Category: Democrats


nancy pelosi
Photo by: Lorie Shaull

The late comedian Bill Hicks, whose stand-up routines offered fairly profane observations on life in the 1980s and early 1990s, was annoyed by the constant drumming of apocalyptic headlines by CNN.

“War, famine, death, aids, homeless, recession, depression,” Hicks chanted. “War, famine, death, aids, homeless, recession, depression. Then, you look out the window, and *crickets*.

“I want a (happy) Ted Turner newscast,” he continued. “‘Hey, everything’s great, here’s sports.”

Hick’s annoyance today could very likely expand to the Democratic Party, which has promised death and destruction with every piece of legislation, or executive action accomplished in 2017. Some of the farcical claims include:

-If the ACA is repealed, people will die in the streets.

-If net neutrality is repealed, people will die in the streets.

-If the individual mandate is repealed (the tax penalty levied on those who cannot afford insurance), people will die in the streets.

-The tax plan is the apocalypse.

-These tax cuts will have people dying in the streets.

Granted, these are hyperbole, but you get the idea. Still, I drive the streets in my neighborhood, and I haven’t seen one dead body yet. When is this mass extinction supposed to begin?

Now, I don’t mean to be partisan on this blog. In fact, I try to go out of my way to avoid beating the same political drums that form the cadence that is Talk radio and CNN.

Still, I am bothered by the fact that so much anger and fear can be galvanized so quickly by political operatives who have no real connection to the facts. Political action committees put out talking points, as do the leadership of both political parties, as do the political pundits, without really examining the details of the proposal.

The politicians need only give an 8-second soundbite to the news, and the political firestorms follows, all over issues that will have minimal impact on the daily lives of most Americans. Yet, to hear it said on TV, radio, in print, and on the street, “the end is near.”

Those at the top have no real incentive to change this dynamic. The votes of Congress are bought and sold by lobbying firms, regardless of which party is in power. As long as those lobbying firms continue to buy the elections of Congress, those elected have little reason to change, and the firms have no reason to change.

These same firms that buy the Congressional elections also invest in swaying public opinion, and they do so with much style and little substance, providing talking points to the media and members of Congress. So long as this model works, we will continue to see vitriolic political discourse and social volatility.

Therefore, it is our responsibility as individual citizens to break this cycle. It is up to us to demand more, and better information. It is up to us to demand accountability. It is up to us to research the candidates, and vote for the best candidate, not the best publicized candidate. If we continue our failure in this responsibility, then things will continue to get worse, because the current system is a multi-billion dollar industry making thousands of people rich.

Former FCC Commissioner Newton N. Minow once described television as “a vast wasteland,” saying that if you watched TV from sign-on to sign-off, a vast wasteland of sub-par programming is what you would observe. He said it was up to the public to demand better programming, adding that if the public continued to support bad programming, the vast wasteland would remain.

He said that no other bureau or agency could rectify the problem, that it was the duty of the American public to demand better. If they didn’t, then the vast wasteland would be their own fault.

The same holds true for our political system. As long as cable news ratings maintain, and lobbying firms continue to successfully purchase elections and votes, our political discourse will remain volatile, and the mass panic among the rank and file will continue. And we’ll only have ourselves to blame.

Primary election season starts now. Research the candidates, go to their public appearances, ask questions, then vote accordingly. Break the cycle, demand better.

Castro, Cruz, and Texas Red vs. Blue

In the debut episode of the “Leland Acker Show” podcast, I examine Joaquin Castro’s decision to stay in the House and not challenge Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, and what that means for Texas Democrats.

I also discuss what single event could turn Texas blue, the 10 reasons millennials are leaving Christianity, and Jeb Bush’s prospects in owning the Miami Marlins. Check it out, then tell me what you think.

Warren leads Democrats into 2020 Presidential Primary

Elizabeth_Warren,_official_portrait,_114th_CongressWhile much of the Democratic Party is publicly blaming Russians, racism and misogyny for President Donald Trump’s 2016 electoral victory, one prominent Democrat has conducted a post-election autopsy, found the cause of death, and is publicly proclaiming why Democrats got shellacked in the 2016 general election.

In an interview with the Guardian, Sen. Elizabeth Warren blamed former President Barack Obama and several Democrats for being out of touch with mainstream American voters. Her comments were quoted in The Hill.

Warren’s criticisms were less about the Democratic Party’s obsession with social justice warriors and more about public ties the party is developing with Wall Street. Recently, former President Obama agreed to a speaking engagement with a Wall Street firm for $400,000. Hillary Clinton was notorious for giving $200,000 speeches. These ties to Wall Street were not lost on Democratic runner-up Sen. Bernie Sanders, who routinely criticized Clinton’s ties to powerful investment firms.

“The lived experiences of most Americans is that they are being left behind in this economy,” Warren said. “Worse than being left behind, they’re getting kicked in the teeth.”

For Americans living between the two coasts, the economy has left them in the dust. Manufacturing jobs, while back on the increase, are no longer as plentiful as they once were. Factory workers in the Fayetteville, Ark., area saw many of their jobs outsourced to overseas production facilities. Air conditioner manufacturing workers in Jacksonville, Tex., saw their jobs head south of the border. Michigan auto workers have been put through a pressure cooker over the past eight years.

Meanwhile, pundits on the East and West Coasts laughed off the suffering of Middle America by saying that “manufacturing is only a small part of the American economy.” While, percentage-wise, that might be true, for the manufacturing worker, manufacturing¬†is the American economy.

When manufacturing jobs go overseas, the 200 workers at the plant who earned an average of $15 per hour suddenly find themselves competing for 10 positions offered by a new manufacturer moving to the area. Or worse, find themselves competing for an $8/hour position at a quick lube place. Income obliterated, home on the market, boat sold, and debt skyrocketing, these workers see politicians and pundits on TV say, “These jobs aren’t coming back.”

Of course Middle America is hopeless. Of course, they’re angry. And this is what propelled President Donald Trump to victory in the 2016 election. He promised to enact policies to bring manufacturing jobs back to America, and so far, it looks like he will deliver on the promise. He struck a deal to expand Chrysler’s manufacturing operations in America, and a jobs report published in Time magazine in March showed manufacturing gains.

Progress and promises like that are what will keep President Trump popular with Middle America, and could win him reelection in 2020. Despite what the polls say, Trump is still very popular in rust belt and red states, and Sen. Warren sees that.

By criticizing her party’s tone-deafness to the plight of the American people, Warren is going on record as saying she understands where most Americans are coming from, and what they want: good paying jobs that don’t require a 7-year, $180,000 degree to obtain, a decent cost of living where they can enjoy themselves but still enjoy the benefit of a rising home value, and a social safety net to help them in major healthcare crises, or to care for an elderly parent. That’s not to say her policies will actually work, but that is how she is selling them.

If she continues this rhetoric, and follows this platform, she’ll be the Democratic front-runner should she decide to run in 2020. If President Trump falters, or declines to run again, she’s a real threat to take the White House.

Congress has been selling its votes to the highest bidding corporations for years. What the politicians are beginning to learn is that no price tag can pay for a lost election, and if the interests of the American people are not being served, then lost elections are on the horizon. Let’s hope we see some real policy changes that open up freedom and opportunity for those of us in Middle America.