Democratic Party

Disillusionment, “Everyman,” and Netroots Nation

For nearly the entire Caltrain ride to down San Jose last Thursday morning, my thoughts were fully consumed by the subject of liberal disillusionment and cynicism. I pondered the question, “How much progress have the things that liberals care about made since the start of the new millennium?”

The issue of gay rights was the only glimmer of hope I could conjure up. Since 2000, income inequality has increased astronomically, the military-industrial complex grows unabated, the drug war continues to destroy millions of lives, women are having to protest the same idiotic conservatives policies their mothers protested, we are realizing the tangible repercussions of climate change, the Citizens United ruling and Republicans have become the John Birch Party and Democrats, by and large, have become identical to the Republicans of 30 years ago.

And while it may be true that progressives were responsible for electing the first black president, the Obama Administration has, for the most part, ignored, shunned, and at times insulted progressives. If Obama governed like a progressive, he would have jailed Wall Street executives for their roles in the financial crisis and HSBC bankers for laundering terrorist and drug cartel money, he would have rejected the Keystone pipeline in resounding fashion, he would have fought harder for a public option, he would have ended or at least decreased the surveillance state, and he wouldn’t be prosecuting medical pot dispensaries with extreme vigor.

Like a lot of the other media there, I came in search of demoralized liberals and to see if the Democratic Party leaders and other notable figures in attendance would feel the brunt of this dismay.

Unsurprisingly, the boogeyman of John Boehner, the Koch Brothers, and other rightwing caricatures were paraded out in order to stomp out any reservations you may have had about the president. One of the most notable lines of the conference was Howard Dean’s unfunny salvo of how the president isn’t perfect, “but it sure beats having Bain Capital, oops, I mean Mitt Romney in the White House!”

When our Rep. Nancy Pelosi was booed for saying that Edward Snowden should be prosecuted for his leaks, she tried shouting over the jeers by repeatedly saying that Obama’s second term was not Bush’s fourth. Then she tried to calm the crowd down (in a twist of irony, a man named Marc Peckel was kicked out for voicing objection to a police state), saying she welcomed the booing and debate about privacy. But would we be having this debate now, if it weren’t for Snowden’s leaks?

I attempted to ask Rep. Pelosi some follow-up questions as she exited the building (flanked by numerous aides and security) but oddly enough, my shouts of “I’m with the San Francisco Bay Guardian!” didn’t faze her one bit.

From the dozens of interviews I conducted with a wide range of attendees, the overall consensus seemed to be that Obama, his administration and other Democratic Party leaders are still on their side – though a good number of my interviewees expressed profound disappointment that the president hasn’t been liberal enough. One healthcare organizer from Chicago said he was immensely dissatisfied by Obamacare, but believes that it’s right the step toward implementing universal healthcare.

Obama’s most visible critic for the three days was a man who goes by the name Stan Everyman, who came on behalf of the San Jose Peace & Justice Center and carried a sign everywhere he went that read “OBAMA=CHENEY”. Everyman, who fervently believes that “Netroots is firmly under control of the Democratic party,” saw the conference as an opportunity to connect with other progressives who have gripes with Obama. The majority of reactions to his sign were positive, he said, but he did wind up engaging in some mild confrontations with what he calls “Democrat loyalists.” He was aghast when he encountered someone who came to Netroots on behalf of a liberal dating service, saying, “she didn’t mind if her emails and calls were tapped and didn’t care if there were helicopters hovering over her house as long as it caught the terrorists.” and when it did elicit a reaction, did nothing more than get a thumbs up or an eye-roll.

Meanwhile, some Democratic figures urged progressives to pressure elected leaders as much as possible. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota representative and co-chair of the progressive caucus, stated: “If people who came before us got discouraged because things were hard, we’d still have slavery, have no right to collective bargaining, the air quality would be horrible. The problem isn’t that you’re not involved and you didn’t get what you wanted, the problem is that you got to stay involved.”

When I countered that a big reason behind liberal disillusionment was that our own guy didn’t come through for us, Ellison’s responded, “Let me say this, never ever organize around a personality – even if it’s an awesome personality like Obama’s. Organize around the principles that guide you. Somewhere along the way we stopped saying ‘yes we can’ and started saying ‘yes he can,’ and when he didn’t do certain things we want, we got discouraged. What personality does the Tea Party coalesce around? None! They coalesce around, ‘we hate government, we love guns’ and ‘if you’re not quite like us, you’re not all right.’ So the progressive movement should coalesce around generosity, inclusion, fairness, sustainability, and leaders need to live up to that, and if they do, they’re good, and if they don’t, they’re not. But it shouldn’t be a personality-driven thing.”

If you want change, you have to keep on keeping on, no matter. Sure, town halls, letter campaigns, and protests are great ways to engage your politicians and in democracy, but when you got to go to work or tend to your family, six-figure lobbyists walk through the halls of Congress retracting whatever impact the people’s efforts made. Politicians want us to give them the political will to do what’s right even though we elected them to do what’s right. I don’t naively believe politicians are perfect and that they’re our friends and that we can sit back and relax after we pull the voting lever. However I do have a problem with “I’ll fight for you!” during the campaign season and “Fight for me!” during the legislative sessions. The latter due to this being a non-election year, was the unofficial theme of Netroots Nation 2013, which also possessed a palpable feeling that the reason why many of the big names showed up was to throw the progressive wing a bone and quell whatever qualms they have.

I do admit that Netroots, in the past, has resulted in a concrete impact (namely, helping to get Obama elected and being instrumental in manufacturing a 21st century online campaign apparatus). However, the chances that it will be able to pull Hillary Clinton—who’s just as hawkish as Dianne Feinstein— to the left beyond the duration of the conference are lower than the probability of Obama appointing Angela Davis as his Chief of Staff. A piece on a couple days ago reported that progressives are open to a Clinton run, which should come as no surprise to given how good the left is at reconciling their beliefs with that of their leaders.

So between now and NN14 (which is in Detroit), when the Democratic Leadership will come begging for the left’s help to return the Speakership crown back to Pelosi, pretty much everything the left holds dear will wallow in purgatory or regress to hell. But cheer up: At least Bain Capital isn’t president!

