Democratic Party

Here’s Some Of Andrew Gillum’s Boldest Policy Ideas

What’s News In This Story?

–He’s been called a “radical” who supports “socialist” policies that are dangerous for the state of Florida. But is any of that true?

-We look into Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum’s boldest policy ideas. 


1) He supports legalizing marijuana in Florida and taxing the sales of it to pay for public education. 

2) After being elected, he would immediately expand Medicaid to give healthcare to a million lower income people who currently don’t have it. 

3) In the long-run, he supports a “Medicare for All” universal health care system for Florida. He’d raise corporate taxes to pay for it. 

4) He wants to make Florida the “solar capital” of the country and wants to make the state a leader in combating climate change.

5) He wants to raise Florida’s minimum wage to $15 an hour

6) He supports efforts to abolish ICE

7) He supports an assault weapons ban, mandatory background checks on those who want to purchase a gun, closing the gunshow loophole and banning the purchase and possession of armor piercing bullets. He’s also been taken to court by the NRA due to gun control measures he’s taken as mayor of Tallahassee. He won that suit.

8) He would “suspend” use of the death penalty until he could be assured that it was being applied equally to all, regardless of race. 

9) He would use his executive authority as governor to declare a state of emergency to temporarily suspend Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law for 60 days. He would push for it to be overturned. 

10) While not an official policy, it’s worth noting that he supports impeaching President Donald Trump

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The DNC Is In An Impossible Situation

On Feb. 25, the Democratic National Committee chose former Labor Secretary Tom Perez to lead the party into the disarrayed, foggy wilderness of modern American politics.

As the Bernie Sanders-backed candidate Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) was denied the position, the bifurcation of the mainstay liberal party continues.

The DNC is in an impossible situation.

They are pitted against two raging participants, both with heads angry and fierce, who have vastly different visions of the party moving forward.

Questions surrounding how to combat the efforts of President Trump and how to regain what the Democratic party has lost in recent decades, most notably the populace squeezed between the liberal coasts, is stoking the inner frustrations.

Left-ward bound are the progressives, closely aligned with the ‘social justice warrior’ mindset who are diligent activists that have shaped a lot of the dialogue of the past election.

Their strategy is defined by identity politics, safe spaces and trigger warnings.

Their goals are post-national and rabidly unpatriotic.

They have come to dominate what hordes of Americans see as modern day liberalism.

There are hints of anarchic chaos in this camp as well.

When we watched the Berkeley anti-fascist protesters erupt into violence at the very thought of Milo opening his mouth, very few of us imagined the existence of a master plan.

There was no commanding officer directing deployments, only low-level infantry grasping at whatever could become a flaming projectile.

There is, coincidentally, a Trump-like element to their anti-Trump beliefs.

What unites them is the ultimate desire to just burn the whole thing to the ground.

This group aims to wholeheartedly refuse to work with President Trump on anything, as that would be shaking the metaphorical hand of a genocidal, Hitlerian ruler whose only wish is to inflict harm on non-white persons from any and all nations. This strategy won’t go over well in dispatched corners of Trump country.

The progressives on the left are fed up with the Democratic establishment just like the pro-Trump movement is fed up with the Republican establishment.

They did find some success when Sen. Bernie Sanders sounded the horn of economic populism, a core message used by both sides during the campaign cycle.

New DNC chair Tom Perez has an impossibly tough job ahead. Photo Credit: Maryland GovPics/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

As he talked of the harmful trade deals and low wages, millions found him to be speaking their long-awaited mother tongue.

On the other hand, there is the establishment end of the party.

A moderate, less-rebellious brand of liberal politics with the expectation of some compromise with those on the other side.

Tom Perez falls squarely in this camp, as does Hillary Clinton and similar figureheads in Democratic politics.

If there was a section of the Democratic party that was to undergo a serious self-reflection as to why 2016 became the year for the GOP, it would be from this end.

That is a big if, but for disaffected areas that saw promise in Trump, a steadied working-class approach by level-headed Democrats would entice them more than Antifa protests or an extra dose of virtue signaling.

The establishment’s main problem is, well, the fact that they are the establishment.

The big money, shadowy donors, corporatist leanings, the hawkish Democrats who resemble neocons instead of war-weary liberals.

There is the perceived rigging of the 2016 nomination in favor of Clinton over Sanders and the inside baseball we all characterize as a symptom, or possibly the definition, of the Washington machine.

