Tag: Democratic National Committee

There is a serious anti-Semitism problem in America

The election of Donald Trump to our nation’s highest office has emboldened anti-Semitic extremists in America. Two recent example of this involves the desecration of Jewish cemeteries in the St. Louis, Missouri and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania areas.

Last week, vandals damaged dozens of headstones in Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University Park, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. More recently, a similar act of mass vandalism occurred in Philadelphia at Mount Carmel Cemetery. While I don’t believe in God or the afterlife, I view grave desecration as blatant disrespect to the deceased and something that I have zero tolerance for. I thank those who have assisted in repairing the damage done to the cemeteries in Missouri and Pennsylvania, especially to the Muslim community in America, which has raised funds for, and assisted in, repairing the damage done to the Jewish cemeteries.

On a related note, after narrowly losing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair race this weekend, Keith Ellison was picked by new DNC Chairman Tom Perez to be DNC Deputy Chairman. While many on the right, and some on the left, have smeared Ellison by trying to paint him as an anti-Semitic extremist, Ellison’s first act as deputy chair was to condemn the desecration of Jewish graves:

Even before the desecration of Jewish graves in Missouri and Pennsylvania, there have been incidents where American Jews have been threatened since Trump’s election. Prior to Trump’s inauguration, a neo-Nazi website called for an armed march against the Jewish community in Whitefish, Montana. That march was postponed, and a block party in defense of the Jewish community in Whitefish was attended by several hundred people.

I call on Donald Trump to, at his address to Congress tomorrow, strongly condemn threats, intimidation, violence, and vandalism against Jewish people and institutions in America.

The 2016 Order of The Progressive Midwesterner Awards

As 2016 comes to a close, I hereby present the 2016 Order of The Progressive Midwesterner Awards. The Person of the Year will earn a spot on the list of members of the Order of The Progressive Midwesterner. Starting in 2017, listings of individuals on the list of recipients of the Order of The Progressive Midwesterner will become separate from the Order of The Progressive Midwesterner Awards.

PERSON OF THE YEAR – JENNIFER WEISS-WOLF

2016 was, all around, an awful year for progressives, both in the United States and worldwide. However, one bright spot in progressive advocacy is Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, a women’s rights advocate from New York City. Weiss-Wolf’s advocacy for increased access to feminine hygiene products in public restrooms and advocacy for abolition of sales taxes on tampons and other feminine hygiene products has earned her support for her ideas from Democrats and even a few Republicans. States like New York and Illinois have eliminated sales taxes on tampon thanks to Weiss-Wolf’s advocacy, and Weiss’s hometown of New York City has mandated that tampons be made freely available in public restrooms of city schools, jails, and shelters. Jennifer Weiss-Wolf is the ProgMid Person of the Year for 2016.

ELECTED OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR – BERNIE SANDERS

For the second time in consecutive years, Sanders, who represents Vermont in the U.S. Senate and unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination this year, is the recipient of a ProgMid award. Although Sanders didn’t win his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination and isn’t technically a Democrat, he has had a significant and largely positive impact on the Democratic Party. Sanders successfully pushed to make the national Democratic Party platform, which is non-binding for Democratic candidates, more progressive than in previous years and decades. Sanders helped bring progressive policies like making higher education truly affordable, single-payer health insurance, and expanding Social Security into the American political mainstream, even though none of those ideas will be enacted in the near future, at least at a national level. Furthermore, Sanders’s candidacy has led to the creation of the DNC’s Unity Commission, which will examine potential reforms to the Democratic presidential nomination process for the 2020 presidential election and future presidential elections after 2020. For his advocacy for progressive ideals and his efforts to improve the Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders is the ProgMid Elected Official of the Year for 2016.

ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – LILLY KING

While 2016 was a banner year for the far-right Vladimir Putin regime in Russia, one thing that did not go well for Russia this year was their performance in the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Russia sent considerably fewer athletes to Rio than originally planned after the Putin regime was caught running a large-scale doping operation. Even worse for the Russians, they were completely embarrassed by Lilly King of the United States, who, after publicly criticizing Russia’s Yuliya Yefimova for doping, defeated Yefimova in the pool for the gold medal in the women’s 100m breaststroke swimming event. King was also a member of the U.S. team that won gold in the women’s 4 x 100m medley relay in Rio. For continuing the time-honored tradition of Americans defeating Russians in international sport, and for promoting ethical competition in sport, Lilly King is the ProgMid Athlete of the Year for 2016.

