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Hillary Must Win Over Sanders Supporters -- or Else

Earl Ofari Hutchinson   |   March 25, 2016    2:39 PM ET

The general consensus is that Hillary Clinton will beat out Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination. The almost general consensus is that Clinton may not make it to the White House without Sanders. The numbers and the states that she has won are the starting point to figure out why. She's trounced Sanders in Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Arkansas. With the very iffy exception of North Carolina and Virginia, these are states which she has absolutely no chance of winning in November. She also trounced Sanders in Florida, Ohio and Arizona. These are states that will at best be a tough slog to win. All three have GOP governors, and top heavy GOP controlled state legislatures. All three have been deeply implicated in putting on the books blatant voter suppression initiatives, laws, and ploys. The states that she has a lock on are the states that are lock down Democratic states anyway such as California and New York. George Bush Sr. was the last GOP presidential candidate to win California in 1988. Ronald Reagan was the last GOP presidential candidate to win New York in 1984.

Clinton will net close to 200 electoral votes from the Democratic lock states. But after that she'll need to find 60 to 70 more electoral votes in states that have gone either way in general presidential elections the past two decades. That makes it a brutal, grind em' out, numbers game to bag enough of those states to put her over the top. She'll make a huge, all out drive to squeeze every African-American and Hispanic vote that she can get out of the swing states. That's absolutely crucial. But that won't be enough to insure a win in a state such as Michigan -- also with a GOP governor, embattled yes, but still a GOP governor -- and a state in which the GOP candidates combined got around 130,000 more votes than Clinton and Sanders in that state's primary.

There's only one place she can get the votes from to close the gap and that's from Sanders' impassioned backers. Yes, there's lots of loose talk and some polls that claim that if Sanders isn't the nominee, many of his supporters will write in Sanders name, stay home, or vote for a Green Party candidate.

Some may well do just that. The betting odds, though, are that most won't. However, that doesn't tell the story of what Clinton needs to do to insure Sanders' supporters are on board with her. They have to be mobilized to actually believe that Clinton will be a president who will fight not to extend Obama's programs, but fight for Sanders' program. As it now stands, Clinton would be hard pressed to find many of Sanders' backers who believe that she will crack down on Wall Street, reinstate the Glass-Steagall firewall on the banks, fight for hard-nosed regulations on the financial industry and back Sanders' oft-stated demand that the big banks be broken up. There's disbelief that she would try to slap a hefty tax bill on the wealthy and major corporations and that she can deftly pivot and call for a single payer health care plan. Clinton's answer to each of Sanders' proposals has been a mix of cautious reform and protest that his programs are too starry-eyed, costly and absolutely impossible to get through any Congress.

But that's the dilemma. These are the exact proposals that Sanders repeatedly has shouted to crowds that stand in line for hours to see and hear him, and that pack arena after arena in the states; the very states that top the list of the handful of states that will decide the White House. The passion and inspiration that Sanders has injected into the Democratic primary campaign has been a sight to behold. Clinton can't duplicate that with the Sanders faithful, but she does have to inch just close enough to his positions on Wall Street, the banks and health care to give his most impassioned backers enough of a reason to not only show up on Election Day for her, but to gently prod others who believe in Bernie to do the same.

Trump and Sanders have shown in their own ways that a presidential candidate can have a seemingly radical program or no program at all and still fire up millions and actually get them to go to the polls and vote for them. The operative words are "passion" and "disgust" with beltway politicians who many believe routinely lie, cheat, cut deals, rake in a king's ransom in cash from special interests, and don't give a hoot for the people. Clinton unfortunately is seen by a big swatch of those angry, frustrated and alienated voters as one of them. Sanders isn't. This is a big part of his appeal. Clinton can't match that, but by imbibing some of Bernie's message, she can convince many that she is a good bet to keep sending out some of that message in the White House. The election will hang heavily on whether she can do just that.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His latest book is From Sanders to Trump: A Guide to the 2016 Presidential Primary Battles (Amazon Kindle) He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Saturdays 9:00 AM on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network

Gamifying Global Problems: The Key to Finding Solutions

Gabriel Cruz Díaz   |   March 24, 2016    5:37 PM ET

It's no secret that today we face huge, seemingly unsolvable global problems that affect almost every part of our lives, from environmental issues, to lack of quality education, to political conflict. So, how can we know all this and not make any contribution to create a solution?

That was a question I started to wonder myself when I had the opportunity to be the organizer for the Hult Prize at my university, Tec de Monterrey, in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Hult Prize is not just an organization or an idea; it's a great effort made by incredible people to generate a new generation of social entrepreneurs. Every year, the Hult Prize, in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative, identifies one of the world's biggest, most complex, and most catastrophic problems, with the goal that students from all around the globe will start to generate ideas and solutions to that problem, giving them the possibility to compete and win $1 million dollars to start implementing their business.

What I came to notice when I got involved as a campus director, is that there is an incredible amount of great ideas; ideas that could actually change the current global situation. The problem is that these people tend to think that their ideas are just silly or dumb, so they don't share it with their classmates, or even with their friends. Part of me was frustrated when I realized this, because I came to know a lot of these ideas in detail, but I knew that there was a good possibility that no one else ever would.

So I took a different approach. I started to encourage people to participate in our local competition by framing it differently: I told them that it would be just like playing, a way to relax, to get out of their routine, and at the end of the day, the worst thing that could happen was that could end up winning a million dollars.

The change I observed during the rest of our event lead-up was amazing - some people wanted to participate because they had a concrete idea of how to solve the challenge, but other people wanted to participate just to play some kind of game. And, to my surprise, those people playing "How can we change the world?" were giving really great ideas between jokes and laughing. When the participants saw this as a kind of game with no pressure, they became more creative, no longer concerned about other's opinions. They started to notice that those "dumb" ideas, were actually viable solutions to the world's biggest problems, and that a lot of people believed in them.

