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Primary Elections Are Important—but They’re Also a Distraction


Primary Elections Are Important—but They’re Also a Distraction

Sonali Kolhatkar

The media coverage of the horse race in Iowa on Monday night was hampered by pro-establishment spin. We need to see through that but also realize that the elections are only a small part of a progressive movement.


Great article Sonali! Again we have an article that is dissecting how corporate media spins the truth. I find that every article in the newspaper is based on marginalizing or demonizing Sanders. When the headline reads "Trump loses to Cruz!", it is a deliberate attempt to downplay Sanders as most people consider the Republican race to be nothing more that a clown car filled with imbeciles. When the MSM declares Hillary the "victor" in the Iowa caucus, it is another example of corporate spin intended to derail the Sanders campaign. But the constant spin relies on a key assumption... that Americans can't see through the spin. As Bernie Sanders has shown in elections time after time, the people CAN see through the spin which should give us all hope.
One of the most salient remarks by Sonali was that "the elections are only a small part of the progressive movement" and that we must still follow up by cleaning house of the right wing, corporate sponsored Republicans and Democrats that dominate our government. A hundred years ago American socialists called for equal rights for African-Americans, Medicare, a minimum wage, social security and a forty hour week. While we all take these things for granted now, all of these social advances were demonized by the 1% back then as much as it is today. The difference is that the 1% had less control of the media then and many millions less had bought into the corporate narrative that dominate our political culture today. This does not mean that we can't take back our government from the 1%, just that it will be more difficult this time around.


I agree with the sentiments expressed in this article, however, isn't "distraction" the wrong word to use in this context? I detect a tincture of Hedges in her concluding paragraph with the line about this election as "only a single step—and not even the first—in a very long, multistep movement for social justice."

The non election of Bernie Sanders will do more to blunt nascent movements for social justice than not. Indeed his election is of the utmost importance, in my humble opinion, for movement building. Bernie, a natural ally of these movements, in the White House with the Bully Pulpit, with Bullhorn, would be a priceless asset. So pay close attention to what is happening in the world, but don't let this election take second fiddle, it is too important.


If the election changes little in Congress no great change can happen. We have seen elections where there was a seismic shift in Congress and if that happens things will change. All the seats in the House are up for election and one-third of the seats in the Senate, mostly held by Republicans. Right now I don't see a great shift, nothing like the Gingrich revolution. Things in the primaries are just getting sorted out. The Republican side is crazier than anyone remembers. The Democratic side has come down to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. With regard to the Democratic race Iowa seems to have helped Sanders more than Clinton but both can claim some sort of win. New Hampshire is hard to predict because independents can vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary. Which primary they choose to vote in may play a big role. Sanders may be able to claim a victory and Clinton may be able to claim she exceeded expectations. One thing for sure, after the votes are counted (no coin tosses in NH) there will be a lot of spin.


When I heard this item, at first I thought it must have been incorrect. I don't think there could be a more shameless form of The Shock Doctrine than odious interests seeing in the crisis of Syria's refugees, a market in child sex slaves. The news report I heard said that there is a sort of "infrastructure" for that very thing in parts of Europe; and recently watching a documentary on young Ukrainian women heading to Turkey in search of what they thought would be honest work, that many ended up abducted by sex trafficking rings.

The injustices are often too much for a sensitive soul to bear. No wonder so many shut down and just go along with the election parade... cum political circus come to town:

"...the news of 10,000 migrant children believed missing in Europe; and Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria that have killed dozens of people."


Primary elections are NOT important: they are a waste of time, money and energy if Bernie really wants a new American Revolution. Below is an email that I recently sent to Professor Richard Sugarman, Bernie's close friend & political adviser, that explains my position. George Millenbach, RN

February 2, 2016

Richard Sugarman, Ph. D.
Professor in the Department of Religion
The College of Arts and Sciences
University of Vermont

