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Where realism and idealism meet Tony Brasunas, author of Double Happiness

The Four Reasons Pragmatic Progressives are Supporting Jill Stein

Jill Stein, Green Party Nominee for President

Voters seek alternatives to the ‘choice’ between Trump and Clinton.

It’s early October, and the usual suspects in the corporate media are bellowing hyperbole about the supposed “craziness” of supporting anyone other than the two most disliked presidential candidates in history.

Why might the Paul Krugmans, Ezra Kleins, and Charles Blows of the corporate media world be veering into shriller and shriller tones?

Most likely because both practical and idealistic voters are increasingly supporting Jill Stein, and one of the jobs of the corporate media is to prop up the corporate parties. When someone doesn’t listen to you and you don’t have reason on your side, you often raise your voice.

The truth is, there are dozens of reasons not to support Trump or Clinton, ranging from the way Clinton issues dangerous military threats about Russia, Syria, and Iran; to the way Trump brashly scapegoats Muslims and immigrants; to the uncomfortable sense that the Trumps and Clintons are actually longtime friends and attend each other’s events and donate to each other. Idealists could probably list one hundred reasons to avoid these candidates.

I attended Jill Stein’s energetic event in Oakland last night, and instead of talking to the idealists, I asked the pragmatists there why they were supporting Stein.

Here is what I gathered, the four main reasons pragmatic progressives are supporting Jill Stein:

  1. The Electoral College. It actually doesn’t matter who you vote for if you live in any of the 41 states that aren’t contested for the presidency. Such is the system we use to elect the president that voters in the vast majority of the country aren’t counted anyway. Most states already heavily support one of the corporate parties, and in order to determine the president, votes aren’t counted, only states. For instance, your vote won’t in any practical sense count to determine the president if you live in CA, NY, TX, OR, WA, NJ, MA, any states in the south, or any of the entire Western half of the country except for CO and NV. If you want your vote to count for something in these states, the pragmatic thing to do is to vote for the candidate who truly represents your views, since you’re not actually electing a candidate. Your vote is sending a message, nothing more.
  2. The Immediate Crucial Issues. “Not one more black life taken by police,” Jill Stein said yesterday in Oakland, to immense applause. This issue of racist law enforcement is something we need to send a message about right now. The other candidates don’t care about this issue, and don’t care about so many other crucial issues. We can’t just stamp our approval on a corporate candidate who is silent on today’s crucial issues, say pragmatic progressives. The awful Dakota Access pipeline is at stake today; for-profit prisons are entrenching virtual slavery today; corrupt weapons deals are arming terrorists today; the earth’s atmosphere went over 400ppm of carbon dioxide this month — there are too many huge issues right now that need our voice. If you believe in the actual functioning of democracy, the most practical thing you can do is to use your one sacred vote to communicate to your representatives what you see as most important.
  3. The Necessity of a New Party. The DNC rigged the primary on the Democratic side, and apparently they’re getting away with it. Despite leaked emails, proven media collusion, outright fraud, and electoral ‘irregularities’ in dozens of states, nothing has happened. To get out of one of several lawsuits, the DNC shockingly argued that everyone already knew they were biased against Bernie Sanders from the start, thus admitting manipulation. Having rigged this one, there is zero reason to believe the DNC won’t rig future primaries or elections, or do whatever else they need to do to defeat progressives and install corporate candidates in power. The DNC runs the Democratic Party, so to vote Democratic at this time is to stamp our approval on the subversion of democracy itself. It’s time to build a new party, say pragmatic progressives. The Green Party isn’t perfect, but it’s growing into something good, and it’s certainly the best of the options available. If we can’t win this year, at least we can win 5% of the vote, which will legally secure financial and ballot status for the party for future elections.
  4. The Track Record of ‘Lesser Evilism.’ The idea of voting for the “lesser of evils” that is promoted by the punditocracy in the New York Times and other corporate media outlets is supposedly to avoid certain bad things. We’re supposed to tolerate somewhat bad things to avoid very bad things. Does this work? Well, there’s a track record on this now. Since 1992, the corporate media and some well-meaning friends have been yelling at idealistic and pragmatic progressives to vote for “lesser evils” in order to avoid things — to avoid endless wars in the Middle East, to avoid corrupt corporate lawyers writing legislation, to avoid giant taxpayer bailouts for Wall Street, to avoid massive domestic spying and the renewal of the Patriot Act, to avoid inaction on Climate Change, to avoid Wall Street fraud, to avoid the militarization of the police, to avoid growing income inequality, to avoid more people slipping into poverty, and much more. The problem is, the track record of doing this shows that we’ve actually gotten nearly everything we feared. The bad things we were supposed to be avoiding have come to pass. The track record speaks for itself. At a certain point, if the team keeps losing, you have to bench the quarterback, even if the backup doesn’t have much experience. We have to free ourselves from this two-party prison that is sliding to the right, impoverishing our country, destroying the planet, and setting us on a crash course for more wars, more terrorism, and more refugee crises.

Those are the four main reasons pragmatic progressives are supporting Jill Stein and rejecting the media’s shrill cries to get on board with the corporate candidates.

