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Yes, We Can (Build a Major Third Party)--A Response to Robert Reich

By       Message Jerry Kann     Permalink    (# of views)   33 comments

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Robert Reich and I disagree about some things. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't be able to discuss our differences amiably and respectfully. Let's say he came up to me in the street and said, "Jerry, you should have voted for Gore in 2000." I would just shrug and say, "Well, I think you should have voted for Nader. And for Jill Stein in 2016." And that would probably be the end of it.

But maybe not. To judge by his article from back in April, "A Third Party?" (robertreich.org), it looks like Reich can't simply disagree with somebody like me. He has to insist that my vote, in a sense, belongs to him.

To get a better understanding of what I mean by that, it might help for me to tell a fast story about where I got the idea in the first place. On October 28, 2000, Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader spoke to a capacity crowd at Cooper Union in New York. Singer-songwriter Patti Smith introduced him. She articulated what many people in that hall were thinking and feeling that night: "I am weary of people telling me that my vote is anything but my own," she said to the cheering of that audience of 900 Green Party members and supporters. "A vote for Nader is only a vote for Nader. It is not a vote for Bush, it is not a vote for any other candidate."

She hit the nail right on the head. Just as Robert Reich's vote belongs to him and him alone, so Smith's vote belongs only to her. This basic respect that every voter ought to have for every other voter--this basic equality--is essential for a healthy democracy. But Reich seems to demand a little extra respect and a little extra equality for himself and for his party. This is obvious from the attitude he takes right at the start of his article.

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Reich begins by asking his readers if they have lost confidence in the two major parties. If so, he continues, should those voters give their support to a third-party candidate instead? He answers his own question by blaming Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party for failing to support Hillary Clinton in 2016. Had these two candidates not won the support of more than 4 million voters, Reich laments, then today "Donald Trump wouldn't be in the White House." Further, according to Reich, Ralph Nader "sealed the fate" of Democrat Al Gore in 2000 by tempting almost 3 million Americans to vote for him and the very progressive Green Party platform.

According to Reich, "votes for third party candidates siphon away votes from the major party candidate whose views are closest to that third party candidate." I'm a "siphoner," as Reich sees it, and a repeat offender at that.

When I saw that word "siphon," I remembered the days back in the '70s when some people would siphon gas right out of the tank of somebody else's car. That was theft, of course. I wondered: Is Reich calling me a thief? I didn't "steal" anyone's vote in 2000 or 2016, or ever. Neither did Nader or Stein. Anyway, in theory the "siphoning" could go both ways, couldn't it? Why can't we think of the theft being perpetrated by the major-party candidates? After all, Democrats and Republicans have much more money and power to influence the voters--and to steal votes, for that matter.

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Indeed, Reich seems to take the supremacy of the two major parties entirely for granted, and he tries to lock it down by invoking the iron law of "winner-take-all." The standard pitch here is that because the presidency confers such immense powers, and because a candidate can win by the slimmest of margins, the sensible thing for voters to do is to consider only the two major candidates and ignore all the "third" candidates. Only the Democrat and the Republican in the race have a realistic chance of winning, the reasoning goes, and so voters must pick one of those two.

What else is this but a trap? Vote Republican, and you help hand the government over to the control of big banks and corporations. Vote Democrat"and you help hand the government over to the control of big banks and corporations. (Well, with the Democrats you get a little phony talk about their deep concern for "working families.") Limiting our democracy like this just makes rich, powerful people even richer and more powerful. This approach is not just undemocratic, it is anti-democratic. It pushes people out of participation, encourages conformity, and hands a gigantic advantage to two organizations who have shown again and again who they're really concerned about--and it ain't you and me.

At this stage Reich might suggest that in 2000 my views were "closer" to Al Gore's views than to George W. Bush's. I was indeed a registered Democrat from 1984 to 1997, and I've never voted for a Republican. (I was also a registered Green from 2000 to 2009, and a registered Populist thereafter.) Hence Reich would probably throw me into the category of prodigal sons and daughters who need to be brought back to the Democratic Party. But I do not accept the idea that I owe some sort of allegiance to the major party that I am "closer" to. And for a very good reason: I'm not nearly as close to the Democrats as the Democrats and Republicans are to each other. They're a team.

