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Polls are Closed. Thanks, All!

11:59 pm in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

UPDATE: Thursday 11:59 p.m. Pacific – Thanks, one and all, so much. From those who nominated way back in October to those who voted the past two days, and everybody who saw the value in this effort along the way and did their bit to help it grow with their comments on the threads and encouragement. Rayne, Jane, and everybody at FDL deserve special thanks, as this thread went to the top of the recommended diary list early today and remained there until now.

Tabulation will take place over the next day during a long car ride to a distant wedding. Look for a post sometime Saturday midday with the results.

Thanks again, everybody. YOU ROCK!!

Over the past few weeks, an effort has taken shape here at MyFDL.

It aims to give a true Lefties in this country a big, broad, national voice again.

Even before the midterms, even before the notion spread that Barack Obama himself might not stand for a second term, diarists and commenters in the MyFDL community recognized that something had to be done to counter the wholesale capitulation of the Democratic Party.

What’s developed is the belief that our best option, under an electoral system so clearly designed to perpetuate the duopoly which has co-opted Lefty ideals, is to use the system to our advantage.

During the first weeks of the effort, a list of prospective challengers to whomever the Democrats stand up in 2012 was assembled. Over 90 individual commenters posted more than 580 comments on five “nominating” diaries. The list that resulted is included at the end of this post, and each name is linked to Wikipedia entries (where available) for further information and additional research.

Do we really believe this captive, center-right, Democratic Party In Name Only will allow anyone other than Obama (or some new, handpicked “nominee”) to win the nomination? Of course not. But we do think the act of primarying a sitting president (or other nominee of the party’s choosing) will garner attention and serve as a rallying point for the full range of disaffected Lefties in this country. (There’s more about the rationale, and links to all the nominating diaries, here.)

Now – finally! – through 11:59 p.m. Thursday (Pacific time), it’s time to vote!

The Ground Rules

- Reply to this diary only once, posting only your completed ballot, as detailed in the “How To Vote” section, below. Tabulation will be much easier if everyone abides by this request, and thanks very much in advance for doing so.

- Votes for living, qualified humans only will be counted. (Thirty-five years of age by Inauguration Day, 2013; natural born citizen; resident for at least 14 years.)

- No “ties” should be noted or other comments included. Just one name only, next to each number.

- You may post your ballot only once. If you vote a second time or try to change the order in a second post, not only will you be deemed a real pain in the ass, but the later vote will be thrown out; no exceptions. So, be sure you’re happy with your choices before submitting your ballot.

- Someone asked on one of the nomination threads if they could vote for the same person in every slot. While I can’t stop anyone from doing so, remember our goal: A list of 10 DIFFERENT, very strong potential challengers – not only for the Democratic Party nomination, but as founding members of a new Lefty party. So IMHO, entering the same name in all ten slots would be a waste of nine votes, since we will count the number of first-place votes people get, then the number of second-place votes, then the third-place votes, etc., to arrive at a prioritized list.

- Your voting options are not limited to the names on the list. I know a write-in campaign is under way for at least one person not listed (it’s discussed on the diary linked above). Still, if you are writing-in a name, please include the name only, no further comment.

- Please don’t link names on your ballot to additional information on this site or elsewhere. The Internet has search engines aplenty for those wishing to conduct further research on any write-ins, and the vast majority of nominees are linked to their Wikis in the list below.

- Finally, please advise your friends of this unique opportunity. I’d love to see an overwhelming turnout, because the bigger the response, the more attractive the idea of running will be to the candidates. (By the way, I am not above gently shaming any of the 90-plus commenters to the nomination diaries who haven’t voted by, say, Thursday afternoon. Think of it as being offered, very publicly, a “ride” to the polls. And don’t say I didn’t warn you! :)

How To Vote

We are voting under the instant runoff model, choosing our preferences by ranking them numerically. We seek a list of 10 strong potential challengers who are likely to agree to run as a Democrat in the 2012 primaries, and as the candidate of a new Lefty party in the general election.

To vote, first copy and paste the following numbers in the “Leave a Reply” box:

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10.

Next, enter your 10 preferred nominees, with your most preferred at #1, in declining order, down to your least preferred at #10.

When finished, click “Submit.”

You’re almost done. There’s just one more thing: Please scroll to the bottom of this text and click “Recommend,” so this diary remains prominent and accessible to anyone who’d like to vote – both at MyFDL and on the shorter list of recommended diaries on the main page – throughout the 48 hours “the polls” are open. Thanks!

Here are the nominees:

Al Franken
Al Gore
Alan Grayson
Amy Goodman
Amy Klobuchar
Andrew Bacevich
Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Romanoff
Anuradha Bhagwati (no Wikipedia entry)
Brian Schweitzer
Ben Affleck
Bernie Sanders
Bill Maher
Bill McKibben
Bill Moyers
Bill Richardson
Billie Joe Armstrong
Brad Birkenfeld (note: Information on Birkenfeld’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Bruce Springsteen
Cindy Sheehan
Chuck Hagel
Cory Booker
Cynthia McKinney
Dahr Jamail
Danny Glover
Darcy Burner
David Corn
David Sirota
Dawn Johnsen
Dean Baker (note: Information on Baker’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Dennis Kucinich
Dick Durbin
Don Siegelman
Donna Edwards
Dylan Ratigan
Eddie Vedder
Eliot Spitzer
Elizabeth Edwards
Elizabeth Warren
Geoffrey Canada
George Clooney
George Miller
George J. Mitchell
Glenn Greenwald
Henry Waxman
Howard Dean
Henry Rollins
James Galbraith (note: Information on Galbraith’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Jane Fonda
Jane Hamsher
Jan Schakowsky
Janeane Garafalo
Jello Biafra
Jeff Merkley
Jerrold Nadler
Jerry Brown
Jesse Ventura
Jill Stein
Jim Hightower
Jim Webb
Jimmy Carter
Joan Baez
Joan Jett
Joe Sestak
John Aravosis (note: confirmation of Aravosis’s place of birth, listed in several places online as “America,” is not readily available)
John Hickenlooper
John R. Talbott (note: Information on Talbott’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Jon Bon Jovi
Jon Hamm
Jon Stewart
Jon Tester
Jonathan Turley (note: Information on Turley’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Joe Wilson
Joseph Patrick Kennedy
Joseph Stiglitz
Keith Olbermann
Laurence Fishburne
Leonard Peltier
Lewis Black
Lois Marie Gibbs
Madonna
Matt Taibbi (note: Information on Taibbi’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Matt Damon
Maurice Hinchey
Michael Moore
Mike Gravel
Nancy Pelosi
Patrick Fitzgerald
Paul Craig Roberts
Paul Krugman
Peter DeFazio
Rachel Maddow
Ralph Nader
Raul Grijalva
Richard Trumka
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Robert Reich
Robert Scheer
Ron Paul
Russ Feingold
Sanford Levinson
Sheldon Whitehouse
Sherrod Brown
Shirley Sherrod
Stephen Colbert
Steve Martin
Susan Sarandon
Tammy Baldwin
Tim Robbins
Tom Hanks
Tom Udall
Valerie Plame
Van Jones
Warren Beatty
Warren Mosler (no Wikipedia entry)
Whoopie Goldberg
William K. Black
Winona LaDuke
Yves Smith (no Wikipedia entry)

UPDATE 3: Last Call for Nominations

12:28 pm in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

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.”

Thanks 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.

The List

Al Franken
Al Gore
Alan Grayson
Alexander Cockburn
Amy Klobuchar
Andrew Bacevich
Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Romanoff
Arianna Huffington
Brian Schweitzer
Ben Affleck
Bernie Sanders
William K. Black
Bill McKibben
Bill Moyers
Bill Richardson
Brad Birkenfeld (Information on Birkenfeld’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Cenk Uygar
Cindy Sheehan
Cynthia McKinney
Dahr Jamail
David Corn
David Sirota
Dawn Johnsen
Dean Baker (Information on Baker’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Dennis Kucinich
Dick Durbin
Don Siegelman
Donna Edwards
Dylan Ratigan
Eliot Spitzer
Elizabeth Edwards
Elizabeth Warren
Geoffrey Canada
George Clooney
George Miller
George J. Mitchell
Glenn Greenwald
Henry Waxman
Howard Dean
James Galbraith (Information on Galbraith’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Jim Hightower
Jan Schakowsky
Jane Hamsher
Jeff Merkley
Jerrold Nadler
Jerry Brown
Jesse Ventura
Jill Stein
Joe Wilson
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)
Jon Stewart
Jon Hamm
Jonathan Turley (Information on Turley’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Joseph Stiglitz
Keith Olbermann
Lewis Black
Madonna
Matt Taibbi (Information on Galbraith’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Maurice Hinchey
Michael Moore
Mike Gravel
Nancy Pelosi
Patrick Fitzgerald
Paul Craig Roberts
Paul Krugman
Peter DeFazio
Rachel Maddow
Ralph Nader
Raul Grijalva
Richard Trumka
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Robert Reich
Ron Paul
Russ Feingold
Sheldon Whitehouse
Sherrod Brown
Shirley Sherrod
Stephen Colbert
Susan Sarandon
Tammy Baldwin
Tom Udall
Valerie Plame
Van Jones
Warren Mosler (no Wikipedia entry)
Yves Smith (no Wikipedia entry)

Once more: Don’t forget to “recommend” this post! Thanks again.