Ho-hum. Kayleen and I have lost another friend, both on Facebook and in real life, due to his advanced Trump Derangement Syndrome. He wasn't a close friend, but I'll miss his humor-laden political posts and his keen insight on soccer for someone who's relatively new to the game. I wish him well in the new, improved life he is currently undertaking. His occasional post-midnight drunken rants, however, I shall not miss.
In this man's mind, all of us who voted for Jill Stein and Gary Johnson in 2016 are responsible for throwing the presidential race to the Republicans. We purposefully ignored Democrats' warnings about how a Trump presidency would alter the Supreme Court irreparably, now giving us Justice Brett "Devil's Triangle" Kavanaugh and possible lifetime appointments for more accused pussy-grabbers.
When reminded that a) those votes weren't stolen from Hillary Clinton because they didn't belong to her in the first place, and b) third-party votes in Texas did not affect who won the state's 38 electoral votes, this fellow busted out some hyperbole about Stein "getting the 0.000001% of the vote that she deserved" or words to that effect, thus defeating his own argument.
It's rather startling how this little episode has brought certain things into sharper focus:
More on both of these later in this post.
This is getting kinda fun. Progressives are telling the Democratic Party, "Change or die."
Let's begin with not-so-young-any-more Turkish-American Cenk Uygur. A few days before the election, Uygur announced in a Young Turks segment that, he would be voting for Hillary Clinton, despite his sympathy with the Green platform and his residency in a "safe" Blue state (California). A week after the election:
So, what should real progressives do now? They should tear that house down. The DNC is not misguided; it is guided exactly as it is supposed to be. We have to start all over again. The party of Hillary Clinton and Evan Bayh are never going to win over the American people. Voters couldn’t have been clearer in this election—they can’t stand the establishment. But the DNC will never get that message because they are the establishment.
Like many progressives, Uygur wobbles between Democrat, Green, and independent (maybe Socialist too, but I've never heard him say so). Policy is more important to him than party identity. Like most Americans, when push comes to shove, he doesn't want to back a loser, and Clinton was the presumed winner when Election Day began. His announcement seems aimed more at swing-state than himself, urging them to do whatever they can to stop The Donald.
Michigan, with its 16 electoral votes, is the last state not to have its results declared in the presidential election. The Donald's margin currently stands at 11,612 per Real Clear Politics or 11,423 per Politico. Either way, it's about 0.25%, with some votes still to be counted.
When Michigan's count becomes official, it probably won't make the evening news. Did anybody see a news item about New Hampshire finally being called for Clinton? I didn't.
If as-yet uncounted absentees and mail-ins close that 11,000-plus gap, it will be a mere consolation prize for the Clinton campaign, unless 22 GOP electors flip their votes to change the outcome.
But the presidential race is just one story out of many.
This morning I dived into a Facebook thread started by David Cobb, the 2004 Green presidential nominee and co-founder of the Green Party of Texas. Rahul Mahajan, the 2002 Green nominee for Governor of Texas, popped by to note that, irrespective of party, all left and leftish political organizations need to unite for a common purpose: opposing and defeating Trump and Trumpism.
Mahajan also expressed his lack of confidence that the Green movement could lead such an opposition: We Greens suffered from disorganization back in 2002, and we're just as bad today, if not worse. In addition, he noted, we have been finger-pointing at the Democrats for nominating a crappy candidate and hindering the progress of a candidate who had a better chance of beating Trump, but we haven't been willing to take an accounting of our own failures.
At the beginning of 2016, some of us Green Regulars in Texas put our heads together and determined that Railroad Commission candidate Martina Salinas would be the Party's best hope of obtaining 5% of the vote in the general election this year. That 5% would secure the Green Party's ballot access for 2018. She received 3.26% in a four-way contest, 285,558 votes, which in Green circles in this very red state is pretty phenomenal.
Salinas does actually work full-time, as a construction inspector (not supervisor, as previously reported), and thus she did not have much time or money to assemble a full campaign infrastructure. She used a Facebook page for web presence rather than constructing a website (or paying somebody to make one) with her own domain. She did travel some, including a few trips to Houston and reconnecting with her fan base in the Rio Grande Valley. She did have some yard signs made.
Imagine how Salinas might have done if she'd been able to devote more time and resources to the campaign. Her Libertarian opponent Mark Miller, a retired oil & gas guy, finished with 5.27% and unlocked ballot access for the LP.
Not to get anyone's hopes too high, but as of this writing, Donald Trump is not the President of the United States. It's even too soon to refer to him as "president-elect." The 538 Electors have not officially cast their votes yet.
