September 7, 2015
by Johann Galloway
It’s no fluke that anti-establishment candidates are gaining wide support; American voters are sick and tired of business as usual. A Quinnipiac University poll released this week shows only 2 percent of voters satisfied with the way things are going in the nation today. (Only 26% are “somewhat satisfied,” with 71% “dissatisfied.”)
“Most American voters sing sadly, along with The Rolling Stones, that they are unable to find any satisfaction with the way things are going in the nation or with the federal government,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “More than 25 percent of voters go beyond dissatisfaction to anger with government. And very few voters think Congress is doing a good job.”
In Iowa, Hillary has slipped in the polls while support for my man Bernie has risen dramatically. And in the Republican race, Dr. Ben Carson, another anti-establishment candidate, has surged to within spitting distance of Trump, while establishment-minded Republican candidates are struggling to keep their heads above water. And the importance of Iowa cannot be overstated.
The same year “Tricky Dick” was re-elected, the Democratic Party changed its scheduling to make Iowa the first state to hold its caucus. The resulting attention was so profound that for the 1976 election the Republican Party also made Iowa first. Although Iowa is not the most demographically diverse state, when everyday, middle-American voters show strong support for a candidate, it’s an indication of the strength of the candidate’s platform and how they may fare nationally. This is not only terribly important for the candidate, but for party leaders who want a strong contender for the White House.
Ever since underdog Jimmy Carter (who was virtually unknown on the national level) spent a year conducting a grassroots campaign in the state, which lead to a huge victory in the caucus, other candidates have followed suit. Carter Eskew says in The Washington Post: “Only in Iowa do we get a chance to really follow candidates individually and over many months to get to know and test them.”
National media correspondents shadow the candidates, and those who do better than expected win even more attention. And so is created that most coveted thing in a political race: momentum. Many long-shot candidates have ridden their surprisingly powerful finish in Iowa—accompanied with their newfound media attention—to the presidential nomination.
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The brass of the powerful Service Employees International Union is feeling the Bern of an anti-establishment candidate also. A growing number of SEIU leaders, members, retirees and staff are signing a petition urging the union to hold off endorsing Hillary when the executive committee meets in mid-September.
“We are supporters of Senator Sanders and believe his voice deserves to be heard,” the petition reads. “His campaign is drawing thousands into a movement around the very issues we support in our day-to-day organizing. To make an early endorsement of Hillary Clinton would put our union in direct opposition to this growing movement.”
An SEIU spokeswoman said the union has no timetable for an endorsement and is still in the process of engaging and polling its members on whom they support in the presidential race, and what issues they care about.
Current internal polls show Hillary being favored 75 percent compared to other Democratic candidates. Petitioners contend endorsing a candidate before the Democratic debates is jumping the gun since many union members are unfamiliar with Bernie. But one thing his supporters have going for them is that top SEIU officials are acutely aware of the turmoil within the American Federation of Teachers union, where rank-and-file teachers are in full public revolt. The democratic union endorsed Hillary in mid-July without them even knowing about it. Insult to injury is that there was no semblance of legitimacy, especially considering AFT’s president Randi Weingarten is a long time Hillary disciple.
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Joe Biden, who lost his son to cancer earlier in the year, continues to express uncertainty about a presidential bid. This is troubling to Democratic Party leaders who are concerned about Hillary’s struggle to move past the private email controversy. At a foreign policy lecture in Atlanta, Thursday evening, the 72-year-old Vice President said: “The most relevant factor in my decision is whether my family and I have the emotional energy to run. The factor is, can I do it? The honest to God answer is I just don’t know.”
Earlier in the week, Biden shocked more than a few donors at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser in Miami when he said “I am not a populist. But Bernie Sanders, he’s doing a helluva job.”
The event wasn’t recorded, but one contributor told POLITICO: “What the hell was he saying? I mean, 90 percent of the room is a Hillary donor.”
Another donor said Biden seemed to call out donors who had paid $10,000 or more for the dinner for being the 1 percent, and profiting from a system that is ruining the middle class.
I guess they didn’t get the memo about the politics as usual thing.