize -- a Sanders White House.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 9:38:31 PM

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I find your argument very solid, since a Biden vs. Trump "Empty Suit Election" would be catastrophic for prospects of a Green New Deal and has strong prospects of leading to Trump's reelection. I think you could strengthen your case (as we at Bernie or Bust 2.0 have by noting that Bernie, unlike Warren, had the political guts to run against Clinton and also to stand up for the water defenders at Standing Rock long before it was too late to do so. Warren is long on ideas but short on political guts: she wouldn't even endorse Sanders in the Massachusetts primary, where it would have strongly helped his momentum. By contrast, Tulsi Gabbard quit her post at the DNC to work for Bernie. Since it will take immense political courage to shepherd the Green New Deal through Congress--and will also take many terms--I especially like a Sanders-Gabbard ticket. Tulsi also adds a pro-peace foreign policy push Bernie could use more of, and her anti-establishment political courage is second to none.

But that said, the real battle line of ideas is really along the Sanders-Biden fault line, as are the polling numbers. So I think you're right in progressives getting behind Sanders to keep the ugly, undemocratic specter of superdelegates from again rearing its head and handing us Biden as an even riskier Hillary 2.0.

Nathan Robinson of Current Affairs also makes an excellent case for Bernie as by far the strategically best nominee.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 1:36:05 AM

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Thanks for reminding me of Mike Gravel.

For me there are "no more years" or voting for the lesser choice. The Democrats need to put the anti-war, militarism, empire and all the other evils of US foreign policy on the agenda at the top.

No other accomplishment can be made as long as the US has committee so much of its budget to war. Most importantly, the wars the US are starting are wars of aggression, war crimes, and create tremendous human suffering all over the world.

It is immoral for US-Americans to ignore war crimes. It makes all of us complicit in crimes against humanity. How many millions of brown people are "worth it" to have universal healthcare?

Here is where to donate $1 to Mike Gravel to get him in the debates: https://www.mikegravel.org/


Presidential Candidate Mike Gravel: Julian Assange WON'T Receive a Fair Trial in the US! We speak to Democratic Presidential candidate Mike Gravel who discusses why he is joining the race to pull the debate to the left, the nature of his contenders ...
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Submitted on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 9:54:06 PM

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Bravo. The green new deal is a noble idea but has a shortsightedness colored by the usual ameircan parochialism. It ovelrooks the reality that it confines its focus to the US - a nation equivalent to a postage stamp on the earth's envelope. The only lasting solution is stopping empire. It is the greenest thing enviornmentally conscious people can possibly do in terms of bang for the buck.

If Gabbard can successfully sell her peace dividend as a single issue to the public during the debates, she should go independent after the convention. I believe she will take with her the progressive democrats who bought in to her appeal, the overwhelming majority of libertarians and any of the many disillusioned Trump voters who thought he was antiestablishment when they voted for him in 2016. Only Gabbard has this kind of cross-party appeal that can galvanize a true majority. A strategy where she goes independent will especially work well if Biden is the DNC nominee. Unfortunately, a successful Sanders candidacy would torpedo any chance for Gabbard.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 2:38:25 AM

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I believe Gravel endorsed Tulsi Gabbard early on. While he has good credos I believe he should stay out of the mix as the Dems are, IMHO, trying to flood the "market" thus watering down the vote percentages, thus forcing a 2nd ballot within the convention. The corrupt Dems are hoping the likes of Gravel, Warren, and Gabbard would steal enough votes from Sanders.


While I see Tulsi as the best individual running the best scenario would be for her to join forces with Sanders, thus being his strength in foreign policy and courage to stand in her convictions while not backing down as Bernie has shown a propensity of doing.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 12:08:52 PM

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Dennis Kaiser, Thank You for what you wrote, it saved me a lot of typing!!

Sanders/Gabbard In 2020

THIS TICKET WILL, IMHO, DEFEAT THE RUMP!!

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 2:27:18 PM

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Dennis,

That just goes to show how corrupt the D party is. Opening up the nation to an anti-war messages is more important than defeating Trump. So far, Trump has started fewer wars than Obama, even though he is now a war criminal with blood on his hands too.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 3:23:33 PM

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If the Convention were next month, I'd agree with you. But it is a year and many primaries away. I have sent money to Yang, Williamson, Castro, Gravel, Buttigieg, and, of course, Bernie. I want them ALL to make it to the debates. The more, the merrier.


After the debates begin, you will see them start dropping out. A lot of people have sent a buck or two to get them to the 65K mark on donors, but raising the real money to campaign is another story.


Tulsi is not the only peace candidate. Williamson is as well, and maybe some of the others I'm not familiar with. Tulsi would make a good VP for Bernie, and it would position her for a run later. I don't think there is ANY way she could pick up enough support to actually win the general.

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 3:00:14 PM

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Let's not go overboard. Nobody wants to listen to Buttigieg or Beto, who would probably jump up on his podium.

Some have more value to add to the debates than others. Besides, you know the debates are not real, they are rigged. The corporate owned mainstream media gets to set the agenda of the debates. We do not have a real democracy.

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 5:47:34 PM

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Speaking of the debate structure my guess is we will know Tulsi is on the stage only because they introduce her. She will be given maybe 15 seconds in which to speak as the time will be given to Biden, Harris, Beto, et.al. the DNC props, maybe Warren so as not to make it so obvious. I remember the Dennis Kucinich days where he was given a total of 2 minutes in the 2+ hour debate, yet in the exit polls won the debate, but the media propagandists ignored that. The silencing of Tulsi will be obvious in the debates.

Submitted on Friday, May 31, 2019 at 10:05:28 AM

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If we can get US Imperialism and aggression throughout the world, nothing else matters.

Sanders has tip-toed around this deep problem which is interlocked with everything we say we need - EVERYTHING. Gabbard has not shied away from confronting this issue head-on. I sense she understands how it encompasses everything from nuclear annihilation to climate change to ecological destruction.

She has made clear her stance with all domestic advances Sanders and Warren embrace. But you can't have those without peace. Many have said that the Democrat party is rotten to its core and cannot be changed. I don't think it starts with parties. There are powers who influence and control the globe and shape policy. Can any candidate from any party change this state?

Submitted on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 10:40:51 PM

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I agree.

And I said in 2016, if Sanders had adopted a strong anti-war, peace agenda he would have run away with the nomination and the presidency. I can only guess why he pulls his punch, and does not cut his apron string with the mic.

It absolutely stuns me that whenever someone proposes domestic spending there is an outcry "where are we going to get the money from?". Then Democrats cave in and debate what domestic spending to cut to pay for "new" spending.

Yet, nobody ever scream "where is the money going to come from" when it comes to war spending. As for tax cuts for the rich, again we never hear "where is the money going to come from"...instead Democrats buy into the ridiculous theory of the "job-creators" will stimulate the economy, paying for the tax by osmosis.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 10:55:30 PM

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The "money" question is a ruse. As you imply. Money has replaced needs. It is an abstract that is based on little more than a Ponzi scheme. This is why I find MMT (an "answer" to that red-herring question) not a solution. Globally we have hundred of trillions of dollars - why the need for more? It's absurd.

We don't need more money. We need to get back to basics. Harmony with nature for starts. Wars we conduct are as much if not more brutality against the Earth.

We need balance, not more currency (which is created out of debt).

When, after a number of short steps, Nixon took the US off the gold standard, the breaks were removed and growth (the consumption of nature) increase has been exponential.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 11:06:53 PM

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You are right about the growth of consumption. But, there is another factor at work. When I was a small child, the Earth carried 2 Bn people. Now it's almost 9 Bn. That's in one lifetime! What will it be in another 70 years? The population growth is unsustainable, at least if we want to have a decent life.


I remember saying to friends back in the 70s that we were on our way to a feudal economy/state, and that women were being pushed to become brood mares to crank out more good little consumer units. I was right, unfortunately.


If you want to have a look at our world in a few years, read Fredric Pohl's Space Merchants and Merchants' Wars. Two very overlooked dystopian novels that have proven to be pretty prophetic.

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 3:10:52 PM

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Tulsi Gabbard is saying everything that Sanders would like to say, but can not say and still win the democratic nomination.

If Sanders were to take a strong anti war stance, there are far to many democrats with a lot of power and a strong link to the MIC (Military Industrial Complex) voting at the convention on who the nominee will be that will block Sanders from winning the nomination.

