Selling a Lifetime Subscription to the Politics of Fear

August 24th, 2016

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

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

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

Contact: sam@votepact.org

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 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

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

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

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

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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After Sanders — a Path to Electoral Revolution

April 21st, 2016

Supporters of Bernie Sanders and others need to be looking for a path to meaningful social and political change in the likely event that he does not win the Democratic Party nomination.

I believe that my proposal — VotePact.org — whereby “disenchanted Democrats” and “disenchanted Republicans” pair up and both vote for the third party or independent candidates of their choice is the best strategy for them.

Here’s why:

Simply backing Hillary Clinton — no matter how hard you hold your nose — will not do: Voting for Clinton solidifies the notion that no matter how regressive a figure the Democratic Party nominates, progressives and others will vote for them. This mindset turns voters into serfs. While Clinton stresses what she allegedly has in common with Sanders supporters, her current rhetoric to the contrary, she is entrenched with the establishment in her ties to Wall Street, corporate power and hawkish U.S. foreign policy. There is every indication that a Clinton presidency would be a major boost to corporate and Wall Street control over the U.S. and the world — as well as a major boost to perpetual U.S. wars into the coming decades with quite certain devastating results. Voters need to have “somewhere to go” or they will continue to be a plaything of the elites.

Simply voting third party can backfire: Third party candidates have not forthrightly dealt with the real threat that their candidacies, given the way our election system is structured, may in effect help the establishment candidate a voter least likes. That is, if a present day Sanders supporters votes for Green candidate Jill Stein in the general election while they prefer Clinton to the Republican nominee, they could in effect be helping that Republican nominee, the dreaded “spoiler” problem.

This is a real problem and VotePact solves this problem because it does not change the balance between the establishment Democratic and Republican candidates — it in effect siphons off votes in pairs. This way, two friends don’t cancel out each others votes — one voting Republican and one voting Democrat. Instead, they build up independent candidates and send a real signal to the establishment by both voting for candidates that more closely reflect their beliefs — if done enough, it upends the political order. This requires work, the present day Sanders supporters will have to work with a would-be Republican voter they know and trust. But now is the time to do that. They can use their critique of Clinton to do that, instead of going down a path that may lead them to becoming a defacto Clinton apologist.

Not using VotePact could lead to further schisms, polarization and marginalization: That is, if progressives don’t adopt VotePact, there will be greater animosity between them and Clinton supporters, potentially further marginalizing them. If more progressives do adopt VotePact, it could be a path toward millions of people who had never considered voting for third party candidates to do so how long does viagra last 50 mg. That is, as VotePact pair ups happen, they become more likely to spread. If Green and other third party candidates on the other hand continue to follow their past models, they will likely remain in low single digits (though given the nature of this election, a third party candidate could take off). This despite the fact that many people who are not considering voting for them actually agree with them on the issues. In fact, many people who agree with them strongly on some issues end up becoming their greatest opponents, because they view them as a threat to a Republican becoming president.

There is a great imperative to use elections creatively: Whoever the Republican nominee is, there will likely be mass discontent on the Republican side. Would-be Republican voters will be searching for an alternative to being surfs themselves. The political establishment is banking on keeping voters locked into the two parties. They do this by feeding off of fear and hate. Progressives are endlessly told to hate the Republicans and conservatives and constantly told to hate Democrats. The negatives of Clinton and any likely Republican nominee show that people are going to be trapped into voting against candidates, not for them.

In this context, it is critical for Sanders supporters and other progressives and leftists to reach out to would be Republican voters they know — in their family, workplace, school, etc. VotePact is not just a voting strategy, it’s a method of political outreach — to the people you might disagree with most. Such political outreach, if the U.S. is going to genuinely become a better country, can be revolutionary in the most personal sense and is desperately needed. This leads to the would-be Democratic voter and would-be Republican voter together actually voting for third party or independent candidates they can meaningfully identify with.

VotePact helps movements: Many say there’s too much emphasis on elections. Fine. The objective condition is that the presidential election is happening and the mass of the public is engaged in that at some level. This is obviously not to say other forms of activism stop, but rather: Instead of cursing how the election is a distraction, how do we use it to reach people with a serious critique of establishment politics? How to we build towards a politics that can seriously challenge elites and their oligarchical instruments of economic repression and continuous wars? How do we get past an establishment with Clinton posing as progressive and then colluding with establishment Republicans against the interests of the majority? Part of the answer is we talk to would-be Republican voters in our lives — including the possibility of both dealing a blow to establishment politics by using VotePact.org.

How Libertarians and Socialists Can Work Together

March 18th, 2016

Andrew Stewart interviewed me about the election and how to people can make a much more meaningful impact by using VotePact. He writes about how he — from the left — can join with someone from the right to unite against the establishment that seeks to divide them:

Take as example myself and Pat Ford over at The Coalition Radio Show. We are basically on the same page with every imaginable social issue (LGBTQQI rights, abortion, sex workers, drug decriminalization) but have a respectful disagreement on economic issues, Pat is a Libertarian and I am a Socialist/Communist of the unaffiliated variety. Even if we disagree on those issues, which have a great level of difference, we both loathe the Democrats and the Republicans in this state and the wider nation. So we both have said we want to form a Vote Pact. I am going to vote for my Green Party candidate and Pat will vote for his Libertarian Party candidate. This is not to say that either of our votes are going to push our third party candidates to victory this year. But the loss of votes for the duopoly is far more threatening in the long run than trying to reform the Democrats and Republicans from within, a strategy that has failed again and again for literally decades.

Please read his writing and listen to our discussion here.