Ultimately, they lack the intoxicant of change – the most potent reason to overlook them in the ballot box.

Upholding the status quo doesn’t feed the hungry masses, it doesn’t put people in the seats, nor does it fire people up to ‘make history’, even if it is to elect the first female President of the United States.

This is why Perez and the DNC have a virtually impossible challenge to overcome.

They must choose one side over the other, and both are undoubtedly flawed.

Can Democrats compete in parking lots like these all over America again? Photo Credit: Jimmy Jim Jim Shabadoo/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The division won’t naturally melt away.

The progressives can unite the young, the energetic, and the squadrons of protestors at a Trump hotel or a dance-off outside of Vice President Mike Pence’s house.

However, they struggle to connect with ‘fly-over’ country.

The people who are concerned with overspending at Wal-Mart, not the amount of gender identities recognized in the legal code.

To people outside of major cities and college campuses, the progressives are consumed with trivial anger and idealistic revolutions the world has tried over and over again.

The establishment of the Democratic Party can show that they aren’t identical to the social justice warrior type.

If they, for example, promote a pro-business campaign that isn’t completely anti-gun, they could compete in some of these rural areas, places where American flags fly high but Main Street is all but abandoned.

But doing that will alienate the anti-capitalist, anti-establishment thread running through the party.

They would lose the progressives to the Jill Stein’s of the world, only to be inevitably shut out of the power structure again.

Choose the progressives, you lose those within the margin of persuasion.

Choose the moderates, and the hatred of the elites may sweep them further away from elected office.

Republicans have factions erupting as well, but with controlling so much power their movement isn’t in the same state as the left.

I’m not a Democrat so I don’t have skin in this game.

However, I can acknowledge that Tom Perez has very little room to work with.

He must walk on the edge of a razor blade.

Every move he makes will infuriate half of his party and embolden the rest.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Photo Credit: Lars Plougmann/flickr (CC by-SA 2.0)

Cover Photo Credit: Kim Love/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Does Bernie Sanders Still Have A Realistic Chance To Win?

The 2016 Presidential race has been nothing short of extraordinary.

With Donald Trump firmly entrenched as the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, the Democrats continue to slug it out. 

Hillary Clinton seems to be close to clinching the nomination with 2,312 delegates out of a required 2,383 in order to be the nominee, with 1,769 pledged and 543 super delegates.

Bernie Sanders is making somewhat of a comeback when it comes to delegates, currently having 1,545 delegates, with nearly 97 percent of them (1,501) being pledged delegates, according to the Associated Press.

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While it might seem based on these numbers that Hillary Clinton seems to have the nomination waiting for her, the Sanders campaign still has a “Hail Mary” hope in California; where he could find enough delegates to even out the race.

But he would really need something dramatic to happen.

According to a recent NBC News poll, Clinton still holds a small lead when it comes to how likely Democratic voters will vote in California; with Clinton at 49 percent, leading Sanders, who is right on her tail at 47 percent.

An NBC News analysis that ran with the poll states that a win in California could help even out the race and keep Sanders going into more primaries, improving his chances of winning.

In the article, Sanders is quoted as saying “Obviously, if we don’t do well in California, it will make our path much, much harder. No question about it. But I think we have a good chance to win in California, maybe win big, and maybe win four or five of the other states that [hold races] on June 7.”

If Sanders does secure a win in California, whose primary is being held on June 7, it could help bring him back in the nomination fight, and possibly pose him in a position where he is able to secure the nomination. 

Of course, Clinton would have to preform in an historically awful way in order for that to happen.

The Sanders camp is hopeful that even if they do not win in California, that they will be able to make it past the primary season and on to the convention.

“We have absolutely the financial resources that we need to run a very, very strong campaign here in California and in the other states and in D.C. and Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands and throughout the rest of the campaign,” Sanders recently said, according to the New York Times

So what exactly can be said for the viability of the Sanders campaign?

At this moment, while he is still mathematically alive, it will take something along the lines of divine intervention for the Vermont Senator to win the Democratic nomination. 

Of course, his whole upstart movement has been something along the lines of a miracle all campaign long, so maybe something interesting will happen again.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

So What Exactly Does The Libertarian Party Stand For Anyway?

Let’s face it. Donald Trump is a very unpopular guy.

As of last week, 55% of Americans have a negative view of him. 40% of Republicans say they will not vote for him, and 19% would vote for Hillary Clinton.

