Rank and file revolt as SEIU endorses Clinton

On November 17th, the International Executive Board of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) announced its early endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Despite SEIU’s leadership in the Fight for $15 movement, this announcement comes just days after Clinton opposed a nationwide $15/hour minimum wage, instead favoring a $12/hour, during a Democratic Party debate.

In addition to SEIU, the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the dockworkers’ International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the National Education Association (NEA) have endorsed Clinton.  In total, these unions represent nearly 10 million working people across the U.S. and have massive resources.  Labor for Bernie, a grassroots network of rank and file union members, released a statement on November 20th calling SEIU’s national endorsement “short-sighted and unprincipled” and based on a “failed strategy of purely transactional politics with corporate liberals.”

While National Nurses United and the American Postal Workers Union have endorsed Sanders on a national level, most of Sanders’ union support has come from thousands of rank and file union members and the dozens of locals that have endorsed him.  SEIU Local 1984, New Hampshire’s second largest union, broke with their leadership to endorse Sanders.  Across the country, SEIU members have overwhelmingly voiced their support for Bernie Sanders on social media.

For example, Linda Davis states: “Was she [Clinton] fighting for workers when she was on the board at Wal-Mart? Is she fighting for $15.00/hr for low wage employees? She is mouthing what she THINKS voters want to hear. Then she will do the bidding of those who bought and paid for her political office once she is elected. Bernie Sanders is the only one who is not owned by corporate America. If you cannot support Bernie Sanders, SEIU, then you do not truly support your members, and I cannot support YOU.”

Bernie Sanders’ campaign has put the issues ordinary people face into the spotlight and popularized socialism for a whole new generation.  This presents an important opportunity to build movements and a new party of working people and youth.  While Democratic Party “super delegates,” more than 150 elected officials, and corporate donors line up behind Hillary Clinton, Sanders has generated tremendous grassroots support with his bold demands and call for a “political revolution against the billionaire class.”  Over 650,000 people have donated to Sanders campaign – the highest ever for any presidential campaign at this stage of the election cycle.

From serving on Wal-Mart’s Board of Directors to supporting a plethora of anti-worker policies, Hillary Clinton doesn’t deserve the support of working people.  On the contrary, Sanders has consistently supported unionization efforts and working class movements.   From a $15/hour minimum wage, to single-payer health care, to tuition-free public college, achieving Sanders’ platform will require a movement independent of the two parties of the billionaire class.

Over the past four decades, union membership in the U.S. has declined and many union leaders have made huge compromises with employers, giving up hard-won gains such as benefits and higher wages.  Likewise, most major unions have continuously supported Wall Street Democrats, such as Hillary Clinton.  In order to revive and rebuild a fighting labor movement, it is integral to break with these corporate politicians.

As SEIU members continue to fight for $15, the strategy of supporting the “pragmatic” candidate, Hillary Clinton, ultimately means settling for $12/hour and prolonging the status-quo.  At a time when social movements around inequality and racism are exploding, the short-sightedness of the SEIU union leadership to endorse corporate-backed Clinton is astonishing. Instead of lining up with an ally of Wall Street, SEIU could have struck a blow to corporate politics and put its resources behind the growing number of activists supporting Bernie’s call for a political revolution. This also poses in front on SEIU members the need to build a democratic, fighting union that will be on frontlines of social struggles and for independent political action.

The political revolution called for by Sanders has to also include a rejection of the corporate-based Democratic Party and the building of a new political party of the 99%.

Through building a grassroots campaign, 15 Now, and electing an independent, open socialist to the Seattle City Council, Kshama Sawant and Socialist Alternative fought and won the first $15/hour minimum wage in a major U.S. city.

Bernie Sanders passes 2 million likes

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders attracted his two-millionth Facebook like.

The presidential hopeful from Vermont is now the most popular Democratic candidate on Facebook, with rivals Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley unable to keep up with Sanders’ rapid online growth.

Clinton has just 1.8 million fans on her Facebook page, while O’Malley barely has 100,000.

Sanders also has a large following on his Senatorial Facebook page of almost 2.5 million likes, making him one of the most popular US Senators online.

New polls show promise for Sanders

A series of CBS News/YouGov polls released this week show Sanders leading, and within the margin of error in two early-voting states.

The polls, released on Monday, show Sanders ahead of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire by 7 points, a lead that has been reflected consistently in many other recent polls.

He trails the former Secretary of State by just 6 points in Iowa. Polls from October put her ahead by as much as 32 points, clearly closing the gap and firming up support since then. That puts Sanders within the 7.6 per cent margin of error.

However, Sanders faces an uphill battle in South Carolina, where he currently trails Secretary Clinton by 47 points, an improvement on the 54-point margin shown by a PPP poll earlier this month. The margin of error on that poll was 8.7 per cent.

Bernie Sanders can win

Bernie Sanders can win the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States.

Many mainstream media news articles ignore Senator Sanders while numerous others state that he is unelectable. Wins in early states are likely to provide boosts in support as voters recognize Senator Sanders electability. Bernie Sanders remains unknown to minority voters, due to lack of media coverage, which will change with early state wins. As a reminder, Barack Obama trailed Hillary Clinton by similar margins prior to 2008 primaries. No measure of significance has been given to the intense and energetic support of Bernie Sanders’ followers. Even with early wins, Senator Sanders’ grassroots activists will have to work hard to phone bank and canvass on behalf of their candidate to overcome clear advantages of the Establishment campaign of Hillary Clinton. With determination from his supporters, Bernie Sanders can win the Democratic nomination.

Wins in the early states of New Hampshire and Iowa are extremely likely to provide boosts in support as voters recognize Senator Sanders electability. According a study conducted by William G. Mayer, “a win in New Hampshire increases a candidate’s share of the final primary count in all states by 27 percentage points.” Likewise, as a result of Barack Obama’s win in the 2008 Iowa Caucus, he received a significant surge of support in the New Hampshire primary. In the November 20, 2015, NBC poll, Bernie Sanders trailed Hillary Clinton by only 16 points among likely Democratic voters who had participated in the last two elections. According to history, “the upset by a runner-up  changes the calculus of national politics in a matter of hours.” Once Senator Sanders wins an election, the polling numbers will change drastically very quickly. Throughout September, Bernie Sanders gained a strong lead in the New Hampshire polls. In the CBS poll of November 23rd, Senator Sanders maintained a lead of 7 percentage points over Hillary Clinton. With a renewed effort in the Granite State, Bernie Sanders could anchor a successful campaign on a win in the New Hampshire primary.

Bernie Sanders remains relatively unknown to many potential non-white Democratic voters. In the June 2015, NBC poll, which had Hillary Clinton winning 75 to 15, only 51% of those polled had enough information to provide an answer. Forty-nine percent of all Americans in this poll, had not heard of Bernie Sanders. This is unsurprising, as Bernie Sanders was given only 24 minutes of Network news air time up to October 6, 2015.  Despite the near blackout from ABC, NBC, CBS news, in the 6 months since June, Bernie Sanders has closed the national gap by half.  According to the latest ABC poll, in the last month alone, Bernie Sanders has doubled his following among minorities. However, Bernie Sanders still trails Hillary Clinton among minority voters, especially black voters,  by large margins. Once Bernie Sanders wins the New Hampshire primary, the mainstream media would be forced to provide  the candidate coverage and the minority voters will be given more exposure to the candidate.  However, informing the minority communities in Nevada and South Carolina is of particular importance since they hold their caucus and primary in February.

Historically, the 2008 Democratic Primary campaign nearly mirrors the current 2016 campaign. In 2008, Hillary Clinton was also the presumptive nominee expected to be coronated before a single vote was cast. There were two challengers, Senator John Edwards from South Carolina and a virtually unknown Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama.  In the pre-primary polls, Hillary Clinton led Barack Obama by 20 percentage points. Today, Clinton leads Sanders by 25 points. As mentioned earlier,  a win in New Hampshire could erase that lead virtually overnight.

More importantly, no measure of significance has been given to the intense and energetic following of support on the social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and the candidate’s official website.  Most political pundits waive off the phenomenon because of its immeasurability.  Despite more than 20 years of development, the political establishment still cannot accurately predict voting behavior based upon Internet behavior. This is the political punditry’s fatal flaw in dismissing Senator Bernie Sanders. These followers are active grassroots volunteers for his campaign.

On November 22, Hillary Clinton had 1.8 million Facebook followers compared to Bernie Sanders 2.4 million followers. “Sanders followers liked, shared or commented on his status updates six times more frequently than Clinton followers.” In addition to the official Bernie Sanders Facebook page, there is at least one grassroots group for each state, several groups dedicated to specific cities and numerous pages and groups dedicated to specific demographics and interests.  During the month of September, “95% of Sanders’ (Facebook) growth came from within  the United States, while for Clinton that number is only 74%.”  On Facebook, Bernie Sanders has the clear advantage.

On Twitter, Hillary Clinton claims 4.7 million followers to Bernie Sanders 1 million. However, according to the website TwitterAudit.com, 41% of Hillary Clinton’s followers are fake accounts compared to only 10% of Sanders’ followers. Moreover, Bernie Sanders’ followers are more than twice as likely to like a tweet despite being outnumbered nearly 5 to 1. This shows how that despite the large discrepancy between their followers, Bernie Sanders’ followers are clearly more engaged on a regular basis.

On reddit, known as the front page of the Internet, Bernie Sanders has a loyal following of 134,400 compared to only 1,095 for Hillary Clinton. It is this digital army that has led the  charge for Senator Sanders through the early months of the campaign.

Another indicator of interest can be found comparing the candidates’ official websites. Web traffic towww.berniesanders.com is twice as high to his rival www.hillaryclinton.com. Bernie Sanders receives nearly 89,000 unique visitors to his website per day which equates to approx. 2,664,810 per month.  Hillary, on the other hand, attracts less than 44,091  unique visitors a day and 1,322,730 visits a month. Based upon these numbers, people are showing twice as much interest in Bernie Sanders than in Hillary Clinton.

To win, Senator Bernie Sanders requires his grassroots activists to register new voters, educate already registered voters and bring both new and old voters to the primary or caucus on election day. With less than 70 days remaining before the first caucus, he needs his supporters to volunteer to phone bank, canvass door to door, set up tables at local events to inform voters about their candidate and his issues. Most importantly, they must reach out to the African American and Latino communities to inform them that Bernie Sanders represents their interests.

For all of the above reasons, Bernie Sanders can and is likely to be the Democratic Nominee for President of the United States in 2016.

Sanders to air informative TV advertisement

One of two new commercials to hit the airwaves in Iowa and New Hampshire this weekend focuses on the ‘rigged’ economy, and how it works.

“Most new wealth flows to the top one percent. It’s a system held in place by corrupt politics,” Sanders says in the ad.

“Join us for real change.”

This, and the other new TV spot will begin airing in Iowa and New Hampshire on Saturday, the campaign said in a statement.

Sanders releases astounding new TV ad

In an impressive new campaign ad, Sanders discusses creating an economy and a democracy that works for everyone.

Sanders outlines his vision for America, including making Wall Street and the ultra rich pay their fair share of taxes, providing living wages for working people, and ensuring equal pay for women.

“Together, we can make a political revolution and create an economy and democracy that works for all and not just the powerful few,” Sanders says at the end of the ad.

In a statement released on Friday, the campaign said that this ad, “Works for Us All,” is one of two ads that is being aired in Iowa and New Hampshire beginning Saturday.

Sanders’ other ad focuses on the ‘rigged economy’.

Sanders: Trump should be ashamed

After Donald Trump signalled his support for a national database system to register Muslims, Bernie Sanders said he should be ashamed of himself.

Donald Trump yesterday said that he would ‘certainly implement’ a national database of Muslims in the United States. His rivals on both sides have blasted him for this statement, including Bernie Sanders.

“This is an outrageous and bigoted statement. Mr. Trump should be ashamed of himself. We will not destroy ISIS by undermining the Constitution and our religious freedoms,” Senator Sanders said.

Sanders not far off lead in Wisconsin

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is within arms-reach of the lead in Wisconsin, according to a Marquette Law School poll.

The poll, released Thursday, shows that Hillary Clinton is the favorite among half of all Democrats in Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Sanders trails her by just 9 points, the favorite of 41 per cent of registered Democratic voters.

In September, Sanders was trailing clinton by 12 points in Wisconsin.

However, more telling were the general election matchup polls that were conducted, which showed that Ben Carson and Marco Rubio would both defeat Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin. Clinton would beat Trump by ten points.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders would beat all three of the leading Republican candidates. The poll showed he would defeat Carson by six points, Rubio by four points and Trump by 17 points.

You can view the full results of the poll on Marquette’s polling website.

Sanders delivers campaign-defining speech

in an address to Georgetown University, Bernie Sanders described his vision for democratic socialism in America.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was at the center of Sanders’ address, citing his policies during the Great Depression as “we have to do today.”

“In his inaugural remarks in January 1937, in the midst of the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt looked out at the nation and this is what he saw,” Sanders said to the packed auditorium.

“He saw tens of millions of its citizens denied the basic necessities of life.”

Students at Georgetown University lined up for hours in the pouring rain to hear the Senator and presidential candidate speak.

“These are not radical, extremist ideas,” Senator Sanders said. “I am not coming before the American people saying, ‘Look I am this wild-eyed socialist.'”

You can see Sanders’ full speech on the C-SPAN website.

Bernie Sanders joins Snapchat

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has joined Snapchat, a social network, most popular with young people.

Sanders announced his joining of the social network in typical Bernie fashion. A dad joke.

Sanders’ opponent, Hillary Clinton, has had a Snapchat account maintained for her by her staff throughout the campaign. Her team use Snapchat Stories to communicate short messages, using Emoji.