Thursday, February 11, 2016

American Political Revolution

For many, the American dream has become a nightmare.
                                                                  Bernie Sanders

Politics is a minefield and I typically don’t take sides. Now I’m making an exception because, in my view, something different is happening.

You’ll note that several of my blogs over the past three years have covered my serious concerns about Political Corruption and Democracy Dysfunction. (1) (2) (3) (4) I wrote, “As it exists today, the American system is entirely incompatible with the democratic ideals upon which it was ostensibly founded. A political revolution seems to be the only solution to the countless problems plaguing America.

I think, I hope, that maybe – just maybe – that Bernie Sanders is part of a political solution for America.  His results after the first two election primaries indicate that that he's right for the times. America’s deeply entrenched problems must be exposed through the political process, failing which revolution is the only alternative.


Bernie Sanders was born on September 8, 1941, in New York. He grew up in Brooklyn as the younger of two sons of Jewish immigrants from Poland. His father worked as a paint salesman. From childhood, as part of a struggling working-class family, he recognized America's economic disparity.

Bernie Sanders started out his career as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont. He served four terms as the leader of Vermont's biggest city from 1981 to 1989. He then moved on to the national political arena by winning a seat in the House of Representatives. From 1991 to 2007, he distinguished himself as one of the country's few independent legislators. 

In 2007, Bernie won election to the U.S. Senate and was re-elected in 2012. He announced his plans to run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2015. (5)

Democratic Socialism

Bernie Sanders is a self-styled Democratic Socialist, a political ideology advocating a (6)
democratic political system alongside a socialist economic system, involving a combination of political democracy.
Democracy and socialism go hand in hand. All over the world, wherever the idea of democracy has taken root, the vision of socialism has taken root as well. This is embraced everywhere but in the United States, where many false ideas about socialism have developed. Many older Americans have become brainwashed into considering the word socialist to be repugnant. But it doesn’t seem to bother young people.

Bernie Sanders Issues

Here’s what the Bernie Sanders website says about the 21 issues that he considers are important to the American people: (7)

“The American people must make a fundamental decision. Do we continue the 40-year decline of our middle class and the growing gap between the very rich and everyone else, or do we fight for a progressive economic agenda that creates jobs, raises wages, protects the environment and provides health care for all? Are we prepared to take on the enormous economic and political power of the billionaire class, or do we continue to slide into economic and political oligarchy? These are the most important questions of our time, and how we answer them will determine the future of our country.”

If one listens to what Bernie has been saying, it’s evident that he is not radical at all. In many respects, he addresses directly the fundamental concerns that many Americans have about their future.

Iowa & NH Results

Last week in the Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton seemed artificial and contrived. By comparison, Bernie Sanders generated extraordinary enthusiasm with his consistent message of political revolution. He fought the supposedly inevitable Democratic winner to a draw and gained just about the same number of Iowa delegates. (8)  

Young, first-time caucus goers came close to carrying the day over the traditional, older attendees. According to the Des Moines Register poll Hillary Clinton was getting 65% of the older demographic (65+) and Bernie Sanders was getting 63% of the under-35 voters. Hillary was terribly damaged by the Iowa result. And things got worse.

This week, at the New Hampshire primary, America witnessed Bernie not just holding his own, but winning by a large margin. (9) American politics is experiencing a revolution led by female voters. Bernie won 53% of the female vote compared to Clinton's 46 %. Among young women, his numbers were even higher: 69% of Democratic women under 45 and 82% of female primary voters under the age of 30 voted for him.

Follow the Money

Fewer than four hundred families are responsible for almost half the money raised in the 2016 presidential campaign, a concentration of political donors that is unprecedented in the modern era.

Political candidates are restricted in how much they can accept from any single donor. The vast majority of the funds backing presidential candidates, approaching $1b this year, are being channeled through SuperPACs that can generate unlimited contributions, enormous campaign war chests, from almost any source. Take a look at the list of funds raised by the 2016 presidential candidates. (10)

Bernie Sanders is the exception. His campaign has raised more than $ 75m, all of it from smaller donations – $ 0.00 from SuperPACs.

During his New Hampshire victory speech Bernie announced, “I'm going to hold a fundraiser right here, right now, across America. My request is – please go to and contribute. Please help us raise the funds we need, whether it's 10 bucks, 20 bucks, or 50 bucks. Help us raise the money we need to take the fight to Nevada, South Carolina and the states on Super Tuesday.” Within a day, contributions jumped $ 6,672,590 – all from separate, small, individual contributors.

