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Ohio Endorsements From Texas Liberal

(Blogger’s Note–With Election Day tomorrow, I’m rerunning my Ohio endorsement post from last week. I lived in Ohio for many years.)

While I live in Texas today, I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for 18 years. I left Ohio in 1998.

( Above–The flag of the great State of Ohio at Lake Erie. Photo taken by Matthew Trump.)

Since I still have a number of connections in Cincinnati, I’d like to offer up a brief slate of Ohio endorsements.

In the race for Governor, I encourage all to vote for incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland. Governor Strickland has moved up in the polls in recent days and appears to have a shot at winning. Governor Strickland will help President Obama carry Ohio again in 2012, and will make a big difference in redistricting Ohio’s many Congressional seats for the decade ahead. After so many years of a Republican Governor in Columbus, Mr. Strickland has restored priorities that benefit average Ohioans.

For the United States Senate from Ohio, I endorse Socialist Dan La Botz. The idea of a Socialist U.S. Senator is not as odd as it may seem. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is a self-declared Socialist. His presence in the Senate has not caused the Republic to fall.

Mr. La Botz offers the hope of an alternative to the two major parties that will take the needs of working people into greater consideration. Many elected Democrats are decent people. But the role of big money in our politics has become such that an additional option merits a look. Continue reading

November 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Endorsements For The Great State Of Ohio—My Home For Many Years

While I live in Texas today, I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for 18 years. I left Ohio in 1998.

( Above–The flag of the great State of Ohio at Lake Erie. Photo taken by Matthew Trump.)

Since I still have a number of connections in Cincinnati, I’d like to offer up a brief slate of Ohio endorsements.

In the race for Governor, I encourage all to vote for incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland. Governor Strickland has moved up in the polls in recent days and appears to have a shot at winning. Governor Strickland will help President Obama carry Ohio again in 2012, and will make a big difference in redistricting Ohio’s many Congressional seats for the decade ahead. After so many years of a Republican Governor in Columbus, Mr. Strickland has restored priorities that benefit average Ohioans.

For the United States Senate from Ohio, I endorse Socialist Dan La Botz. The idea of a Socialist U.S. Senator is not as odd as it may seem. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is a self-declared Socialist. His presence in the Senate has not caused the Republic to fall.

Mr. La Botz offers the hope of an alternative to the two major parties that will take the needs of working people into greater consideration. Many elected Democrats are decent people. But the role of big money in our politics has become such that an additional option merits a look.

There was a time when many Americans voted for Socialist candidates. The Socialist candidate for President in 1912, Eugene V. Debs, won 6% of the popular vote. The 1912 Socialist platform called for such things as a minimum wage and progressive income tax.  Sometimes it takes an outside voice  to call for what the people need most.

The Democrat in the U.S. Senate contest, Lee Fisher, appears to have little chance of winning. Make your vote count by sending a message that no matter how nasty our politics have become, you can still imagine a better future.

In Ohio’s First Congressional district, please consider voting for Democrat Steve Dreihaus. In sharp contrast to my Senate candidate, Mr. La Botz, Mr. Driehaus is a moderate to conservative figure.

We live in a nation of 310 million people that has only two major political parties. While the Republican Party has moved to the extreme right in almost all cases, Democrats still welcome many views.

Mr. Driehaus did the brave thing and supported President Obama’s Health Care Reform. Health Care Reform has already helped many Americans by stopping insurance companies from booting you off coverage because you get sick and by stopping the practice of lifetime limits on policies.  Mr. Driehaus should be rewarded for his vote with another term .

For the Hamilton County Commission, please vote for Jim Tarbell so that Democrats can retain control of the commission. It took Democrats so long to win the commission, it would be shame to lose it back.

Lastly, I encourage Ohio liberals and all Democrats to be certain to vote all the way down the ticket in the state legislative races.  The next legislative session will take up redistricting. It is important that Democrats have a major say in how the lines are drawn.

As a fellow Ohioan, I urge all Buckeyes to consider new options on the ballot and to please vote in a way that offer hope for our future instead of anger or resignation.

(Below–Picture I took last summer of Downtown Cincinnati. I’m glad to say that I still make it to Cincinnati twice a year.)

October 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Amanda Ulman, Socialist Candidate For Mayor Of Houston, Should Run A Serious Campaign—Or She Should Not Run At All

(Blogger’s Note 11/5/11–What I said here about Ms. Ulman’s campaign 2 years ago is valid again for her 2011 campaign.)    

