I arrived at the Missoula Public Library shortly before 3 PM. There were a few people milling about a table outside, writing down their email addresses and such. I was disappointed to see no bumper stickers, though you could get a T-shirt for $5. There were about 50 people present, including a guy at the front of the room who was playing Neil Young’s “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World.”
- Social Media
- LTE’s (Letters to the Editor) – Free Publicity
All in all, it seemed pretty haphazard, uncoordinated, and about as grassroots as you can get.
There was a printed-up agenda that was passed around, and this is what it looked like:
At that point the meeting got underway. A woman that’s a retired person who moved to Missoula 10 years ago was also an organizer, and she got things off with some stories. She mentioned how she worked a bunch of minimum wage jobs around town, even working at McDonald’s. While she was talking, Welker told this woman to hurry up. The woman then told about filing for Workmen’s Comp and how McDonald’s fired her over that.
Only one volunteer was found to take notes, although two were asked for. The June 7 meeting was then referenced, and there was a list of stuff that was “come up with” during that meeting, but it had gotten lost since then. In that time some flyers and buttons have been printed up, and this new meeting was scheduled. Some farmer’s market appearances were made, and there was even a meeting with the local Democratic committee. That last is key.
Organizing Committee Votes
To be elected POTUS, Bernie must first be nominated. To be nominated, he first must win delegates in the primary. To do that, he must have an effective grassroots organization that includes as a component, zealous Bernie supporters within and without the Democratic Party apparatus. The party is a means to an end. This means identifying empty Democratic County Central Committee Precinct Committeeperson seats in each county and filling them with Bernie activists -- a very easy thing to do.
There are 25 Missoula County precinct committee positions vacant, and 27 that are filled. You need to identify which candidate those 27 favor, and see how this plays into the support needed from those 25 vacant seats to push Sanders over the top in Missoula County. If that can happen early, it might signal to the rest of the state (most of which have fewer committee members than Missoula) which direction we’re going to take. It’s a power grab, plain and simple.
The trouble is that Montana Democratic Party leadership will not listen to the people. They overrode the primary process last year with Walsh and their director, Nancy Keenan, is pretty much tied at the hip with national (she spent 13 years in D.C. and just recently returned). Unfortunately, Montana Democrats have no backbone when it comes to elected leadership, at least none at the legislative level that can stand up to Keenan. Most are old dogs ready to head out to pasture, and the up-and-comers know that they have to suck up and kiss ass if they want to remain viable going concerns. All of that spells doom and gloom for the Bernie Sanders efforts in Montana
Americans like that, and Hillary has raised a lot of money because of it. The Wall Street Journal reported on July 17 that Hillary is raising $100,000 from the same corporate donors that give to her husband. That’s one thing that rubs many the wrong way – how Hillary is using the political money machine that her husband built up after leaving office. Now it’s pumping out gravy for her too, and Wall Street loves it.
Hillary has raised $45 million, and $23 million of that has come from Super PACs. That doesn’t really compare to the $103 million Jeb Bush has raised from Super PACs. We don’t really count that PAC money, however, so that’s why it’s reported that Hillary has only raised $45 million or so and Jeb has only raised $11 million or so. Here’s what the other candidates look like:
Bernie Sanders Campaign Issues
So that’s an issue. Another issue is foreign policy. We know that Hillary will do the bidding of Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Military Industrial Complex (international arms dealers). She likes shrugging off American sovereignty in favor of their global ambitions. That means using our military to protect private/foreign infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, our tax dollars to prop up corrupt and anti-women regimes, and of course keep as little of our money in America to see to our problems as humanly possible.
One more issue is Bernie Sanders’ complete lack of attention to our foreign policy mess, which is creating most of our budget deficits. You’ll get some good commentary on this at another Montana site, Reptile Dysfunction (the old 4&20). It's called What Bernie Sanders Isn't Saying.
How are any of these things good for America or good for your family? It’s not, but it’s damn good for Hillary’s family, and all the leeches she’s got hanging on her, hoping some of her ill-begotten gains trickle down to them.
- First, it’s damn early in the campaign;
- Next, Hillary hasn’t made a case as to how she’ll help Montanans;
- Finally, Montanans are sick of politics.
Yes, Montanans are sick of politics. They know there’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans at the national level.
Funding Sources for Democrats and Republicans
So what? Both of these parties are taking money from the exact groups that make you and your family’s life more difficult!
The average donation to Bernie Sanders’ campaign is $33, showing that many regular Americans are giving to his campaign. What’s more, since many donations under a certain amount ($200) don’t have names attached to them in the reporting forms, we can’t exactly be sure who’s giving to whom. Despite this, we know the average donation to Hillary is $144.89. Hillary supporters are in a whole different tax bracket from Bernie Sanders supporters. Hillary represents the rich and well-off and those that feel their situation is getting better, or at least could get better. Many probably support her because they think it could get worse.
