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I wrote this eight years ago today, towards the denouement of the Clinton/Obama contest to win the Democratic Presidential nomination. Despite being ahead in the popular vote, the DNC threw Hillary Clinton under the bus and handed the nomination to Barack Obama. It was a disgusting "fuck you" to everyone who actually believed in a fair democratic system.

Now, in 2016, I have seen many complaints during the Clinton/Sanders contest about how the DNC has treated Sanders unfairly. There have been irregularities, but nothing to the degree of what happened in 2008 and nothing tied to the Clinton campaign now which could be directly tied to the Obama campaign then.

Here's the bottom line: Hillary Clinton should have been the Democratic nominee in 2008. She won the popular vote - that's how it should work. Sanders supporters are rightly justified in complaining about an overly complicated and "rigged" system, but do themselves no good by placing all of the blame on Hillary Clinton, who was a victim of this very system only eight years ago!

And let's face it: Hillary Clinton is winning the popular vote in the 2016 primaries. To maintain this lead given by common registered Democrats is to be the legitimate Democratic nominee for President. Obama could not claim this legitimacy in 2008 as the DNC handed the nomination to him. It is my hope that Sanders does not become Obama. As much as I like Sanders and wanted him to win the nomination, I can not abide a cheater. I would hope that Sanders agrees with me.

Your vote is your own. If you don't like the nominee, you don't have to vote for the nominee. Speaking only for myself, I am at peace with voting for Hillary Clinton in the general election despite voting for Bernie Sanders in the primary because she has run as clean of a campaign as possible within the constraints of a very flawed and irregular system. In the future, my hope is that we always look to the will of the people and away from the machinations of the establishment elites.
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Of the many reforms I wish to see in the way elections are handled in the United States, one of the more important ones is assigning electoral college votes for Presidential elections as a percentage of the popular vote. In every state save Nebraska and Maine, Electoral Votes are assigned on a "winner take all" basis: whichever candidate receives more than 50% of the popular vote in the state receives all of the electoral college votes. However, in the Nebraska and Maine, electoral votes are assigned based on the percentage of the popular vote in a formula tabulated by the number of congressional districts plus the two senate seats (which is equal to the number of electors in each state). In the 2008 presidential election, John McCain won two out of Nebraska's three congressional districts. Barack Obama won the congressional district which included the city of Omaha. As such, McCain received four of Nebraska's five electors (the two "senate" votes still being tabulated as "winner take all") while Obama received one electoral vote.

It was recently proposed that Pennsylvania adopt such a system. From the Post-Gazette:

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi is trying to gather support to change the state's "winner-takes-all" approach for awarding electoral votes. Instead, he's suggesting that Pennsylvania dole them out based on which candidate wins each of the 18 congressional districts, with the final two going to the contender with the most votes statewide.

So far, the idea has received support from colleagues of the Delaware County Republican in the state House and from Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. But Democrats, who have carried the state in presidential contests since 1992, said the shift would erode Pennsylvania's clout.

Only two states -- Nebraska and Maine -- divide their electoral votes instead of giving the whole bloc to the candidate that wins the state's popular vote. Even for those two states, the piecemeal approach has been a rarity, with Nebraska historically dividing its five votes in the 2008 election, when one went to President Barack Obama.

If the multiple posts from PADems on Facebook are of any indication, the Democratic Party is having a collective bowel spasm over the idea that the swing state may become an ever harder prize to capture than it already is. This is understandable, but I've no doubt that if the same proposal were floated in Texas, the Republican Party would be suffering from the same nervous disorder.

While I've no doubt that Pennsylvania Republicans think they are doing something which will make it easier to win elections for their party (as Pennsylvania would be the first state with a sizeable number of electoral votes to divvy them up), in the long-term I suspect their plan will backfire. Meanwhile, as is par for the course of the Democrats, they are not only missing a major opportunity here, but actively shooting themselves in the foot.

The argument for assigning electoral votes by percentage - and rightly so - is that doing so reflects the will of the people. By opposing this in Pennsylvania, the Democrats are making themselves look like the party who wins by any means necessary, a title which has been proudly held by the Republicans. If the Democrats had any sense of strategy whatsoever, they would go along with this plan, but offer up the votes to pass the bill on the condition that 1.) it included a provision to implement instant run-off voting and 2.) it included an amendment to prevent voter ID laws from being passed. With these two caveats, the Democrats look like a party willing to compromise and allow positive government reform to happen. Republicans opposing these two amendments would look petty and obstructionist by comparison.

