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Open Letter to Clinton: What Clinton Must Do First

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders face off in the Democratic Debate

The views in this letter are those of the author.

Dear Secretary Hillary Clinton,

There have been a lot of discussions lately about Sanders supporters and whether they should support you if you become the Democratic nominee. This debate intensified after Susan Sarandon’s interview with Chris Hayes where she said that she couldn’t make the pledge to support you if Bernie Sanders didn’t win the nomination.

Susan Sarandon is not alone. Rosario Dawson, Michael Render (Killer Mike), Ana Kasparian, Shaun King and many others could not make that pledge. A poll suggests that as much as 33 percent of Sanders supporters may refrain from supporting you in November. Another poll has this number at 25 percent. This group of supporters, often called the “Bernie or Bust” movement, is threatening your chances of winning the presidency if you become the Democratic nominee.

Let’s put rhetoric and emotions aside.

In this letter, I will explain why I believe that Sanders supporters and others should not vote for you if the following needs are not addressed.

The Greatest Threat to Democracy

Bernie Sanders repeated at ad nauseam that “money in politics” is a real threat to democracy. He stated that the “political campaign finance system [is] corrupt and increasingly controlled by billionaires and special interests.

He is absolutely right.

In a Princeton study, data shows that the likelihood of a policy change supported by the majority of average Americans (i.e. the 99%) has no impact whatsoever on its chances of it being adopted. As the graph below shows, if a proposed change is extremely unpopular with average Americans, there’s roughly a 30 percent chance of that policy being adopted. If the change is extremely popular, there is still roughly the same likelihood of it becoming law.

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens (By Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page)

As the study puts it:

“The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

This is not democracy. Moreover, these issues existed even before the disastrous Citizens United decision which only made the situation much worse.

On the other hand, and to no one’s surprise, when a policy change is proposed that aligns with the interests of the economic elites or interest groups (i.e. the 1%), there is a much higher likelihood of it being implemented. Alternatively, if these groups want to prevent a policy from being implemented despite strong public support for it, they are often able to block it from becoming law.

This is plutocracy by the very definition of the term. And as the study alludes to, and explained in the video below, “Big Money” in politics is corrupting the democracy of the United States of America.

What about Clinton’s Plan?

You may state that you already agree with Sanders on this issue. After all, you have already pledged to overturn Citizens United, end secret money in politics and establish a small-donor matching system.

I do not disagree that these are important steps to reclaim democracy. But excuse our cynicism; we have legitimate reasons to doubt your willingness to fight Big Money. As I’ve written before here, you have taken many actions that question your seriousness on tackling the biggest issue facing the nation. It’s very easy to talk the talk, but what assurances do Sanders supporters and other Americans have to ensure that you will make this issue a top priority as it needs to be?

To address the concerns of potential voters, you should take these very reasonable steps that align with your pledge for campaign finance reform:

  • You must disavow the Super PAC’s supporting your campaign. Super PAC’s, which existed as a result of the disastrous Citizens United decision, are further corrupting the political process. Your Super PAC’s (mainly Priorities USA Action and Correct the Record) raised over $70 million according to Open Secrets.
  • Your campaign’s legal counsel must send a letter to the Super PAC’s stating that they are not authorized to fundraise on your behalf. An action that even the clown Donald Trump has done. It’s critical that you do the same.
  • You and your surrogates must refrain from attending fundraisers for Super PAC’s as ‘special guests’. Bill Clinton headlined a fundraiser for your Super PAC. This is not acceptable.
  • You must end any attempts to exploit any loopholes to coordinate with any Super PAC’s. Your Super PAC “Correct the Record” confirmed that it coordinates with your campaign.
  • You must send a strong message to your supporters not to donate to any Super PAC’s supporting your bid.
  • You must refuse to meet any donors who insist on donating to your Super PAC’s (such as George Soros and Haim Saban just to name a couple). They should not have any preferential treatments. Saban, who donated millions to your Super PAC has said that he donates money to influence candidates. This is not acceptable.
  • You must request major news networks not to invite representatives from Super PAC’s to speak on your behalf, such as Paul Begala and David Brock. You have a lot of leverage to make that happen.
  • Your fundraisers must be made public. Attempts to block reporters (like this one) are not acceptable.
  • You must push the DNC to reinstate a ban on donations from federal lobbyists and political action committees that was put in place by President Obama in 2008.
  • You must commit to issuing executive orders to curb the influence of Big Money within the first year in office if Congress stalls efforts to reform the campaign finance system.
  • You must not allow the DNC to pay for the salaries of your team (and other campaign related costs) as part of the Hillary Victory Fund.
  • Money donated to the Hillary Victory Fund must be shared proportionally among all parties. In other words, a donation of $340 should send $10 to your campaign, $10 to the DNC and $10 to each of the other 32 states. Currently, all of this money would be funneled to your campaign.
  • You must send a strong message to all Democrats, especially the over 500 superdelegates who already endorsed you, that Campaign Finance Reform is a top priority.