Like so many Democrats, Reich seems to make the mistake of assuming that former Democrats like myself still respect the Democratic Party. I don't. I don't respect the Republican Party either, but since I'm an ex-Democrat many progressives might expect me to still have a certain amount of loyalty to my former political organization. But I don't. I always intensely disliked the Republicans (politically, not personally), but I was never especially happy with the Democrats and I gave up on them altogether back in the twentieth century. The Democrats of today do even less to oppose the Republicans than they did 20 or 30 years ago. While there are a few differences between the two major parties, those few are hyped constantly by the major parties themselves and by the major media, while the many similarities between them are almost entirely ignored. How can an honest person respect either one of them?

Reich may also assume that my true objective is to help "pull the Democrats to the left." Nothing could interest me less. Aside from the fact that they seem to be un-pullable, the Democrats, as I see it, blew it a long time ago by caving into the Republicans again and again. Trying to pull them anywhere, it seems to me, is a big waste of time. The best (and fastest) way for us to achieve progressive goals is to start from scratch and build our own party.

We need our own non-corporate--anti-corporate--party. My votes for minor-party and independent candidates have never been "protest votes." For many years now I have used my vote (and my runs for local office) as ways to help create a new party that represents working people instead of big corporations. That project goes beyond protest. It seeks not just to criticize the system but to fundamentally change it.

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Strange to say, in the summer of 2016 Reich appeared to be predicting the rise of a new, progressive party in an informal debate with Chris Hedges on Democracy Now! Reich spoke of progressives developing "a third party--maybe the Green Party!--that holds the Democrats accountable"" Now, in 2018, he no longer predicts or welcomes the coming of a new, independent party. And though he endorsed sometime-Democrat and ostensible revolutionary Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primaries, Reich later enthusiastically endorsed Hillary Clinton in the general election.

Reich seems like a nice guy. He has always struck me that way. His tone is not contentious or sarcastic. He appears to be very gently coaxing us independents back into the flock where he thinks we belong. But while his tone is friendly enough, his goal of winning us back into the Democratic Party is dead serious. In pursuit of this goal, he uses what amounts to peer pressure to embarrass or shame former Democrats into coming home to a party they don't believe in anymore. Grown adults are supposedly immune to peer pressure, but in fact most of us want to feel accepted and approved of by the people around us. Relatives sometimes disagree on political matters, and it's often inside families that individuals are least likely to budge from the political positions they've staked out. But with friends, co-workers, and even casual acquaintances, it's quite different. Those who feel the need to express political opinions--right or left!--would much rather do it around people who are not going to disagree with them. Again, we want to be accepted, we want to be liked. We want to "belong to the tribe," as Lenny Bruce used to express it. Reich is undoubtedly smart enough and experienced enough to know this, and to exploit it.

To be fair to Reich, he does put one item on the table that very few Democrats even talk about, much less recommend. I refer to Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV), an electoral reform the Greens and others have been promoting for many years now. The idea of RCV is to allow a voter to vote for more than one candidate for a given office and rank her choices, from her favorite to others that she is less crazy about but would still find acceptable.

Let's say a registered Democrat in 2016 wants to vote for Jill Stein for President but also wants to hedge her bet and throw a little support to another candidate. So she ranks her choices: Stein first, Clinton second. When all the voters' first-choice votes are tallied up, the vote-counters find that Stein has not won a majority of those first-choice votes. Clinton, in this scenario, has received more first-choice votes than Stein but still not enough for a majority among all the candidates. So the vote-counters push aside all the first-choice votes for Stein and any other candidate who finished "out of the money." The counters then total up the second-choice votes for Clinton and add those to her overall total. So, even though Clinton's support was a bit weak among many voters, still she benefits from the half-hearted (second-choice) votes that she won.

The same dynamic might be at work with, say, a registered Republican who felt a bit nauseous about voting for Donald Trump. Using RCV, he could vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson (for example) as his first, preferred choice, and for Trump as his second, somewhat grudging choice. (I can't help adding that my own preference, even under RCV, would be to vote for my one chosen candidate and leave it at that.) In this scenario, Trump would benefit from his second-choice votes just as Clinton did from hers.

