Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Full VotePact Segment on Katie Halper Show

Monday, September 21st, 2020

Talking VotePact on Katie Halper Show with Sam Husseini

Sunday, September 20th, 2020

VotePact is an all volunteer effort. Special thanks to Stephanie Welch who both suggested Katie book Sam on and then cut the video. If you’d like to help, please spread the word or drop a line to sam@votepact.org. If you can contribute financially — we’d love to do VotePact-related polling — please drop a line as well.

VotePact is Totally Different from “VoteSwapping”

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

People continue to be confused by voteswapping. This happens every four years in part because major media like the New York Times, NPR and ABC have periodically hyped voteswapping and have continuously ignored VotePact.

Voteswapping involves voters in so-called “swing” states who want to vote for third parties “swap” votes with committed Democrats and Republicans in so-called “safe” states. This was outlined by VotePair.org and VoteTrader.org, both now defunct. So, for example, a true believing Green in say, Ohio, votes for Biden while a Biden believer in New York votes for Howie Hawkins, the Green Party nominee. So, emerging parties don’t grow, their votes are just moved to other states. Voters end up voting for candidates they don’t actually believe in.

In contrast to “swapping,” VotePact is not an attempt to “minimize the damage” of a third party run—it is designed to actually shake up the political spectrum, create a realignment and open the door to actual victory for independents or emerging parties. VotePact liberates a vote from Biden and a vote from Trump so they can go to candidates the voters actually want. Also, VotePact does not result in people voting for candidates they don’t want—it frees people to vote for candidates they do want, but are held back by fear because of the limitations of the voting system. While the Electoral College is central to “vote swapping,” it is not at all central to VotePact, though VotePact does work best if the two voters are in the same state.

Sanders Suspends: What Happened? What Now?

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk commented just as Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign: “Bernie made a number of mistakes that I highlighted and broke down in detail. No excuses. Having said that, you’re out of your fucking mind if you think I’ll forget or look past ‘bloody monday’, aka the day Obama got Pete & Amy to drop & endorse Biden. Saving his campaign.”

In fact, the “Bloody Monday” move — when Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar both endorsed Biden just after his South Carolina win and just before “Super Tuesday” — might be the tip of the iceberg in terms of how the DNC or other establishment forces molded the campaign to producer this outcome.

Consider:

* Kamala Harris and Cory Booker pulled out of the race before South Carolina, paving the way for Biden’s win there. Jim Clyburn of course endorsed Biden just before South Carolina. Tragically, Jesse Jackson only endorsed Sanders after.

* Warren split the progressive ranks throughout and ultimately refused to endorse Sanders.

* Even the choices of the candidates was useful to stopping Sanders. Pete Buttigieg was from Indiana and the net effect of his campaign was to deny Sanders a clear win in not-so-far-away Iowa. Amy Klobuchar was from Minnesota and so the net effect of her campaign was to throw that state to Biden so that Biden won something substantial outside of the south on Super Tuesday, making his rise appear national and therefore plausibly inevitable.

* Ostensibly antiwar candidate Tulsi Gabbard throughout refused to meaningfully criticize the war addicted Biden — even when she had a clear shot to do so during the debates on his Iraq war lies. Meanwhile, Sanders just kept saying Biden voted for the Iraq war while Sanders didn’t. Sanders never meaningfully made the case that Biden played key role in making the Iraq invasion happen and never really tore into his lies.

* Mike Gravel — who might have really tore into Biden — was excluded from the debate stage throughout.

* Julián Castro was marginalized shortly after he attacked Biden.

* Bloomberg coming in had the net effect of Warren going after him — for things she could well have gone after Biden about but didn’t. His demise effectively gave the base a sense of weird relief that Biden is the nominee: “Well, at least we didn’t get stuck with Billionaire Bloomberg”.

You couldn’t have planned it better for Biden if you tried. And lots of forces — from the DNC to the establishment media did try in thousands of ways.

Additionally, the entire “Ukrainegate” obsession — contrary to a slew of deluded progressive commentators at the time — built up Biden as the anti-Trump. Trump was trying to attack him, so he must be the one Trump is afraid of was the obvious logic. That was the net effect of the entire media focus on that including the ultimate impeachment (remember impeachment?).