Citizens United

After being legitimized in 2010 by the Supreme Court Citizens United decision, corruption of the political system and is now the root of most problems in politics. (11)

These days, immediately upon being elected, the first priority for most politicians is to start to raise funds, huge funds, for the next election. These are usually not dishonest people or evil people; it is simply that if they want to stay in office they have to raise money – big money. The way they do this is selling favors. They don't say openly that this is what they do – but it is indeed what they all do.

After making big donations to politicians’ campaigns through SuperPACs, the lobbyists and large donors write legislation.  Politicians not only allow it, they condone it. It seems they have no choice. No other institution in America is so legally corrupt. It's just not right.

Feel the Bern

Reasonable people have little choice but to support any politician who is openly against this kind of corruption. Bernie Sanders leads the way. One of his stated major issues is to restore Democracy by getting big money out of politics. With America’s support, he can get it done.

Book: Why Bernie Sanders Matters

Missionary. Radical. Hippy. Revolutionary. Pragmatist. Socialist. (12) Jaffe narrates the story of the rise of a scrappy kid from Brooklyn and why he just won’t quit.

Hot from the campaign trail, a vivid new biography by Harry Jaffe goes inside Bernie Sanders’s contradictions, his unusual life, and his electrifying quest to make the American dream a reality for all.

Change Happens

Once in a lifetime a great man comes along that makes a difference. The time has to be right. Great times make great men – Lincoln, Churchill, Gandhi, MLK – their times made those men. These were ordinary people upon whom the mantle of greatness was placed. (13)

In my view, Bernie Sanders has the potential to be one of those game-changers. He may not get his changes through a corrupt congress, but he will expose the problems and, hopefully, move the country towards reasonable progress. 

The present system is so entrenched that change will be difficult. Bernie is proposing huge changes, and for decades the political landscape is littered with those wanting to make changes to the system, only to have them flame out. Eugene McCarthy, Ross Perot, Howard Dean and others championed change. They had lots of great ideas, but none of them ever got the chance to really do anything, because they didn’t – couldn't – get elected.

Bernie Sanders is one of those voices in the desert. Will he be diminished and eliminated like the others before him?  You and I are part of the answer to that vital question. You can help by being a contributor to his campaign, to help him get elected. (14)

Pinto Poem

I cannot complete this blog on Bernie Sanders without waxing poetic:

Look around you to see all the signs
Rich getting richer while middle-class declines
Politicians in the grip of big money donors
Voting like minions obeying their owners

Wall Street and wealthy must pay taxes their share
Not shelter profits with tax dodges not fair
Racial injustice a total outrage
Women’s pay equity, raise minimum wage

Lower prices for drugs and health-care for all
It’s urgent America, we can no longer stall
Save our planet with climate change
Vote for Bernie, he will help us arrange

This rhyme jumped out from my keyboard, inspired by my respect and admiration for this man, for his courage and dogged determination to bring change to America against great odds. Bernie Sanders generates hope and optimism for me and for many.

Let’s Engage

I’ll appreciate your own view on Bernie Sanders. Here are some questions to get you engaged:

  1. Are you Democrat or Republican or Independent?
  2. Who will you (did you) vote for in the primaries?
  3. Will you vote for Bernie Sanders? Why? Why not?
  4. Are you a Hillary Clinton supporter? Why?
  5. Are you a Trump supporter? Why?  Will/can Trump get elected?
  6. If you don’t live in the US, what is your view of American elections?
  7. Add your own observations and ideas.
Please share your comments directly in the blog. Or, send me an email and I’ll insert on your behalf.  You can choose to provide your name, or remain anonymous.


  1. Jim Pinto blog – Next American Revolution:
  2. Jim Pinto blog – Political Corruption in America:
  3. Jim Pinto blog – Corruption of Capitalism:
  4. Jim Pinto blog – Democracy Dysfunction:
  5. Bernie Sanders Biography:
  6. What is Democratic Socialism?
  7. Bernie Sanders on the Issues:
  8. Democratic caucus that (almost) felt the Bern:
  9. New Hampshire Primary: 5 Things That Explain The Results:
  10. Which Presidential Candidates Are Winning the Money Race:
  11. A wealthy oligarchy of donors is dominating the 2016 election:
  12. Book: Why Bernie Sanders Matters:
  13. Gandhi of America - Bernie Sanders:
  14. Contribute to Bernie Sanders Campaign:


Jim Pinto
Carlsbad, CA.

11 February 2016


  1. What is interesting is that the Democrats are hoping for Trump to be nominated the Republicans are hoping for Bernie...figuring they will be the easiest candidates to beat....Ah, what a country :)


  2. 1. Are you Democrat or Republican or Independent?
    I'm a Dem but a former Rep.