However, what about the remaining 21% of Republicans who would not vote for Trump or Clinton? Would they vote at all? Some, if not many, will not.

Others, however, are contemplating third party options.

The same logic applies to the 31% of Bernie Sanders supporters who may or will not cote for Clinton, and the 20% who would vote for Trump.

Perhaps the most frequently discussed of those options is that of voting for the Libertarian Party, whose online search results have reportedly surged since Ted Cruz dropped out of the Republican primary on May 3.

On Sunday, the Libertarian Party nominated former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson for President, and former Governor of Massachusetts William Weld as his running mate.

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In an era where it seems that the Republican and Democratic parties are the only political parties around, and where dissatisfaction with them is near historical highs, it seems only fitting that additional options be shown to and discussed with the general public. Therefore, this article will be dedicated to doing so with the Libertarian Party.

Former Gov. Gary Johnson is the Libertarian Party nominee for President. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Former Gov. Gary Johnson is the Libertarian Party nominee for President. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Like all political parties, the Libertarian party determines its platform at its national convention. The result of this convention (aside from the nominees) are as follows:

-The Libertarian Party places emphasis over individual sovereignty over all else. It criticizes both the Democratic and Republican parties as being too regulating and authoritarian. It demands that the government not deny the right life, liberty, and property for the sake of itself or others.

-Under this philosophy, the following policy positions are advocated:

1. Individuals should be able do whatever they want to their bodies (appeals to liberals).
2. The government should not control the internet of mass media (appeals to elements of both sides).
3. The government should not spy on everybody (appeals to elements of both sides).
4. The government should not classify anybody by sexual preference (appeals to liberals).
5. The government should not regulate abortion (appeals to liberals).
6. Criminal laws should be limited to those involving person-to-person interaction (appeals to liberals).
7. The government should not regulate guns (appeals to conservatives).
8. The government should not interfere in property ownership (appeals to conservatives).
9. The government should not interfere in pollution regulation, for it is less trustworthy and effective than innovative civilians who seek to do the same (appeals to conservatives).
10. The government should not interfere with the energy market (appeals to conservatives).

11. The government should not rely on income taxes to produce a balanced budget, which should be mandatory (appeals to conservatives).

12. The government should not interfere in non-fraudulent banking practices (appeals to conservatives).

13. The government should not interfere in the free market (appeals to conservatives).

14. The government should not interfere in worker-employer relations (appeals to conservatives).

15. The government should not interfere in education, which should be determined by parents (appeals to conservatives).

16. The health care market should serve as any other market that operates across state lines, and not be subjected to government intervention (appeals to conservatives).

17. Social Security should be replaced with private retirement planning (appeals to conservatives).

18. Military service should be limited to voluntary defense of the country’s territory (appeals to elements of both sides)

19. Internal security should not trump individual liberty (appeals to elements of both sides).

20. All foreign aid should be ended (appeals to elements of both sides, but mostly to paleoconservatives).

21. Trade and immigration should not be restricted unless there is a threat to national security (appeals to elements of both sides, but mostly to liberals).

22. The government should not interfere in private practices of discrimination (appeals to conservatives).

23. The government should not try to rig electoral systems to create a party system with a limited number of parties (appeals to elements of both sides).

24. The people have the inherent right to self-determination (appeals to conservatives).

At the end of the day, this party is very socially liberal but very fiscally conservative.

This unique platform has the potential to either attract or repulse people on both sides of the political spectrum.

If the party wants a chance of growing to substantial polling numbers, it may have to target single issue voters.

Given that single-issue voters appear to be significant in numbers, as indicated by Gallup polls on the level of priority voters have on issues such as abortion and gun control, perhaps that may be all it needs to do, especially if it succeeds in attracting protest votes from disillusioned Republicans and Democrats.

Do you wish this party good luck in its quest? Feel free to comment and share your opinion below!

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

“Bernie Or Bust” Has Reached A Dangerous High Point

“Bernie or Bust” is a campaign to “revolt against Plutocracy (RAP), a government of, by and for the wealthy few” according to the movement’s website.

Now that may sound benign enough, until you get the upshot of it all. They want voters to write in Sanders’ name in the general election or to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. That could be dangerous for Hillary Clinton’s chances to win the White House.