If any candidate but Sanders wins the nomination, the odds that tRUMP will be re-elected increase dramatically.

IMHO, a Sanders/Gabbard ticket will win a strong victory over the RUMP.

When Sanders does not run for a second term and endorses Tulsi Gabbard he will set up Tulsi Gabbard, now with four years of experience and seasoning in the White House as Vice President, for a win in the 2024 Presidential election!!

A Sanders/Gabbard win in 2020 will be the first step in returning this country to a Government of the People, by the People, and for the People!!!

When Sanders/Gabbard win in 2020, they will join the likes of FDR and JFK and this country will have the first 'Peoples President' since JFK!!!

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 2:59:56 PM

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Reply to JenniferWNY:   New Content

I am so weary of hearing that "Sanders is a secret dove, but it would be political suicide for him to come out of the closet". I cannot read his mind. Standing up against war is a moral duty of everyone in the USA. Silence in complicity to war crimes.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 3:30:58 PM

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It's NOT that Sanders is a secret dove, but he's the most anti-war of the electable candidates. And he's also open to reason and popular pressure; he might not be a dove, but he's not an ideological hawk. As his running mate, Tulsi herself could be part of the pressure.


Right now, being for Tulsi on principle is exactly like being for the Green Party on principle--makes you feel good and righteous, but FUTILE in electoral terms. Whereas Sanders is by far progressives' most electable bet. And I think Tulsi as running mate would be enhance his ticket and greatly improve her profile. She's young, a woman, gutsy, unflappable, and--a plus with Sanders supporters--stuck her neck out to work for Bernie in 2016.

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 11:36:08 AM

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HI, Patrick, as your Dad must often have said: God, my son, you really make sense,

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 12:19:17 PM

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Maybe you're right, but I would rather "feel good and righteous".

I disagree that a 3rd party is "FUTILE". A 3rd party does not have to win to win. A voting block of 5 to 10 % would demand respect and have to be listened to. The "we" would not have to go begging to be listened to.

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 6:02:11 PM

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Reply to JenniferWNY:   New Content

I pretty much agree with you about all of it except JFK. He was charismatic and popular, much of the latter due to Jackie, but I'm not so sure he was anything like FDR. I was in High School when JFK was assassinated, so maybe not as aware as I could have been, but he was no dove, either.

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 3:15:11 PM

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David Stow

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Tulsi is my #1 choice. If she's not the nominee I'm sure she'll give her Delegates to Bernie as will Gravel. I don't think it will matter though. The reason there are so many candidates is to guarantee a second ballot. The DNC prefers Trump to Sanders. As for Warren, I don't trust her one bit. She's establishment in sheep's clothing. I still haven't forgiven Sanders for caving last time, but I'll vote for him if I have to (if by some miracle he gets the nomination). If not Tulsi or Bernie though, I'm voting Green again like last time.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 1:23:35 AM

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Art Costa

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Reply to David Stow:   New Content

"The reason there are so many candidates is to guarantee a second ballot. The DNC prefers Trump to Sanders."


BINGO!!

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 1:49:02 AM

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Phat Khat

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Reply to Art Costa:   New Content

There were a ton of candidates more capable than Trump running GOP last time. Trump was the anti-Establishment candidate on the face of it. The populist. He won.


There are a ton of candidates running Dem this time. Sanders is the populist. He can win. Besides, once the realities of raising the kind of money needed to campaign will drive most of them out shortly. By next year, at primary time, we will be seeing only maybe three or four left.


As long as the damn DNC and DCCC can keep their thumbs off the scale, Bernie has an excellent chance. I do not trust them not to do what they did in '16 and worse. You are correct that they prefer Trump to Bernie.

