politics

Why Democrats Lose

The political media is on fire today with arguments and explanations for Sink’s loss to Jolly in the special election to fill a vacant Congressional seat in FL-13.

But there is only one reason why the Democrat lost this election.

There is only one reason why ANY Democrat EVER loses an election, and that is:

Democrats – who are already registered to vote – Do. Not. Vote.

DEMS LOSE

So, Alex Sink (D) lost to David Jolly (R) by less than 3,500 votes.

140,000 registered Democrats didn’t bother to vote.

That’s all you need to know. And that’s all the powers-that-be in the Democratic Party need to learn from this defeat. Will they? Debbie Wasserman-Schultz @DCCC… are you listening? Harry Reid… Nancy Pelosi… are you listening? President Obama… do you really want your last two years in office to include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell joining Speaker Boehner?! Where is your vaunted OFA get-out-the-vote ground game?! They could get a black-Muslim-Kenyan-communist-community-organizer elected – TWICE! – but they can’t win with a well-known Dem in Florida running against yet-another-moronic Republican? In a district that YOU carried in 2012? WTF?!

22% of the electorate in FL-13 is 65-and-older. That equates to potentially 100,000+ voters. How many of them are registered Democrats? How many of those registered Democratic seniors had mail-in ballots for this election? All of them? No? Why not? It’s not like you don’t know their names and addresses! They are r-e-g-i-s-t-e-r-e-d D-e-m-o-c-r-a-t-s.

Democrats left thousands, tens of thousands of votes laying on the table in this FL-13 election. The media is already calling the November midterm elections for the GOP.

Here’s the good news. You get a REDO in FL-13 in November. That’s right. Rep. Jolly has to defend his newly won seat in the fall. (Along with every other member of Congress and 1/3 of the Senate.)

And let’s not forget Wendy Davis in Texas. She’s got a tough road ahead of her, eh? That’s what we hear. Gee, if only we had the actual results of the last two elections in Texas… Oh! Here they are now:

TX.2010.2012.2016

Texas has a non-partisan voter registration system, so we don’t know how many TX registered voters are (D) vs (R). But what is obvious from this graphic is that there were plenty of non-voting registered Dems in 2010 to swamp Perry’s margin of victory… if only they had turned out to vote. Wendy Davis… are you listening?

We hear so much about the Republicans gaming the system with gerrymandering districts, blah blah blah. That’s just an excuse used by lazy Democrats! If (already registered) Democrats actually voted in the November 2014 midterms, we would EASILY keep the Senate and take back the House.

So, what are we waiting for? This country has been gravely wounded by the do-nothing, know-nothing, “I’ve got mine!” Republicans. But the GOP has been gravely wounded by its do-nothing, know-nothing, racist, sexist, bigoted teabagger faction. The time for the Democrats to strike is now. The President’s economic, military/foreign policy and healthcare initiatives have been remarkably successful – in spite of the GOP’s constant sabotage.

Democrats: Stop talking about Hillary and 2016. Stop talking about what an uphill climb 2014 is. Stop talking, period. Start doing. We have seven months until voters will start casting ballots in early voting in the fall. How many mail-in ballots can we get in the hands of registered Democrats? How badly do we want to turn Congress blue in November? And the governorship in TX? And GA? And MI, OH, PA, WI?

What are we waiting for?

Caveat Emperor

The end was contained in the beginning. 
― George Orwell, 1984

If you are at all interested in the high drama currently playing out around the Governor of New Jersey – and you should be – this extraordinary piece by Alec MacGillis in The New Republic is absolutely essential reading.

You see, New Jersey is different from your state and mine. Its entire political system – from small-town mayor to county executive to state and federal offices – is a finely tuned instrument of graft which is at the service of the governor and his cronies.

Chris Christie’s entire career – from twice-failed candidate for local office to ambulance-chasing lawyer to US Attorney to governor to prohibitive favorite as GOP nominee in 2016 – has reflected his journey from kneeling at the feet of New Jersey’s power brokers to becoming the ultimate political boss.

