Tag: Democratic presidential nomination

Congressional Black Caucus members admit they’re afraid of their own constituents

The only strongly vocal defenders of the undemocratic superdelegate system used every four years at the Democratic National Convention is a majority of members of the Congressional Black Caucus, a group that includes black Democratic members of both houses of Congress. They recently passed a resolution defending the superdelegate system, which grants Members of Congress, Democratic National Committee (DNC) members, and “distinguished party leaders” automatic delegate slots at convention, and grants them the power to vote for any presidential candidate they want at convention:

The letter — which was also sent to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz — follows a Wednesday CBC meeting where members discussed for over an hour the impact of eliminating superdelegates on the African-American community, according to CBC Chairman Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.).

“We passed a resolution in our caucus that we would vehemently oppose any change in the superdelegate system because members of the CBC might want to participate in the Democratic convention as delegates but if we would have to run for the delegate slot at the county level or state level or district level, we would be running against our constituents and we’re not going to do that,” said Butterfield. “But we want to participate as delegates and that’s why this superdelegates system was created in the beginning, so members would not have to run against their own constituents.”

A majority of Congressional Black Caucus members are openly on record as saying that they’re afraid of having to actually campaign for a delegate slot at their party’s national convention. If any politician is afraid of competition, he or she shouldn’t be in public office.

One thing that is roughly equivalent to the superdelegate system is the exemptions from qualifying for the U.S. Open, The (British) Open Championship, and most PGA Tour events in golf for most top professional golfers. However, golf is an athletic competition, so exempting the top professional golfers (the U.S. Open and the British Open exempt a few amateur players from qualifying as well) from having to go through one or more qualifying tournaments in order to get into a professional golf tournament is justified. A political party nominating a presidential candidate is not an athletic competition, but something that should reflect the will of the voters who choose to participate in a particular political party’s nomination contest. Due to elections in the United States being governed mostly, but not entirely, by a patchwork of state laws, a national primary election for any particular party’s nominee is virtually impractical, so the next best way would be for a convention of delegates elected by voters who chose to participate in a political party’s nomination process to nominate the presidential candidate. Currently, the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination process consists of a patchwork of delegates elected by Democratic voters and superdelegates who have a fast lane to the convention. There should be no fast lane to a delegate slot at a major-party national convention. Additionally, the Democratic Party has a very diverse primary/caucus electorate from a national standpoint, so a national convention composed of entirely elected delegates should be very diverse.

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The progressive response to Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy speech

Earlier today, Hillary Clinton gave a major speech outlining the Hillary Doctrine, which is Hillary’s internationalist foreign policy. This will be my final blog post criticizing Hillary until after the November 2016 general election, as well as a preview of what forms of criticism I will use in my blog posts against Donald Trump.

Internationalist foreign policy, supported by establishment politicians in both major parties, most notably establishment Democrats like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as neocon Republicans like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Paul Ryan, has failed America in many ways. To put that another way, internationalism is destroying America.

Thanks in part to large amounts of Americans’ taxpayer money being spent on wars in the Middle East, policy makers here in America are completely unwilling to appropriate money to fix our nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, and other forms of infrastructure. America is spending millions upon millions of dollars providing foreign aid in order to prop up right-wing governments like the one in Israel, which has openly discriminated against anyone who isn’t like them. International trade, free-trade policies, and a massive trade deficit with countries like China and Mexico have destroyed American manufacturing, destroyed the economies of entire cities and communities, and have left thousands of blue-collar Americans without a job and a steady source of income. Even worse, America’s interconnectedness with the global financial system could cause a massive economic recession, if not a depression, without our country’s policy makers having any real way to control or prevent the problems that would cause such an economic downturn. American policy makers have no problem sending money and resources to foreign countries to provide aid for disasters that occur within their borders, while local emergency management agencies here in America are understaffed and ill-equipped to deal with disasters that occur right here in America.

