Looking back at Nader and Stein

In 2000, starry-eyed Nader supporters rejected ardent environmentalist Al Gore and helped elect George W Bush, the worst (or second worst) president in American history. The Nader supporters thought Gore was the “lesser-of-two-evils.” Similarly, in 2016 starry-eyed Stein supporters refused to vote for centrist Democrat Hillary Clinton. Yes, she was a neocon. But Hillary was excellent on some issues (e.g., women’s rights) and decent on most others. Voting for Nader and Stein accomplished nothing useful at all. Refusing to vote for the left-of-center liberal (Gore) or centrist (Hillary) Dem didn’t “send a message” to the Democrats, in the swing states anyway, other than “We Nader and Stein supporters are fools. Ignore us.” Now we have Trump and a GOP Congress and will have to deal with a far right Supreme Court for a generation.

Of course there are dozens of reasons why Hillary lost — e.g., she had the hubris to forgo campaigning in the swing states.

Added on Nov 8: Ruth Nader Ginsburg (85) fell and broke her ribs. It looks like Trump will get to appoint a THIRD Supreme Court Justice. With the GOP gaining one or more seats in the Senate, it will be impossible to stop him.

You can thank the radical Hillary-bashers, Gore-bashers, and Dem-bashers who refused to vote for centrist Dems — e.g., for ardent environmentalist Al Gore in 2000. It wasn’t just their votes that made a difference. It was also their relentless propaganda (“lesser-of-two-evils”, “no better than the Republicans”, etc).

Steve and Connie Ballmer’s political contributions

I downloaded from the state Public Disclosure Commission a database listing contributions to political campaigns and initiatives. The database is for direct contributions to candidates and initiative campaigns. It excludes independent expenditures. So the data shown below are incomplete, but still, I hope, enlightening.

You can see in the table below that the Ballmers donated a lot of money to support gun control and to support charter schools. Stand for Children is a charter school promoter. (Part of the aim of the charter school movement is to destroy public education by “monetizing” it, in order to enrich entrepreneurs.)

Integrity WA appears to be the same things as Rodney Tom’s Judicial Integrity WA PAC, whose 2016 donations are listed here on the PDC website. That PAC and a similar one, Judicial Integrity Washington, are funded by rich Washingtonians including Kemper Freeman. See this article, which also discusses Citizens for Working Courts, which was funded by the Ballemers, Paul Allen and Bill Gates.

You can below that most of the Ballmers’ contributions to individual candidates were to Democrats: the middle-of-the-road (“Road Kill”) Democrats who supported charter schools. Perhaps the Ballmers knew that the Republicans were already on their side, so there was no need to give money to them.

Interesting that the only Republican supported was Steve Litzow, whose charter school bill passed in 2016 with help from the Road Kill Democrats.