The core problem progressives have with supporting Donald Trump is that, while he might “shake the system up” (best case scenario), he’s a racist egotistical bully and is likely to exacerbate racism and jingoism and make countless awful decisions.

The problem with supporting Hillary Clinton is that, while she might do one or two slightly progressive things (best case scenario), she’s a corrupt, dishonest warmonger who has benefited from fraud and said nothing about it. She’s funded her campaign entirely from corporate cash, so despite what she says, she’s likely to implement TPP or something similar to finalize the corporate takeover of our public government and military.

To many progressives, both of these corporate candidates are atrocious and unacceptable, there are no good reasons to vote for them, and supporting Stein is obvious. On the other hand, some progressives will vote for Clinton, persuaded by this “lesser evil” strategy. Others will actually vote for Trump, refusing to approve of the DNC’s corrupt leadership. The reality is that under either of the corporate candidates, the planet and our democracy will suffer. Who really wants war with Russia, Syria, or Iran? Who really wants corporate boards to be able to legally overrule Congress? Please raise your hand.

What the pragmatic progressives I spoke with are doing is calling out the truth on these problems, and taking logical and practical steps to solve them — including voting. If we are to confront runaway climate change, institutional racism, endemic corruption, and election fraud, and create a better political system, there is no more time to wait.

If you believe in progressive ideas, particularly if you live in one of the 41 states disenfranchised in this presidential election, you too might be a pragmatic progressive supporting Jill Stein.

You might just need to grab a pair of earplugs if you read the corporate media.

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Posted in Double Happiness
by Tony Brasunas at 8:26 am on October 8, 2016

The Debate of Election 2016: To Surrender or to Protest

Jill Stein, Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, Donald Trump

Outlook on the day of an illegitimate presidential debate.

The problem with accepting today’s debate as a legitimate democratic event is that to do so would be surrender. In fact, accepting this entire election, as currently run by the two corporate parties in collusion with the corporate media, would at this point be surrender.

The debates are illegitimate because three-quarters of Americans want more candidates in the debates, and Jill Stein and Gary Johnson were barred via disingenuous rules and flawed polls. There is no legitimate reason the debates should be run as the two older parties see fit, rather than how we the citizens see fit. Yet that’s what’s happening.

The debate will be illegitimate also because it seeks to force us to accept primaries that were a sham.

Those who followed the primaries closely know that the Clinton campaign and the DNC lied, cheated, and stole their way to the nomination. Several prominent media pundits do argue that the primary was fair, but the endless and ongoing leaks of internal emails continue to show that the primary was rigged. Now even the DNC itself, after insisting for months on its impartiality, is arguing in court that everyone knew all along that they, the DNC, favored Clinton.

Trump, on the other hand, employed the worst tactics of demagoguery — inciting violence, racism, jingoism, and actual political ignorance—to win the nomination on the Republican side. (more…)

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Posted in Peaceful Revolution | Politics
by Tony Brasunas at 7:39 pm on September 26, 2016

How Democrats and Republicans Seek to Bar Greens and Libertarians from the Presidential Debates

Jill Stein and Gary Johnson Debates

The Democratic and Republican parties aim to exclude Jill Stein (G) and Gary Johnson (L) from the debates.

Millions of American voters will remember this 2016 election year as the year they left the two older political parties once and for all. After deeply problematic primaries, including epidemic fraud on the Democratic side, the two parties nominated the least-liked candidates in history. Never in modern politics has a candidate with either Hillary Clinton’s approval rating (-16) or Donald Trump’s approval rating (-18) won a nomination, let alone the White House. These two candidates are widely, historically disliked.

Meanwhile three-quarters of Americans want to see two other candidates in the presidential debates. You can’t find a lot of things that three in four Americans agree on, but polls show a stunning 76% of us want Dr. Jill Stein, nominee of the Green Party, and Gov. Gary Johnson, nominee of the Libertarian Party, to be included in the debates.

Not that this should be surprising. With our democracy fraying, corruption and election fraud on the rise, climate change encroaching on virtually every ecosystem, and income inequality at record levels, it’s a crucial juncture for the United States and for the planet. Citizens of all backgrounds long to hear a broad range of ideas before determining the optimal path forward.

Americans want to see Stein and Johnson in the debates.

With climate change a leading issue for many voters, the Green Party, which pushes for immediate action on climate change, should be heard. In light of revelations about domestic spying from whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, American citizens want personal liberty and privacy right now, and for this reason the Libertarian candidate should be heard as well. The two older parties inspire little trust on these 21st century issues.

Presidential campaigns are the only nationwide campaigns we have as a country. These political seasons are the most important avenue for large scale political exchange, inspiration, and expression. (more…)

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Posted in Peaceful Revolution | Politics
by Tony Brasunas at 11:02 am on September 22, 2016

The Great Recognition of 2016: Nixon-level Corruption in the DNC Means It’s Time to Build a New Party

Green Party Nominee Dr Jill Stein

The Democratic Convention fiasco has triggered an exodus to the Green Party

Back at the end of July, as I was leaving home and traveling to the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, I wasn’t yet certain whether the leaders of the Democratic Party — the Democratic National Committee — were simply incompetent or actually corrupt. As a writer, as a progressive, and as a citizen inspired by the Bernie Sanders campaign, I was interested to see the workings of the DNC up close.