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 3:21:56 PM

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Patrick Walker

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Reply to David Stow:   New Content

I agree strongly with much of what you say here. I strongly like Tulsi, who's shown political courage in standing up for principle against the Dem establishment we haven't seen in a long time. And I too distrust Warren, much as she's an idea factory; it's more a matter of character. But I doubt Tulsi has anything near the name recognition and political organization to win this time around; that's why I prefer her as running mate for Sanders--probably her best quick ticket to the presidency. But strategically, I think Sanders is by far the best hope of defeating Trump--and quite possibly a landslide victory over Republicans. Almost impossible to imagine Biden giving us that, especially considering how out of touch he is with the dangerous criminality of today's Republican Party. Bernie really will campaign to sweep Republicans into the dustbin of history, where their insane climate denial alone justifies putting them.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 2:00:08 AM

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John Lawrence Ré

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I also thank you for mentioning Mike Gravel. He is as close as it gets to a truly admirable political figure in this country. His unflinching oppositon to MIC and american exceptionalism is unequaled. The fact that he is going to back Gabbard is enough of an endrosement for me.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 3:01:36 AM

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David Pear

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Reply to John Lawrence Ré:   New Content

John, it looks like we are outnumbered, which is why Trump will win in 2020.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 3:32:49 PM

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Daniel Geery

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Reply to David Pear:   New Content

May be so, but all the reason to simply push hard for Tulsi, damn the torpedoes--since little else matters, near as I can see--and stop guessing what "everyone else is doing." Had we done that long ago, we might well have had Kucinich, Stein, or Anderson in. As I know you know...

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 10:17:31 PM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Reply to Daniel Geery:   New Content

I think David is with us, and knows as you point out. I think Tulsi is a formidable candidate who has the option to draw from both sides of the old divide...something no other cnandidate has ever been able to do. I also think that if she can make a good case for ending the military economy, she will begin to draw interest from non-MIC corporations and billioaire investors not invested in MIC. Sanders is still the biggest obstacle to her momentum. He's a red herring.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 11:41:48 PM

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David Pear

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Reply to John Lawrence Ré:   New Content

I absolutely admire and I am with Tulsi, blemishes and all. She is sticking to her anti-war, anti-imperialism and pro-justice message. The other D's are frightened of her and Gravel's message because it is the truth. People are just looking for leadership.

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 3:03:59 AM

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nelswight

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Reply to David Pear:   New Content



Sho Nuff, Bro.

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 12:30:16 PM

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Patrick Walker

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Reply to David Pear:   New Content

You seriously don't think Bernie could beat Trump, quite possibly cream him? That strikes me as a seriously lack of political realism, based purely on a strong personal preference for Tulsi.

Don't get me wrong, I admire Tulsi, finding her anti-establishment political courage incredible. But Bernie has huge advantages of name recognition, fan base, and political organization that Tulsi hasn't had time to muster. And the Democrat establishment will crank into full gear smearing and destroying her even if she begins to get a little bit of traction; policy-wise, she's even a bigger threat to her game than Sanders. So, the way to beat Trump--possibly the only way to get a needed landslide against Republicans--is to unite behind Sanders, while strongly urging that Tulsi be his running mate. In fact, between the two of them, they have the guts to expose the horror of Trump's POLICIES in a way policy-shy "reach across the aisle" hacks like Biden simply can't.

Realism says we should push for a Sanders-Gabbard ticket. That possibly makes Tulsi president after just one Sanders term. Personally, I'd STRONGLY recommend that.

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 11:24:21 AM

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Phat Khat

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Reply to Patrick Walker:   New Content

Tulsi worked hard for Sanders in '16. She left her role in the DNC to do so. Perhaps she is running this time to position herself for VP? To get a little name-recognition?


Personally, I'd love to see Bernie take Nina for his VP, but I'm not sure she would do it. I don't know. She might be too much of a firebrand.

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 3:31:13 PM

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David Pear

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Reply to Patrick Walker:   New Content

No I do not have a "strong personal preference for Tulsi". Only her message.

Bernie had no "huge advantage" in 2015 and everybody said he did not have a chance. Who would have ever thought that a socialist Jew could win votes?

Who would have thought that Trump would have been nominated and win for that matter.

So I just don't buy a defeatist attitude.

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 6:10:18 PM

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nelswight

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Reply to David Pear:   New Content

B----, I received a weird note (officially,?, from OEN) announcing that I was no longer

a fan of David William Pear. Don't I make that choice?

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 12:26:44 PM

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David Pear

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Reply to nelswight:   New Content

You probably clicked the wrong link (de-fan) when they sent you a notice that I posted something. Yes, you get to decide.

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 6:15:53 PM

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