FILER_NAME FIRST_NAME LAST_NAME AMOUNT CONTRIBUTOR_NAME OFFICE LEGISLATIVE_DISTRICT PARTY BALLOT_NUMBER FOR_OR_AGAINST
ALLIANCE FOR GUN RESPONSIBILITY ERP COMM ALLIANCE FOR GUN RESPONSIBILITY ERP COMM 500,000.0 BALLMER STEVEN 1491 For
STAND FOR CHILDREN WA PAC STAND FOR CHILDREN WA PAC 500,000.0 BALLMER CONNIE
INTEGRITY WA INTEGRITY WA 250,000.0 BALLMER CONNIE 1464 For
INTEGRITY WA INTEGRITY WA 250,000.0 BALLMER CONNIE 1464 For
WA CHARTERS ACTION PAC WA CHARTERS ACTION PAC 125,000.0 BALLMER CONNIE
WA CHARTERS ACTION PAC WA CHARTERS ACTION PAC 125,000.0 BALLMER STEVE
CHILDRENS CAMPAIGN FUND CHILDRENS CAMPAIGN FUND 85,000.0 BALLMER CONNIE E
CHILDRENS CAMPAIGN FUND CHILDRENS CAMPAIGN FUND 85,000.0 BALLMER STEVEN A
CIT FOR WORKING COURTS ENTERPRISE WA CIT FOR WORKING COURTS ENTERPRISE WA 12,500.0 BALLMER CONNIE
CIT FOR WORKING COURTS ENTERPRISE WA CIT FOR WORKING COURTS ENTERPRISE WA 12,500.0 BALLMER STEVEN
WA ALLIANCE FOR GUN RESPONSIBILITY VICTORY FUND WA ALLIANCE FOR GUN RESPONSIBILITY VICTORY FUND 12,500.0 BALLMER STEVEN
WA ALLIANCE FOR GUN RESPONSIBILITY VICTORY FUND WA ALLIANCE FOR GUN RESPONSIBILITY VICTORY FUND 12,500.0 BALLMER CONNIE
CIT FOR PROGRESS ENTERPRISE WA CIT FOR PROGRESS ENTERPRISE WA 12,500.0 BALLMER CONNIE
YES FOR VETS AND HUMAN SERVICES YES FOR VETS AND HUMAN SERVICES 12,500.0 BALLMER CONNIE 1 For
YES FOR VETS AND HUMAN SERVICES YES FOR VETS AND HUMAN SERVICES 12,500.0 BALLMER STEVEN 1 For
CIT FOR PROGRESS ENTERPRISE WA CIT FOR PROGRESS ENTERPRISE WA 12,500.0 BALLMER STEVEN
INSLEE JAY R JAY INSLEE 2000.0 BALLMER CONNIE E GOVERNOR DEMOCRAT
CHILDRENS CAMPAIGN FUND CHILDRENS CAMPAIGN FUND 1250.0 BALLMER STEVEN A
CHILDRENS CAMPAIGN FUND CHILDRENS CAMPAIGN FUND 1250.0 BALLMER CONNIE
SULLIVAN PATRICK J PATRICK SULLIVAN 1000.0 BALLMER STEVE STATE REPRESENTATIVE 47 DEMOCRAT
MORRIS JEFFREY R JEFFREY MORRIS 1000.0 BALLMER CONNIE STATE REPRESENTATIVE 40 DEMOCRAT
MORRIS JEFFREY R JEFFREY MORRIS 1000.0 BALLMER STEVEN A STATE REPRESENTATIVE 40 DEMOCRAT
SPRINGER LAWRENCE S LAWRENCE SPRINGER 1000.0 BALLMER STEVE STATE REPRESENTATIVE 45 DEMOCRAT
MULLET MARK D MARK MULLET 1000.0 BALLMER CONNIE STATE SENATOR 05 DEMOCRAT
