I wanted to write a little something about U.S. politics. I want to write something positive, because there’s a lot of negativity floating around these days. First, I’m going to provide some context. Second, I’m going to write about this guy Al Giordano (who I think is pretty great). Third, I’m going to try to tie it all together.
I’ve always been a fan of U.S. history. I think that we can learn a lot, not only about this country, but about human beings generally, from studying this 200+ experiment that we are fortunate enough to live in and be a part of. In spite of that, I wasn’t really that interested in politics. In 2000, I was firmly in the “they’re all a bunch of crooks” camp. Yeah, I was a (pretty disinterested) Nader voter in Oregon. I wasn’t sweating it though, because I was also pretty sure Gore was going to win. On election night in November 2000, I was sicker than I’ve ever been with a really high fever. I went to bed thinking the election would be over by morning. What a surprise to wake up and feel like I was still in some kind of fever dream. It didn’t take me too long to realize that I’d been pretty wrong thinking that it didn’t matter who won the presidency.
So, by 2004, I was starting to pay a little more attention to politics, specifically the Democratic primary. Then this guy, Howard Dean, came on the scene. I had never heard of him, but he was saying all the right things, as far as I was concerned, about political/corporate corruption (a la Enron) and the folly of the Iraq war. He was the first politician I ever gave money to and I started reading all I could about him. He had innovative technology, he had motivated supporters, he was raising a ton of money from small donors, and he seemed like a reasonable, thoughtful, decent guy. I was sure he was going to win the Democratic primary. But then he lost big. I was completely baffled. I realized I didn’t know that much about the Democratic primary process, but just kind of dropped it at that point. I listened to Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic Convention that year and thought, this guy’s speaking my language! Still, I was pretty convinced that Kerry was going to beat the obviously–to me–crooked Bush administration.
So then four more years of the Bush presidency happened. It was a real drag to live through, but it didn’t affect me a whole lot, because I’m a white dude. When Barack Obama announced he was running for president, I was thrilled. I thought, this guy’s doing the Howard Dean thing. He might have a shot! He was the underdog and I don’t think, early on, anyone really thought he had much of a shot. At some point, I ran across this guy named Al Giordano who took the time to write in great detail about how the Democratic primary process worked, explaining each state primary or caucus as it came along. It was really eye-opening. Turns out, it doesn’t matter if you raise a lot of money or draw big crowds to hear you speak, if you don’t get the votes. Also, in the party primaries, the only thing that matters is delegates. I learned a lot from reading his patient explanations. I’m pretty sure I discovered Nate Silver through Al, too.
That’s why, when Obama lost the California primary, I wasn’t sweating it. I knew that Obama had already won the whole thing, in spite of all the screaming and the noise from all sides.
It’s been amazing to watch the Democratic primary in 2016, because it seems like a complete replay of 2008, an amazing piece of historical reflection.
Check out this oldest article from Giordano I could find: No More Drama
Only, instead of Obama putting together a multi-racial coalition to defeat Clinton and then McCain, Clinton has put together a multi-racial coalition to defeat Sanders and then (I hope) Trump.
So who is this guy, Al Giordano, and why am I writing about him? Back in August I started paying attention to all the political rumblings, Republican and Democratic, and I rediscovered Al via his Twitter account: https://twitter.com/AlGiordano
I thought Sanders was kind of neat. I was pretty skeptical of Clinton. I had no idea who O’Malley was. I assumed Al would be pretty down on Clinton again and pretty pro-Sanders. Imagine my surprise.
Turns out, Al and Bernie go way back. Al was a community organizer in the NE and organized to stop nuclear plants from being built, among other things. Al supported Bernie in run for mayor of Burlington and then again in his first run for the House. But he’s not supporting him any longer. Why?
Bernie Sanders is actively attacking the multi-racial coalition that put Barack Obama in the White House.
Ultimately, it matters who supports a presidential candidate. Me, I’m going to side with the people who elected Obama the first and second time.
So now, Al Giordano has stated that unless Sanders reins in his attacks on this coalition, he’s going to run for Sanders’ Senate seat in 2018. I believe he can do it, too.
Here’s the thing: I feel like Al would be the kind of Senator and politician that Sanders’ supporters imagine him to be.
Don’t be surprised when this guy named Al you’ve never heard of swoops into Vermont and becomes the next junior Senator in 2018.
He’s worth keeping an eye on: https://twitter.com/AlGiordano