Amanda Ulman is a Socialist candidate for Mayor of Houston.

It is useful for voters in Houston to have the option of a socialist candidate. Republicans have put the idea of socialism back in the public’s mind after a long absence. Nobody was thinking of socialism before the Republicans started calling Barack Obama a socialist.

Though it has been many years, socialist candidates for public office were once able to win between 5% and 10% of the votes in elections all over the nation. Once in a while they would even win a race.

In 1912, Eugene V. Debs took 6% of the vote nationwide as the Socialist candidate for President of the United States. There is nothing to say that candidates running as Socialists could not at some point in the future win support in our nation.

If Ms. Ulman is going to run for Mayor of Houston, as she did also in 2007, she should be serious about what she is doing. Otherwise, she will be easy to dismiss as a kind of joke.

As far as I can see, Ms. Ulman does not have a web site. How can a credible campaign in this day and age not have web site? Ms. Ulman is missing a cheap and easy way to get her message out.

I can tell Ms. Ulman that as Election Day approaches, people will start putting her name in search engines as they see her name on the ballot.

Two years ago, when Texas Liberal got much less traffic than it does today, I got something like 1000 hits in the days leading up to Election Day for a post I’d written about a candidate for Mayor of Houston named Outlaw Josey Wales. (Sadly, Mr. Wales is not running in 2009.)

Every time I write about a candidate for public office, I get a large spike in my blog traffic for that post in the last few days before the election. People see who is running for the various offices and they research these candidates. Often traffic about that candidate’s post goes up for a few weeks before the election as people early vote.

With a web site, Ms. Ulman could write about how her Socialist beliefs are relevant to governing Houston. What is more socialist than a government run police department or fire department?

Ms. Ulman could talk about the local relevance of issues like the need for universal health insurance or a more fair distrubution of income. The three “serious” candidates for Mayor of Houston, all Democrats, seem not to care very much about issues facing the poor—and about economic issues facing working people of all kinds—here in Houston.

While Ms. Ulman may not be able to raise much money, she could stand on busy street corners with a sign that simply said: Amanda Ulman–Socialist For Mayor Of Houston.

I realize she might not want to do that by herself in the current political climate. Still, voters would could least attach a real human being to the idea of socialism and would see that at least one fellow citizen of Houston holds socialist beliefs.

Has Ms. Ulman contacted the editorial boards of the Houston Chronicle and of the various community weekly newspapers in Houston asking for an interview? Has she asked for time on all of the T.V. and radio community affairs programs? Has she produced a cable public access message that is being broadcast? Does she have a Twitter account?

Ms. Ulman could represent a real choice for voters frustrated with the big money donors and lack of attention to so many serious issues that seems to define campaigns for Mayor of Houston. Maybe Ms. Ulman could be the start of a real core of socialist support in Houston. You never know.

Ms. Ulman should run a real race or she should give it up and stop harming her cause by not being serious.

Here is a series of articles from The Nation magazine about ideas for socialism in modern America.

September 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Third Party Candidates Who Carried A State In A Presidential Election

The following are third party candidates for President who have carried a state in a Presidential Election since after the Civil War.   

This is part of the Texas Liberal Election Fact of the Day series.

1892—Populist candidate James Weaver of Iowa ( photo above) won Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada and North Dakota. Mr. Weaver won 8.5% of the entire vote. Democrat Grover Cleveland of New York won the election. 

1912—Bull Moose Theodore Roosevelt of New York carried California, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Washington. Mr. Roosevelt was also the last third party candidate to finish ahead of a major party nominee. Incumbent President and Republican nominee William Howard Taft of Ohio finished third in 1912. Democrat Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey won the election. In 1912, Mr. Wilson won 42%, Mr. Roosevelt 27%, Mr. Taft 23 % and Socialist Eugene V. Debs of Indiana took 6%.

1924—Progressive Robert La Follette,Sr ( photo below) won his home state of Wisconsin. Mr. La Follette won 17% of the full national vote. Calvin Coolidge of Massachusetts won the election.

1948—Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond of South Carolina carried Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina. Mr. Thurmond won 2.4% overall. He was not on most ballots outside the South. Harry Truman of Missouri won the election.

1968—George Wallace of Alabama won Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. Mr. Wallace won 13% of the nationwide total. Richard Nixon of California won the election.

Winning a state in a Presidential election is hard to accomplish. Ross Perot was unable to do so in 1992 even while winning 19% of the vote. Third party candidates must have some of concentrated regional appeal, as did Mr. Weaver, Mr. Thurmond and Mr. Wallace. Or maybe they just have to be Theodore Roosevelt.

