representing district

Germany 101: German Federal Elections

On September 24th 61.5 million German voters will decide on the central decision in their democracy: who should represent them in Parliament and eventually govern the country? Elections to the German Bundestag (like our House of Representatives) are held about every four years, with the last election having been held in fall of 2013.

The Basics

In grade school, most Germans are taught about the five principles in the Basic Law which stipulate that the members of the Bundestag be elected in “general, direct, free, equal and secret elections”. “General” means that all German citizens are able to vote once they have reached the age of 18. The elections are “direct” because citizens vote for their representatives directly without the mediation of delegates to an electoral college. “Free” means that no pressure of any kind may be exerted on voters. “Equal” means that each vote cast carries the same weight with respect to the composition of the Bundestag. “Secret” means that each individual must be able to vote without others learning which party or candidate he or she has chosen to support.

Where Do You Vote?

Germans have the options of voting at polling stations for example in community centers or schools, or sending in their vote by mail.

So. Many. Parties.

Germany has a lot more political parties than the United States. This is due to the fact that the German electoral system uses a proportional system, which means that all parties get a share of the available seats that reflect their share of the popular vote. However, not to have too many political factions which would make the decision making process nearly impossible – and Parties can get pretty specific as to what they stand for – Germany implemented the “five per cent clause” which means a party needs at least five percent of the votes cast to be represented in the Bundestag.

According to the German Research Institute the following parties are likely to be represented in the next German Bundestag, as they are expected to satisfy the five per cent clause:

  • CDU/CSU (the Union parties): a political alliance of the two parties representing conservative Christian-democratic policies, political home of the current Chancellor Angela Merkel and part of the governing “grand coalition”
  • SPD: the center-left social democratic party promoting “socially just” policies, the other member of the currently governing “grand coalition”
  • Die Linke: “the left” party – a democratic socialist and left-wing populist party
  • BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN: the green party which traditionally focuses on topics such as environmental protection
  • FDP: the “free democratic” party - a (classical) liberal political party
  • AfD: a right-wing populist and Eurosceptic party newly founded in 2013

First and Second Vote

Voters actually have two decisions to make when they go to their polling booth.  This part can get tricky.

The first vote is for the representative of your district. There are 299 electoral districts in Germany and the winner of each district gets a seat in the Bundestag.

The second vote is debatably the more important vote, which is cast not for a person but for a party. The number of seats a party gets in the Bundestag is based on what proportion they get of the second votes. Since the first votes for district representatives take up 299 seats of the Bundestag, the remaining 299 seats are filled up by representatives of each party until each party is proportionally represented.

And now it’s going to get really complicated (also for Germans, believe it or not): In case a party gets more directly elected candidates by the first votes than proportional seats by the second votes, these candidates nonetheless remain part of the new Bundestag. This is called an “Überhangmandat”. The other parties then get seats added proportionally which makes the Bundestag even bigger. The last four years, because of this phenomenon there were in total 631 Members of the German Bundestag instead of the legally foreseen 598.


“Coalition” is not a word used in American politics. Coalitions are alliances formed by different parties in the Bundestag to end up with a group that makes up more than 50% of the seats. Traditionally the party with the most votes tries to form a coalition first. Typically coalitions have been comprised by two parties in the past, but in the future coalitions of three or more parties could be a reality. Why do this? Due to the voting system which is a proportional and not a majority one, this is in most cases the only way to create a majority in the Bundestag which is necessary to pass laws. The coalition parties tend to negotiate a coalition agreement at the start of their cooperation which lays out their policy goals for the coming legislative period. Though the majority party within the coalition typically has more sway in what stance the coalition will take on certain issues – such as who the Chancellor will be – the smaller party benefits from the coalition by typically receiving several Minister positions (think Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, etc.) which are filled with members of their party. They might also enforce some stances on their core political issues as long as they can get the “bigger” coalition partner to agree in the negotiations.

