As Featured on News Cult: How You Can Help Get Bernie Sanders Elected

If you’re #FeelingtheBern as much as I am, there is a lot you can do to help get Bernie Sanders elected. Here are some ways you can get involved.

Volunteer

Volunteering is probably the best thing you can do. Click on the link above to sign up, and see below for several specific things you can do as a volunteer.

1. Phone banking

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This is one of the most important ways people can volunteer for Bernie. Phone banking is basically cold calling people on behalf of the campaign. It sounds intimidating, because most of us don’t give anyone who cold calls us the time of day. But it’s 100x easier and better than you fear. It’s a simple process and you get to use a tool called the “Bernie Dialer” (how BOMB is that). The above link provides step-by-step instructions, including a script of what to say, and you can do it from basically anywhere, for however long you want during the designated hours on the site, as long as you have a computer or tablet and a phone (perpetually sweatpant/PJ-wearing people, unite! You can literally change the world from your couch).

You’re not even necessarily trying to convince people to vote for Bernie or asking for money, so it doesn’t even get that awkward—you’re primarily gathering data that will be helpful to the campaign, like identifying Bernie supporters and non-supporters, or encouraging people to get out and vote, and so on. The goal of phone banking changes depending on the day (because it relates to which state primaries and caucuses are coming up), which is all updated on the website so it’s easy to understand what the directive is for whenever you decide to do it.

It’s all part of an empirical process, which is not only cool to learn about, but also means that you won’t be doing anything inappropriate—you’ll only be calling people who have made their contact info available to the campaign, (whether by registering to vote, affiliating with a political party in a certain geographical area, or otherwise), so it’s not like you’re illegally invading their privacy. And even if they react negatively, all you have to do is politely thank them for their time, silently curse them, and put them down as “do not call” for the future (you enter the results of each call using the Bernie Dialer so the campaign knows who to not call again, if someone no longer lives at their listed number, and other things like that).

The best part is that people hold phone banking parties, where a bunch of you get together to do it, so you can commiserate, eat and drink (we’ll literally do anything if it means we get fed). And most people who attend phone banking parties don’t already know each other, so you don’t have to worry about feeling out of place. But you’ll basically become family—there are a few things in life that bond people like none other: going to war, raising a child with someone, and phone banking. And trust me, you’ll only get one or two people who yell at you about how they hope Trump wins and “gets those Arabs out of New York,” so don’t even sweat it!

Check the link^^ to find a phone banking party near you. Or host your own! And try to get in some calls before the New York primary tomorrow if you can!

2. Register voters

You can find a training session to attend on the above link so you’ll be equipped to get out and register voters. This is important because when there’s a high voter turnout, Bernie does better. And with all of the voter fraud that’s been going on, it’s important that people are given fair access to their right to vote, and understand what registering under certain political parties means for when/where they can vote, as well as deadlines, voter ID laws, etc.

3. Go to events

There are tons of events you can attend in support of Bernie—rallies, voter registration drives, marches, canvassing opportunities, etc.—where you’ll meet great people and learn of all sorts of volunteer opportunities and other important election info. Check the above link to find an event near you.

4. Spread the word

Information is power, so use any avenue you can, including social media, to spread the word about Bernie, his policies, pertinent election info, etc.

Learn about the delegate process

The delegate process is confusing and largely inaccessible. What most of us don’t realize is that we can take part in it. We can have a hand in choosing who the pledged delegates for our candidate will be. For example, in California, on May 1 we have caucuses to select delegates from each congressional district who will represent Bernie at the state and national Democratic conventions. While the delegate selection process varies state-to-state, it is important to be involved because we need delegates who are strong Bernie supporters to go to bat for him on the floor at these conventions. In some cases, when not enough delegates are elected by the public to fill the designated quotas, the Democratic party will assign them. Which is unfortunate because the Democratic party (i.e. DNC and its surrogates) isn’t very Bernie-friendly—so it may end up assigning Bernie delegates who might not show up when they’re supposed to or decide to switch sides.

This is a broad and far from comprehensive overview of the delegate process, and doesn’t even mention the Superdelegates, which are  equally incomprehensible and I’ll get to below, but it gives you a glimpse of how important it really is. So to find out more about it, please visit the website for your state’s Democratic party to learn about their specific delegate selection process (you can access this info by Googling [Insert state here] democratic party delegate selection process). For example, here is the link to CA’s democratic party’s delegate selection process.

You’ll probably have to do a lot of digging, because this information is intentionally made hard to find, so if you have specific questions, let me know in a comment and I’ll help.

Help woo the Superdelegates

Superdelegates are chosen based on their position within a political party. They are unpledged, meaning they can choose to support whichever candidate they want. So they have a lot of power and are not obligated to reflect the popular vote. Thus, it’s important to strategize a way to woo them.  Here are 4 ways you can help us. Please share:
 
1. Sign and share all 16 petitions addressed to the 16 states won by Senator Sanders. Here is the Google doc with the petitions.
 
2. Sign and share this petition that is asking the Superdelegates to consider voting for Bernie as he has the better policies and a higher chance of winning the general election.
 
3. We are looking for 25 people to write personal letters to the Non-Politician Superdelegates (i.e. non-elected officials who don’t hold office). Please let us know if you would like to help with this by filling out this form.
4. We are also looking for 25 people to help us call / contact Politician Superdelegates (i.e. elected officials who hold office). Please let us know if you would like to help with this by filling out this this form.

