5
   

Wasserman Schultz

 
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 9 May, 2017 11:15 am
http://www.berkeleyside.com/2017/05/02/berkeley-author-george-lakoff-says-dont-underestimate-trump/
George Lakoff, retired UC Berkeley professor and author of Don’t Think of an Elephant, is one of a very few people in Berkeley who does not underestimate Donald Trump. “Trump is not stupid,” he tells anyone who will listen. “He is a super salesman, and he knows how to change your brain and use it to his advantage.”

In fact, Lakoff predicted a year ago that Trump would win with 47% of the vote. (The actual total was 46%.) Lakoff even told Hillary Clinton’s campaign and PAC staffers how to counteract Trump’s message. But they couldn’t hear him.

As far back as 2006, Lakoff saw the writing on the wall. “A dark cloud of authoritarianism looms over the nation,” he wrote in his book Thinking Points, A Progressive’s Handbook. ”Radical conservatives have taken over the reins of government and have been controlling the terms of the political debate for many years.” The progressives couldn’t hear him, either.

Lakoff’s message is simple, but it is couched in the language of cognitive linguistics and neuroscience. The problem is that political candidates rely on pollsters and PR people, not linguists or neuroscientists. So when Lakoff repeatedly says that “voters don’t vote their self-interest, they vote their values,” progressive politicians continually ignore him. His ideas don’t fit in with their worldview, so they can’t hear him.


But a worldview is exactly what Lakoff is talking about. “Ideas don’t float in the air, they live in your neuro-circuitry,” Lakoff said. Each time ideas in our neural circuits are activated, they get stronger. And over time, complexes of neural circuits create a frame through which we view the world. “The problem is, that frame is unconscious,” Lakoff said. “You aren’t aware of it because you don’t have access to your neural circuits.” So what happens when you hear facts that don’t fit in your worldview is that you can’t process them: you might ignore them, or reject or attack them, or literally not hear them.

This theory explains why even college-educated Trump voters could ignore so many facts about their candidate. And it also explains why progressives have been ignoring Lakoff’s findings for more than two decades. Progressives are still living in the world of Descartes and the Enlightenment, Lakoff said, a neat world governed by the rules of logic. Descartes said, “I think therefore I am,” but Lakoff claims that we are embodied beings and that 98 percent of thought is unconscious.

Our thoughts are chemical in nature, and occur within the confines of a physical body: we are not 100 percent rational beings.

So if you are going to craft a message that can reach people who disagree with you, you have to understand their subconscious worldview. Lakoff calls this worldview a “frame,” and claims that Republicans have done a much better job with framing over the past 30 or 40 years. Republicans understand the narrative that governs many people in this country, and they target their message directly to that worldview. Democrats, on the other hand, ignore the worldview and focus instead on rationality, facts and policies.

It is a myth that the truth will set us free, Lakoff said. Case in point: Hillary Clinton’s well-thought-out policy positions vs. Donald Trump’s tweets. The tweets had one central and fact-free message: “Make America great again.” Clinton’s message was more detailed and fact-based, but also much more diffuse. Heavy on Enlightenment, short on metaphor. “I spoke to people at the center of Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, and told them they were doing everything they could to lose,” Lakoff said. “It didn’t make any difference. People are who they are, and they were going to do things their way. I could see the disaster happening the entire year.”

Lakoff started teaching linguistics at UC Berkeley in 1972 and retired as the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics in 2016. Since his retirement, he has spent much of his time traveling around the country, giving talks and interviews. He has written or co-authored 11 books, and is at work on another. Lakoff is the kind of professor who will tell you, in answer to a question, that he wrote a 500-page book about that very topic. “I wrote two 500-page books and three 600-page books,” he adds, laughing. “I like to be thorough.”


In non-academic circles, Lakoff is best known for his slim book Don’t Think of an Elephant. The book, recently reprinted, was a New York Times best-seller when it first came out in 2004, after the “disaster” of the George W. Bush election. Don’t Think of an Elephant was mostly a compilation of essays, and the main point was that trying to use Republican’s language and theories against them is counter-productive.

“What George has done is tie the question of political belief to cognitive science,” said Lawrence Rosenthal, chair and lead researcher of the UC Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies. “He understands that the way to get at people’s political opinions is by talking about values, rather than specific arguments about specific issues. He believes conservatives are much better at this than liberals and have been for a very long time. They have a much better track record of crafting political appeals by way of the appropriate value statements for their audience.”

