Letter in Washington Post: “VotePact Offers Voters a Sensible Alternative”

August 29th, 2016 by Sam

The Washington Post just published this letter about VotePact:

In his Aug. 24 op-ed about Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, “2016’s Ralph Nader,” Dana Milbank described VotePact.org as a group that backs third-party candidates. This simplification was a way of mentioning VotePact without noting the problem VotePact solves — a problem that pundits use to effectively restrict voter choice.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump both have record-high unfavorability ratings among the public. There is a deep hunger for another viable choice, but this is hindered because many voters feel compelled to vote for Ms. Clinton or Mr. Trump simply because they fear or hate the other.

In the face of many obstacles, we suggest a solution for people stuck in fear: Pair up with someone you know and trust from the other side of the two-party divide. That is, instead of you and a friend canceling out each other’s votes, one self-loathingly voting for Ms. Clinton and the other for Mr. Trump, you vote for the third-party candidates you prefer. You both get to vote your preference without helping the candidate you most dislike.

Sam Husseini, Riverdale
The writer is founder of VotePact.org.

How Disenchanted Democrats and Republicans Together Can Break the Two Party Duopoly

August 25th, 2016 by Sam


From The Real News: “How Disenchanted Democrats and Republicans Together Can Break the Two Party Duopoly” 

Selling a Lifetime Subscription to the Politics of Fear

August 24th, 2016 by Sam

The Washington Post — and much of the establishment — wants you to buy a lifetime subscription to the politics of fear.

Dana Milbank, a columnist for the paper, popped up at Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s news conference that focused on climate change. After Stein noted that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have gotten billions in free media, he chimed in: “Dana Milbank with the Washington Post segment of the corporate media. I have a conundrum I want to present to you. I could write about today and others could report here about what an important issue climate change is. And we would publish it or broadcast it. The fact is very few people will read it. They will go read or view stories about Trump’s staff machinations or Clinton’s e-mails. I’m not sure the issue is necessarily a corporate media but what people are demanding. Why is that? What is the way around that if there is one?”

Milbank is pretending to be so concerned about what it is people want. What came to mind for me was John Milton’s aphorism: “They who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them of their blindness.”

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Votepact Founder Sam Husseini on Black Agenda Report Radio

August 23rd, 2016 by Sam

Glen Ford talks with Sam Husseini about polling, asking the right questions and third party candidates, here.

How Presidential “Non-Opinion” Polls Drive Down Third Party Numbers and Facilitate Debate Exclusion

August 18th, 2016 by Sam

This week, the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced what polls it will utilize in excluding candidates from its debates.

The CPD says candidates like the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein must get 15 percent in polls conducted by “five national public opinion polling organizations” — ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, Fox News, and NBC/Wall Street Journal.

Not only — as several have correctly argued — is the 15 percent threshold arbitrary and exclusionary, but these polls don’t actually ask voter preferences at all.

They all ask “If the presidential election were being held today for whom would you vote?” or some minor variation of that.

Who you want or prefer and what you would do in the voting booth may be very different things. These “public opinion polls” don’t actually measure opinion — they are a non-opinion polls. They ask a false hypothetical regarding a future action.

 A better public opinion question would be: “Who do you want to be president” or “Who do you prefer to be president?” or “Who is your first choice to be president?”

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Media Advisory: Strategic VotePact Gives Life to #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary

July 21st, 2016 by Sam

Contact: Aimee Pohl, aimee.pohl at gmail.com

With astounding high negatives for both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the VotePact voting strategy offers a meaningful alternative to millions of Americans.

Many Americans want to vote their conscience, but are held back for fear. Conservatives are told (Scott Walker) “A vote for anyone other than Donald Trump in November is a vote for Hillary Clinton.” And progressives are similarly told (Dan Savage) “If Donald Trump becomes president, the people who will suffer are not going to be pasty white Jill Stein and her pasty white supporters.”

But there is a solution to this: VotePact.org.

The core idea of VotePact is: Instead of voters cancelling out each other — one voting for Clinton and the other for Trump — they can both vote for the independent candidates of their choice. This way, they free up votes in pairs to go to the candidates the voters most want. And, because it’s in pairs, it avoids the risks that may come from voting for independent candidates.

This year, third party or independent candidates include Libertarian candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, presumptive Green Party candidate and Harvard-educated physician and activist Jill Stein and Constitution Party’s Darrell L. Castle, a former Marine officer who trained under Oliver North. They are expected to be on approximately 50, 47 and 25 state ballots respectively.

Obtaining increased numbers opens the door for independent candidates getting more federal matching funds as well as a place in the presidential debates.

VotePact.org founder Sam Husseini said today: “With some real dialogue and work, people can use VotePact to get out of the duopoly’s Trump-Clinton trap and adobe acrobat engage in genuinely strategic voting. Given the public’s hunger for something new and the unpredictable nature of the election so far, it seems shortsighted to discount the significance of independent candidates now.”

#BernieAndBoom

June 8th, 2016 by Sam

The dissent within the Democratic Party that Sen. Bernie Sanders has sparked needs somewhere to go.

It should go in a direction that doesn’t back Clinton — and doesn’t help Trump.

That seems like you can’t do both those things, but you can if you parse it through and do some real work.

