He talks in his Democratic National Committee voice as if he still writes press releases for the Governor of New York.
“Our Candidate…” he keeps repeating, referring to Hillary Clinton.
“What about Bernie?” I ask.
He scoffs. He says he doesn’t have a chance. Hillary has the money and the establishment support.
My Dad has worked in politics, public and private sector, for over 25 years. In November, he came to New Zealand to visit me. The sandflies are nipping at our ankles as we drink beer and wine at a campsite in Marahau after hiking a portion of Abel Tasman track.
“But the only thing that matter is who gets the most votes,” I say. “We live in a democracy. It doesn’t matter who has the most money.”
His experience tells him otherwise.
My idealism and optimism in young Americans gives me confidence.
Bernie doesn’t exist in his mind. Just as he doesn’t exist in the minds of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the 359 superdelegates, according to the AP, already pledged to Hillary.
A few days before the Iowa Caucus, Serena and I are taking a luxury day away from the free campsite — where you have to bring your own toilet paper — to shower and use power, Internet and the kitchen at the Queenstown Holiday Park.
I’m devouring the New York Times. I try to explain what it all means and how Iowa is the first state to hold a primary, but it’s not a primary it’s a caucus and it makes no sense and Iowa is not a representative sample of America so why does it matter anyway.
Trump leads the polls amongst the Republicans. Hillary is ahead of Bernie by just a few points. I pull up Real Clear Politics and see that Hillary’s lead has been shrinking over the past week.
She doesn’t understand.
“So Bernie and Hillary are in the same party?” she asks.
“Yes,” I say.
“Do they like…” she can’t find the words.
“Work together?” I ask.
“Yeah,” she says.
“Not really. They have really different ideas,” I say.
She doesn’t understand.
She explains the party system In Ireland. If you vote for a politician you basically vote for their political party. She supports Sinn Fein, which just recently became a feasible political party and is overcoming its status as a terrorist group and IRA connections. It’s funny how the world is changing. With Justin Trudeau recently winning in Canada and Jeremy Corbyn winning in the UK
“Well there are only two political parties in America,” I say.
She is shocked.
As she should be. As we all should be.
New Zealand is where we met for the first time as equals. I am no longer the son who he kicked out of his house and he is no longer the father that I depend on. We are two free men talking and drinking and enjoying each other’s company.
“I like talking about this with you because I have ideas, but you have a lifetime of experience,” I say.
He tells me Obama lost all credibility in his first 18 months in office. He didn’t fight hard enough. Too many concessions to the Republicans who only had one word to say: No.
He says we need a new leader in the next few years. Obama destroyed the Democratic Party.
What he doesn’t understand is that the “new” leader we need is a 74-year-old socialist from Brooklyn.
Hillary says she will protect and continue Obama’s legacy.
What was Obama’s campaign all about? Change. Why would he want his predecessor to stop the change? I want us to go further. We can’t stay like this.
The United States of America is not a democracy.
When one is elected as President of the United States that should be taken as a referendum. Take the power and do something with it.
(President George W. Bush doesn’t count. He didn’t win the popular vote. And, wow, that brings me to another point. I have to distinguish which President Bush I am referring to. I don’t want to have to distinguish which President Clinton I am referring to. I don’t want dynasties in America. Two families shouldn’t be President for 24 plus years. Didn’t we, like, fight really hard to separate ourselves from Kings and Queens and ruling families?)
I don’t like the status quo. I want more change. Let’s keep going.
Why don’t we spend more money on education and health care than we do on “defense” which is code for pouring endless money into the wallets of private contractors who benefit from the military industrial complex? And I’m really tired of reading about drone strikes killing civilians.
I want money spent at home so Americans aren’t living in poverty. I don’t want money spent on the latest technology that kills people who have brown skin and live in deserts in the Middle East. Sorry, I mean protecting democracy around the world and keeping Americans safe. Silly me.
And it’s all in the name of fighting terrorism. Who is the terrorist in this scenario? The poor teenager who’s village was bombed and his family killed and then joins a group of “freedom fighters” who drive up in a pick-up truck and offer him a new life? Is he a terrorist? Or is the terrorist the most powerful country in the world that makes innocent people live in fear and if they die they are deemed enemy combatants because history is written by those who have power.