The reason Democrats have such a hard time with Lakoff’s message, Rosenthal said, “is because George is going up against something very deep-rooted, something that goes back to the Enlightenment. He would argue that the Enlightenment approach to political persuasion was never appropriate… Every time I hear a political candidate say the word ‘percent,’ I think of ‘Oh God, they haven’t read George’.”

Lakoff gave a talk recently at the Center for Right-Wing Studies and pointed out that students who become Democratic operatives tend to study political studies and statistics and demographics in college. “Students who lean Republican study marketing. “And that’s his point,” Rosenthal said. “It’s a very different way of thinking.”

Lakoff’s core finding revolves around the metaphor of family. He claims there are two core beliefs about the role of families in society, and the belief one holds determines whether one is conservative or liberal. Moderates are people in the middle who are able to hold some ideas from both sides, and being able to understand and persuade them is crucial to winning any election.

Conservatives believe in a what Lakoff calls the “strict father family,” while progressives believe in a “nurturant parent family.” In the strict father family, father knows best and he has the moral authority. The children and spouse have to defer to him, and when they disobey, he has the right to punish them so they will learn to do the right thing.

“The basic idea is that authority is justified by morality, and that, in a well-ordered world, there should be a moral hierarchy in which those who have traditionally dominated should dominate,” Lakoff said. “The hierarchy is God above man; man above nature; the rich above the poor; employers above employees; adults above children; Western culture above other cultures; our country above other countries. The hierarchy also extends to men above women, whites above nonwhites, Christians above non-Christians, straights above gays.” Since this is seen as a “natural” order, it is not to be questioned.

Trump and those crafting the Republican message play straight into this strict father worldview, which is accepted in many parts of the country. Even traditionally Democratic groups such as union members and Hispanics include members who are strict fathers at home or in their private life, Lakoff says. The Republican message plays well with them.

Click here to see Lakoff’s “A Taxonomy of Trump Tweets,” a breakdown of the President’s tweets.
The nurturant parent family, on the other hand, believes that children are born good and can be made better. Both parents are responsible for raising children, and their role is to nurture their children and raise them to nurture others. Empathy and responsibility toward your child also extend to empathy and responsibility toward those who are less powerful, or suffering from pollution or disease, or are marginalized in some way.

While Lakoff is an unabashed Berkeley progressive, he said Democrats are decades behind in understanding how to frame issues in a way that can reach swing voters.

“Protection is part of the progressive moral system, but it has not been celebrated enough,” Lakoff writes in Don’t Think of an Elephant. For example, progressives should start calling federal regulations “protections.” If they start re-framing Trump’s promise as “getting rid of two-thirds of federal protections” — and spell out what some of those environmental and health and water quality “protections” are — there might be less support for repealing federal regulations, Lakoff said.

“Every progressive knows that regulations are protections, but they don’t say it,” he added. Similarly, “taxes” are actually “investments in public resources.” Government investment pays for the infrastructure on which private industry and everything else is built, Lakoff said. “Roads, bridges, public education, national banks, the patent office, the judicial system, interstate commerce, basic science for drug development — all of that is financed by government investments.” Yet Democrats allow Republicans to frame the debate in terms of tax “relief,” he said.

Lakoff met with Barack Obama when he was still a Senator, and tried to get him to change the terms of the debate more than 10 years ago. When he arrived at the Senate office, he got a round of applause from Obama’s staff and found all of his books in speechwriter John Favreau’s office. But when he gave Obama a copy of his book Thinking Points, Obama immediately handed it off to Favreau. “Obama assumed framing was about messaging, and it was about giving speeches. He is a very good speaker, so …” Lakoff trails off. “Obama did a lot of things right in 2008 when he was running, but then he dropped it. He understood the idea, but he didn’t apply it consistently. I think he believed he could balance both sides, but he wasn’t prepared for the culture wars that he encountered.”

Lakoff believes it’s a mistake for Democratic politicians to move toward the center in an effort to reach more moderate voters. The Republicans have moved further to the right, and they continue to win elections. What Democrats need to do is articulate their message in terms of metaphors that voters can understand, and stick to their core values, Lakoff said.