I am not saying that doing formal research is the wrong approach to address serious global issues, but what I am saying is that if you just take the time to listen to people having fun, and brainstorming freely, you may actually find the next brightest idea of the century. We live in a society that often times discourages new, "crazy" ideas, and worse, casts off those who proclaim them.

I encourage every one of you who is reading this, to please, participate in any social entrepreneurship event. Share your ideas -all of them- and most importantly, have fun, play just like you did when you were a kid: reckless, child-like, curious, imaginative, and without concern for what others are going to say. You will never know when an idea will strike your imaginative brain. We see kids doing this all the time; they solve their own problems with the resources they have, they build spaceships from boxes, they create castles with pillows and sheets, they let their imagination flow so they get new ideas on how to do something - why and when did we stop doing this, and why have we locked our imaginations? If we want a real change we need to get new ideas, and those new uninhibited ideas will most likely come from a person thinking out-of-the-box, playing, joking, and just letting his or her imagination take over.

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One of the teams that participated at the local Hult Prize event. Just having fun giving random ideas in a place with the necessary creative environment, the "Central of Change" - Photo by Jorge Martínez Ponce de León

What If the Next President Knew How to Code?

Robin Raskin   |   March 23, 2016    3:43 PM ET

From Hammurabi to Mendel, from Thomas Jefferson to Charles Darwin, we are compulsively drawn to classifying, categorizing and coding the world around us. Coding of all kinds, whether it's a cryptographic language, a body of laws or a bunch of computer instructions, imposes a basic logic and order. To code is to create processes that impose a semblance of order on the frenzied, seemingly random world we live in. And those who create code wield power.

Personalized medicine, genetically modified babies, self-driving cars and the Internet of Things, the seat of power belongs to those who code. In the code lie important ethical decisions. Apple's Tim Cook and Google's Eric Schmidt hold the power to decide what constitutes privacy. The Qualcomm's and Cisco's, the Microsoft's and the Facebook's -- the billions of lines of code they generate create the rules of behavior for the postmodern world. The lines of code that power an Uber or an Airbnb are transforming our world at a pace that's breathtaking.

Today, IBM's Watson, an artificial intelligence machine, is voraciously reading, storing and coding everything that's ever been written. One of the hopes is that it can draw into its vast database of knowledge, making inferences and connections to help doctors match symptoms to diagnoses in ways that they never could before. As I write, coders are tapping out the rules for how refrigerators will chat with groceries (boot them out if they're spoiled), how culpable drones might be in murder, how robots will walk amongst us, and how to create a virtual reality that may be far more seductive (and productive) than our reality.

Our current crop of politicians is woefully unaware of the new seat of power. Or worse still, they're playing ostrich about its magnitude. Barack Obama gets the post-political world. He made the pilgrimage to SXSW to forge a relationship between coders and lawmakers. He was on an HR mission. "The reason I'm here is to recruit all of you," he said. "We can start by coming up with new platforms, new ideas across disciplines and across skill sets to solve some of the big problems we're facing today." Perhaps Python or Ruby on Rails is not his native tongue but he knows where the next seat of power lies.

The current candidates for President are in various states of tech-denial, as their temperaments show. Trump, in a 2007 deposition reported, "I don't do the email thing," and in 2013, according to a Business Insider report, said he uses email but, not much. Also, he dictates his tweets to a staff aide. Ted Cruz calls net neutrality the Obamacare of the Internet. If email and social media are the poker tell for this batch of candidates then to crib off the AOL slogan, "we've got trouble."

Bernie Sanders, like a jazz musician, gets the rhythm of the tech world and has mastered the social web. His website is visual and twitter-esque in its language, but we haven't seen him allude to the simplest of things that a Democratic Socialist might do, like call for an Internet sales tax to help fund equal access to bandwidth. Hilary Clinton, as smart and connected as she is, can't seem to manage to even talk about her use of personal email in a way that shows an understanding. And while both candidates call for higher job creation and better wages, neither has contributed much insight into the gig economy.

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Cadres of coders are making decisions about our world, transcribing decisions into and/or and if/then statements and parsimonious algorithms. The next President doesn't need to learn how to program their own "hello world" (a simple programming exercise used to teach basic syntax) but, they do need to viscerally understand the elements of high tech systems and code. Our forefathers understood the power of laws they created; so they created laws built to last. The next President needs to understand code in the same way. A law or computer program may look like it's a temporary fix for what needs fixing, it's not. The upshot of these collective lines of laws and codes shape what we are.

At the heart, the next President needs to be a "systems guy." They'll need to figure out how to work with technologists so that they get out in front, and are not caught forever in the rear view mirror trying to deal with the unanticipated consequences of code.

Robin Raskin is founder of Living in Digital Times (LIDT), a team of technophiles who bring together top experts and the latest innovations that intersect lifestyle and technology. LIDT produces conferences and expos at CES and throughout the year focusing on how technology enhances every aspect of our lives through the eyes of today's digital consumer.

A Science Quiz for the Candidates

Shawn Lawrence Otto   |   March 22, 2016    1:19 PM ET

Cross-posted at Neorenaissance

In the days following the historic Paris climate summit, in which 195 countries for the first time agreed to begin limiting greenhouse gases, there were two presidential debates: one Democrat and one Republican. None of the journalists in either debate asked a single question about climate change.

This situation is all too common in US politics, where, by and large, both journalists and politicians believe the general public is as disinterested in science as they are. They think of it as an unorganized and somewhat quixotic special interest without much voting power.

Polling shows they are wrong. We live in an age when science impacts every aspect of every voter's life every day, and the public, for one, think the candidates ought to be debating these issues on the campaign trail.

Now a group of America's leading science organizations is banding together to push for just such a discussion, and they want to know what you think are the most important science questions to ask the candidates for president. They've set up a website where you can vote for the questions you think are most important, or submit one of your own.