Sanders supporters, on the other hand, are poorer, struggling, and feel that things are only going to get worse. Even if Sanders is chosen as the nominee, many feel the system is irretrievably rigged against them. Many support him because they have no other option besides staying home, or voting for some fringe 3rd-party candidate, which most will do anyways.
Huffington Post makes a nice contrast between the two candidates:
Sanders speaks his mind, and his actions back up both his value system and political philosophy. If it's too big to fail (even after the horrendous 2008 financial crisis), then it's too big to exist. For this reason, Bernie Sanders raises money primarily from his website and not investment banks like other candidates.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, will not propose a new Glass-Steagall, her foundation is linked to ethical scandal, and Mother Jones estimates that Clinton has earned $5 million from speaking engagements to "corporate heavyweights."
The Missoula Bernie Sanders Meeting Continues
It was revealed there were two Bernie Sanders groups. This group is associated with the larger group that’s coordinating with Butte and Helena.
I asked about the committee members and the 25 vacant seats, but they had no idea what I was talking about and put that on one of the white papers to talk about later. Most questions were deflected, directed to the white papers so that groups could talk about this later.
One woman stood up and pointed out that I was correct in suggesting the Democratic Committees were key. Again, no one seemed to realize anything about this.
There were terms thrown around, like “parking garage” for discussion items that were being shelved for now but would be brought up later. I couldn’t help but think of Occupy Wall Street meetings, where it seemed nothing got done.
Fundraising was then brought up. There might be some old people that can fundraise, but I know I have no extra money. Welker mentioned that to raise money you need to form a PAC. She mentioned the printing that she did, and how this is coming around because of “pass the hat” fundraising. Bills for that then might be sent to the Bernie Sanders national campaign.
They don’t really know how to do fundraising, and say that Bernie Sanders is against PACs, so this makes things difficult. A story was told that Welker was meeting with the Missoula Independent reporter last week and another woman at the coffee shop heard them, and donated $20. That money was then used to buy coffee and markers, according to Welker.
It was then said that people cannot collect money for Bernie Sanders, it has to be raised on the internet. All in all, there seemed to be a whole lot of confusion on how things were done, or should be done, or whatnot. I guess they were talking about writing a check to Bernie Sanders, and how you do that directly, not through the group.
Marshall Meyer was from the Helena Bernie Sanders group, and he’s trying to get all the groups of the state to work together. It might be pretty disorganized, he said, because on April 30 Bernie Sanders announced. A lot of disparate Bernie Sanders Facebook groups started up, and when the first meeting took place in May, there were 30 people.
So this is the main group, as Meyer sees it. He’s talking about doing the backbone work, and says their Bernie Sanders Facebook page is the largest in the country behind Indiana, with 4,600 people having liked it.
Meyer mentioned that this is the largest meeting of Bernie Sanders supporters so far. They also had the largest contingent in the Butte 4th of July parade. Organizations are sprouting up in Billings, Deer Lodge, Glen Dive, and Livingston. There’s only a few delegates to the Montana Democratic Convention next summer, Meyer says. So that’s important, getting more delegates, and that revolves around the county committee men and women. I saw none of those people at the meeting today.
Meyer said it’s all about getting our politics back from the corporations. He makes it plain that they don’t care what we the people think. “We’re sick and tired of our politics being stolen from us,” Meyer said, “and when Bernie talks about the political revolution, that’s what he’s talking about – taking our politics back.”
There was a big round of applause for Meyer, and then Welker got into the “nuts and bolts” of how we get Bernie elected. It was 3:45 at that point, and energy levels in the audience were flagging. Nonetheless, they began to get up and move about the room to get into discussion groups. There were a total of 4 groups in the room, and that way more people could talk and get their ideas or concerns out.
She was very disappointed, and said that her Bernie Sanders group would be having a meeting at the library on Tuesday at 6:30. She also said that she was coordinating with the national Bernie Sanders group and that this group is not adhering to the standards that Bernie Sanders himself insists upon.
I sat back down and decided to start writing up my conclusion. I was approached by an older woman who said she’s heading down to the committee meeting on Tuesday, July 28. She wants to be one of those committee people, and I’ll probably see her there.
After that the organizers began to list off other events coming up, and how they can get to those and start getting more volunteers. One person mentioned that they want to start a student group on campus, and another person jumped up and said that one professor was already on board and they had 10 people. There was hope.
I’m not confident about Bernie Sanders’ chances, not when he’s going up against the Wall Street crooks, men and women hell-bent upon taking more of your money so they can golden-parachute out of the country as it goes up in flames.
I’m not confident things will get better. I feel the rich class wants a race war, mainly so the media’s attention can be taken off the encroaching financial meltdown, our third in 15 years. Third time’s the charm, they say, and I think things will get a lot worse for most of us.