I made it to vote. Cloudy and overcast and me in sunglasses. Lots of ‘WTF?’ looks for that one. Can barely get to the polls because some candidate is circumlocuting to a gaggle of spotlights. Throw up arms like a vampire and grumble for them to let me get by so I can actually vote.
Wake up at about 11:45 PM for an unknown reason. Decide to watch Dixville Notch vote at midnight. See 5 people check each other in to vote. Same billionaire wins both parties primaries. Lose faith in humanity. Try to go back to sleep, have trouble. Wake up again at 5:30 AM with a migraine that rivals some of the worst I’ve ever had. Wonder out loud (in colorful language) how I can drive to work today, let alone vote in a fucking presidential primary. Realize my problem is some sort of representative microcosm of American healthcare and politics. Lose a little more hope. Post about all of it in the hopes that I can convince more people to vote to compensate for everyone who can’t, or won’t, or who’ve been disenfranchised. Proceed to lay on couch while Bruce Cockburn’s ‘Call it Democracy’ bounces around inside my head.
This headline is probably single-handedly sending a few people off the deep end. Why? Because, just like in 2016 Bernie is getting the popular vote, but not the delegates. And of course, in this case the DNC is far more willing to agree with the Electoral College.
Over the course of the weekend I had a few friends text me about their concerns for Bernie as the New Hampshire Primary approaches. Most of them, lamented in one form or another, “Why are the Democrats being so mean to Bernie?”
My answer was always the same: They’re not. They’re doing what every organization does. Protecting their own. Unfortunately, in this case, just like in 2016, they may be cutting off their nose despite their face.
Look, in the end the DNC is a just another business with a brand that they feel is threatened. In the end, political parties care about their own survival first. It’s how they make their money, and support their own candidates up and down the ticket. And since political parties are mostly about portraying a collection of common values to voters, whenever someone from the outside threatens to up-end those values, they get defensive. The Democratic Party is a business with a brand, and it’s one that Bernie doesn’t adhere to. However, his values closely aligned with democratic voters that he is able to run as a party reformer, promising a level of change that still scares the shit out of the party.
I’m not sure why people are surprised by any of this. Bernie isn’t a Democrat. He is a very proud Independent who labels himself a Democratic Socialist. He has been registering as a Democrat when he runs for President because he knows it increases his chances of winning. Because, without that big D after his name, he won’t get the political wind at his back that comes from running in a primary organized by one of the two big parties in America.
On the other hand, I don’t know about you but I am terrified of what will happen if Donald Trump gets a second term. So much so that I have every intention of voting for the Democratic candidate, whoever it is, in the general election. And I am not alone. The DNC knows lots of people feel that way. Which begs the question, why would they risk alienating Bernie’s legion of supporters?
The answer itself is simple, they’re doing it for the same reason a concert venues charge you $7.50 for a bottle of water. Because, who the hell else can you turn to?!
Sure, there are other candidates and other political parties.But when the stakes are this high, a protest vote becomes nothing more than a vote against anyone who’s running against Trump. And passing on negative rumors or stories about any of the democratic candidates is akin to endorsing Trump’s brand of politics. Just don’t do it. Instead, spend that energy passing on positive stuff about your favorite candidate. The worst thing that will happen is you might slow the spread of negative press. But by not reacting in a knee-jerk fashion, you can deprive your political opponents the pleasure of seeing someone knocked down a few pegs.
If we don’t learn this fact now, we may never get another chance.
Last night (2/6/20) Rachel Maddow opened her show by talking about someone named Sununu. In fact she was discussing a phone jamming scandal I JUST wrote about when I said, “It should be noted here that during that particular election, the NH Republican Party “meddled” in the election in what would become known as the “2002 New Hampshire Senate election phone jamming scandal”.” (I swear I had no idea that Republicans were in the middle of doing the exact same thing in Iowa).
Now, my post was purely about me no longer trusting anyone running for anything as a Republican. When I wrote it I thought the Sununus were the perfect illustration to make my point. It looks like I wasn’t the only one.
That being said, maybe we should all keep our eyes on New Hampshire during this year’s Presidential Primary Election this coming Tuesday. It will be held under the watchful eye of our state’s governor, Chris (wait for it…) SUNUNU.
What’s do you think, have they earned the benefit of the doubt yet?
I have always prided myself on be politically independent New Hampshire resident, and have tried very hard to remain one. Not only in label, but in mind. I try to keep an open mind and listen to what others have to say. I really do what I can to not allow myself to reach a conclusion with political candidates until I have had a chance to watch and see if their actions match their words. But I long ago learned that words mean nothing, unless paired with action. And, it’s that kind of personal vetting that has allowed me to have a dramatically different reactions to each member of New Hampshire’s political dynasty, the Sununus.
As I reached voting age, old man John H. Sununu was still the governor here. Soon after though, he moved on to the White House to serve as H.W. Bush’s Chief of Staff. Without going into too many details, there was a massive transportation scandal surrounding my ex-governor. That was how, at the ripe old age of 18 I found myself engaged in some of my first political protests. That kind of activism leaves a lasting mark. Sometimes from the experience itself, and sometimes just from handcuffs or corresponding trespassing charges.
Jumping forward about a decade, and I am working at a local print shop on the late shift. One night I am asked to sit with a customer and help them edit some files on a small booklet he was producing. The customer, as it turns out, is the son of the former governor. And that was how I met the man who would soon be one of my state’s U.S. Senators, John E. Sununu.
Despite the negative connotations I had associated had with his last name, I found myself liking the guy, at least when he wasn’t asking for my vote. So, when he ran for the U.S. Senate, I gave him an honest look. (It should be noted here that during that particular election, the NH Republican Party “meddled” in the election in what would become known as the “2002 New Hampshire Senate election phone jamming scandal”).
Soon after getting elected, Mr. John E. Sununu proceeded to go testicle-deep in the second amendment debate. He did so in such a way that it was clear he had become a rubber stamp for The Party. That was the deal breaker for me, especially since he was supposed to be representing the entire state, not just the Republicans.
So, when Chris Sununu showed up and announced he was running for governor, I had plenty of good reasons to shout “Seriously? Another f**king Sununu?!” But once I calmed down, I knew I should give him a fair chance, like every other candidate. I can honestly say that, based on many things I saw from him during his first term as governor, I was willing to out a little check mark next to his name in order to re-elect him as governor in 2018.
What does this have to do with anything right now, especially during a presidential impeachment trial? Because it turns out the day I cast that vote (November 6, 2018) that I had cast the very last vote I will ever willingly cast for any person running as a Republican in the United States of America, ever again.
As a voter who has always tried to keep an open mind, I know that the only way I can satisfy an open mind is to give it lots of good information to examine. So, when the United States Senate voted to bar witnesses, or any new information into Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, it was the Republican Party alone who made the decision.
It could be argued that the voters made this decision, because it was made by their elected representatives. Of course, you would have to ignore countless public statements and polls that say otherwise, but if you tried hard enough you could do probably get there. And if there was any shred of evidence that showed that the decision to omit witnesses and documents in a presidential impeachment trial had come about as the result of thoughtful deliberations, then I might be willing to believe this had been the will of the American people. But instead what we got was a handful of off-the-cuff excuses that all amounted to the same explanation from the Republican Party, “We are in the majority, we don’t need a reason”. And with that, the Republican-controlled United States Senate shut the door on information.
And without information, it’s impossible to be an informed voter. Which means I can no longer trust the Republican Party.
The only way I can express that to them is to make sure that, going forward, each and every time I encounter a Republican politician looking for a vote that they know that they just forever lost one of those independent votes they covet so much in tight races.