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To Understand Americans Elect, Understand Peter Ackerman’s Theory of Movement Organization

Time is Short and Options are Limited: How to Understand Americans Elect?

You may not have heard of Americans Elect yet, but by the end of the year you will have heard a great deal more. Americans Elect is a unique combination of political party and 501(c)(4) corporation with the aim of arranging the nomination and election of its very own candidates for President and Vice President of the United States in 2012. How will Americans Elect manage to do this, according to what rules, with what level of transparency in its conduct, and incorporating what degree of democracy in its decision-making?

The most straightforward way to find answers to these questions is to ask Americans Elect itself. After contacting Americans Elect by phone and e-mail over a number of months and receiving no response, I sent a certified letter with a series of questions and an appeal to open dialogue. The letter was received at the Americans Elect corporate headquarters in Washington DC last month, but I have not yet received a reply.

Given this failure of direct communication, the next best method for finding answers to these questions is to consult the public record. For the second and third quarters of 2010, financial disclosures of contributions to and expenditures by Americans Elect are accessible because it had organized itself in April of 2010 as a Section 527 organization, a group legally required to make such disclosures. These financial disclosures provided useful information, such as the fact that Americans Elect has been funded by the donation of $1.55 million from just one man who has installed himself as Director, President and Chairman. But on the last day of the third quarter of 2010, Americans Elect shut down as a Section 527 organization and reinvented itself as a 501c4 corporation. 501c4 corporations do not have to make disclosures of contributions or expenditures, and there is no sign that Americans Elect has made any voluntary disclosures of its activities since its transformation at the end of Third Quarter 2010. Until matters change, information about the activities of Americans Elect will remain invisible in the public record.

The election of the most powerful person on the planet is too important a matter to be carried on by a corporation in private, unexamined and unquestioned by the people who are supposed to be the basis of power in the United States. Time is short: voting in the 2012 presidential election cycle begins in little more than one year’s time. To keep our democracy democratic, we must do what we can to open up dialogue with Americans Elect and in other ways uncover records of Americans Elect’s activities. In the meantime, perhaps the best way to understand the motivation and strategy of Americans Elect is to understand the ideas of sole funder, Director, President and Chairman, Peter Ackerman.

Peter Ackerman’s Key to Understanding Americans Elect: A Force More Powerful

Fortunately, Peter Ackerman showed us his key to understanding the approach Americans Elect will take in a speech at a charity gala on October 22, 2010:

There developed over time the idea in the last three and a half decades that if people come together and use tactics that are extremely aggressive but are not designed to kill their opponents — strikes, boycotts and mass protests — they can attack a layer of loyalty right below the very senior authoritarian rulers that basically undermines the pillars that support the regime needs to stay in power. And since 35-36 years ago there’s now been over 50 countries in the world that have transitioned from authoritarian rule to democracy through tactics of civil resistance.

Now, recently I’ve been involved with another system that I think most here would agree is dysfunctional: our own political system. And there are many reasons for it, and I won’t go into that in the short time I have, but what I am undertaking as the Chairman of the Americans Elect initiative is an effort to create an online virtual primary and convention to nominate a Presidential – Vice President ticket that will bridge the center of American public opinion and that will be on the ballot in all 50 states in 2012. What I think will happen again, just like in civil resistance, we’ll have a new force that will come to play in a system that is struggling and that is giving so little satisfaction to the American people.

Peter Ackerman is in charge of Americans Elect and he’s told us that it will unfold “just like in civil resistance.” In his 2001 book — A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict — Ackerman shares his understanding of how civil resistance unfolds. To read A Force More Powerful is to get a glimpse of the strategy Americans Elect can be expected to adopt.

Ackerman’s Theory of Regime Change: Brilliant Strategists Harnessing and Constraining the Power of Potentially Unruly Masses

In A Force More Powerful, Peter Ackerman outlines his explanation for success in nonviolent regime change. Ackerman’s theory is a stark departure from the last four decades of social movement scholarship, which has focused on the impact of interpersonal and interorganizational relationships within and reaching out from activist movements. Social movement research demonstrates that patterns of connection help protest movements to grow and shape the content of their complaints. But in Peter Ackerman’s book, a movement’s success is due to the brilliance displayed by the individuals who lead them. For Ackerman, regime change stemmed from “leaders who drove events” in “rapidly organized campaigns headed by brilliant amateurs who seem to triumph quickly against all odds.” “In all cases,” writes Ackerman in his introduction (pp. 6-7), regime change is a top-down technocratic accomplishment of intentional strategists, not driven by the actions of masses of engaged people:

The true rhythm of effective nonviolent action is less spontaneous than it is intentional, less theatrical than technical. It has little to do with shouting slogans and putting flowers in gun barrels. It has everything to do with separating governments from their means of control.

