Is Hillary Clinton REALLY Raising Millions of Dollars For Other Democrats? Not So Much…

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You know how Hillary and her supporters keep talking about how she’s raising money for other Democrats to run? Like that $15 million she raised with George Clooney?

Well, about that.

First, watch this video from The Young Turks which gives a solid rundown on the huge money laundering scheme Clinton and the Democratic National Committee have been running for the entire campaign:

This involves using loopholes in the campaign finance system to funnel much larger donations to Hillary’s campaign than is allowed for by law. It’s also an enormously unethical breach in party ethics because the DNC is not supposed to play favorites during a primary (which was why Tulsi Gabbard resigned from her second-in-command DNC position to be able to campaign for Bernie Sanders, unlike Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who has carried water for Hillary Clinton every step of the way). And there may be actual violations of campaign finance law, as the Sanders campaign said yesterday.

Okay, so they have this YUGE scheme that funnels cash through the state parties and the DNC into Hillary’s Victory Fund. And Hillary’s Victory Fund is where all that money she’s supposedly raising for other Democrats is supposed to go. Well, about that.

According to the Washington Post:

“’It’s time to rebuild our party from the ground up,’ the former secretary of state pledged. ‘When our state parties are strong, we win.’

“The joint committee that was formed, called the Hillary Victory Fund, ended up raising nearly $27 million by the end of 2015, thanks to six-figure donations from longtime Clinton allies and a New York fundraiser headlined by the singer Sting.

“So far, the state parties have served only as a pass-through for their share of the funds. Campaign finance records show that nearly $2 million in donations to the fund initially routed last year to individual state party accounts was immediately transferred to the DNC, which is laboring to pay off millions of dollars in debt…

“’I’ve never seen anything like this,’ said Lawrence Noble, a former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) who is now with the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. ‘Joint victory funds are not intended to be separate operating committees that just support a single candidate. But they appear to be turning the traditional notion of a joint committee into a Hillary fundraising committee.’”

So out of $27 million, only two million was sent to the state parties for their candidates, and that money was then returned to the DNC to pay its bills. That was last year.

According to Politico, in the first quarter of this year, the Hillary Victory Fund raised $33 million:

“The idea is that the committee will help the state parties raise money for their general election efforts, an area where Clinton’s allies argue that her insurgent rival for the Democratic presidential nomination Bernie Sanders has done little…

“Yet, during the first three months of the year, the $2 million transferred by the Hillary Victory Fund to various state party committees paled in comparison to the $9.5 million it transferred to Clinton’s campaign committee or the $3.5 million it transferred to the DNC.

“And the Hillary Victory Fund also spent $6.7 million on online ads that mostly looked like Clinton campaign ads, as well as $5.5 million on direct marketing. Both expenses seem intended at least in part to help Clinton build a small donor base, an area in which Sanders has far outpaced her.”

So, in short, the Hillary Victory Fund raised $60 million. Of that, most of it went either directly to Hillary’s campaign or toward promoting her campaign. Only $4 million went to state parties, and at least half of that boomeranged back to the DNC to pay its bills.

All those Democrats lower on the ballot aren’t getting much help when you get right down to it. You know what would really help them? A YUGE excited voter turnout in November.

And if the Democrats want that, Hillary isn’t the candidate they should be supporting.

UPDATE: A recent piece in Politico reports that even less of the money is remaining with the state parties, only 1% of the $61 million raised to date.

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How The Democrats Can Give Us A Republican President

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We hear a lot of nonsense spin about not voting for Bernie Sanders because he’s “not electable.”

When you point out that in pretty much all the polls, for months, Sanders has outperformed Clinton (often by a large margin) when matched up against any specific GOP candidate, the data is handwavingly dismissed because “Hillary has low numbers because she’s been under attack for decades, but Sanders is untested.”

Other than the fact that the entire corporate power structure of the Democratic party is trying to squash him, of course.

And never mind the fact that in the past year, as both candidates have shown the people who they are and what they stand for, Sanders’s favorability numbers have soared from the low 30s to nearly 90% while Clinton’s have plummeted from the mid-70s to 39%. It can literally be said that most voters, whether they support him or not, genuinely like Bernie Sanders. The same is not true of Hillary Clinton.

All the same, while the polls consistently show Sanders beating GOP candidates by a larger margin than her, they do (usually) also show Clinton beating them. So if things continue along this track, it appears that either of them is actually electable, though Bernie would be the more certain bet.

Part of Bernie’s strength is that he has enormous blocs of voters who are incredibly passionate about his candidacy. Within the Democratic party, he has a two-to-one edge over Hillary among all voters under 45. Let me say that again: ALL DEMOCRATS UNDER 45 prefer Bernie by a two-to-one margin. And anyone who tells you that young people won’t turn out to vote hasn’t been paying attention to the tens of thousands of people who show up to see Bernie speak, or who spontaneously marched in support of him in cities coast to coast recently. The young people will be there for Bernie. He doesn’t do as well among older, longtime Democrats, though he still has a lot of support; even a third of Baby Boomer women, Hillary’s core demographic, support Bernie.

And many polls don’t even count independent voters, most of whom support Bernie, or the surprising number of crossover Republican voters who can’t stand their own candidates but see in Bernie a man of integrity they can get behind.

So much for the “electability” nonsense.

We also often see folks saying “whoever you support in the primaries, just be sure to support the winner in the general election.” And that’s a reasonable and rational request. There’s not a man or woman who has stood on a Republican debate stage who is qualified for the presidency, and some of them (the frontrunners, naturally) are simply monstrous and would be total disasters for our country and the world. Most sapient people would prefer either Clinton or Sanders to any of the snarling buffoons of the GOP, so the principle of supporting whoever ultimately winds up opposing them is obvious. And most people will do exactly that.