I had already witnessed in 2016 the DNC allocate and count “superdelegates” prematurely, which favored the Clinton campaign. I had also seen tremendous irregularities and probable fraud in the primary elections, which also favored the Clinton campaign. In short, I knew the DNC wasn’t running a fair primary between Sanders and Clinton, but I wasn’t sure exactly how unfair it was, and whether it was random incompetence and peccadilloes, or whether it was concerted rigging and intentional corruption to install Hillary Clinton as the nominee.

The future of our democracy, our country, and our planet hang in the balance here in 2016, so I departed for the convention knowing that the decisions of the DNC and the superdelegates would be extremely important. (more…)

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Posted in Democratic Convention | Peaceful Revolution | Politics | Travel
by Tony Brasunas at 10:15 am on September 4, 2016

While Publicly Seeking Unity, the DNC is Censoring a Convention and Silencing Dissent

Bernie Sanders supporters locked out of the DNC convention

Locked doors separate Sanders delegates who walked out of the Democratic Convention

Sanders delegates, volunteers, and supporters have felt marginalized.

The Democratic National Committee professes publicly that it longs for peace and unity between supporters of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. The DNC’s actions as organizers of the convention, however, have repeatedly had the opposite effect.

To begin, no one who wanted Bernie Sanders as the nominee was ever allowed near the microphone on stage. It is an open convention, regardless of the way it’s been covered in the corporate media; Hillary Clinton did not get the required 2,383 delegates required to win outright from pledged delegates. The superdelegates are casting the deciding votes this week. Bernie Sanders, although issuing an endorsement of Clinton earlier this month, hasn’t conceded the race nor released his delegates and so he could become the nominee.

Nevertheless, the entire first day of the convention — ostensibly the “Bernie Day” — featured no speakers who favored a Sanders nomination. Several one-time Sanders supporters who now favor Clinton were allowed to speak.

“Instead of having both candidates’ surrogates make their case, even if the outcome seemed obvious, Monday only featured speakers who advocated voting for Hillary,” said Justin Baird, from the convention floor, a Sanders delegate and whip from Washington state. “It was painfully obvious that if that was Bernie Day, it was really just another Hillary Day, and it riled nearly half the delegates.”

Simply allowing a few Sanders supporters — Nina Turner, for instance, or Tulsi Gabbard, or even Jane Sanders — to speak Monday would have immediately increased feelings of unity. Instead, the convention got off on the wrong foot, fomenting feelings of suppression right away, even before Bernie gave his heart-rending “three minute ovation” speech later that night.

Barring the ‘Super Volunteers’

Even worse than preventing pro-Bernie speakers to address the convention, the DNC has barred all 824 Bernie Sanders volunteers from the convention. Yes, all of them, having traveled across the country on their own dime, expecting to be inside the convention, have been barred from the convention floor. (more…)

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Posted in Democratic Convention | Peaceful Revolution | Politics
by Tony Brasunas at 2:52 pm on July 27, 2016

Today It Begins — Democrats’ Last Chance to Ensure Victory by Nominating Bernie Sanders


Some might call it a long shot. Some might call it blasphemy. Some might call it the most brilliant and patriotic political maneuver in a generation.

Whatever one calls it, nominating Sen. Bernie Sanders remains a possibility at the Democratic Convention that starts today here in Philadelphia. Sanders provided an endorsement of Hillary Clinton a week ago in a show of party solidarity, but he has not conceded the race nor relinquished his delegates.

Thus this convention revolves around one critical question for superdelegates and members of the DNC: Which political path do they want their party to take today and in the coming decade?

Do they want their party to sweep to a landslide victory in November and add millions of diverse, enthusiastic new members who will carry the party to Democratic wins for a generation? Or do they want their party to run against the populism sweeping the country, attempt to embrace corporate power more fervently than Republicans, fight a risky battle in November, and likely dwindle in popularity over the coming years?

Of these two paths, nominating Sanders is taking the first path. With Sanders atop the ticket in November, Democrats will win decisively, and not just the presidency. Sanders is historically popular, brings unprecedented levels of grassroots enthusiasm and fundraising, and will likely unite the Democratic Party into an unbeatable juggernaut. Month after month, polls show a Sanders ticket would defeat Donald Trump handily, by double digits, which would constitute a landslide and a mandate in modern presidential politics.

Independents and new voters will flock to the Democrats in a Sanders-Trump race, and thus down-ticket races and propositions will benefit as well. The country will see a November groundswell of progressives, Democrats, and independents converging on the polls to vote for this honest and inspiring candidate.

A Hillary Clinton nomination, on the other hand, risks not just the 2016 campaign but the future of the party as well. (more…)

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Posted in Peaceful Revolution | Politics
by Tony Brasunas at 12:28 pm on July 25, 2016