Elections with Two Female Candidates

I’m reading about the upcoming Taiwanese presidential election, pitting two women against each other from the two largest parties in the Republic of China and ensuring that Taiwan’s next president will be a woman. Given that we have two presidential candidates running for their respective parties’ nomination (Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina), I’m trying to build a list of women who have ran against each other in U.S. elections. The list is in its early stages:

  • Dianne Feinstein (D) vs. Elizabeth Emken (R) (U.S. Senate for California, 2012)
  • Barbara Boxer (D) vs. Carly Fiorina (R) (U.S. Senate for California, 2010; also with women from Libertarian and Peace & Freedom parties)
  • Bonnie Watson Coleman (D) vs. Alieta Eck (R) (U.S. House for New Jersey, 2014)
  • Patty Murray (D) vs. Linda Smith (R) (U.S. Senate for Washington, 1998
  • Margaret Chase Smith (R) vs. Lucia Cormier (D) (U.S. Senate for Maine, 1960)
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Alabama and Political Apartheid

Another thing about Alabama: they suffer from a slightly-worse case of Southern Political Apartheid than Georgia does. Alabama, like the rest of the South (save, maybe, for Florida) has one of the most racially-stratified political systems in the country. When the Dems had ran the South like Alabama during Jim Crow, they built the South to become a one-party state. When the pro-apartheid base was lost, the GOP claimed that base with a vengeance.

The goal in the South is to take everything. Electorally, we’re a very greedy, jealous, spiteful region.

Status

President Obama still has yet to visit a top number of sub-Saharan African countries as President. With his stop in Ethiopia in the next few days (the first-ever U.S. presidential visit to Ethiopia), he will have visited 6 countries as the U.S. president (Ethiopia 2015, Kenya 2015, Senegal 2013, Tanzania 2013, Ghana 2009).

By comparison, George W. Bush visited 10 countries (Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, Liberia all in 2008; Senegal, South Africa, Botswana, Uganda, Nigeria in 2003), and Bill Clinton visited 8 countries (Nigeria and Tanzania in 2000; Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Botswana and Senegal in 1998).

The first to have visited an independent African country was Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1943 trip to Liberia, followed by Jimmy Carter’s visits to Liberia and Nigeria in 1978, and George H.W. Bush’s visit to Somalia in 1992-93.

Not Surprised by #Ferguson or #Occupy

“A system cannot fail those it was never built to protect”.

– W.E.B. DuBois

As I see how the demonstrating public lashed out in Ferguson against the state of their community, and I see the prevailing national reaction to the local reaction – “violence/looting/burning buildings isn’t the answer”, I think back to #Occupy 2011.

I remember the police abuses of young white Occupy protesters, from New York to California. I remember how the police were defended by those who decried Occupy as “dirty”, “lazy” “thugs” and “trust-fund babies”.

I remember how they were exceptionally othered by those who are incredibly addicted to their own comforts and distance.

I remember the gross class resentment against college students, from people in a likely-similar income bracket as those protesting. I remember some bastard who screamed “stop raping people!” for his online fans’ shits and giggles.

And when Zucotti Park was forcibly cleared, signifying a formal end to the Occupy period, the police were cheered for “bringing law and order back to the streets” and “allowing businesses to function again”.

That moment was about class inequality. This moment – Ferguson – was about racial inequality.

And yet the militarized police, once again, show their ugly head. And their groupies itch for the police to save them from those who would “bring down America” through upsetting the status quo.

It was Martin Luther King, Jr., who said it best, so long ago:

And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.

Most concerned about tranquility. Damn the urban peasants, especially those “colored” ones. Damn the college students. “Get out of our country if you don’t like it.”

The “Founding Fathers'” Revolution can’t repeated with these defenders of the status quo. Another Constitution can’t be drafted with these people.

The folks who defend police conduct toward unarmed protesters/AAs are likely the same folks who decry jackbooted government thugs elsewhere. I find this comfort for hyperviolent forces of the favored status quo to be funny, in a gallows-humor kind of way.

Stop inconveniencing the thugs in black and blue. Stop inconveniencing their slavish, status-quo-defending groupies. Stop disrupting the flow of traffic, of capital, of bigoted values, of firearms, of military training.

Worship our agents. Accept your inferiority. Do what we tell you. Appear how we want you to appear. Never resist us.

Then tell yourself: I AM FREE.

We became silent about things that matter. That’s why we lost.

The good news: Muscogee County went blue for Carter, Nunn and Bishop. Incumbent state reps Hugley (unopposed), Buckner (against a Republican challenger), and Smyre (unopposed) all won Muscogee, and no Democratic incumbents lost in the General Assembly.

The bad news: Only Bishop is going to federal office. None of the Democratic slate won statewide officeRoslund lost against McKoon for the state Senate. Wasn’t even close.

The post-mortem meeting for the Democrats in Columbus-Muscogee is on Saturday morning. Words will be traded. Fireworks may go off.

But I appreciate this month that I spent volunteering on the campaign with so many forward thinking, proactive people.

  • Patricia Lassiter, who spent months out of this year working campaigns, making and answering calls, taking crap from some fools and desperate activists, knocking on doors across Columbus to get the vote out – first for Mayor Tomlinson in May and second for the statewide Democratic slate of candidates. I personally admire Patricia’s personality, work ethic, ability to organize and progressive politics.
  • Mary-Kate Clement, who graduated from Marquette and flew from Chicago to Georgia to join Patricia in helping the county’s coordinated campaign. I stayed late in the office with Patricia and Mary-Kate on several nights when they had to get things wrapped up and called in. I am so sorry that she had to see her own home state go to a Republican governor (and Wisconsin, where she previously interned for Mary Burke, going back to Walker for another term). Her mother, who came by our office several times, is cool. Hope they do well in the future.
  • David Smith, spirited and knowledgeable 17-year-old who made phone calls and knocked on doors for the campaign. He is a party activist in the making.
  • William Viruet, native New Yorker who GOTV’s on a very down-to-earth level and does a mean massage.
  • All of the people – of all ages, even slightly underage – who gave their time and energy to this campaign – Berlinda, Tom, both Bills from the UU Fellowship of Columbus, Charlotte, LaVon, Marlyne, Alice, Eddie (Mr. “Souls to the Polls”), James, and several others. You all did the great work for a Blue Muscogee.

But now I am furious, and the colleagues who I met over this month know how furious I am with what just happened.

The Democrats lost across this country. Low turnout happened in several states, and yet it was not for a lack of African-American voters. Older voters, as usual, turned out more for the vote than younger voters.

And yet, progressive legislations won on the ballot at the SAME DAMN TIME. Across the country!

  • Minimum wage increases passed by voters in Arkansas, Nebraska, Illinois (advisory), Alaska and South Dakota
  • Marijuana possession decriminalized by voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., while Florida gained 57% in favor but not the 60% necessary for passage. 6 Michigan municipalities’ voters passed similar measures.
  • California voters passing the reduction of dozens of nonviolent property and drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, resulting in potential thousands leaving California’s prisons.
  • A severe anti-choice “personhood” amendment being defeated in Colorado and North Dakota.
  • A fracking ban being passed in Denton, Texas and Athens, Ohio.
  • Dallas voters retain SOGI-inclusive NDO for city workers
  • Washington voters backed a criminal background check on all guns.

And I’m not the only one who noticed this. The Nation noticed this contradiction of voters supporting progressive legislation and voting for regressive candidates in the same election, so did Ring of Fire Radio. And I wonder “WTF just happened?”

And I’ve learned so much from reading articles about how populism won at the local and state levels, even as the GOP expanded their reach in many state legislatures.

A few words to the Democrats and to progressives all over Georgia, especially the state leadership in Georgia.

  • Stop being cowards on our principles. Stop apologizing.
  • Support our president and Obamacare.
  • If party leaders are cowards, throw them out. They are bums.
  • Shut up about money. No seriously, DNC/DSCC/DCCC/DGA/DLCC, stop sending me emails asking for contributions to the party’s war chest every damn day. I’m sick of being begged by career party activists for money when they don’t pull their weight.
  • Embrace your constituencies like your life depended on it.
  • Campaign on economic justice like your life depended on it.
  • Meet more often, like the party is your second, more secular church.
  • Don’t be afraid to remove those who don’t adhere to progressive principles.
  • If you can’t throw out the bums, do everything to make their political lives difficult.
  • Primary those who won’t carry their weight or have gotten too soft in their seats.
  • Campaign on issues. Not party, not personality, not demographics. ISSUES. Hear the issues, speak the issues, vote on the issues, poll the issues, build alliances around the issues, raise money on issues, publicize the issues, saturate local media with issues, recruit and test your candidates on the issues.
  • Do NOT disrespect progressive activists who are doing the work if you’re not doing it yourself. Or else you will get ripped a new butthole, in public, by me.

I have more to say, but all in all, let’s up off of our asses and campaign as progressives, not the “NON-REPUBLICANS”.

As MLK said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter“. The voters cared about issues. We didn’t. We need to care about issues, to push them by whatever means necessary, and to embrace those who care about them, like our President. We need to care about the compassion of our government, and we must say it every time we get. Or else, there is nothing progressive about us.

#YesWeCan