Indeed, in this incredibly vicious cycle, just as many Republicans likely turned to Trump because they felt they needed a corrupt celebrity to stop Hillary Clinton, many Democrats likely turned to Biden for similar reasons this year.

And at a societal level, the pandemic struck chords of fear in people’s collective psychology. It was like the Y2K story. As January 1, 2000 approached, people were filled with dread and fear, so that what should have been a time for great hope was a time for just hoping to get by. Like now. The pandemic pushed many people to turn to the familiar, to something that they associate with not being a disaster. (This is the opposite of what happened in 1900 — that period was apparently greeted with great embrace.)

Then there’s Sanders’ own role, his incapacity — or more likely, his unwillingness — to mount sharper attacks on Biden, of shedding his imperial presumptions and more deeply taking on the foreign policy establishment. Sanders’ ultimate legacy may be what the late great Bruce Dixon called “Sheepdogging.”

So, now what?

As I outlined last month:

There are two obvious responses:

Burn it Down: The impulsive thing to do would be to want to burn down the Democratic Party. It’s possible that the establishment of the Democratic Party would be OK with this — they seem to fear a President Sanders more than the fear another term of Trump. So, people would stay home or vote for a third party or independent candidate who openly states that they have virtually no chance of winning.

Cave In: Others might insist that no matter how badly the Democratic Party establishment treats its voters, they need to get in line come November and vote for whoever the nominee is. This is euphemistically referred to as “hold your nose and voting.” People have done this for decades and it’s typically resulted in the corporate wing of the Democratic Party becoming more and more powerful.

The first of these will be disastrous because it will help Trump.

The second will be disastrous because it effectively surrenders control of the Democratic Party to the corporate wing, probably for the foreseeable future.

But there is a third choice: The VotePact strategy.

With the VotePact strategy,  in the general election, disenchanted Democratics team up with a disenchanted Republicans. They pair up: spouses and friends and coworkers and neighbors and debating partners and ex-facebook friends. Instead of the two of them voting for candidates they don’t want, they pair up and vote for the third party or independent candidate of their choice.

Given the pandemic, all bets may be off. Things could slide into disaster — or a great new world could be born. One could almost envision the rise of the Stay-At-Home party. People can talk to their loved ones in a way they never have. And they may embrace their neighbors — even if it is at ten feet — as the never have before. Zoom could be filled with hopes and dreams and a path might be found to get there. We might be driven by fear and shallow hate and sectarian thinking — or we might decide to come together as a country and as a world as we never have before.

VotePact takes work. But it’s a path out of the duopoly and toward freedom. Given the tumult before us, it is actually a rather moderate proposal, drawing us to a sane center, away from the disastrous paths of both Biden, which gave birth to Trump — and Trump himself.

If Sanders is Robbed of the Nomination, It’s Time for the VotePact Strategy

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

Right now, the entire Democratic Party apparatus and allied corporate media are working to ensure that Sen. Bernie Sanders does not get the Democratic nomination even if he gets a plurality of delegates and votes in the primaries.

The Democratic Party establishment seems to be gearing up for a brokered convention which will anoint an establishment candidate with the nomination.

This risks fracturing the party and effectively paving the way for a second term for Donald Trump.

Obviously progressive forces will try to stop these eventualities, but a plan is needed if they arise.

There are two obvious responses:

Burn it Down: The impulsive thing to do would be to want to burn down the Democratic Party. It’s possible that the establishment of the Democratic Party would be OK with this — they seem to fear a President Sanders more than the fear another term of Trump. So, people would stay home or vote for a third party or independent candidate who openly states that they have virtually no chance of winning.

Cave In: Others might insist that no matter how badly the Democratic Party establishment treats its voters, they need to get in line come November and vote for whoever the nominee is. This is euphemistically referred to as “hold your nose and voting.” People have done this for decades and it’s typically resulted in the corporate wing of the Democratic Party becoming more and more powerful.

The first of these will be disastrous because it will help Trump.

The second will be disastrous because it effectively surrenders control of the Democratic Party to the corporate wing, probably for the foreseeable future.

But there is a third choice: The VotePact strategy.

