Wednesday, March 30, 2016

#TheAmericans Yeah defense law in the old Soviet Union. Definitely a losing proposition.

#TheAmericans Korean? North Korean? South Korean? A threat or an ally?

#TheAmericans Granny Goodness is back! Fresh off the Good Wife.

#TheAmericans Will we see the Chinese "Americans" spies...all over the place, watching me type probably...

#TheAmericans I think we have to fit Pastor Tim for the suitcase. His hair might be difficult.

#TheAmericans Elizabeth at a Mary Kay meeting? That's like Steph Curry at middle school b ball practice. Do they recognize the Master of Wig and Makeup?

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Things Sanders can do to win the nomination and more interesting things he can do if he doesn't.

It's late evening on Super Tuesday and Bernie Sanders is doing much better than expected. Still, he has an uphill battle where he finds himself under the proportional representation system in pretty much the same position that Hillary was in during the 2008 election race.  What this means is that he might have to win every major state by a 52 to 55 percent margin in order to get the delegates needed for the nomination. That was the same problem Hillary had in 2008 and she wasn't able to overcome it.

I think his odds become better the more time he has to work the state. So, he needs to be targeting at least Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio scheduled for March 15th.  I would hit the March 8  Michigan primary with every anti NAFTA Hillary is a flippity flopper on the TPP ad that could be put on the airwaves. I would counter Hillary's trip to Flint with her unabashed support for Fracking. Roll those dice.

But those are just general outlooks which I hope his campaign staff has already mapped out because if they haven't they're doomed.

Here are some ideas, at least from an outsider point of view, that have to happen in order for him to have a shot at the nomination but more  importantly why Bernie Sanders should start thinking about turning your election into a well funded progressive movement, not funded by what you would call the “Billionairhs”.

I think these are things that you might not have thought of. 

One: Things that have to be done right now to turn around the campaign. Let’s start off by saying that if you don’t start getting more of the black vote then you’re doomed. Every industrial state, which should be your base including black folks (thanks corrupt CBC) is now your weakness. I hate to say it but you have to think like a republican: You might not get a majority but you need to bring Hillary’s numbers down to 60 percent.

You simply have to fight harder for the black vote. Since I’m African American I hope you find these ideas helpful. You may be doing these things already I don’t know. But maybe I’ve thought of something you haven’t.

Your Prominent Black Supporters Need to do more 30/60 second ads Immediately: You have great and intelligent black spokespeople in Ben Jealous, Cornell West, Nina Turner, Ralph Ellison, Spike Lee and Killa Mike. They need to be splattered all over the airwaves and flyers (with their best pro Bernie quotes…This appearance by Ben Jealous on the Rachel Maddow show is the best articulation of support for Bernie Sanders that I've seen. Fit it into a 30/60/90 second ad.) in Michigan and Ohio, especially Nina. You have the money to overdo it and it’s now or never. So I would overdo it.

Advertise everywhere Black People Read, Watch TV and Listen: You have the money so I would spread it around. Do targeted ads on twitter and Facebook. I think both orgs know my race. You might want to target under 40 as well because you’re just not reaching people older than that who rely on your friends at CNN and FOX to define the race. Try black newspapers, even though their readers are old. Try the top ten news sources for Hip Hop first. They all could use the ad dollars. Obviously black radio would help. I would run ads on shows that black people watch. I hear "Scandal" is popular in the black community. Certain sporting events. Yes I've seen your boring ad on MSNBC ad but I might be the only black person who has. Instead of having Killer Mike go around to barber shops just pay them 100 bucks a week to post a six feet poster ad on their front windows. Be creative.

Don't Be Shy and Humble About Your Fantastic Civil Rights Work: You are humble and modest about your fantastic civil rights work in the 60s but it turns out that's not getting the message through to the black voter. If I had the power of Thor, I would rain down 25000 flyers in Michigan urban centers with of a picture of either black surrogates (with a good quote) or of Bernie getting arrested by cops. The memes are out there already. Use them. Put them on a flyer and stick them in a black community. This should be on flyers in the black community:

Okay now in general:

Start Calling Yourself a Norwegianist not a Socialist: You need to further explain what you meant at the debate about the superior living standards that average Western Europeans have over average Americans. And I would do it in an ad that talks about the incredible social programs that France, Denmark and Norway get. And contrast it to the kinds of places that republicans think are utopias, for example places with no pesky minimum wage or overtime hours or child labor laws. Namely the worst places on Earth: Bangalore slums, Vietnamese prison labor, Chinese sweatshops, etc. The 60 second ad should end with a voiceover, either Bernie or a black person saying "So if you don't want a 20 dollar min wage or free university or free healthcare, all paid for by a better and fairer allocation of your tax dollars, then you probably don't want Bernie Sanders to be president. If you want no minimum wage, no labor standards and child labor, or Republican utopia making America "great" again, well vote for the people who thought NAFTA was in anyway ethical, and who supported the TPP just months ago but who appears to have changed her mind. This month anyway...who knows about tomorrow. This ad is sponsored by Bernie Sanders, against slave labor yesterday and slave labor tomorrow unlike some people in the race..."