SAWYER DAVID J DAVID SAWYER 1000.0 BALLMER STEVE STATE REPRESENTATIVE 29 DEMOCRAT
SAWYER DAVID J DAVID SAWYER 1000.0 BALLMER CONNIE STATE REPRESENTATIVE 29 DEMOCRAT
TOM RODNEY RODNEY TOM 1000.0 BALLMER STEVEN STATE SENATOR 48 DEMOCRAT
TOM RODNEY RODNEY TOM 1000.0 BALLMER CONNIE STATE SENATOR 48 DEMOCRAT
SULLIVAN PATRICK J PATRICK SULLIVAN 1000.0 BALLMER CONNIE E STATE REPRESENTATIVE 47 DEMOCRAT
LITZOW STEPHEN R STEPHEN LITZOW 1000.0 BALLMER STEVEN A STATE SENATOR 41 REPUBLICAN
HOBBS STEVEN R STEVEN HOBBS 1000.0 BALLMER CONNIE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR DEMOCRAT
KAGI RUTH LECOCQ RUTH LECOCQ KAGI 1000.0 BALLMER CONNIE STATE REPRESENTATIVE 32 DEMOCRAT
LYTTON KRISTINE C KRISTINE LYTTON 1000.0 BALLMER STEVEN A STATE REPRESENTATIVE 40 DEMOCRAT
LYTTON KRISTINE C KRISTINE LYTTON 1000.0 BALLMER CONNIE E STATE REPRESENTATIVE 40 DEMOCRAT
SENN TANA D TANA SENN 1000.0 BALLMER CONNIE STATE REPRESENTATIVE 41 DEMOCRAT
KAGI RUTH LECOCQ RUTH LECOCQ KAGI 1000.0 BALLMER CONNIE STATE REPRESENTATIVE 32 DEMOCRAT
MULLET MARK D MARK MULLET 1000.0 BALLMER STEVEN STATE SENATOR 05 DEMOCRAT
LITZOW STEPHEN R STEPHEN LITZOW 1000.0 BALLMER CONNIE E STATE SENATOR 41 REPUBLICAN
CLIBBORN JUDITH R JUDITH CLIBBORN 1000.0 BALLMER CONNIE E STATE REPRESENTATIVE 41 DEMOCRAT
CLIBBORN JUDITH R JUDITH CLIBBORN 1000.0 BALLMER STEVEN A STATE REPRESENTATIVE 41 DEMOCRAT
HOBBS STEVEN R STEVEN HOBBS 1000.0 BALLMER STEVEN LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR DEMOCRAT
SPRINGER LAWRENCE S LAWRENCE SPRINGER 1000.0 BALLMER CONNIE E STATE REPRESENTATIVE 45 DEMOCRAT
PETTIGREW ERIC ERIC PETTIGREW 1000.0 BALLMER STEVEN A STATE REPRESENTATIVE 37 DEMOCRAT
PETTIGREW ERIC ERIC PETTIGREW 1000.0 BALLMER CONNIE STATE REPRESENTATIVE 37 DEMOCRAT
HABIB CYRUS CYRUS HABIB 950.0 BALLMER CONNIE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR DEMOCRAT
HABIB CYRUS CYRUS HABIB 950.0 BALLMER STEVEN LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR DEMOCRAT
PODLODOWSKI TINA M TINA PODLODOWSKI 500.0 BALLMER STEVEN SECRETARY OF STATE DEMOCRAT
PODLODOWSKI TINA M TINA PODLODOWSKI 500.0 BALLMER CONNIE SECRETARY OF STATE DEMOCRAT
CORNELL ADAM W ADAM CORNELL 500.0 BALLMER CONNIE COUNTY PROSECUTOR DEMOCRAT