Wrap Up

  • German elections are general, direct, free, equal, and secret
  • Germans vote in person or via mail
  • There are a bunch of parties to choose from representing the full political spectrum from far left to far right
  • Two votes: a first vote for a specific candidate representing your district and a second vote for your party determining the number of seats per party
  • A Coalition is formed after all votes are in to create a group that holds more than 50% of the Bundestag seats

Got more questions? Shoot them to us in the comments below!

BLM millennial activists are getting involved in Democratic politics — and they’re backing Ellison

  • A broad, multiracial coalition of progressive millennial leaders on Wednesday endorsed Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) for the chair of the Democratic National Committee. 
  • They hope that he will make the party establishment more inclusive of the movements they are powering.
  • The coalition, which includes backers of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaigns, organizations affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement and organizers of the Women’s March on Washington, said Ellison, a black Muslim representing Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional district in Minneapolis, has tapped into their demographic in a way that others haven’t.
  • “We believe he can activate the millennial base of the party by working with the movements we have powered,” the coalition wrote in an endorsement letter published Tuesday night on Medium. Read more (2/22/17 10:56 AM)

follow @the-movemnt


Sighted at the AKC Museum of the Dog: 

  1.  it Chalo 
  2. it me and Chalo and Priya

“And our final tribute for district 8 is…” a deafening pause filled the air as every young woman in district 8 held their breath.

“Jellybean Jones!”

The courtyard went deadly silent for what felt like hours before the piercing scream of Jughead Jones broke through the air


He was being pulled away by guards, tugging him out of the courtyard as his baby sister was placed on stage next to a shivering little boy and a woman dressed extravagantly in colors that district 8 had never seen.

“Oh” the woman in the light purple wig tsked “how very valiant, unfortunately we already have our male tribute.” Her eyes were blank as she went back to congratulating the two terrified children on stage.

“No, please.” The dark haired boy sobbed, his eyes meeting his sisters, she was crying now as well, thick tear drops dripping from her eyes.

It was all over before it began, people went home to their families somberly, mothers held their children and cried, fathers released anxious breaths as Jughead lay desperately on the floor of his home, slamming his fist into the dusty hardwood.

“We have to say goodbye.” His mothers cold, distant voice spoke from above him, her purse on her shoulder as she kept her distance from his father and left the house . F.Ps eyes were red rimmed as he clutched Jugheads shoulder

“We have to be strong for her, we need to show her we believe in her.” He choked out.

Jughead whipped to face him

“She’ll die in the arena! You know that! She won’t make it a full day!” He yelled shakily.

F.P sobbed,

“I know boy, I know.”

They arrived at the station and were instantly shuffled into a plain white room, jelly bean was sitting in the center looking smaller than ever. Jesus Christ she was only 9.

Her eyes met Jughead instantly and she leaped towards him, clinging to his body.

“I’m going to die.” She weeped.

Jughead caught his fathers eyes over jellybeans head and pulled away

“No you won’t, you’re going to live, you’re going to fight and you’re going to do everything you have to do to make it out of their alive. You are not leaving me alone with these looney tunes.” He made a silly face and Jellybean giggled through a sniffle.

“Okay Juggie.” The tiny brown haired girl looked up at him with watery blue eyes so desperate he had to look away.

After hugging her father as he whispered in her ear, Jugheads mother turned to her daughter.

“Don’t embarrass us, you’ll be on national television.” She turned quickly and left the room.

Jughead growled as F.P shook his head sadly.

“That’s all for visiting, out now.” A capitol guard grunted, shoving the two men out of the room as Jellybean waved sadly.

“We won’t ever see her again.” F.P whispered, watching as the train pulled away.

Jughead stared at his fathers profile
“You don’t know, she’s been known to surprise us.” He dropped a hand to his fathers arm and they both made their way home

“You never know.” The older man mumbled.

A week later everyone gathered in the popular food trading port, it was called Pops and it had the largest screen to watch the games.

“It’s just interviews today, she just has to be herself, she’s adorable. She can atleast win a few sponsors.” Veronica lodge, the mayors daughter gently pat Jugheads back as they took a seat.

Joaquin slid beside them
“I believe in her.” He grumbled.

Jughead took a deep breath and suddenly the screen was playing as his fingers dug into his seat

Let the games begin.

The tributes were interviewed, dressed exceptionally and dramatic representing their district. Second to last was his sister, she walked on screen beside the shivering little boy tribute and her smile was dazzling. Jughead bit back tears and allowed pride to fill his body, she was so strong. The dark black dress she wore was covered in hand painted flames. Coal.
His little sister, the girl on fire.

Caesar Flickerman proceeded to ask questions, multiple times speaking about how beautiful she was and how she was definitely the cutest little tribute they had ever seen.

“She’s working that angle, the woman sponsors will love her.” Veronica whispered beside him.

“Speaking of beautiful it appears you’ve made a friend in the training arena.” Caesar wiggled his eyebrows and Jellybean giggled.
“Let’s recap shall we.” The purple haired man gestured to the ginormous screen above his head.

Video filled the screen

Jellybean was sitting in the corner of the practice arena shivering as everyone chose their weapons, beating on each other and screaming. Suddenly a girl with long blonde hair and noticeably bright green eyes was leaning beside her

“It is a little scary isn’t it?” She asked the little girl. Jellybean nodded, pushing her long brown hair out of her face, eyes terrified. The blonde looked concerned

“My names Betty, what about you?” Her voice was sweet as honey and while he knew his sister should always be on her guard he felt as though she could trust this new friend.

“Jellybean” she shivered.

Betty sat beside her
“Well jellybean, as pretty as your hair is, it might get in the way. Do you mind?” She held up an elastic band and jellybean nodded curiously.

In under a minute Betty had twisted the long brown hair into an intricate braid that pulled the lose strands away from her face.

“Much better, now we can see your pretty face.” She tweaked her nose and smiled.

“You stay strong Jellybean.” And with that she was off to her own training.

The screen disappeared and Jellybean was back on screen, smiling fondly.

“That was very nice of her” Caesar cooed.

Jellybean nodded
“She’s the greatest, she gives me all of her extra food, she says I have to keep up strength.”

Cesar’s eyes widened surprised, as the audience awwwwed

“Well I think that’s all for you Jellybean and Dilton, good luck to you both.”

They were shooed off stage and jughead could finally breathe.

“That’s a good thing” Joaquin spoke “she’s forming an alliance.

"I don’t know” Jughead mumbled skeptically, his eyes drawn to the screen as the same beautiful blonde appeared on the screen, her arm linked with the most good looking boy he had ever seen he heard Veronica physically gasp.

“Elizabeth Cooper and Finnick Odair District 4!”
He gestured to the two teenagers dressed in matching seashells and aqua. The ocean, beautiful.

“So we’ll start with you ms.cooper, you volunteered for your sister Polly? It was very noble.”

Betty nodded
“My sister is pregnant, she would not have made it, I’ve been trained for this, we’ve been trained for this.” She glanced over at her partner and Jughead felt his stomach clench, was that jealousy? This was not the time to be jealous, those two were walking into their death.

“Yes of course, you two are careers?” Caesar asked

The boy named Finnick shook his head
“We were raised to be in the games, but we are not cruel or vicious, not like some others.” He was talking about Jason and Cheryl Blossom form district 2, they were wild and almost feral.

“Let’s take a look shall we.”

The screen flickered back to the practice arena, it showed Finnick expertly swinging a trident, it was terrifying. It turned to Betty who smiling widely at Finnick as she showed her own talent.

Six knives were tucked into her belt, quickly she had thrown them, hitting every single target in less than six seconds. The whole of Pops gasped, oh, so she was most definitely a career.

When the screen flicked back Finnick and Betty were smiling proudly.

“But that’s not all.” Ceasar waved frantically a the screen came back down.

Betty was Helping Jellybean into the tight training suit and the little girl was giggling as Betty made silly faces and Finnick ran in and began throwing handful of sugar cubes at the girls.

Jughead felt his heart ache, that was his little sister and she was laughing, this beautiful district 4 tribute had given Jellybean the chance to be a child for just a little longer.

Ceasar filled the screen again as he wiped fake tears from his eyes

“It’s beautiful how you’ve taken the little jellybean under the wing.”

Betty turned to the screen, a look of pure defiance in her eyes

“She’s just a little girl, with a family out there. She has an older brother my age and I want to tell him, she will be safe for as long as I can help it. I promise you.” The screen flicked back quickly, it wasn’t safe to divulge plans especially when they disagreed with the capital.

“That’s all for today folks! We’ll see you in the games. May the odds be ever in your favor!”

The screen went black and Jughead pulled his hands from the seat, his fingernails were bloody from digging so hard but his heart felt lighter.

Betty Cooper was going to save his Little Sister.

We have general elections every year in the US. VOTE THIS YEAR.

Among other things it’s doing, the federal government is looking to devolve more power back to the states.  VOTE THIS YEAR, and help to swing your state’s government.   Off-year elections have the smallest turnouts and so they are EASY TO SWAY by getting out there to vote.

VOTE THIS YEAR. Off-year elections can affect Congress and they affect local and regional offices whose policies can hold people accountable in their bases of operations if the federal government refuses to. For 2017 we have:

  • 1 US Senate seat (Alabama)
  • 6 US House of Representatives (California 34th District, Georgia 6th District, Kansas 4th District, Montana At-Large District, South Carolina 5th District, Utah 3rd District)
  • 2 State Governors (New Jersey, Virginia)
  • New Jersey General Assembly and Senate, Virginia House, North Carolina General Assembly (a special re-vote with the de-gerrymandered district lines!)
  • Lots of mayoral and local elections that will MATTER IN COMING YEARS because city mayors can carry a lot of influence in elections and also act as leaders and innovators to model policies and programs (see: sanctuary cities)
Kansas Democrat Proudly Wears Support Of Bernie Sanders Group In Unexpectedly Close Race
Republicans seem to be worried.

A Democrat running for a congressional seat in an ultra-conservative district is touting support from a Bernie Sanders-aligned group in the final days before a Kansas special election on Tuesday that appears to be unexpectedly close.

There’s been a swell of support for James Thompson, the Democrat running to fill the seat vacated by Tea Party congressman Mike Pompeo, who was tapped by President Donald Trump to lead the CIA. Republicans have stepped up spending in the race, signaling they could be worried about the result.

Along with the Kansas race, Democrats are looking to special elections in Georgia and Montana as early bellwethers of enthusiasm for candidates under President Donald Trump.

As Tuesday approached, Thompson ― running to represent the district that is home to Koch industries ― embraced support from Our Revolution, the progressive group that grew out of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

Early vote numbers aren’t necessarily an indicator of final turnout, but Tom Bonier, CEO of Democratic electoral data strategy firm TargetSmart Communications, noted that the closeness of the race could signal larger problems for Republicans.

(Continue Reading)

Since April of this year, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota has been protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) an oil pipeline that would directly threaten their water supply. Two of the leaders of these protests, North Dakota Congressional Candidate Chase Iron Eyes, and Cannonball District Representative of the Sioux Tribal Council, Cody Two Bears, will be joining us at Tumblr HQ for an Answer Time  on Wednesday, December 14 at 3pm EST/12pm PST. Submit your questions here
Rep. Brown Addresses Murder of Lt. Richard Collins
On May 24, Congressman Brown spoke on the House floor about the life and death of Lieutenant Richard Collins III. Collins' murder was a hate crime, and the l...

Thank you Rep. Brown for addressing this hate crime! 

Anthony Brown– US Representative for Maryland District 4

“I spoke on the floor about the life and death of Lieutenant Richard W. Collins III. His death was not some random act of violence. It was a heinous, despicable and unprovoked crime of hate. His murderer was a member of a racist neo-nazi hate group. But his murder was not an isolated incident. Nationally, there’s been an unprecedented spike in racist and hate activity on campuses since November.

This escalation of hate is not going to stop unless we take a stand - against the radical right and hate festering on campus, and against leaders that have been too content to remain silent and look the other way. Hate speech is not protected. Encouraging open dialogue cannot lead to inaction that creates a breeding ground for prejudice, discrimination and violent hatred. Richard Collins deserved better. Our children deserve better”

anonymous asked:

how would we go about sending letters to people who should know our opinions on net neutrality? who would we send them to, and where could we find the appropriate addresses? Thank you!

Your first step would be to identify your state representatives to Congress, as it’s a federal issue!

The easiest way to do this is, believe it or not, Wikipedia. Each state has its own website and some of them can be a pain to navigate. So, for example, if you live in Missouri, here are your state senators:

Senators: Claire McCaskill (D), Roy Blunt (R)

And here are your state representatives to the House:

Senators cover the whole State, but you’ll want to contact the representative from your district as well! So if I lived in the 6th district, I would contact McCaskill, Blunt, and Graves.

To contact Graves, you would go here: lets you lookup the contact information for every House representative! Very handy.

Senators have, so for example, you would find McCaskill here:

Good luck!

eldionialberto  asked:

Could you offer a bit of backround on Keith Ellison and Tom Perez?

Oh, sure! In this corner….

Tom Perez served as Secretary of Labor under President Obama during the latter’s second term, and other than Eric Holder, he was my favorite of Obama’s department heads. Indeed, in Obama’s first term, Perez worked under Holder as Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights division, challenging voter ID laws, advocating on behalf of LGBT kids facing discrimination at school, and investigating (among others) Joe Arpaio and the police department that handled the shooting of Trayvon Martin. I like him a lot, and he has valuable experience managing a large bureaucracy; if he becomes DNC chair, I will be perfectly content. But he brings with him more baggage than energy at this point, and the difficulty he’s had explaining his position on TPP (also one of my least favorite things about Hillary’s campaign) is a bad sign IMO.

And in this corner…

Keith Ellison represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional district and is a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. His policy focus has been on protecting Medicare and federal workers from Paul Ryan, while pushing for a path to single payer. He’s also a dedicated advocate of labor who has fought for union organizing as a civil right. He strongly supported Bernie in the primaries, but is respected enough by all wings of the party that he was able to mediate between the grassroots and the establishment in Nevada, where the divide has been bitter and intense recently. Ellison’s an intelligent and institutionally effective dude across the board, but two things above all else put me in his camp. One, he’s built a strong turnout machine in Minnesota, and the Democrats really need leaders with experience turning people out in that part of the country. Two, he was predicting Trump’s victory back when most reporters and other politicians (not to mention random assholes like yours truly) were scoffing at the very concept. Had I a vote, I’d vote Keith for DNC chair.


Imagine: Saying goodbye to your boyfriend, Cato, when he is reaped for the Hunger Games.

For: Anon

WARNING: ANGST! I know the request asked for a lot of fluff but my stupid brain got kinda carried away and this imagine became very dark. So my dear readers, if you do not enjoy angst, just stop reading once you reach the timeskip after the goodbye, but if you are absolute psychopaths like myself who feed off of angst then read on!

“Welcome, welcome to the 74th annual Hunger Games!” The Capitol escort with bright pink hair announces a little too cheerfully, “As always, ladies first!”

The escort makes her way to the bowl on the right side of the stage, there’s hundreds of names in there Y/N, you won’t be picked, you tilt you head down and squeeze your eyes shut, “Clove Smith!”

You let out a breath of relief, but you are soon filled with a sense of pity when small girl, who was at least 3 years younger than you walks up to the stage. The children of your district trained for years for this moment, and most people here considered it to be honourable to represent their district, but you had always found the Games to be absolutely disgusting. You hadn’t even realized that the escort had reaped a second name until she read it aloud, “Cato Hadley!”

Your stomach fell, and you felt as if your world had come crashing down upon you. Cato had been reaped. Your boyfriend was going into the arena. No.

Once the reaping ceremony had been concluded, you were lead into the justice building in order to say your final goodbyes to the tributes. You went into the small room and saw your boyfriend standing with his back turned to you, “Cato?”

“Y/N,” He turned to you and his usual cocky smirk faltered. He quickly stepped in front of you and put a hand against your cheek, wiping away a stray tear with his thumb, “Don’t Y/N. Don’t cry.”

“I-just…” You pause, taking a deep breath to prevent yourself from crying, “I’m so scared Cato!”

“I know Y/N,” He pulls you against his chest, and you let out a sob. You stand there for a while, crying into his chest while listening to the sound of his heartbeat.

He finally pulls away, looking down at you genuinely, “You believe in me right Y/N?”

“Of course Cato,” You respond, your voice still quivering, “Even more than myself.”

“Good. That’s all I need,” He places a kiss against your forehead, “I promise I’ll come back. Next year we’ll both be 19, and we’ll never have to worry about these damn Games again.”

“I love you Cato.”

“I love you too Y/N. Forever,” He whispers before pulling you in for one final passion-filled kiss.

The 18th day. It was the 18th day since the Games had started. The 18th time that you had sat in front of the TV screen to watch your boyfriend fight to the death. You had already watched the young girl, Clove, die in Cato’s arms. You had already watched Cato kill the large boy from District 11 as revenge for Clove’s death. There were three tributes remaining, the boy and girl from District 12, and Cato. They stood atop the Cornucopia and Cato had the advantage, he held Katniss’ lover in a chokehold on the edge. You’re almost there baby! You silently prayed, Just two more kills, then no one can come between us!

Suddenly Katniss draws her bow and points it at him, she won’t, she won’t do it, if she shoots then loverboy dies too. Cato finally speaks up, you’ve never heard him like this. His voice shakes, he sounds…afraid, “Go on, shoot. And we both go down, and you win. Go on. I’m dead, anyway! I always was, right? I didn’t know that until now. Isn’t that what they want, huh? No! I can still do this. I can still do this. One more kill. It’s the only thing I know how to do. Bring pride to my district. Not that it matters.”

“No!” You yell at your TV screen, “Don’t you give up on me! Not now Cato!”

Katniss finally shoots her arrow, striking Cato in the hand. He reflexively releases Peeta, and falls down to the Mutts below. You jump up, “NO!”

You watch for the next hour as your boyfriend desperately tries to fight them off with his sword, but eventually his exhaustion takes over and the Mutts attack him brutally. Your family has to hold you back to prevent you from lashing out. You eventually watch as Katniss leans over the edge, the camera zooms into your boyfriend’s bloodied face as he mouths the word ‘please’ and Katniss finally takes mercy and shoots an arrow through his head.

You tear away from your family, and violently smash the vase on the table next to you. There’s a loud ringing in your ears as you scream out your lovers name. You’re filled with grief, anger, disgust, and so much more all at once. You want to rip your heart out of your chest, but it feels like someone already has.

You hear the sound of a cannon coming out of the TV, which sounds like it’s miles away at this point, and the reality of your situation hits you even more. Your body is shaken with a heart wrenching sob as you fall to your knees. Cato’s last words run through your head on a repeated, agonizing loop, I promise I’ll come back. Next year we’ll both be 19, and we’ll never have to worry about these damn Games again.

YOU PROMISED CATO! You mentally scream back at the voice. You sit on the floor in the middle of your living room for what feels like hours, sobbing and taking periodic breaks to stare emptily at the wall.

“You promised me a forever Cato,” You whisper to yourself, hoping that where he was, maybe he’d hear you, “You promised…”


Masterlist // Rules List // To-Do List

anonymous asked:

What are your assessment of the current field of potential California Governors?

I think Californians – and I’m one of them – should feel good. There is a deep field of prospective candidates for Governor in 2018, and there is a solid selection of Democrats who might run for Governor or other offices throughout the state. California has some really, really good candidates ready to take the next step in 2018 and beyond. And that “beyond” part is important because several of the leading California Democrats have an opportunity to make a difference not just in next year’s statewide races, but nationally in 2020. Most of the top contenders in California are young and relatively fresh faces, much like Kamala Harris was last year during her Senate run. California Democrats (I’m one of those, too) should be appreciative for what Nancy Pelosi, Senator Feinstein, and, especially, Governor Brown have done for us, the CDP, and our state, but on Election Day in 2018 Pelosi will be 78 years old, Feinstein will be 85 years old, and Brown will be 80 years old, so it’s comforting to know that the younger generation of progressive California leaders are ready to take over.

Rght now, I’m still supporting Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom for Governor, but I’m also still open to other candidates. I’m definitely paying attention to Tom Steyer and keeping an eye on Eric Garcetti, but I think Garcetti is going to just wait and try to make the jump from Mayor of Los Angeles to President of the United States in 2020. And that’s the smart move for him. Garcetti has a chance of making a splash in 2020 if he runs for President, but he would cut himself off at the knees if he ran for Governor in 2018 and lost, and there’s no guarantee that he would win. If I was advising Garcetti, I’d keep him away from next year’s Gubernatorial race and just have him work at raising his profile and being the anti-Trump accomplishing tangible things in the community while building a network of grassroots supporters, loyal donors, and an innovative national campaign.

As I was saying in regards to the 2018 gubernatorial race, I’m currently leaning towards Newsom, but I’m intrigued by Steyer. I think John Chiang, the California State Treasurer, has been very good at the jobs that Californians have elected him to statewide (Controller and Treasurer), but he’s not a terribly exciting guy and he’s going to be facing several rivals for the Governorship who certainly aren’t lacking in the charisma department. I think Chiang would be better off running for Lieutenant Governor, and I think it would be a good fit for him.

I’m not a fan of Antonio Villaraigosa. I’ve never been a fan of Antonio Villaraigosa. I used to get a downright uneasy feeling about John Edwards – even when Edwards was a favorite of many Democrats who wished that the Democratic ticket was reversed in 2004 because they thought Edwards was a better potential Presidential nominee than John Kerry. He wasn’t, and my instincts about him were proven correct when he did a one-and-done term in the Senate, ran for President again in 2008, cheated on his wife as she was dying from cancer, and then tried to get an aide to take responsibility for the baby that Edwards had fathered with his mistress (during the campaign where Edwards’s wife was dying from cancer). Anyway…I get the same feelings about Antonio Villaraigosa that I used to get about John Edwards so I definitely hope he doesn’t get anywhere near the Governor’s office.

I also don’t like Kevin de Léon, who is currently the leader in the California State Senate. He hasn’t announced that he’s running but he’s exploring the possibility. Fortunately, Gavin Newsom dislikes de Léon (and I mean that he genuinely does not like the guy) even more than I do, so if he does get in the race I’m pretty sure Newsom will actively work to take de Léon out.

It’s still somewhat early in the campaign cycle, so there’s a chance that some other candidates will jump in the race, and that’s why I’m keeping my options open. But, like I said, California is in good shape when it comes to the next few elections because there is truly a host of quality candidates ready to make the leap. Besides Garcetti, I’m really keeping an eye on Xavier Becerra, who isn’t running for Governor but is well-positioned to break through nationally. Becerra is a former member of the House of Representatives (in fact, he represented the district that I now live in after moving to Los Angeles), but he resigned from Congress to accept Governor Brown’s nomination to be Attorney General of California. Perhaps more than anybody in California, Becerra has the ability to be President Trump’s biggest headache, and he has an opportunity to raise his profile significantly by leading the fight against Trump’s policies when they adversely affect Californians. Like Garcetti, Becerra has the rare chance to make a huge jump from local or statewide office into something on the national level – possibly the Vice Presidency on the Democratic ticket in 2020. Becerra was strongly rumored to have been one of candidates vetted for the Vice Presidency by Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016. He’s made it clear that he’s seeking an elected term as Attorney General in 2018, but the best-case scenario for him – and for California – would be if Dianne Feinstein decided not to run for a sixth term in U.S. Senate. Feinstein will be 85 years old when she runs for re-election next year, and I feel like Becerra would be perfect if made the jump from Attorney General of California to the U.S. Senate exactly like Kamala Harris did in 2016. It’s time for energetic leadership everywhere, and Becerra could provide that much better than an 85-year-old who has barely been challenged for her seat in a quarter century.