In terms of messaging, though, he doesn’t believe either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren have it quite right. “Bernie has a schtick,” he said. “He has great goals, I appreciate his goals, but he is very stubborn. He doesn’t understand conservatives or framing, and he isn’t going to change. He’s been successful with what he’s doing, and that’s enough for him,” Lakoff said. “I talked with him several times, with no effect. He wouldn’t remember it, and couldn’t have cared less.”

Elizabeth Warren “has come the closest to articulating the idea about citizens caring about each other and working through government to provide maximum freedom for everybody,” he said. “But Elizabeth has a problem: she is shrill, and there is a prejudice against shrill women. It’s a terrible prejudice, but it’s a prejudice. She has been recognized as one of the most credible presidential candidates by conservatives, and she has been attacked viciously by the right.”

Berkeley and the Alt Right

Berkeley could also reframe the word “freedom” when it comes to the demonstrations that have started taking place here, Lakoff said. “The protestors are trying to claim that what they are doing is Free Speech, but assemblage for the purpose of beating people up is not freedom,” Lakoff said. “You have the freedom to walk down the street, but not the freedom to keep other people from walking down the street: you don’t have the freedom to impose on other people’s freedom. The alt-right doesn’t have the right to come here and beat people up, and neither does Antifa.”

Lakoff has teamed with Gil Duran, former press secretary to Jerry Brown and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, to create a two-person communications company called Frame Lab that will help nonprofits with their framing issues. He is also creating a Citizens’ Communication Network, which will offer free information on framing issues for activists. Lakoff is trying to raise money for this nonprofit, but in the meantime, he will share ideas and resources on his Twitter feed, blog and Facebook. “We will do analyses of what works, what doesn’t work, and what they need to look out for,” Lakoff said.

The unassuming Lakoff is an accidental radical, the rare academic who has stepped outside the confines of his discipline and attempted to scale the battlements of real-world electoral politics. When asked whether he was depressed that his message is still not being heard in the political world, he said, “it’s frustrating, and I can be outraged, but I don’t get depressed. Every day I do something worthwhile and positive.” It’s all about the framing.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2017 06:40 am
@ossobucotemp,
ossobucotemp wrote:

You tend to spoil for a fight. Consider yourself about disagreements. Sometimes I think you are near hysteric, me, who mosttly agrees with you.
Bye, and be well.


I've never seen Edgar to be "near hysteric" about anything. I think he has sincere beliefs that he fights for just like everyone else here.
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2017 01:17 pm
@McGentrix,
I still like Osso for the friendship we shared for so long. I think this episode should be allowed to fade away.
ossobucotemp
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2017 01:30 pm
@edgarblythe,
Thank you, and me too. Glad I checked back on the thread today.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sun 14 May, 2017 10:19 am
https://scontent.fhou1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-0/s480x480/18485606_1435002729853873_6287308507379761873_n.jpg?oh=528539847e17041b68899043b8fd14e1&oe=59B801DA
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Mon 15 May, 2017 06:42 pm
https://counterpropa.com/dementer-waste-time-money/

Lately many “progressives” or former Bernie 2016 supporters are jumping onto the “we can fix this totally corrupt-by-design private club from the inside” bandwagon, as if it’s some new idea, and has any chance of working.

I’m sorry to burst your bubble: it’s not a new idea. It’s a very, very old idea which has never, ever worked. Why? Money. Democrats love money. They are a centrist, corrupt organization which exists to serve corporate millionaires and billionaires, because that is what brings in the most money.

They are a money-making pyramid scheme of corporate lobbyists and wannabe king-makers. They’re a group of grifters, like a crime family, who work in four-year plans, pushing a boss candidate who polls the best against the boss candidate from the rival crime family. They distract voters and fleece taxpayers with pageantry of democracy and call it a primary, when really they’ve had it all scripted and pre-planned for 3–4 years.

On a more behind-the-scenes level, the DNC chair is nothing but a vehicle for the most powerful clique to push their candidate. Taking a look at the past few decades only proves this, particularly with Tim Kaine and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who were only put into place to coronate Hillary Clinton as the party’s nominee.

“It’s an inner circle within an inner circle within an inner circle who chooses who is going to run the party, and thusly entrench their own power base.”
— Sam Ronan

If you deviate from this money-making pyramid scheme plan, they will throw you under the bus and eat you for dinner. They will label you “fringe” and run stories about how you have no chance of winning. As long as it means the person with the most money and connections gets into office, they will ruin you. Heck, they’ll even support a Trump campaign chair over the progressive write-in candidate. It’s nothing personal, they just like money more than they like helping people or doing the right thing. As long as politics is nothing but a way for grifters to trick people into electing them so corporate interests can pay them to lie, this isn’t ever going to change.