    2. Who will you (did you) vote for in the primaries?
    It'll be Dems.

    3. Will you vote for Bernie Sanders? Why? Why not?
    Yes. Bernie represents the future for America.

    4. Are you a Hillary Clinton supporter? Why?
    No. She's a liar and a part of the problem.

    5. Are you a Trump supporter? Why? Will/can Trump get elected?
    No. Trump is another fascist. Still, he might get elected.

  3. I am an independent but this time I will vote for Bernie in the primaries, if I'm allowed to in my state. He is the only candidate who is even talking about the corrupting force of money in politics. Most other choices from either party are representatives of money interests and controlled by them or religious zealots, anti-gay, anti-women, anti-immigrant and in my opinion anti-American. No candidate other than Bernie is even talking about taking them on.

  4. 1. Are you Democrat or Republican or Independent? - Independent

    2. Who will you (did you) vote for in the primaries? - Ted Cruz

    3. Will you vote for Bernie Sanders? Why? Why not?
    No, Given the way that Socialism and Communism lead to centralization of power for power hungry people to take advantage of, I can't vote for a Socialist.

    4. Are you a Hillary Clinton supporter? Why?
    No, Terrible person the way she supported her rapist husband. She is also a criminal (email scandal) and is too much in bed with Wall Street.

    5. Are you a Trump supporter? Why? Will/can Trump get elected?
    I am not a Trump supporter. While better than either the socialist or the criminal, (not hard), I am not convinced that his actions will match what people hear in his rhetoric. Washington needs to be cleaned up. I'm afraid Trump will just make deals with the establishment, especially the Progressive Democrats and the Republican insiders.

    6. If you don’t live in the US, what is your view of American elections?
    I'm a U.S. citizen.

    7. Add your own observations and ideas.
    Ted Cruz seems to be the only one left who will work to prevent the downward slide of the country. And if the slide is not stopped, the US will probably eventually be taken over by a dictatorship as someone, from either party, comes in on the white horse and promises to make everything better but uses that as an excuse to become the leader "for the duration of the emergency". The continuously increasing power of the Federal government lays the groundwork for the wrong sort of person to take advantage of it for their benefit.

  5. 1. I'm a progressive activist. I'm a registered Democrat as I'm more likely to find a candidate who reflects my views in the Democratic party
    2. Bernie Sanders
    3. Bernie Sanders is the best chance we have to move the economy in the right direction and restore a vibrant middle class
    4. Hillary Clinton is part of the old corporatist establishment. Both parties' establishments are controlled by corporatists.
    5. I'm not sure if Trump is actually a fascist or if he thinks he has to run as one to win the Republican primaries, but I'm not willing to take that chance.
    6. Naturalized US Citizen
    7. The Republican field is large in numbers and extremely weak on talent. I wouldn't hire any of them to park cars.

  6. Getting the rich to pay "their fair share" is absolute communist hogwash.

    The richest 1% already pay 49% of the taxes. Prithee, Jim, will you tell us what is their "fair share?? 30%? 50%? 90%? The lefties never say.

    Bernie says he will give everyone everything they want for free, without working for it, and pay for it via a tax on "speculation," which is the old communist name for investment. Without investment there will be no jobs. Why would anyone invest their money, instead of s;pending it on trivia, if Bernie is going to tax 90% of it (which he has said)? He is nothing but an old demagogue with old Marxist ideas.

    If his will ever became reality, which it would not if there are any Republicans or real Democrats left in the Congress or the state governments, he could not ever implement his communistic schemes. When asked how he would do this, he says he will organize massive street demonstrations. Just like the October revolution in Russia in 1917, I guess.

    Socialism simply does not work. Even Sweden is moving away from it. Raise taxes? The US already has the highest business taxes of any developed country. the "socialist" countries of Europe are lowering theirs.

    The only way to help the middle class is to reverse the cold dead dirty handprints which have been left on those entities who create jobs by the excessive regulation, crony capitalism, and law violations by the leftists.

    As for Hillary, she is a crook with no honor. Her term would be merely a continuation of the evil, cowardice, and corruption of Obama. Bernie would be even farther to the left. We would all end up with no toilet paper and widespread power blackouts like Venezuela.

    I will therefore vote for whomever the Republicans nominate. In the primaries I will likely vote for Kasich or Rubio.

    1. Bob :

      I cannot respond to your deeply held bias against Obama and what you consider as "Socialism".

      What I can do is ask you to respond to is the following Bernie Sanders' statements:

      1. Wealth at the top accumulates.The 400 wealthiest individuals have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.

      2. Wealthy individuals and Corporations use offshore tax shelters that reduce their taxes to very low levels. Warren Buffet (one of the billionaire class) agrees that he pays less tax percentage than his secretary.

      3. How do we take on the enormous economic and political power of the billionaire class? Are you a billionaire? If so, we'd like your view of this point.

      4. Health care is available to everyone in ALL advanced countries, except America. Why?

      5. The primary beneficiaries of the current health-care systems are Pharma companies (high, protected pricing) and Health Insurance companies. Can you refute that?

      6. Who are the "crony capitalists"? How do you eliminate their impact.

      7. Do you agree with (condone) the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court? Or, do you think it should be overturned?

      With respect, I'll await your response.

    2. Bob Fritz responses to Jim Pinto:

      Jim: I cannot respond to your deeply held bias against Obama and what you consider as "Socialism".

      Bob: Bias? The worst economic growth in decades, race baiting, helping our top terrorism funder get nuclear weapons, hatred for our allies such as Britain and Israel, covering up heavy handed fraud by the IRS, gun-running to Mexican drug lords, replenishing Al Quaeda by sending terrorists back from Guantanamo to fight America again, lying to the people about keeping their former medical care...What could go wrong?

      Those are the facts. Not bias.

      Jim: What I can do is ask you to respond to is the following Bernie Sanders' statements:

      1. Wealth at the top accumulates.The 400 wealthiest individuals have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.

      Bob: As Bill Gates has pointed out, the overwhelming majority of them earned it. There are no billionaires who inherited land in the 1700s and merely sat on it. The government has no right to confiscate the fruits of anyone's labor.

      The purpose of taxation is to raise funds for legitimate government necessities, not to punish people you envy because they did better than you or you want to get free stuff you didn't pay for.

      Jim : 2. Wealthy individuals and Corporations use offshore tax shelters that reduce their taxes to very low levels. Warren Buffet (one of the billionaire class) agrees that he pays less tax percentage than his secretary.

      Bob: What tax shelters? Foreign governments levy lower taxes than the US. The US is the only country that taxes your foreign earnings if you repatriate them. So it's logical to keep your foreign earnings outside the US. The US should incentivize economic growth, not drive it off shore.

      Buffet simply fibbed. He counted only his "salary" less deductions, and ignored the 35% or so taxes his wholly owned corporate assets paid. His secretary has no such assets. Incidentally, her salary is around $500,000 so it is likely she is in the top bracket. Not your typical secretary.

      Jim: 3. How do we take on the enormous economic and political power of the billionaire class? Are you a billionaire? If so, we'd like your view of this point.

      Bob: Why should we? Who employs us, the Occupy movement? I am not a billionaire Billionaires are not a threat to my future and my family's future. Bernie's 90% tax plan, his desire to cripple the financial investment system (which he does not understand), and his plan to foment revolution by (he says) millions demonstrating in the streets to intimidate the, err,the Congress...are threats. Billionaires create jobs.

      Jim: 4. Health care is available to everyone in ALL advanced countries, except America. Why?

      Bob : Not really. In the UK, Canada, and elsewhere companies provide premium health care to selected individuals because the socialized medicine is not so good. In the US nobody is denied treatment. In the states where I have lived, it is against the law to deny someone critical care.

      Also, should we be like all other "advanced" countries? 12% unemployment like France? Lower our standard of living like most of the EU? If you want to be like "all other advanced countries," why not have a taxation structure like they do?

      Jim: 5. The primary beneficiaries of the current health-care systems are Pharma companies (high, protected pricing) and Health Insurance companies. Can you refute that?

      Bob : Refute? These are obvious facts. Drug companies should be required to charge US customers the same prices as foreign countries and insurance should be purchasable across state lines. More competition would lower prices. This is an example of Obama's crony capitalism and a deal to get them to support ObamaCare.

    3. Bob Fritz responses to Jim Pinto - Continued

      Jim: 6. Who are the "crony capitalists"? How do you eliminate their impact.

      Bob: See answer above. In addition, anyone who favors the goals of Obamunism, like Solyndra or the UAW. You could add to that subsidies for Ethanol, sugar, etc., etc. The only way to get rid of them is to level the playing field and let Adam Smith's rules govern. Congress will never agree to that, however. Nor would Bernie Sanders. He's OK with powerful special interests as long as they're his powerful special interests.

      Jim: 7. Do you agree with (condone) the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court? Or, do you think it should be overturned?

      Bob: Too soon to tell. I thought it was good that other interests were allowed to compete with the forced dues political clout and "in kind" help to politicians from giant crooked labor unions. Also, I'm not sure the newly-empowered Superpacs are very effective. Look at Jeb Bush's languishing campaign, for instance. In my state he runs more ads than all others combined.

