The transformational candidate
Saturday, April 9, 2016 by Dave Winer

Following up on yesterday's quick challenge -- 

A little mental exercise. If you don't "like" Hillary Clinton, name another woman who could realistically run for President who you do like.

Not sure many people understood the point of the exercise. 

First, I didn't ask for your answer because I don't believe there is one.

We've never had a female candidate make it to this point in a Presidential race. There's never been another woman so poked at, reviled, trashed, silenced, accused, made fun of, over so long as Hillary Clinton. 

So whatever you think about your favorite female politician, you have no idea how this honest, great, smart, hard-working person might be seen by the electorate if she were to make it this far. You can only guess. 

Elizabeth Warren

I guessed people's first idea, without much thought, would be Elizabeth Warren. But I hoped they'd think about it a bit more and question whether, by this point in the campaign, they wouldn't doubt her honesty the same way they question HRC's.

It's possible that to some degree our feelings about political people are a result of the process, not having much to do with the actual person. And that women are easier to accuse of having the traits that are common to all successful leaders, but are wrongly seen as flaws in women. 

This is a process of change we're all going through, and I don't think there's any question that a lot of what people think they know about HRC is the result of skilled tacticians steering people's beliefs in certain directions, through PR and advertising that they know, scientifically, will undermine their trust in her.

The transformational candidate

I fell for the pitch that Obama, and McGovern and Carter were transformational candidates. A candidate who would sweep change into Washington and make it work in a rational and fair way. Of course it's our sense of what's fair, never mind what other people think. 

What I learned, and I think it's very true, is the United States is a big human organism with lots of momentum, and sitting in the Oval Office may give the illusion of being captain, but the President it turns out, doesn't have much power. 

So candidates who call for sweeping change via their candidacy are to some extent 1. liars and 2. deluded. I think Obama was both. Very good snake oil. I bought as much as I could, contributing the full amount allowed by law. And he is a pretty good president all-told. But not the product we were promised. Not by a lot. Partially due to his naivete, and partially due to dishonesty.

I was fooled by Elizabeth Warren too

About me and Elizabeth Warren, I was fooled by her too, until the Gaza uprising in 2014, then we found that she's a Democrat. There are rules about being Democrats. Rules that she won't break, no matter how wrong they are. And she's smart and at her core honest, like HRC, but she still won't break the rules. One of those rules is that Israel is right and the Palestinians are bad. That did come out but people seem to have forgotten.

Now every Democrat, male or female, is going to obey that rule. It's in the invisible Democratic Party rulebook. The doctrine they all agree to, that we aren't told about, but can see by inference. Democrats don't screw around with Israel. They will lie for Israel, in the same way Israel lies for Israel -- boldly and arrogantly. She sounded like Netanyahu, and when called on it, said we have to agree to disagree. That stayed pretty quiet for Senator Warren, but Presidential candidate Warren, heh -- probably not so much. 

Bernie, please

Bernie had a bad interview in the Daily News and threw a tantrum to distract from that. As politics it worked. But that's not transformational. 

Short memories

In the days after a gun tragedy everyone is wringing their hands -- how can we do something about this! The politics won't budge. The NRA has it wrapped up. But people move on so quickly. Here's your chance to make a real issue of it, at a time when a real politician will have to respond, and it won't go away quickly. Sanders. But we can't have him be a real politician with things he wants to stay buried. Instead he has to be transformational because that's the role we cast him in. And transformational politicians can't be bought. Therefore Sanders is honest and we don't want to talk about it. That's btw how the politics of guns really work. A lack of commitment in the electorate keeps the NRA calling the shots. 

Let's learn about gender

But we don't evaluate a female candidate the same way we do a male candidate. This election has really made that clear to me, and by asking you all to do the exercise I hoped to take you through the same ideas I've been thinking about, without having to spell it out in great detail, because people don't read these long essays. :-)


If you want transformation, great -- but that has to happen with all of us, and not just with one vote once every four years. Not be "active" on Twitter and be outraged and powerless when something bad hits the "news cycle" but look for ways to create the change you want, every day of every year. 

No anchor on CNN or MSNBC is going to tell you that you should make gun control an issue for Bernie Sanders, but you should. Nor that you should challenge Elizabeth Warren on her blind support of Israel. The Republicans aren't going to do that! If you want change, it's a 24-by-7 thing, 365 days a year. You have to always be thinking, and listening and willing to take a stand.