Ackerman proceeds to describes smart activist leaders throughout the 21st Century picking and choosing just the right strategies to undo entire governments. In Russia, Boris Yeltsin’s inspirational declaration on a tank created an opening for rank-and-file Russians to follow him in opposing a coup (p. 14). If wiser strategic decisions had been made by the old-regime communist Soviets, Ackerman asserts, history might have followed a different course. Because Yeltsin out-thought the old guard, Yeltsin won.

Moving back in time to unrest in South Africa and India, the individual importance of Mohandas Gandhi as a leader is unmistakable to Peter Ackerman: “all joined a campaign behind Gandhi’s leadership” (p. 64). To the extent that others were involved in creating positive resistance to British rule, they were elite leaders coming as Gandhi did from a professional class of well-educated experts, determined to “change India from the top down” (p. 70). To the extent Gandhi succeeded in his efforts (and for Ackerman this is questionable), he did so not when he unleashed the power of the Indian masses upon the British, but when he channeled Indian discontent into a carefully thought-out and constrained strategy of non-violent “self-rule” by everyday Indians under Gandhi’s strict command (pp. 72-82). When local movements improvised, they sometimes were successful but often engaged in counterproductive actions that undermined the progress of Gandhi’s vision. Popular participation was essential, but for it to be reliably successful it had to be directed by movement leaders (pp. 94-101).

In Ackerman’s history of the Polish Solidarity movement, the spontaneous decision to strike was not as important as subsequent planning to take advantage of the opportunities created by the strike. By manipulating the Polish Communist Party into socially inappropriate overreactions, Solidarity swept away the myth of Communist Party legitimacy, just as Gandhi’s strategic provocations swept away the myth of a legitimate British Raj (pp. 106-110, p. 118). Through many difficulties, according to Ackerman, the leadership skill of Lech Walesa kept Solidarity from acceding to the extremist, volatile and even violent impulses of rank-and-file workers. Solidarity succeeded best when populist demands were restrained by wise and prudent leadership. (pp. 153-160)

In German resistance to French occupation of the Ruhr after World War I, Ackerman describes the struggle of German government to maintain high energy in civil resistance while keeping the hoi polloi from getting out of hand:

Berlin remained concerned that workers’ zeal could go too far. If the conflict brought ‘sanctions and violent measures,’ Cuno said, there could be ‘an uncontrollable swell of national pride.’… Getting workers and employers to collaborate was an enormous challenge.” (pp. 183-185)

For Ackerman, nonviolent resistance against French occupation of the Ruhr was due to failure by centralized leadership in Germany to exert control. Instead indigenous leadership developed in the Ruhr, which was inexpert, lacking in strategy and hence ineffective. (p.205)

In resisting the military regime of a General, Ackerman asserts that the people of El Salvador succeeded in a civil strike because of intelligent leadership:

The sudden success of the civic strike did not mean that the astute strategic moves of its leaders were not important; in fact, they made it possible…. Nonviolent resistance is not adventitious; it has to be planned and instigated. Opposition leaders emerged from the professions, the press and the university student body… (p. 264)

In yet another historical example, Peter acknowledges that the the victory of the “People Power” movement against Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines was due in part to the opportunity created by a spontaneous popular response to the assassination of Aquino Benigno by Marcos. While necessary, Ackerman insists that this opportunity was not sufficient for victory:

“Most popular movements that toppled authoritarian governments in the twentieth century were given openings to vie for power, but not all took advantage of those opportunities… An authoritarian ruler’s special vulnerabilities to nonviolent resistance are rarely visible to those who do not understand its mechanics and the chemistry (pp. 393-395).

For Ackerman, People Power prevailed because of the leadership acumen of Corazon Aquino in recognizing, seizing upon and exploiting strategic opportunities in a technically adroit manner. At the end of his book, Ackerman makes this case generally (pp. 494-497):

Nonviolent action is like violent combat in at least two ways: it does not succeed automatically, and it does not operate mysteriously — it works by identifying an opponent’s vulnerabilities and taking away his ability to maintain control…. Doing so requires strategy for action, without which movements rarely prevail… the skill with which those choices were made shaped the outcome…. It was always the product of sensible decisions by shrewd leaders, on behalf of unified and persistent people — which is the everyday basis of heroism…. What is afoot is a competition based on skill, with an uncertain outcome.