Their page describes the act as such: “A write-in campaign is designed to undermine that “destiny.”” (Clinton’s destiny to be nominated) […] We call it leverage on Democratic primary voters and insurance against corrupted super delegates “pledged,” to another candidate before one primary vote is cast.” Their strategy intends to ignite a revolution “against the wealthy few that control politics.”

Although the campaign has worked to promote a positive and peaceful movement, their website link, “HRCC” is a page dedicated to criticizing Hilary Clinton. Here is a quote from that page:

“The following videos, website and articles are offered for people to read, understand and share with their liberal friends who either back Hillary Rodham #CorporateClinton or are undecided about whom to support during the primaries in 2016. While Senator Sanders refuses to attack his opponents, Bernie has never stated nor implied that his supporters in the media should refrain from taking brass knuckle shots at the neo-liberal hawk leading in the polls by less every week.”

Following this introduction are numerous videos that focus on some of the negative interviews with Hilary Clinton throughout her political career.

This propaganda clearly establishes goals and intentions for the movement; but there are a lot of problems with the “Bernie or Bust” canvass.


Bernie Sanders at a campaign event. Photo Credit: Phil Roeder/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

This campaign speaks towards creating a new kind of government and a reformation for economic equality.

And that’s fine, but the division between Democrats driving this campaign is unproductive for this election.

In their paper, “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along”, political scientists, Alan Abramowitz and Kyle Saunders explain “that partisan polarization has increased considerably over the past several decades […] the gap between Democrats and Republicans was more than twice as large in 2004 as in 1972.” Those numbers have only gone up throughout the years.

The Washington Times wrote a piece on Clinton’s new stance on minimum wages in America. Hilary was ridiculed by Bernie supporters for using many of the lines that Sanders had been campaigning on.

However, as Yamiche Alcindor of the New York Times pointed out, that is not a bad thing, as Sanders said recently, “I am delighted that Secretary Clinton, month after month after month, seems to be adopting more and more of the positions that we have advocated. That’s good.” Genuine or not, he is right.

If Sanders’ ideals are the start of a revolution, Clinton’s new remarks that mirror those ideals should be seen as a positive.

“Bernie or Bust” dictates that if Sanders is not president, his supporters are not going to vote for anyone, or in this case, are just simply going to write his name on the ballot.

But instead of clinging to a side and solely standing behind one candidate, Sanders supporters should take his positive and influential ideas and continue to pursue them in the rest of the country’s endeavors while still voting for Clinton.

Charles M. Blow of the New York Times has it right when he says, “While there are meaningful differences between Clinton and Sanders, either would be a far better choice for president than any of the remaining Republican contenders, especially the demagogic real estate developer. Assisting or allowing his ascendance by electoral abstinence in order to force a ‘revolution’ is heretical.”

Not voting for Hilary is another vote in favor of Trump.

Writing in Sanders’ name in an effort to stand against either candidate is not an effective way to promote change. Bernie Sanders is not going to be president. So instead of throwing away ones vote, one should use it to support a candidate that has shown a willingness to reevaluate her political convictions. If anything, use that vote to prevent a xenophobic, hateful, and petulant individual from becoming president.

Many young people have been extremely supportive of Sanders, yet these individuals are least involved in politics. The only other time our generation has been this supportive of a president was in Obama’s race for the presidency in 2008. Then, young Americans became disillusioned with the President and politics in general.

Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post stated that in the 2014-midterm elections, “Just 19.9 percent of 18- to 29-year-old citizens cast ballots last fall, compared with an average of 26.6 percent for the same age range in other midterm elections over the previous 40 years.”

Photo Credit: Alex Hanson/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Alex Hanson/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

It would be a shame for those numbers to reappear the same or lower in these next elections just because Sanders was not nominated. Instead of divulging in campaigns like “Bernie or Bust”, Americans should use their outrage to create positive changes from Bernie Sanders’ campaign in their local communities. Some economic inequality can be changed state by state rather than nationally.

The strength of the “Bernie or Bust” campaign comes from a belief that average, American people can instill change within the government if we all band together to make it happen. This philosophy is commendable.

However, the problem with a strategy such as this one is that it relies on a people that have otherwise been pretty unreliable in politics. This is not a time to wait and see if everyone comes through for a revolutionary movement, this is a time to stop a terrible person from becoming president.

The Bernie Sanders ideology does not have to end with his presidential campaign.