PLACE OF THE YEAR – REPUBLIC OF AUSTRIA

While the far-right has gained significant ground worldwide, Austria is, to an extent, an exception. Austrians rejected a far-right presidential candidate not once, but twice, in 2016. In the first of effectively two presidential elections held in Austria in 2016, left-leaning European federalist candidate Alexander Van der Bellen received more votes than far-right fascist candidate Norbert Hofer in a runoff election after no candidate received an outright majority of the vote in the first round of the first election. However, the Constitutional Court of Austria annulled the runoff results because Hofer complained of election irregularities, resulting in the runoff being re-held. Voters gave Van der Bellen an even larger majority in the re-run of the runoff, and Hofer finally conceded. For rejecting a fascist would-be head of state not once, but twice, in the same year, the Republic of Austria is the ProgMid Place of the Year for 2016.

 

CONCEPT OF THE YEAR – POLITICAL RESISTANCE

As I’m sure that virtually everybody who reads this blog knows, Republican Donald Trump won this year’s presidential election despite winning a minority of the national popular vote. Not surprisingly, I’ve seen more than a few people on the left, and even many establishment Democrats, call for a non-violent political resistance to the incoming Trump Administration. With a barrage of right-wing federal legislation likely to be enacted starting early next year, progressives are going to expect resistance from the Democratic minorities in both houses of Congress. Political resistance is the ProgMid Concept of the Year for 2016.

Tom Perez doesn’t get it: listening to people is not a strategy to rebuild the Democratic Party

In the third paragraph of the statement on the front page of Tom Perez’s DNC chair campaign website, this is literally the first sentence of the third paragraph of Perez’s statement:

But most of all, we need to listen.

Really? Listening is what would be Perez’s top priority if elected DNC chair? Give me a break! If listening was the most important skill set to being a successful NASCAR driver, Tom Perez would be a multi-time Daytona 500 winner. Of course, Tom Perez isn’t a NASCAR driver, and listening is not the most important skill set to being a successful NASCAR driver. The same principle applies to political party management. I’ve always been of the belief that who you listen to is more important than whether or not you listen to anybody. Tom Perez has made a living listening to President Obama and his corporate neoliberal political allies promote a globalist, pro-free trade economic agenda that destroyed rural and blue-collar America, cost America millions of jobs, and helped Donald Trump win the presidency. I strongly fear that Perez would listen to the same political professional class that destroyed the Democratic Party under Obama’s watch if elected DNC chair.

Real leaders fight for what they believe in. Keith Ellison is a fighter. While Tom Perez and other Obama Administration officials were busy trying to convince Members of Congress to approve of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal (or, as I like to call it, Obama’s economic surrender to Victor Charlie), Keith called out the Obama cabinet for supporting horrendous trade deals with foreign countries. Keith took on the Obama cabinet, fought to stop the TPP, and won!

Now, Obama’s allies, still butthurt over TPP being effectively rejected by the American people, are now leading the opposition to Keith Ellison’s campaign for DNC chair. Keith defeated the Obama Administration once before, and, although I don’t think that he’ll do it again, I sure hope he does! We need a Democratic party that is less concerned about chasing suburban women and more interested in fighting for policies designed to rebuild America’s middle class.

ENDORSEMENT: Keith Ellison for Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Due to the entrance of Sally Boynton Brown to the race for DNC chairperson, I have edited the title of the blog post in order to replace the word “chairman” with the word “chairperson”.


I, Aaron Camp, proudly announce my support for Keith Ellison’s campaign for Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee (DNC)!

Earlier today, Ellison, who currently represents the Minneapolis, Minnesota area in the U.S. House of Representatives, announced that he would resign from the House if the DNC elected him to be their next chairperson. In other words, if Ellison is elected DNC chair, you can trust him to fight for progressive values on the national stage full-time.

Keith Ellison is a fighter. As a leader in the progressive faction of the Democratic Party, Ellison has fought to protect Social Security, championed peace in the Middle East, and strongly supported women’s reproductive rights. Ellison knows that, for Democrats to win, you must offer voters a reason to vote for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot.

If you wish to learn more about Ellison’s candidacy, his campaign website is here.

Howard Dean launches ageist attack on Elizabeth Warren

Former DNC Chairman and pro-Hillary Clinton superdelegate Howard Dean is trying to pour cold water on the idea of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) being the running mate of our party’s presidential nominee, whether the presidential nominee is Clinton or, less likely, Bernie Sanders. In the process, Dean attacked Warren for being too old for whatever fits his description of an ideal presidential candidate:

“Certainly somebody like that would be very helpful,” Dean said about the the Massachusetts senator.