But what about an eligible voter whose conscience directs her not to vote at all? That is, what if she has the legal right to vote but, come Election Day, she sees no candidate who appeals to her? What good does RCV do her? Well, none, really. She is one of millions of Americans who do not bother to vote--about 40 percent of the eligible electorate in presidential elections. I believe a lot more of those people would vote--will vote--when third parties get busy and run more candidates, campaign more aggressively, and above all demonstrate independence from the two major parties.

Maybe RCV would be unpredictable in other ways. Peter Camejo (Nader's vice presidential running mate in 2004) explained how RCV might not end up "protecting" the major parties from the minor parties. Camejo reasoned that once voters got accustomed to casting their votes for the candidates they really want instead of against the candidates they despise, then voting third-party might start to catch on in a big way. Voters might get a charge out of voting for independent or third-party candidates and might start turning out in bigger numbers.

Of course, we have to wonder what the effect of all this might be on state legislatures stuffed with Republicans and Democrats. Why would major-party lawmakers want to pass RCV and thereby help their minor-party rivals? Well, naturally, they wouldn't. That's why I'm very skeptical about Reich's recommendation that we keep our distance from small parties and just wait"and wait"and wait for that fine day when Democrats and Republicans suddenly abandon their own self-interest and begin to pass election laws that are more fair and more democratic. Yes, they've already passed RCV in one small state (Maine), but are they likely to pass it in big states anytime soon? Malcolm X once suggested that if you wait for the people in power to voluntarily give up some of their power, then "you'll be waiting a long time." If the major parties do start passing RCV in lots of states, well, that's great. But I think minor parties would do better to concentrate on trying to win elections on their own, without any "help" from their major-party competitors, and then introduce RCV legislation themselves.

Reich recommends another way that restless progressives and socialists can participate in Democratic Party affairs without upsetting the applecart too much. They can support an insurgent candidate like Bernie Sanders! Of course, Reich admits, "the Democratic party establishment rigged the game against him." But then he quickly adds: "I don't want to open up this particular can of worms." This is a strange way to make his case. First he asks his readers to trust the Democratic Party as a good place in which to run a progressive candidate. But then he admits how completely untrustworthy the party's leaders have proven themselves to be. Then he clears his throat and says he doesn't really want to talk about it. Does Reich really expect his readers to be bowled over by this kind of an argument?

A lot of voters--especially younger ones--just aren't going to buy this kind of talk anymore. They see many Americans more or less guaranteeing their votes to Wall Street Democrats like Clinton and demanding nothing in return. They demand nothing, and of course they get nothing. Democrats in Congress can support pretty much the same policies that the Republicans support--big bank bailouts, constant wars in the Middle East, welfare "reform," attacks on civil liberties, universal healthcare that isn't universal and mostly benefits insurance companies--and so on, ad nauseam. They can do all that and many people just keep coming back and voting for Democrats and getting slapped in the face for it. You see the problem?

The solution is obvious. We need a new major party to compete with the two old major parties. With all due respect to Secretary Reich, the country needs exactly the opposite of the foul, corrupt, rotten two-party system that he wants to save. The country needs a third party--a new, independent political party of working people who have just plain had it.

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Jerry Kann has made his living in New York City since the late 1980s in a variety of odd jobs--proofreader, copywriter, messenger, secretary--all while pursuing the very challenging avocation of independent politics. For years Kann's primary (more...)
 

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Jerry Kann

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More (and younger) writers have begun to post articles encouraging the establishment of a new, major political party of working people. There's hope!

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 3:40:43 PM

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Em Sos

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Reply to Jerry Kann:   New Content

Like yourself, I'm somewhat older, yet "encourage the establishment of a new, major political party of (...) people."

Is anyone listening?

This IS the necessary change required!

In my view, Robert Reich is NOT "due respect"!

The old idiom goes: respect needs to be earned, and Reich, if he ever accumulated any, no longer commands it.