      Overturning it would require a constitutional amendment, not just an executive edict by Sanders.

      OK. Now answer my questions. First, if 1% of the people are already paying 49% of all the taxes, what is their fair share and why is that fair?

      And finally: For you and all the "Sandernistas," if Her Heinous Hillary Clinton gets the nomination, which is almost certain, will you vote for her in the general election?

    4. I am American by choice, not by accident of birth (I moved to America in 1970). I came to America to be a Capitalist, and became one. But I tried to differentiate between "selfish" and "greedy" Capitalism". I practiced "enlightened self-interest" - as written in our Constitution. Many of my company employees became "owners" and we grew to 300 employees before we sold the company. I am "retired" (as you are) and have spent my retirement trying to see "the other side". I'm enjoying my retirement.

      Bob, I cannot change your mind, or you mine. We are both embedded in our mental constructs. I can come up with a lot of facts and figures, which you'll simply dismiss or refute.

      I look forward to your future blog responses. I enjoy trying to understand your thinking, which is indeed the purpose of this blog.

      With respect.

  7. 6. Germany: Two observations:
    A. I'm baffled by the aggressiveness of political discussion in the US. In Europe, the overall tone is generally more moderate (except for some extremists on either side of the spectrum). There seems to be a consensus that you can disagree with someones political views without calling him/her a criminal, rapist, fascist, or crook (all taken from the comments above).
    B. The amount of money spent on campaigning is orders of magnitude bigger than in Europe. I read on Bloomberg that "spending by candidates, parties and outside groups and individuals may approach $10 billion." By comparison: Total campaign spending for the federal elections 2013 in Germany was in the range of $55 Mio.

    1. Yes, no other country spends as much time and money on elections as the US. 10-200 times as much as Germany, by your estimate. Time: US election fund raising and campaigns start 18-months to 2 years before the election date. It's a TV advertising bonanza, so TV companies fuel the craze and pit one candidate against another. They treat it like a battle and the candidates as gladiators. Whatodo?

  8. Yes, I believe it is past time for a Political Revolution. In answer to your questions.

    1. Are you Democrat or Republican or Independent?

    I am an independent with a Libertarian leaning (I believe in the Constitution) but it is for ALL people.

    2. Who will you (did you) vote for in the primaries?

    I will vote in the primaries and support Bernie Sanders. As a Libertarian for Bernie you can imagine the flack I get. I am regularly told I can't be a Libertarian and Socialist at the same time.

    3. Will you vote for Bernie Sanders? Why? Why not?

    Yes, I have the Bern. There are 3 reasons.

    First, our infrastructure will need trillions of dollars over the next few years (decades?). Our roads, bridges, and rail systems compare to those of a third world country. During this upgrade, let's also lay the digital infrastructure to provide Internet access to all Americans. Rich and poor. Upgrading our infrastructure will create tens of thousands of jobs.

    Second, access to healthcare for all is a right. I have seen first hand that the European systems work. Tort reform should be part of this solution. Remove the over the top costs of malpractice insurance and encourage our doctors to focus on the well being of their patients.

    Third, we have a duty to educate our youth so that we can unleash the creativity and innovation that can provide prosperity to America in the future.

    4. Are you a Hillary Clinton supporter? Why?

    No, she isn't trustworthy and will continue the bipartisan stalemate we have been buried in during the last 8 years.

    5. Are you a Trump supporter? Why? Will/can Trump get elected?

    No, I don't support Trump. He worships himself and only thinks of this election as a personal win. He was born with a silver spoon and is on his third trophy wife. He isn't to be trusted by US and I fear his isolationist message will only result in the continued decline of our great nation. If he wins, I fear I'll have to move to Canada.

    6. If you don’t live in the US, what is your view of American elections?

    I do live in the US but will answer the question anyway. They are rigged to support the personal ambitions of a select few. Including those of my Libertarian Koch brothers.

    7. Add your own observations and ideas.

    We have reached the point where we NEED a revolution. The government should be for the people and represented by the people. It's time that an honest Democratic Socialist named Bernie be provided with the chance to lead the US out of decline but ALL Americans will need to support his vision. Let's make America Great for the future of humanity. I hope the majority of Americans "feel the Bern."

  9. Great subject and I totally agree about the Superpacs. Re your questions :

    1. Are you Democrat or Republican or Independent? Republican

    2. Who will you (did you) vote for in the primaries?

    South Carolina - definitely not Trump or Cruz. Probably Bush or Kasich. It would have been Christie but he dropped out.