But then he added, “I strongly believe we ought to have somebody under 50 on the ticket. I think the Baby Boomers have run this country for too long. We stepped away from that with (Barack) Obama; we don’t normally go back a generation. We’re gonna have two Baby Boomers running for president on the Democratic and the Republican side. So I would like somebody very much who is not in the Baby Boomer generation. Who is in this new upcoming generation — the younger the better.”

Dean cautioned this wasn’t about Warren herself, “ideologically I think Elizabeth Warren is terrific.” But, he said, there are lots of well-qualified younger options for vice president.

While 2016 is probably going to be the Baby Boomer generation’s last hurrah in a presidential election, Dean’s remarks about Warren are ageist and absurd. In fact, Warren is actually younger (66 years of age) than either Hillary (68 years of age) or Bernie (74 years of age).

Aside from legal qualifications to be Vice President (Natural-born U.S. Citizen, 35 years of age or older, U.S. resident for at least 14 years), there are two important factors that I will use to determine whether or not I could be comfortable with a particular candidate as our party’s vice-presidential nominee:

  1. Whether or not he or she is prepared to take the presidential oath of office at a moment’s notice
  2. Whether or not he or she would embarrass the Democratic Party in any way

I prefer the answer to #1 to be “yes” and #2 to be “no” for our party’s vice-presidential nominee. There’s a lot of people who fit that bill, including, but not limited to, Elizabeth Warren. Howard Dean’s real problem with Warren is that he’s an insecure asshole.

While Democrats call for more debates, Republicans use veterans as political pawns

With her political firewall eroding, Hillary Clinton is now calling for another Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire on February 4, between the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary. Not to be outdone by Hillary, Bernie Sanders called for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to sanction three debates in the later stages of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination:

Sanders’s campaign released a statement late Wednesday calling for additional debates in the Democratic primary, but with specific provisions.

The campaign is requesting one each in March, April and May. All three must not be scheduled on a Friday, Saturday or holiday, and all three must include Martin O’Malley along with Sanders and Clinton.

“If the Clinton campaign will commit to this schedule, we would ask the DNC [Democratic National Committee] to arrange a debate in New Hampshire on Feb. 4,” the statement said.

While Democrats are pushing the out-of-touch DNC into sanctioning more debates without using anybody as a political pawn, Republicans are offering more debates on their side of the ledger as a way of using those who served our country in uniform as political pawns. That all started over Donald Trump’s hissy fit about the fact that Megyn Kelly, a woman, will be the lead moderator of tonight’s FOX News Republican presidential debate in Iowa.

Two SuperPACs supporting Ted Cruz, Keep the Promise I and Keep the Promise II, offered to donate $1.5 million to charities supporting veterans if Trump and Cruz agree to a one-on-one debate before the Iowa Caucuses.

Not to be outdone by a Cruz SuperPAC, Carly Fiorina made a couple of offers to Trump, both of which would involve money being donated to veterans. The first offer involved a promise of a $1.5 million donation to veterans’ charities if Trump and Cruz agree to debate Fiorina in Sioux City, Iowa on Saturday, and the second officer involved a promise of a $2 million donation to veterans charities if Trump agreed to debate Fiorina at a Trump campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa scheduled for the same time as tonight’s debate.

While I normally appreciate donations to groups that seek to provide help to those who served our country in uniform (provided that they’re a reputable charity), using our nation’s veterans as political pawns is absolutely disgusting, and one of the lowest things I’ve ever seen in a presidential campaign. In fact, at least one veterans’ charity has already pre-emptively refused any money from a Trump event.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz launches condescending attack on pro-choice millennials

Ladies and gentlemen, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has, once again, insulted a large segment of her own party’s electorate. No, I’m not talking about Bernie Sanders supporters. I’m talking about millennials who support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health care decisions, including the right to decide whether or not to have an abortion.

In an interview with The New York Times, Wasserman Schultz was asked a beltway media-type question about whether or not she thought there was a generational divide in regards to enthusiasm for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign among female Democratic voters. Wasserman Schultz didn’t directly answer the question (apparently because she’s supposed to remain neutral in the Democratic presidential race, although she’s not been truly neutral) and decided to launch a political attack against the future of her own party:

Here’s what I see: a complacency among the generation of young women whose entire lives have been lived after Roe v. Wade was decided.

I’m a proud millennial who supports a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, and I am deeply offended by Wasserman Schultz’s offensive remarks. Us millennials are not stupid, lazy, or complacent. Us millennials strongly believe in democracy and civic engagement, most of us are very progressive on many issues, and most of us regard protecting women’s rights to be very important. There are three Democratic candidates running for president, and all three of them are strongly pro-choice when it comes to reproductive health issues.