Care about climate change? Vaccinations? GMOs? Science education? Research funding? Reproductive medicine? Stem cells? Zika virus? Scientific integrity? Intelligent design or climate denial in school textbooks? Attacks on science? Postdoc purgatory? Mental health research? The brain initiative? Space exploration? The sixth mass extinction? Nuclear weapons? Alternative energy? Universal healthcare? Drugs? Clean water?

These and a host of other issues are being explored as possible questions at http://questions.sciencedebate.org.

But you don't have much time. The groups will meet at the end of the month to begin to go through the submitted questions and make decisions.

The Clinton Candidacy: "Distrust and Verify"

Dawn Morais   |   March 21, 2016   10:51 PM ET

If you're voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton because you think it's time a woman attained the highest office in the land, understand that HRC sees herself in the tradition of Golda Meir.

HRC:... some of us remember a woman, Golda Meir, leading Israel's government decades ago and wonder what's taking us so long here in America?

This effort at charming disingenuousness was greeted with laughter and applause by the AIPAC audience she spoke to today.

If you're a progressive in the way Hillary now claims the term, perhaps you might not be too troubled by HRC's comfort in aligning herself with Golda Meir, a Zionist who spoke of "a land without a people for a people without a land." This club included the likes of Newt Gingrich who spoke of the Palestinians as an "invented" people in his failed effort to pander his way to the presidency.

But I am running ahead of myself. Playing coy with Zionists like Golda Meir came towards the end of her appalling speech to AIPAC. (It did once again call to mind HRC's boast that Henry Kissinger gave her a great report card as Secretary of State. Which progressive would ever want that seal of approval?)

There was much more that should give progressives pause before HRC's homage to Golda Meir, and the linkage to her own run for the White House.

Her empathy is selective.

HRC: Israel faces brutal terrorist stabbings, shootings and vehicle attacks at home. Parents worry about letting their children walk down the street. Families live in fear.

HRC is apparently unaware that this is how Palestinian children walk to school.

But she described in graphic detail today the suffering of Israeli men and women with whom she has sat in waiting rooms. Apparently she has not heard of, or encountered, the suffering, pain and the massacre of Palestinians, including innocent children, by the Israeli army.

If you're voting for HRC because you see her as an Obama loyalist who will protect and build on his legacy, you need to know that this was one of her promises to AIPAC attendees:

HRC: One of the first things I'll do in office is invite the Israeli prime minister to visit the White House.

If you are voting for HRC because you think she will help bring a just peace to the Middle East, and help end the apartheid policies of the Israeli government, here is what she promised today:

HRC: I will make a firm commitment to ensure Israel maintains its qualitative military edge. The United States should provide Israel with the most sophisticated defense technology so it can deter and stop any threats. That includes bolstering Israeli missile defenses with new systems like the Arrow Three and David's Sling. And we should work together to develop better tunnel detection, technology to prevent armed smuggling, kidnapping and terrorist attacks.

And I will send a delegation from the Pentagon and the joint chiefs to Israel for early consultations.

If you support the Boycott, Divest and Sanction effort as a peaceful way to end the illegal Israeli occupation, and continuing oppression of Palestinians, you should know that today HRC likened BDS to anti-Semitism.

HRC: Many of the young people here today are on the front lines of the battle to oppose the alarming boycott, divestment and sanctions movement known as BDS.
Particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world, especially in Europe, we must repudiate all efforts to malign, isolate and undermine Israel and the Jewish people. I've been sounding the alarm for a while now. As I wrote last year in a letter to the heads of major American Jewish organizations, we have to be united in fighting back against BDS.

If you're voting for HRC because you think she will be an honest broker and deal fairly with all transgressors, you should know that she is silent on what should be done to punish Israel for its ongoing land grabs and violations of international law and UN agreements. By contrast, she is completely clear that Tehran must be punished, and swiftly, if it does not live up to ALL the terms of the recent nuclear agreement:

HRC:. . . there's a big difference between talking about holding Tehran accountable and actually doing it. Our next president has to be able to hold together our global coalition and impose real consequences for even the smallest violations of this agreement.


Accountability, done the HRC way, might best be described as different strokes for different folks. At a minimum we should take the same approach to her candidacy that she recommends for the Iran nuclear agreement: distrust and verify. Too much is at stake to simply rely on the ever-shifting politics of her performance.

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Bernie Sanders chose not to attend the AIPAC conference. He has promised a "level playing field" on Israel and Palestine.

The Numbers Could Tell a Troubling Tale for the Democrats

Earl Ofari Hutchinson   |   March 18, 2016   12:14 PM ET

GOP presidential contender Donald Trump loudly boasts that he has turned out "millions" of new voters. He gloats that these are the people the GOP has never seen before. The millions figure is vintage Trump bunkum since there is no way to measure just how many of the big uptick in GOP primary voters stormed the polls solely because he was on the ballot. But there are three things that can be taken away from Trump's braggadocio. The first is that there are lots more GOP voters than Democratic voters that are showing to vote up in the primaries than in elections past. How many more? The Pew Research Center put the number at 17 percent more of eligible Republican voters came out in the first 12 primaries of 2016. That's the biggest number in more than three decades. On the other side, Democrats are getting a bump-up in turnout from past years, but their numbers are far less than the GOP's numbers.

The second thing is that the much bigger GOP turnout has been nowhere more glaring than in the two states that have been the absolute indispensable pathway for a presidential candidate to the White House for the past two decades. The states are Ohio and Florida. The gap between GOP and Democratic voter turnout in numbers should set off loud alarm bells in Democratic strategists. GOP presidential candidates got slightly more 2.2 million votes combined in Florida. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton got slightly more than 1.6 million votes combined. The gap was more than 600,000 votes.

In Ohio, the GOP candidates got slightly more than 1.9 million votes combined; while Sanders and Clinton got almost 1.2 million votes combined. The gap there was over 700,000 votes. The gap can't be explained solely because of Trump mania, a hotly contested and competitive race between the GOP candidates, and a favored son candidate, Kasich on the ballot. The Sanders and Clinton face-off has been just as fiercely contested, competitive, and has aroused the passions of lots of voters, plus Sanders had just come off a win in the neighboring Michigan primary which should have been enough to stir even more Democrats to turn out. But the numbers didn't come close to the GOPs and so far few have seen fit to ask or try and figure out just why that happened.