    3. Will you vote for Bernie Sanders? Why? Why not?

    Definitely no. I cannot see an avowed Socialist as President. Works well in a country like Denmark with a small population. We have too many lazy people living off the government as it is now. This country will die when the takers equal or exceed the producers/workers and we are rapidly heading that way now.

    4. Are you a Hillary Clinton supporter? Why?

    Definitely no. She is a totally malicious, conniving, lying person only out for herself.

    5. Are you a Trump supporter? Why? Will/can Trump get elected?

    Definitely NO. He is an egotistical big mouth who can never do what he says. He could get elected because the majority of his supporters are people so fed up with Washington and the Obamas that they subscribe to his words only and do not question how he will accomplish what his big mouth emotes.

    6. If you don’t live in the US, what is your view of American elections?

    We live in the U.S. But my liberal party wife is from Montreal. She loves Bernie as a Liberal Canadian would. (She loved Obama before she found out what his "change" meant. )

    7. Add your own observations and ideas.

    Out of over 300 million people it boggles my mind that we cannot find an honest smart person that cannot be bought by the Superpacs and will work to restore this country to the position it held after WW II. Someone that will take care of this country first and quit catering to all of the UN beggars that only loves our money and hates us. This countries infrastructure needs honest leaders and no more greed.

    1. Darrel, before coming to the conclusion that Bernie is a socialist. Read the book Why Bernie Matters. You will walk away with a different view and see that he tags himself as a Democratic Socialist. It's not the same and he can cross over when needed. It's up to us as Americans to find somebody that will work for the people.

    2. Brian,

      I'm amazed that you would question whether Sanders is a socialist. The man SAYS he is a socialist, for heaven's sake. He isn't even a registered Democrat (unless he changed his registration recently) . He honeymooned in the Soviet Union during the cold war.

      Like most socialists he feels a great debt to humanity, which debt he proposes to expunge with someone else's money. Like most socialists he'll probably manage to keep a good bit of it, like the $400 million Fidel Castro has in Swiss banks.

      Also, he's a liar. Today's "Wall Street Journal" has an article about a Superpac giving Bernie's campaign $1.5MM.

      I have nothing but contempt for those who don't practice what they preach.

  10. 1. Are you Democrat or Republican or Independent? Independent

    2. Who will you (did you) vote for in the primaries? 
    No, the primaries in my state aren’t until March 5th, but only registered Democrats or Republicans are allowed to vote in them!

    3. Will you vote for Bernie Sanders? Why? Why not? 
    Maybe, see my comments, below.

    4. Are you a Hillary Clinton supporter? Why? 
    I think she is clearly the best qualified (establishment) candidate, but maybe not as much of a shoe-in as once thought. (See my comments, below.)

    5. Are you a Trump supporter? Why?  Will/can Trump get elected? 
    This man is a disgrace to our country — as is Ted Cruz. They are dangerous and should be expelled from the race as some of the things they are proposing are clearly unconstitutional!

    6. If you don’t live in the US, what is your view of American elections? N/A

    7. Add your own observations and ideas. 
    Here’s where I am today, but my future position could be different:

    First of all, let me say that I’m a big Bernie supporter, but I’m still not sure about his electability in the general election. Primaries are one thing — the G/E is quite another! His big challenge will be whether he can get out the Millennials and the huge number of apathetic voters. I also think Bernie is as close as we’re gonna get to a second American Revolution — which is sorely needed — but I’m really afraid that most Americans are simply too wimpy — and in many cases, just plain ignorant and lazy — to rise to the occasion and do what needs to be done, even if it’s painful.

    Second, only about a third of Americans voted in the last POTUS election — pretty pitiful, indeed! So that leaves more than 60% of voters up for grabs — IF they can be motivated to actually get off their dead asses and actually VOTE! That’s a big IF… one that could either spell victory for Bernie, IF he can get out the vote, or if not, result in a fractured defeat for Hillary by splitting the Democratic vote — and we wind up with The Donald for president! Then I’ll have to decide if we’re moving to Canada or Mexico (Mexico is warmer!) I also think Hillary is still the best qualified candidate, but that won’t necessarily get her elected in this crazy, insane political climate. 

    Third (and speaking as a market research professional of more than 30 years), I have ZERO faith in the poll numbers. IMO, they are essentially meaningless in this political climate. Polls are no longer about who you intend to vote for but rather who you find the most interesting/entertaining. It’s more like a game of Survivor to see who gets voted off the island this week! Moreover, the vast majority of people responding to these polls are routinely classified as “Likely Voters” even though there are rarely ever any qualifying questions to validate (or refute) that premise.The fact is, the majority of these so called “Likely Voters” have NOT voted in the past 2-4 elections, nor are they (statistically) likely to vote in this one! These are mostly blowhards who like the idea of being able to agree with the preposterous BS spewing from the mouths of people like Trump, Cruz, et al, without having to take any personal ownership of those opinions. (Sort of vicariously voting people off the island!)