( I’d suggest Texas Liberal readers check out the links to Weaver, Debs and La Follette. They were progressive and interesting figures.)

No third party seems likely to win a state in 2008.

September 19, 2008 Posted by | Election Fact Of The Day, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Socialist & Outlaw Josey Wales—A Few Words Of Consideration For Houston’s Mayoral Contenders

Houston Mayor Bill White will certainly win re-election next week. His two opponents are a man who changed his name legally to Outlaw Josey Wales IV and Socialist Amanda Ulman. 

It’s easy to discount these people, and voters will dispatch them without much thought, yet both merit a few words of consideration

First, please read below about Ms. Ulman and Mr. Wales excerpted from a Houston Chronicle story by Matt Stiles profiling the race for Mayor.

“…… For now, though, White faces meat-packing plant worker Amanda Ulman and contract engineer and professional wrestling promoter Outlaw Josey Wales IV in the Nov. 6 election.

Ulman is running on behalf of the Socialist Workers Party. Her platform includes calls for amnesty for all illegal immigrants, the immediate end to the Iraq war and a massive public works project to give jobs to the unemployed at union wages.

“Workers are a majority of Houston, and we need our own voice. We need someone to stand up and raise demands that are in our own interest,” said Ulman, an Indiana native who was a write-in candidate for U.S. Senate in 2006. “We join in the struggles of working people.”

White’s other opponent, who legally changed his name to Outlaw Josey Wales in 1998 to create a persona for his wrestling events, ran unsuccessfully against former Mayor Lee Brown a year later. He said he wants to pay Houston police officers more and ensure the long-term viability of their pension system.

He wants to make it illegal to drive while holding a cell phone and to require at least four motorists in a car to allow access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes. He also wants to extend rail lines along major freeways from downtown to the city limits.

“You’ve got to get people out of their cars,” he said. “There’s no reason someone in Kingwood, Humble, Katy, (U.S.) 290 north, Clear Lake, anywhere out past the Beltway on Interstate 10 either way, should be driving into work.”

In the case of Ms. Ulman, the Socialist Party did once have a presence in Texas. In the first 20 years of the last century, there were often Socialists running for Congress from Texas. The Socialist candidate for President won 8.3% of the vote in Texas in 1912 and 5.1% in 1916. ( In 1912, Socialist Eugene V. Debs at 8.3% ran only 1.1% behind Republican President William Howard Taft in Texas.)

I’ve long held that voters in big cities are used by the Democratic Party. We give Democrats our votes and it is often difficult to see how our cities are getting any better and how the lives of poor and working class people in cities are getting any better.   

If big city voters had Green Party or Socialist Party options they felt were electorally viable, such alternatives might well be be considered.

For now, Ms. Ulman and her ideas can be dismissed by simply referring to her as a Socialist. It’s not always been that way in Texas and nothing says it will always be that way in the future. 

As for Mr. Wales, self-creation and starting fresh are acts fully consistent with Houston and with politics.

He changed his name because he wanted to make some money. Good for him. I hope he made some money. If I thought I could make a lot of money by changing my name to Wyatt Earp, I would likely do so. I imagine many people would do the same.   

Mr. Wales has had fewer names than former Texas Comptroller and candidate for Governor One Tough Grandma Carole Keeton Rylander Strayhorn. Every time you turned around she had a new name.

Bloggers give themselves new names and made-up names all the time. Bloggers are a big thing in politics now. That’s at least what I read.

I don’t care what people choose to call themselves.    

Is Mr. Wales anymore or less stable than our civic Founding Father Sam Houston? Mr. Houston used to walk around Houston dressed as a cross between a frontiersman and an Indian. Sam Houston was, in his way, a serious and talented man.

Mr. Wales says he advocates carpooling and people getting off the phone while driving. He wants to increase police pay. That seems like a platform many people might support.

Is Mr. Wales any more or less serious than the process of how we elect our city officials in Houston with silly six year term limits and terrible turnout? I think Mr. Wales might in fact be somewhat dignified for such a screwed-up process.    

In 2010, if Mayor White runs for statewide office, I’ll strongly consider giving him my vote. I want a Democrat as Governor. 

In 2007, my only regret is that I must choose between Ms. Ulman and Mr. Wales. I like them both.

October 31, 2007 Posted by | Houston, Houston Council Election '07, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment