Tag Archives: election

Bernie: Run for President of All Fifty States

Senator Bernie Sanders is currently running as the lone challenger to Hillary Clinton for President.  Now that Bernie is running as a Democrat, I would like to suggest some ideas.  While Bernie runs for the Democratic nomination, he doesn’t have to follow the same old primary path of past Democratic candidates, especially in the run up to the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary.

First, run for President of All Fifty States!  While the primary schedule still starts with Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, there are 47 other states where working Americans live.  Bernie has already made trips to other states, and I hope that continues.  Iowa and New Hampshire voters are nice folks, but their demographic makeup doesn’t represents America.

Travel between Iowa and New Hampshire alone can be costly and time consuming.  But with the Internet and social media, I’m sure Bernie will reach out to voters in other states.

Don’t forget the non-Swing States.  For years, the folks in non-Swing States have been ignored.  If a Presidential candidate suddenly paid attention to them, it might result in more engagement by those voters: donations, volunteerism and votes.  Bernie needs those voters on Super Tuesday and other primaries.

Second, don’t kowtow to the “First in the Nation” status of Iowa and New Hampshire.  Don’t kowtow to their media pundits and political leaders.

True story: One morning in late 2007 on “The Exchange” radio program with host Laura Kinoy on NHPR, the guest was Presidential candidate Senator Chris Dodd.  Laura Kinoy asked Sen. Dodd: “I understand that you are on the ballot in Michigan?

Senator Dodd’s response to Kinoy’s question was a blatant pander to New Hampshire voters.  First he declared that “He” (his campaign) did not put himself on the ballot.  Rather, there were some “people in Michigan” who passed around a petition.

Next, Chris Dodd stated, “I can assure you that I have not been talking with ‘those people’, out in Michigan”.  He also made sure he mentioned that he supported New Hampshire’s “First in the Nation” status.  Being a native of Michigan (one of “those people”), I wasn’t very thrilled by his comments.

So, when Bernie is interviewed by Laura Kinoy, if she asks about their “First in the Nation” status, I hope that Bernie will smile and respond with, “I am running to be President of All Fifty States”.  If pressed further, he can say that’s a decision for the political parties, and he’s just following the 2016 schedule.

Third, if time permits, I hope that Bernie will occasionally cross the borders of Iowa to talk with folks in neighboring states.  If it upsets the Iowa media, he can just smile and say, “I am running to be President of All Fifty States”.

If you look at the county-level 2012 election map, you can see a large group of “blue” counties in eastern Iowa.  Across the border in southeast Minnesota, southwest Wisconsin and northwest Illinois is a large swath of blue territory.  So spend the morning in Iowa and the afternoon in Minnesota.  Or spend the day in Iowa and the evening in Illinois.  Wouldn’t it be fun to see Bernie visiting Madison, Wisconsin at the same time Gov. Scott Walker is in Iowa?

Over near western Iowa are Clay County in South Dakota and Thurston County in Nebraska.  Despite their small populations, they are two blue islands in a sea of red.  If Bernie were to visit Little Priest Tribal College or Nebraska Indian Community College, how might folks in other Native American tribes react?  Wow, a Presidential candidate actually paying attention to Native Americans.  With cell phone video, who knows, such a town hall event could go viral!

Fourth, bring the “Bernie Town Hall” format to other states.  I have attended two of Sen. Sander’s town hall events in Vermont.  At both events, there was a light meal for participants before Bernie’s remarks and Q&A session.

Why not have Bernie Town Halls with a light meal in Iowa and neighboring states?  If the campaign does not want to spend a lot of money on food, perhaps a potluck event would work.  This could be a great platform to talk about local food and building up our rural economy.  This might go against the grain in Iowa and Monsanto’s GMO Empire.  But I’m sure there are small organic farmers in Iowa who could be supported by the Sanders 2016 campaign for town hall events, in lieu of spending money on TV and radio ads.

Fifth, go long!  Remember when Tim Pawlenty put all of his eggs in the neighboring Iowa basket and dropped out early?  So, also focus on the primaries in the other Fifty States, ahead of time.

Senator Sanders can run in the Democratic Presidential Primary, but he doesn’t have to run like a typical Democrat.  I’m sure he already knows this.


Voting: Use It Or Lose It

As a member of the 45% minority of eligible Vermont citizens who actually turned out to vote on November 4th, I can sympathize with the 55% majority of no-shows; but only to a point.  Yes, the choices presented by the Democrats and Republicans for Vermont’s highest office were not very inspiring.  When Legislators reconvened to select a Governor they were presented with the same lackluster choices that Vermont citizens faced.

But voting is a “right” granted to American citizens, while not always the case in other countries.  Those that serve our nation in the military are often regarded as “defending our freedoms”, and this includes the right to vote.  Sadly, the right to vote does not always also include the right to good choices to select from.

The main point I want to convey is “Use it or lose it”.  If we don’t vote, despite the choices put forth by the Donkey and Elephant parties, we may someday no longer retain this right.  Or, if we still hang on to the right to vote, the two major political parties might someday be even less concerned about putting forth good candidates.

Since 1984, I have not missed voting in a single election.  The election of 1980 was what ingrained this habit in me.

When I graduated from high school, the voting age was 21.  When I transferred from a community college to Michigan State University in September 1979, voting was the last thing on my mind.  I was focused on my classes, navigating around a huge campus, and of course, a social life.  A short time before the 1980 election, I discovered that even though I had been a citizen of Michigan my entire life, I could not vote in East Lansing.  As my parents had not attended college, they were unaware of such local laws which prevent students from exercising their right to vote for President and state Governor.  When I first heard about an “absentee ballot”, it was too late to apply for one.  Going home on a weekday to my hometown’s government office in person was not a convenient option, but it was already too late.

At that point I was 22 years old, even though by then Congress had changed the voting age to 18.  So for the first possible election I could participate in, I was not able to vote.  Hence, since that experience, I have dutifully shown up in the voting booth, or requested an absentee ballot if necessary.

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A Skier’s View of Politics

The idea for this blog originated in November 2006, in my letter to the editor of the Rutland Herald (A skier’s View of Politics).  It was just after the mid-term election that gave control of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to the Democrats.  While I was very glad to see the end of one-party rule in Washington, DC, I was also extremely glad the election and negative ads were over (at least for 2 years).  I was really looking forward to a new ski season in Vermont.

As a native Midwesterner, self-exiled in Vermont (a Michigander-Flatlander), I consider myself a political moderate; a square peg that doesn’t fit exactly into either major political party.  After the 2006 Election, I had an “aha” moment, a path through the forest, the ski trail between our divided political parties (as in Jesse Ventura’s 2012 book).


My first ski trip to Vermont at Stowe, in December 1981.

When you ski, you go back and forth, left-right-left-right … (or vice versa, if you prefer).  That is the best way to get down the hill safely.  Ski The Middle, while continuing to turn back and forth, right-left-right-left, … enjoying the ride.  Enjoying both sides of the trail or slope, but not getting attached to one side or the other.

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