Old Thinking is Current Thinking: Civil Resistance Video of 2009

It’s possible that Peter Ackerman has changed his thinking about civil resistance (and therefore about the conduct of Americans Elect) since 2001. But according to the transcript of a video segment Ackerman had recorded on June 23 2009, his current thinking is much the same:

Question: “What are the key elements of waging a successful civil resistance movement?”

Peter Ackerman: “The first thing is unity. A civil resistance movement must unify the widest possible spectrum of society: young, old, all ethnic groups, all religious groups, all econommic strata, around a limited set of achievable goals, and designate for the moment a leadership that has legitimacy to mobilize all these groups in service of those goals. So, unity.

The second thing that’s required is planning. There has to be capacity to, for that leadership to look objectively at what its capabilities are, how it can mobilize, what tactics are at its disposal, how to sequence those tactics in a way that has the biggest negative impact on the opponent, where the cost is greater to the opponent than it is to your selves.

That planning needs to go on at an offensive and defensive level. Defensive level means there are some things you should anticipate are going to happen to you. For example, you might have an oppression that might end up killing some of the leadership. There needs to be plannng for redundancy of leadership. And then there’s offensive things that can be done, which are all in the tactics of nonviolent resistance that are strikes, boycotts and mass protests.

So you have unity and then you have the capacity for continuous planning. And then the last of the three is nonviolent discipline. Now, nonviolent discipline, uh, the reason I use the term discipline is to emphasize it’s a strategic choice, not a moral one. Because civil resistance can’t succeed unless you induce loyalty shifts and multiple defections from the other side, that basically weakens the other side’s power base. And two problems with injecting violent tactics to a civil resistance movement. The first is, once for sure the violent tactics will be responded to by the party that has a monopoly or predominance of armed power. And so once that response comes, it’s highly likely that the wide majority of the population will go indoors, because not everybody’s willing to take the same risks for a civil resistance movement. The general population that you worked so hard to get involved, they’re the group that’s most likely to take the least risk. And when violence is afoot, they’ll go indoors. And the second reason is that you’re specifically trying to create loyalty shifts amongst the opposition, and it’s very hard to create those loyalty shifts when you’re threatening to kill them or main them. It just, you know, the two don’t go together.

So unity, planning, and nonviolent discipline are the ingredients that are sort of the necessary conditions for a successful civil resistance movement. And I think expressed this way they transcend all cultures and all time.”

Conclusion

If Peter Ackerman follows through on his promise to run Americans Elect in the spirit of a civil resistance campaign as he understands it, then the gist of his 2001 book A Force More Powerful suggests a conceptual hierarchy of operation conducted from the top levels of leadership on down, with wise visionary leaders at the top, surrounded by capable experts in the middle, and followers at the bottom who are constrained to act within limits strategically set by the Chairman (Peter Ackerman himself). The events leading up to the nomination of an Americans Elect Presidential ticket should be expected to be carefully orchestrated so that followers of various sorts will play the parts set out for them. We’ll be playing the music of democracy, but it will all be laid out according to Peter Ackerman’s score.

A Coda of Uncertainty

Put that conclusion on hold for moment, however, and consider this single paragraph written by Ackerman (and his employee co-author Jack DuVall). Held in the book’s conclusion, it contradicts nearly all the points stressed in the main body:

If the cost of a movement based on persuasion rather than coercion is occasional freelance action, by impetuous followers, the larger benefit is a movement that distributes initiative to its farthest outpost. Movements that expect people to take the personal risks inherent in nonviolent action have no alternative; they have to become what they want their country to become: open in form and democratic in function. Authoritarian governments breed apathy in all but those who have acute grievances or an unquenchable thirst to speak the truth. When this truth is out, and when a nonviolent movement devolves authority to ordinary people, it can summon far more devotion than any dictator or armed minority. (p. 503)

This is the only passage in the book I can find that advocates open, freewheeling, and spontaneous action by rank-and-file members of a civil resistance movement, and by my reading it is striking in its contrast with the remainder of the book. But there is a real possibility that Peter Ackerman is devoted to this model despite its occupation of limited space in his book. If Ackerman follows through on his promise to run Americans Elect according to this understanding, then Americans Elect must be transparent in its actions, open with disclosures, with direction provided by rank-and-file citizens in a democratic bottom-up fashion rather than by appointed leaders in technocratic top-down fashion.