    That said, polls have not always been this way. If you go back to when there were only 3 TV broadcast networks with REAL journalists who had no reason to promote these carnival side shows, no automated robo-callers (just humans making phone calls to other humans), and voters who voted in much larger numbers and actually cared about things like issues, character and principles, polling was an entirely different animal. (And yes, I’m old enough to remember that era!)

  11. My thoughts probably won't make an iota of difference, me being a New Zealander. But we way "down under" maybe get a perspective that you in the US possibly don't. I'd have to say that to us American politics is pretty weird!

    I agree with you about Bernie. Actually he and Trump have the fact in common that neither received donations from big money. The massive difference however is that because Trump uses his own money it seems to engender a sense of pride and arrogance that would frankly be dangerous- answerable to no one but himself! Whereas Bernie knows his support comes from the many small donors and therefore he totally gets where his accountability lies.

    I can't help thinking about Abe Lincoln's fate when he took on money power- lets hope that, if Bernie is successful in becoming President , and it's a big if - that he doesn't go the same way.

  12. Jim, capitalism must be at the forefront of lifting people out of poverty. It has been the sole source of Americas success to the point that it created the largest economic engine in the history of the world. No other model has come close. None. Capitalism is in the DNA of the universe. It operates on capital exchange and so do we. All Bernie proposes is higher taxation with more government intrusion which will bring more power consolidation with even more corruptibility and nothing being done. We need a shrinkage of government that advances, promotes, and protects our rights and not see them and us as enemies of the state who can be controlled through and ever growing taxation and police state.

    1. America has the HIGHEST poverty rate of all advanced economies - Canada, Europe. Capitalism's "economic engine" makes the rich richer - benefitting only billionaires. Poverty in America is among the highest in the developed world. "Rights"? What rights do you and I have?

    2. America was "the world's greatest country." Read this extract from a Newsroom speech:

      We sure used to be. We stood up for what was right! We fought for moral reasons, we passed and struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were, and we never beat our chest. We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and cultivated the world's greatest artists and the world's greatest economy. We reached for the stars, and we acted like men. We aspired to intelligence; we didn't belittle it; it didn't make us feel inferior. We didn't identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we didn't scare so easy. And we were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men, men who were revered. The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one—America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.

    3. Jim: Wwhy is it that when capitalism is used as an example of how people can move through economic classes, immediately it is decried as being against the poor? Who cares if poverty is the highest in the developed world? Is this a competition? Are we keeping score? Every person in this country from me to you to the new poor immigrants who have nothing can come to this country and apply themselves to whatever degree they wish to move through whatever socioeconomic strata they choose based on their hard work and level of dedication to doing so. Yet, you decry how we have the highest amount of poor. How is it that people move through these economic strata in this country? They do it using the mechanism of capitalism. The exchange of goods and services and ideas for the pursuit of profit. Yes, rich people become richer, but so do people who aren't rich.

      Is it the responsibility of people or government to make them rich or as rich as they wish to be? My family is such an example. Having come to this country with nothing and yet has moved through it with economic success. Even so, no one asks why the perpetually poor are that way. Why do they remain poor even though most of America's poor are quite well off in comparison to the rest of the world. I'll tell you why and from my observations of 'poor' people there has been one glaring and consistent behavior that has led to them being poor and staying poor and that is because they are horrible, atrocious, abominable decision makers. They consistently make poor and bad decisions on a daily basis that keeps them in poverty. Sure, people make bad decisions all the time and for the most part, their lives can absorb the occasional bad decision. However, for the poor, they have no such luxury. They consistently keep themselves impoverished through their consistently bad decision making. These bad decisions dictate all that they do. From bad decision making in school, to crime, to drugs, to how they spend money. Couple this bad decision making as a multi-generational modeling practice and you've created a class of perpetually poor that will never, ever get themselves out of poverty no matter how hard you try and no matter how much money you throw at them.

    4. Continued from above -

      So what people like Sanders and his ideology have tried to use is a socialist/Marxist type of economic engine of central, bureaucratic control of an economy whereby government owns the means of production and property makes all the economic decisions for you. You no longer become the arbiter of your own economic destiny. Even under the heavy tax and regulatory burden that we are currently in, and one you and others and someone like Bernie Sanders would wish to see us drown under even more, this economy still churns out $16 - $17 trillion of GDP. However, this can't be maintained in our current economic climate of overly large government taxation, over regulation, wasteful spending, and bureaucratic malaise. In that context, the poor are really the least of our problems. Even before Johnson's Great Society and the War on Poverty (which by the way has yielded trillions in wasted dollars for little return) we had the poor, and we took care of our poor through churches and charities. But once government become the great caretaker, things became worse under their ever watchful eye. And you want more of that. And I can't fathom why given the historical context and the economic reality of what an utter failure government has been to our poor.