Often, idealistic people seem to think that the winning plan is to join a “new, progressive group” formed by losing candidates or campaign staffers, which will “infiltrate the party” and rebuild it “from the inside!” Let’s review how that has worked over the past 40 years.

1980s
Jesse Jackson and his “Rainbow Coalition”

Civil rights icon, minister, and politician. Jackson was one of the last people to see MLK alive. He can be a divisive figure, but few people haven’t heard of him. In 1984, Jesse Jackson ran for the Democratic nomination for US President, but was defeated in the Democratic primaries by Jimmy Carter’s extremely unexciting but well-funded-by-the-party vice president, Walter Mondale. Mondale then went on to lose in a ridiculously embarrassing landslide to incumbent corporate spokesman and record-holder for most presidential scandals, Ronald Reagan.

Jesse Jackson then founded (some argue “co-opted”) The Rainbow Coalition. Although the speech he had delivered at the ’84 Democratic convention had used this name to refer to a call for Arab Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, youth, disabled veterans, small farmers, lesbians and gays to join with African Americans and Jewish Americans to fight for economic justice and educational opportunities, Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition mostly worked towards empowering Democratic party candidates and pushing for progressive issues within the party.

The Rainbow Coalition’s goals included Universal Health Care, Free (or near-free) College Education, Election Law Reform, and Environmental Justice.

They eventually merged with PUSH in the early 90s, when their political work was absorbed by the Democratic party, which killed the hope to move the party left. Rainbow/PUSH now focuses solely on racial justice issues.

1990s
Jerry Brown and We The People (WTP)

I’m not sure if one person has run for and lost more high-profile campaigns than current-governor of California, Jerry Brown. After serving as California’s Secretary of State and then as Governor, Brown attempted to run for President on a platform of addressing income inequality and moving the Democratic party to the left. He came in 3rd place, losing to Jimmy Carter and some guy named Mo.

He ran for President again in 1980 and was made into a punchline by the media, often being portrayed as “fringe” and a kook, being a supporter of non-traditional medicine. Sound familiar? Brown ended up dropping out early because Carter and the other candidate, Ted Kennedy, were out-fundraising Jerry by significant margins.

In 1982, he ran for Senate. The Democratic party turned their backs on him again, and he lost to Republican Pete Wilson. Brown took a trip to Japan to study Buddhism (I’m not joking) and returned to run for Chair of the California Democratic Party. Surprisingly, he was able to defeat an investment banker! How that happened, I’m not sure. Brown reinvigorated the state party by appealing to grassroots volunteers, bringing in new energy and record-breaking donations. Although he was overall a very successful party chair, he was criticized for “not spending enough money on TV ads,” and blamed for losses of some high-profile candidates in the state.

In 1992, Brown stepped down as Chair of the California Democratic Party, ran for US Senate, then changed his mind and ran for President for a 3rd time. He was again a target of the Democratic party and media, where they portrayed him as having zero chance and being “a fringe candidate.” He lost to big-money lawyer and Democratic Governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton.

Brown went on to found “We The People,” which was supposed to be an educational outreach organization to help progressives run for office. It turned into a short-lived radio program and a website which hasn’t been updated in over ten years.

2000s
Dennis Kucinich and Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)

Dennis is a model progressive. He’s a winner, often getting 65%+ of the vote. He introduced 2003’s hit HR-676, which included a national single-payer health care plan with coverage for non-traditional medicine, a ban on pre-existing conditions, etc. He introduced articles of impeachment against George W. Bush (and pushed for an earlier investigation to impeach Bill Clinton). He voted against the PATRIOT Act. He was against the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq (but kind of sort of supported them, a little). He carries a pocket constitution.

But for the Democratic party, none of this is important. They need that money! And they need someone who will sign the check. In his 2004 bid for the Democratic nomination, the DNC swift-boated Dennis in exchange for the thrilling John Forbes Kerry. You all know how that worked out (Kerry lost against a guy who had the Secret Service codename “tumbler”).

Progressive Democrats of America was formed out of this loss with, you guessed it, the intention of remaking the Democratic party in the image of progressive candidates like Dennis. It was formed by former staffers of the Kucinich campaign, and this time it was going to work!