I acknowledge that this is a confusing contrast, but that’s perhaps unavoidable; people and the things they do are messy, not archetypal. Which model will Peter Ackerman follow in his administration of Americans Elect for the 2012 elections? Wait, watch and see. React accordingly.

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This essay is part of a series of posts on Americans Elect at Irregular Times. To read a short summary of available knowledge regarding Americans Elect, visit Americans Elect Watch.
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19 comments to To Understand Americans Elect, Understand Peter Ackerman’s Theory of Movement Organization

  • Very, very interesting. Thanks for this.

  • Tom

    i don’t buy it. Corporations are already the downfall of our country and now these shitheads want everyone to follow their “brand” of politics. Bullshit. One person, one trackable vote BASED ON THE CONSTITUTION – publicly funded with term limits for the elected. i’d even like an additional ability to recall the elected ones who completely change their thinking and don’t do as they promised once elected. That’s what it’s supposed to be. What we have now is an Obamanation of democracy.

    • Jon

      Corporations? Not the National Debt expended on Social programs and earmarks? We have a vastly diffent understanding of what constitutes the “downfall of our Country”
      Tom didn’t you vote for Obama?

  • Ralph

    Let me tell you a little bit about any organization that buys into this model:

    Since its only significant asset is its leader’s personality, the rest of the organization will tend to function as a large apparatus to kiss his ass.

    The “mission” of the organization will be no more or less at any given time than what the leader has pulled out of his ass of late.

    Anyone providing even the most innocuous of constructive criticism from within the organization will be accused of hindering the functioning of the organization (not kissing the leader’s ass), and/or undermining the mission of the organization (not accepting uncritically what the leader has pulled out of his ass).

    Rank-and-file members asking for help getting things done in the day-to-day functioning of the organization will be ignored (because the only thing that matters is the head trip of the leader-guy), or if they complain loudly enough they will be accused of hindering or undermining (for definitions of hindering and undermining, see above).

    Over time, the critical thinkers and problem solvers among the rank-and-file will fall away, leaving the mindlessly compliant.

    What you’ll have left is an organization comprising elites in close contact with centers of money and power at the top, a few grumbling disenfranchised people trying and failing to get things done in the middle, and a large mass of compliant but disengaged people out there to go along with whatever the elites dream up.

    Not the sort of outcome that’s really going to get me off the couch manning the barricades, I’m afraid.

  • Could not take anymore profanity by comments of i guess you could politely say the people that supposedly get power given them from the authority the nonviolent movement. That would be something we spend time on boycotts strikes and people dying in the streets only to achieve a peacful takover, a rightful cue done right with as little harm as possible ,to give it to idiots that try to blame Obama, a coherent peaceful man that wanted to help solve the problems of the 21rst century. He came to office as I remember with the Ideas to create change and ethics,to restore a national pride and capacity for the future economicly and socially.
    Well what happened to that. Carfully orchastrated change in the middle east or perhaps it was just dum luck that we have all these nonviolent protests all of a suddon. In egypt the military helped and are not the peoples idea of freedom ,I think they could have done better with the nobel prize louriate. Did we stop the next invasion of Yemen well perhaps they to have oil, what about syria?
    They must have something. Iraq now we had many chances to go there yet they let them kill their people. We could not orchestrate nonviolent change yet we percieve they can of their own accord, who is pulling the strings of authoritarion rule? Perhps others Have read the Ackerman book. Perhps that last paragraph was right. We can achieve better

  • THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS A MIRIAD OF COHERANCE OR INCOHERANCE. What are we striving for? What are we here for, in anycase let us take the time to right the wrongs, let go of intolerance and embrace tolerance. For example we look at how peoples are sharing and caring for the old. How do they care for the young, the enviorment needs mending does anyone care? To care for the enviorment takes strong action in this society or perhaps peaceful takovers around the world,without losing the reason they are done in the first place. Social change is in the capacity to order a responce of a set of ideas or in simpler terms to feel on an emotional level of the need for such change. We respond to needs and wants, I guess one could orchestrate actions in a diliberate attempt to motavate
    the people for some reason,how far can they get? I never really understood the buisness practice to exploit mankind in favor of the destruction of the enviorment,perhaps they that work hard to achieve these ends also are religious fanatics as the deposed criminal that remains on our telivision screens as america says we do not parade trophys or whatever they meant. (I think they could and should show pictures to the families and victims of the 911 attacks.)
    I think we need to map the earth’s enviorment’s and send troops teachers and enviormentalists to sensitive areas to affect healing. Lets do this now. Social change,a coherant state of being acceptance and tolerance.
    Let this americans elect bring a coherant voice to politicts,we do not have many. Bail the people out of debt not these corrupt biusnesses and banks,(we need to keep enough around for awile they serve a purpose too).Did we mean to destroy the earth that sustains us in this atmospheric bubble,I think not and the fat lady has not yet sung. Can everyone plant a flower? Daniel