He still doesn't get it; "the country needs exactly the opposite of the foul, corrupt, rotten two-party system that he wants to save" and still unconditionally supports.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 4:45:33 PM

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B. Ross Ashley

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Reply to Em Sos:   New Content

Agreed. My friends in the States, Socialist Organizer, are working with the MPP in a movement to create an independent party for working people, the Labor- Community Campaign for an Independent Party. See click here

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 7:34:54 PM

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Jerry Kann

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Reply to B. Ross Ashley:   New Content

Ross----Thanks for commenting. I'm afraid I don't know anything about Socialist Organizer, but I've been in touch with MPP off and on for a couple of months. I'm working a lot of hours just now, so it's hard to find time for politics, but I definitely want to do more with MPP. (I also met Brana at Left Forum back in June. He's a good guy and very open and approachable.)



Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 12:10:05 AM

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Jerry Kann

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Reply to Em Sos:   New Content

Dear Em----Yes, I think people are listening. Just FYI, the specific article I was thinking of was a recently posted one I found on CounterPunch by a young guy named Nick Pemberton. It's a long article but worth reading.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 12:04:32 AM

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Unbelievable! What powerful insight. I fully concur with Pemberton.

Ralph Nader is a hero, of mine, too.

However, as I see the situation, change is not going to come about through an already totalitarian, fraudulent, socioeconomic electoral system; at least not in time to save us. The question: How therefore, is radical change to be brought about peaceably?

I see the situation as Chris Hedges does, in his latest essay, The Rule of the Uber-Rich Means Either Tyranny or Revolution, and not as the cut-and-run model Bernie Sanders had in mind.

How do we extricate our country, and not least the world, from the tyranny we are already in the midst of, and have inadequately been dealing with, at least since the close of WWII? No one, least of all the sociopaths who have usurped the power of governance, seem, even minimally, to be at all interested in projecting ahead to the next generation; say to 2035.

Was the Supreme Court judicial maneuver, in Florida in 2000, not evidence enough to all of us alive at that moment in time, that a legislative Coup d'e'tat had occurred?

How much more evidence is required of the treachery already in play?

If "we the people" -- the majority, are unable soon, to coalesce as one party of people; to bring about the requisite radical changes, then yes, I do believe we're already one foot in 'Crossing the Rubicon'.

What thereafter lies ahead is irrevocable tragedy, for the entirety of humanity!

With apologies to the eternal optimists! The events taking place are negative, so let's get real about the issues we confront.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 5:20:33 PM

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Dear Em-----Thanks for "keeping it real" here. You're right, we confront some pretty grim realities and don't have a lot of time left to debate how best to face up to it all.-------I just think we should **try** politics first. Let's not kid ourselves that revolution is sure to be a velvet one. Maybe Hedges is right, that we need to simply start doing non-violent civil disobedience (NCD for short) all over the place. But I think very few people are going to jump at the chance to go to jail. I've only done it once, myself, back in 2003 about a week before the invasion of Iraq. I think we could attract **vast** numbers of people with a frumpy old political party--much greater numbers than Occupy or other NCD efforts are ever likely to bring together. I'm not knocking direct action, mind you. I'm just saying let's **try** to win majority control of the US government first. For starters, I think an **independent** party would be plenty revolutionary for starters--an **anti-corporate** party that has a completely different agenda than the two pro-corporate gangs who hae control of the shop right now.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 11:03:08 PM

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Reply to Em Sos:   New Content

Along these lines... short video well worth the watch: click here

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 5:37:06 PM

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Daniel, thank you for the " Jill Stein, Women's March on Pentagon 2018" and as a side note she puts sanity in what is usually used as divide and conquer issues as it should be, plain human speak versus Orwellian "News Speak".

I recommend this short video for those searching for a way out or just trying to understand workable approaches to "one way or another". Neoliberals need not apply, it is beyond their "Peter Principle".

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 7:09:06 PM

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Lois Gagnon

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I am registered with the Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts which is the affiliate of the national Green Party. It's called the Green-Rainbow Party because the state Rainbow Coalition which was affiliated with Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition merged with the MA Green Party.

We currently have 3 candidates running for state-wide office plus 3 candidates running for the state legislature. WGBH the flag ship PBS station in Boston has hosted 2 candidate debates recently and refused to invite the GR and Libertarian candidates. We have notified them of our outrage at their decision. They use the excuse that the candidates haven't raised enough money to be considered serious candidates. The media are acting as gate keepers for the duopoly. And people wonder why we can't get any traction.