Make no mistake about it, Donald Trump is an even bigger threat to America than Hillary Clinton is, was, or will be. Trump has no coherent foreign policy, but, when he has outlined some of his foreign policy measures, many of his ideas are either arguably or obviously more dangerous than anything Hillary supports. While some of Trump’s more isolationist foreign policy stances are common sense, such as reducing or eliminating U.S. ties to NATO, many of his other foreign policy stances are downright scary. Trump wants to open up international ties between the U.S. and North Korea, a country that has publicly threatened to launch a nuclear attack on our great country. We’ve seen what happens when Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton open up ties between the U.S. and a communist country in East Asia…the jobs flow right of our country. Trump is often too chicken to outline some of his most dangerous foreign policy measures, so he’s had great foreign policy experts (sarcasm) like former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight brag about how Trump would be more than willing to use nuclear weapons against our enemies. Trump and people like Bobby Knight have zero understanding that nuclear weapons are the ultimate last resort, as Harry Truman ordered their use against Japan to end World War II. Nowadays, beating Japan is an American tradition on the soccer field, not the war field.

I strongly urge congressional Democrats to push for a strong, isolationist, pro-American, and progressive foreign policy that understands that rebuilding America is more important than building an international community, regardless of what the next president wants. Let’s not forget that around or more than 40% of Democrats nationwide, and a majority of Democrats in swing states like New Hampshire and Wisconsin, fundamentally disagree with Hillary’s internationalist foreign policy approach, and Trump’s foreign policy approach is a lot worse.

DNC Superdelegate Jimmy Carter criticizes Hillary’s work as U.S. Secretary of State

Former President Jimmy Carter, who, by virtue of being a former president and a member of the Democratic Party, is a superdelegate at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, did not endorse a presidential candidate, but he did criticize one of the two Democratic presidential candidates who are currently seeking the party’s nomination on foreign policy:

Former President Carter says Hillary Clinton “took very little action” as secretary of State to bring about peace.

Carter, 89, made the remark about the former secretary of State and 2016 Democratic front-runner in a phone interview with Time magazine Wednesday night after he spoke at the Civil Rights Summit in Austin, Texas.

[…]

“In this occasion, when Secretary Clinton was Secretary of State, she took very little action to bring about peace. It was only John Kerry’s coming into office that reinitiated all these very important and crucial issues,” he said.

Carter isn’t the only person to bring Hillary’s foreign policy credentials into question. President Barack Obama, who is also an officially-neutral DNC superdelegate by virtue of being the incumbent president and a Democrat, recently said that he thought that his biggest mistake as president was the 2011 military intervention in Libya by U.S./NATO and other pro-NATO coalition forces. While it removed brutal dictator Muammar Gaddafi from power, the military intervention in Libya left Libya politically unstable and mired in a civil war. Also, let’s not forget that Hillary has publicly hailed her role in the military intervention in Libya as one of her chief accomplishments as U.S. Secretary of State.

If you want a real champion of peace in the White House, support Bernie Sanders for president!

My preview of the Wisconsin presidential primaries and the Wisconsin Supreme Court race

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Donald Trump is NOT supporting JoAnne Kloppenburg for Wisconsin Supreme Court…and that’s a good thing. An earlier version of this blog post did not make it clear as to whether or not Joe Donald or Donald Trump had endorsed Kloppenburg; Joe Donald has endorsed Kloppenburg; Donald Trump has, to my knowledge, not endorsed a candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court.


On Tuesday, April 5, Wisconsinites will go to the polls to vote for major-party (Democratic and Republican) presidential nominees and a state supreme court justice. Additionally, there are numerous local offices on the ballot in Wisconsin, including a couple of high-profile local races in Milwaukee (Milwaukee Mayor and Milwaukee County Executive), although this preview will focus on the three statewide races in Wisconsin on April 5.

Democratic presidential primary

Democrats Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton and Bernard “Bernie” Sanders are seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, and 52 pledged delegates allocated by congressional district, 5 alternate delegates allocated by congressional district, 19 pledged delegates allocated on a statewide basis, and 10 pledged party leader and elected official delegates allocated on a statewide basis are up for grabs (delegate plan here). Wisconsin also has 10 superdelegates, who can vote for any presidential candidate they wish. Currently, 4 Wisconsin superdelegates are supporting Hillary, while 6 Wisconsin superdelegates have not endorsed a presidential candidate; however, superdelegates can change their preferences at any time up until the vote for the Democratic presidential nominee at the Democratic National Convention.