Some are happy to shrug it off with the standard retort just wait until the general election and Democrats will flood the polls and swamp the GOP numbers as they always seem to do. But that's tantamount to banking on a Hail Mary pass for victory and paying far less attention to the type of ground work that is absolutely essential to put a Democratic candidate over the top. With the GOP firmly in control of the legislatures and the statehouses in Florida and Ohio, not to mention the voter suppression tactics the against minorities and youth the GOP has put firmly in place in both states the lack of an intense, all out stir the passions, get out the vote drive, bolstered with lots of spending cash, is a horrendous prescription for Election Day disaster.

The third thing is that this election cycle is like none other in living memory. So far all the traditional rules of the political game, namely that both party establishments pretty much handpick who their presidential nominee will be, and that voters always play it safe and stick with the safe, established, and experienced, known quantity candidate, which means an established pol insider, are out the window. Trump and Sanders have shown that this go round it could well be different.

Trump has done one more thing for the GOP and that's publicly anyway force it kicking and screaming to double down on mounting a near crusade to the polls by the GOP's traditional base. This is older, white, males from the South and Midwest, suburban and rural areas, and in addition grabbing a big chunk of the dissatisfied, alienated, hostile blue collar Democrats, young and old.

In Florida and Ohio, there is some evidence that the strategy paid off in the extra thousands of voters that the GOP padded its total with. In a general election showdown between Trump and Clinton, the very real danger to the Democrats is that the enthusiasm and the anger at the party establishments, and the thirst for change, that Trump seemingly whipped up in the Ohio and Florida primaries may not abate in November. Many of those same voters may stick around and again cast their ballot for Trump. If nothing, else, the perception that there is a real difference between Trump, the outsider, and Clinton, the established Washington insider, won't go away. Trump will exploit that to the hilt. If it still plays well in Ohio and Florida, and worse yet in other states, the voter turn-out numbers will really tell a troubling tale for the Democrats.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His latest book is From Sanders to Trump: A Guide to the 2016 Presidential Primary Battles (Amazon Kindle) He is a frequent MSNBC contributor. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Saturdays 9:00 AM on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network

It's Now Populism Or Bust For Hillary Clinton

Edward Yaeger   |   March 17, 2016   12:26 PM ET

After Super Tuesday 3 it has become all but clear that Clinton will secure the Democratic presidential nomination. Diehard Sanders supporters are still making all sorts of delegate calculations based on statistical variations in order to demonstrate Sanders's remaining viability, but those wild variations mean nothing if people don't turn out and vote in the Democratic caucuses like many of us had hoped they would.

I am a Sanders supporter who is now pivoting to Clinton. But I do so with many caveats -- too many to delineate here -- and with one very essential recommendation that I believe could cost Clinton the presidency if she fails to heed it. Of course, I'm not the only one to make this recommendation, but I believe it to be so crucial that it has to be drilled into the Clinton campaign's psyche and very fabric if it plans to not only win the office but also to subsequently appease and ingratiate the diehard Sanders supporters, extreme progressives, Independents, and the generally inured and disenfranchised liberals.

Quite simply, Clinton -- arguably the personification of establishment U.S. politics -- MUST tap a populist leader as her running mate on the ticket.

This populist, or perceived populist, can be of any gender, ethnicity, age, etc., but he or she cannot safely fall into the category of establishment politics. Many have speculated that the veep pick could be Housing and Urban Development Secretary Juilan Castro, but he is, among other things, including far from adequately groomed, too representative of the next-generation establishment. Others have speculated that it might be Senator Cory Booker, who would be a much better choice, though not foolproof. Foolproof would be what some deem the laughably unrealistic tapping of Sanders himself or of someone as outspokenly pro-middle class as Senator Elizabeth Warren.

But in a climate in which Donald Trump, unbelievably, and for reasons that evade so many of us, including myself (who grew up in a white, working class household), surges among the populace; and in which Sanders has compelled millions of individuals to chip in to his non-PAC-backed revolution of a campaign, foolproof is what Clinton must strive for.

A populist vice president would by no means be a panacea, but it would send a strong message that the Clinton campaign and its imminent administration are taking seriously the desperation, frustration, anger, and sense of hopelessness that so many people -- from the working class to immigrants to Millennials -- feel today. Otherwise, and perhaps regardless, expect movements like Occupy and Black Lives Matter to groundswell. But more importantly, and far more frighteningly, expect the white rage, xenophobic, and the nihilistic anti-government factions to grow as well. And there's no telling what harm they could do under any presidency.

Political Drama: Are You Engaged, Enraged or Detached?

Marlene Chism   |   March 15, 2016   11:11 AM ET

We're seeing lots of drama throughout the 2016 political debates. The good news is that we are also seeing some positive results. Those who have never been interested in politics before are getting engaged.

Yet we're still a country divided.

I'm not talking about the division between Republican versus Democrat, conservative versus liberal. I'm talking about the two extremes I call enragement and detachment.

Enragement is about screaming, punching people, and using social media to bash anyone who doesn't see things your way. Enragement is destructive engagement. Those who are destructively engaged lose their ability to listen, to learn, and to be curious. As a result engagement turns to enragement. There are many tell-tale signs:

• Certainty that your opinion is "right"
• Anyone who doesn't agree is crazy or a communist
• Missing facts
• Decisions fueled by emotion
• Absence of critical thinking
• Lack of curiosity
• No tolerance for conflicting opinions

The opposite of enragement is not engagement, it is detachment. The basic sign of detachment is staying out of the conversation altogether. Not that you don't have ideas, but you hesitate to engage for fear of being pulled into battle.

