As you might remember, I came up to Richmond, California, in October 14 wearing my Bernie Sanders for President 2016 T-shirt to ask you to run as an Independent and lead a movement not just a political campaign. You said you heard this before and would consider it. When you ran as a Democrat, I understood and accepted your reasons - to get into the debates and be covered by the media.
Even though the debates were limited to just a few and, even though the media ignored you for all of 2015, you were able to lead a movement. This was because of your decades long track record of being authentic, consistent and compassionate – the three words I think best describe you. Young people were able to see this and flocked to your message and campaign despite the fact that the entire Democratic establishment and corporate media were against you. Also, baby boomers like me as well as senior citizens were active volunteers for your campaign.
I spent more than a year of my life working on your campaign, starting and leading LA for Bernie and building it up to be one of the largest coalitions of Bernie groups in the country. I was then elected with the most votes in Congressional District 34 to be a delegate for you at the convention, where I organized the TPP protest you saw on the first day. Since then, I have been organizing on the issues I was working on before your campaign - fracking, single payer health care, net neutrality and education privatization being the top five.
I believe I have my finger on the pulse of both the activist base of the progressive community as well as the super volunteers for the Sanders campaign. So I write you to make these requests in response to your recent interview with Dena Takruri of AJ and your recent tweet that we need to save the ACA now and get single payer later.
1. To your point that the GOP is throwing 24 million people off heath care. They are actually throwing them off of health insurance that most people cannot afford to use. 28 million others still do not have health insurance, because the premiums are too expensive and the insurance companies are leaving the exchanges. We shouldn't be trying to save the ACA, a Republican program crafted by the right-wing Heritage Foundation where for profit companies make more money by denying people health care. As you always say, health care is a right not a privilege. We need single payer; and now is not the time to postpone introducing your legislation but exactly the time to introduce it.
As you always say, health care is a right not a privilege. We need single payer; and now is not the time to postpone introducing your legislation but exactly the time to introduce it.
81% of Democrats and 58% of Americans are for it. If you seize this moment to work with John Conyers to craft legislation that will replace Obamacare with Medicare for All, single payer activists and your base will be behind you and will fight for it by lobbying legislators from both parties. During the campaign, you spoke at Mimi Kennedy’s house and on Chris Matthews’ show about how you would get support for your programs from a Republican led Congress. You said you would tell first John Boehner and then Mitch McConnell to look outside their window and see the tens of thousands of people clambering for your policies. Well, let’s put that plan into action with Medicare for All. Over the last recess, led by Justice Democrats, which has been posting memes on the Democrats who have not co-sponsored Conyers’ bill, we activists have gotten 32 more Democrats to sign on. For the first time in the 14 years he has been introducing it, more than 50% of Congressional Democrats have co-sponsored his bill. Nancy Pelosi makes a big mistake by taking it off the table. Since you are the most popular politician in America, you can put it back on simply by introducing it.
2. Berniecrats are not "taking over" the California Democratic Party. We did win 67% of the elected delegate positions; but they are only one-third of all the delegates. The other two-thirds are California’s version of the super delegates who sabotaged your candidacy. Right now, they are trying to sabotage the progressive candidate for state party chair, Kimberly Ellis, who wants to take the state party back from corporate Democrats who are beholden to billionaires and corporate interests and get them to represent working people by organizing. Her challenger, Eric Baumann, took $12,500 a month from Big Pharma to oppose Prop 61, the ballot initiative you came to California to hold rallies for that would have lowered prescription drug prices. Will you endorse Kimberly Ellis, California's version of Keith Ellison, separately from Our Revolution and write a letter asking your supporters to call their elected officials and ask them to vote for her to be chair at the state convention in two weeks?
3. You said that “right now” you are working to transform the Democratic Party to represent the people. Well, you saw they rejected your choice of party chair. In fact, Obama recruited Tom Perez to run against Keith at the behest of wealthy donors, specifically Haim Saban. You must have heard that the DNC lawyer testified in the Florida lawsuit that the Democratic Party considers itself a private entity that does not have to run fair primaries. In fact, he said they could go back to choosing their nominee in smoke filled backrooms if they wanted to. What would the party have to do to prove to you that they are going to give up corporate and billionaire money and start representing the people? How long will you give them to do this before you accept the invitation of Nick Brana to start a People's Party?
Just because in history, third parties have not done well doesn't mean that is the case now. 14 million people left the Democratic Party after the election. Currently, Dems have just 28% of the electorate, Republicans 25% and Independents 44%. If you started a third party, conservatively you would get half the Democrats and half the Independents. The results would look like this:
Democrats - 14%
Republicans - 25%
Independents - 22%
People's - 36%
Nick Brana considers this a very conservative estimate, seeing as your favorability numbers with Democrats and Independents suggest a much greater shift. Moreover, you would bring lots of conservatives too, like you do in VT. It's already no contest with just half the Democrats and Independents, but once you add others it's a blowout. The Democrats are trying the same strategy to win in 2018 that failed in 2016 and that is fear of Trump. They need to run a positive program based on a living wage, affordable health care, free public college and making the wealthy pay their fair share. Only a true People’s Party led by you will do this.
4. Finally, we know that it has always been your view that the US should not go it alone in foreign wars and that money spent on these wars would be better spent on domestic programs to benefit the American people. However, much of your base would like you to go further and come out against wars for oil and regime change. Would you be open to meeting with people who challenge the intelligence community’s findings that Russia interfered with the election and that Assad must go?
Many of us are aware that the CIA has been trying to effect regime change in Syria since 1949, because the Assads would not play ball with USA corporate interests in the same way Mossadegh of Iran would not and Gadaffi of Libya would not. Assad rejected a pipeline that would pump gas from Qatar through Syria to Europe to counter Russia’s gas pipeline through Turkey. While Assad is no angel, he and Russia are successfully fighting ISIS and would have defeated them already had we not entered the civil war. Obama was smart enough to stay out of it until 2014, because we couldn’t be sure who the good guys are over there. He entered after a supposed chemical attack by Assad on his own people, a claim that was later proven to be false. At that point, we started supporting the Al Nusra Front, an outgrowth of Al Qaeda. We used to call them terrorists before we started calling them “moderate rebels” when we started supporting them. They are also killing Syrian civilians.
Would you meet with esteemed MIT scientist Theodore Postel who is challenging the current intelligence that Assad set off the latest chemical attack? And would you be willing to meet with former intelligence officials Ray McGovern and William Binney, who challenge the intelligence that Russia hacked the election? Even if they did, we interfered with over 80 elections worldwide and US advisers even ran Yeltsin’s campaign 20 years ago. Democrats are promoting this to distract from the fact that they ran a bad candidate who ran a lousy campaign and to impeach Trump for treason. We think this is dangerous because it has fomented a new Cold War with Russia, a superpower we should be getting along with, and it can easily lead to a hot war with a nuclear power. Trump already bombed Syria to prove he is not in cahoots with Putin. If we want to impeach Trump, which we should, we should do it based on the Emoluments Clause.
Thank you for reading this letter and for always fighting for the 99%. I would like to invite you and/or Jane to come on my show "The Robust Opposition" on Facebook Live and support alternative media.