All recent polling in Wisconsin has shown Bernie with a slight lead either within the margin of polling error or just outside of the margin of polling error, with Bernie’s lead averaging around four percentage points. Due to proportional allocation of pledged delegates, either Bernie or Hillary would need to win by a large margin to get the vast majority of Wisconsin’s delegates. Bernie has about a 65% chance of receiving more votes statewide than Hillary.

Bernie is expected to run up a big margin in Madison, whereas Hillary is expected to run up a big margin in Milwaukee. The race is going to be decided in the Milwaukee suburbs (which, despite being one of the most Republican areas of the entire country in general elections, delivers a surprisingly high number of Democratic primary votes), as well as the rural northern and western parts of Wisconsin. To get a rough idea of the geographical dynamic at play in the Wisconsin Democratic primary, one could draw a line from Manitowoc to the middle of Lake Winnebago to Fond du Lac to Fort Atkinson to Janesville to Beloit, and anything south and east of that line should go to Hillary by a wide margin outside of some pro-Bernie pockets of support, and anything north and west of that line should go to Bernie by a wide margin outside of some pro-Hillary pockets of support. If Bernie is winning both the Milwaukee suburbs and the rural areas in the north and west of the state, then Bernie is likely winning statewide. If Hillary is winning both the Milwaukee suburbs and the rural areas in the north and west of the state, then Hillary is likely winning statewide. It’s worth noting that the expected swing areas in the Democratic primary are areas that tend to vote for Republican candidates in the general election.

Democratic congressional district delegates are allocated as follows:

  • 1st CD (Janesville/Racine/Kenosha/Lake Geneva) – 6
  • 2nd CD (Madison/Beloit/Middleton) – 10
  • 3rd CD (La Crosse/Eau Claire/Stevens Point) – 6
  • 4th CD (Milwaukee/Shorewood/St. Francis) – 9
  • 5th CD (Waukesha/West Bend/West Allis/Port Washington) – 5
  • 6th CD (Oshkosh/Fond du Lac/Manitowoc/Sheboygan) – 5
  • 7th CD (Wausau/Superior/Hudson) – 6
  • 8th CD (Green Bay/Appleton/Sturgeon Bay) – 5

Regarding the Democratic alternate delegates, the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, and 8th congressional districts are allocated one alternate delegate each, whereas no alternate delegates are allocated for the 1st, 3rd, and 5th congressional districts.

Based on the delegate allocations for each congressional district, here’s my predictions for the pledged congressional district delegates:

  • 1st CD – Hillary 2, Bernie 2, Hillary Favored 1, Up For Grabs 1
  • 2nd CD – Hillary 2, Bernie 6, Up for Grabs 2
  • 3rd CD – Hillary 2, Bernie 2, Hillary Favored 1, Up for Grabs 1
  • 4th CD – Hillary 5, Bernie 1, Hillary Favored 1, Up for Grabs 2
  • 5th CD – Hillary 2, Bernie 2, Up for Grabs 1
  • 6th CD – Hillary 2, Bernie 2, Bernie Favored 1
  • 7th CD – Hillary 1, Bernie 3, Hillary Favored 1, Up for Grabs 1
  • 8th CD – Hillary 1, Bernie 1, Hillary Favored 1, Bernie Favored 1, Up for Grabs 1

That’s a total of 17 Hillary, 19 Bernie, 5 Hillary Favored, 2 Bernie Favored, and 9 Up for Grabs in the congressional district delegate pools, representing anywhere from a 35 Bernie-17 Hillary to a 33 Hillary-19 Bernie delegate spread in regards to the pledged congressional district delegates. Anything outside of that range would surprise me. I have no clue as to how the alternate delegates would be allocated to the candidates.

Here’s my predictions for the two statewide pledged delegate pools:

  • Statewide pledged – 6 Hillary, 7 Bernie, 2 Hillary Favored, 2 Bernie Favored, 2 Up for Grabs
  • Party leader and elected official pledged – 3 Hillary, 4 Bernie, 1 Hillary Favored, 2 Up for Grabs

That’s a total of 9 Hillary, 11 Bernie, 3 Hillary Favored, 2 Bernie Favored, and 4 Up for Grabs in regards to the two statewide delegate pools, representing anywhere from a 20 Bernie-9 Hillary to a 18 Hillary-11 Bernie delegate spread in regards to the two pools of pledged statewide delegates. Anything outside of that range would surprise me.