Except…

Except, young voters are pretty notorious for their lack of participation, and while many of those now fired up about Bernie Sanders will remain engaged even if he loses the nomination, the unfortunate likelihood is that many of them won’t. There will be anger, yes, but I don’t think that’s what will lead them to stay away on election day. I think it will be the nihilistic feeling that their vote doesn’t count after all. Bernie will have given them hope that an establishment they see as hidebound and corrupt could be successfully challenged and changed, and that hope will have been crushed. To a demographic that is already tragically, even stupidly, disengaged, that loss of hope will prove enough to keep many from bothering to cast a vote for anybody.

I’m not supporting that attitude even a little bit. But I do recognize it as a political reality. Many more people will turn out to vote if Bernie Sanders is the nominee, and they will support the Democratic candidates in other races when they do. If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, she, and all the other Dems on the ballots, will lose those disillusioned young voters.

That, in itself, may not be enough to tilt the election to Trump or whichever other malignant pustule the Republicans nominate. Hopefully not. But let me tell you what almost certainly will:

If Bernie Sanders wins the nomination by popular vote but Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment steal it from him, and buck the will of the majority of voters, through process maneuvers.

As someone commented today on Facebook, “If there’s a cabal of Democratic Party insiders who will choose the candidate no matter who the Democratic voters want, then I am not a Democrat. If the majority of voters go with Clinton, then I’ll vote Clinton. If more of them want Sanders and the party chooses Clinton anyway then I will do everything I can to turn the Democratic Party into an irrelevant third party.”

Today’s the day of the Iowa caucus, and it’s being reported that the Clinton camp has been training their supporters to game the caucus results wherever possible to keep Martin O’Malley’s delegates from going to Bernie Sanders. The fact that this is possible is one of many terrible things about the caucusing system (and the primary system in general, and our electoral system at large), and the fact that Clinton is falling back on it shows just how desperate, and ruthless, she is. Though she can game the caucuses, the fact that she will is troubling, especially after months of obvious unethical favoritism shown her by the Democratic National Committee and its unfortunate head, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

At the same time, while Bernie endures an avalanche of attacks from the establishment media and pundits and Democratic party insiders, much of it disingenuous and a lot of it verging on character assassination (compare Chris Cuomo’s loaded questions to Sanders to the fanboy bootlicking he gave Clinton) Nancy Pelosi herself is making a point of saying that many of the great things Bernie Sanders wants to do for the American people will not happen, not because of Republican intransigence but because her Democrats won’t work with him to make needed change. That’s right: Nancy Fucking Pelosi, the absolute mascot of the Democratic corporate establishment, basically just threatened to stamp her feet and pull a Mitch McConnell if Democratic voters don’t choose the candidate that she wants them to.

How dare the voters think they have the right to decide who wins an election?

And then, ahead, we have the existential threat to democracy that is the superdelegates. Another of the bugs in our electoral system, the superdelegates are the very essence of the establishment looking out for the establishment:

A “superdelegate” or an “unpledged delegate” is a delegate to the Democratic National Convention or Republican National Convention that is seated automatically, based on their status as current (Republican and Democratic) or former (Democratic only) party leader or elected official. (From Wikipedia)

Superdelegates are unelected, they have significant power (especially in a close election like this one), and they are the political party’s way of saying “No, no, never mind, we’ve got this” to the voters.

For months, hundreds of superdelegates have been already pledged to vote for Hillary Clinton. Why wait to see what the people want? The establishment has chosen, after all.

So, what happens if Bernie Sanders wins the primaries according to the will of the Democratic voters, but then the party sics the superdelegates on him and manages to give the nomination to Hillary Clinton? I’ll tell you:

All those Bernie Sanders voters get really, really fucking pissed.

Then, you know, voters are human, and voters are emotional, and voters don’t always do the “reasonable” thing. I think, combined with the lower turnout among younger voters, the backlash among angry voters who actually won the vote for the nomination only to have it stolen from them could well sink what is otherwise a very good chance for the next president to be a Democrat.

Bernie’s supporters will almost all vote for Hillary if she wins the nomination fair and square. But if she, and her longtime cronies and pals, insist on stealing it?

Get ready for President The Donald, or something just as bad.

McCain Bails, Letterman Shines

John McCain’s poll numbers are plummeting, so he’s now trying to run out the clock. He’s realized that the more voters see of him and his fulsome running mate, the worse things get. So he’s trying to take cover behind the financial crisis, trying to appear presidential by “suspending his campaign” in order to go to Washington and personally save the economy.

To John McCain, this does two positive things. First, and probably most importantly, it gets him out of the line of fire for a while, he can pretend to a statecraft that doesn’t allow for the pettiness of campaigning and duck questions even more than he’s already been doing. He can put off a potentially disastrous face-off with the more charismatic and far more intellectually vigorous Barack Obama by “postponing” the first debate, hoping all the while that since time is so tight before the election, they’d never be able to get around to it again. Ideally, he’ll be able to get Palin out of having to debate Biden as well, if he can wrangle the schedule just right.

Second, if he’s in Washington looking all serious and such for the cameras, once the bailout bill goes through, he can pretend he was integral to its passage. It’s not statesmanship, its photo op politics at its most cynical.

In the process of starting all this, he’s already shown himself yet again to be an utter liar. Scheduled to appear on David Letterman’s show, he called the host to cancel, claiming he had to race back to Washington. Unfortunately for McCain, Letterman discovered that McCain hadn’t actually left by the time the show was taping, and was instead still in town sitting down for an interview with Katie Couric at CBS.

Letterman’s response was true must-see TV: