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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Utah May Have An Answer For MN's Primary vs Caucus Issue

Category: Presidential Politics
Posted: 03/21/16 02:03

by Dave Mindeman

There is something that bears watching on Tuesday...and it happens to be on the Republican side. In the great state of Utah, the GOP is doing an experiment that is worth watching.

They are holding their Presidential ballot via the internet.

This might be an idea that can solve the Minnesota issue of primary vs caucus. And here are the reasons why I think it can help....

First of all, the registration data would be done online. No more data entry at the local level....(which I guarantee you can be very cumbersome).

Second, you won't have to have a large number of people all flocking to locations at the same time with incomplete information and a lot of confusion.

Third, you can still hold a caucus meeting for those that want to do more. They can hold their vote in person and elect leadership among the group that is already committed to doing more. (You could even have a comparison of internet vs. in person voting)

Fourth, it could save the state some administration time and money. If you don't have to occupy polling places or print ballots and other material, that has to be a win as well, right?

There are logistics that may have problems. That is why the Utah vote will be interesting to observe. They will see the challenges first hand and there will be ideas about how to improve that process.

First question mark would be how to guarantee some ballot integrity. Online voting needs to be secure. But in reality, how accurate do you think the vote count on caucus night was anyway? The voting by that flood of people in a small time window must have had a ton of mistakes...more than likely not intentionally, but mistakes none the less. Still, if there can be a reasonable amount of integrity via security protocols, it could be just as accurate as what we are doing.

Secondly, would the party want some control over who would vote. If it is completely open, then the general electorate would be involved - especially if there is an incumbent in one party and an open election in the other. There might need to be some kind of filter if the party wants to keep it within its own membership.

Still on the whole, it is a process that is worth looking at. Watch Utah on Tuesday night and listen for any discussion on this process.

It might be in Minnesota's future.
comments (0) permalink

It's OK To Point Out Dem Candidate Differences - But Be Fair

Category: Presidential Politics
Posted: 02/07/16 15:25, Edited: 02/07/16 15:25

by Dave Mindeman

I realize that when you have an intra-party contest, there will be points of contention and differences that need to be defined. I get that. But there are a couple of arguments going on lately which I think are pretty lame. And it is one on each side.

First, in regards to the Clinton contention that Bernie Sanders' preference for single payer will blow up Obamacare. That is not even close to accurate and pretty unfair. With a President Sanders, Obamacare will never be repealed and will only be dismantled if a better system can actually pass Congress. If he can't get it through, then we still have the current system. End of argument.

Secondly, the Sanders campaign charges about Clinton's Goldman Sachs speeches also stretches the bounds of credulity. Yes, Clinton takes a lot of corporate donations and yes, a lot of money comes from Wall Street. She has taken a similar pathway to most of the other Presidential candidates, including Obama. Bernie has carved out a preferred donor base, but not many political figures are able to do that. Kudos to him - but it hardly makes Hillary Clinton some kind of corporate shill. I live in the 2nd Congressional district - I know corporate shills.

And let's take the Goldman Sachs speeches. Yeah, that is a lot of money to be paid for a speech, but Bill and Hillary Clinton built a reputation and a global foundation that commands those types of fees. Goldman Sachs is not buying influence - they are trying to take advantage of a brand. When they can announce that Hillary Clinton is going to give a speech on foreign policy at their venue, it raises the profile of not only Hillary Clinton, but also Goldman Sachs....or whatever corporate or non-profit entity manages to get either of them for their discussions.

Sure, it is easy to look at the correlation and be suspicious. But I also think it is unfair to assume the worst. I think she has trouble explaining such fees because the Clinton's have acquired a high level of influence. I doubt that Goldman Sachs is going to be able to pressure the Clintons to bend to their will when they have global connections all over the world that interconnect in a host of ways.

The proof of that is a thoughtful and tough policy on the banking industry. Nobel economist Paul Krugman said that Hillary's plan is the best of any of the Presidential candidates.

And in addition, Clinton's reasoning about representing New York, the home of Wall Street is valid as well. Bernie Sanders' representation of Vermont has definitely affected his stances on the gun industry. Both Hillary and Bernie are moving leftward on those positions now....and for me, their explanations are good enough.

So, before we get into these constant charges and counter charges in social media, please remember - these two candidates are head and shoulders above the public policies that we would see if the GOP candidate would win.

If you want to point out differences, I understand, but let's keep it fair.
comments (3) permalink

Clinton vs Sanders: On Health Care

Category: Presidential Politics
Posted: 01/15/16 20:06, Edited: 01/15/16 20:10

by Dave Mindeman

The campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have been having contentious exchanges on the health care issue. And the negative talk seems to be accelerating. But it would be more constructive if both sides would stop distorting the positions held by the other.

I, personally, have been a single payer advocate for a long time. On this, I agree with Bernie. The ACA has problems because the public option was blocked from being part of the bill. That has been a flaw from the very beginning.

And I do not believe that Sanders is out to dismantle all the health care programs that have been working and helping poor people across the nation. I am sure that there will be a method of working all these program advantages into his overall plan.

But Hillary Clinton has some legitimate policy concerns to be addressed here and the Sanders campaign should not dismiss them as political attacks. The Sanders campaign did promise to get the details of his health care plan out to the public....and I, along with others, would like to see and examine it.

I also would like Sanders to address concerns that if we open up the health care debate in Congress again with new legislation, how can the Sanders campaign promise that we won't come out worse than where we are now?

The ACA passed with an all Democratic Congress. The likelihood that Sanders will have the same if he is elected are virtually nil.

Hillary's contention that we should work to improve the ACA and make it closer to a universal system is pragmatically the more viable option. We could revisit a public option and possibly allow the states to opt out for a single payer system of their own.

Both campaigns are essentially advocating for the same end result. Universal health care. Progressives have long felt that the single payer method of Medicare for All, as Bernie proposes, is the best and most cost effective means to do so. And in a more progressive political majority world, that is the avenue that we could pursue. But we still have not reached that point.

The Clinton campaign is wrong to make this about taxes - because paying for Bernie's plan will be offset by lower insurance premiums and out of pocket costs. However, if the Sanders campaign won't divulge the nature of how this is paid for, it leaves the campaign open for legitimate criticism....and if isn't Hillary, the Republicans will gladly oblige.

This Democratic health care discussion is necessary, but it doesn't need to be contentious. Both sides have the American people's best interests at heart.

Which is more than we can currently say for the GOP.
comments (1) permalink
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