Based on my pledged delegate predictions and not counting alternate delegates, anywhere from a 55 Bernie-26 Hillary to a 51 Hillary-30 Bernie delegate spread in regards to pledged delegates is possible. Anything outside of that range would surprise me, and, if I were to guess, the actual result is likely to be closer to the middle of that range than either end of the range.

Republican presidential primary

Republicans Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, Donald John Trump, and John Richatd Kasich are seeking the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, and 24 pledged delegates allocated by congressional district, 15 pledged delegates awarded on a statewide basis, and 3 Republican National Committee (RNC) delegates bound to the statewide primary winner are up for grabs.

Recent polling in Wisconsin has shown Cruz with an average lead of four percentage points, with even larger leads in some of the more recent polls, so Cruz is favored to win the Wisconsin primary and win most of Wisconsin’s Republican delegates, although Trump and Kasich may also get Republican delegates from the Wisconsin primary. Additionally, polls have shown Trump in second place statewide, with Kasich in third place statewide. Cruz has about a 90% chance of winning at least a plurality of the vote statewide and about a 3% chance of winning every Republican delegate at stake in Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin, the Republican presidential candidate who receives a plurality of the statewide Republican vote receives all 15 of the statewide pledged delegates and all 3 of the RNC member delegates, and the Republican presidential candidate who receives a plurality of the popular vote within a particular congressional district receives all 3 of said congressional district’s delegates.

For Cruz to win a statewide plurality, he would need to run up a large margin in the 5th, 1st, and 6th congressional districts, win or narrowly lose in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th congressional districts, and the 7th and 8th congressional districts wouldn’t play a factor for Cruz in regards to the statewide delegates. If Cruz were to receive at least a plurality of the vote in all 8 congressional districts, he would win either all 42 delegates.

For Trump to win a statewide plurality, he would need to run up very large margins in the 3rd, 7th, and 8th congressional districts (he would probably need to win the 7th by 40+ percentage points over the second-place candidate in that district), win by more than a handful of votes in the 2nd and 6th congressional districts, and not lose badly in the 1st, 4th, and 5th congressional districts. Trump doesn’t appear to have any chance of winning all 42 from Wisconsin; Trump’s best-case scenario would have him winning 30 delegates (statewide + 4 CDs).

For Kasich to win a statewide plurality, he would need to run up an extremely large margin in the 2nd congressional district (probably by 40+ percentage points over the second-place candidate in that district), win the 3rd congressional district by a very large margin, win the 6th and 7th congressional districts by more than a handful of votes, win or come in a close second place in the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th congressional districts (Kasich would probably lose at least three of these in his best-case scenario). Kasich doesn’t appear to have any chance of winning all 42 delegates from Wisconsin; his best-case scenario would have him winning anywhere from 30 to 33 delegates (statewide + 4 or 5 CDs).

Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court – Seat 6

Although seats of the seven-member Wisconsin Supreme Court bench are not officially numbered, I’ve chosen to number them based on the last digit of the year in which they are up for election. Since there is one Wisconsin Supreme Court seat up for election in 2016, seat 6 is up for election this year. The seat was held by moderate justice N. Patrick Crooks (I’ve never been able to find Crooks’s full first name) until his death in September of 2015. Republican Governor Scott Walker appointed Rebecca Lynn Grassl Bradley, a ultra-conservative who Walker has appointed to judgeships at every opportunity, to fill the vacancy on the state supreme court. Seat 6 would have been up for election this year regardless of whether or not the seat became vacant.

A non-partisan top-two primary, in which the candidates with the most and second-most votes advance to the non-partisan general election, regardless of whether or not one candidate receives a majority of the primary vote, was held in February of this year (primary results here). Bradley received a 44.61% plurality of the primary vote, with progressive candidate JoAnne F. Kloppenburg (I do not know what Kloppenburg’s full middle name is) receiving 43.16% of the primary vote. Joe Donald (not sure of full name) received 12.12% of the primary vote and failed to advance to the general election, with “scattering”, which is how Wisconsin classifies invalid write-in votes, receiving 0.11% of the primary vote. Bradley and Kloppenburg are running in the state supreme court general election, which is being held in conjunction with the Wisconsin presidential primaries. While the race is officially non-partisan, Bradley is the de facto Republican and Kloppenburg is the de facto Democrat.

I’ve created a spreadsheet here as a guide showing detailed primary results (including a Kloppenburg + Donald total from the primary, with red shading <45%, yellow shading 45%-55%, and green shading >55%), shading indicating Bradley plurality (light red), Kloppenburg plurality (light blue), Bradley majority (red), and Kloppenburg majority (blue) from the primary, the partisan lean of each Wisconsin county based on the Bradley and Kloppenburg + Donald results from the primary, and county-by-county baselines for a tied race between Bradley and Kloppenburg based on the Bradley and Kloppenburg + Donald results from the primary.

Here are several important points about the Wisconsin Supreme Court race:

  • Although Wisconsin voters can opt not to vote for a presidential candidate, but vote for a state supreme court candidate, very few Wisconsin voters will do that.
  • Bradley is going to get the vast majority of the Republican primary voters, and Kloppenburg is going to get nearly all of the Democratic primary voters.
  • Joe Donald has endorsed Kloppenburg, Hillary Clinton has publicly criticized Bradley, and Bernie Sanders has stated that he hopes that large voter turnout will help Kloppenburg win.
  • If an equal number of Democratic and Republican primary voters show up, Kloppenburg would need to get approximately 56% of Donald’s voters to vote for her in order to win.
  • If more Republicans show up to vote than Democrats, Kloppenburg would need an even higher percentage of Joe Donald’s voters, as well as Kasich/Kloppenburg and possibly Trump/Kloppenburg voters to win.
  • Bradley and her campaign have tried to tie Kloppenburg to Hillary and have attacked Kloppenburg for opposing big-money politics and supporting equal rights.
  • Bradley was found to have authored a series of hateful columns for the Marquette University student newspaper and student magazine during the early 1990’s.
  • Bradley has falsely compared contraception to murder.

I’m not going to attempt to make a prediction in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race. The most recent poll (a Marquette University poll) had Bradley ahead of Kloppenburg by five percentage points, although there were a lot of undecided voters according to that poll.

Hillary tries to help a Republican win a full term on the WI Supreme Court

It’s clear to me that Hillary Clinton doesn’t believe in the concept of an independent, impartial judiciary. That’s because last night, Hillary made remarks about the race for one of seven seats on the Wisconsin Supreme Court that offended one of the candidates running in the state supreme court race:

The progressive candidate who is running against Rebecca Bradley is JoAnne Kloppenburg, and Kloppenburg’s campaign wants no part of presidential candidates talking about the state supreme court campaign:

Not suprisingly, Republicans are wasting no time trying to tie JoAnne Kloppenburg to Hillary Clinton, an attack line that is totally bogus:

What a lot of people who aren’t familiar with Wisconsin’s progressive traditions don’t understand about Wisconsin’s progressive traditions is that a judiciary that is independent of partisan politics, big-money political influence, and conflicts of interest are valued far more than some east coast politician’s opinion on a state supreme court race. By being a presidential candidate and criticizing the de facto Republican candidate in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, Hillary is effectively trying to help the far-right Republican, Rebecca Bradley, get elected to a full ten-year term.

If you’re a Wisconsin voter, please vote for JoAnne Kloppenburg for Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 5. She’s not above the law (and doesn’t want to be), but she is above presidential politics.

Rebecca Bradley uses the Hillary Clinton playbook, tries to paint critics as sexist

Remember the “BernieBro” meme that supporters of the Hillary Clinton campaign have used to criticize progressives who support the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign?

Well, it’s back, thanks to an ultra-right-wing Wisconsin Supreme Court justice who is seeking a full ten-year term on Wisconsin’s highest bench:

I don’t know why the media isn’t picking up on the one glaring problem Rebecca Bradley has…her temperament. Her mean girl antics have reached the surreal stage.

One critic has been using Bradley’s own words and deep political resentments against her, destroying her credibility as a judge or justice.

So what does she do? She accused him of using the “c-word” on Twitter. The (Milwaukee) Journal Sentinel investigated and didn’t find any evidence to back up Bradley’s juvenile claim.

