Wow. That's a lot of issues. I will not address them all individually, in order, or at length. Here are my positions, at the risk of having them distorted and weaponized against me. Some of them align with Green Party platform planks, and others do not, so they are not reflective of the Green Movement as a whole.
Quinnipiac's new polls of Texas and Pennsylvania are up. The Texas poll is more or less limited to the presidential and senatorial races, and even more limited because the choices as the Republican, the Democrat, Someone Else, and Don't Know/No Answer. Pennsylvania doesn't have a US Senate race this year.
Insert rant here about how, in 2016, QU was willing to list Gary Johnson and Jill Stein by name in their crosstabs, but for some reason that seems to be verboten in 2020. It isn't just Quinnipiac that has stopped acknowledging the existence of Libertarians and Greens, but IIRC the QU poll was the first I saw in 2016 that did mention them.
Pennsylvania won't have Howie Hawkins on the ballot, owing to Democratic chicanery there, but Texas will. Imagine how different the numbers would look if the major polls would list all the ballot-line candidates for those races in each state.
Could Texas Go Blue This Year? I Doubt It, But...
The 47-47 split between President Trump and former Vice President Biden should give Texas Democrats a jolt of enthusiasm. I'm willing to admit, for the first time, that a close race is very likely. Knowing Texas, I would bet money on Trump winning this state, but not a lot of money. The record-setting early-vote turnouts bode well for Biden—or, at least, for "Not Trump," in light of the UT/Texas Tribune poll showing that nearly half of Biden voters are voting more against Trump than for Biden. Only about a fifth of Trump voters claim to be voting defensively.
QU's 49-43 lead for Senator John Cornyn over former helicopter pilot MJ Hegar is...well, IDK. My first impression was that it's quite believable: The surge for Biden will have some coattail effects, but not enough to knock Cornyn off his seat. But I have a great deal of trouble swallowing only 1% for Someone Else, about the same figure as in the presidential race. My estimate, based partly on polling and partly on observation of multiple current trends, is that Kerry McKennon and I together will poll in the 4-5% range.
The whole point of this is that QU's Someone Else figures are off by several points, so I have reason to doubt that the numbers for the corporate-party candidates reflect reality.
Brody Andrew Mulligan, the Green nominee for State House District 92 in Tarrant County, brought this little gem to the collective attention of Texas Greens today. I love it when a mainstream news source not only acknowledges "third" parties, but also gets most or all of the facts right.
What's also cool is that Alex Briseño's article is informative, without an apparent agenda of ridiculing or marginalizing the Green and Libertarian Parties. Way too many politically aware Texans don't know a lot about what it's like to run a third party or as a third-party candidate, let alone all the particulars of what has happened in this intensely weird year 2020.
Bust That Myth
I have to wonder, though, if major papers will ever put aside this mythology about Libertarians draining votes from Republicans and Greens from Democrats. Did Briseño include those words in the article he submitted, or did a news editor add them in because there's a rule that all articles in US papers about third parties must include those words at least twice?
I feel compelled to share the contents of this email from the Hawkins/Walker campaign, observing the anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party. It contains some apt quotes from Fred Hampton, whom The Chicago PD, with help from the FBI assassinated a little more than 50 years ago. Hampton was freshly turned 21 and wise beyond his years when the cops cut him down.
This is how America has always treated its dissidents: murder, torture, incarceration on bogus charges, COINTELPRO-style infiltration of activist groups to stoke internal conflict and effectively neutralize them.
As Joe Strummer noted in "Know Your Rights":
"You have the right to free speech...
As long as you're not dumb enough
To actually try it!"
Hampton and the Panthers went beyond speech to actions that kept poor folks fed and protected. Thus the establishment decreed that they had to die.
Thursday we celebrated the formation of the Black Panther Party 54 years ago in Oakland, California.
The Black Panther Party clearly showed the willingness of regular people to organize and take action to protect their communities.
Today, we find ourselves still calling for the changes that these brave people were fighting for in the 1960s: community control of the police, reparations paid to African Americans, and social/economic equality.
As we have continued to see the murder of African Americans by police in 2020, names such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery to name only a few, the conversation has to include the importance of community control of the police.
This isn’t a new idea.
The time for this idea has already come and the need for this type of action to regain control of our nation’s police forces has never left.
In fact, it’s never been more necessary.
We’re living in an age where these headlines are blasted into feeds on every social media platform.
Entire generations of minorities and their children have been seeing the news for their entire lives while also seeing the lack of action in addressing the racism and sadism in law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
It has to stop.
As Fred Hampton said, "We got to face some facts. That the masses are poor, that the masses belong to what you call the lower class, and when I talk about the masses, I'm talking about the white masses, I'm talking about the black masses, and the brown masses, and the yellow masses, too. We've got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don't fight racism with racism. We're gonna fight racism with solidarity."
Yet neither major party is giving this matter the attention that it deserves.
Republicans, as expected, are denying the problem at best and protesting or contributing to it at worst.
Meanwhile, Democrats, as expected, have taken the slogans of organizations like Black Lives Matter to make grand gestures but, ultimately, doing nothing more to solve problem.
This is why the Green Party is so necessary.
Someone has to raise awareness of these issues.
Someone has to spell out plans for how we end the abuse, misconduct, and blatant murders being committed by police officers (who are then only given administrative leave as “punishment”).
Someone has to say plainly that the way to fight crime is to fight poverty (Angela Walker says this).
