Vote Your Conscience
I called the party registration office in my county in California yesterday; I wanted to ensure that my registration was correctly recorded and that I could vote in the Democratic primary. This was only after trying to check online and being told that there was no record of myself or my wife being registered to vote, so naturally I was a bit worried and puzzled, given that we have lived in the same place for over 20 years and have been voting here regularly all that time. The call was uneventful -- actually it was nice and a relief. The woman who answered the phone was able to locate my record and my wife's, and tell me that we were registered as having no party affiliation. She affirmed that we could vote in the Democratic primary on June 7, and also answered my question about sample ballots, saying that they would be mailed next week.
I know I am an inveterate optimist for thinking that Bernie Sanders can still win this race, but quitting isn't part of my character, and there are reasons to suspect another comeback by Bernie. Few of the remaining states have closed primaries, and one of those is Oregon, where Sanders is leading even among registered democrats. He has nearly caught Hillary in California polls, and I suspect he will end up winning here, where the most delegates are. Anything can happen.
However, this is not just about Bernie Sanders winning. This is about a long term progressive movement, and pushing politics to the left, as I see it. Even if Sanders is not on the ballot this November, I believe his presence will be felt. He is fighting for political capital too, as well as to win. We progressives all need to do our part. That means engaging in the poltical process. Watching the NFL draft or Dancing With the Stars doesn't get it done. (Wow, notice the initials of Dancing With the Stars? DWS = Debbie Wasserman Schultz = Democrat Without Scruples. I think I have just come up with a brand new conspiracy theory. LOL Maybe the public is being lulled into apathy and submission by Dancing With the Stars, as directed by Debbie Wasserman Schultz.) Well, bizarre conspiracy theories aside, I think many of us have known from the beginning that Hillary Clinton has all the advantages of a system that is rigged in her favor. In fact, more than half of respondents in a recent survey agreed that the primaries are rigged and more than 2/3 of respondents want reforms to the system (http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/277817-poll-more-than-half-say-nominating-process-is-rigged). There have also been strange and incompetent things happening during these primaries, as well as statistically suspicious events which show either some systematic polling error, or election fraud, but I will leave that as well as suggestions for reforming the primaries, for another time.
I expect this July's conventions to be very eventful, and I believe that we can make an impact on the Democratic side. Bernie Sanders is making every effort, I believe, to alter the Democratic Party platform toward his ideas, even if he does not win the nomination -- and he needs our help. Every vote and every political action counts. This is a very important time in United States political history. I am not prone to saying such things and have never said that before. In fact, I do think the movement will continue one way or another, but now is the best time to rewrite the agenda. We have never had someone like Bernie Sanders running for president before.
I have been discouraged at times by all the acrimony among Democrats, liberals, progressives, etc. Not surprisingly, there are a multitude of strategies going on. I have seen it all, from not voting if Bernie isn't the nominee, to writing him in, to voting for Trump instead, to voting for the Green Party, to Vote Blue No Matter Who, to people accusing Bernie of being insincere and unethical, and backing Hillary Clinton all the way. I have seen suggestions that Bernie go independent, or join the Green Party if not nominated. Those remain possibilities, as well as the possibility that Bernie Sanders will be Clinton's VP choice. I cannot predict how this process will play out -- nor is it for me, or even Bernie Sanders, to tell people how they should use their votes. We can make suggestions with explanations, but now is not the time for that yet. The important thing is for us all to keep working for political reform. Please do vote, and vote your conscience. Make your voices heard. The more of us who do that, the better the outcome should be.