Why the Democrats Desperately Need a Plan C


The Democratic party is teetering on the brink.  The green/peace/social justice community needs a Plan C.  The Republicans have one.  The Democrats don’t.  The impacts could be catastrophic.  




  • Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have serious handicaps for reaching the presidency.


  • By her own admission, Hillary is an ineffective campaigner, with serious negatives among young activists and the general voting population.

  • Long considered an “ace in the hole” for her campaign, Bill’s presence on the stump has been problematic at best.

  • There are continual rumors of a pending Clinton indictment.  About what remains unclear.  But such an event could seriously impede or destroy a Clinton candidacy.

  • Bernie has proven to be a spectacular campaigner, catalyzing an amazing outpouring of activist energy, mostly young, but with a remarkably broad base that reflects the serious problems our nation faces.     

  • It’s unclear the Sanders campaign has been effectively focussed on organizing this energy into a long-term plus for social change beyond the election, whether he wins the presidency or not.  If that fails to happen, and this grassroots uprising is allowed to dissipate after November, the Sanders campaign must ultimately be judged a failure.

  • Bernie also has electoral negatives, most importantly his age.  At 74, his stamina has been astounding.  But he is still five years older than Ronald Reagan was when Reagan became our oldest president.  Even Trump, at 69, could make this a significant campaign issue.

  • After a long stretch of welcome civility, the contest between Clinton and Sanders is on the brink of degenerating into deep negativity, which could seriously damage either candidate’s ability to win the White House in the fall.

  • Should both candidates be overwhelmed by their negatives, the Democrats have nobody waiting in the wings to pick up the torch.  

    On the other side:

  • The GOP clown car has emptied down to three contested candidates—-Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich—-all with serious negatives for a presidential campaign.

  • But it now appears likely that Trump will fall short of an outright majority at the Cleveland Convention, making the nomination a jump ball.

  • In contrast to the Democrats, the GOP DOES have a backup—-Paul Ryan.  The Koch Brothers, who may be the only GOP voters that really count, are now saying Ryan will be the nominee.  

  • Though an apparent long shot, Ryan did emerge from a crazed Congressional food fight to become Speaker of the House.  As such, he is now #2 behind Joe Biden in terms of White House succession.  He is currently saying he doesn’t want the presidency, but he also said he didn’t want the Speaker’s job.  

  • Despite his outward appearance of civility, Ryan is a vicious corporate reactionary, an Ayn Rand fanatic with a brutal far-right agenda that includes (though he denies it) destroying Social Security, Medicare, labor unions, environmental protections and much more.  A Ryan presidency would be a global catastrophe on more fronts that can be listed here.

  • Ryan has plenty of negatives as a candidate. But at 46, he’s more than two decades younger than Hillary, has a family, speaks reasonably well and comes off as deceptively sane.  A well-calibrated running mate could make him hard to beat.


  • The idea that a GOP denial of the Trump or Cruz candidacies will shatter the party’s ability to win the fall election has meaning only if the Democrats are unified behind a viable candidate, or if the Kochs and their cohorts suddenly lose the billions they could spend to patch up the problem.  The same is true if Trump or Cruz or Kasich actually do emerge as the nominee.

  • With ploys like Voter ID and other modernized Jim Crow disenfranchisement techniques, the GOP has effectively stripped the Democratic base of—-literally—-millions of likely voters.   Written with Bob Fitrakis, our upcoming STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016 ( ) provides the detail, as does the on-going research of Greg Palast (, Bev Harris, Brad Friedman and others.  There’s an hour-long radio discussion of this with Bob Koehler, Mimi Kennedy and John Brakey at’s Solartopia Show ( )

  • In Wisconsin, significantly more votes were counted in the GOP primary than for Bernie and Hillary.  The New York Times and others have estimated the number of Wisconsin citizens stripped of their right to vote at 300,000, comprising a margin easily large enough to deny the Democrats a victory in the fall.


  • Bob Fitrakis, Greg Palast and others have calculated the number of stripped voters in Ohio at well over 500,000, more than enough to cover this fall’s likely margin of victory in this crucial swing state.  

  • Tens of thousands of likely Democratic voters were denied their ballot due to long lines in Arizona, which will be easily reproduced nationwide in the fall with the standard short-changing of voting machines and backup ballots in black, Hispanic and college town precincts.   

  • Bernie spoke angrily about this after the Arizona primary, and Hillary has also mentioned these Jim Crow assaults—-but nothing concrete has been done to blunt the massive registration stripping that is likely to define the fall election.

  • Well over half the nation’s votes this fall will be cast on electronic voting machines that are mostly 10 years old and can be easily flipped.  In key swing states like Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Arizona among others, GOP governors could have a free hand to shape the vote count with a few keystrokes in the deep night after the votes are cast.  There is no accountability.  

  • Those who consider this “conspiracy theory” need on face one question:  “How will the electronic vote count in the fall 2016 election be verified.”  Right now there is only one answer:  “It can’t be.”

  • Since the thefts of the 2000 and 2004 elections the Democrats have been deafeningly silent about the specter of another presidential election being stolen.  Numerous US Senate and House seats, Governors mansions and statehouses have been lost in the interim.  The usual Democrat explanation is that they don’t want to discourage voter turnout.  But, as above, that is already being guaranteed by the new GOP Jim Crow laws.


The Democrats’ abject failure to deal with the stripping of the voter rolls and the flipping of the  electronic vote count could doom their chances the fall, no matter who will be their nominee for president.  With that loss will go control of the Congress, governorships, state legislatures and countless other elective offices at all levels of government.


But in the interim, the Democrats must also deal with the fact that all their hopes for winning the White House now rest on candidates who are 68 and 74 years old respectively, and that each has serious handicaps that could cost them any reasonable chance for victory in the fall.


The time to start at least considering potential backup alternatives is very much now.