Re: Bernie Sanders and Peoples Party 2016

Dear Professor Sugarman,

I need your help because I am unaware of Bernie’s political calculus and you are. You have his ear and I don’t. Since July 2015, I have tried and failed to contact Bernie through his campaign.
I want Bernie to be our next President. I want him to accomplish the goals of his new American Revolution. But I am convinced that he will never do that unless he abandons the Democratic Party. And he has to do that very soon.
If Bernie is to be effective as America’s first democratic-socialist President, he must form a new political party now - "Peoples Party 2016". For President Bernie’s revolution to succeed, Peoples Party 2016 must break the Democratic-Republican control over American politics on November 8, 2016. (Both the Dems and the GOP have been irreparably corrupted by the 1%.) In a three-party race, the Peoples candidate only has to win a plurality. Given how disgusted Americans are with “politics as usual” (Witness the rise of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie.), a viable third-party challenge to the political establishment is possible this year. If Bernie leads, most of his supporters will follow him to Peoples Party 2016. Bernie’s critics, who claim that he cannot possibly accomplish his revolution, will be silenced. The billionaires will be apoplectic: they will not be able to derail “Peoples Power”.
Therefore, Bernie should now abandon primary politics. The primaries are “old-think”. The 1% want Bernie to waste his time and money on the primaries. Instead, Bernie should start his general campaign now with mega-rallies in (or near) the big cities of Electoral-College-rich states - CA, TX, FL, NY, IL, PA, OH, GA, MI, NC, NJ, VA, WA, AZ, IN, MA, TN, MD, MN, MO And WI. Those states add up to 379 Electoral votes. The Electoral College elects the President and VP. (Elizabeth Warren is Bernie’s obvious choice for a running mate: that would be the Dream Team for progressives.) Bernie and Liz need an absolute majority - 270 Electoral votes. Bernie should not waste his time and energy in states having fewer than 10 electoral votes unless it’s to hold a rally in Denver, Oklahoma City, Las Vegas, DC, Omaha, Albuquerque, Wichita, New Orleans and so on. (The purpose of these rallies would be to whip up support for Peoples Party 2016.)
While Bernie focuses on Electoral-rich states to win the Presidency, his army – Bernie already has an army, Professor Sugarman - of young, impatient supporters must get a Peoples candidate on every ballot in America on November 8, 2016. (There’s still enough time to do this: nine months is a lifetime in social-media politics.) The goal, of course, is to remove as many Democrats and Republicans as possible from elected office in America and to replace them with Peoples – not only in Congress but in state legislatures, on city councils, etc. Some Democrats and Republicans might abandon their sinking ships to run as Peoples this year.
Bernie needs Peoples and Peoples needs Bernie for the new American Revolution to succeed for the 99%. Bernie and Peoples Party 2016 must become synonymous.
Professor Sugarman, I see no other route to -
1. “Medicare for All” (Healthcare, like public education, should be not-for-profit. Obamacare is an administrative nightmare designed by and for capitalists.)
2. An end to the carnage in America and worldwide (The 2nd Amendment needs to be repealed for public health reasons, ammo should be taxed federally at a million dollars per bullet, the merchants of death should be sued for manufacturing and selling inherently dangerous products to the public - remember Ford Pintos, hunters can think they are fishing and use something other than firearms to kill animals and so on)
3. Steeply graduated tax reform to benefit the 99% and to promote emigration – “Billionaires to Burma”
4. End global warming through a new Manhattan Project that would bring the world’s greatest engineers and scientists together to brainstorm and to discover and manufacture the green substitute for carbon-based fuels
5. Harness the economic powerhouse of “socialized capitalism” through profit-sharing
6. Stop the poisoning of our water supply by hydrofracking and leave carbon fuels where they are for future generations
7. Tax every transaction on Wall Street to end speculation and to make markets benefit the 99% through legitimate investment
8. Embrace the fact that we live in a global village – what is best for America is what is best for the rest of humanity
9. Eradicate human slavery in all of its guises around the world
10. End war and create heaven on earth for the 99%
Without Peoples Party 2016 behind him, Bernie will be unable to pass legislation to benefit the 99% alive and yet to be born. I believe that Bernie has the vision and courage to accomplish great things before he dies. He may not enter the Promised Land but he can get us halfway there with Peoples Party 2016.
Professor Sugarman, I do not want Bernie to become a footnote in the history of American politics. I’m 62 years old and I remind myself daily of our common mortality. I’ve dreamt of a political leader like Bernie since Bobby Kennedy was murdered. Bernie is the man who can change America and the rest of the world. But he will not be able to do that without Peoples Party 2016 behind him. He will be as impotent as Obama is now unless the political duopoly is broken.
Please talk to Bernie about Peoples Party 2016, Professor Sugarman. I know that he trusts you. We want to see him win it all.
Thank you for your patience and consideration.


George Millenbach, RN