A hackivist’s call for a culture of engagement

By Shava Nerad

[Editor’s note: Last week, the Guardian reached out to a number of experts and technologists to gauge reactions on revelations of the massive National Security Agency spying program that recently came to light. Shava Nerad, who started her career as a software engineer and was previously involved with the Tor Project, which offers online anonymity in web browsing, has also been engaged in various forms of political activism. Nerad submitted comments via email in response to the Bay Guardian’s request for an interview. We’ve published an edited version of her thoughts here.]

My dad worked with MLK and the SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference] every summer of the early/mid 60s — and the FBI knew who he had lunch with every day of those summers — this stuff isn’t really that new, it’s just automated. I got to go from “We Shall Overcome” to making sure that the Tor Project could get US nonprofit status, a good foundation of funding, a great reputation internationally, and become infrastructural for free press, free speech, and free expression on the net.

I come from a family of old style liberals from a time before the 60s, when intellectual liberals were in the military, in finance, in civil service and all parts of civic life. We moderated all parts of American society. After the 60s, to a large extent, it became uncool for liberals and intellectuals (even non-hippie types) to go into these Establishment pastimes, especially the volunteer or low paying scutwork that keeps this country running. So after half a century, what are we seeing? Largely unmoderated by liberal intellectual thought, with two generations of kids who don’t even know how to go to a public meeting or why or how politics actually works at most levels in this country, we are a goddamn mess.

I have a son in the military, and I have friends in the [Department of Homeland Security], law enforcement, a friend who’s a retired CIA analyst. But many of my friends consider me an outspoken lefty liberal (I don’t) because I am a Democratic Party activist, a strong civil libertarian, a union member … and a sort of hippie chick.

I love this wonderful flawed country. I want to tell every one of my folks here, get out of your ergonomic chairs … and get involved. Congress’ approval rating is up two percent since March to fifteen percent — and they won’t fix the USA PATRIOT Act because they aren’t a bit afraid of your disapproval!  In fact, if you say you disapprove, they will make googly eyes at you, and say “Oooooo TERRORISTS!!!” and expect you to back down and shut up — and unfortunately they are probably right.

If we are the engineers and the scientists, the innovators and the entrepreneurs — can’t we find the best way to fix our culture of engagement?  Make our culture a culture where the makers learn applied civics and share their successes on social networking?

Many of us who are “hactivists” are post-conventional thinkers, if you are familiar with that concept. Most of us do not believe that the system is irrevocably broken — we are not revolutionaries or traitors or terrorists. This is why we are making moves that are aimed toward waking up the public, not blowing them up.  If that isn’t clear enough, I can’t see what would be — we certainly have ample examples of violence in the world. We are sending signals that say, “Please, see that everything is not exactly as you have been told. You are citizens of a Republic. Take the reins and bring it back to rights. Your rights.”

Civil disobedients, whistleblowers, leakers, facilitators like Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, William Binney, Nicholas Merrill, Jake Appelbaum and more — these people should be honored rather than vilified as people who were willing to risk everything they had in order to send up a distress signal to the nation to say, “All is not right.”

But if every person of good character left all the military, law enforcement, DHS, government — then we would be a mess. Not everyone can leave. Someone has to break ranks, betray unit cohesion, take these risks, and risk being branded as a traitor even (and all of those men have been by some people).  

The American public has to wake up and understand that all is not right BECAUSE IT IS NOT.  DHS cannot fix the USA PATRIOT Act. Congress won’t fix it so long as the people moan about it on blogs and don’t insist that action be taken.

I have spoken to people in DHS since 9/11 who have been waiting to exhale for over a decade. Do you understand the situation that many in the career diplomatic services believed that they were in during [George W. Bush’s]’s administration? That they were hanging on by their fingernails, as professional diplomats and civil servants? 

Well, oddly, when Obama came in, State gave a great many of these people an opportunity to exhale. But … oddly, the new boss, and the Congress just piled on more of the same. No reprieve.

So we have the State Department declaring Internet Freedom and distributing Tor overseas, and Prism turned inward at our own people?  What sense does this make?  Praising the Arab Spring, and chasing American citizens with drones?  

The nation is sleeping or ostriching, and I’m sorry, but the press is sleeping or at the least, distracted by survivability issues. We need to turn this into a great and heroic national adventure story, or it’s going to turn into a national tragedy.

Democratic Party chair signs on with Realtors


Gee, which is worse: Having the chair of the local Democratic Party working for Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which blows up neighborhoods, or for the San Francisco Board of Realtors, which pushes anti-tenant legislation and whose members profit from gentrification and evictions?

Either way, Mary Jung, the Democratic County Central Committee chair, isn’t exactly a good representative for the city’s progressive Democracts. She just left her job as a lobbyist for PG&E and took a new position running government affairs for the landlords. From the Realtors press release:

Jung stated, “I am excited to have this opportunity to build upon and expand the REALTORS® Association role in the community. I look forward to working collaboratively with our local, state and national elected officials, and with our members, to ensure that the robust housing market continues to grow and our voice is heard effectively at City Hall.”

The “robust housing market.” In other words, displacement central. From the elected chair of the Democratic Party in San Francisco. I can’t think of the last time the chair of the local party was paid to represent corporate interests. Not a good sign.

Solomon: Obama in Plunderland: Down the corporate rabbit hole


By Norman Solomon

Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He writes the Political Culture 2013 column.

The president’s new choices for Commerce secretary and FCC chair underscore how far down the rabbit hole his populist conceits have tumbled. Yet the Obama rhetoric about standing up for working people against “special interests” is as profuse as ever. Would you care for a spot of Kool-Aid at the Mad Hatter’s tea party?

Of course the Republican economic program is worse, and President Romney’s policies would have been even more corporate-driven. That doesn’t in the slightest make acceptable what Obama is doing. His latest high-level appointments — boosting corporate power and shafting the public — are despicable.

To nominate Penny Pritzker for secretary of Commerce is to throw in the towel for any pretense of integrity that could pass a laugh test. Pritzker is “a longtime political supporter and heavyweight fundraiser,” the Chicago Tribune reported with notable understatement last week, adding: “She is on the board of Hyatt Hotels Corp., which was founded by her family and has had rocky relations with labor unions, and she could face questions about the failure of a bank partly owned by her family. With a personal fortune estimated at $1.85 billion, Pritzker is listed by Forbes magazine among the 300 wealthiest Americans.”

A more blunt assessment came from journalist Dennis Bernstein: “Her pioneering sub-prime operations, out of Superior Bank in Chicago, specifically targeted poor and working class people of color across the country. She ended up crashing Superior for a billion-dollar cost to taxpayers, and creating a personal tragedy for the 1,400 people who lost their savings when the bank failed.” Pritzker, whose family controls Hyatt Regency Hotels, has a vile anti-union record.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker? What’s next? Labor Secretary Donald Trump? SEC Chairman Bernie Madoff?

The choice of Penny Pritzker to run the Commerce Department is a matched set with the simultaneous pick of Tom Wheeler — another mega-fundraiser for candidate Obama — to chair the Federal Communications Commission.

With crucial decisions on the near horizon at the FCC, the president’s nomination of Wheeler has dire implications for the future of the Internet, digital communications and democracy. For analysis, my colleagues at the Institute for Public Accuracy turned to the progressive former FCC commissioner Nicholas Johnson, who called the choice “bizarre.”

“There is no single independent regulatory commission that comes close to the impact of the FCC on every American’s life,” Johnson said. “That’s why Congress, in creating it, characterized its mission as serving ‘the public interest’ — an expression used throughout the Act.

But with countless billions of dollars at stake, the corporate fix was in. As Johnson pointed out, “Wheeler’s background is as a trade association representative for companies appearing before the Commission, a lobbyist in Congress for other FCC customers, and a venture capitalist investing in and profiting from others whose requests he’ll have to pass on. He has no record, of which I am aware, of challenging corporate abuse of power on behalf of consumers and the poor.”

But wait. There’s more. “Nor does Wheeler’s membership on the president’s Intelligence Advisory Board bode well for those who believe Americans’ Fourth Amendment privacy rights should be getting at least as much attention as the government’s perceived need to engage in even more secret snooping.”

To urge senators to reject the nominations of Pritzker and Wheeler, click here.

Meanwhile, at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Obama’s recent appointment of Wall Street insider Mary Jo White as SEC chair is playing out in predictable fashion. Days ago, in an editorial, the New York Times faulted her role in an SEC decision on regulating the huge derivatives market: “Last week, in her first commission vote, Ms. White led the commissioners in approving a proposal that, if finalized, could leave investors and taxpayers exposed to the ravages of reckless bank trading.”

We need to ask ourselves how the forces of corporate capitalism have gained so much power over government, to the extreme detriment of people who aren’t rich. Humpty Dumpty’s brief dialectical exchange with Alice is on point

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” Alice replied, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.””The question is,” Humpty Dumpty responded, “which is to be master — that’s all.

Denunciations and protests against the dominant power structure are essential. And insufficient. For the body politic and the potential of democracy, accommodating to the Democratic Party leadership is a deathly prescription. So is failure to fight for electoral power by challenging that leadership, fielding genuinely progressive candidates and organizing to win.

Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He writes the Political Culture 2013 column.

(The Bruce Blog is written and edited by Bruce B. Brugmann, editor at large of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and co-founder and editor and co-publisher with his wife Jean of the Bay Guardian, 1966-2012, now retired.)

Because they’re assholes


Yesterday, Business Insider, the bastion of leftist socialism, reported that the Republican Party’s negatives are polling at an all time high. 59% of the public disapproves of the GOP. That number has only been this high once before.

The piece and a companion on Yahoo attributes the dissatisfaction to over-reach on the IRS/Benghazi issues mostly. Also the phenomena of “gerrymandering as electoral poison”, where congress-people from safe districts reflect their constituents’ views and those constituents are way out of America’s mainstream. Logical reasons, all of them.

I disagree. How many people really follow these scandals that closely? 40% of the people that thought Benghazi was a major issue can’t even find it on a map and they care about it. Imagine the people that hear “Benghazi” and think of the actor with the similar name or the tiger with the similar name. Most people don’t care at all about these matters, so why would they dislike the GOP that much?

The reason is painfully obvious and is not a surprise. But no one wants to say it aloud. I will, though–while many Republicans are indeed wonderful people (and relatives), most of them in 2013 are just plain assholes.

They’re assholes. The kind of unpleasant, red-eyed, mouth-foaming obsessives whose every thought centers around partisan politics and how every news item can be determined as good or bad. Not “true” or “false”, mind you. And this monomaniacal focus means that dealing with them in person is a drag and on the Internet, a nightmare. Any buzz word, anything they heard in their hermetically-sealed-off-from-reality echo chamber is barfed back onto the rest of us in a technicolor spew of incomprehensible talking points. Conversations with them have to be carefully parsed so as not to set them off. That may be OK when dealing with a child with an emotional issue, but these are technically adults. Who wants to self-censor everything lest they get a torrent of twittery back?

It’s like the guy on the bus that hasn’t bathed in a month. No one wants to sit near him. And the guy on the bus may be a great guy. But at that moment, he stinks. That’s how Republicans have become on the issue of politics. Keep them away from the topic and they may be OK, but because so many of them live for the stimulating rush of “telling off the libs”, they’re basically, well, assholes.

The worst part of this is that their hapless and cowardly adversaries, the Democratic Party, now need do almost nothing to win elections. All a Democrat has to be is “not them” in a fair part of the country to be competitive. Smile a lot, seem reasonable and speak calmly even as you do awful shit (see “drones”) or nothing (see “Gitmo” or “non prosecution of Wall Street”). (See Obama, Barack).

This was not the case in my youth. Republicans were generally the thoughful, prudent careful ones and even if they were still Tory-like, they weren’t aggressive about it and saw the other person’s point of view. Today’s Republican politician and their enablers bellow out inane Heritage Foundation horseshit and with a patina of smug contempt for the uncoverted, not unlike the above it all hippies post-Altamont. Their leaders and pundits wonder what might win people over to them? Simple. Stop catering to and being assholes. After that, you’ll be fine.

Democrats reject 8 Washington


The San Francisco Democratic Party has voted to oppose the 8 Washington project and to endorse the ballot measure that would halt it.

By a 15-4 margin, the Democratic County Central Commitee, which makes policy for the local party, endorsed a No vote on the fall referendum that would negate the height limit increase developer Simon Snellgrove says he needs to build the ultra-luxury condos. The units would be the most expensive in San Francisco history.

The supervisors approved the height limit last fall. The referendum puts the issue directly before the voters, and foes of the project need a “no” vote to reject it.