    • Lns

      Read Debunking Economics… the author has a plan to bail out people and fix the economy. According to him (and sounds reasonable), it would fix the economy quickly, reward those that are not in trouble financially as well as fix it for those who are. It was just an interview that I saw and it sounded intriging. I now have the book on my reading list to see for myself.

  • you can publish please send comments. Daniel danielhill@yahoo.com

  • Homegrown Sovereign American Man

    Americans Elect Seems Like a Good Idea to ME,,, Kind of Like HISTORY in the MAKING… I think that this opens the door for additional options and chances which gives us some what of a NEW,, and probably IMPROVED outcome, compared to the normal past…
    I kind of see it as if it was a GREAT new option,,, kind of like when they switched from horses to HORSE POWER…. Still Moving,, just FASTER and SIMPLER.. =)

    PLEASE COMMENT AMERICAN PEOPLE =)

    • Lns

      They are not transparent and keep the power at the top level. Anyone who they deem is not following what they want (according to their bylaws) they can kick out. That is not my kind of Democracy from a group that claims to be a new vision. It sounds actually worse than Citizen’s United already allows them to be. Seriously, you cannot criticize anyone? Wow.

      IMHO, it is like the voter suppression thing going on in many right wing run states, which is a ploy to peel off votes. This peels off centrist, independent and liberals who are disgruntled. So, even if they don’t win, it falls to the Republican, which is just fine with the corporatists who fund this thing in secret.

  • Thanks for this interesting expose. It seems as if how one views Americans Elect depends on how the term “leadership” is defined. If it is defined in terms of one person giving order to others to carry out, then these concerns are warranted. However if one interprets leadership to mean defining a vision that appeals to others who are then willing to work to achieve that vision, then I can in some sense agree with Ackerman’s sentiments.

    However I wholeheartedly agree with you that the change to a less transparent organization along with appointing Ackermam’s son does not bode well for what this organization represents. Have you seen Dan Morain’s editorial?
    http://www.sacbee.com/2011/07/28/3799316/dan-morain-beware-a-third-party.html

  • Kridnix, thanks for the comment. Yep, I’ve seen Dan Morain’s editorial.

    Update: in the months since I posted this essay, I’ve made more attempts by multiple means to reach Americans Elect and initiate conversation. They’ve continued to avoid any response.

  • Aliceandthecat

    Who else is Ackerman connected to (Soros, Buffet, Koch?)? The site for Americans Elect is pretty slick. Is he (Acckerman) just playing spoiler for one party or another? As Perot or Nader did once? Thank you for what information you do have on this subject

  • First: there is no “democracy” without jury rights. (Google “Democracy Defined” or visit democracydefined dot org) Jury rights are now gone, and hence, we live in more of a government shifting from a Republic to a totalitarian oligarchy, as outlined in Leonard Peikoff’s “The Ominous Parallels.”

    Proper juries have been done away with by the institution of “voir dire” in 1850 (pretrial prosecutorial jury selection, questioning for loyalty to “the law”), licensing of lawyers (1832-present, gradually adopted in all States), silencing of defense arguments and improper judicial instruction (1895-present, result of Supreme Court case “Sparf and Hansen v. USA,” where Sparf’s jury wasn’t informed of their right to acquit), and liberal application of “contempt of court” threats from the judges (to selectively silence certain defense arguments), who have collectively become an arm of the prosecution. All these erosions to proper jury independence during trials has gutted our Constitution of its Bill of Rights, and stripped the jury of their proper role as the fourth and supreme branch of government.

    What does this have to do with Ackerman? I’m not sure. That depends on how genuine he is. He is apparently a member of the CFR. If his intentions are libertarian, then he is in immense danger. If his intentions are not libertarian, then we are all in immense danger from his plans.

    Or, his plans may simply represent an attempt at softening of the fascism we live under.