While female politicians have been the victims of sexism ever since women started running for office in America, for someone to dig up hate speech that one wrote in the student newspaper of an university and use it against the author of the hate speech is not sexism. If Scott Walker appointed a male justice to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and he wrote a ton of hateful columns for a student newspaper (or, for that matter, any other type of publication), being familiar with Scot Ross’s work, he’d be more than willing to use that against him. Ross’s criticism and investigative work on right-wing politicians knows no gender boundaries, and he’s holding right-wing politicians, regardless of gender, race, etc., to the same standard.

I strongly encourage Wisconsinites to vote in the Democratic presidential primary for Bernie Sanders, and vote for JoAnne Kloppenburg for Wisconsin Supreme Court, on April 5.

 

Bernie Sanders: the Alan Kulwicki of presidential politics

Bernie Sanders has absolutely zero intention of abandoning his bid for the Democratic nomination, despite efforts from President Barack Obama to convince what few big-money Democratic donors have not yet thrown their support behind Hillary to do so.

What the corporate media, Democratic insiders, and even Republicans like Donald Trump don’t understand about Bernie is that he’s basically the Alan Kulwicki of presidential politics.

For those of you who have never heard of Alan Kulwicki, he was a NASCAR driver who won the series championship in NASCAR’s highest division in 1992. Kulwicki ran his own race team and did things his own way. Bernie’s style of politics is very reminiscent of Kulwicki’s attitude towards auto racing, in that Bernie runs his political campaigns largely independently of a political establishment of any kind and does things his own way.

Also, there’s a critical similarity between Alan Kulwicki’s run to the 1992 NASCAR crown and Bernie’s run to the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination: Kulwicki was down by 278 points in the race for the series championship with only a few races remaining, while Bernie is down by a little over 300 pledged delegates with roughly half of the Democratic nomination contests remaining.

I think it’s time for another Kulwicki charge up the standings, America!

How I will fill out my Illinois Democratic primary ballot on March 15 (plus other Illinois endorsements)

On March 15, I will be a Democratic primary voter in the State of Illinois, Vermilion County, Georgetown Township, Precinct 7. My precinct includes parts of my hometown of Westville, Illinois.

Below is a complete list of races on my ballot (for the presidential and U.S. Senate races, the order in which candidates are listed on the ballot for a particular race may vary from one part of the state to another), as well as which candidates I will vote for (if any).

President of the United States

There are six candidates on the Illinois Democratic presidential primary ballot: Hillary Clinton, Willie Wilson, Martin O’Malley, Rocky de la Fuente, Larry Cohen, and Bernie Sanders, from top to bottom. Additionally, there is a line available for write-in candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, although I know of no write-in candidates who have filed official paperwork to run as such.

I will vote for Bernie Sanders. Bernie is the only candidate who strongly supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, making higher education tuition-free, restoring American manufacturing jobs, and protecting America’s environment. In the extremely unlikely circumstance that Bernie were to drop out of the presidential race before March 15, I would write-in the name of an individual who is not running for president, although I won’t publicly name that individual. In any case, I will vote for the Democratic presidential nominee in the November general election.

United States Senator

There are three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Mark Kirk: Andrea Zopp, Tammy Duckworth, and Napoleon Harris, from top to bottom.

I will vote for Tammy Duckworth. There’s not really a progressive candidate in this race, but Duckworth served our nation during the Iraq War as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, and Duckworth will stand up for those who served our country in uniform if elected to the U.S. Senate. Andrea Zopp voted for Rahm Emanuel’s school closing scheme in Chicago as an appointed Chicago school board member, and Napoleon Harris refused to vote for marriage equality as a member of the Illinois General Assembly.

Illinois Comptroller (Special Election)

This is a special election for the last two years of what would have been Republican Judy Baar Topinka’s second term as Illinois Comptroller (Topinka died not long after being re-elected in 2014). The current Illinois Comptroller is Leslie Munger, who was appointed to the Comptroller’s office by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

There is only one Democrat seeking the party’s nomination for this office (Susana Mendoza), so I’ll leave this race blank for the primary, since I think that it’s worthless to vote for a candidate in an uncontested race. I will vote for Mendoza in the special general election in November, however, as she will face opposition from Munger in the special general election.

United States Representative – 15th Congressional District

No Democrat filed to run for this office.