The average contribution to Bernie’s campaign is $27. More than 2 million people have contributed almost 7 million times. This campaign is a true grassroots movement, and any little bit helps. We’re showing the world that the power does not belong to those who pay $353,400 to have dinner with a presidential candidate. It belongs to us.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/can-help-get-bernie-sanders-elected/

As Featured on News Cult: Why I’m Voting for Bernie Sanders

You mean besides the fact that he’s ridiculously good looking and has a voice that can only be described as sensual? There are lots of reasons I think Bernie Sanders should be the next U.S. president. Before now, I had lost all hope in the U.S. political system. I was convinced it wasn’t even worth voting anymore, because the only choices were evils, just on a scale of lesser to more. And I still think that’s the case, except when it comes to Bernie Sanders. I think he’s our one and only beacon of hope before we plunge further into an irreversible,  corrupt, 2 party system that’s ostensibly democratic but in actuality run by corporate America. And a lot of people think he doesn’t stand a chance. But he needs to be given a chance in order to stand one–don’t count him out before he’s had a fair shot.

For starters, Bernie is a true public servant. Meaning he has spent his career working for the people, not getting rich or dying trying. Different sources will give you different numbers, but on average his net worth seems to be between $300-500k (in 2013, it was $330,506). Which basically means he owns a house. In stark contrast to Hillary Clinton and most of the other candidates, whose net worths are in the tens of millions. He believes that there shouldn’t be such extreme wealth inequality. Which to me is just a basic human principle–how is it ok that there are people sleeping on the street, starving, lacking adequate healthcare and access to education, while the next block over there are people living in such excessive wealth, corrupt with power and greed, setting sail on their yachts after they cheat on their taxes and earn money off the backs of underpaid laborers (for example, please see: Walmart, which Hillary Clinton was on the board of for 6 years, or Bernie Madoff, or Republican proposed tax cuts for the wealthy, or Wells Fargo’s subprime lending fraud, to name a few)? How can we all sleep soundly knowing that such disparity in wealth and corruption of power exists?

Sanders’ emphasis on wealth inequality represents his focus on fixing domestic issues in the U.S., which leads his international policy towards peace. Because if there is peace, there is no need for war or for the U.S. to engage in it internationally, which leaves more time, money and effort to spend on fixing domestic issues. It really is that simple: he wants to work on improving the United States, and not making things worse abroad. And he has a proven track record in this: he voted against the Iraq War, has been advocating to lower the U.S. military budget since 1992 in favor of redirecting those funds to domestic issues like poverty, education, industry, etc. (the military budget has gone from $270 billion in 1992 to now $610 billion), and has consistently condemned the inhumane use of torture as a tactic of war. Again, to me, peace is a basic human principle: it makes no sense to fight violence with violence. Call me naïve, but war is so clearly and disturbingly counter-intuitive, and if we ever have a shot in hell of it ending, we need a president who will actually work to end it (Obama insisted he would, but in reality has waged deadly drone wars and didn’t pull troops out of Afghanistan as promised).

Sanders supports less overstepping, meddling, and violence by the U.S. not only abroad, but also domestically. For example, he supports an individual’s right to determine what to do with his/her own body, as opposed to the government being able to choose; he supports racial justice and the demilitarization of police in the U.S.; and he supports an individual’s right to privacy, as his consistent voting record on the Patriot Act proves. And he supports not only each individual’s right to these freedoms, but also government oversight for the sake of protecting those individual freedoms. For example, he advocates for the right of every person to be able to access healthcare and education by way of government measures.

All of these stances Sanders takes, as far as I’m concerned, boil down to believing in humane treatment and equal rights for everyone. Of course there are countless other issues to consider, more than I can cover here, but these examples give you a good idea of his overall platform. It’s easy to oppose him on grounds of wealth privatization–in other words, if you believe in hoarding wealth, and an “every man for himself” ideology, it’s easy to accuse him of being  a grubby communist who doesn’t believe people should be able to keep the money they earn. But what that argument fails to take into account, besides a basic level of compassion for humanity, is that a lot of the wealthiest people don’t earn their money all by themselves. They earn it by employing and underpaying laborers, through inheritance when they’re born into privilege, and by cheating, whether by insider trading, evading taxes, or tying up their money in trust accounts so that the countless people suing them can’t access it. Yes, those are just a few, broad examples, but if we’re being honest, we know that’s often the case (again, please refer to the above examples I gave: Walmart, Bernie Madoff, tax cuts for the wealthy, and Wells Fargo). So why should those people’s wealth be protected above all else–including other’s rights to live, above the poverty line, with access to adequate healthcare and education?

And even if the top 1% earned their money completely above board, where is the recognition that all lives matter, not just rich lives, and that maybe it doesn’t make sense to be spending billions keeping the wealthy wealthy, when so many people are living in such despair? And if nothing else, can we at least all agree that the wealthy shouldn’t be getting tax breaks, compared to the wealth-less? I mean seriously, fine, keep your billions of dollars, Top 1%–but don’t expect to pay less taxes than someone who makes 1/1,000,000 what you make while they struggle to keep food on their table, their families healthy, and to get their kids through school day in and day out.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=70775