His supporters can keep Trump out of office by voting for Hilary and maintain this level of dedication and involvement to bettering the country.

These two actions do not have to be independent.

Sanders said it best: “On her worst day, Hillary Clinton will be an infinitely better candidate and president than the Republican candidate on his best day.”

The “Bernie or Bust” campaign website even says, “our political revolution must be bigger–and longer lasting–than Bernie’s presidential campaign”.

Real change comes from political protestation and participation; it requires government involvement; everyone can agree that reasoning with the administration will be much harder with someone like Trump in office.

If Bernie Sanders’ ideals, or rather, if what young people want for this country are going to succeed, they need to come from a desire to work outside of and within politics.

We as a generation like the big stories.

We stood behind “Black Lives Matter” during the Michael Brown case, but as usual, a hush fell over the crowd when the campaign began focusing on smaller reform; bottom up kind of issues just like “Bernie or Bust” wants.

It is easy to stand behind someone like Bernie Sanders. It is harder to watch him lose and make a choice to carry out his ideals by voting for his competitor.

However, not voting for either candidate continues to pigeon hold young people as the fair weather political activists we are. So vote where it counts. This election is not the only important one that lies ahead, and if “Bernie or Bust” succeeds, it proves to the rest of the country that we are always willing to stand aside and let everyone else make the actual decisions about this country.

Keep your power.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Phil Roeder/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Does Bernie Really Think He Can Win This?

By Lou Gumede

When President Barack Obama won re-election in 2012, there was already speculation if then Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton would choose to run for the Presidency in 2016.

Three years later, Hillary Clinton would declare her intention to become the first woman President of the United States and instantly became the frontrunner to replace Obama as the head of the Democratic Party.

Hillary would later be joined by another two major candidates, namely Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders; with Sanders being Hillary’s main opposition.

Clinton began the polling season with a large lead over all her counterparts and is currently enjoying a favourable lead over Sanders and O’Malley.

However, Sanders has gained some ground on Hillary in a New York Times/CBS News poll that was released this week.

The poll shows that Hillary received 48% of Democratic votes nationwide, whilst Bernie received 41%.

This information coupled with two other state polls released on Tuesday, a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that 49% of Democratic voters in Iowa would back Sanders, whilst 44% would choose Clinton.

This is a far cry from the results a month ago, where Clinton led Sanders by 11 points.

Another poll by Monmouth University showed an even larger gap, where Sanders leads Clinton 53% to 39% in New Hampshire. Clinton led Sanders in New Hampshire in November.

Nationally, Clinton’s lead has been slipping gradually; according to a CNN poll in December Clinton led Sanders 50% to 34% compared to a poll conducted in late November where Clinton was up 58% to Sanders’ 30%.

This should be worrying to Clinton, as the last three rounds of national polls have seen Sanders pull closer to her.

However, according to the national poll released on Tuesday, 7 in 10 Democratic voters, including most of Bernie Sanders’ supporters, still believe that Clinton will win the Democratic primary according to the New York Times.

However, University of Rhode Island Political Science Professor Brian Krueger cautions not to read into the poll results too much.

“We are not talking about big swings, he [Sanders] was low 30s in November and is now high 30s,” Krueger told RISE NEWS. “Part of the explanation in that O’Malley’s support has gone from 4 or 5 to about 1 or 2 percent, with Bernie picking up most of that support.”

Nevertheless the numbers have forced Clinton to start confronting Sanders more and try to dispel or disapprove of his electability and his apparent stance on gun violence.

Clinton has repeatedly tried to bring attention to Sanders’ vote to legislation that broadly shields gun manufacturers and dealers from liability lawsuits in 2005; this is to show that Sanders is not in line with the standing of Clinton, President Obama and the Democratic Party.

According to Krueger, Sanders was not probably expecting to win the race but rather wanted to run in order to make Clinton address issues that matter to those on the left of the party.

“In other words, he did not expect to win, but he could expect to have an enthusiastic following and force the discussion of issues otherwise buried,” Krueger said.

Interestingly though, Krueger believes that as GOP candidate Donald Trump becomes more successful, so will Sanders.

“I also think that as Trump succeeds so will Sanders, in that Bernie supporters will feel that he would actually have a chance of beating Trump in a general election.”

Krueger believes that Sanders could “pull a primary victory or two” but never actually take an overall lead.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for you us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place. 

Cover Photo Credit: Phil Roeder/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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