I teach 8th grade Social Science in San Francisco, CA.
Exploring American history, culture, government and society with over a hundred students every year, I learned that young people need to understand the importance of voting to convince them to pay attention to elections.
I tell them I registered and voted in every election since I gained the right to vote in 1978, but that's not very convincing to Middle School students who are four years from 18.
I also tell them a story from before I was old enough to vote when I learned exactly how Bernie Sanders felt the night Amy Klobuchar gave up her campaign for President and started a tidal wave of endorsements for Joe Biden. Klobuchar supported a growing enthusiasm for Biden's candidacy and helped sweep him to victory in Texas and other states on Super Tuesday the next day.
|The Capital 'Y'
The election was like a caucus. After candidate speeches and lobbying we did a roll call vote. After the first ballot each group spent time advocating for their candidate.
During caucusing I negotiated a deal with three other candidates who all agreed to endorse the one with the most votes on the second ballot. We believed these votes would be enough to challenge front running candidates on a third ballot.
|California "Senator" Brad Lakritz with Governor Brown in 1978.
It turned out that members of the coalition never expected me to win and did not plan to vote for me. Immediately they endorsed other candidates including the expected winner.
The Capitol Y student newspaper published stories about that election during the legislative conference in Sacramento later that year.
This was a devastating blow for a 17 year old high school student. How could they lie to me like that? Pipersky was later quoted saying "I didn't want to throw my support to Lakritz . . . " Which begs the question of why he promised to do so in the first place.
Clearly he and the others were only fishing for my endorsement.
From a political point of view, I believe young people should learn more about what's best for America, and all Americans, not what (or who) their party tells them they should vote for. So it shouldn't matter which party you belong to. What should matter is who is the best candidate.
How that plays out in each election might very well be different.
Because of party politics, however, Anderson had no chance to succeed and only took away votes from Jimmy Carter, helping Ronald Reagan win the White House.
Today, I wonder what would it have taken for him to get the kind of endorsements he would have needed to win that election.
Over the years since then, I've registered as "Decline to State" and "No Party Preference" for voting in California. I choose who to vote for, or which way to vote on a proposition, based on who or what I believe will be best for the local community, state, or federal government.
To my knowledge, Bernie Sanders was never promised anything. In fact, it is clear to me that the Democratic Party did not want him as their candidate in 2016. And, they are making it clear they don't want him today despite his early leads in polls and primaries, and legions of excited young Bernie voters.
|Rep. James Clyburn endorsing Biden
Although Biden was already expected to win South Carolina, Clyburn's endorsement sent his numbers even higher there, influencing Kloubacher and others to line up and endorse him.
I'm sure Democrats couldn't be happier today and it looks like any vote for Bernie in future primaries would be dividing the Party and helping the opposition candidate.
Proving once again that, in American politics, if your candidate didn't get the endorsements needed to succeed, your choice may be made for you before you go to the ballot box.
# # #