Kumbaya My (Democratic) Party

Bernie Sanders Democratic PartyAs you probably know, Bernie Sanders met with President Obama yesterday and then gave a press conference where he said he would work with Hillary Clinton to help the Democratic Party defeat Donald Trump. But he also said that he was still going compete in DC’s 14 June primary. And his reason is one that is close to my heart. He said that he thinks that DC should become a state. I’m with him. Puerto Rico should also be a state. But I don’t want to get side tracked. The speech was more or less a concession.

At the press conference, Sanders looked like his old self: rumpled suit, hair flying everywhere. It makes me wonder. Yes, I am very much in agreement with his policies. But is my commitment to Sanders also more personal? I identify with him. My hair is rarely combed. People often mistake me for a homeless person. But I think that substance matters more than style. And Sanders seems to be the same way. (He’s had that luxury since he represents a small state.)

Of course, Sanders also looked unhappy. And I think he’s allowed. I tend to think that he started his campaign much as Howard Dean started his in 2004: to get his issues more attention in the party. And then things really took off — to the point where he had a chance to win the whole thing. He needs a little time to lick his wounds. But as Robert Reich recently put it, “You’ve already succeeded.”

In a sense, Sanders never had a chance. As I have stated countless times, the Democratic Party didn’t like having to choose between Obama and Clinton in 2008 and this was their chance to have their cake and eat it too. But there was something else. The Clintons have deep roots in the African American community. This morning, Paul Krugman noted that Sanders didn’t get minority group inequality “with his exclusive focus on individual inequality.” This indicates more that Krugman didn’t follow Sanders’ campaign, being, as he was, so busy attacking it.

The fact that Hillary Clinton had a huge reservoir of good will in the African American community (And among older Democrats as well!) was not a trick; it was the result of her work in the Democratic Party over the last 40 years. That has to be applauded. This was a great campaign, even with all the anger on both sides. And now we are at the point that we work together to defeat a very frightening foe.

I don’t like revolutions. They don’t tend to work out well. Bernie Sanders didn’t not bring us a revolution. I think he brought something much better: the fear of a revolution in the Democratic Party. My biggest fear with Clinton is that she will “evolve” on the TPP and sign it into law. And that’s why all of us — not just Sanders supporters, but everyone who is in the democratic wing of the Democratic Party — needs to hold to task Clinton and the entire political world.

In a sense, there is always a war going on. We must constantly fight for the interests of the weak. The powerful never stop fighting for their own interests — they just hire people to do it. Even if Bernie Sanders had become president, we would have to continue to fight. We will continue to argue among ourselves about what the best policies are. But as I found when I tested myself, I side with Bernie Sander 98% of the time and Hillary Clinton 95% of the time. And Donald Trump: 24% of the time.

With Hillary Clinton as president, we will need to apply pressure to her. If Donald Trump becomes president, will with have to fight with all our strength. And we will still lose. So we are all in this together. Kumbaya My Party!

A (Joe) Heck of a Race in NV-03

Joe Heck - NV-03Fittingly since this is the third in this series, I decided on Nevada’s third congressional district (NV-03).  This one is marked as a toss up by most observers. The incumbent, Joe Heck, is attempting to move up to the Senate to take the spot that Harry Reid has occupied for ages.

The district equally divided. It has had a Republican Representative since 2010, even while twice voting for Obama. With an open seat, it really is anyone’s guess how NV-03 will go in November.

The primaries have been packed. Seven Republicans are running: Kerry Bowers, Michele Fiore, Sami Khal, Andy Matthews, Michael Roberson, Danny Tarkanian, and Annette Teijeiro. And six Democrats are too: Barry Michaels, Jacky Rosen, Jesse Sbaih, Steven Schiffman, Alex Singer and Neil Waite. What’s more, there is an Independent American Party candidate: Warren Markowitz.

The Democrats and Republicans are both pushing hard to get this seat. Both national party organizations have invested directly into several campaigns.

Republicans in NV-03

The Republican candidates of particular note are Michele Fiore, Michael Roberson, and Danny Tarkanian.  All three are experienced campaigners.  Michele Fiore and Michael Roberson are former state legislators. And Danny Tarkanian ran in the 4th District.

Of the three, Assemblywoman Michele Fiore is the one who is best known. She’s gotten national attention for her love of guns, her outrage inducing statements, and her role in the Oregon Malheur National Wildlife Refuge stand-off.  She is something of a libertarian — supporting marriage equality and cannabis legalization.

Michael Roberson has served as both Majority Leader and Minority Leader in the Nevada State Senate since 2010.  He is a fairly conventional candidate and has raised the most money. He’s a member of the Republican Young Guns.

The third candidate, Danny Tarkanian, was the Republican nominee in the 4th Congressional District race in 2012. But he lost badly to Democrat Steven Horsford in the general election. He is also a member of the Young Guns.

Democrats in NV-03

Of them, the top candidate from the establishment is Jacky Rosen. She is the president of Congregation Ner Tamid, and was personally recruited by Harry Reid to run. In addition, Rosen has the support of the Democrats’ Red to Blue program as well as Emily’s List.

But Jacky Rosen has a serious challenger in Jesse Sbaih. He is generously self-funded, and is the first to have his ads up.  Sbaih has an interesting backstory. He immigrated from Jordan with his family when he was 11 years old. Since then, he has become a very successful attorney. He’s also married to a physician with whom he has three children. He has been in the news, claiming that Harry Reid told him to not run because he is Muslim and that a Muslim couldn’t win in that district.

Outlook in NV-03

Since this is a fairly evenly split district, it is unclear who will win the primaries (next Tuesday). The Democratic primary has been quiet. The Republican primary, however, has been very contentious. Jon Ralston has been reporting on the various efforts from both sides. It looks like Roberson is benefiting from establishment support with a lot of SuperPac money.

Ultimately, if the establishment candidates win their primaries, the general election will be close. The April straw poll showed that it was almost exactly split between Rosen and Roberson.  So it will be an interesting race to watch in November.