“This was a huge victory,” Jon Golinger, who is running the campaign against the condos, told me. “The Democratic Party is a huge endorsement in San Francisco.”

That’s particularly true in a low-turnout election — and since there aren’t any high-profile races on this November’s ballot, I would guess only the most serious voters will make it to the polls.

The Sierra Club — another group that carries a lot of clout — has already come out against the project.

Snellgrove’s forces first tried to delay the vote until late summer, arguing that the committee needed more time to get all the facts. But Sup. David Chiu, a DCCC member, noted that this project has been discussed and analyzed and fought over for so long already that there’s nothing new anyone could possibly learn by delaying.

The motion to delay failed. Only Bevan Dufty, Sup. Scott Wiener, Sup. Malia Cohen and Kat Anderson voted in favor of the project. Voting against were Bill Fazio, Trevor McNeil, Kelly Dwyer, Leah Pimentel, Hene Kelly, Alix Rosenthal, Carole Migden, Rafael Mandelman, Matt Dorsey, Petra DeJesus, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, State Senator Leland Yee, Chiu, Sup. David Campos, and Sup. John Avalos.


The Ro Khanna party


When Ro Khanna, a young, energetic intellectual property lawyer, ran for Congress against Tom Lantos, he was the candidate of the progressives. I liked Khanna, and appreciated his willingness to take on the almost unheard-of task of challenging a longtime incumbent in a Democratic primary. At that point, in 2004, the big issues were the war and the PATRIOT Act, and Khanna was against both. Lantos, who was always hawkish on defense issues (and a die-hard supporter of Israel, no matter what the Israeli government was doing), was clearly out of touch with his district. But Khanna never got much traction, and he lost pretty badly.

Now he’s back, in a new era of top-two primaries (which has its own problems), and in a different district. He’s taking on Mike Honda, who, like Lantos, has been around a while, and hasn’t faced serious opposition in years.

And this time around, it’s not Matt Gonzalez and the left supporting Khanna — it’s Lite Guv Gavin Newsom, who beat Gonzalez for mayor of SF, along with Ron Conway and the tech industry. And  instead of talking about failed US military policies, he’s talking about bringing the interests of Silicon Valley to Washington:

“The premise of this campaign is quite simple,” Khanna told the crowd. “We’ve had quite brilliant people…use technology to change the world. And it’s time that we actually change politics, that Silicon Valley has the potential to do this.” “It’s not just about having a tech agenda. This is about something much deeper — our values, and our ability to use those values to change Washington and the world,” he told them.

Now: It’s not as if Mike Honda has been horrible to Silicon Valley. He’s been involved in all sorts of tech-related issues. But he’s of a different generation, and however stereotypical it may be to say it, there’s a certain level of ageism in the tech world right now. Honda is old; the wealth in the tech world is overwhelmingly young. Politico notes:

Khanna’s decision to take on Honda also reflects a long-standing frustration among many young California pols who have been patiently waiting for older members to exit the state’s congressional delegation. Last year’s induction of an independent redistricting committee and a jungle primary system in which the top two finishers in an open primary advance to the runoff regardless of party affiliation, helped push many senior members into retirement.

Oh, and Honda is very much a pro-labor guy. And tech firms are almost never unionized, and their owners and workers don’t tend to have the same sympathies for labor unions as young activists did 20 years ago.

Politico doesn’t give Khanna much of a shot; it’s going to be a tough battle. Honda’s been around the district forever, and has no apparent scandals or gaffes (and unlike poor Pete Stark, he doesn’t seem to be losing his marbles).

But money talks, and Khanna’s got a lot of it — and in some ways, this will be a new-money-v.-old-Democratic Party, tech v. labor kind of battle that will say a lot about where Bay Area politics are going as the region’s population, and wealth, are dramatically and rapidly changing.

Don’t vent, organize and “primary” a Democrat near you


By Norman Solomon

Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He writes the Political Culture 2013 column.

Progressives often wonder why so many Republican lawmakers stick to their avowed principles while so many Democratic lawmakers abandon theirs. We can grasp some answers by assessing the current nationwide drive called “Primary My Congressman” — a case study of how right-wing forces gain ground in electoral terrain where progressives fear to tread.

Sponsored by Club for Growth Action, the “Primary My Congressman” effort aims to replace “moderate Republicans” with “economic conservatives” — in other words, GOP hardliners even more devoted to boosting corporate power and dismantling the public sector. “In districts that are heavily Republican,” the group says, “there are literally dozens of missed opportunities to elect real fiscal conservatives to Congress — not more ‘moderates’ who will compromise with Democrats. . .”

Such threats of serious primary challenges often cause the targeted incumbents to quickly veer rightward, or they may never get through the next Republican primary.

Progressive activists and organizations could launch similar primary challenges, but — to the delight of the Democratic Party establishment — they rarely do. Why not?

Here are some key reasons:

*  Undue deference to elected Democrats.

Members of Congress and other elected officials deserve only the respect they earn. All too often, for example, plenty of Congressional Progressive Caucus members represent the interests of the establishment to progressives rather than the other way around. 

*  Treating election campaigns more like impulse items than work that requires long-term planning and grassroots follow-through.

The same progressives who’ve spent years planning, launching and sustaining a wide range of community projects are apt to jump into election campaigns with scant lead time. Progressives need to build electoral capacity for the long haul, implementing well-planned strategic campaigns with candidates who come out of social movements and have a plausible chance to win on behalf of those movements.

*  Assuming that millions of dollars are necessary to win.

Yes, successful campaigns require effective fundraising — but money is often a less significant obstacle than a shortage of commitment and willingness to do painstaking grassroots organizing.

*  Self-marginalization by ignoring elections.

Some on the left prefer to stay out of electoral contests while focusing on the next protest demonstration — thus leaving the electoral field to battles between corporate Democrats and Republicans. One sure result: a progressive won’t win.

*  Self-marginalization with third-party efforts in partisan races.

In congressional races, Green Party and other progressive third-party candidates have a zero record of success in our lifetimes. In other races with party affiliations also on the ballot (such as governor and state legislature), victories have been almost nonexistent. In such races, the corporate-military complex is not in the slightest threatened by third-party candidates, who rarely get higher than a low single-digit percentage of the vote. In nonpartisan races, by contrast, there are examples of successful and uplifting campaigns by third-party candidates, as with Green Party member Gayle McLaughlin, the mayor of Richmond, California. 

By changing just a few words in the Club for Growth’s “Primary My Congressman” manifesto, progressives have a road map for electoral progress: In districts that are heavily Democratic, there are literally dozens of missed opportunities to elect real progressives to Congress — not more of those who go along with the Obama White House as it keeps compromising with Republicans.

Anyone serious about getting genuine progressives elected to Congress next year should be engaged in developing campaigns now. To avoid the impulse-item syndrome, that means identifying key races where progressives have a real chance to win, while remaining mindful that election campaigns should be subsets of social movements and not the other way around.

If there’s a defining issue that now separates the Obama party leadership from social decency, it is the president’s push to cut Social Security benefits. Less ballyhooed but also crucial is his push to cut Medicare benefits and the ever-present danger of cuts to already woefully-underfunded Medicaid. Meanwhile, Democratic leaders are unwilling to seriously cut the enormous military budget.

Any incumbent Democrat who is not serving progressive interests should be weighed as a possible primary target. And the most fruitful primary challenges are beckoning in heavily Democratic districts where there are many progressive voters and incumbents aren’t measuring up.

By that standard, the Congress members who may be vulnerable to a primary challenge include the 44 who tout their membership in the Progressive Caucus but have refused to sign the letter (initiated by Congressmen Alan Grayson and Mark Takano) promising not to vote to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits.

A good starting point to consider launching a primary challenge in your area would be to look at those 44 members of Congress who continue to refuse to make such a promise, leaving themselves wiggle room to vote for cuts in three crucial programs of the social compact. To see the list of those self-described “progressives,” click here. (Meanwhile, wherever you live, you can let your Congress member and senators know what you think of proposals for such cuts by clicking here.)

It’s fair to say those 44 members of Congress are among the many Democratic incumbents showing themselves to be more afraid of the Obama White House and the Democratic Party hierarchy than they are of voters in their own districts. Progressives in and around those districts need to do less venting and more organizing.

Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He writes the Political Culture 2013 column.




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Protest Obama fundraiser outside the Getty mansion 2870 Broadway, SF. 5:30pm, free. Environmentalists opposing the Keystone XL oil pipeline will protest in San Francisco’s wealthy Pacific Heights neighborhood, where President Barack Obama will dine with the city’s upper crust for a Democratic Party fundraiser. Credo Action – the advocacy arm of telecom Credo Mobile – is mobilizing the protest in tandem with the Sierra Club, and Friends of the Earth.

Community meeting to save City College Pitcher Room, City College Southeast Campus, 1800 Oakdale, SF. 6pm, free. Students and community supporters who are engaged in the ongoing fight to save City College of San Francisco as an affordable and accessible educational resource are planning major actions in coming weeks. Join them for this informational and strategy session to preserve this important institution.


Public forum with David Graeber Namaste Hall, California Institute for Integral Studies, 1453 Mission, SF. 7pm, free. An anthropologist from the University of London, author David Graeber is credited with helping to lay the intellectual framework underlying the Occupy Wall Street movement. His work includes Debt: The First 5000 Years, a tome exploring wealth inequality through the ages. Graeber’s talk will be on “Austerity and its Discontents.”


Panel talk on global affirmative action Room 132, UC Berkeley School of Law, 215 Boalt Hall, Berk. 4-6pm, free. RSVP. Many fear that an upcoming Supreme Court ruling will spell the end of affirmative action admission programs for public colleges and universities. This panel will discuss global affirmative action law, with presenters from the European Commission, the University of Sydney School of Law, and Berkeley Law.

Forum with Dr. Ignacio Chapela Niebyl Proctor Library, 6501 Telegraph Ave, Oakl. 7pm, $3 donation. Dr. Ignacio Chapela, Associate Professor of Microbial Ecology at UC Berkeley, has been studying the impact of genetically modified plants and the misuse of science and its impact on our planet. Join this Speak Out Now forum to hear Chapela’s vision for how science could be used for more positive ends.


Book talk: Beyond Walls and Cages Modern Times Bookstore Collective, 2919 24th St, SF. 6pm, free. As part of Modern Times’ ongoing Occupy U workshop series, this book discussion will explore how prisons, criminalization and militarization facilitate wealth and power inequalities. Join editors Jenna M. Loyd, Matt Mitchelson, and Andrew Burridge in discussion of their book, Beyond Walls And Cages: Prisons, Borders, and Global Crisis.


Keystone pipeline protesters bound for Pac Heights

Environmentalists opposing the Keystone XL oil pipeline are gearing up to protest in San Francisco’s wealthy Pacific Heights neighborhood on April 3, when President Barack Obama will dine with the city’s upper crust for a Democratic Party fundraiser.

Credo Action – the advocacy arm of telecom Credo Mobile – is mobilizing the protest in tandem with the Sierra Club, and Friends of the Earth. Credo Action political director Becky Bond says she expects around 1,000 protesters to turn out. Since the pipeline will traverse international boundaries, Obama has the power to reject permits for its construction, and environmentalists across the country are calling upon him to do so.

There have been protests outside the White House, but Bond says environmentalists’ goal is to follow the president wherever he goes to demonstrate Keystone XL opposition. “Everywhere he has a public appearance he’ll find protesters – even if he’s attending a [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] fundraiser in Pac Heights,” Bond told the Guardian. “Before we can get behind any part of his agenda, he needs to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. He doesn’t realize how much this will hurt him, both in his base and with his donors.”

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Obama will make two different stops in Pac Heights when he visits San Francisco early next month. The main attraction will be a $32,500-per-person dinner hosted by philanthropists Ann and Gordon Getty at their mansion, listed as 2870 Broadway on Credo Action’s event announcement. The Getty family fortune, as it happens, was originally derived from the oil industry. 

Obama’s other fundraising stop, meanwhile, raises some interesting questions. 

The LA Times reports that prior to dining with the Gettys, Obama will attend “a $5,000-per-person cocktail reception at the home of Kat Taylor and Tom Steyer, a former hedge fund manager.”

Steyer isn’t just any former hedge fund manager – he’s a billionaire and founder of Farallon Capital, one of the largest hedge funds in the world. Steyer is also a self-proclaimed environmentalist – he recently told the San Francisco Chronicle, “I believe global warming is the big moral issue of our time.” 

He made headlines earlier this week when he pledged to fund an opposition campaign challenging Congressional representative Stephen Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat running for Senate, because Lynch supports the Keystone XL pipeline. Perhaps Obama will get an earful on Keystone inside Steyer’s mansion as well as from protesters out on the street.

As a side note, Steyer’s grave concern about climate change apparently hasn’t always prevented him from investing in the fossil fuel industry. According to this report, Farallon Capital bought up 1.8 million shares of BP stock in August of 2011 – after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill utterly devastated the Gulf of Mexico.

The real CPMC story


OPINION The recently announced terms for the development of California Pacific Medical Center’s hospitals at Cathedral Hill and St. Luke’s generated front-page and lead stories in the local news media. But nearly without exception, only part of the story was reported. Missing from most accounts of the terms of the new deal, which dramatically changed last year’s failed draft development agreement negotiated by Mayor Ed Lee, was the decisive role played by a community/labor coalition, San Franciscans for Healthcare, Housing, Jobs and Justice.

Key details of the agreement have yet to be finalized, and provisions of the terms announced on March 5th need to be improved. But the new agreement, in virtually all respects, is an improvement over the old one. And on the same day the terms of the new deal was announced one of the union members of the coalition, the National Union of Healthcare Workers signed a contact with CPMC that protected union organizing rights, job security at Cathedral Hill and full employer paid health care — issues that had been unresolved over the last few years. Still missing is an ageement between Sutter and its nurses, a critical component of labor peace.

The basic structure of the current terms mirror almost exactly the positions outlined by the SFHHJJ over the last year, including a requirement for labor peace with all unions at CPMC. This was no accident; it was the result of the efforts of the community/labor coalition. When the old deal was stalled at the Board of Supervisors in early 2013 and it was clear that the Mayors Office had no idea how to proceed, the members of the coalition came up with a framework to get discussions going again. The key ingredient was the involvement of a skilled an knowledgeable mediator, mutually respected by all parties and the participation of Sutter Corp. in Sacramento — the real party able to make actual binding corporate commitments, not the subsidiary the mayor had dealt with.

The second step was to agree to a framework of issues that would form the substance of negotiations — and the coalition’s own comprehensive set of positions served as that framework.

The next step was to get a critical mass of supervisors to agree to participate in the negotiations. Two Supervisors, David Chiu and David Campos, agreed to the coalition’s framework and the use of a third-party mediator. They added a third supervisor, Mark Farrell, to their group in order to assure buy-in from the full board.

Finally, the mediator had to be found and in that the coalition (and the rest of the city) simply were lucky that Lou Girardo was willing and able to provide his own special skills and credibility.

The SFHHJJ is not the first community/labor coalition in San Francisco history. Such coalitions were present in both the District 1 and District 5 supervisors races last year with mixed success, and in 2008 a community/labor coalition fought for revenue measures, again with mixed success but real unity. A new labor/community coalition has emerged to oppose Scott Wiener’s ill-advised weakening of our local California Environmental Policy Act procedures.

As the Democratic Party transforms itself into ever greater political irrelevancy by becoming the home of moderate Republicanism at all levels of government, community and labor co-operation seems to be growing over an increasing number of issues, showing a level of political vibrancy impossible to ignore.

Calvin Welch is a longtime community organizer in San Francisco and is a member of the SFHHJJ CPMC Negotiating Committee

Look for a quick decision on D4 appointment


A Democratic Party resolution calling on Ed Lee to appoint a mother to the Board of Supervisors may have driven the slow-moving mayor to fill the seat of departing Sup. Carmen Chu quickly, perhaps as soon as today (Feb. 21), City Hall sources are saying.

Lee appointed Chu to fill the post of Assessor-Recorder vacated when Phil Ting moved to the state Assembly. But he’s been dragging his feet on naming Chu’s replacement.

Alix Rosenthal, a member of the Democratic County Central Committee, has put a resolution on the agenda for the group’s Feb. 27 meeting urging the mayor to name a woman with a family. Her argument:

Political office is often beyond the reach of mothers, because balancing a political life with family and work is often an insurmountable challenge.  Appointing a mother to fill the District 4 seat will demonstrate the Mayor’s commitment to stemming the tide of families leaving San Francisco, and it may serve to inspire women with children to be politically engaged, and to run for office themselves in the future.

That, of course, could put the mayor’s allies on the DCCC in a tough situation. Will they vote to urge the mayor to do something he doesn’t want to — or will they vote against, you know, motherhood?

Of course, if the mayor makes an appointment before Feb. 27, the resolution becomes moot.

Rosenthal and some other politically active women are supporting Suzy Loftus, a member of the Police Commission and a mom. But D4 is more than half Asian, and has always had an Asian supervisor, so it’s unlikely the mayor would appoint a non-Asian to the job.

One obvious candidate: Katy Tang, who is now Chu’s legislative aide.

The mayor will want someone he can count on as loyal — and who he’s pretty sure can win an election. His last two appointees to elective office, Christina Olague and Rodrigo Santos, were both defeated the first time they faced the voters.

But at this point, Lee isn’t saying anything. Look for an announcement soon.




Can Obama really unravel Reagan?


I like Robert Reich; he’s one of the smartest economic thinkers in the country and can explain everything that’s wrong with the economy in two minutes. And I really want to believe that he’s correct in his latest essay, and that President Obama really is poised to under the Reagan Revolution (or at least, the Reagan Republican Coalition).

I get it: The GOP is a fractured collection of groups that often have little in common (although the Democratic Party has some of the same problems). And the Reich message is hopeful:

Obama’s focus in his second inaugural — and, by inference, in his second term — on equal opportunity is hardly a radical agenda. But it aggravates all the tensions inside the GOP. And it leaves the GOP without an overriding target to maintain its fragile coalition. In hammering home the need for the rich to contribute a fair share in order to ensure equal opportunity, and for anyone in America — be they poor, black, gay, immigrant, women, or average working person — to be able to make the most of themselves, Obama advances the founding ideals of America in such way that the Republican Party is incapable of opposing yet also incapable of uniting behind.

All of that may be true — but it’s hard to understate the damage that Reagan did to America — and the amount of work and leadership it’s going to take to get us back to where we were as a nation before he and his ilk declared war on social programs, cities, and non-military government spending.

