UPDATE 3: Friday, 11/12, 3:50 a.m. Eastern This thread timed out Thursday afternoon. The final diary on which you can beat the nomination deadline, titled “Saturday Midnight Approaches!” will post Friday morning.
UPDATE 2: Thursday, 11/11, 5:15 a.m. Eastern Cindy Sheehan replied to the e-mail mentioned in Update 1 below (clarifying FDL policy) with the following, which briefly answered another mail I’d sent sounding her out on the possibility of running:
“Many states (including California) have ‘sore losers’ rules where one has to be registered the party he/she wants to run in at least 13 months before elections and I totally agree that we need a left party (worker’s) that would be the goal of a campaign.”
This is good information, of course, which I see not as a deterrent to our effort but quite the opposite: A unifying factor, helping make this a true “peoples’” movement. Here’s why:
Say we nominate Candidate X on the understanding that s/he will run in all the Democratic primaries based on our platform. Then say they lose the nomination (as expected). Because Candidate X ran as a Democrat, the “sore loser” rule (which I’ll henceforth refer to as the “status quo preservation” rule!) prevents them from registering as an Independent timely enough to run in the General. But we don’t want Candidate X; we want a PARTY that will not compromise on the ISSUES we care about. So throughout primary season, while we and Candidate X are campaigning hard on our ISSUES, Candidate Y is trailing along behind, getting signatures to run ON THOSE SAME ISSUES in the General, as an Independent. Should Candidate X happen to win the Party nomination, great! If s/he doesn’t, fine. We’re covered! And either way, we already know who will be paired on the ticket!
This is exactly what’s needed to ensure that ISSUES remain the prime focus of our effort. It also dovetails nicely with both our near-term goal of “supercharging” either the birth of a new Lefty party or the return of the Democratic Party to Lefty principles, and long-term goal of building a movement that places ISSUES above the usual popularity/charisma/lowest-common-denominator election bullshit.
Cindy and I will be in touch again when she’s back in the states. In the meantime, hats off to her once more for her support and encourgement!
UPDATE 1: (Wednesday afternoon, 11/10) As I noted in the comments to this diary yesterday, I e-mailed Cindy Sheehan about a report circulating in the UK of an impending presidential run by her as a Socialist. Ms. Sheehan replied:
“The report is only partially correct-there are some socialist parties in the US asking me to run for prez–but not in a primary.”
The U.K. report says nothing about a primary, so it’s possible Ms. Sheehan conflated it and the link I provided her to this diary (thus her “not in a primary” comment). Nonetheless, it’s important to note how Ms. Sheehan closed her reply:
“I support what you do and I hope you are successful.”
And then she asked that I call her “Cindy.”
Ms. Sheehan Cindy – for all you do!
(Note: I’ve made Rayne aware of this exchange and, at Rayne’s request, have sent a second note to Ms. Sheehan making clear that the effort detailed on this diary is NOT the work of FDL staff or ownership. I mention this because as we reach out to potential nominees, we will want to be sure to include this caveat. Thanks, all.)
Last Friday I posted a diary calling for nominations of a primary challenger to President Barack Obama in 2012. In just over a day and a half, it drew more than 300 comments from at least 52 separate voices. It followed a pre-midterms diary by jeffroby which resulted in a long, initial list of potential challengers.
I know some here do not see the sense in primarying the president on the Democratic ticket. The time is now, they say, to take another step down the long road of building a true and lasting third party, one that will represent those of us on the Left without compromise – let alone by starting in the center and moving right, the modus operandi of the Democratic Party for the past 30 years.
Besides, they argue, Obama is sure to win the Democratic Party nomination, so why fight it? And if he doesn’t run, some other primed-for-compromise DINO will take his place. Since we no longer believe in the party, why waste time playing by their rules when losing is assured, before we even start?
Well for one thing, because we’re not playing by the party’s rules. We’re playing by the rules of our electoral system as it now functions.
Under that system, primary season is a candidate’s best opportunity to build a following and garner the support – and signatures, and votes – that will land him or her on the general election ballot as an independent. That the Greens and other parties haven’t yet recognized this fact and used it to their advantage is beyond me. A full primary election campaign within an existing party which lasts, in all its contentious glory, right through the convention is by far the surest route to ballot access.
And then there’s messaging.
A Lefty candidate can most easily distinguish her or himself as being to the left of the president – and the presently captive Democratic Party – by running head-to-head against that president and party. An independent primary campaign beginning with an announcement that so-and-so will run will garner about as much attention in our duopoly-advancing media as does a needle in the average haystack, regardless of who the challenger may be – and that’s before you start to even think about messaging. Conversely, an early announcement that the sitting president will be challenged for his own party’s nomination will be many things – derided, laughed at, called unpatriotic (and these just from Democrats…) – but ignored will not be one of those things.
We will face the oft-repeated criticism that primary challenges always result in a loss for the incumbent and his party. As if this incumbent and party has been the least bit concerned with giving its base even one win, let alone the fact that “always” (i.e., conventional wisdom) is a fast-disappearing cactus in the rearview mirror of the Internet age.
We will be chastised as trying to split – or worse, destroy – the Democratic Party; as if FDR would even the recognize the Democratic Party as it exists today, and would not himself applaud its replacement with a party that truly represents the Left. Even the “split” argument holds no water, for after every instance of Democratic Party “leadership” gone awry, more registered Democrats wonder what the hell their national leaders are thinking. The party is already split. It’s time to make it official, and to cut that argument off at the knees.
We will be threatened by those who call themselves staunch party loyalists but who, like those leading the teabaggers, are merely playing the party faithful with demagoguery and false promises in order to enrich themselves and the others who actually control the national party: Its corporate benefactors.
Each of these is, to me, simply one more great reason to primary this president, and more importantly, this party. Doing so is the logical first step in our struggle against the pervasive thinking of Democratic Party leaders who refuse to stand up for the things for which Democrats are supposed to stand. After our candidate has lost the party’s nomination, as he or she surely will, we will be properly positioned to take the next step: the Independent candidacy of the same person, though not just of one man or woman. The candidacy of a movement.
No rallying ‘round the victor at the Democratic National Convention this time, kids. This time, whomever the Democrats put up, the victor will be an enemy to true progressive principles, because that’s what the Democrats themselves have proved to be.
The Process Going Forward
This diary is your last chance to add nominees before we open the process to preferential voting.
I had originally intended to close the nominations this Thursday (11/11), but very frankly, as I linked these names to their Wikipedia entries, it made clear how much research there is to do, and prompted more possible nominees in my mind (Jon Turley, Van Jones, and Geoffrey Canada) so I figure it might for you as well. So, let’s give ourselves through Saturday midnight (Pacific time). Now is not the time to rush things unnecessarily.
I’ll spend Sunday compiling a final list with any additions that will go up Monday (11/15) titled, “Here Are Your Nominees.” Commenters will be encouraged to make whatever arguments they like for their favored nominee(s).
I’ll then post the final list next Wednesday (11/17) titled, “Time to Vote: Pick Your Top Ten Primary Challengers.” It will include brief instructions asking readers to follow a specific voting format, free of additional comment, in order to make tabulation as easy and error-free as possible. Voting will close Thursday 11/18 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. (If folks want to try to sway the votes of others that’s fine, but I’d ask you do so on a separate diary of your own. With everyone listing 10 preferences, additional/superfluous comments on the “Time To Vote” diary will only complicate the tabulation process.)
A Few Important Notes
Throughout this process, please bookmark these diaries for easy access, and to aid in your research. Please also recommend this and each upcoming diary, so they’ll stay prominently linked in both MyFDL and on the site’s main page. This will help ensure maximum participation by the entire FDL community, including those who don’t necessarily frequent MyFDL.
Some have said it’s time for a separate website for this effort. I disagree. Transacting our business here at FDL is a win-win for both FDL and the effort. For one thing, I don’t want to be seen as driving traffic away from Jane’s site. The political process in this country is ripe for change, and I think FDL is in the vanguard of that change. I’m not willing to essentially “close” this effort off at a separate site. The more transparent, the more public, and the more open we can show it as being from the very start, the less attention will be paid to the inevitable attacks from Democratic Party robots.
The nominee list as it now stands is below. Each nominee’s name is linked to their Wikipedia entry for your convenience, but don’t take that as the final word. Use the Internet for all its worth. (Nominees whose names are struck are not eligible due to their place of birth, and those whose birthplaces were not clear via a quick Internet search are so noted.)
Please comment with any additional nominees(s) you like that are not already listed, and PLEASE NOTE that LINKS to information ABOUT people WILL NOT CONSTITUTE a nomination. You must actually place the name in nomination within your comment.
Again, nominations close Saturday midnight, Pacific time. Please remember to recommend this post so it remains prominent! Thanks, all.
William K. Black
Brad Birkenfeld (Information on Birkenfeld’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Dean Baker (Information on Baker’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
George J. Mitchell
James Galbraith (Information on Galbraith’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
John Aravosis (Confirmation of Aravosis’s place of birth, listed in several places online as “America,” is not readily available)
John R. Talbott (Information on Talbott’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Jonathan Turley (Information on Turley’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Matt Taibbi (Information on Galbraith’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Paul Craig Roberts
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Warren Mosler (no Wikipedia entry)
Yves Smith (no Wikipedia entry)
Once more: Don’t forget to “recommend” this post! Thanks again.