That energy should not go to backing Hillary Clinton: We’ve been down that road before. Gov. Howard Dean was the ostensible “anti war” candidate in 2004, he got folded into the campaign of John Kerry, who was “for the war before he was against it.” Dean promised a movement in “Democracy for America” and it’s not delivered much so far as I can tell. It’s difficult to believe that Sanders, after his likely endorsement of Clinton, will be in much of position to meaningfully change policy in a Clinton administration. Note that even Sanders’ position on many issues, especially foreign policy, were at best weak tea. At best, realistically speaking, millions of Sanders supporters falling behind Clinton now will result in a hollowness and crumbs.

That energy should not go toward helping Trump: Some of Sanders’ backers have been rallying around “Bernie or Bust.” While I appreciate the sentiment, it needs to be more strategic than that. Many progressives and other supporters of Sanders correctly note that giving up on the electoral system, or voting third party when someone has a preference for Clinton over Trump, can be self defeating. Of course, if someone has equal distaste for Trump and Clinton, then one can simply vote for any independent candidate of their choice, but the reality is that many will feel compelled to vote for Clinton because they so fear and loath Trump — just as many will feel drawn to voting for Trump because of hatred toward Clinton.

How to resolve this?

What I suggest at VotePact.org for Sanders supporters to do now: Reach out to Republicans in your life. Make a pact: You vote for an independent party candidate, like the Greens (Jill Stein is the likely nominee) or a socialist candidate and your Republican friend, relative, co-worker, whatever, votes for some candidate other than Trump. They can vote for the Libertarian (they just launched their Gary Johnson – William Weld ticket, both former Republican governors) or the Constitution party. Read the rest of this entry »

VotePact on “The Monitor” with Mark Bebawi

June 7th, 2016 by Sam

Sam Husseini and Mark Bebawi talk about how fear motivates for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump campaigns and how VotePact offers a solution. Audio at kpft.org starts at 13:00. Some background on the show.

Against Greenwald Resigning to Public “Suffering” of Trump and Clinton

May 3rd, 2016 by Sam

Speaking of likely nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the writer Glenn Greenwald ended his appearance on the program “Democracy Now” this morning thus: “These are the two most unpopular presidential candidates ever to run, I think, in 30 years. They have the highest unfavorable ratings of any nominees in decades. The only thing they’re able to do to one another is try and be as toxic and nasty and destructive as possible, because everybody has already decided, more or less, that they’re so unlikable. And so, it’s going to be the opposite of an inspiring election. It’s just going to be two extremely unpopular people trying to destroy the other on both a personal level, backed by huge amounts of money and serving more or less the same interests.”

Now, I could quibble with parts of that (I think there’s a limit to how nasty they can or will be towards each other in some ways given that they represent, as Greenwald rightly states, more or less the same interests), but on balance, I think that’s a fair summary of the situation.

Unfortunately, Greenwald then in a subtle but critical way goes off track: “I think the two parties and the establishment leaders in Washington, and the people who support and run that whole system, have gotten exactly the election that they deserve. Unfortunately, Americans are going to have to suffer along with them.”

I think Greenwald is wrong on both these points and I think it’s central to how one views politics. Perhaps upon reflection Greenwald — who speaks in a rapid, engaging style — will agree.

First off, the people who support and run the whole system are not getting the election they “deserve”. They’re getting the election they largely wanted. One “choice” — despite some anti-establishment rhetoric — is a billionaire who indicates that he’s a xenophobic misogynist who at times doesn’t want a minimum wage at all. The other, by all serious indications, is the leading pro-war corporate elitist. That seems to be a no lose proposition to the establishment. The public would seem to be trapped in this system because so many people find each of them so repulsive.

But that’s exactly the more critical problem with Greenwald’s statement. The general public does not “have to suffer along with them.” The general public can and should organize themselves in response to these choices given. If people feel equally repelled by both, then there has never been a better time to boldly vote for a third party candidate: Green, Libertarian, etc.

If a voter finds either Trump or Clinton to be a “lesser evil” — then the voter can team up with their political “mirror image” and both, as a pair, vote for the third party candidates of their choice. That’s what I suggest at VotePact.org. This way, a “disenchanted Democrat” and “disenchanted Republican” who know and trust each other can break out of their partisan boxes and siphon off votes in pairs. They wouldn’t change the balance between Clinton and Trump, but they would build up other emerging parties and candidates.

Much of the discussion on the program Greenwald was on was about the pacifist priest Daniel Berrigan, who recently died. Despite his religious orientation, which might lead to some acceptance of suffering (Berrigan once commented if you want to follow Jesus, you should “look good on wood”), I would hope Berrigan would not be one to embrace “suffering” two bad choices needlessly. I’d think that Berrigan would want to find a way to bridge the two party divide — which is supported by little more than fear and hate — and have people who may disagree come together against such bondage with understanding.

Could Voters Opposed to Both Clinton and Trump Team up Using VotePact?

April 27th, 2016 by Sam

There’s a solution to the predicament most of the U.S. will be facing between now and November: Liberals, progressives and others disenchanted with the likely Democratic nominee and conservatives disenchanted with the likely Republican nominee can to pair up and each vote for the candidates they more genuinely want.

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