You know what's funny? News organizations can't talk about the TPP and its awful invisible dispute settlements that not only can't be seen but can't be appealed. (Another hilarious ad would be comparing American judicial standards with TPP Orwellian legal dispute standards and "how could any American think the TPP's standards were better? Paid for by the Bernie Sanders campaign"....) Your ads about how horrible the TPP is would be the only information that the public sees. Not so funny: would they show the ads even if you paid?

Your campaign, if you explained both the TPP and how well they live in Europe, would be doing the American public a service and piss off all the right people.

Do an ad on who Lloyd Blankfein fears and who he doesn't: That ad should write itself. Also keep in mind who he doesn't fear and who he isn't worried about.

Double or triple whatever you're spending on Get Out the Vote and Early Voting: So far it's not working very well but god knows its really hard to get young people to vote. And instead of just having big rallies in these early voting states why don't you register these people and get them to the polls. One of the horrible realizations of Super Tuesday is that Sanders got screwed by and out organized on early voting. Hillary already had thousands of votes in the bank. You need that advantage as well. If you can get your people to the polls, especially unreliable young people, then that helps your cause.

Don't give up on the canvass: That's purely a selfish reason. I would love to canvass for you here in Pennsylvania.

Start paying some of your phone bankers: I've worked as a professional telemarketer and I was pretty good at it but I hated that job with a passion. But if you paid me I would start doing it again for a good cause. You also need to pay your GOTV callers, if you have any...

Two: Define Revolution as Dems Taking Back House and Senate and Start Using Your Money To Do That: I've always thought revolution was kind of a nebulous term that didn't mean very much. The truth is nothing that is being proposed by Sanders or Hillary, however modest and uninspiring, will get past a republican congress. It looks like Sanders has the money to help take back the congress and he should make it clear that this is his goal. He can also use this to establish a contrast between himself and Hillary.

Some examples of this assuming he can do this legally:

Start combining your race with at least 30 to 40 progressive house and senate candidates. I would start with Zephyr Teachout running in a New York house race and John Fetterman running for the senate in Pennsylvania. (Just a note about John: he's the only democratic senate candidate who's endorsed you and he's about $200000 short from making this a race. He needs your help and you need his here in PA..) I'm sure you could think of other progressive candidates to fill the bill. Usually, they mean well but they get outspent. You could change that. And during the remaining debates you could point out that not only could you deliver on your promises but challenge Hillary to match your efforts so that she can pass her proposals.

 "I mean, if you really want to help the middle class, not to mention poor blacks and so many whites who have lost jobs due to the destructive trade deals like NAFTA, that you have backed, you need Democratic chairmen in both the house and senate to do it. I'm working with 30  progressive democratic house contenders and at least 5 progressive senate candidates to make that happen...what are you doing to make that happen Madame Secretary..." said fictional Bernie Sanders. "Or would you prefer your modest proposals fail with a republican congress? I'm sure your mostly republican and NRA lobbyist backers would be pleased but the average American won't be..."

There are at least 46 house races that need funding to retake the house. Here's an interesting graphic from a pro Bernie group.

The Bernie Sanders campaign, that has evolved into an organization could change all that. You could pour 75000 grand into each of those races or more. That would only cost about 3450000, or what you can raise in a day. That pays for about 90 days of canvassing plus some ads. Combine that with some friendly voter registration efforts and you could take back the house.

There's also this: If Sanders could bring people into congress with majorities that he funded, then that, in theory, would mean he could call a lot of the shots. He might even be able to make a move on senate leadership now that he's gotten democrats back to power. He could also move Hillary to the left even if he loses the nomination but creates a progressive congress. It wouldn't just be rhetorical anymore. He could say "The Senate chairman just doesn't have the votes for 12 an hour mininum wage but she does have the votes for 15 an hour."

 Or at least that's my dream.

Three: Fully Embrace and Fund the Ben Jealous Plan To Get Back the Black and Latino Vote and to Turn the South Blue:  One of the most interesting black persons to endorse Bernie Sanders is Ben Jealous. Ben Jealous, aside from being a very articulate spokesperson for Sanders, has a plan to turn the south blue simply by registering all the unregistered blacks and latinos in places like Georgia, Texas, North Carolina and other states. If you were to accomplish this, then this would create an electoral lock for the democrats. Great news, right? Wrong, because no one will fund it. Jealous has estimated about 60 million. I did some numbers and I think you could do it for 25 million. You could register 60000 voters a month for about $160000 dollars. That's with 100 workers being paid 10 dollars an hour and getting 25 registrations per day.

I've been trying to get Tom Steyer, billionaire environmentalist who wants air to breathe, to fund the Jealous plan on twitter but for some odd inexplicable reason that hasn't worked.

But guess who does have the money to do this? Yes Bernie Sanders. He raised a shocking $40 million dollars just in February and $100 million so far. The best part is that during the debate he could say "I'm going to fund a version of the Ben Jealous plan and spend 2 million dollars to register one million black and Latino voters so we win back the house and senate and lock up the presidency electorally for a decade, just a side note the GOP can't win the presidency without Texas. Will you join me in this effort Hillary, if your big banking and NRA lobbyist friends will permit you...?" What I would give to see the look on her face...Actually, what's odd, as African Americans have pointed out, is why the DNC isn't doing this. It's almost like they wouldn't like 2 to 8 black or latino senators or senators who represent their issues, for once. That last line should make it into the debate. "You want this too right Sec. Clinton?..." Again, we'll wait for that reaction.

If he turned his run into a permanent organization that focused on implementing not only the Ben Jealous plan, but strengthening DNC registration in the northeastern corridor that democrats depend on (and where we have been consistently outvoted by the GOP during the primaries..) you could take back congressional majorities and create an electoral lock for Democrats that could last a good decade or two. Who knows. With any luck I could have the living standard of a Norwegian within my lifetime. But this brings me to four. 

Four: Think About Turning Your Money Making Campaign Into A Permanent Organization: Here's the thing: the presidential run might be over. It's not the winning of the states that you need in order to take the nomination but the margin of victory that you need to overtake Hillary, plus her superdelegate lead. For example, and this is just an off the top guess, you might have to win at by 55 to 45 in order to overtake Hillary in delegates. Florida looks to be tough as well. Not sure you can run the table. You should still run though because you might run that table. Plus you never know when a substantial Clinton scandal might break out. Stick around.

But a permanent organization means that you can still work on points  two and three or all of the political issues that you find important for the next several election cycles.. If it worked, and you created congressional majorities for Dems you could become a kind of shadow progressive party leader and rainmaker who has created all kinds of friends in congress. And let's face it if you don't win the nomination then all of your issues would still be on the table. You can still fight for your issues with the money that you have.

You have 1 million donors. Ask your donors, and I'm one of them, to commit 5 to 10 a month for the next three to five years or at least the next two election cycles.

Some goals that you could accomplish as a fully funded progressive organization that had $60 to $120 million a year to work with:

  • ·       Fully fund the Ben Jealous Plan.
  • ·       Create your own progressive media. I've asked Pierre to do this but maybe billionairhs don't want to fundamentally change the system. I think Bernie Sanders does. This means putting The Real News, Democracy Now, people fired from MSNBC for being interesting and challenging and giving them funding. No more fundraisers for Democracy Now.
  • ·       Take Back Congress. This is actually tied to fully funding the Ben Jealous plan but you get the picture.
  • ·       Fill these new congressional seats with people like Bernie Sanders, Keith Ellison, and Zephyr Teachout.
  • ·       And then start working on the states.
  • ·       Start working toward some kind of student debt forgiveness or my more realistic option: a one year student debt forgiveness plan to spur the economy. 

Those are all winning issues, especially student debt. (Another idea: allow either complete student debt forgiveness or allow a repayment rate of no more than 1 percent of your paycheck. And it ends when you reach retirement age.)I would gladly contribute 5 or 10 bucks a month. Not sure you could do those things under your current fundraising model. Might have to move the money to a 501c4 or god help us a 527. Consult with your favorite lawyer but under current law I believe you can switch funds. That's just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, once you start making your plans clear the establishment might want you to be the president because you would become far more powerful running a truly progressive organization. "If you strike me down, I will become more powerful," said another wise old white man. And if you turn this fundraising engine into a permanent organization that's exactly what will happen. It could survive, with the right board (Suggested board members Jealous, Cornell West, Nina, Killa etc.), even after you have left this plane. Make it so. Just might save the world. It would certainly make American lives better.

Philip Shropshire
The Acid Jazz Channel (which runs Bernie Sanders ads.)