First I want to thank anyone who has come here as a result of my prolific tweeting about beloved candidate Bernie Sanders. #FeeltheBern !! 🗽 It’s rare for someone to be as honest and have as much integrity as Bernie does — that’s why we love him so much. 80% of people asked believe Senator Sanders is the most honest of all the 2016 candidates! Yet, many support HRC because “she can win.” We know that if everyone who believed in Bernie would vote for him, HE would win, hands down! But VOTING is the real issue.
Update: 4.21.2016 This was originally posted in mid-April BEFORE the #NYPrimary. Everything changed that day– for me and for Senator Sanders. I did not realize that nearly all the remaining Democratic primaries, and most remaining voter registration, are CLOSED. Let me explain. Of the 16 remaining opportunities to vote for Bernie, only THREE states are “open”, and voter registration is already closed in one of those. Example: you cannot vote in the May 3rd Indiana Primary unless you registered by April 5th! So even if you think you can vote Independent in Indiana, not unless you registered that way already. Each state defines voting rules and deadlines. This is very confusing and hard to explain on cable news, so they don’t.
Further UPDATE: May Day, 5.1.2016 Senator Sanders just held a national press conference (that CNN aired a few moments of, but was covered in its entirety on C-SPAN) and streamed live on various online services. Sanders says that HRC cannot reach the required number of 2383 pledged delegates by June 14, that she will need super delegates, therefore Sanders claims the Democratic convention will be contested. I can’t confirm that, but it’s a valid reason for Sanders supporters to keep going! I remain concerned about who has actually registered to vote in the remaining elections.
For instance, some of you may not realize you were required to declare your voting status over a MONTH AGO for upcoming elections! Take the next five Northeastern US elections, four are CLOSED to Independents, and it’s too late to register anyway. Those deadlines have passed. Now are you pissed? I was. I know the election laws of my own state, New Mexico, and how complicated they seem to first time voters and anyone affiliated with alternative parties, like Libertarian, Green Party, Socialist, or Independents. So, a day or so before the New York Primary I started tweeting with some young Bernie supporters. When I asked if they were registered, some of them called me a troll and accused me of “dirty tricks” claiming I was posting false info about voting! I tweeted the official Bernie website with the #NYPrimary info. It was sad to hear how many people felt cheated to learn they could not vote for Bernie. This was all confirmed on election day. Millions of young or first time voters were turned away because they had not registered in time or failed to declare as a Democrat.
Voting laws are not common knowledge. People are mobile and elections are governed by individual states, not federal law. Only a couple of elections, like upcoming North Dakota, allow people to show up and vote without much restriction. As I reviewed the current election laws, of the 16 states yet to hold their primary or caucuses, I discovered it’s too late to declare or register in over half of them! So, what is the point of Senator Sanders campaigning so hard in those closed NE states where many young Bernie supports will not be allowed to vote? It will only fuel future voter apathy. I remember many of my friends feeling so discouraged over McGovern’s loss (to Nixon) OR not being allowed to vote (for one reason or another), they never tried to change laws… they just gave up and rarely vote.
While I was updating this post I just learned of Prince dying (totally off topic, I know) so I’ve lost some of my zeal for this voter education effort. HOWEVER, here is the perfect resource, an interactive map, for Bernie supporters to learn about election laws in YOUR state: Can I vote?
Now comes the tough part… (I wrote the rest of this as part of the original Pre-NYPrimary post.) It still stands:
What if #Bernie doesn’t win the nomination? Hillary has over two million more “raw” votes so far and like it or not, she will probably get the vast majority of the Super Delegates. I don’t like that part of the process any more than you, and just wait until we hit the Electoral College. That is what took down my other favorite Al Gore back in the day. Vice President Gore had won the popular vote in 2000 yet due to shenanigans from Bush brother Jeb (remember him, then-Florida Governor) George Bush became President. I can’t tell you how disturbing and disheartening that was. I bring it up to say that even in the face of something that outrageous, we did not have full-on street riots. I worry we will this year. With a bigot like Trump leading the Republican pack and a lot of skin-head followers (who BTW have called me a Tin Foil Hat Looney) there will definitely be violence in Cleveland this summer. Let’s not have that in Philadelphia for the Democratic convention… PLEASE!
Give it your all to get Bernie nominated, but if the effort fails Independents have lots of options. You could vote for Gary Johnson, our former New Mexico Governor, a Libertarian who never gets enough attention. There’s Green Party candidate Jill Stein, and a Socialist Worker’s party candidate (there’s a long list of choices.) I’m sure you can even write-in Bernie. But, if it truly comes down to Hillary vs. the fascist Trump, then I would urge you to vote for her. After all, we certainly know Hillary, have seen her in action as Secretary of State, and through 11 grueling hours of congressional testimony on Benghazi. You can get involved in changing the system by becoming active in the Democratic Party (or one of the other parties) and changing the rules of the “game.” As a good friend of mine always says, “Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Of course, you know that having been in the trenches this year for Bernie. Don’t give up, get even — stay involved! Protest all you want, but please let’s not resort to violence this summer. Thank you again for reading, liking and re-tweeting my posts. I’m grateful you’ve all been so passionate about Bernie. Please comment below if you’d like. I would love to hear from you!!