Sanders, Socialism win New Hampshire Democratic Party primary while the American Federation of Teachers continues its un-democratic backing of HIllary Clinton...

More than three million American teachers and other workers in the nation's public schools will be reading this morning, February 10, 2016, that U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (and Democratic Socialism) won a decisive victory in the New Hampshire primary over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The latest reports showed Sanders with 60 percent to less than 40 percent for Clinton (The remaining votes went to a third candidate).

The Sanders victory, after months of denigrating political punditry by corporate America's media and hundreds of "news" stories that portrayed Sanders and his candidacy in a negative light, establishes both Sanders and "Democratic Socialism" as a realistic alternative to the corporate politics of both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Despite growing support among teachers and other members of the American Federation of Teachers for Bernie Sanders, AFT President Randi Weingarten has already engineered AFT support -- and financial backing -- for the HIllary Clinton candidacy.But "the teachers" are already backing Clinton, although most might not know it. And so as classroom discussions about the democratic process and the New Hampshire results continue on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, across the USA, teachers will be asking why the American Federation of Teachers has been supporting the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

The AFT's "support" has come as a result of the union's national executive council months ago, and is becoming a greater scandal within the union as support for both Sanders and for his version of "Democratic Socialism" grow. An ironic sidelight to this is, of course, the fact that Randi Waingarten, AFT President, has long been associated with a group called Social Democrats USA, a supposedly socialist organization, since the days when Albert Shanker and Sandra Feldman were AFT presidents -- and outspoken "democratic socialists." Weingarten has not yet been asked to explain how she squares her supposed "socialist" views with her management of the early vote to support Hillary Clinton.

The AFT has never revealed how many members of the Executive Council voted for the Clinton support, and how many opposed. The only Chicago Teachers Union member of the AFT Executive Council is CTU President Karen Lewis, who has not told the union's members how she voted.

Opposition to the Clinton endorsement has been growing, despite attempts by some within the leadership to quash the discussion. In March, slates for the May election for the CTU leadership have to be submitted, and CORE will be slating a full slate, headed by Karen Lewis, for the third time. CORE was originally elected to the CTU leadership in a runoff election in June 2010 and that group attended its first AFT convention in July 2010 in Seattle.

Those elected in May 2016 will represent the Chicago Teachers Union's 28,000 members at the union's national convention in Minneapolis in July 2016. National politics are expected to dominate discussions and debates during the convention, and some are predicting that Hillary Clinton will attend the convention prior to the Democratic Party's convention later in the summer. Since the union president, Randi Weingarten, invited Bill Gates to address the 2010 convention in Seattle, pressure from the union's rank and file, often led by Chicago, has forced a shift in national policies.

Will Bernie Sanders be invited to the AFT convention? The question is going to be raised from many cities during the months before the union's 100th anniversary convention and celebration in July in Minneapolis.

But first, a reminder of what took place on February 9, 2016 in New Hampshire:

Bernie Sanders wins N.H. handily, as Democrats settle in for a long race, by Andrew Romano, Hunter Walker and Garance Franke-Ruta. February 9, 2016

The Democratic race was over the second that polls closed in New Hampshire at 8 p.m. EST Tuesday night, when Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders was instantly declared the winner.

By the time all the votes had been counted, five hours later, Sanders had defeated his rival Hillary Clinton by a eye-popping 21 percentage points, the largest margin of victory in a contested Democratic primary in the Granite State since the start of the modern era.

To be sure, the chattering classes “expected” Sanders to triumph Tuesday. He had been leading in opinion surveys for months, and New Hampshire borders his home state.

Still, it’s worth stepping back for a moment to reflect on how improbable this result — a Bernie Sanders primary victory — seemed just a short time ago.

When Sanders announced his presidential bid back in April, with a ramshackle press conference in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, almost no one in Washington, D.C., took him seriously. At the time, Sanders was averaging 5.6 percent in the national polls; Clinton was averaging 62.2 percent. As recently as Dec. 1, Clinton was leading Sanders by more than 4 percentage points in New Hampshire and more than 10 percentage points in Iowa . Clinton was supposed to be inevitable; Sanders, a Democratic socialist, was supposed to be inconsequential.

“We started out at zero,” Burt Cohen, a member of Sanders’ New Hampshire steering committee and a former state senator, told Yahoo News. “Everybody knew Hillary Clinton just six months ago. We did not have any kind of home state advantage. Nobody knew Bernie Sanders.”

Yet now that the dust has settled on the first two Democratic nominating contests of 2016, the race suddenly looks very different. Last week in Iowa, Sanders came within one-quarter of one percentage point of upsetting the former secretary of state. And Tuesday in New Hampshire, Sanders clobbered Clinton among the very voters who, in 1992, transformed Hillary’s husband, Bill, into the “Comeback Kid” and who stunned pollsters and pundits 16 years later by picking her over Barack Obama.

According to one of his closest aides, Sanders pumped his “fist in the air” when the networks announced that he had won New Hampshire. Supporters cheered and danced as they awaited his victory speech in the Concord High School gymnasium.

“We were feeling good, but this is something else,” Karthik Ganapathy, Sanders’ New Hampshire communications director, told Yahoo News. “To have this margin, this moment, this energy in here…”

“Hear that?” Ganapathy asked, as the crowd chanted Sanders’ name. “That’s something.”

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., center left, watches for results with his wife, Jane, at a primary night party at Concord High School, on Feb. 9, 2016, in Concord, N.H. (Photo: John Minchillo/AP)

Sanders, a self-described “democratic Socialist,” won the primary by focusing on income inequality, campaign finance reform, universal health care and free public college education. When he finally took to the stage, about an hour after the results were announced, Sanders characterized his victory as a message to the nation’s elites.

“Together we have sent a message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California, and that is that the government of our great country belongs to all of the people, and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors and their super-PACs,” Sanders said.


February 10, 2016 at 12:23 PM

By: Jean Schwab


It's too bad we can't connect Sanders to Clinton somehow. Sanders has great ideas and Clinton knows how to get things done. Bill Clinton left our country in great financial shape when he left office and Hilary can too. I'm voting for the winner, whichever wins. Vote Democrat!

February 28, 2016 at 12:45 PM

By: Kati Gilson

AFT Endorsement

I want my AFT dues back! I wasn't asked about endorsing a candidate. Perhaps she should asked the membership prior to making this announcement?

March 1, 2016 at 11:10 PM

By: David R. Stone

It's not your dues

As members of American Federation of Teachers "Local 1," we in the Chicago Teachers Union are frequently disappointed by AFT leaders' willingness to sell us out to educational "reformers" and mainstream Democrats. The AFT has sometimes acted more like a professional organization than a labor union.

We have reason to complain about the AFT Executive Committee's undemocratic "endorsement" process -- but that's not reason enough to quit the union or ask for your dues back. Union-busters are asking the Supreme Court to block unions' ability to collect fair share agency fees to pay for the costs of collective bargaining and enforcing our contracts. The lawsuit alleges that our dues are used for political campaigns, thus violating the First Amendment rights of dues payers who disagree with the endorsement.

AFT President Randi Weingarten is spending lots of her time tweeting pro-Hillary messages, but AFT dues are NOT going to Hillarys campaign. The AFT (like the CTU and other unions) has a Political Action Committee for sending money to campaigns, and any contribution you make to a PAC is voluntary, not part of your dues.


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