And most of all, someone has to take action.
That’s why we are asking for your support in this campaign.
It’s about coming together in solidarity to create the changes that we so desperately need in this country and in our communities.
The Black Panther Party did not sit back and spend all of their time theorizing how their communities could look.
"If you dare to struggle, you dare to win. If you dare not struggle, then damn it, you don't deserve to win." --Fred Hampton
They said “enough is enough” and took action to protect their communities from the very same problems that we are seeing today. They knew how their communities should look and took action to help make it happen.
Now it’s your time to do the same.
By clicking the link below and making a donation to this campaign, you are saying “enough is enough” and standing up against racism, abuse, and hatred.
Will you stand with us?
Choose to be a victor by making a donation (recommended $27) today as we fight back against Trump and the whole corrupt system that brought him here!
“Their [the police] real power is manifested in the organized guns and force. But we’re saying that the people in this community, the people in this country, don’t have any control over that organized guns, force, and power. We’re saying that the capitalist, the racist, and others have control over it. And we’re saying that we want to change it, that we want to revolutionize it, turn it over into the hands of the people, for a new process to occur. We’re saying we want community control.” – Bobby Seale, Chicago Community Control of the Police Conference, June 1, 1973
And remember: #NeverSettle
The roundtable that Libertarian nominee Kerry McKennon put together features just the two of us non–major-party Senatorial nominees. (With just two candidates, is the table still actually round?) Julie Rodriguez of the Wake Up Beaumont podcast and Thomas Warren III of the Amarillo Pioneer served as moderators and did the best job of it I've seen thus far.
The recording is available only on Facebook Live, so I was unable to embed it here. If anyone knows how to do that with Weebly, please inform me.
A McKennon campaign operative thanked me for keeping the proceedings "civil and lively," which was definitely my aim. I emphasized in my opening statement that the two parties share some positions, with the major difference being our views of the role of government in accomplishing our goals.
The presidential and senatorial candidates appear fairly early in this video, featuring Howie Hawkins (G, President), Spike Cohen (L, VP), Kerry McKennon (L, US Senate) and Yours Truly. I wouldn't recommend watching the whole thing unless you live in the Panhandle region.
Oh, by the way, early voting in Texas begins today. Vote whenever you find it most convenient; your vote doesn't count more just because it's earlier. But have a plan in case your first-choice polling place has a line too long or is shut down because somebody showed up with COVID symptoms.
The text below the fold is adapted from a recent Facebook post about the first 45 minutes of the Zeitgeist Movement's new three-hour chunk of video entitled InterReflections. (Well, OK, a two and three-quarter hour chunk.) I bought the download and have now watched a little more than half of it. It's rather too intense to watch all in one sitting—and by "intense" I mean wonky in the philosophical extreme. Like reading the best work of CrimeThinc, it challenges boldly the narratives that we've been fed all our lives.
I hope to publish a complete review within a few days.
I plan to use these words, or a portion thereof, tonight in the candidate forum hosted by the Amarillo League of Women Voters. Once I get down to making some last-minute campaign videos, this will be the script for one of them.
*****um Intro Speech
As someone who fancies himself a writer, normally I try not to traffic in clichés, but 2020 is not a normal year. “Twenty-twenty” is considered the standard for good vision, and the Green Party’s vision is as close to perfect as voters can get.
If any year has proven that the United States needs a single-payer health care plan, it’s this year of the COVID-19 pandemic. If any year has proven that we need a Universal Basic Income, it’s this year of the economic fallout from the pandemic. If any year has proven that we need to switch our energy economy to renewable sources as swiftly as possible, it’s this year of more wildfires and more tropical storms that ever before. If any year has proven that we need to demilitarize our police forces—and while we’re at it, demilitarize our military, as we spend nearly a trillion a year on imperial aggression and expansion rather than programs of social uplift—we are there. If any year has proven that we need both competence and compassion in our halls of government, as well as an evidence-based approach to policy—yep, 2020 again.
I’m just a regular guy who thinks he can do the job of US Senator and represent all the people of Texas. This campaign is not about me, but about the people. It is about providing an option for those who dream of remaking our society and government to benefit all the people, not just the top 1% in income and wealth. We are tired of watching the United States become a Third World nation. The people need and demand better-paying jobs, more and better transportation options, better childcare and education, less toxic air, water, and food. The people want a world that is livable for the generations that follow them.
If I may quote Peter Gabriel’s “Fourteen Black Paintings,” a song about Houston’s Rothko Chapel:
From the pain come the dream
From the dream come the vision
From the vision come the people
And from the people come the power
From this power come the change
Many thanks to the following organizations for the invitations to their online candidate forums (or fora, if you prefer the Latin plural):
Tuesday the 13th is also the date for the beginning of early voting in Harris County. Even if you have a tradition of casting your ballot on Election Day, I encourage you to take advantage of the extra days allotted for voting. Also, as they're saying these days have a plan: decide which day and which voting location, so as to avoid long lines and potential exposure to COVID-19. Have a backup plan too, in case your original plan doesn't work out for whatever reason.
Monday the 5th is the statewide deadline for registering to vote in the upcoming general election. If you are not currently registered and want to vote, get a move on: Make sure that your county's registrar of voters has your application before close of business Monday.
The links below are for Harris County voters, who make up about one-seventh of the electorate in the Lone Star State. Residents of the other 253 counties can look up their County Clerks' websites.
Harris County voting locations
Harris County sample ballots and verification of registration
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.