When the Electoral College does meet in December, what do you think are the odds of enough of the Republican electors cast a "faithless" vote for Hillary Clinton? Will the Electoral College, which many of my Green comrades and I favor abolishing, actually save the US from a Trump presidency?
Apart from that Supreme nastiness in 2000, Trump is about to become the first president-elect to be the defendant in a civil trial between the election and the inauguration. The case relates to allegations of fraud at Trump University. That does not mean that Judge Gonzalo "The Mexican" Curiel will find Trump liable, but the evidence is pretty clear. The trial alone will cast a cloud over Trump and his character.
As of now, Michigan's 16 EV's are not officially in Trump's bag. If he does win Michigan, and Clinton wins New Hampshire (as expected), that gives Trump/Pence 306 to Clinton/Kaine's 232. So 37 Republican electors would have to switch in order to tie the score and send it to Congress, 38 for Clinton to win outright.
Bear in mind, I don't relish the thought of a Clinton presidency either, for reasons I have enumerated previously. As Cornel West has put it, Clinton is a "neoliberal disaster," and Trump is a "neofascist catastrophe." For what it's worth, Clinton would most likely continue the US imperialist war on poor brown people. She would not be the international embarrassment that Trump would, combining as he does the worst traits of Berlusconi, Ahmedinejad, Putin (no link necessary), and Filipino enfant terrible Rodrigo Duterte.
Except that I'm an embittered old American lefty, not a cute British novelty pop star. And if I had a hundred hands, I'd be shooting the bird with all of them and looking around to borrow more.
And there are plenty of fuck-yous to go around. My own allies in the radical and progressive movements would not escape the birdshot.
Before beginning the rant, allow me to link you to some other progressive analyses of the turd sandwich that was 8 November 2016: Brains and Eggs, Socratic Gadfly, and Thomas Frank's piece in Comment Is Free. There's also this surprisingly chill post from Caity Johnstone at Inquisitr, which makes me wonder what she smoked or drank to get in that frame of mind.
Democrats, Clintonites, and Berners who fell into line: Before you starting unfriending all those third-party voters with splinters in their eyes, you'd better see a doctor about that plank in your own.
It's late afternoon, and through the work day, I've managed to slough off some of the bitterness that I felt this morning. But still...two middle fingers way up. Mostly, I'm a tad bitter because I have so many friends who vote Blue, many of whom will continue to froth for years about how third parties fucked up this election just like in 2000.
You First, Progs
Let's begin with my progressive peeps. There's some good news/bad news in Texas: Green candidates for statewide offices set new records for vote total and percentage, but didn't get to the magical 5%.
Stein/Baraka ended up with 1.0% of the popular vote nationwide, 0.9% in Texas. The national tally of 1.2 million votes is a marked improvement over 469,000 in 2012. Thank those of you who defied the duopoly.
As a longtime Greenie, I know how support for third parties usually disappears, but come on! Last-minute polls were showing the Green ticket near 2%. In August and September, it was closer to 4%. Does that drop-off represent a few million of you who chickened out? Were poll respondents lying? Were the polls themselves bogus? Trump and Clinton voters came out of the woodwork? Maybe a combination of all that?
I can understand going voting-booth-chickenshit in a swing state. It looks like a fair number of voters in safe states like Texas (I got that one right: Texas ain't a-swingin'), there's no excuse.
...and the Flying Fickle Finger Goes to...
The 2016 Grand Prize for Advanced Electoral Fuckery
The Democratic Party wins this trophy in a landslide. No, #NotAllDemocrats, but the establishment, the machinery, the billionaires and the local Dem apparatchiks who greased the skids for Clinton.
PDiddie & Gadfly already said nearly everything I might say about the Democratic fumble—itself an echo of 2000—along with pull-quotes from Thomas Frank. But I can add this:
As I have stated emphatically and repeatedly, five million Americans who voted went Libertarian or Green did so for actual reasons, not just for hipster-cred. We are voting against the Evil Transnational Corporate Empire that keeps both major parties major and keeps the bombs falling on Pakistani weddings. When it's appropriate, or when avenues of civil protest are closed to us, we do more than vote: We take our politics to the street and throw ourselves on the gears of the machine. Apart from the 80 million registered voters who did not vote at all, we five million said "You don't own our vote" in a way that actually means something.
Nearly 66 million people voted for Barack Obama in 2012. Fewer than 60 million voted for Hillary Clinton yesterday. A portion of those 6 million missing votes went toward Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, but many more went to Donald Trump. (I'll link to the source when I can find it again.) If this election was a referendum on how well our Democratic president has guided the ship of state, fancy MSNBC graphs & statistics be damned, a lot of the white, working-class Democratic base just gave the Dems a big heave-ho. These people perceive, rightly or not, that the Democratic establishment has given up on them, so they have now given up on the Democratic Party. The only progressive alternative left for them was the Jewish doctor and the black philosopher running with the party that never wins.
Of course, the Democratic Party cannot just dump its billionaire benefactors, from whom it gets its life-blood campaign funding, right? Well, it could take a cue from Senator Bernard Sanders, start appealing to regular working stiffs, and become once again the Party of the People.
Now that the voting is over, Democrats, show me what democracy looks like. Organize like a motherfucker. Assuming some Republican Electors don't flip their votes between now and 19 December and change the outcome, the time to defeat Trump is not in 2020, and it's not just by voting. Do unto the Donald as the Republicans have done unto you, and start defeating him now.
Yeah, I'll be doing it too, but mostly my reportage on 8-9 November will focus on how 160 #DownTicketGreens fare in their federal and state elections, as well as some county races in Texas.
US Senate (11)
Gary Swing, Arizona
Pamela Elizondo, California
Don MacLeay, also California
Arn Menconi, Colorado
Jeff Russell, Connecticut
Scott Summers, Illinois
Margaret Flowers, Maryland
Jonathan McFarland, Missouri
Robin Laverne Wilson, New York
Joe DeMare, Ohio
Eric Navickas, Oregon
US House (45)
Ray Parrish, AZ-1
Mark Salazar, AZ-8
Barry Hermanson, CA-12
Paula Bradshaw, IL-12
Nnabu Eze, MD-3
Kamesha Clark, MD-4
George Gluck, MD-6
Myles Hoenig, MD-7
Nancy Wallace, MD-8
Ellis Boal, MI-1
Matthew A. Brady, MI-2
Harley Mikkelson, MI-5
Maria Green, MI-8
John V. McDermott, MI-9
Benjamin Nofs, MI-10
Dylan Calewarts, MI-12
Marcia Squier, MI-14
David Arnold, MO-2
Mike Diel, MO-6
Steven Welzer, NJ-12
Frank Sha Francois, NY-5
Henry Bardel, NY-11
Daniel Vila Rivera, NY-13
Matt Funiciello, NY-21
Joe Manchik, OH-12
Dennis Lambert, OH-15
Mike Bielstein, OR-4
Prince Mallory, SC-6
Joshua Darr, TX-2
Paul Blair, TX-3
Darrel Smith Jr., TX-6
Rusty Tomlinson, TX-13
Vanessa S. Tijerina, TX-15
Mary L. Gourdoux, TX-16
Thomas Kleven, TX-18
Mark Lawson, TX-19
Paul Pipkin, TX-20
Antonio Diaz, TX-21
Kevin McCormick, TX-24
Michael D. Cary, TX-28
James Partsch-Galvan, TX-29
Thom Prentice, TX-30
Gary Stuard, TX-32
Scott Trimble, TX-35
Hal J. Ridley Jr., TX-36
State Senate Seats (17)
Angel Torres, AZ, District 27
Chris Taylor, CT, District 23
Cora Santaguida, CT, District 27
Don Alexander, CT, District 30
Colin Bennett, CT, District 33
Ed Heflin, CT, District 36
Kealoha Pisciotta, HI, District 3
Seth Baker, ME, District 27
Andy Schuler, MN, District 45
Edward Weissler, MO, District 3
Julia Willebrand, NY, District 31
Carl Lundgren, NY, District 34
Joseph Levy, NY, District 43
Deyva Arthur, NY, District 44
Scott West, SC, District 20
Scott Pusich, TX, District 26
Bruce Breuninger, WV, District 11
State House/Assembly Seats (61)
Haryaksha Knauer, District 1
Edward "Trey" Cizek, District 3
Leo Biasiucci, District 5
Linda Macias, District 18
Cara Nicole Trujillo, District 26
Robert Lee Worthey, District 6
Jenice "JJ" Dove, District 34
Ian Barron, District 35
Lauren Shaw, District 38
Cindy Day, District 67
Matt Went, District 84
Angela Capinera, District 122
Hector Lopez, District 125
Bonnie Troy, District 135
Nick Nikhilananda, District 13
Russell Hoskins, District 40
Charlene DiCalogero, District 12
Daniel Factor, District 14
Dan Finn, District 4
Artelia Marie Leak, District 29
Eric Borregard, District 52
Joseph Stevens, District 53
John Anthony La Pietra, District 63
Michael Anderson, District 70
Deena Marie Bruderick, District 83
Cliff Yankovich, District 86
Wade Roberts, District 109
Dennis Barsness, District 5B
Gabe Barnett, District 60A
Valorie Engholm, District 19
Teressa Ezell, District 80
Tim Hammack, District 106
Ellen Skiljan, District 109
Dr. Robert Debbaut, District 140
Joseph Naham, District 20
Steve Ruzbacki, District 45
Patrick Dwyer, District 46
Manny Cavaco, District 65
Ann Eagan, District 69
Donal Butterfield, District 73
Scott Hutchins, District 74
Daniel Zuger, District 85
Robin Harkenhagen, District 114
Jeffery Peress, District 135
Constance Gadell-Newton, District 18
Alex Polikoff, District 23
Joe Rowe, District 44
Gabe Lytle, District 60
Michael Bagdes-Canning, District 64
Jay Sweeney, District 117
Adam Michael Greeley, District 46
katija assana gruene, District 51
Emmett Merwin, District 70
Travis Christal, District 92
Joseph McElligott, District 127
Brian M. Harrison, District 147
Rodney T. Hytonen, District 7
Elizabeth Rhule, District 36
Chris Reed, District 39
Alan Balogh, District 43
Barbara Daniels, District 44
State Executive Offices (11)
Tim Curtin, State Comptroller, IL
Don Fitz, Governor, MO
Jennifer Leach, Lieutenant Governor, MO
Carol Hexem, State Treasurer, MO
Alan Zundel, Secretary of State, OR
Kristin Combs, State Treasurer, PA
Jay Sweeney, Auditor General, PA
Martina Salinas, Railroad Commission, TX
Hugo Noyola Jr., State Board of Education, District 1, TX
Charlotte Pritt, Governor, WV
Michael Sharley, Attorney General, WV
State Judicial Offices (5)
Rodolfo Rivera Muñoz, TX Supreme Court, Place 3
Charles Waterbury, TX Supreme Court, Place 5
Jim Chisolm, TX Supreme Court, Place 9
Adam "Bulletproof" King Blackwell Reposa, TX Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 2
Judith Sanders-Castro, TX Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 5
Bexar County (San Antonio)
James Dorsey, Sheriff
Diana Kendall, Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2, Place 3
Dallas County (Dallas)
J.C. Osborne, Sheriff
Ona Marie Hendricks, County Commissioner, Pct. 3
William R. Barr, Criminal Court #4
Travis County (Austin)
Debbie Russell, Sheriff
Ashely "Flashe" Gordon, County Commissioner, Pct. 1
Webb County (Laredo)
Arturo Limon II, Sheriff
Santiago Santos, County Commissioner, Pct. 3
Luis F. Decker, Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2, Place 1
It didn't quite happen as envisioned, but it happened. Some of us Harris County Greens convinced Ajamu Baraka and his mini-entourage to travel to the Palm Center early voting site after Baraka's campaign appearance at TSU's Thurgood Marshall School of Law Saturday afternoon.
Kayleen originally wanted us to hike to the MetroRail stop and ride the Purple Line to Palm Center, but then she opted for the convenience factor. Driving there made it easier for us to take Baraka and his two assistants back to their hotel afterward.
Voting traffic was slow and steady on Saturday afternoon, nothing like a typical Sunday of early voting, but we did get to talk to some folks. Although they're accustomed to seeing candidates visiting their polling places, some of those folks found it difficult to comprehend that they were talking with an actual vice-presidential nominee from a nationwide party.
I'll believe it when I see it on 9 November. Well, I'm not sure I will believe it then either.
As analysts such as Glenn Greenwald and Redacted Tonight's Lee Camp have done, I shall preface the remainder of this post with a disclaimer:
In no way whatsoever does any of the following verbiage mean or imply that I have any desire to see that overstuffed egomaniac pro wrestling villain Donald Trump installed in the White House.
You may have seen the news that Real Clear Politics has just moved Texas out of the Leans Trump category and into Toss-Up. Even with two weeks left before Election Day, I believe that call is premature. A few recent polls show Trump's lead in Texas within their respective margins of error. But I'm not too confident in the ways some of those polls were conducted. (Really, CBS? 17% of Millennials voting Johnson, but just 1% voting Stein?)
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.