Both enragement and detachment are rooted in the same emotion: Fear.

Enragement; screaming so loudly that no one dare disagree is not an act of courage. Neither is punching people and using social media to intimidate, harass or shame. Protesting by using force, vandalizing and harming other humans are not actions born of strength but of fear.

Then there's detachment. The refusal to get caught up in the drama of it all. On the surface detachment seems more sophisticated and more civil than enragement, yet detachment is rooted in the same fears that drive enragement. The root cause of detachment isn't that you don't care. It's the fear that if you speak up, there may be hate instead of curiosity from the other side. There will be drama instead of dialogue. You fear being misunderstood and don't want to face the harsh criticism, being called uninformed or being attacked on social media.

If enragement is justified adult bullying, detachment allows it to continue.

The problem with fear isn't the feelings or behaviors fear produces. The problem with fear is that fear inhibits curiosity.

It is through curiosity that we grow. Curiosity enables us to listen without always needing to prove a point or debate an issue. Curiosity helps us understand someone or something. Curiosity helps us learn something new. Curiosity enables us to change our minds without losing face. Curiosity puts an end to enragement and detachment. Curiosity enables engagement.

Yet curiosity is a paradox.

Curiosity leads to conversation. Conversation leads to controversy. Controversy leads to triggers. Triggers lead to defensiveness. Defensiveness leads to enragement.

The question is this: Do we have the courage to be curious without getting caught up in the seductive drama of being right? Could we for a moment, be a little less certain and a little more curious? (Don't get me wrong; there is a place for certainty,) however achieving a state of certainty before entertaining curiosity creates clouded vision where we view the world through the lens of victim, villain or hero. It becomes difficult to discern fact from spin.

• Donald Trump is like Hitler or Donald Trump is the Great White Hope.
• Bernie Sanders is the hero to start a political revolution or Bernie Sanders is a socialist taking away our freedoms.
• The problems are due to previous leadership: Obama, the Clintons, and Carter.

Looking for the Great and Powerful Oz to solve the world's problems contributes to a victim mentality; a coin with two sides. The belief that one president is THE answer one side of the coin. The belief that our problems are due to Obama, Clinton, or Carter is the other side. Until we eliminate the either-or/ victim-hero mentality we add fuel to the thought engine that keeps us moving in political drama circles as the story repeats over and over as it has throughout the history of our nation.

We are victims.

Someone is to blame.

We need a hero.

We elect the hero.

The hero didn't keep his promise.

The hero becomes the villain.

It's time for a change.

New hero is that change.

New Hero didn't keep his promise.

Nothing is better.

We are victims.

Old Hero and New Hero are to blame.

Rinse and Repeat.

Stop the Political Drama
The real problem is not Donald Trump, Obama, Sanders or Clinton. Every four years a majority of the American people look for a savior but say uninformed and uninvolved until election time. No matter what you or I think the problem is, the real problem is systemic and belongs to all of us, not just a few who happen to be applying for the job of president. The answer is not "out there," but within each individual willing to take the vow of personal responsibility to be the change.

Productive engagement is the path. Not enragement and not disengagement. This decision requires curiosity and curiosity requires courage.

Marlene Chism is an executive educator, consultant, and author of Stop Workplace Drama, (Wiley 2011) and No-Drama Leadership (Bibliomotion 2015). She works with executives, and high-performing leaders who want to transform culture in the workplace. To explore opportunities please email marlene@marlenechism.com

The Violence of the Trump -- Win Or Lose

Michael Gene Sullivan   |   March 14, 2016   11:49 AM ET

My prediction: this fall, Trump will lose to whoever the Democratic candidate is. As a result the panic level of Trump's supporters will increase dramatically, as will the violence. Remember: these are people who feel that they are in a life-or-death struggle with immigrants, homosexuals, Blacks, Feminists, Socialists, Liberals, Muslims, terrorists, evolutionists, intellectuals... pretty much everyone except those who are actually responsible for the losses of their jobs and security.

These working class folks, who have lost almost everything at the hands of the Capitalists, have been manipulated into fearing the loss of significance of the last thing that makes them feel secure and safe -- White privilege. Remember: when the Tea Party started it was a redirection of the rage people felt towards Wall Street because of the crimes that led to Crash of '08. That righteous anger was purposefully mutated into anger not at the Banksters, but at the Federal government, and then at anyone who was seen to have benefitted from Federal programs. Like voting rights, equal protection or marriage equality.

These and other programs were presented as examples of threats to some fundamental "Americanness," which was always a code for privilege. And sometimes it was simply because these desperate, frightened people saw a skin tone like theirs the very wealth that harangued them from the TV or from the stage, sometimes they simply felt comforted by the image of success, or sometimes because they heard a voice that reenforced fears they already had, these folks mentally associated themselves with the Rich Man or Woman on the stage or the TV, not with the worker they used to share the shop floor with. T

hey have been made to feel under siege, that they are fighting for their lives, for their children. And when people are in a life-or-death struggle anything goes. So for these poor, deluded people Trump's loss will simply be further evidence of how far the forces arrayed against them will go. They will completely panic, and there will be more domestic terrorism, more random shootings of non-Whites, more violence against women.

These people have had so much taken from them regarding "the American Dream" that they should be in the front lines of the fight to overthrow those that lied to them, that cheated them, that profited from their misery. Instead, they are going to be the Brown Shirts that attack those that are working to overthrow the system that lies to, cheats, and abuses us all. We must prepare ourselves for this reactionary violence, but know that it is what always happens during a revolutionary change.

And if I'm wrong and Trump wins? They will feel justified in their violence. They will not only believe that theirs is a righteous cause, they will also have the full weight of the executive branch behind them. Also, were Trump to win, it would mean that voters had most likely returned Conservatives to Congress. That body could pass laws allowing for persecution as it has whenever panic and demagoguery gripped the nation.