I went a little further than just the 2018 race for Governor of California, but it’s an interesting time in California politics. And for those who might be wondering why I didn’t mention any Republican candidates, it is because California has a jungle primary system (which I’m a big fan of and is one of the reasons why California has developed such strong and fresh Democratic candidates over the past decade). Instead of the leading Democrat facing the leading Republican in the general election, the top two vote-getters face off in the general election regardless of their party affiliation. That’s why two Democrats – Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez – ended up running against each other in the general election for the U.S. Senate in 2016. The jungle primary and the state’s diverse population has resulted in what is very nearly a super majority for the Democrats in California, so the system works really well in the the state since it ensures that the two candidates who truly had the most support in the primaries advance to a much more competitive general election as opposed to a lopsided matchup between a Democratic nominee who would likely crush a Republican nominee for 20% of the vote. There are Republicans running for Governor in 2018, but it’s unlikely that any of them will come close to finishing in the top two of the jungle primary and advancing to the general election. A Republican hasn’t won a statewide election in California since Governor Schwarzenegger was re-elected in 2006. 

Sverd i fjell - Swords In Rock

Three giant Viking swords are raised at Hafrsfjord, Norway, in memory of an ancient battle that united Norway into one kingdom.

Sverd i fjell (English: Swords in Rock) is a commemorative monument located in the Hafrsfjord neighbourhood of Madla, a borough of the city of Stavanger in Rogaland county, Norway. They commemorate the historic Battle of Hafrsfjord that took place there in the year 872, after which King Harald Fair Hair united the three districts of Norway into one kingdom. Harald Fairhair reigned from c. 872 to 930 and is today recognised as the first King of Norway.

The Three Swords (Sverd i Fjell) stand on the edge of Hafrsfjord, 6km from the center of Stavanger. 

These 10 meters (33 ft) tall bronze swords, planted into the rock of a small hill next to the fjord, were created by sculptor Fritz Røed from Bryne. The monument was unveiled by king Olav V of Norway in 1983 and has stood proudly ever since.

They were made by Friz Røed (1928-2002) and unveiled by King Olav in 1983.

The swords stand over 30 feet tall and are sculpted to look like traditionalViking sabres.

The Battle of Hafrsfjord is described in the Saga of Harald Fairhair in Snorri’s Heimskringla, and according to Snorri’s saga, King Harald controlled large parts of Norway’s south-east portion before the battle. He defeated several kings and the battle is considered decisive in the unification of Western Norway.

The accounts of Harald and his life differ on many points, and the lack of existing sources makes it very difficult to reconstruct his life. Some critical aspects of his life may be uncertain but it is clear that in the 12th and 13th centuries Harald was regarded as having unified Norway into one kingdom.

The largest sword represents the victorious Harald, and the two smaller swords represent the defeated kings. The crowns on the swords represent the different districts which took part in the battle. Today, the swords stand for peace and unification and they are planted into solid rock, so they may never be removed.

The monument is of great historical importance. The monument represents peace, unity and freedom.

We are witnessing a Constitutional crisis unfold before our very eyes. On March 20, FBI Director James Comey confirmed under oath that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign for its involvement with Russian officials to influence our election. Today, President Trump fired him.

The next FBI Director appointed by President Trump will not have the independence or confidence of the American people to continue this investigation. In order to preserve the integrity of the investigation and the government, we need a special prosecutor to probe the possible collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian government officials.
—  Keith Ellison — US Representative for Minnesota District 5