No more of this bullshit.
Hillary is a hawk. I want a dove. I want peace and prosperity for Americans.
Phew. Sorry about that. Where was I?
I can’t help thinking about the conversation I had with my father as I am hitting refresh on my laptop watching the Iowa Caucus results trickle in at the Queenstown Public Library.
Bernie didn’t win. Hillary has 49.9 percent to Bernie’s 49.6. Hillary didn’t win.
They both leave Iowa with the same number of delegates. Iowa is not a winner-takes-all state. What a strange system.
Now the establishment Democrats are scared. Even though it’s just Iowa, they see that Bernie has people power. The most important type of power in what is supposed to be a democracy.
I check Reddit and read about Iowans saying their precincts ran out of voter registration forms. New voters means Bernie wins. Young voters means Bernie wins.
From my years as a Political Science student, writing research papers and opinion columns for the school paper, reading news, watching news, working as a Congressional intern, a media watchdog intern, trade association intern, think tank communications temp, and working on the campaign of the Governor of Virginia, I’ve learned that enthusiasm determines elections.
Certain people — older, whiter, and more conservative — always vote. Other people — younger, darker, and more liberal — usually don’t vote.
Obama won his elections because young people and minorities were very enthusiastic about this intelligent and charismatic young black man who was running for President. He was different and exciting.
Right now in America, young people are excited about Bernie Sanders. They are excited because he has a lot of revolutionary ideas that will take America away from being owned by the moneyed interests and instead transform the country into a beautiful thing: A True Democracy.
That’s what socialism is. Democracy. It means people working together instead of competing against each other. In unchecked capitalism, there are winners — which we always hear about — but there are many more losers. We don’t talk about the losers.
How strange this must be to Australians who are required to vote or else face a fine.
The United States of America is not a democracy.
Republicans want to take us even further away from democracy. They call for voter ID laws and scream and yell baseless claims of voter fraud on their media outlets. And more furtively they disenfranchise voters via redistricting and gerrymandering.
Oh look. Ted Cruz won the Iowa Caucus. That doesn’t mean anything. He can’t win a general election. We have come too far. He wants to shut down the government. He wants to have a 10 percent flat tax rate and he wants to abolish the IRS and make everyone pay taxes on a postcard.
Wow, so simple!
Is it any surprise that people who don’t have a college education are more likely to support Ted Cruz? Of course uneducated people are going to vote for Ted Cruz. All they know is their own insulated existence and they don’t have the critical thinking abilities to filter out what Fox News and Rush Limbaugh spouts from their spitting, seething, hate filled lips.
When they hear a 10 percent flat tax rate they think they will save a few thousand dollars every year. But what they might not understand is that the top marginal tax rate used to be 94 percent in 1944 and then down to a comfortable 70 percent until 1981. After deductions the millionaires and billionaires would pay a much lower rate but that shows how much we have changed since Reagan began to deregulate and favor the rich.
If the super-rich pay a 10 percent tax rate, then United States of America would lose an incredible amount of revenue. We can’t just cut spending. America is people. Some people are poor. Some people can’t support themselves because the system is rigged.
I understand that a lot of people out there like Hillary and don’t appreciate this divisive Democratic Party that is similar to the debate between the Tea Party Republicans and Chamber of Commerce Republicans.
Yes, I read, An All-Caps Explosion of Feelings Regarding the Liberal Backlash Against Hillary Clinton, which several of my female Facebook friends have shared.
You say that Hillary has to be a part of the establishment because she’s a woman and she has no choice. I don’t care. This isn’t about Hillary. I don’t care about Hillary or your feelings, even if you are yelling.
I care about America. I care about the future of America and I know that Bernie Sanders has the ideas that will take us in the right direction.
I’m voting for the candidate who represents my beliefs. I don’t care how hard Hillary has worked to be here or how she has to act a certain way because she’s a woman. I agree with Bernie much, much more often than I agree with Hillary.
And I really don’t give a fuck about what the media and the establishment tells us is possible.
Let us decide what is possible. Let young people decide what is possible. Let the voters decide what is possible.
This is a democracy, right?