I don't know if you've heard of the Movement for a People's Party that came out of the Sanders campaign. They are not still supporting Sanders, but are attempting to start a new party. You can find them at ForAPeople'sParty.org Personally, I prefer to work with the Greens who already have the party infrastructure in place.

RCV stands a good chance of passing in this state by 2020. The campaign is gaining momentum very quickly. The first phase of the campaign is to lobby state legislators to pass it. That effort is underway right now. If that fails, we will go all out to place it on the ballot for 2020.

Like you, I'm sick and tired of the vote shaming tactic. It's unproductive and frankly lazy. It gives the Dems an excuse to not have to do anything to regain my trust. The vote shamers are the enablers of the status quo.

I'm afraid that voting at this point is only marginally effective in bringing about the change we are going to need. Real movement activism is going to have to be employed.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 5:33:37 PM

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Lois---Thanks for your comment. I was a very active Green here in New York from 2000 to 2009, and I even attended a Mass. Greens state committee meeting back in 2007.-----As I was saying above, yes, I've been in touch with MPP and been on a conference call, and I look forward to learning more.----My thinking about the electoral arena is that we simply need **a lot more candidates** to run for public office. I ran for New York City Council five times. I think running for local office is something most activists can do and should do. I really believe that an independent--and I do mean **independent**--political party of working people is the only thing that's going to work. It's the one thing that we haven't really tried! Or rather, haven't stuck with long enough. The People's Party (or Populist Party) of 1890 to 1894 **elected** people! Then they threw it all away by endorsing a Democrat (Bryan) in 1896, and more or less disappeared after that. Independence (from the Democrats) really is the key. T

hat, and running lots of new candidates. Local campaigns can be run cheaply and without a million volunteers. Such a new party would give everybody a place to gather and to share the struggle. It really is the only thing that's going to work, it seems to me.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 12:27:11 AM

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Fine. Build one. I'll help. But--it will take time. Years. Decades. Don't make the mistake Nader did in 2000 and start at the top. Start at the bottom and build your way up. Be prepared to put in the long hard slog of totally unappreciated and unrewarded work, because that's what it is going to take.


I'm old and won't be here when that work comes to fruition. Plus, I'm not sure the world has that much time to wait. As bad as some Democrats are, can you honestly argue that President Hillary Clinton would be as awful for the environment, immigrants, the transgendered, and even working people as Trump?


While you're building your "new major party" the Republicans are going to try to complete their project of destroying everything so they can loot the ruins. Isn't it worth assisting the only force that can possibly resist that evil project--i.e., the Democratic Party? By the time you complete building your "new major party" there may be nothing left for it to save!


I think it would be easier and more effective to TAKE OVER and REMAKE the Democratic Party. Which is where it seems to be going anyway. I'd also suggest it would be safer not to try to turn the Democrats into a left-wing version of the Republicans, with zero tolerance or room for anything not quite as extremist as Paul Ryan. We've seen where that kind of "purity" leads a party. The Democrats--or, if you are able to build it, your "new major party"--should be open to debate (within limits) and not have show trials for heterodoxy.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 5:46:42 PM

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"As bad as some Democrats are, can you honestly argue that President Hillary Clinton would be as awful for the environment, immigrants, the transgendered, and even working people as Trump?"

Yes, I can say that Hillary is every bit as bad as Trump - without supporting Trump, or any other Major Party Candidate.

Certainly, she, like her glib partner, Bill; knows how to manipulate words to raise questions about the meaning of "Is". But Hillary's a person who gleefully chortles about the sodomizing of the victim of the Terrorists organized by her Best Buddy, Obama's ISIS and the other Made in the USA Terrorist Organizations.

Rational people cannot make it better, by assuming that Evil is acceptable if it is dressed in Progressive language.

The Clinton Duo have caused at least as much, if not more, damage than Reagan, the 2 Bushes, and now Trump. Without the Presidency, Hillary destroyed at least 2, marginally viable Countries: Libya, Honduras, Ukrraine and others for starters. And don't forget Haiti and Yugoslavia who owe their Wealth and Security to the Clintons.

Then there is the sophisticated Black Darling of the 'Liberal' Democrats: Obama. Am I supposed to erase his casual claim of "being very good at Killing" as just a poorly phrased, throw-away, joke?

Reich claimed to be for the Working Class when he was Secretary of Labor - But, where was he when Bill Clinton destroyed Welfare 'as we know it'? I must have missed his resignation from the Clinton Cabinet...

I wonder if the Women trying to support their Children with no help from the Government see that as a big benefit for their Family?

Sure, the vanishing Middle-Class, Working Woman, may claim some very nice Tax-Breaks by ensuring their Kids have Private School Fees and live-in Child Care - But that means nothing to the Minimum Wage employee at Amazon, McDonald's, or Walmart, or possibly all three

No one is looking out for their Children while Mom tries to provide some kind of stability in their lives.

Supporting 'The Lesser Evil' is a dishonest argument. When our Tax Dollars are funding the cost of several undeclared Wars, year after year; there is never enough left to support the Home-Front.

Whether it is Health Care, Education, or our failing Infrastructure, the money has already been promised to the Arms Industry and Homeland Security.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 10:29:19 PM

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George King

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Reply to Carol R Campbell:   New Content

In response of this line of query, where was Reich's claim for the working class when Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (Chicago Boys) deep sixed Single payer?

"Reich claimed to be for the Working Class when he was Secretary of Labor - But, where was he when Bill Clinton destroyed Welfare 'as we know it'?"

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 6:21:27 PM

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Reply to Thomas Beck:   New Content

So once again progressives are supposed to just sit down and shut up lest we upset the corporate fascists. Count me out. We've been far too polite for far too long. We need radical change as soon as we can make it happen.


Vote Green and get in the streets.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 1:48:30 AM

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Jerry Kann

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Reply to Thomas Beck:   New Content

Thomas----I want to reply to your comment as soon as I can, but I'm rushing now to make a meeting. (Yes, a political meeting, of course.) Look for my reply tomorrow or the next day. Thanks for commenting. ----Jerry

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 11:14:03 PM

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Reply to Thomas Beck:   New Content

Dear Thomas----OK, now I have a little time to respond. And I'm very glad to hear you say, "I'll help." Build a major third party, that is. I'm gonna hold you to it, you know.-----OK, OK, just had to get that in. All kidding aside, I do hope you come around to the idea of a new party, although of course you seem to be entirely devoted to the Democrats.-----That being the case, can I ask: Where do you live? I'm sorry, that may be none of my business, but I had to ask anyway. The reason I ask is because if you wanted to **debate** the question of a new, independent political party of working people, then I'd be happy to argue the other side. But do you live in New York City? I'm broke and can't afford to travel anywhere, so we can only do this if we live in the same town and we can both get to the event by subway. Please advise.------Wait up, let me put that same question to the other gentleman who has much the same view on the question that you do. I'll be right back.----Jerry








Submitted on Friday, Oct 26, 2018 at 1:44:47 AM

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Reply to Thomas Beck:   New Content

Dear Thomas: Let me just respond to a couple of your comments briefly, in the order in which you presented them.-----------I don't see why building such a new party should take decades. The Republican Party (that is, the "anti-slavery" party that convened in order to oppose the Democrats, the "pro-slavery" party of that time) was founded in 1854, I think. Its predecessors on the question of slavery were first the Liberty Party, which I believe was established in 1840, and later the Free Soil Party. It took all of 10 or 15 years to get up and running, that's all. The Populist (or People's) Party did it even faster, as did the Socialist Party under Eugene Debs.------Nader didn't make any mistake by running for President in 2000. The Greens formed in the US in the mid-'80s (before my time--I joined in 2000) and had been around for more than 10 years by the time they convinced Nader to run as their standard-bearer in 1996. And we're talking about someone who has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. I don't think it would be justified to ask him to start with a run for Conn. state legislature or something like that.-----Just briefly: The real mistake came when the Green leadership turned their backs on Nader in 2003 and made common cause with the Kerry campaign in 2004. **That** is why the Green Party is still small. Had the GP stuck with Nader in 2004 we'd have a completely different political situation in the US now. We'd be light-years ahead of where we are now, because voters would have seen we meant business and would have joined us in big numbers.-------My feeling about the Clinton v. Trump question is primarily that I do not accept the two of them as valid choices. I think that's the trap the major parties have us in. Strictly speaking it's the plutocrats, the corporatists, the oligarchs that have us in a trap, and it's the D's and R's that "run" the trap you might say. I say the hell with both of 'em.-----I registered as a Democrat in 1983 to help "take over" the Democratic Party for the progressives. That's 35 years ago! What progress has anybody made on that project? And what the hell have people been waiting for?! Don't get me wrong. If people want to try it now, in 2018 and 2019, well, give it a try. I just think it won't work. If people had wanted to do it, where the hell were they 35 years ago? But...you folks should forge ahead. I just don't think it's ever going to happen.--------And finally, it's not about ideological "purity." I ust know what I want, and I don't think I'm asking for anything unreasonable. In fact, I think what I'm asking for, what I'm proposing, makes the most sense.--------Again, let me know if you'd care to be involved in a "live" discussion of this question or if that's possible, depending on what city you live in. Thanks!-----Jerry































Submitted on Friday, Oct 26, 2018 at 2:24:21 AM

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Paul from Potomac

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Finally, a voice of reason over the howling mobs of extremists.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 6:28:54 PM

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shad williams

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An unruly mob may be beautiful to behold...once we get really tired of this sh*t.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 4:59:24 AM

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Reply to shad williams:   New Content

shad, well said but would that not put us in the extremist category? I mean rule of law and....never mind there is no more rule of law enforced faithfully to the founding ideas of "forming a more perfect union", our Constitutional Republic's "Treasure, Commons and Inalienable Rights" currently.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 7:38:28 PM

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Paul from Potomac

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Billionaire Bezos' WaPo this morning endorsed a billionaire for Congress from Maryland's 6th district (where we live) over his opponent, another billionaire, to take the place of yet another billionaire who is leaving Congress after three terms to run for President of the United States. All three are incredibly delusional to think they have even the slightest qualifications for any job leading the American people. Does anyone even know the guy who's running for President against a billionaire who already holds the job? (His name is John Delaney.)

I'm supporting the Green candidate, George Gluck, who is being outspent running for the sixth time for the office by his opponents by more than 20,000 to one. He is the only candidate who actually supports the vast number of constituents in our district who want peace and an end to war, a strong government and sound business practices, a strong safety net, fiscal conservatism, environmental sanity, safe streets, and a demilitarized police force. He actually believes in holding people accountable for their actions. What a concept!

But you know he will lose because money talks and corporations walk all over us. We all lose.

Vote responsibly. Drink afterwards.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 6:30:44 PM

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John Rachel

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Reply to Paul from Potomac:   New Content

George Gluck is a CFAR signer. Yes indeed, it's time for some integrity and true democratic leadership in Congress! You can contribute to his campaign HERE.


Copyrighted Image? DMCA

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 10:05:49 PM

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BFalcon

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Every once in a while the third party appears and becomes the second or first party (of the two).

Vote against evil, all the time.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 7:37:15 PM

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John Rachel

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Reply to BFalcon:   New Content

The party of Lincoln was a FOURTH party. It's now called the Republican Party. It's of course changed a bit over the years.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 10:07:16 PM

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BFalcon

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Reply to John Rachel:   New Content

My point exactly.

Vote for the better choice, against the worse choice.

Now, vote against criminal Republicans.

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 25, 2018 at 3:42:46 PM

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"Indeed, Reich seems to take the supremacy of the two major parties entirely for granted ..."

Reich is now a lazy thinker, brain congealed in the paradigm he has functioned in most of his life, when his contributions to those in power had some relevance. If this were the only way the human mind functions, we'd still be pulling things around on sleds and cowering in the bushes ready to attack our next meal. I love his passion and dedication but find his writings way past their expiration date. I wonder if he even owns a television.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 9:58:05 PM

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Jill Herendeen

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This country already has a number of "third" parties, which get very small amounts of the vote-count (or so we are told, by Those In Charge). However, since THE VOTERS aren't allowed to count the votes for themselves, and in many states don't even have paper ballots that could be counted (if it were Allowed), we have no idea whether Those In Charge are telling the truth. For all we know, the Greens have won every contest they've been in--but we'll never know, because the vote-count is at least 80% unverifiable. We're not even allowed to have independent exit polls anymore, to provide any kind of clue. Is this any way to run a democracy? Why do we put up with this?

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 7:26:48 PM

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Jerry Kann

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Reply to Jill Herendeen:   New Content

Jill-----I don't think we have to put up with it. That's why I'm proposing a new party to challenge the two big parties that just don't have enough competition from people like us. And there must be millions of us out there. But we have to organize ourselves in a party. All atomized and by ourselves I don't think we can be very effective. With our own party, I think we can make major changes.

----Jerry

Submitted on Saturday, Oct 27, 2018 at 1:37:39 AM

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Maxwell

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I agree that each of us gets to decide, and has to decide, how to spend his one vote. You can vote strategically--what is most likely to bring about the result you desire--or vote your conscience--or preferably, both.

I also agree that a new political party is possible, but it's going to be a very heavy lift. It's easy to see why the Democratic party is judged to be beyond redemption, but attempting to salvage it may be not impossible and, based on history, an easier route. In order to get a new party we very likely will have to endure Trump's re-election, maybe Pence's election after that, plus continued dominance of the GOP in the congress and state governorships across the land, until the Democrats gradually fade into irrelevance. I'm 65 and in good health, but it may not happen in my lifetime. It may not happen in Bernie Sanders' lifetime, which may be why he decided, after some consideration to go the route of trying to redeem the Democratic party.

Here in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whom many consider to be a DINO, was very credibly challenged by progressives in the primaries--Cynthia Nixon this past primary and Zephyr Teachout in the previous one, whearas in the last general election Green challenger Howie Hawkins barely moved the needle, and will probably repeat that performance. This suggests challenging old school Democrats with progressives in primaries may be a faster route to real reform. Of course, primaries are heavily rigged toward incumbents and either way is a tough challenge.

Before trashing Robert Reich consider: he's an economist, and very good at explaining why conservative economic talking points are wrong and why growing wealth inequality is so toxic; and despite being an old friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, he endorsed Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 8:51:29 PM

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Carol R Campbell

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Reply to Maxwell:   New Content

People talk about the hard work to build something new.

I spent 30 years shoving the Dems Left, and got Bill Clinton as the Choice of the Democratic Central Committee in '92. I can organize people, but Dinosaurs are a much bigger challenge. Especially when most of them are well paid to maintain the defenses!

Just remember how easily they co-opted the "Liberal & Independent" Bernie Sanders...

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 9:57:54 PM

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Reply to Maxwell:   New Content

Dear Maxwell----You may have seen that I asked our friend Thomas Beck where he lives. I wanted to ask you too, because I thought that if we could arrange it, it would be fun to **debate** this question of a new, independent political party of working people. I see you live somewhere in New York State, but do you live in New York *City*, where I live? Or close by? I'd be happy to argue in favor of establishing a new party of the kind I describe, and you--or Mr. Beck, or maybe both of you--could speak in favor of sticking with the Democrats. There are lots of places in New York that rent out meeting rooms fairly cheaply. (A diner or a bar would probably throw us out.) Anyway, it would not have to be acrimonious or nasty. It wouldn't necessarily even have to be a formal debate. It just be friendly discussion--but face-to-face instead of online. Please let me know how you feel about that idea. I'll be back shortly to respond to your comment.-------Jerry


Submitted on Friday, Oct 26, 2018 at 1:56:48 AM

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Reply to Maxwell:   New Content

Dear Maxwell----I'd love to continue discussing this. Again, please let me know if you'd like to be part of a "live" (face-to-face) discussion or debate about the subject.---------I met Zephyr Teachout and she's doing good things for the Democratic Party. I just think it's unfair to ask people like her to fight a Democratic leadership that is obviously compromised altogether by the bribes they've been taking for so many years now. I just don't understand why progressives don't establish their own party and select their own leadership. Why do battle with corporate Democrats **inside** a ballpark that they own and control? Why not just fight **directly** in the electoral arena?-----Anyway, talk to you soon. Let's keep the discussion going.------Jerry

Submitted on Friday, Oct 26, 2018 at 2:31:03 AM

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