I think that it’s past time for Debbie Wasserman Schultz to leave politics altogether and let the future of the Democratic Party lead the way on protecting women’s rights and many other important political issues. It’s clear to me that Wasserman Schultz has a deep-seeded bigotry towards young people.

Why the Bernie Sanders campaign probably has a solid case against the DNC

Although I am not an attorney, having read the lawsuit filed by the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign against the Democratic National Committee (DNC) over the ongoing voter list controversy, it’s pretty clear to me that the DNC and their voter list vendor did not follow proper procedure for dealing with the breach of the DNC master voter list.

Paragraph 13 of the lawsuit (pages 3-4) quotes part of the agreement that the Bernie campaign signed with the voter list vendor:

In view of the national political importance of the Campaign — and by extension, the importance of the Voter Data and the Agreement — the Agreement substantially restricts both Parties’ rights of termination to cases of prolonged and voluntary breach. The Agreement states, in relevant part:

Either party may terminate this Agreement in the event that the other party breaches this Agreement; the non-breaching party sends written notice to the breaching party describing the breach, and the breaching party does not cure the breach to the satisfaction of the non-breaching party within ten (10) calendar days following its receipt of such notice.

That is a very important part of the Bernie campaign’s argument, since this is clearly a contract law case.

Paragraph 14 (page 4) describes how what was outlined in Paragraph 13 is the only legal method of stripping the Bernie campaign of access to the voter list:

The Agreement does not permit either Party to suspend its performance of the Agreement prior to terminating the Agreement in accordance with the provision above.

In other words, the only way that the DNC and their vendor can legally deny Bernie access to the voter files is through the ten-day process described in Paragraph 13.

Paragraphs 20-22 (page 5) describes the glitch in the voter list database that allowed the breach to take place:

On the morning of December 16, 2015, NGP VAN released a modification (the “Release”) to the software that the Campaign and other candidates use to access Voter Data.

This Release contained a critical security flaw (the “Bug”) that allowed the Campaign and other presidential candidates to view Confidential Information disclosed by competing campaigns.

The Bug was resolved within approximately four hours, by the afternoon of December 16, 2015.

Paragraph 24 (page 6) outlines the Bernie campaign’s role as the breaching party:

Before the Bug could be resolved, several staff members of the Campaign accessed and viewed Confidential Information (the “Disclosed Information”) disclosed to the DNC by the 2016 campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (the “Competing Campaign”).

Paragraph 27 (page 6) describes the DNC’s violation of the contract between the vendor and the Bernie campaign:

On December 17, 2015, at approximately 2:47 p.m., the DNC suspended or terminated the Campaign’s Voter Data access. The suspension or termination of the Campaign’s access was undertaken without contractual cause, and in contravention of the Agreement’s termination protocols.

To put that another way, the DNC suspended the Bernie campaign’s access to the master voter list only one day after the breach occurred, and without following the ten-day process for terminating the contract outlined in the contract between the Bernie campaign and the voter list vendor. I’m not an attorney, but this looks like a solid case for the Bernie campaign.

DNC launches desperate attempt to derail Bernie Sanders campaign over voter lists

Less than 48 hours after Bernie Sanders scored two major endorsements, from the Communication Workers of America (CWA) labor union and the progressive group Democracy for America (DFA), and less than 48 hours before the third of six scheduled Democratic presidential debates, multiple media outlets are reporting that a major breach occurred with the master voter list of the Democratic National Committee (DNC):

After NGP-VAN – the company that administers the DNC’s voter file – updated its system on Wednesday, a glitch reportedly made some confidential data from Hillary Clinton’s campaign briefly accessible to the Sanders campaign and one campaign staffer was able to access that information. The staffer has since been fired. The glitch was first reported by the Washington Post.

The DNC, in a desperate attempt to frame the Sanders campaign in order to deflect from its vendor’s own fuck-up, has shut off the Sanders campaign from access to the DNC voter list:

As a result of this temporary breach, the DNC has indefinitely cut off the Sanders campaign’s access to the voter file, which functionally halts its field operation. The move by the DNC raises eyebrows as many Democrats, including Sanders and fellow presidential candidate Martin O’Malley have long accused the DNC’s chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, of attempting to rig the presidential process to benefit Clinton. In particular, they have raised questions about the relative paucity of debates, which have been scheduled for weekend evenings and to coincide with other events such as a major University of Iowa football game.