The goals of PDA included ending wars, single-payer health care, economic and social justice, getting money out of politics, protecting the environment, etc. And they were going to do this via the Democratic party! And it never really happened.

So in 2008, after only receiving single-digit support in all but one state (Oregon) in the 2004 primaries, Dennis Kucinich announced he was running again. He also announced his mainstream platform, which included single-payer health care, abolishing the death penalty, creating a Department of Peace, switching to Instant Runoff Voting, protecting a woman’s right to choose, legalizing gay marriage, and legalizing marijuana.

Unlike being promoted via the remaining supporters of a losing campaign four years earlier, a current presidential campaign (after four years of George W. Bush policies) would mean these mainstream ideas could have won! And the DNC can’t have that. They had some hope and change in mind.

So the media dug up a line in a book mentioning that he had once seen a strange light in the sky, and labeled Dennis a UFO conspiracy theorist. He was also blacklisted from appearing in televised Democratic party debates.

Some skinny US Senator from Chicago ended up getting the nomination, and winning the 2008 election in a landslide. And then he carried on 8 years of Bush-era policies, including drone-bombing weddings, resupplying Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, expanding executive power, and his #1 campaign promise: he left Guantanamo open.

Howard Dean and Democracy for America (DFA)

There was also this guy. He also could have won the nomination in 2004, but pretty much the same story that played out against Dennis Kucinich played out with Howard Dean.


He was starting to scare the establishment, so they made him seem “crazy” by playing this clip non-stop for over a week. They sank his campaign. Less than two months later, Dean turned his campaign PAC, Democracy for America, into an organization “to help like-minded Democratic candidates run for office.” One week later, he endorsed John Kerry, who went on to lose to George W. Bush. It’s ok though — Dean’s consolation prize was being made the chair of the DNC one year later.

While Dean’s leadership at the DNC arguably lead to the Democrats re-taking control of government in 2006, it was short-lived, as Republicans regained control shortly after Obama’s 2008 election, thanks in-part to a grassroots-lead (but astroturf-funded) “Tea Party” movement.

In 2009, Dean was replaced with Clinton family loyalist, Tim Kaine, who swiftly ended all of the good ideas Dean had put into place (such as the “50 state strategy”) and converted the DNC into a machine to help coronate Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Dean left politics to become a sellout/lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry, but has recently popped his head back up to ask if anyone remembers that one time when he was pretty cool.

Democracy for America now functions mostly as a sort of DNC to-do list — endorsing Democratic party candidates who are mildly progressive, but not too scary. Examples include Pramila Jayapal and Jamie Raskin. They have never endorsed a non-Democratic candidate, with the exception of…

2010s
Bernie Sanders and Our Revolution

Where do I even start? Bernie is a great guy. From his days as a student activist, to Mayor of Burlington, to congress, to US Senate, to his game-changing run for President. Bernie, a Democratic Socialist, is a hero to many progressives and young people. I’ll spare you a drawn-out explanation of how the campaign went, because we all know the DNC screwed Bernie.

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and other leaders at the DNC took a risk of elevating Donald Trump while sabotaging Bernie Sanders, in the hope that the perpetually-unfavorable Hillary Clinton would somehow benefit, and, well… let’s just say they lost that bet. Are you starting to see a pattern now?

“The Revolution”
I was one of the earliest believers in Our Revolution. In July 2016, I started the Washington state chapter, Our Revolution Washington. I traveled the state, spent hours every week, thousands of my own dollars, and risked my sanity to help promote what I thought would be totally different than all of the other times this same exact idea failed.

But not only is Our Revolution repeating some of the exact same mistakes of the past — including serving as a financial funnel and sheepdog for the DNC when they promised that wasn’t what they would do — they’re making new mistakes, such as working with David Brock and other unsavory figures.


Because of this ongoing pattern of behavior from Our Revolution’s national organizers, coupled with the fact that the national organization has shown zero interest in working with existing grassroots movements or forming coalitions outside of the Democratic party, Our Revolution Washington has since begun to operate under the new name of WOKE Washington.

#DemExit
If this movement is going to survive, it isn’t going to be within the Democratic party. There’s 40 years (and counting) of history to prove that Democrats not only never admit they made a mistake, they never learn from those mistakes (probably because of the former problem). Progressive activists and organizers need to have the guts to walk away from such a toxic environment and work with the organizations whose primary goals aren’t just fundraising and crushing any opposition to big-money interests. There are many other truly progressive organizations to be involved in, such as Democratic Socialists of America, Green Party, or even independent progressive groups like Represent.US. And while you’re at it, check out upcoming indie networking tools like SocialRoots.

A New Party
Starting a “new party” (like what is being pushed via movements such as Justice Dems or Draft Bernie), is simply not realistic. You’re looking at 20–30 years to achieve ballot access without taking corporate money. Unless you take corporate money, in which case what’s the point? Just join the Green Party.

#DemEviction
However, if 40 years of history, multiple rigged elections, leaked emails proving the party is corrupt, and the most recent election of yet another corporate shill as chair isn’t enough to prove it to you… and you want to still be “involved” with the Democratic party? At least call out the party-poopers who have been converting Democracy into a ponzi scheme.

Andrew Saturn is a Progressive activist + organizer, joker, designer, and current director of WOKE Washington. Follow him on Twitter .
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 04:13 am
https://scontent.fhou1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/18556306_1445672812120744_4891871611956056285_n.jpg?oh=7b3a2721353808a0c09a0d27205ce99b&oe=5978B1E8
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Mon 22 May, 2017 05:43 pm
https://scontent.fhou1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/18581829_1842197592457877_1140240289820793451_n.jpg?oh=27e3f8a5c156777e42960cea73a48f83&oe=59B8F589
0 Replies
 
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 May, 2017 06:07 pm
@edgarblythe,
OK, that's a good one!
Which of the emperors do you equate with Trump? (I'll have to cogitate on that myself..)

I figure all or most of those guys could read latin.
I am always tempted to mock Trump's looks, but that's mean and somewhat irrelevant. Besides, I'm no Cleopatra. I'll be good at insult avoiding for a while. No promises, don't trust me.
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  2  
Reply Mon 22 May, 2017 08:42 pm
Commodus = Trump
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  2  
Reply Tue 23 May, 2017 07:24 am
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

https://counterpropa.com/dementer-waste-time-money/

Lately many “progressives” or former Bernie 2016 supporters are jumping onto the “we can fix this totally corrupt-by-design private club from the inside” bandwagon, as if it’s some new idea, and has any chance of working.

I’m sorry to burst your bubble: it’s not a new idea. It’s a very, very old idea which has never, ever worked. Why? Money. Democrats love money. They are a centrist, corrupt organization which exists to serve corporate millionaires and billionaires, because that is what brings in the most money.

They are a money-making pyramid scheme of corporate lobbyists and wannabe king-makers. They’re a group of grifters, like a crime family, who work in four-year plans, pushing a boss candidate who polls the best against the boss candidate from the rival crime family. They distract voters and fleece taxpayers with pageantry of democracy and call it a primary, when really they’ve had it all scripted and pre-planned for 3–4 years.

On a more behind-the-scenes level, the DNC chair is nothing but a vehicle for the most powerful clique to push their candidate. Taking a look at the past few decades only proves this, particularly with Tim Kaine and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who were only put into place to coronate Hillary Clinton as the party’s nominee.

“It’s an inner circle within an inner circle within an inner circle who chooses who is going to run the party, and thusly entrench their own power base.”
— Sam Ronan

If you deviate from this money-making pyramid scheme plan, they will throw you under the bus and eat you for dinner. They will label you “fringe” and run stories about how you have no chance of winning. As long as it means the person with the most money and connections gets into office, they will ruin you. Heck, they’ll even support a Trump campaign chair over the progressive write-in candidate. It’s nothing personal, they just like money more than they like helping people or doing the right thing. As long as politics is nothing but a way for grifters to trick people into electing them so corporate interests can pay them to lie, this isn’t ever going to change.

Often, idealistic people seem to think that the winning plan is to join a “new, progressive group” formed by losing candidates or campaign staffers, which will “infiltrate the party” and rebuild it “from the inside!” Let’s review how that has worked over the past 40 years.

1980s
Jesse Jackson and his “Rainbow Coalition”

Civil rights icon, minister, and politician. Jackson was one of the last people to see MLK alive. He can be a divisive figure, but few people haven’t heard of him. In 1984, Jesse Jackson ran for the Democratic nomination for US President, but was defeated in the Democratic primaries by Jimmy Carter’s extremely unexciting but well-funded-by-the-party vice president, Walter Mondale. Mondale then went on to lose in a ridiculously embarrassing landslide to incumbent corporate spokesman and record-holder for most presidential scandals, Ronald Reagan.

Jesse Jackson then founded (some argue “co-opted”) The Rainbow Coalition. Although the speech he had delivered at the ’84 Democratic convention had used this name to refer to a call for Arab Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, youth, disabled veterans, small farmers, lesbians and gays to join with African Americans and Jewish Americans to fight for economic justice and educational opportunities, Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition mostly worked towards empowering Democratic party candidates and pushing for progressive issues within the party.

The Rainbow Coalition’s goals included Universal Health Care, Free (or near-free) College Education, Election Law Reform, and Environmental Justice.

They eventually merged with PUSH in the early 90s, when their political work was absorbed by the Democratic party, which killed the hope to move the party left. Rainbow/PUSH now focuses solely on racial justice issues.

1990s
Jerry Brown and We The People (WTP)

I’m not sure if one person has run for and lost more high-profile campaigns than current-governor of California, Jerry Brown. After serving as California’s Secretary of State and then as Governor, Brown attempted to run for President on a platform of addressing income inequality and moving the Democratic party to the left. He came in 3rd place, losing to Jimmy Carter and some guy named Mo.

He ran for President again in 1980 and was made into a punchline by the media, often being portrayed as “fringe” and a kook, being a supporter of non-traditional medicine. Sound familiar? Brown ended up dropping out early because Carter and the other candidate, Ted Kennedy, were out-fundraising Jerry by significant margins.

In 1982, he ran for Senate. The Democratic party turned their backs on him again, and he lost to Republican Pete Wilson. Brown took a trip to Japan to study Buddhism (I’m not joking) and returned to run for Chair of the California Democratic Party. Surprisingly, he was able to defeat an investment banker! How that happened, I’m not sure. Brown reinvigorated the state party by appealing to grassroots volunteers, bringing in new energy and record-breaking donations. Although he was overall a very successful party chair, he was criticized for “not spending enough money on TV ads,” and blamed for losses of some high-profile candidates in the state.

In 1992, Brown stepped down as Chair of the California Democratic Party, ran for US Senate, then changed his mind and ran for President for a 3rd time. He was again a target of the Democratic party and media, where they portrayed him as having zero chance and being “a fringe candidate.” He lost to big-money lawyer and Democratic Governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton.

Brown went on to found “We The People,” which was supposed to be an educational outreach organization to help progressives run for office. It turned into a short-lived radio program and a website which hasn’t been updated in over ten years.

2000s
Dennis Kucinich and Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)

Dennis is a model progressive. He’s a winner, often getting 65%+ of the vote. He introduced 2003’s hit HR-676, which included a national single-payer health care plan with coverage for non-traditional medicine, a ban on pre-existing conditions, etc. He introduced articles of impeachment against George W. Bush (and pushed for an earlier investigation to impeach Bill Clinton). He voted against the PATRIOT Act. He was against the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq (but kind of sort of supported them, a little). He carries a pocket constitution.

But for the Democratic party, none of this is important. They need that money! And they need someone who will sign the check. In his 2004 bid for the Democratic nomination, the DNC swift-boated Dennis in exchange for the thrilling John Forbes Kerry. You all know how that worked out (Kerry lost against a guy who had the Secret Service codename “tumbler”).

Progressive Democrats of America was formed out of this loss with, you guessed it, the intention of remaking the Democratic party in the image of progressive candidates like Dennis. It was formed by former staffers of the Kucinich campaign, and this time it was going to work!

The goals of PDA included ending wars, single-payer health care, economic and social justice, getting money out of politics, protecting the environment, etc. And they were going to do this via the Democratic party! And it never really happened.

So in 2008, after only receiving single-digit support in all but one state (Oregon) in the 2004 primaries, Dennis Kucinich announced he was running again. He also announced his mainstream platform, which included single-payer health care, abolishing the death penalty, creating a Department of Peace, switching to Instant Runoff Voting, protecting a woman’s right to choose, legalizing gay marriage, and legalizing marijuana.

Unlike being promoted via the remaining supporters of a losing campaign four years earlier, a current presidential campaign (after four years of George W. Bush policies) would mean these mainstream ideas could have won! And the DNC can’t have that. They had some hope and change in mind.

So the media dug up a line in a book mentioning that he had once seen a strange light in the sky, and labeled Dennis a UFO conspiracy theorist. He was also blacklisted from appearing in televised Democratic party debates.

Some skinny US Senator from Chicago ended up getting the nomination, and winning the 2008 election in a landslide. And then he carried on 8 years of Bush-era policies, including drone-bombing weddings, resupplying Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, expanding executive power, and his #1 campaign promise: he left Guantanamo open.

Howard Dean and Democracy for America (DFA)

There was also this guy. He also could have won the nomination in 2004, but pretty much the same story that played out against Dennis Kucinich played out with Howard Dean.


He was starting to scare the establishment, so they made him seem “crazy” by playing this clip non-stop for over a week. They sank his campaign. Less than two months later, Dean turned his campaign PAC, Democracy for America, into an organization “to help like-minded Democratic candidates run for office.” One week later, he endorsed John Kerry, who went on to lose to George W. Bush. It’s ok though — Dean’s consolation prize was being made the chair of the DNC one year later.

While Dean’s leadership at the DNC arguably lead to the Democrats re-taking control of government in 2006, it was short-lived, as Republicans regained control shortly after Obama’s 2008 election, thanks in-part to a grassroots-lead (but astroturf-funded) “Tea Party” movement.

In 2009, Dean was replaced with Clinton family loyalist, Tim Kaine, who swiftly ended all of the good ideas Dean had put into place (such as the “50 state strategy”) and converted the DNC into a machine to help coronate Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Dean left politics to become a sellout/lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry, but has recently popped his head back up to ask if anyone remembers that one time when he was pretty cool.

Democracy for America now functions mostly as a sort of DNC to-do list — endorsing Democratic party candidates who are mildly progressive, but not too scary. Examples include Pramila Jayapal and Jamie Raskin. They have never endorsed a non-Democratic candidate, with the exception of…

2010s
Bernie Sanders and Our Revolution

Where do I even start? Bernie is a great guy. From his days as a student activist, to Mayor of Burlington, to congress, to US Senate, to his game-changing run for President. Bernie, a Democratic Socialist, is a hero to many progressives and young people. I’ll spare you a drawn-out explanation of how the campaign went, because we all know the DNC screwed Bernie.

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and other leaders at the DNC took a risk of elevating Donald Trump while sabotaging Bernie Sanders, in the hope that the perpetually-unfavorable Hillary Clinton would somehow benefit, and, well… let’s just say they lost that bet. Are you starting to see a pattern now?

“The Revolution”
I was one of the earliest believers in Our Revolution. In July 2016, I started the Washington state chapter, Our Revolution Washington. I traveled the state, spent hours every week, thousands of my own dollars, and risked my sanity to help promote what I thought would be totally different than all of the other times this same exact idea failed.

But not only is Our Revolution repeating some of the exact same mistakes of the past — including serving as a financial funnel and sheepdog for the DNC when they promised that wasn’t what they would do — they’re making new mistakes, such as working with David Brock and other unsavory figures.


Because of this ongoing pattern of behavior from Our Revolution’s national organizers, coupled with the fact that the national organization has shown zero interest in working with existing grassroots movements or forming coalitions outside of the Democratic party, Our Revolution Washington has since begun to operate under the new name of WOKE Washington.

#DemExit
If this movement is going to survive, it isn’t going to be within the Democratic party. There’s 40 years (and counting) of history to prove that Democrats not only never admit they made a mistake, they never learn from those mistakes (probably because of the former problem). Progressive activists and organizers need to have the guts to walk away from such a toxic environment and work with the organizations whose primary goals aren’t just fundraising and crushing any opposition to big-money interests. There are many other truly progressive organizations to be involved in, such as Democratic Socialists of America, Green Party, or even independent progressive groups like Represent.US. And while you’re at it, check out upcoming indie networking tools like SocialRoots.

A New Party
Starting a “new party” (like what is being pushed via movements such as Justice Dems or Draft Bernie), is simply not realistic. You’re looking at 20–30 years to achieve ballot access without taking corporate money. Unless you take corporate money, in which case what’s the point? Just join the Green Party.

#DemEviction
However, if 40 years of history, multiple rigged elections, leaked emails proving the party is corrupt, and the most recent election of yet another corporate shill as chair isn’t enough to prove it to you… and you want to still be “involved” with the Democratic party? At least call out the party-poopers who have been converting Democracy into a ponzi scheme.

Andrew Saturn is a Progressive activist + organizer, joker, designer, and current director of WOKE Washington. Follow him on Twitter .
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