The Logic of Lesser-of-two-evilism

Suppose you are being held hostage by deranged criminals who give you an ultimatum: tell them your bank pin number, social security number and other identifying information, or they’ll rape your wife and daughters and mutilate you.

As a matter of principle, you oppose giving away your money to criminals — a clear evil. But you realize that the alternative is worse. So you settle for the lesser-of-two-evils.

Here’s another example. Suppose you’re terminally ill and in constant pain. You can’t walk, enjoy food, or enjoy sex. Your doctors tell you that your condition will worsen. In such a case, ending your own life might be the lesser-of-two-evils.

Here’s a more whimsical example: you’re a young man “in love” with a woman who insists that you marry. You kinda think marriage is evil, but the alternative — being alone — is worse. You settle for the lesser-of-two-evils, marriage.

Now for a serious, political example. Suppose that you lived in Louisiana in 1991 and had to choose between virulent racist David Duke and flawed, corrupt corporate Democrat Edwin Edwards in the race for the governor. Not a pleasant choice. But, as did a broad coalition of Louisianans, you could, with a clear conscience, vote for the lesser-of-two-evils, Edwards. That example is from Alfred Reed, Jr’s convincing article Vote for the Lyinc Neloiberal War Monger: It’s Important.

Quoting from that Reeds article again:

I assume readers get the allegorical point of that story [about Louisiana]. Just to drive it home, here’s another, more dramatic one that Harold Meyerson adduced last month in The American Prospect: in the early 1930s, as the National Socialists gained strength, Ernst Thälmann, the Chairman of the German Communist Party held to the line that the Social Democrats were a greater threat to the working class and to the possibility of revolution than were the Nazis. The Communists’ conflict with the Social Democrats was both not without justification and mutual. Some Communists believed that the elements of the working class who were drawn to the Nazis, e.g., those in Ernst Röhm’s Brown Shirts, could be won from them. In 1931 some sought to collaborate with the Nazis to bring down the weak Social Democrat government. In expressing the conviction that the Social Democrats were the main danger in German politics, Thälmann uttered the quip that has long outlived him as a cautionary device: “After Hitler, our turn.” His point was that a Nazi victory would expose them as fraudulent with no program for the working class. What Thälmann didn’t count on was their success at criminalizing and liquidating all opposition. He died in a concentration camp.

Indeed, many leftists who hate the Democrats often say similar things about the Democratic Party: they’re as corrupt as the Republicans.  Or they even claim that the Democrats are more dangerous, because they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. I hear such claims all the time online, particularly on OpEdNews. (I expect comments to that effect on this article.) Proponents of such claims say that the Democrats are as bad as the Republicans because  — take your pick — Bill Clinton approved NAFTA, Bill Clinton overturned Glass-Steagall, Barack Obama prosecuted whistle blowers, Barack Obama supported drone wars, Barack Obama continued the Bush bailouts of Wall Street, Hillary Clinton was hawkish, etc., etc.

I am convinced those people are wrong.  Yes, those Democrats pursued some evil policies. But the Democrats are much better than the Republicans: on women’s rights, on the environment, on taxation, on gay rights, on unionism, on education, on the Supreme Court, on civil rights, on voting rights, etc., etc. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a right wing troll or is deluded.

Gore was an environmentalist and a moderate Democrat. Bush and Cheney launched the immoral and disastrous war in Iraq; they transferred trillions to the rich and gutted environmental regulations.

Obama did many bad things, but he’s nowhere near as bad as Bush, Cheney, or Trump. I needn’t tell you how much damage Trump and the GOP Congress are doing now.

So, in response to:

Warning to Democrats for 2020

I suggest:

Welcome to Bust

I could show dozens of other examples of how Trump is far, far worse than Hillary would have been. Only on militarism is it unclear whether Trump is worse. Hillary is a neocon. But Trump may start a war with Iran, North Korea, or China; and he is giving billions more to the military. And he is pulling out of the nuclear arms treaty with Russia.

But I understand where such Bernie-or-Busters are coming from.

Virtue scale

If we could rate politicians on a scale of virtue, with 0 being pure evil and 100 being pure good, we might rate dictators such as Hitler and Stalin in the low single digits. (They didn’t murder everybody.) Let’s say Dick Cheney is a 10, George W. Bush is 15, Bernie Sanders is 75, Dennis Kucinich is 85. What’s Trump? 20? What’s Hillary? 30? 40? 50? 60? What’s Obama? 40? 50? 60? Your ratings will differ. But given your ratings, suppose you’re voting in an election in which the two leading candidates are on the evil side of the scale: under 50. Suppose that one candidate scores a 10 (very evil) and the other scores a 35 (somewhat evil). Would that difference be enough to warrant voting for the lesser-of-two-evils? How about if their ratings were 10 versus 48? 10 versus 15? 30 versus 40?

Perhaps it would take a 20 point spread for you to vote for the lesser-of-two-evils.

Of course, the logic of lesser-of-two-evilism should take into account not just the two leading candidates but also third-party candidates, their chances of winning, and, most importantly, the effect of our votes on future elections. Such considerations greatly complicate the reasoning and weighing of effects.
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If the third-party candidate has a decent chance of winning, then it might be a risk worth taking to vote for her.

In 2000 and in 2016, everyone knew there was virtually no chance that Nader or Stein would win.

But someone can argue it’s better to vote for a third-party candidate because that will send a message to the future: we will not vote for an evil candidate — at least not one who scores less than, say, 45.

Such reasoning is like a sacrifice: I’m willing to suffer for the next four years (or next 40 years, realistically, given the judicial picks) so that future politicians will think twice before crossing a line.

Such a strategy might work. It can be quite costly. It’s not clear that future politicians will hear the message. I suppose it’s like the decision a general in a war needs to make: should I sacrifice these troops to set us up for victory in the future.

I suspect, though, that the votes by leftists for Nader in 2000 and for Stein in 2016 sent the following message to Democrats: “We Nader and Stein supporters are fools. Ignore us.”

There’s yet another way to view lesser-of-two-evilism. Instead of looking at the consequences of your vote, look at the virtue of the candidates. In such a case, one could have a principle: I will not vote for candidates who are less than, say, 40 on the evil scale, no matter how evil the more evil candidate is.  Such a view of voting largely ignores consequences.  It’s not a view that I support. How about you?

Freedom Foundation protest coverage by the Bellevue Reporter

On September 28, hundreds of people protested the annual dinner of the Freedom Foundation in Bellevue, where the guest speaker was renowned racist Dinesh D’Souza. The Bellevue Reporter print edition had an excellent piece about the protest, including content critical of D’Souza and Trump.

Freedom Foundation protest coverage by Bellevue Reporter

Oddly, though, the Bellevue Reporter website doesn’t, as of the time of this writing, have a link to the article, and an Internet search doesn’t reveal it.

Stop the so-called Freedom Foundation from bringing bigot Dinesh D’Souza to Bellevue

I got this email from the Northwest Accountability Project. D’Souza sure is a despicable bigot. I don’t think it’s “censorship” to oppose his appearance. I do not propose denying his free speech rights. I just oppose giving him a platform to spread his disgusting views.

The Freedom Foundation has sunk to a new low. Their annual fundraising event is scheduled for later this month and they’ve chosen outspoken bigot Dinesh D’Souza as their keynote speaker. We’re calling on the Hilton Bellevue, the hotel hosting the scheduled September 28 fundraiser, to respect workers and the community, and cancel D’Souza’s appearance.

D’Souza is a convicted felon who has been pardoned by President Donald Trump. D’Souza has made millions from his racist, homophobic, misogynistic, and anti-working class writings and movies. He opposes the Civil Rights Act, called President Obama a “boy” from “the ghetto,” said that American slaves were treated “pretty well”. In college, as the editor of the student newspaper, he publicly outed LGBTQ students without their permission. He was even deemed too radical for CPAC, the annual gathering of Republican ideologues, after he repeatedly mocked teenage survivors of mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

He may be too extreme for most conservatives, but according to the Freedom Foundation’s CEO Tom McCabe, he’s the “perfect fit for the Freedom Foundation.” For once, we agree with McCabe’s assessment.
The Freedom Foundation may endorse his brand of bigotry, but our community businesses should not give a platform to this kind of intolerant hate mongering.
D’Souza is an extremist provocateur whose hateful rhetoric is inconsistent with our shared Northwest values. By choosing D’Souza as their keynote speaker, the Freedom Foundation have shown us all their true colors. Will you join us in taking a stand against the Freedom Foundation and D’Souza? Tell Hilton to cancel D’Souza today.

In solidarity,

The team at the Northwest Accountability Project

What are we getting out of Boeing’s tax breaks?

As a young girl, my daughter had a fear of flying. She overcame this through a thorough study of airplanes and landed on the 737 as her preferred means of transportation in the air. So naturally, she asked for a Boeing T-shirt for a present. It says, “If it’s not Boeing, I’m not going!”

So let’s talk about Boeing. You might expect that Boeing would treat Everett as the jewel in the crown of its operations. That is certainly what the Boeing management led legislators and the governor to believe when the company demanded first a $3.2 billion tax concession from the state, and then another $8.7 billion.

But what did this recent tax giveaway to Boeing get us? A loss of close to 12,000 jobs, 15% of the total Boeing workforce in our state. That means that the state gave Boeing about $138,000 for every single job they took away!

Boeing just heralded its new 787-10, built in South Carolina. This was the first Boeing jet to make its first flight outside of Puget Sound. The company is forecasting that production of the earlier 787 models may slow down. Where will the planes not be built? Well, naturally, not in Boeing’s old home of Washington. That tax money we gave them? It just finances outsourcing of jobs and investment to other states and countries.

Boeing is spending billions of dollars in South Carolina and not in our state just to stick it to the unionized workers, the machinists and the engineers, in our state. There is no other reason, financial or otherwise, to forsake decades of investment in plant and workers. Remember how all this got started: Boeing took over McDonnell Douglas in 1997, but actually the McDonnell Douglas management took over Boeing. Right away, they went looking for a new Boeing corporate headquarters, not in Seattle.

The guy who oversaw this flight from and fleecing of our state was Harry Stonecipher. He dreamed up outsourcing the 787 to Japan, Italy, South Carolina and other places, which resulted in billions of dollars of cost overruns when the quality of this outsourcing was not good enough to fly safely in the new airplane.

As Jim Albaugh, chief of Commercial Airplanes at Boeing, explained in January 2011, “We spent a lot more money in trying to recover than we ever would have spent if we’d tried to keep the key technologies closer to home.” But Stonecipher was not fired for his mismanagement of Boeing, he was fired for his mismanagement of his personal life after it came out he was having an affair with another Boeing manager.

Washington has not only given billions to Boeing in tax breaks, it has invested in workers’ education to insure a pipeline of skilled employees for Boeing. At Edmonds Community College, the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center teaches manufacturing assembly, electrical assembly, quality assurance, aerospace tooling and aerospace composites. Everett Community College has both the Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing and an aviation maintenance technology program. In 2012, the Legislature established the Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing Pipeline Advisory Committee.

However, with Boeing’s job drain, we do not need a pipeline. These workers are picked off by companies in other states, with no investment by those states. Recently SPEEA, the Boeing engineers union, sent out a notice to its members about Lockheed Martin holding a Seattle job fair to hire for positions in California and Texas. So now aerospace companies are poaching Boeing workers from our state. These workers have been educated thanks to our public investments in K-12 and higher education to supply Boeing with a skilled workforce. Now Boeing does not need or want these workers.

Boeing is indeed going. There is no reason why the state of Washington must pay them to go. The Legislature should immediately close that $8.7 billion tax loophole, and put that money into education from pre-kindergarten through college. Then we would have workers ready for Washington companies, including aerospace companies, who are committed to our state. Boeing is not one of those.

Originally published a the Everett Herald

How corporate, hawkish Democrats betrayed the party and elected Trump

The neoliberals [ We elected them, remember? ] and neocons created an unholy matrimony. We let the globalized corporate camel’s nose under the tent and now folks are worried about Trump’s business being a conflict of interest.

As I use “we” here, I am reflecting and including myself as part of a people that acted as a bystander rather than an upstander over the years of my life. My own activism has been off and on. I realize that I cannot do it all, even now. I also realize that we need to create a friendly space for people to join in activism at the level of commitment they have to offer. We need to accept activists at their current zone of proximal development. There is more than enough work to do for everyone and all talents are needed in this work.

And now we suddenly worry about more because of Trump. Suddenly many are worried about white nationalism. It has been part of this country since our inception. Yet white nationalism has never stopped. And there are many of us who ignored the constructs of racism gripping our country. Racism continues to allow the murder of innocent Native Americans, blacks, and Latinos.