    I personally think that’s the most likely. This would mean his intentions are more or less good, and that he’s aware of the idea of emergent order.

    I have not yet read his book, but I’ve read a lot of Gene Sharp, and am about to start his 3 part series.

    I’m a Libertarian and a libertarian. I’ve never understood why wealthy libertarians don’t crack a few books on strategy, and make their ideas happen. Perhaps its because our system doesn’t let philosophically consistent libertarians succeed very often, and when they do succeed they get a good look at the forces that oppose them, and say “It’s not worth the risk.”

    At least Ackerman seems intelligent, which is more than I can say for (most of) the rest of the electoral Libertarian movement. Even if Ackerman is not as intelligent or concerned with justice as he seems, the Americans Elect venture might produce interesting results.

    Ideally, if Americans Elect falls short of a top-tier hierarchical level, it will at least utilize Kevin Kelly’s “Nine Laws of God,” which were outlined in his book on emergent order: “Out of Control.” OOC is available at http://www.kk.org

    In closing, I’d just like to say: The freedom movement needs more connectivity, not less. Feel free to email me at jake.alfg@yahoo.com

    Jake Witmer
    jake.alfg@yahoo.com
    “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual could overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the right! They were wrong and he was right. The obvious, the silly, and the true had got to be defended. Truisms were true, hold on to that! The solid world exists, its laws do not change. Stones are hard, water is wet, objects unsupported fall toward the earth’s center. With the feeling that he was speaking to O’Brien, and also that he was setting forth an important axiom, he wrote: Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

    DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER
    DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER
    DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER
    DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER
    –George Orwell, “1984″

    Emmanuel Goldstein = Osama Bin Laden

    • Lns

      One of my favorites as well. The problem with Libertarians, as I see it, is that we have not educated or evolved enough for it to be practical. You first have to be empathetic to those that have been denied the privilege of a supportive and well thought out home life. We can philosophize all we want about the words that move us, but what about all those who have parents who have to work all the time just to feed their families and have neither the energy or the wherewithal (since it was probably never taught to them) at the end of the day to teach critical thinking or the love of reading? You cannot have a Utopian society without all members of it being equally enlightened. With privilege should come responsibility, yet we fail miserably in the pursuit of “me”. Money and power is a game perpetrated on the masses and I do not see these people as any less self-serving than the others, perhaps more so.

  • Pknm

    At first glance there seems to be an assumption about today’s affairs which I’m not sure is true; that is, that the overwhelming majority of people in this country feel that the system is broken and that the government is oppresive. Is that the case? There definitely seems to be an unhelpful polerization that is producing gridlock,but that’s likely to be because of the current divided govt and the GOP’s flirtation with extremism. There are a couple of fallacies floating around; one is that the democrats are as monolithic as the GOP and that when they had sixty votes in the senate they could have done anything they wanted, and the second is thatthe GOP is more extreme then ever. Neither is true; there are many democratic members of the house and senate that represent conservative districts and states and vote accordingly, and the GOP has always been extreme. During the time of the Korean war they were willing, apparently, to risk world war three to gain political advantage so it should have been no surprise that earlier this year they were equally willing to risk the collapse of the world economy for the same reason. However, we live in a democracy, the genius of which being not how we pick our leaders but how we get rid of them.
    Ackerman’s organization would seem to be unnecessary. At worst, mischevious; maybe a benign social experiment; perhaps the eccentric antics of a delusional Chalibi Wannabe

    • Lns

      You actually have to follow politics to understand how this stuff works. That is not the American populace, probably because they are just too busy surviving and providing. Do you know how many times I have read and heard we should have gotten single payer? As if an executive order could accomplish it. There is a reason it took 30 years just to start. The good news, states like Vermont, mine (California), and others will probably apply for the waiver by setting up state run single payer. Then it will spread. The bad news, people like these will take power or hand it to the Republicans, either way, overturn it and we are back to square one. Heaven forbid we the people get the benefit that some think belongs only to them because of their cleverness.

  • Richard

    I am leary of any billionaire leading a movement. He didn’t get to be a billionaire by being stupid. He obviously knows how to strategize and work the system. I for one am tired of being “worked”. The movement must start at the grass roots level.

    • Lns

      Me too! Let’s just support the real grass root movements that are pushing for a 28th amendment to do away with the notion that corporations are people and money out of politics for good. That is grass root and will be a heck of battle to get it done, but well worth it.

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