Commit To Caucus On March 5

The national race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders remains very competitive.  Thus far, Clinton has narrowly won contests in Iowa and Nevada, and Sanders won by a wide margin in New Hampshire.  I don’t buy into the conventional wisdom that after Clinton’s victory in Nevada that it’s all over but the shouting.  Sanders has millions of dedicated supporters and he has been very successful in raising more than enough money to be competitive.  I anticipate this race will continue for longer than the conventional wisdom currently anticipates.

What that means is that the Nebraska caucuses on March 5 – like the inaugural 2008 caucuses – will have a significant impact on the overall direction of the race.  Already, both campaigns have had paid staff in Nebraska for the last few months.  Moreover, after the completion of the Iowa caucuses on February 1, the Clinton and Sanders campaigns reinforced the paid staffers that were already in Nebraska.  Both campaigns have opened offices in our state and their respective organizers are working hard to turn out the vote on March 5.

The current front runner and favorite to win both the nomination and the Presidency is Hillary Clinton.  She brings to the table a wealth of experience and a whole host of accomplishments as First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State.  Clinton has one of the most impressive resumes of any Presidential contender in American history.

As First Lady for Bill Clinton, she played an instrumental role in the passage of SCHIP legislation which provided health insurance to 6 million children.  When Clinton served as Secretary of State during President Obama’s first term, she led the way in establishing the tough international sanctions against Iran that led to the recently signed nuclear agreement which will for the first time ever place limits on that country’s nuclear program.   Moreover, Clinton rebuilt America’s relations with our allies around the world after they were torn asunder during the Bush Presidency.

At the present time, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has posed a spirited and viable  challenge to Clinton’s front runner status.  Sanders’ populist message confronting the political and economic power of the top 1% has resonated with Democratic voters and attracted huge crowds to his rallies.  I would recommend to anybody who has a social media account to follow Senator Sanders.  On a daily basis, Sanders comes out with a powerful message regarding the trend of growing inequality in the U.S.  That message has allowed him to decisively defeat Clinton in New Hampshire and to come very close in Iowa and Nevada.

While our party has two excellent candidates, the GOP field is made up of a motley crew that resembles the cast of characters from the iconic bar room scene in the first Star Wars movie that came out in 1977.  The surprise front runner in the GOP field is businessman and reality TV show host Donald Trump.  The New York billionaire has had a checkered business career in which he has filed for bankruptcy at least four times.  On the campaign trail, Trump’s demagoguery has set a new low in modern U.S. politics.   He has called Hispanics “rapists,” said he would consider requiring Muslims in the U.S. to register in a database and would ban all Muslim travel to the U.S.

Trump represents what is currently wrong with the Republican Party.  The GOP has gone off the rails since the advent of the right wing media and the failure of the George W. Bush Administration.  Many of it’s supporters are angry and have been radicalized by Fox News and AM radio.  The key to understanding Trump’s appeal is that he sounds like a host on Fox or AM radio.  He is an obnoxious and opinionated individual with a penchant for name calling.  The GOP base has marinated in that kind of nonsense and hatred for the last quarter century.

Trump’s two major competitors – Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio – aren’t any better than the GOP front runner.  Cruz is a one term Senator with no accomplishments and is hated by just about everybody in Washington, D.C.  Moreover, Cruz has proposed a 19% national sales tax that would partially finance a big tax cut for the wealthy.  Even with the new revenues from the regressive sales tax, Cruz’s tax plan would add nearly $4 trillion to the national debt.

Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is the other viable Republican Presidential contender.  Rubio is a callow young man with no accomplishments in public life who also has a history of personal financial problems and ethical issues.  In 2014, Rubio cashed out a 401K to purchase a speed boat and pay off some personal expenses.  While Rubio served in the Florida legislature, he put thousands of dollars of personal expenses on a Florida GOP Party credit card.  Like Cruz, Rubio’s tax proposal would borrow trillions of dollars to provide the wealthy with a big tax cut.

To put it bluntly, the Republican field of Presidential candidates is dangerous.  If a Republican President is elected along with a GOP majority Congress, the country will be in serious trouble.  Any one of these Republican candidates – if elected President – would blow up the deficit with huge tax cuts for the wealthy and send U.S. ground troops to Iraq and Syria.  What that means is that we must elect a Democratic President in 2016.  Whether the nominee is Clinton or Sanders, we Democrats must unite behind our nominee and work to hard to send them to the White House.

A good start to electing a Democratic President in 2016 would be participate in the Nebraska caucuses on March 5.  Any person who is eligible to vote in the State of Nebraska and will be at least 18 years old on Election Day, November 8, 2016, may participate in the Nebraska Caucuses on March 5, 2016. You must be registered as a Democrat or register at the Caucus as a Democrat.

The Nebraska Democratic Presidential caucus will take place on March 5 between 10 AM CST, 9 AM MST and 8 PM CST, 7 PM MST.  Each county will set the time and place of their County Caucus.  You can find the time and location of your caucus site at this link:  http://nebraskacaucus2016.org/

If you can’t attend the caucus in person, you can submit an absentee ballot by mail.  (Nebraska is the only caucus state with an absentee ballot procedure.) This Wednesday, February 24th, is the deadline to submit a request to caucus by absentee ballot to the Nebraska Democratic Party.  All requests must be delivered to the Nebraska Democratic Party office in Lincoln by close of business, 5:00PM on February 24th.

We here at the Nebraska Democratic Party are committed to providing all participants with a rewarding experience.   We want to have a civil, open and transparent process.  We promise an accurate and speedy counting of the votes.  If you should have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our office in Lincoln or any of our party officers.  We hope to see you on March 5!