Either way, in my opinion, political violence will increase after the fall election. So it will be up to elect a president who we firmly believe will deal with the fundamental failures of our economic system, who will shift us from being a trickle-down, profit at any cost, blame-your-fellow-worker-not-the-Boss nation. Because if these deluded, terrified people can come to feel that any privilege they have is not based on skin color but on being an equal citizen in a democracy that values their participation, that they are part of the fight to promote the General Welfare rather than simply being fodder in the war to further empower those who actually oppress them, if they see an economic system that rewards their hard work rather than lauding those who live by the sweat of someone else's brow, and if they can see themselves as a respected working class of a Nation (whose great wealth they contributed to with their labor and inventiveness) that uses its wealth for betterment of the lives of its workers first, last, and always perhaps they will calm the fuck down.

THE WILDCATTERS' LOSERS: Ides of March Edition

Keith Gaddie   |   March 12, 2016    7:59 AM ET

So the Ol' Wildcatter pulled out the Little Smart Pill Machine again to give you a preview of next week's Likely Party Primary Losers. The following is strictly for amusement; please, no wagering.

Last week the Little Smart Pill Machine got beat up good by the Michigan Democratic primary, like a reporter in a Trump rally. The Ol' Wildcatter was 10-4 counting the 20th Century's loss in Mississippi, though it called the breakdown of Joe Scarborough's sanity in Michigan. In addition to getting burned by the Wayne County MeekChickens, the Little Smart Pill Machine had problems with Republicans on islands (Puerto Rico, Hawaii) and in the GOP's own personal Idaho. Let's get started, with apologies to Leonard Postoasties!

March 12
District of Columbia Republican convention. The GOP continues to elect delegates from places the GOP isn't willing to make a state, this time meeting in a phone booth at the Loew's Madison Hotel. No word on how Joe Kubert would vote.
WILDCATTERS' LOSER (Republican Primary): Donald Trump

North Mariana Islands Democratic convention. 1,500 miles from Tokyo, 8,000 miles from Washington. We have no idea.
WILDCATTERS' LOSER (Democratic Convention): Takeshi Takashina

Guam Republican convention. 1,500 miles from Tokyo, 8,000 miles from Washington. We have no idea.
WILDCATTERS' LOSER (Republican Convention): Clint Eastwood and his chair

Wyoming Republican Convention: The Holidome was probably booked, so Republicans are meeting at the other hotel in Casper. A dozen delegates at stake, and given past experience, we're betting on Cruz.
WILDCATTERS' LOSER (Republican Convention): Donald Trump

March 15
North Mariana Islands Republican caucus: Given our track record calling Republican contests on islands conquered by America, we're going with Kasich.
WILDCATTERS' LOSER (Republican caucus): Marco Rubio

Florida primaries: Little Marco and the Vondels will take on the Duke of Mar-a-Lago in an epic Florida throw down for all the marbles. Polls show Marco rising, but participation trophies are not enough in Florida's winner-take-all battle for ninety-nine delegates. Meanwhile, the DNC's retirement community primary comes home as an old Jewish man argues with an old lawyer from Chicago about stuff. Jerry Seinfeld should cover this election.
WILDCATTERS' LOSER (Democratic Primary): Bernie Sanders
WILDCATTERS' LOSER (Republican Primary): Marco Rubio

Illinois primaries: Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead! There's a Democratic primary in Cook County, and every vote counts. Twice. In other news, Trump cut and ran in the face of, you know, people.
WILDCATTERS' LOSER (Democratic Primary): Bernie Sanders
WILDCATTERS' LOSER (Republican Primary): Donald Trump

North Carolina primaries: Quietly forgotten in American politics since the death of Jesse Helms, North Carolina plays on its biggest nominating stage since 1976. Hillary has this one in the bag, while Ted Cruz makes his most formidable effort to show he can beat Donald Trump in a large state where Cruz hasn't lived since age five.
WILDCATTERS' LOSER (Democratic Primary): Bernie Sanders
WILDCATTERS' LOSER (Republican Primary): Ted Cruz

Ohio primaries: O why o why o why o, did I ever leave Ohio? John Kasich better win here. Big. Like, Woody Hayes punching Charlie Bauman. On the Democratic side, can Bernie do in Cleveland and Toledo what he did in Detroit?
WILDCATTERS' LOSER (Democratic Primary): Bernie Sanders (in a close one)
WILDCATTERS' LOSER (Republican Primary): Donald Trump

March 19
Virgin Islands Republican caucus: More islands. We're going with Trump, because. C'mon. So many jokes, so little time. And you don't need an H1B visa to bring in models from US territories.
WILDCATTERS' LOSER (Republican Primary): Ted Cruz

Holding Tank: Arizona Primaries, the Idaho Democrat will caucus, Alaska Democrats, Hawaii Democrats, Washington state Democrats, Kentucky's seeding in the NCAA, Morning Joe calling us up for regular forecasts since we're SEC too.

Get me out of here Percy!

Zach Carter   |   March 11, 2016    5:02 PM ET


There are people who believe that negative campaigning in American politics is base, unnecessary and harmful to democracy. These people are naive and foolish. Negative campaigning is woven into the very fabric of all politics. Even if it didn't work, we would never be rid of it. Human beings can be an ugly lot, and we should not be surprised that our politics are ugly as well.


The problem, then, with Hillary Clinton's latest set of smears against Bernie Sanders is not that they are wildly dishonest. The trouble is that they are stupid, unconvincing and ineffective.


Niccolo Machiavelli would be outraged.


Most people claim to be shocked, horrified, repulsed and worse by Machiavelli's writings. But successful political operations, from the ancient world to the present day, have relied on the strategies he detailed in the early 16th century. It would be very nice if, as Bertrand Russell once claimed, Machiavelli's best-known work, The Prince, was nothing more than "a handbook for gangsters." Alas, it is a masterpiece.