Regardless of what the Democrats in Pennsylvania decide to do, I support assigning electoral votes in Pennsylvania by percentage of the popular vote. Abolishing the electoral college and having a national popular vote would be ideal, however as the electoral college is enshrined in the Constitution, such an objective would be quite difficult to accomplish. Getting individual states to change the way electors cast ballots, by comparison, is much easier. I suspect that if Pennsylvania does implement the system used in Maine and Nebraska it will have a domino effect; it shouldn't take too many years for the Texas Republican Party to be sending desperate messages to their followers opposing electoral vote reform.

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Pennsylvania's 14th congressional district has a Green Party candidate running. His name is Ed Bortz and he is challenging incumbent Democrat Mike Doyle from the left as Tea Party Republican Melissa Haluszczak challenges him from the far right. While I don't want anyone affiliated with the Tea Party having any chance of getting into power, Doyle is a single-payer sellout like Kucinich who, in addition to that, committed the unforgivable sin of voting for the Stupak Amendment. For these reasons alone he does not deserve my vote. Couple that with the fact that his incumbency is pretty much assured, and I'm seriously thinking of casting a ballot for the hippie.

For those keeping score at home, my current ballot if polled today:

PA Senator
[X]Joe Sestak (D)
[ ]Pat Toomey (R)

PA Governor
[ ]Dan Onorato (D)
[ ]Tom Corbett (R)
[X]Write-in: "None of the Above"

PA-14 Congressional District
[ ]Mike Doyle (D)
[ ]Melissa Haluszczak (R)
[X]Ed Bortz (G)

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Propaganda from the Democratic Party:

We did it. With House passage of health reform last weekend, we took a huge step toward providing affordable options to those without insurance, providing greater security for those who are already covered, and reducing costs for families and small businesses.

There have been many attempts in the last nearly 100 years, but Saturday's vote was the first time a chamber of Congress succeeded in passing comprehensive health reform. As President Obama wrote after the vote, "This is history."

But now we need to keep the pressure on -- and one of the best ways to show our support is to fill local newspapers across the country with letters about why we need reform now.

My reply:

If you think for one minute I am going to write a letter to the editor in support of this ABORTION of a health "care" bill, you are sadly mistaken. The Democratic Party has failed those who put them in office. This bill is nothing more than a hard slap in the face to progressives and liberals everywhere (especially women) and a great big thank you note to the health insurance industry.

Frankly, it is the health insurance industry which is the problem. Their pernicious monopoly over who lives and who dies in the United States should have been punished long ago. The only real health care reform bill I want to see passed is HR676.

Of course, the Obama administration and the majority of Congressional Democrats have ignored HR676, if not outright tried to kill it. I guess we can't do anything which would make the health insurance industry and their lobbyists unhappy, now could we?

I was a loyal Democrat until the selection of Barack Obama last year in Denver. It seems to me that Democrats, with few exceptions, just don't want my vote any more. So be it, unless you give me a good solid reason to come back, I will "waste" my votes on third parties and write-ins stating "No acceptable candidates running for this office."

I am not going to stand around and be abused by my so-called "representatives."

No one - Democrat, Republican, whatever - gets my vote EVER unless they drag themselves naked across broken glass begging for it.

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Former Virginia governor Tim Kaine is to replace Howard Dean as the Democratic Party's chairman. While I find that remaining active in the Democratic Party is a bit like picking at a scab, I seem to be a glutton for punishment. There is currently a page up at The Democratic Party's official website where one can submit a question for Tim Kaine which may be answered in a forthcoming video the Party will be making. My submission:

Do you have any intention or inclination to reform the Democratic Party's primary process for selecting Presidential candidates so that pledged delegate ratios more closely resemble if not precisely match that of popular vote totals? Do you believe as I do that caucuses are an archaic system of polling which serve to disenfranchise segments of the voting population, therefore requiring that caucuses be replaced by closed primaries in all states? Would you agree with my assertion that becoming more Democratic would only be good for the Democratic Party and not only it's members but all Americans?

I'm betting this one won't be addressed, since cheating the primaries is a taint that will hang over Obama no matter how well he does as President. Sure, many people will just forget about it and many simply don't care, but I'm just one of those obnoxious types who doesn't "get over it." I sure as fuck am not a Republican, but I can't say I feel any real connection with the Democrats any more. Still, if you want to have any influence in this country you have to do it through one of the two big clubs; a third party is nothing more than a sadly oppressed joke. So, while I am still technically a member of the Democratic Party, I should try and influence which direction it takes. Maybe someday I'll be proud to be a Democrat again.


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Seth Warren

May 2017

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