Let us be as clear as possible about this: Speaking strictly for myself, I am not—repeat, not—rooting for the new president and his team to fail. Au contraire, I hope that they will be wildly successful on the many fronts where the outgoing president has wrought devastation. From what I've read and heard, the same is true of a multitude of progressive-to-radical commentators with larger audiences than mine.
For more than a year now, much of the lefty commentariat, including yours truly, has been shining a harsh spotlight on the un- and anti-progressive actions and rhetoric of Joseph Robinette Biden and Kamala Devi Harris, who today become our president and vice president. We have expressed our deep skepticism of any utterances or tweets from those two that feel like bones tossed to the political left and center-left.
During the Obama/Biden years, Congressional Republican leaders made it their mission in life to thwart President Obama's agenda, even when he proposed solutions first devised or implemented by Republicans. Unlike them, I have no desire to see Biden/Harris sabotaged at every turn. Just some turns, such as carrying out the perpetual mass slaughter that our capitalist empire has made its stock in trade.
Every once in a while, I have to look over a certain page on this website and be embarrassed at how out of date it is. Whether anyone reads it or not, I cringe when I see something that may have been true when I wrote it a few years ago but is no longer reality.
This morning, after waking up far too early for a Saturday, I gave this page an overhaul to include events up through the 2020 general election. If you've never read it, or haven't read it lately, I recommend giving it a good long look. It contains some historical observations that will some day be used when somebody writes a dissertation about the history of the US Green Movement in the early 21st century.
I also tweaked the Index page a bit, now that my run for US Senate is over and I can get back to being just a blogger for a while. Those tweaks may require further tweaks, but that's the nature of the WWW, ain't it?
A couple of weeks ago, I had a chance to visit with two representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Jana came from Germany; Veaceslav, a Moldovan by birth, came from Ottawa. Alfred Molison was there with us at Good Dog Houston's Montrose location.
I wish I'd remembered to take pictures. Because I didn't, according to my Millennial friends, this meeting didn't really happen. But I was there, awake, and quite sober. I enjoyed my usual, the Texican with a tofu dog, with a Texas-brewed craft beer (darned if I remember which one though).
Alfred and I spent a little more than an hour telling Jana and Slava the history of the struggle to keep a Green Party alive in Texas. After that meeting, the two moved on to their observational work in Austin.
The whole purpose of these paragraphs is to provide a narrative framework for my reason to post the attached PDFs, which Jana and Slava sent me this week. The short one gives you a good idea of the ODIHR's findings (there were way more than just the two of them checking out our election processes in multiple states). The long one gives you the gory details of the findings.
Votes continue to trickle in, so we can't really report any final scores yet. However, I am fairly confident something about which I can humblebrag: in Texas's 2020 US Senate race, None of the Above outpolled me.
As of now, the Secretary of State's tally shows more than 80,000 votes in the Green column. The difference in total votes cast for president and US senator is about double that. I can't provide a link to it here, since the SOS elections results page is temporary, to be replaced eventually by the standard archival HTML page (like this one from 2018).
This is eerily reminiscent of 2014, the tale of which I have recounted numerous times since then. In that general election, incumbent county judge Ed Emmett received 403,763 votes to my 80,486; the undervote for county judge was over 203,000. This is not a case of 200,000 Harris County residents saying we don't like either of those clowns, but rather, we voted the straight Democratic ticket and totally didn't notice that there was no Democrat in that race.
The Republican-dominated Texas Legislature retired one-punch voting back during the 2017 session, to the great disgruntlement of Democrats on Austin's Capitol Hill and elsewhere. Very few other states even allow it.
At least Libertarian Kerr McKennon, with his 207,000 votes, can claim to have defeated NOTA. He didn't earn the necessary 2% to extend ballot access for his party, but four other Libertarian candidates did in their statewide races. The undervote totals were considerably larger in those races, in the range of 300,000.
In Maine's US Senate race, Green-Independent nominee Lisa Savage drew 4% of the vote, which is pretty respectable for a third-party run but far less than we'd forecast. With four candidates on the ballot there, Ranked Choice Voting would have kicked in if incumbent Susan Collins (no relation) had not polled more than 50%. Collins's tally hovered around 59% for much of Election Night, but as late returns came in, her share drifted below that 50% level. She rebounded to claim a bit less than 51%.
If independent candidate Max Linn's second-choice ballots had been distributed, I'm fairly sure they would have put Collins back over 50%; if they didn't and it came down to Savage's second-choices, Democrat Sara Gideon may have made it a tight squeeze for New England's sole Republican in Congress.
I have a lot to say on this Election Hangover Day 2020, but I don't plan to say it all in this post. There's too much of the election as yet unsettled. A lot of what I have to say isn't very polite, in part because I didn't get much sleep: got to bed around 2, woke up around 6.
For this post I'll stick to some of the main headlines from a Green perspective, with details and links to follow (maybe).
Just a few days ago, on the last day of early voting in Texas, I finally received confirmation from iVoterGuide that the Texas candidate profiles were online. So here they are, including my own. If you're waiting for Election Day to cast your ballot, you can still read up on your choices (or find out what you got wrong when you voted early).
It was a pleasant reminder that, in my responses to their questionnaire, I pointed out that limiting the ideological spectrum to Conservative, Moderate, and Liberal is all wet.
When you consider your views on a wide range of issues from economic and social matters to foreign policy and immigration, which of the following best describes you overall?
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
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.