Before the Reagan Era, even Republicans accepted the concept that the very rich should be taxed at high rates; the marginal rates under Richard Nixon were at 70 percent. In the 1960s and 1970s, the federal government spent huge sums of money on cities. Before Reagan, economic equality was a value in this country. Now it’s not even on the agenda.

Obama’s second inaugural touched all the right notes. But he needs to do more than tinker around the edges of policy if he wants to have a Reagan-style impact on the country. And I don’t know if he’s up for it.

Roe v. Wade anniversary inspires flash mob, pro-choice rally, and pro-life march in SF

Remember when a dance revolution broke out in Justin Herman Plaza during Occupy San Francisco? This coming Saturday, the same choreographers behind that flash mob for economic justice plan to reignite the public square, this time with a flash mob organized in collaboration with the Silver Ribbon Campaign to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

“Roe v. Wade is an invitation to really celebrate women, women’s rights and women’s reproductive rights,” says Magalie Bonneau-Marcil, director of Oakland nonprofit Dancing without Borders, who will direct the Jan. 26 flash mob. She expects between 400 and 500 dancers to descend upon the plaza.

The performance is part of a larger event, Women Life & Liberty, organized to commemorate the landmark Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in the United States. The Trust Women Silver Ribbon Campaign is organizing the free celebration in tandem with the National Organization for Women and a coalition of more than 20 local partners.

“Our sense was, it’s an opportunity to claim and reclaim, and revive our activism around the issues that this event is about,” Silver Ribbon Campaign Director Ellen Shaffer told the Guardian. The rally is part of a national effort that has also launched an “online march” for reproductive rights.

Birth control champion Sandra Fluke, who became the center of a firestorm after being lambasted by Rush Limbaugh for testifying before Congress on the need for access to birth control, will speak at the rally.  Other speakers will include filmmaker and Webby Awards Founder Tiffany Shlain, and San Francisco Supes Malia Cohen, David Campos, David Chiu and Eric Mar, who joined the board in adopting a December resolution commemorating the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Meanwhile, an international campaign to end violence against women will also play a role in this weekend’s events. Upon returning to the Bay Area after a dance festival in Europe, Bonneau-Marcil says she saw Eve Ensler’s music video promoting VDay’s 1 Billion Rising Campaign, created to spark a global movement to end violence against women. “I was so moved,” she says.

Inspired, she began making preparations for the Jan. 26 performance and an upcoming Feb. 14 flash mob, to be staged in front of San Francisco City Hall in league with VDay’s global movement.

With recent outrage fueled by the rape and fatal attack in India, the public performances are timely. Bonneau-Marcil describes the public dance gatherings as a way for participants to “share a prayer to create a world free of violence and sexual oppression.” 

But there’s likely to be drama, as the Women Life & Liberty celebration is one of two dueling events. Walk for Life West, essentially the polar opposite of the Trust Women Silver Ribbon Campaign, is being spearheaded by San Francisco pro-lifers Dolores Meehan and Eva Muntean. Now in its ninth year, the annual event will bring hordes of anti-abortion activists to San Francisco, wielding dead fetus photos. They’ll travel from as far away as Nevada, Canada and “all over the Midwest,” according to Muntean. “We have 200 buses coming from all over the West Coast,” she said.

The anti-abortion rally will feature speakers such as Rev. Clenard Childress, who has built a career out of telling right wing Christians that the pro-choice movement is racist. (Seems Childress also spends his spare time penning inflammatory columns suggesting that acceptance of LGBT rights is “a sign of the end times.”)

The pro-life rally will converge at Civic Center Plaza and progress to – where else? – Justin Herman Plaza. There, according to the event page, revelers from the transformative flash mob may still be celebrating. Expect an awkward buzz kill.

This being San Francisco, plans are already being hatched to counter-protest the anti-abortion event. (Muntean emphasized that Walk for Life West should not be interpreted as counter-protest to the Women Life & Liberty event, by the way.)

Stop Patriarchy, made of up activists who are pro-choice, anti-Democratic party, and even anti-pornography since they deem it to be part of the war on women, plans to stage “boisterous and confrontational political protests throughout the week, taking on the Pro-Lifers who will be in San Francisco,” according to a press release. They’ll be there counter-protesting the Walk for Life with banners and signs declaring, “Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!”

Bonneau-Marcil, the flash mob director, says she’s trying to stay out of any back-and-forth that may come from warring factions. “We’re not pointing fingers,” she says. Instead, she’s on a mission to help dancers move in harmony to “access a place where, it’s not about opinions. It’s just about remembering who we are as human beings.”

The Women, Life & Liberty rally will be held at Justin Herman Plaza from 10 a.m. to noon. The Dancing Without Borders flash mob performance will take place at 11:30. Anyone can join the flash mob after attending two rehearsals: more info here. The Walk for Life West rally will converge at 12:30 at Civic Center Plaza and begin the procession to Justin Herman at 1:30. More info here, here and here.




Forum: What’s Next for Progressives

Unitarian-Universalist Center, 1187 Franklin, SF. 7-9pm, free. “Why wait years to challenge the rightward momentum coming from the top of the Democratic Party?” Author and activist Norman Solomon writes in a recent essay. “There is no better time to proceed … than right now.” At this public forum sponsored by the San Francisco chapter of Progressive Democrats of America, Solomon will join panelists Karen Bernal, chair of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party, and Jodi Reid, executive director of the California Alliance for Retired Americans, in an exchange of ideas for advancing progressive ideals in national politics.


Rally to Stop Attack on Rent Control City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett, SF. 12pm, free. Join housing activists for a rally on the steps of City Hall to fend off proposed legislation that could result in an increase in tenant evictions to make way for condominiums. After the rally, make your voice heard at a public hearing of the Board of Supes Land Use Committee at 1 p.m.


Benefit for Strike Debt Roxie Theatre 3117 16th St., SF. 7:30-9:30pm, $10. “You Are Not A Loan” is a fundraiser for Strike Debt Bay Area, a regional chapter of the Occupy Wall Street-affiliated Strike Debt, created to “foster resistance to all forms of debt imposed on us by the banks.” Featuring performances by the legendary Jello Biafra, comedians Sean Keane, Kevin O’Shea and others; drag star Lil’ Miss Hot Mess, and more.


Roe v Wade: 40th Anniversary Celebration Justin Herman Plaza, SF. 10am-noon, free. Join this community celebration for women’s rights. Featuring appearances by Dancing without Borders’ One Billion Rising Dance Flash mob, balloon twisters, airbrush tattoos, a facepainter, Bubble artist Sterling the Bubblesmith, live music by Trapdoor Social, pro-choice banners and speeches by legal abortion pioneer Pat Maginnis and other community advocates. Silver Ribbon to Trust Women coalition.

Democratic Party tries to block non-Democrats


Once again, the San Francisco Democratic Party is considering ousting local Democratic clubs that endorse non-Democrats in nonpartisan races. It’s crazy, and it goes back to the Matt Gonzalez era, and I don’t understand why somebody keeps bringing it up. But there it is.

The local party operation, run by the Democratic County Central Committee, has to rewrite parts of its bylaws this year anyway, thanks to changes in state election law. (For one thing, terms on the DCCC will now run four years, not two, and elections will coincide only with presidential primaries.)

And among the proposed changes is an item to ban chartered Democratic clubs from endorsing, say, a candidate for San Francisco supervisor or school board who isn’t a registered Democrat.

Now: It’s always been pretty clear that if you’re a part of the Democratic Party, and your club has official party sanction, you shouldn’t be endorsing Republicans (or even Greens) over Democrats. So Dem clubs have to support Dems for president, Congress, etc. (Of course, with our top-two primaries it’s possible, if highly unlikely, that a race for state Assembly could now feature a pair of candidates neither of whom is a Democrat, which would make things sticky. And under the proposed bylaws, a Democratic Club could still chose one of them.)

But never mind that — the real issue is local government. Local races, by state law, are nonpartisan, and there ahve been plenty of progressive candidates who weren’t registered Dems. In fact, this all goes back to the anger the establishment ginned up after Matt Gonzalez, a Green, very nearly toppled Gavin Newsom for mayor — with the support of a lot of progressive Democrats. The Harvey Milk Club went with Gonzalez and some Newsomite tried to make an issue of the Club’s charter.

Jane Kim was a Green when she was first elected to the School Board. Ross Mirkarimi was elected supervisor as a Green. And while the Green Party is in something of a state of disarray right now, it could make a comeback. And perhaps more important, the fastest-growing group of voters is decline-to-state — and it’s pretty likely that we’ll see someone who isn’t a member of any party run for office in the next few years.

There’s a reason the state Constitution made local races nonpartisan — and there’s no reason Democrats can’t endorse the candidates they think are the best in those races, without regard to party affiliation. The Milk Club, not surprisingly, is strongly against this, and so am I. It comes up Dec. 23; let’s shoot it back down.


Wrong side of history


In June, 2006, the august and powerful Association of Alternative Newsweeklies held its convention in Little Rock, Arkansas — and to the surprise of most of us, former President Bill Clinton agreed to come and speak. He even took questions.

I had one.

“Mr. President,” I said, “when Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, he knew it would cost his party votes in the South. But he did it anyway, because it was the right thing to do. Same-sex marriage is a civil-rights issue; why can’t Democrats like you stand up and support it?”

He ducked brilliantly, telling us all the great things he did for gay people (I know, Jim Hormel, ambassador to Luxembourg). He never answered the question.

That was how much of the Democratic Party leadership was acting in the days (and years) after Gavin Newsom set off a political bombshell in 2004 by legalizing same-sex marriage in San Francisco. Newsom got calls from a wide range of liberal party leaders begging him to reconsider. Even San Francisco Dems made statements that, in retrospect, are mortifying.

So as we prepare for the Supreme Court to decide if it’s on the right side of history, let us take a moment to reflect on all the Democrats who weren’t.

Leading the list is Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who now supports marriage equality but at the time proclaimed that it was “too much, too fast, too soon.” (In other words, just be patient, little gay ones, your time will come. Eventually.)

Even Rep. Barney Frank, the first openly gay member of Congress, said Newsom had broken the law and would only “feed the flames of fear.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi for the first weeks of the city gay marriage celebrations stayed far, far away from the issue, although (after she realized how immensely popular the move was in her district) she broke down in late March 2004 and said she approved of Newsom’s actions.

Sen. John Kerry, during the 2004 presidential campaign, not only proclaimed that only a man and a woman could get married but said he would support state legislation banning same-sex nuptials. He didn’t publicly change his mind until 2011.

Barack Obama, as a candidate for president, never endorsed same-sex marriage and, according to some accounts, refused to have his picture taken with Newsom at a 2004 fundraiser in SF. In fact, during the 2008 Democratic primary, none of the major candidates endorsed same-sex marriage. Some of the commentary was laughable — then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed that “gay marriage is between a man and a woman,” and the Hartford Courant denounced Newsom for “turning City Hall into a wedding mill for homosexuals.” Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders, who said she supported same-sex marriage, said the mayor’s “lawlessness” was “just unbelievable.” But on a more sober note, there were, in February, 2004, exactly zero major national Democratic Party officials who came to Newsom’s support. Most of them ran for cover. And when the US Supreme Court decides, as it must, that marriage is a civil right for all, they’ll have a lot of explaining to do.

D5 candidates and other Election Night photos


Photographer Tim Daw joined me on an Election Night trek through the San Francisco Democratic Party headquarters, five election night parties in the highly contested 5th supervisorial district, and an election party at Brick & Mortar. He came up with some great images, which illustrate my two Election Night posts. Enjoy.

Obama wins: Rejoicing at SF Dem HQ


The crowd just went nuts at the SF Democratic Party headquarters on Market Street when the big TV screen flashed, “Obama Re-Elected.”

Downstairs from the rejoicing, a poster on the wall claimed that volunteers made 29,050 calls over the weekend on the Democratic incumbent’s behalf — upstairs, of course, was the payoff for all that hard work and the party.

State Sen. Mark Leno told us “San Francisco was the most productive campaign office in the state,” having hundreds of volunteers a day.

LGBT activist Gary Virginia was happy and relieved by this victory. “I feel there’s so much at stake in the LGBT community in the White House with this election.”

But there’s more to come. “I’m a little worried about the ballot measures,” SF Dem chair Mary Jung tod us.

Sup. Scott Wiener was watching the other races countrywide. “Elizabeth Warren, what an amazing voice to have in the US Senate.” he said.

DCCC member Matt Dorsey was focused on local races like D5 and D7, “I think those are going to be the most exciting races to follow.”