Delegates to the Democratic National Convention – 15th Congressional District

Illinois is unusual in that Democratic primary voters are asked to vote for both a presidential candidate and delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Delegates are elected by voters in each of Illinois’s 18 congressional districts, although I’m not sure of the exact formula that is used. There are seven individuals who have filed for four delegate slots out of the 15th Congressional District: four delegates pledged to Hillary, one delegate pledged to O’Malley, and three delegates pledged to Bernie. Democratic voters in the 15th Congressional District can vote for as many as four delegates.

I will vote for the three Bernie Sanders delegates (Cory Douglas, Amanda Benefiel, and Barbara Lawrence), and I will also vote for Hillary Clinton delegate Ann Sykes. Since I’m voting for Bernie in the presidential preference poll, I’m obviously going to vote for Bernie’s delegate slate here in the 15th Congressional District, and I’m grateful that Douglas, Benefiel, and Lawrence are supporting a fantastic presidential candidate in Bernie. However, since Bernie is one delegate short of a full slate here in the 15th Congressional District, that gives me three options: either vote for only the three Bernie delegates, vote for three Bernie delegates and O’Malley delegate John Warner, or vote for the three Bernie delegates and one of the Hillary delegates. I’ve decided on the latter-most of those three options, and my vote for Hillary delegate Ann Sykes will be a tribute to the late former Vermilion County Clerk and incredible public servant Lynn Foster, who passed away not long ago (Sykes worked for Foster when she was county clerk here in my home county).

Illinois Senate – 52nd Legislative District (4-year term)

There is only one candidate on the ballot in this race (incumbent State Senator Scott Bennett, who was appointed to the seat after Mike Frerichs was elected Illinois Treasurer), so I’ll leave this race blank for the primary, although Bennett will get my vote in the November general election, as he’ll be going up against Republican Mike Madigan in November.

Illinois House of Representatives – 104th Representative District

No Democrat filed to run for this office.

Vermilion County Circuit Clerk

No Democrat filed to run for this office.

Vermilion County Recorder

No Democrat filed to run for this office.

Vermilion County State’s Attorney

Despite this being an open seat due to the Republican incumbent retiring, no Democrat filed to run for this office.

Vermilion County Auditor

There is only one Democratic candidate seeking this office (incumbent county auditor Linda Lucas-Anstey, the only Democrat to hold a county-wide office in Vermilion County), so I’ll leave this race blank for the primary, although I will vote for Lucas-Anstey in the general election.

Vermilion County Coroner

Although we don’t get too many Democrats running for county-wide office here in Vermilion County, there is a competitive primary for county coroner (believe it or not, Illinois county coroners are elected in officially-partisan races). There are two Democrats running for coroner: Steve Cornett, the Village of Tilton police chief, and Butch Fields, a paramedic from Tilton.

I will vote for Steve Cornett. Butch Fields is a convicted arsonist, so that completely disqualifies him from receiving my vote in a Democratic primary, although I will vote for the Democratic nominee in November.

Vermilion County Board of Supervisors – County Board District 4

There are two seats up for election in Vermilion County Board District 4, and there are two Democrats running for the party’s nomination in the district, which includes all of Georgetown, Love, and McKendree townships in Vermilion County. There are two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in this race: Dale Ghibaudy and John Barton. In county board races in Illinois, voters in the Democratic primary can vote for as many Democrats as the number of county board seats in their district that are up for election (in my district this year, this is two, although this number varies from one Illinois county to another, as well as within Illinois counties and from one election cycle to the next).

Although both Dale Ghibaudy and John Barton will be on the November general election ballot, I’m not sure if one candidate receiving more votes than the other would have any affect on general election ballot placement, so I will vote for Dale Ghibaudy. I know absolutely nothing about John Barton, and I know extremely little about Dale Ghibaudy outside of the fact that I attended high school with two people of the same last name (Kody and Karly Ghibaudy, who are siblings, but I’m not sure how they’re related to Dale, if at all).

Vermilion County Democratic Party Precinct Committeeman – Georgetown Township Precinct 7

In my home precinct, no candidate filed for a Democratic Party precinct committeeman slot. Georgetown Township Precinct 7 includes parts of the Village of Westville in Vermilion County, as well as some rural areas immediately to the west and east of Westville.