With the VotePact strategy,  in the general election, disenchanted Democratics team up with a disenchanted Republicans. They pair up: spouses and friends and coworkers and neighbors and debating partners and ex-facebook friends. Instead of the two of them voting for candidates they don’t want, they pair up and vote for the third party or independent candidate of their choice.

If there’s an anti establishment ticket that appeals to both left and right — think something like Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul — it could bring together a transpartisan united alliance from across the political spectrum against the establishment candidates. (Yes, Trump is and always has been an establishment candidate, his rhetoric to the contrary.)

Thus a shrewd thing for Sanders supporters to do in the short term is to reach out to anti establishment Republicans: To try to get them to vote for Sanders if he does get the nomination — and to get them to pair up and vote independent with them if he doesn’t.

The great thing about this is that putting it on the table now lessens the chances that it will have to happen. That is, the Democratic establishment, by trying to stop Sanders, is effectively saying to Sanders supporters: You have to vote for the Democratic nominee no matter who it is. Otherwise, you’re helping Trump.

The truth of course is that the Democratic establishment is effectively helping Trump by undermining Sanders in this way.

But having VotePact on the table now makes it clear to all concerned: Sanders supporters do have another path. They don’t have to attack the party or capitulate to its establishment. They can make a VotePact with a Republican and vote in a manner that is both principled and super strategic.

Sam Husseini is the founder of VotePact.org.

How a Would-be Thanksgiving Argument Can Help Birth a Revolution

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019
It’s become something of a cliché: Many people dread Thanksgiving in part because they have to break bread with friends — and especially relatives — who they adamantly disagree with politically.

One is pro-immigration, the other wants to build a bigger wall, etc.
But what if this annoying encounter was actually a blessing?
I don’t identify as either a Democrat or a Republican, but I recognize that there are millions of people who identify as “Democrats” for some good reason and there are lots of people who identify as “Republican” for good reason.
Thing is, those “good reasons” mostly have to do with how bad the other party is.
And a further rub is that many rank and file Democratic voters and Republican voters agree on certain core issues: They are sick of Wall Street and big business domination. They are skeptical of perpetual wars, etc. This is in spite of the fact that the establishment of both the Democratic and Republican parties are deeply tied to Wall Street and back perpetual wars, occasional rhetoric to the contrary.
Indeed, when a somewhat popular figure comes before the base — whether it’s Democratic Obama or Republican Trump — they take the guise of being critical of Wall Street and of war.
But that’s not how they govern.
They back Wall Street.
They back wars, occasionally what speaking against them.
And they get away with it.
Why?
Because if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.

The Trump-Media Logrolling

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

Today, hundreds of newspapers, at the initiative of the Boston Globe, are purporting to stand up for a free press against Trump’s rhetoric.

Today also marks exactly one month since I was dragged out of the July 16 Trump-Putin news conference in Helsinki and locked up until the middle of the night.

As laid in my cell, I chuckled at the notion that the city was full of billboards proclaiming Finland was the “land of free press“.

So, I’ve grown an especially high sensitivity to both goonish behavior toward journalists trying to ask tough questions — and to those professing they are defending a free press when they are actually engaging in a marketing campaign.

As some have noted, the editorials today will likely help Trump whip up support among his base against a monolithic media. But, just as clearly, the establishment media can draw attention away from their own failures, corruptions and falsehoods simply by focusing on some of Trump’s.

Big media outlets need not actually report news that affects your life and point to serious solutions for social ills. They can just bad mouth Trump. And Trump need not deliver on campaign promises that tapped into populist and isolationist tendencies in the U.S. public that have grown in reaction to years of elite rule. He need only deride the major media.

They are at worst frenemies. More likely, at times, Trump and the establishment media log roll with each other. The major media built up Trump. Trump’s attacks effectively elevate a select few media celebrities.

(more…)

The Immigration Con: How the Duopoly Makes the Public Forget about Roots Causes of War and Economics

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

Many are focusing on the travel ban, largely targeting Muslim countries, and the separation and detention of asylum seekers separated from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border. The the U.S. media and political establishment has put the issue of immigration front and center, causing all manner of political venting and pro and anti Trump venom to spew forth.

A silver lining seems to be that it has helped raise issues that — unlike the Russiagate story much of the establishment media has obsessed over — at least have some currency with the general public.

But the manner in which immigration issues have been focused on has obscured the root causes of those issues. Desperate migration is ultimately caused by economics, like so-called trade deals, corrupt Central American governments, often U.S.-backed, U.S.-backed coups and other policies.

And refugees desperately flee countries like Syria largely because of prolonged U.S.-backed wars.

In virtually all these instances, there is left-right opposition to the establishment policy that is often at the root of the problem. The establishment of the Republican and Democratic party have rammed through trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA and global pro-corporate policies. The U.S. government — with both Obama and Trump administrations — has backed coups like Honduras in 2009 or rigged elections like in 2017.

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How Trump and Obama are Exactly Alike

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017
Not until faithfulness turns to betrayal
And betrayal into trust
Can any human being become part of the truth.
—Rumi

Trump won the 2016 nomination and election largely because he was able to pose as a populist and anti-interventionist “America Firster”. Similarly, Obama won the 2008 election in good part because he promised “hope and change” and because he had given a speech years earlier against the then-impending invasion of Iraq.

Short of disclosure of diaries or other documents from these politicians, we can’t know for certain if they planned on reversing much of what they promised or if the political establishment compelled them to change, but they both eventually perpetrated a massive fraud.

What is perhaps most striking is actually how quickly each of them backtracked on their alleged purpose. Particular since they were both proclaimed as representing “movements”.

Even before he took office, Obama stacked his administration with pro-war people. He incredibly kept Bush’s head of the Pentagon, Robert Gates; nominated Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State, who he beat largely because she voted for giving Bush authorization to invade Iraq. Other prominent Iraq War backers atop the administration included VP Joe Biden, Susan Rice and Richard Holbrooke. Before he was sworn in, Obama backed the 2008 Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. See from 2008: “Anti-War Candidate, Pro-War Cabinet?

Predictably, the Obama years saw a dramatic escalation of the U.S. global assassination program using drones. Obama intentionally bombed more countries than any other president since World War II: Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan. Obama talked about a nuclear weapons free world, but geared up to spent $1 trillion in upgrading the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal. At the end of his administration, attempts at the UN to work toward banning nuclear weapons were sabotaged, efforts that the Trump administration continues. At his first news conference as president, Helen Thomas asked Obama if he know of any country in the Mideast that had nuclear weapons. Obama passed on the opportunity to start unraveling the mountain of deceits that constitutes U.S. foreign policy by simply saying “Israel” and instead said that he didn’t want to “speculate” about the matter.

As many have noted recently, Trump seemingly reversed himself on Syria and launched a barrage of cruise missiles targeting the Assad regime. It’s part of a whole host of what’s called “flip-flops” — Export-Import Bank, NATO, China, Russia, Federal Reserve — but which are in fact the unraveling of campaign deceits.

Fundamentally, Obama and Trump ran against the establishment and then helped rebrand it — further entrenching it.

(more…)

Election helps bring into view serious issues in polling

Thursday, November 10th, 2016
I just posted this on the American Association for Public Opinion Research listserve.

While I certainly agree that framing etc huge problem, doesn’t seem to me that this gets at critical issues made evident from what happened.

There of course is a spiral of silence with regard to “third party” candidates. Stein and Johnson supporters concluded that voting was futile, as was the framing in media and polling reports throughout.

What I think is happening is the public is lurching for real change and the political system doesn’t want to give it to them. Pollsters role in this is that the “prediction” of election has totally outweighed actually understanding the public’s views. No poll asked who people WANT or PREFER to be president. Why?

No scientific poll asked the preference question in RCV or Range Voting form. A wealth of information could be gotten this way. A huge part of this is that this is just no on agenda of major media. But if polling is to be anything other than an accessory for media framing of whatever corporate media want to frame, then something very real has to give here.

There’s a volatility in the polls because of the hunger for change and the sense that the choice (apparently feasible choices) are probably phony. There could be a plurality for a “third party” and we’d never know it because the right question isn’t being asked, much less reported prominently, understood.

Sam Husseini
VotePact.org