In other words, the Sanders campaign is being punished by the DNC for a fuck-up by a DNC vendor that the Sanders campaign reported and is taking all appropriate action in response to. Keep in mind that it’s possible that the security breach may have allowed the Hillary Clinton and/or Martin O’Malley campaigns to access confidential information of their Democratic opponents, although this isn’t confirmed. However, the DNC has not cut off voter list access to either Hillary or O’Malley. Interestingly, the Hillary campaign is not officially commenting on this matter at this time for reasons unknown.

On a related note, although I’ve never worked for a political campaign, right before the Wisconsin state Democratic convention earlier this year, an error-filled list of delegates to the state convention from the most populous Wisconsin county, information that is not supposed to be publicly available, was leaked to me earlier this year. I’ve long since deleted the data in question.

It’s pretty clear to me that the DNC is absolutely incompetent at maintaining voter lists and the security of confidential data, and this is something that will only cause more public distrust of the DNC and the Democratic establishment. My advice to future Democratic candidates for public office is to not trust the DNC or any other Democratic Party organization in regards to anything and build your own voter list independently of any political party organization.

Bernie Sanders campaign offers Tulsi Gabbard a ticket to the Democratic presidential debate

The nearly-irrelevant Democratic National Committee (DNC) disinvited their own vice-chairwoman, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), from tomorrow night’s Democratic presidential debate over the fact that she wants more than six Democratic presidential debates:

Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said she was disinvited from the first Democratic presidential primary debate in Nevada after she appeared on television and called for more face-offs.

Ms. Gabbard confirmed on Sunday that her chief of staff received a message last Tuesday from the chief of staff to Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the national committee, about her attendance at the debate. A day earlier, Ms. Gabbard had appeared on MSNBC and said there should be an increase beyond the current six sanctioned debates.

A person close to the committee who asked for anonymity to discuss internal discussions insisted, however, that Ms. Gabbard had not been disinvited. Instead, the person said, an aide to Ms. Wasserman Schultz expressed a desire to keep the focus on the candidates as the debate approached, rather than on a “distraction” that could divide the party, and suggested that if Ms. Gabbard could not do that, she should reconsider going.

The fact that Debbie Wasserman Schultz thinks that calling for more debates is a “distraction” proves that she is clearly out of touch with what most people in her party strongly believe…six presidential debates is simply not enough for the Democrats. Even worse, Wasserman Schultz is throwing her own party’s officials under the bus in a desperate attempt to remain at least somewhat politically relevant in this country.

Thankfully, Jeff Weaver, the campaign manager for Bernie Sanders’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, has a very interesting idea to get Gabbard in a spectator’s seat the debate:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), the Democratic National Committee vice chair who said she was disinvited to the first Democratic debate, might wind up attending the Tuesday night event as a guest of the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Sanders’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, said Monday on CNN’s “New Day” that Gabbard could use a ticket from the Vermont senator’s campaign.
“If she needs a ticket, have her give me a call,” Weaver said, adding, “I think we have a couple; we can give her one.”

Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s alienating allies and mismanagement of the DNC reminds me a lot of the mismanagement of the failed professional wresting promotion WCW circa 2000. In fact, near the end of WCW’s existence, some of WCW’s own wrestlers, most notably Scott Steiner (real name: Scott Rechsteiner), were publicly calling out WCW management for running the promotion in the ground:

Wasserman Schultz is trying to run the DNC like a bad professional wrestling promotion. That is most certainly not the way to run a political party, as the party risks losing voters, perhaps permanently, if Wasserman Schultz continues with her autocratic style of managing the Democratic Party.

I’ve found exactly one person who is defending Wasserman Schultz online, and this person, who is a member of the progressive website DailyKos, is using racist language to attack Bernie Sanders and his supporters:

The only people who have a problem with Wasserman-Schultz are Sanders supporters, and he’s not even a Democrat. Why would the Democrats get rid of a Democratic Party chairwoman because of the wishes of a non-Democrat and his all-white, all-upper-middle-class supporters? Wasserman-Schultz is the chairwoman of the entire party, and that includes African-Americans and Hispanics who by vast majorities support Hillary. We can’t cater to the white upper-middle-class here just because they yell louder and post more frequently on online blogs.

When Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s own supporters are race-baiting and spreading blatant lies about Bernie Sanders and his campaign (for starters, Bernie Sanders has many black, Hispanic, and poor supporters, and Sanders is a Democrat by virtue of his membership in the Senate Democratic caucus), it’s time for her to step down from the DNC chair.