Additionally, I want to take this opportunity to endorse candidates seeking Democratic nominations in other parts of Illinois. Please note that I do not live in any of the constituencies listed here, so I am encouraging people who live in an area of Illinois where one or more of these races are on the ballot to vote for the candidates that I’m endorsing. The two U.S. House races where I’m endorsing a candidate are in the Chicago suburbs, whereas the state house and state’s attorney races where I’m endorsing a candidate are all in Cook County.

United States Representative – 8th Congressional District

I endorse Michael Noland in Illinois’s 8th Congressional District. As an Illinois State Senator, Noland has been a strong champion of good government and ethics reform, and he’ll bring his pro-good government mindset to Washington if nominated and elected.

United States Representative – 10th Congressional District

A while back, I endorsed Nancy Rotering in Illinois’s 10th Congressional District, so, for the sake of completion, I’ll reiterate my endorsement of Rotering on here. As mayor of Highland Park, a Chicago suburb located in Lake County, Rotering helped to provide legal aid to people who couldn’t afford to sue their landlord after their landlord wronged them. Rotering’s Democratic primary opponent, Brad Schneider, is a D.C. insider who opposes President Obama’s deal to keep nuclear weapons out of Iranian hands.

Illinois House of Representatives – 5th Representative District

This race pits incumbent State Representative Ken Dunkin, a Raunercrat (i.e., a Democrat who is a political ally of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner), against primary challenger Juliana Stratton. I endorse Juliana Stratton in Illinois’s 5th Representative District. Ken Dunkin has voted with Bruce Rauner in opposition to funding child care and other important state government services, and Dunkin has benefited from big-money Rauner allies like Dan Proft.

Illinois House of Representatives – 22nd Representative District

This race pits powerful State House Speaker Mike Madigan (not the same Mike Madigan who is running as a Republican in the 52nd Legislative District state senate race) against primary challenger Jason Gonzales and two other primary challengers planted by Madigan in an attempt to split the anti-Madigan vote in the Democratic primary. I endorse Jason Gonzales in Illinois’s 22nd Representative District. Madigan is anti-abortion, supported a pension theft bill that was unanimously struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court, has strongly opposed many common-sense good government measures, such as independent redistricting and term limits, and supports corporate-minded politicians like Rahm Emanuel.

Illinois House of Representatives – 26th Representative District

This race pits incumbent State Representative Christian Mitchell against Jay Travis, who nearly defeated Mitchell in the 2014 Democratic primary for this seat. I endorse Jay Travis in the 26th Representative District. Christian Mitchell has taken money from the same anti-public education/pro-school voucher lobby that supports far-right Republicans like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Cook County State’s Attorney

This race pits incumbent Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez against primary challengers Kim Foxx and Donna More. I endorsed Kim Foxx for Cook County State’s Attorney a while back, so I’ll reiterate that endorsement here for the sake of completion. If nominated and elected, Foxx will restore public trust in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. Anita Alvarez played a key role in hiding the video of the police shooting of LaQuan McDonald for many months, and Donna More donated to Bruce Rauner’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign.

John Oliver delivers strong rebuttal to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and business record

Yesterday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders sent out this tweet in response to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump refusing to condemn former Ku Klux Klan (KKK) Grand Wizard and failed 1991 Louisiana gubernatorial candidate David Duke, who has publicly praised Trump:

Bernie’s rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, had absolutely nothing to add, so, in an extremely rare move, she retweeted Bernie’s tweet.

On the other hand, John Oliver, the host of the HBO comedy show Last Week Tonight and not a politician, had a lot to add. Oliver devoted nearly an entire episode of his show to Donald Trump’s record of bigotry, mocking people, failed business ventures, hypocrisy, dishonesty, and being a total jerk. I encourage everyone to watch the entire Oliver segment on Trump here:

I have absolutely nothing else to add.

Former Bill Clinton cabinet member endorses Bernie Sanders!

This is YUUUUGE!!! YUUUUGE!!!

Robert Reich, Bill Clinton’s former U.S. Secretary of Labor, has endorsed Bernie Sanders for the office of President of the United States:

More importantly, Reich isn’t endorsing Bernie due to some sort of soap opera-type feud with the Clintons. He’s endorsing Bernie because he knows that Bernie’s policy proposals, such as raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, making public higher education truly affordable, and investing in replacing America’s crumbling infrastructure, will make America a far better place to live.