My guest today is Tiffany Ferguson of Socially Unacceptable. Welcome to OpEdNews, Tiffany.
Joan Brunwasser: Your recent vlog [video blog] about the presidential race, A Message to the DNC, caught my attention. Many of our readers have not yet seen it. Can you give them a sense of your four-minute message?
Tiffany Ferguson: Recently in the news, I have seen tons of articles encouraging Bernie Sanders to drop out of the race to "unite the Democratic party." Some are extremely critical of Sanders, implying that every day he stays in the primary pushes the presidency closer to Trump. It's ridiculous and I was just so fed up with seeing that message, so I decided to film a video and let my feelings out. The DNC has been incredibly biased against Bernie throughout this entire primary and I believe it is the fault of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other establishment Democrats for the schism in the party. The DNC is supposed to be neutral, but it is clear that they have always favored Hillary Clinton as the nominee. The growth of the Bernie or Bust movement is largely due to the corruption and bias of the DNC. Bernie supporters feel cheated. All we wanted was a fair primary and we do not believe that is what we've had. The DNC can't expect us all to "fall in line" and support Hillary after they have so blatantly disrespected us and Bernie.
JB: You're speaking as a person who I understand originally considered supporting Hillary for the presidency. How has your position evolved over time?
TF: Yes, that is true. About a year ago, I assumed I would be supporting Hillary, but to be honest I didn't know much about her policies. I just knew she would be running and that she is a popular Democrat, so I thought it would be an easy choice! I found out about Bernie through the political quiz* on ISideWith.com. He was my number one match out of all the presidential candidates - 96%. I figured I might as well research his stances and the more I found out, the more I loved him. At the same time, I was finding out more about Hillary - many negative, problematic things about her history and her campaign, which only pushed me closer to Bernie.
JB: Can you share with us what you learned about each candidate that pushed you away or drew you closer, as the case may be?
TF: One of the first things I was very impressed with about Bernie is his stance on campaign finance reform. If we want our politicians to work for the people, they can't be relying so heavily on the wealthiest people in this country to fund their campaigns. So Bernie's grassroots-powered campaign is very inspiring and I think that it shows how much integrity he has and that his commitment to campaign finance reform is genuine.
I've seen tons of videos of Bernie's old speeches, even some from decades ago, and his message is the same as his stump speech today. We need an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1%. We have the right to have affordable (or even free) healthcare and education. I agree with Bernie on nearly every issue - from gun control to LGBT rights to his proposed tax reforms - and most importantly, I believe that he stays true to his beliefs and won't change his stance because of lobbyists or personal greed.
Hillary, on the other hand, is an establishment politician. She has received millions in campaign contributions from the wealthy, from lobbyists, and from Wall Street. Therefore, I believe that she will put the needs of those people and industries first. She won't release her Wall Street speech transcripts, so what does she have to hide? I worry about what she says behind closed doors and what promises she makes. Overall, my dislike of Hillary stems from an overwhelming sense of mistrust. Her stances on major issues have "flip flopped" and she has supported many things in the past that she now has to apologize for, such as voting for the Iraq war and trade deals such as NAFTA. It makes me question her judgement. We need a president who has foresight, and apparently in many cases, Hillary does not.
This primary season, Hillary has attempted to make herself and Bernie seem very similar. She has tried to call herself a progressive. In reality, she is in favor of incremental change. She says, very vaguely, that she can get things done. Then we have Bernie, who acknowledges how rigged and unfair the system is and wants to flip everything upside down so we can begin to fix it. We don't have time to wait for incremental change. The people of this country - myself included - want a revolution.
JB: How do you think the primaries have been going? Are you confident that we're all operating on a level playing field?
TF: In short, no, we are not operating on a level playing field. The DNC and the media have been very pro-Clinton from the beginning. One very disturbing aspect of the primary that has come to my attention is the issue of voter suppression. It first stuck out to me during the Arizona primary - crazy long lines, closure of polling locations, voter registrations mysteriously changed or deleted. Each act may be small and seemingly insignificant, but altogether it results in thousands of people losing their vote, which is huge. I've seen too many accounts of voter suppression and election rigging - anecdotal and proven - and it is sickening. But aside from that, I think the primaries have been very interesting and at times, inspiring. Bernie's campaign has come a long way, fighting against the establishment, the media, and the DNC.
JB: The big question is whether it will be enough. You brought it to our attention that California poll workers have been receiving misinformation in their training. What's that all about and can it make a difference?
TF: According to a poll worker in Orange County, her training orientation instructed all poll workers to give No Party Preference voters provisional ballots, which is completely incorrect procedure. NPP voters are allowed to vote alongside Democratic voters in California's Democratic primary. The only difference is that they receive a crossover ballot. A provisional ballot does not serve the same purpose. In fact, most provisional ballots end up being thrown out, so the fact that it's being taught to poll workers to give those ballots to such a huge group of voters in the CA primary is extremely dangerous! I believe it absolutely could make a difference. But more importantly, it's about the principle. We cannot allow any number of voters to be mislead or suppressed, whether it's a hundred or a hundred thousand.