Listen to HuffPost's analysis of the 2016 Democratic primary in the latest episode of the "So That Happened" politics podcast below. The discussion begins at the 17:15 mark:





Subscribe to HuffPost's weekly politics podcast here


In the latest Democratic primary debate, Clinton alternately accused her rival of supporting the indefinite detention of immigrants, quietly allying himself with the Koch brothers on fossil fuels and opposing President Barack Obama's auto industry rescue. As The Washington Post has noted, these hefty claims are supported by only the thinnest threads of truth. It's a too-clever maneuver -- Clinton technically cannot be accused of lying, even as she suggests Sanders' positions are the exact opposite of what they actually are.


But the fact that Clinton cannot lose a slander case over her attacks does not mean that anyone actually believes them. And they do not. Clinton first rolled out her auto bailout assault the Sunday before the Democratic primary in Michigan. At the time, she had a wide lead in every single poll of the state. Clinton's accusation proved so effective … that Sanders won.


To Machiavelli, forms of deceit that are easy for the public to see through are not worth pursuing.


"The populace may be ignorant," Machiavelli writes in Discourses on Livy, but "it is capable of grasping the truth and readily yields when a man, worthy of confidence, lays the truth before it."


This is what happened at Wednesday's debate. Clinton failed at being devious.


Ruling a kingdom is, in some ways, easier than winning a Democratic primary against a more liberal opponent. Clinton's attacks can be sharp and deadly when she attacks from a position of progressive strength. Witness the brutalizing she brings on Sanders' gun record. She faces a structural deficit: Effective attacks in a Democratic primary come from a liberal direction, and there just aren't many potential clean shots to take against a self-described democratic socialist.


Machiavelli tells us that political success is not only divorced from moral virtue, but often requires acts of violence and deception that we find abhorrent among mere citizens. "A man who strives after goodness in all his acts," Machiavelli writes, "is sure to come to ruin."


This was a dramatic break from classical and medieval political theory, which had emphasized the need for successful rulers to be virtuous people. That preposterous idea had persisted, even as thinkers relied on a moral system inherited from the Roman emperor Constantine, a horrible person who murdered his own wife and son. Constantine was nevertheless an excellent emperor whose legacy reaches even into your own personal religious views. Whether you identify as Christian or not, you are grappling with the consequences of Constantine's conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity.


So Machiavelli is, for the most part, right about politics. But he does not celebrate immorality for its own sake. He only applauds it when it works. A good prince, Machiavelli counsels, "ought not to quit good courses if he can help it, but should know how to follow evil courses if he must."


If forced to choose between the two, Machiavelli would prefer to be feared rather than loved. But better still is to be both feared and loved. And to be loved, a ruler has to at least maintain the appearance of being virtuous.


"The prince must consider ... how to avoid those things which will make him hated or contemptible …  It makes him contemptible to be considered fickle, frivolous, effeminate, mean-spirited." (Like most humans, Machiavelli was a horrible sexist.)


Clinton also stumbles in her public acts of virtue. To Machiavelli, a good leader must be careful with the praise and honor he (again, sexist) bestows on others. "Liberality exercised in a way that does not bring you the reputation for it, injures you," he writes.


On Friday, Clinton praised Ronald and Nancy Reagan for somehow helping to combat the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. She was being very careless with her liberality. The problem is not that her comment was historically incorrect or morally abhorrent -- though it was both -- but that she can receive no plausible gain from issuing such praise. Since the Reagan response to AIDS was, in fact, terrible and bigoted, there are no potential Reagan-lovers to win over by celebrating his AIDS record. Clinton quickly apologized following an uproar.


None of this should imply that Sanders is a more virtuous person than Clinton. Like Clinton, Sanders wants to run the most powerful military and economic empire the world has ever known. Good people do not seek such power; they are content to feed the poor and treat the sick. (Although if Sanders did not actually set out to become president, instead seeking only to highlight economic inequality on a national stage, he may in fact be a good person.)


Despite his uplifting ads and optimistic speechifying, Sanders can be utterly ruthless. He's good at it. Sanders never misses an opportunity to bring up Clinton's paid speeches to Wall Street. Every time he does so, Clinton resorts to rhetorical flailing that makes the problem worse, invoking the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, demeaning the very basis for campaign finance reform, and other self-imposed terribleness.


Even as he has twisted the knife, Sanders has maintained the comforting image of a loving grandfather. As The Master urges, Sanders appears to embody "mercy, good faith, integrity, humanity," despite systematically tearing down his opponent in an act of naked self-interest.


Clinton is still (probably) going to win the Democratic nomination, but her strategy for securing it runs afoul of yet another of Machiavelli's axioms: "Men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries."


Sanders supporters can recognize a cheap shot when they see it, and Clinton will need their votes in November. Sanders backers offended by Clinton's recent attacks aren't going to vote for a Republican in droves, but many could take their revenge by simply not voting. And Clinton needs help with voter turnout. She's only winning the primaries where few Democrats actually show up.

Sanders, Trump, & Cruz -- Lessons Not Learned Beyond Tenth Grade High School

  |   March 9, 2016   10:54 AM ET

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What Older Women Want: A Female President

Julie Irwin   |   March 8, 2016    1:41 PM ET

Read More: clinton, women, voters, president

A video recently appeared online of Hillary Clinton as a "Rebel Girl," complete with a Bikini Kill song in the background, fighting for women's rights. It was promptly taken down. Tobi Vail, the lead singer of Bikini Kill, asked for the removal in part because she is a Bernie Sanders supporter. She also is a white millennial woman, a demographic less inclined to support Clinton than other groups, including older women.

Vail said on Twitter that she believes Sanders' policies will make things better for men and women alike. This raise-all-boats idea has strong appeal, and I see why young women like it. But there is also an older-lady position, with which I am more familiar. Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright fanned the flames when she said, "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other." Afterward, there was a collective burst of laughter from many women in the crowd. The theme of Albright's speech was that, "It [the battle against sexism] is not done." A general professed desire for progression did not get us there.