      They have done them a massive disservice and we have as well by not standing up to government, pushing back and telling it that enough is enough, that it is failing all of us, that it has become a Kleptocratic Corporate Police state that has allowed itself to be governed by special interests and not following its mandate of protecting and promoting the rights of its citizens. That it should respect our right to speak freely and stop anyone from trying to. That it should promote its citizens right to bear arms and defend themselves, that it should respect our rights to our property and personal effects and go out its way to assure that no one even itself cannot without due process take those things away. That is what the founders intended, but we do not have any of that now.

    5. Continued from above -

      Also, I will not entertain a response from a TV show script what it's writers believe is or is not the greatness of this country. We are still the greatest country to ever exist. Do we have problems? Absolutely. No country in the history of the world has ever achieved the level of success and prosperity we have in such a short amount of time of its existence. No country has ever had way of life and a standard of living that has been given an opportunity to its citizens like a country like this. None. And trying to counter argue such a point using a TV show script from a fictitious and fatuous character as a mouthpiece to make such an argument demeans the very nature of what this country is and has done in the past and I believe has the opportunity to continue to do so in the future. This country is still a beacon for the world regardless of it's leaders ineptitude. Every nationality and culture is represented here. No where else is there such a melting pot of ideas and people. Nowhere. It's greatness is in it's peoples desires to be better than what they are and in that desire have a supporting government that realizes the potential greatness of that desire and help carry it forth.

      We are not a Nazi Germany ideal of the Ubermensch. We are not the property of the state likened b Soviet style communist rule. We are not a democratic socialist nation idealized by Europe's attempts at egalitarian Utopian failed ideas. We are a country of individuals with individual aspirations and ideas that has embraced an economic model by which each on of us as individuals can reach whatever level of potential we wish at any time. Some will be better at it than others. Others will choose to serve the less fortunate. Others will not, but there is no overwhelming government compulsion to subjugate a populace to make them perform it's whims. We are an independent people. We do what we want, when we want, how we want in that pursuit of whatever it is will make us better people and in that pursuit, we collectively uplift each other sometimes whether we know it or not. I can't sit idly by and watch this promise, this potential be torn apart by the promise of government becoming the provider of our prosperity. It is an offensive promise that will turn into an untenable nightmare we can never return from without burning this country down. I fight to reduce government, not watch it grow and that's exactly what someone like Bernie Sanders wants to do. I may not be doing a good job of it, but that is my goal.

    6. Ayman:

      Thank you for your passionate defense of American Capitalism.

      I am American by choice, not by accident of birth (I moved to America in 1970). I came to America to be a Capitalist, and became one. Please read the The American Constitution - it expects "enlightened self-interest". I try to differentiate between "selfish" and "greedy" Capitalism".

      Sadly, selfish excesses pollute the system. The results have been terrible for America. In the name of "self-interest" the system is oppressive. It allows wealth to accumulate at the top. Poverty is indeed the highest among any advanced country. While the rich get richer, the middle-class has been decimated. These are not lazy people, they are hard-working Americans who save to educate their children, only to find that college graduates cannot find jobs. The standard of living of middle-class Americans ranks very low in world rankings.

      I am NOT simply advocating charity for the poor - I support Bernie Sanders in his push for reducing wealth for the top 1%, for the 400 people who own and control half the wealth at the expense of America's middle-class.

      Please, please read my recent blogs:

      * Political Corruption in America:
      * Corruption of Capitalism:
      * Democracy Dysfunction:

      Ayman, I respect your opinion.

    7. Ayman, your posts are very level-headed and correct about poor people.

      At my company we offered free college education to any employee (part time at junior colleges and four-year colleges and universities) provided the employee wanted to major in something remotely useful to our company, such as engineering or business. In more than 30 years, only about four or five took advantage of this to get an associate's degree and only two got a BS degree. There were about ten who got MS or MBA degrees but they were not poor to start with.

      It seems to me that the Sandernistas want to tear down America with the rallying cry of, "Gimme to me for me now!"

      And WHY won't any of the Sandernistas who want more successful people to "pay their fair share"answer my simple question:

      What IS their fair share? Right now the top 1% pay 49% of the taxes. What's fair? 30%? 50%? 90%?

      Intellectual honesty would seem to mandate an answer.