- 1967: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King delivers his Beyond Vietnam speech at Riverside Church, Manhattan.
- 1968: King, 39, is assassinated at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis after leading a rally for striking sanitation workers during his Poor People's Campaign. (The U2 song "Pride" gets it wrong: King was not shot in the "early morning," but in the early evening.)
- 1984: Winston Smith writes the first entry in his diary depicted in the novel; we thought in the '80s that 1984 was coming true, but could only have imagined in our dystopian sci-fi dreams how 1984-like the 2010s would be.
- 2004: Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, 24, is killed in Baghdad, on duty during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His death launches a new career as a peace activist for his mother Cindy.
Among Green candidates, the star is 26-year-old Kenneth Mejia, running to represent California's District 34 in Congress. The seat is open because Rep. Xavier Becerra left it to become the state's attorney general. CA-34 rests entirely within Los Angeles County, and it includes much of downtown Los Angeles. Becerra's predecessor in the AG position was Kamala Harris, who has since moved into the US Senate, replacing Barbara Boxer.
Here's Mejia in his appearance with Jimmy Dore a few weeks ago.
California is one of those states that has switched from partisan primary elections to the Open Primary system. In the first round of voting all candidates from all parties compete, and if no candidate receives an absolute majority*, the two top vote-getters move on to the second round. In a heavily Democratic district like the 34th, if two or more Democrats decide to compete for the seat, then in the second round two Democrats may clash. Mejia's hope lies in his two Democratic opponents splitting the vote lopsidedly enough to give him second place.
I will probably post something after the election about how much I despise Open Primary systems and why. Meanwhile, if you're curious as to how "Top Two" could possibly suck, you can start here.
Red-Green Challenge in Pennsylvania
Here's a move sure to give ammunition to Democrats who whine about Greens working with or for Republicans. The GOP of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania have allied with the Greens in challenging the propriety of the special election to fill the District 197 seat in the state house. Yes, I know, this development occurred last Thursday, and I'm just getting around to blogging about it.
In the Inquirer's article, Philadelphia's Republican Chairperson Joseph DeFelice comes out looking a lot better than the Democratic chair, US Rep. Bob Brady. Brady showed what a walking Trump-tweet he can be by wagging his tongue over Republican Lucinda Little drawing fewer votes (per official results) than the Green write-in candidate Cheri Honkala.
“I’m a Republican in Philadelphia, I’m used to losing,” DeFelice said. “I just want to lose fairly."
“I think the Republican Party should hang their head in shame. A Green Party candidate—as a write-in—even beat them—that’s a disgrace,” Brady said. “The only chance they got is to say we cheated.”
Since the lawsuit aims to void the election by proving Democratic malfeasance, it will be interesting to watch how the case plays out nationwide. It's certainly not news that Philly has a history of Democratic Machine skullduggery, certainly not unique among northern cities in that regard. Philadelphians in general may be blasé about the corruption, two consecutive District 197 reps' resignations notwithstanding. But if the allegations from the March election hold up in court, and major media outlets run with the story, the Philly machine's reputation may suffer nationwide. That creates an opportunity for the Greens to raise their profile in the city, across Pennsylvania, and elsewhere.
That said, I'm prepared for such an outcome, but not really expecting it. Both major parties have sufficient damage-control specialists and procedures. That damage control includes making sure that current and prospective voters forget the existence of third parties when push comes to shove. In the fallout, the Republicans will probably gain more registrations than the Greens, even in impoverished North Philly.
* EDIT: On first publication of this entry, I neglected to include the "absolute majority" conditional.