Focusing in on 4 Democratic Party Presidential Hopefuls (for now, at least) … Sherrod Brown, and why he’s important to mention even though he’s not running, and who else speaks for “just folks” now?

I’m from Ohio, and have long thought of Sherrod Brown as “my senator” even though he no longer can be for geographical reasons. He’s always been for-real in my view. For example, here’s a quote from 2017:

“True populism is looking out for the little guy no matter where she works and no matter who he is; we’ve let them steal that away.”

In the interview subheaded by the above quote, Sen. Brown also stated:

“I think we’re not full-throated enough in our defense of economic policy and demonstrating the value of work. Our paper addresses this. If white working-class people think we look down on them and we use terms like the ‘Rust Belt, which demeans their work and diminishes them in some ways, that’s a problem. You counteract that, in part by empathizing, saying that we value work. That means you fight for minimum wage, you fight for the overtime rule, you fight against misclassification of jobs.”

I’m a midwesterner who moved to one of the Coasts, and I resonate with this statement – full-throatedly and full-heartedly.

Regarding the “paper” he mentioned in the above interview excerpt, that would be “Working Too Hard for Too Little: A Plan for Restoring the Value of Work in America”. You can see an outline and/or download the paper here. To me, it’s at least gratifying that any politician addresses the simple truth of what it’s like to live in this country for many or most of us day to day.

The Democratic Party, for decades, has been based on a coalition of everyday folks. It has become a “centrist” party, whatever that means. Some would say “corporate”. Nancy Pelosi, while from the most liberal city in the US according to popular polls, San Francisco, is characterized as being far to the left, which she is not. The daughter of a former mayor of Baltimore, she grew up in politics, and is as pragmatic as she is gracious and experienced. Her number one skill seems to be fundraising. She told a group of students that the US is fully capitalistic, end of discussion, which is far from a leftist position.

The Democratic Party and Labor Unions have not been on the greatest terms for a long, long time. Right-wing populism and Trump have worked this to their power advantage, at least enough to win the 2016 presidency in the Electoral College. A longer analysis than there is room for here can discuss how labor unions became bloated or corrupt or seemingly irrelevant. The point is that laborers, workers, have not been well represented by the Dems for quite some time, as President Clinton’s own Secretary of Labor has pointed out.

The question is, with Brown deciding not to run for president, which candidate or candidates will seek to win or re-win the trust of America’s workers? And how will they do this? Joe Biden? Andrew Yang? Cory Booker?

Sen. Harris enjoys politics and is inspired and inspiring, but there’s the matter of her letting Steve Mnuchin get away with evicting senior citizens in California and not prosecuting him while Mnuchin donated money to her Attorney General Campaign and then becoming, himself, Trump’s Secretary of Labor.

Cory Booker seems sincere, but he’s long had donations ties with Big Pharma.

Joe Biden, who loves to talk about growing up like a true American in good old Scranton, Pennsylvania, yet he voted to tighten bankruptcy laws that put a stranglehold on folks with debt, and this has fueled a long feud between Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren.

The following is a speech Joe Biden gave in May 2018 about the middle class, income inequality, education, and rebuilding American infrastructure. I’ll take a closer look at these ideas if he announces his candidacy. He might be doing so right after I post this! He’s long been considered the likely frontrunner, without yet running. Here’s a recent analysis of what might happen among Democratic Party hopefuls if Joe Biden announces he’s not running.

Focusing in on 4 Democratic Party Presidential Hopefuls (for now, at least) … Senator Elizabeth Warren

Senator Elizabeth Warren

it just seems super clear to me that if the US government applied the straightforward consumer protections Sen. Warren has proposed since she emerged into the national spotlight that we would not have even had the 2008 mortgage casino meltdown. 
Financial institutions could not have scammed the public with Adjustable Rate Mortgages, which are a euphemism for Pay Less Now Get Extremely Screwed Later and Then We’ll Take Away Everything You’d Thought You’d Bought Plus the Money You’ve Already Given Us.

Nothing would have collapsed. Massive foreclosures would not have taken place. The Tea Party / Freedom Caucus would not have erupted. Right wing populism would not have emerged, at least not in the US. We would likely not have Trump as president.

Even Native Americans who might still feel offended might agree with this. Or not, as they prefer, of course. At least she has apologized, amazingly rare in our candidates or our general culture these days.

I think of Elizabeth Warren every time i talk to Customer Service on the phone, which should instead be called Customer Manipulation, Domination and Exhaustion. 
Adjustable Rate Mortgages were tantalizingly misnamed and that by itself is misrepresentation to consumers. Flat out. On face.

And then all the fine print after that should be regulated and reduced and made understandable. A warning should be included that states in large bold print: Be very careful before you sign this. If you cannot afford this, you may lose everything you own. We strongly advise you to speak to a qualified financial consultant before entering into this agreement. 

Every bit as much as the tobacco warning on packages of cigarettes.

Focusing in on 4 Democratic Party Presidential Hopefuls (for now, at least) … Bernie Sanders

Senator Bernie Sanders

Senator Sanders has shown amazing leadership which has broken through the politics-as-usual doldrums. He was, to the left, what Trump was to the right, and believes he could have defeated Trump in 2016 if he had been given the forum to do so.

Sanders has made “democratic socialism” less of a confusing, dirty, disrespected idea. He has dared to sound other than “American exceptionalist” by simply pointing out that some European countries are able to balance free enterprise with taking care of all of its citizens.

He is accurate about the urgency of global climate change, and he proposes “Medicare for All”, and he is unapologetic about being a truly Progressive candidate. His influence on others who are running, such as Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, is fairly self-evident.

He may still be considered, however, a bit weak on foreign policy. Then again, he might rein in America’s involvement in half a dozen or more wars at any time. He might open fair dialog about Israel and Palestine, but Palestine is home to plenty of right-wing religious fanaticism of its own. Palestinians deserve a decent life, but this is a horribly complicated issue, and peaceniks just have not succeeded there so far (which is awful to admit but true). Mostly, foreign policy does not seem to have been a focus on Sen. Sanders during his political career.

Regarding his calling for college for all as well as health care for all, that’s great. Student debt is obscene. Wealthy people getting their kids into top schools is obscene. But imagining that college for all will solve job and economic problems falls short of giving at least as much emphasis to vocational training to help America’s workforce be nimble for the massive changes that are rolling in like hurricanes or tidal waves. As far as I can tell, only one candidate, so-far-little-known Andrew Yang, is addressing this.

Flight Attendants Unions Ask Carriers to Ground Boeing 737 Max 8 (

  • U.S. flight attendant unions ask their carriers and the U.S. government to ground Boeing 737 Max planes until more is known about the latest crash.
  • Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a Boeing 737 Max 8, went down shortly after takeoff on Sunday, killing all 157 on board.
  • It’s the second major crash for the plane and airlines and governments around the world are suspending the aircraft from their skies.