The 2013 elections in New Jersey only become understandable when viewed through the lens of this article. Christie’s only qualification for the US Attorney’s job was his profligate fundraising for George W. Bush. The only reason he was actually confirmed for that powerful office is that then Senator Bob Torricelli knew he was in the crosshairs of an investigation, and needed a well-positioned ally. Once installed as US Attorney, Christie had no shortage of corrupt politicos to prosecute. He mostly went after the Dems, but hit enough Republicans to give his ethical crusades a “bipartisan” flavor. The Democrats he left standing became vastly more powerful, loyal to Christie – and he to them. That explains how Christie won re-election by 22 points while Trenton did not gain a single Republican seat. And why the “Democratic” machine in Jersey barely even noticed that Barbara Buono was its candidate for governor.

Christie’s genius is that he has played this game for so long and so effectively, all the while convincing the press and the voters that he is really a crusader against corruption, the savior of New Jersey. In Chris-Christie-Time-Magazine-224x300reality, Chris Christie isn’t Tony Soprano. No, Chris Christie eats the Sopranos for lunch.

And the arrogant abuse of power that we have come to know as #bridgegate really is only the beginning. Or the beginning of the end for Mr Christie. I haven’t seen a piece of investigative journalism like this in a long time, and I urge you to read it. Because whatever becomes of the investigations surrounding Bridgegate and the misappropriation of Sandy relief aid, I believe Alec MacGillis has already answered the most important question: Why won’t Chris Christie be the nation’s 45th president?

The New Republic: Chris Christie’s Rise and Fall

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116601/chris-christies-rise-and-fall

[019] CCCDIC

If you’ve removed your shoes and are trying to calculate that Roman numeral, relax. And pull up a spoon.

Because CCCDIC = Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream.

benjerry.cookiedough

Hey, the only rule in this game is What makes you happy? (And by ‘you’ I mean ‘me’.) Yesterday I gave you 30 years of Macintosh. Today, it’s a scoop (or four) of ice cream. What kind of ice cream? That’s right: chocolate chip cookie dough. Ben & Jerry’s is a particularly delish version. But they all work for me. Posh or not. In fact, tonight I’m enjoying the Safeway Select store brand. The verdict? Guilty! of murdering my taste buds with joy.

I almost chose my runner-up happiest thing of the day – which had been my happiest thing of the day until 9:32pm, when I remembered there was chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in the freezer. That other happy thing occurred at one o’clock this morning, as I watched Netflix in bed.

“MITT” is a new political/anthropological documentary that spans not one, but two! failed Romney bids for the White House. Be still my heart. The Romney family gave some A/V geek total access (we even see Mittens in his hotel robe at one point, which is just gruesome) for six years of their political lives. Which just proves that they really have no idea what an unattractive bunch they are.

Mitt-618x400

The film opens as it ends, with Klan Romney gathered in a hotel suite in Boston, watching the 2012 election returns. The camera never blinks as it pans the room from one stunned and saddened face to the next. Ann “You people” Romney never disappoints with the trademark death rictus affixed to her matronly mug. No explanation is given for HOW these 10 (20? 750 counting the grandkids?) people were the only ones left on Earth that night who did not know that Barack Obama was cruising to a big victory. Mitt Romney looks positively flummoxed and more than a little lost as CNN calls one toss-up state after another for Obama: Pennsylvania. Virginia. Colorado. Nevada. Wisconsin. Michigan. Ohio. “We’re up by 500 votes in Florida!” chirps one of the goofy-named sons. Tapp or Boff or Dikk or Fugg. Mitt considers that news for a moment, before his face falls. “Oh, that’s not good.” Really Einstein? This is the “brilliant captain of business” who was going to turn around the country?! “What do you think you say in a concession speech?” asks the now forever former Governor of Massachusetts… but no one is really paying attention to him anymore.

DRXWA

“So what do you think you say in a concession speech?” – Election Night 2012

And then the flick skips back to the family council in 2006 that voted to go for it in 2008. That ill-fated campaign can be summed up in two words: Crash. Burn. Which is ironic, since Romney was beaten to the nomination by Mr Crash & Burn himself, John McCain.

The bulk of this RomDoc is devoted to the ups and downs and downs of the 2012 campaign. (Note to progressives: make a double batch of extra buttery popcorn. This is what we live for.) We all know how it turned out. This country really dodged a bullet. And “MITT” inadvertently shows us why, as it fails almost totally in its obvious attempt to portray the Romneys as human beings. I mean, these people – and there are a LOT of them – can’t enter or leave a room without EVERYONE HUGGING EVERYONE ELSE! If you are a bellhop or campaign operative in the wrong place at the wrong time, you better check your wallet if you get out of that scrum alive!

Ann "You people" Romney

Ann “You people” Romney

But there is no warmth. Because these are not warm-blooded mammals. They are mannequins. Plastic. Shiny. WHITE. Unlike his 1950s-era social hygiene mentality, Mitt’s joints don’t appear to be fully articulated – his arms falling dead at his sides whenever he stands. And as he is almost always clad in a dark suit, the only prop that seems to be missing is the coffin.

The few scenes where Mitt encounters actual people on the campaign trail, in a diner or a fast food joint (because that’s believable), the result is agonizing for all involved. It would be painful to watch – if it weren’t so fucking fabulous!

I would also like to point out, as an astute observer of GOP + Xian hypocrisy, that every hotel room and conference room and green room and padded room inhabited by Romneys was also always full of cases and cases of Diet Coke and Coke Zero. And not the caffeine-free varieties. Just sayin’. LDS Sin Squad – you’ve just made your monthly quota. You’re welcome.

In the end, this unintended mockumentary does have something for everyone. If you voted for Mitt, you’ll love “MITT”. You’ll tear up as you see these good, decent, hard-working, god-fearing, tax-avoiding centimillionaires sacrifice themselves for the good of Murrica… only to have the election stolen by that lying, scheming, cheating, community-organizing commie Kenyan in the White House who bought all those votes with promises of food stamps and Cadillacs to the 47%. Yup, you wuz robbed. Group hug. (Make sure your safeties are on.)

BUT… if you cry tears of joy and Schadenfreude to see phony, greedy, nasty, small-minded bigots get their comeuppance in the full glare of the tv lights, as well as behind the scenes in the innermost prayer circles and toboggan slopes of Romneyville… then Christmas came a little late this year. But here it is. Exclusively on Netflix. Search your inbox for the ubiquitous “Free One Month Netflix Trial” offer. Sign up. Click play. And don’t forget the ice cream.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream makes me happy.
Day 019 #100happydays

[007] Indiana

Everything* I know about Indiana I learned from John Cougar Mellencamp songs.

* This is mostly true. I have driven a few times across the northern edge of the state, where Interstate 80 and 90 share the asphalt. Which is grim. Except for the fact that the Jackson Five got their start – 50 years ago! – in Gary, Indiana. And Thom has shared some stories about weekends in the ’80s at his friend David’s beach house in the Indiana Dunes on Lake Michigan. (But that’s another post.)

You can imagine how surprised I was when Indiana went for Barack Hussein Obama in the 2008 election. (I remember myself thinking, Damn, he’s good!) Of course, the Hoosiers reclaimed their Red State t-shirts and beer cozies in 2012. But still… we all got an inkling that there’s more to Indiana than meets the eye.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I’ve had one too many of those orangetinis (see earlier post Fresh Squeezed!) and I’ve forgotten that this is a #100happydays post. And that would be a fair and educated guess. But you would be wrong. Because I saw two news stories today that made me happy. And they both happened in the Great State of Indiana!

I am, admittedly, pretty hard on Christians. And lawdy lawd do they ever deserve it for all the shade they throw on my LGBT peeps!! But I do acknowledge that not all Christians are like that. Some of my best friends are Christians who are not like that. And there are many others who are Not All Like That. NALT. It’s a thing. Really. Google it. So, I’m not getting rid of my “Jesus! Save me from your followers” button just yet. But I have adapted my language to reflect the existence of Christians who are not filled to the brim with anti-gay hatred. I call them Christians. For the hatemongers, I use Xian or Christianist (after the Bush-era Islamist to help distinguish between the world’s peaceful Muslims, and those devotees of Islam who wear bombs to markets or fly planes into buildings). It’s a useful distinction.

So, I am absolutely unforgiving of anti-gay Xian bullshit and the Christianists who fling that brand of poo. And I’ve never been the biggest fan of “the Heartland”, for many reasons. But I hope we can all agree that no one deserves a midwestern winter, and everyone deserves science textbooks free from fairy tales?

I’m on a deadline here, with only 9 minutes left in Day 007 to post this. So here are the two news headlines (from Raw Story – you should subscribe to their daily newsy email) that made me happy. If you click on either photo you’ll be whisked to the full story. But you get the gist of it. And why these stories are such pleasant surprises – especially coming from the Crossroads of America. Indiana!

IndianaCongregationQuits

and…

IndianaHouse.laughter

Hoosier daddy now, huh? 😀 Indiana makes me happy.
Day 007 #100happydays

The Easiest Resolution You’ll Ever Keep

Quit smoking? You should. I did. But that’s another post. Lose weight? Get in shape? You should. I’m trying. But that’s another post. Follow Steve’s blog? See how good you are at this?!

Most of the resolutions we make are difficult to keep. We are almost doomed to failure. We know that going in. We forgive ourselves in advance for not making it. There is one New Year’s resolution, though, that you’re not making. No one ever picks this one. But it’s incredibly important. Patriotic. Responsible. Necessary. Oh, and it’s bizarrely easy to do. Failure is damned near impossible. It’s free (in most places). And it feels good.

Register to vote. easy

That’s right. Get yourself registered to vote. If you are an American who has reached the age of 18 and who is eligible to vote, then you have absolutely no excuse whatsoever for not being registered to vote. At the end of this post is a link that will get you registered. You can register online; it only takes a few minutes. I was already registered, but I just re-registered (so I could recommend this way of doing it). I live in Los Angeles, and all that I needed was my Driver’s License (or State ID) number, the last four digits of my Social Security number, my address and date of birth. Presto. Done. I instantly received an email from the California Secretary of State confirming my shiny new status as a registered voter. Different states have different rules, but the Rock The Vote website whisks you through your state’s process. How’s that for an easy-to-keep resolution? You’re welcome.

I’m guessing most who read this blog post are already registered to vote. Once you’ve registered, you’re good to go until you move, or if you want to change your party affiliation. If you’re like me, you vote in every election. Every year, Election Day is the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. We elect presidents every four years. We elect all of Congress and one-third of the Senate in even-numbered years. There are state and county and municipal elections for candidates and ballot measures every year, along with the odd special election to fill vacant seats. And in the months leading up to the General Election in November, there are all those lovely primaries where the parties get to pick their candidates for the final contest.

So, you love to vote and wouldn’t miss it? You find something sacred in this most secular of rites. Whether you live in a sprawling city or tiny town, you love the unique coming together in your ‘polling place’ – the school gymnasium, church hall, fire station or library. You actually wear that “I voted” sticker proudly on your lapel or your smartphone case. Maybe you’re even a bit of a political junkie? Great. But you’re not off the hook. Here’s a resolution for the (small d) democratic overachievers like you: Find someone you know who is not registered to vote, and help her get registered. (You cannot legally do it for another person, but you can walk her through the process.) And then resolve to help her cast that vote in the upcoming primaries and on Election Day. Or in early voting. Or by mail.

Are you reading this and wondering whether or not you are registered to vote? My advice is to assume you aren’t and go through the quick process to register. Even if you were registered, the new filing simply ‘overwrites’ the old one. Can’t hurt. So go ahead, get yourself registered. And then go the extra mile and help someone else you know who needs to register and vote in this year’s elections.

Whatever your politics, whatever your priorities, the 2014 elections WILL have a significant impact on YOUR life and on those you love. I won’t tell you which way to vote. That’s another post. In 2012, 130 million Americans voted for either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney for President. That’s a lot of people… but still only 58% of the people who were eligible to vote.

2014 is a so-called “off-year election” because it’s not a presidential contest. It’s “only” the entire House of Representatives, 1/3 of the Senate, governors and legislatures in many states, and ballot measures to determine everything from your sales taxes, minimum wage, women’s reproductive health care, voting rights, gun control, who can marry, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, et cetera. These are not small questions, nor dull topics. Whether you like it or not, you’ve got one or more horses in this race. But voting patterns for off-year elections are long established, and if they hold true in 2014, only about 40% of Americans who are eligible to vote will bother to cast a ballot.

votetwiceThink about that. 40 million people – who voted (D) or (R) for president in 2012 – are likely to just sit out the 2014 elections. Why? That’s another post. THIS post is about how we can change that. It’s not difficult. It costs nothing. We are going to get ourselves registered. We are going to help would-be non-voters get themselves registered. We are going to vote. And we are going to help would-be non-voters to cast their votes.

I am not going to donate or raise money for any candidate or party in 2014. Our political system is drowning in money. But I am going to work like hell to make sure more people vote for the candidates and causes that I support. And you should do the same. Think about it this way: it’s like voting twice. Or ten times, or a hundred. Without the slightest whiff of fraud. BOOM. There are “register to vote” buttons and links scattered all over my blog. Give it a whirl. You can click on the VOTE TWICE image or the EASY BUTTON in this post.