It has not, and it won't, even among people who feel as if they care about everybody. For one thing, a great deal of human psychology is unconscious. I have studied this tendency in my work, and it is astounding how often people's professed beliefs and actual beliefs do not align.

Real change will take real fighting, and most people will not fight to the extent necessary unless they have experienced the inequities first-hand and have internalized them in a deep and personal way. Older women know this because we have had the friendliest and most self-actualized (we thought) co-workers and managers continually deny us promotions, dismiss our viewpoints and pay us less. We have seen the situation get better for women over the years, but not that much better, despite the advanced "waves" of feminism.

The point is not just that Clinton supported the creation of the Office on Violence Against Women while she was first lady, or that she gave one of the best speeches on the subject in 1995 in Beijing. The point is that she could stand up and say to a world audience that: "In too many places, the status of women's health is a picture of human suffering and pain. The faces in that picture are of girls and women who, but for the grace of God or the accident of birth, could be us or one of our sisters, mothers or daughters" while herself actually being a sister, mother and daughter.

No matter what she accomplishes, a primary reaction is to diminish it, to try to erase it. Frankly, any reasonably successful woman past the age of 40 has experienced these kinds of dismissals over and over again.

Even now the sexism can be breathtaking. Look at the number of articles and posts patiently explaining that Sanders would be "better for women." Imagine, when President Barack Obama was running, someone opining that a white candidate would be "better for black people"? It is perfectly OK for women to want someone who looks like us, who has shared our experiences, in the White House next.

This may seem like a limited stance. You may have to have been beaten up a little bit (or a lot) by your optimism in order to truly understand why it is necessary. No one is asking millennial women to support someone they do not want to support for president.

But as their older sibling, I think they should understand that our position and our bitterness were hard won. We have had their naiveté and it didn't work out for us. We hear the underlying patronization when people tell us that another group can help us as much as we can help ourselves. We are done with that. Now we want the brass ring.

Julie Irwin is a professor in the Department of Marketing in the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin.

Separation of Church and Candidate?

Herb Silverman   |   March 8, 2016   12:31 PM ET

Recently I wrote about presidential candidate Marco Rubio's comment that "all the answers are in the Bible" and his remarks to an atheist that our rights could only come from a creator. A number of readers agreed that Rubio's view made no sense, but they also mentioned that religious views of other candidates are just as bad, or worse. I agree. Rubio has never claimed that God told him to run for president. That alone distinguishes him from current candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich, and dropout candidates Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Scott Walker.

Of those who dropped out, despite God's support, Ben Carson remains the most active politically. He is the new national chairman of My Faith Votes, an organization that wants Christians to decide who will be the next president and all national and local leaders.

So who was the last non-Christian president? William Howard Taft (1909-1913). Taft was a Unitarian. Earlier presidential icons Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln had no religious affiliation. None believed in the Trinity, and Christians accused all three of being atheists.

Well, what about this year's remaining presidential candidates?

Ted Cruz
: Fittingly, Cruz launched his campaign at Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell. At a National Religious Liberties Conference, Cruz said, "Any president who doesn't begin every day on his knees isn't fit to be commander in chief." In addition to eliminating atheists from presidential consideration, Cruz apparently would also like a prayer test for all candidates. His Religious Liberty Council seems to equate religious liberty with a God-given right to discriminate against gays. Pastor Rafael Cruz, Ted's father, has served as a surrogate for Ted's campaign. Pastor Cruz says that there is no such thing as separation of church and state, America is a Christian nation, and the Ten Commandments are the foundation of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. It would be interesting to ask Ted Cruz if he also believes this.

Donald Trump: Some Republicans think Trump is a RINO (Republican in name only), but I think Trump is a CINO (Christian in name only). I assume he's an atheist because I can't picture him believing in a power higher than himself. "Love your neighbor" is inconsistent with deporting 11 million neighbors. Trump's slogan sounds more like "Make America hate again." Among Trump's many unbelievable comments, here's the funniest: "Maybe I get audited so much because I'm a strong Christian." All things being close to equal, I prefer voting for an atheist. With Trump, however, things are not nearly close to equal.

John Kasich: Kasich said he was waiting for a message from God before entering the presidential race, but to his credit he said his family was a more important consideration. Though he is personally against gay marriage, many Republicans criticize his stand against "religious liberty" because of his radical idea that government officials should follow the law of the land, even when it conflicts with biblical scripture.

Hillary Clinton: Clinton is a liberal Christian who says that the most important commandment is to love the Lord with all your might and to love your neighbor as yourself. The second part is secular, and the first part says nothing about political decisions. I'm fine with Clinton taking comfort in religion during difficult times, though I hope she mentions that public policy should not be based on particular religious views.

Bernie Sanders: Sanders is the first Jew ever to win a primary. He rarely mentions religion, though when questioned he says he's proud to be a Jew. He was asked on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" whether he believed in God, and Sanders replied, "What my spirituality is about is that we're all in this together and it's not a good thing to believe that as human beings we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people." Sounds like a secular humanist to me. Before the South Carolina primary, I went to a forum featuring Bernie Sanders in Charleston, where I live. During the Q&A, I said to Sanders: "You know how thrilled the LGBT community was when Barney Frank came out as the first openly gay member of Congress, which helped reduce discrimination against gays. I don't think you are the only Jewish socialist in the country who believes in God, so I'm hoping you will do for atheists what Barney Frank did for LGBTs and be the first senator to acknowledge being an atheist. It would mean so much to our community." Sanders paused for a moment, looking uncomfortable for the first time that evening, and responded, "Not gonna happen." Bernie's answer to my question was by far the shortest he gave that evening, and the only one that elicited no applause from an otherwise supportive audience.

Afterward, several people told me they were disappointed that Sanders dodged my question. I said his non-answer was an answer, and it shows what we are up against when even a proud socialist like Bernie refuses to acknowledge that he is an atheist for fear it might damage his reputation. Unlike Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders is the kind of atheist, closeted or not, I can happily vote for. I just wish he would be open about his atheism.