We’ve allowed deregulation and privatization to take root. We allowed Citizens United. We bailed out the banks and Wall Street. Some of us fought these things in the streets. Some of us showed apathy.

We allowed ourselves to be seduced by the propaganda of consumerism. Think about #BlackFriday.

We allow our current neoliberal president to protect bankers and big oil while he militarized the police who use violence against peaceful water protectors.

We allowed jobs to be outsourced and unions to be disempowered. Our current neoliberal president and most of the country stood by while his former Chief of Staff closed 50 public schools in poor black and brown neighborhoods to privatize them, while he fired 1,000s of educators to replace them with 5 week trained corporate TFA players.

Our current neoiberal president stood by while the former secretary of education, Arne Duncan claimed that “Katrina was the best thing that ever happened to New Orleans”. Most of the country stood by while people suffered, died, and virtually all public schools in New Orleans were privatized virtually overnight.

We stood by while Gov Snyder poisoned the water of Flint, Michigan and allowed Betsy DeVos, Nestle, the water companies, and the water profiteers to take the money of the victims.

Most of us stood by while all three branches of our government were sold out to corporate power. Most of us stood by while black and brown votes were disenfranchised by redistricting and voter suppression.

We allow our current neoliberal president to engage in permanent war while privatizing agencies like Blackwater to be our mercenaries.

We stood by and allowed Disaster Capitalism to flourish.

By voting for the lesser of 2 evils in a 2 party system for years now, we paved the way to authoritarian white nationalism / NeoNazism and nepotism.

Kudos to those who have been awake and actively organizing this entire time. We may be weary, but we have to create space in our lives to build bridges with all other activists – the civil rights movement – climate justice movement – immigration rights movement – #BlackLivesMatter#NoDAPL#IdleNoMore – public ed activists – unionists – Fight for $15 – Anti-war movement – all of us need to work together – organize as allies.

It will take a general strike to end corporate power. Or a very ugly revolt. Or both. The French succeeded in overthrowing their government in 2+ weeks in 1968. De Gaulle fled the country. Workers could’ve done better with their negotiations, but in the end they won much. Trump and the GOP aren’t going to be champions for the middle class. Kudos to some of the conservative GOP who are already disagreeing with some of Trump’s decisions. But will you join us to fight? Wall Street and white nationalists are still in charge. Will you organize against racism?

Are you awake yet? Or will the apathy continue? How will we organize? When? Where? Will you make time in your life to take a stand and organize yet? I am ready.

Response to Jonathan Rauch's "How American Politics Went Insane"

In a lengthy article in The Atlantic, How American Politics Went Insane, Jonathan Rauch diagnoses dysfunction in American politics as being caused by a breakdown of party structure and the rise of extremist outside groups such as the Tea Party who can’t be controlled. Rauch’s proposed solution to our political dysfunction is to bring back strong party machines that can enforce discipline and fight off extremists. Rauch wants to bring back pork-barrel spending, secret negotiations in smoke-filled rooms, and control by party bosses and committee chairs.

But what’s to prevent extremists from taking over party machinery? The main problem is extremism (on the right) fueled by donations from self-interested corporations and rich people.

This question was addressed by James Madison in Federalist Paper #10, where he worried both about extremists factions taking over the government and about majorities oppressing minorities. He thought that the large number of representatives, interests, and electors would make it difficult for factions to take over.  He thought that no single self-interested faction would be large enough to become a majority capable of oppressing others. He thought that the voters would tend to select worthy representatives. Apparently he was overly optimistic.

Madison explored majority rule v. minority rights in this essay. He countered that it was exactly the great number of factions and diversity that would avoid tyranny. Groups would be forced to negotiate and compromise among themselves, arriving at solutions that would respect the rights of minorities. Further, he argued that the large size of the country would actually make it more difficult for factions to gain control over others. “The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States.”