These demands may seem extensive in nature. But, they are not. If you stand by your pledge to reform the corrupt campaign finance system, these demands should be very reasonable.

Yes, you will be criticized for making these changes, but you have evolved on many issues. Why can’t you “evolve” on the most important issue that faces the nation?

What If Super PAC’s Are Necessary To Win In November?

You, and many Democrats, may argue that doing the above could cost you the election in November if you are the Democratic nominee. You may believe that Trump, or whichever the Republican nominee is, will significantly out-raise Democrats.

This is not true.

Bernie Sanders has already demonstrated that candidates can raise a lot of money without relying on special interests. In fact, not doing the above could cost you the election if Sanders supporters don’t support your bid.

Why Voters Should Not Vote For You If the Above Is Not Addressed

This is the most important question. Many argue that if Sanders supporters do not support you as the Democratic nominee, Trump may become the next president of the United States. How could Sanders supporters with good conscience allow this to happen?

Anyone asking this question doesn’t understand how politics works in the United States of America.

As the analysis above shows, it doesn’t matter who the President is. I will repeat this statement from the Princeton study:

“The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

If we cannot demand from you to address the biggest issue facing the United States, on what grounds do you believe that you are entitled to their support?

While Sanders supporters want single payer ‘Medicare for All’, free college education and a ban on fracking, I believe that none of these things would be implemented without ending the corruption of Big Money in politics and establishing a political revolution that demands real change.

And Secretary Clinton, you also need this political revolution which many do not understand to this day. You will not be able to expand the Affordable Care Act or repeal the Hyde Amendment without the support of millions of Americans. And no, “bear hugs” won’t cut it as I’ve explained here.

What about Trump?

Yes, Trump is a clown, a misogynist, a jerk, a xenophobe, a fascist, a sexist, a racist, a phony and a loser. Clearly, I don’t like him or respect him. But despite his nonsense, he will not be able to pass his dangerous agenda. He requires the support of the House of Representatives, as well as 60 percent of the Senate to be able to pass any legislation. Many congressmen and congresswomen cannot stand Trump and his policies, and that includes Republicans. In other words, Trump cannot be the fascist he wants to be, thanks to the checks and balances instituted by the founding fathers.

Sincerely,

A Bernie Sanders supporter

 

Written by Salam Morcos

Salam Morcos is a Managing Editor of Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

Political activist for democracy, social justice, racial justice, women's right and human rights.

3 Comments

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  1. This is all fine and good, and probably in all likelihood futile. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council/Third Way “centrists” didn’t waste 30 years of retooling the Democratic Party to the Center-Right merely just to give their power and money up to an upstart whom they just beat (by gaming and cheating the system, of course, but they did win). If anything, the Dems and Hillary see Sanders supporters as either mere voter fodder who will ultimately cave in to them because GOTP/Trumpster, or as dangerous Commies who should be isolated and quarantined and ultimately destroyed so Democrats can make their play for non-Trumpian conservatives and GOP “moderates”.

    The bitter truth is that the DLC and Wall Street own the Democratic Party lock, stock, and barrel, and not even Sanders’ campaign will break their control. Time to get out and build a real Independent Left party out of the detrius of his efforts.

  2. This is BS, you do not have the right nor the permission to speak for all Sander’s supporters, there is no way in hell I will ever vote for her. You are stepping on toes, let Bernie run his race the way he sees fit, he is on the dem ticket, our job is to choose a candidate, not dictate orders to anyone. When Bernie wins the nomination and moves to the White House, make no mistake… he is moving to the WH and he will do his job. While I am guessing he wants to hear suggestions about ideas to help people, none of us will be doing his job! When people do stuff like this all that happens is we get divided up. SMH!

  3. This is a very fine list and I think other comentators are perhaps taking it too literally. For me this is a reminder of why I will never vote for Hillary, because I am sure, if she, by any chance, ever glanced at this, she would probably break into her famous contemptuous laughter.

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Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders face off in the Democratic Debate

Open Letter to Clinton: What Clinton Must Do First