“It’s the Appointments, Stupid”: Bernie Will Lock the Revolving Door and Hillary Emphatically Won’t (Plus: NPP Voter Form!)


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Note: Though not an actually "official form," this will remind you of what you want to say!

Note: Though not actually an “official form,” this WILL remind you of what you want to say!

If you are a Democratic or NPP voter who is still undecided — or even still persuadable — in the Democratic Presidential primary race, here’s my closing argument: It’s the Appointments, Stupid.

(Note: no, I’m not calling you stupid.  I’m just echoing James Carville’s winning slogan for Bill Clinton in his 1992 Presidential campaign: “It’s the Economy, Stupid.)

One of the President’s most important powers is making appointments to the Executive Branch — some of which can be blocked by the Senate and some of which cannot — and thus choosing many of the people who will run the executive branch, draft regulations, and make priorities regarding enforcement.

This is critically important work — turning the often general laws that Congress passes into specific requirements that people must follow.  And drafting those regulations is what industries regulated by the federal government want most.  This leads to what is called the “revolving door” in political appointments, in which industry leaders and lobbyists directly control the regulations that govern them, as well as how, where, and how energetically they will be enforced.

This leads to a phenomenon known as “regulatory capture” — and it is capable of stifling even the most progressive legislation.

Industry leaders and lobbyists want this power more than you  have probably wanted anything in this entire life.  This is the life-blood of the mechanism that allows them to serve the wealthiest 1%.

This — more than votes, more than vetoes, more than subsidies — is what they want in de facto exchange for their political contributions.  THEY WANT TO WRITE THEIR OWN RULES.

They want to ensure the appointment of the people who will wield this power and influence — and, where it matters most, they generally get it.  Even when they don’t, they can generally at least block the appointment of anyone who wants to vigorously enforce the laws regulating them.

This is how cronyism, greed, waste, favoritism, corruption, and incompetence come to dominate government: by installing executive agents who are effectively “bad cops on the beat.”

Whoever you think has been a “good President” since big money came to dominate campaigns — Carter, Reagan, one of the Bushes, Clinton, Obama — they have had to make these sort of appointments because that is what contributors demand.  It doesn’t have to involve an explicit quid pro quoit’s just how everybody knows that the system works.

Until now.

Bernie Sanders will be unique among Presidents in that he doesn’t owe “regulatory capture” to big contributors.  By and large, he doesn’t have them.  Instead, he has an army of small contributors, whose contributions can’t and won’t buy appointments.

And a world in which Bernie Sanders can be elected President is a world in which wealthy interests will have to learn to do things differently.  It will have to have become a world where people are paying attention and demanding accountability.

They’ll have to adapt.  (Don’t worry — they’ll get used to it.)

We don’t know what the effects of freeing government from the “revolving door” of executive appointments will be.  While it’s simple and obvious and the ethical way to govern, it’s never been done before to the extent that Bernie Sanders can do it after he wins in November.

This is the Great Experiment that your vote for Bernie Sanders can help achieve.  And even if he doesn’t win, every vote that puts him closer to Hillary Clinton is one that will make wealthy interests — and the government — realize that they had better not provoke the beast of popular outrage.  At worst, voting for Bernie will make it easier and more likely for Hillary to say “NO” more often.

And then think about what happens to these wealthy and too often amoral interests:

  • Imagine if they have to worry that the Justice Department and the Departments of Commerce and Treasurt WILL investigate their wrongdoing and WILL sent executives who warrant it to jail!
  • Imagine if they have to worry that the Department of Defense WILL examine bribes and wholesale giveaways of public money!
  • Imagine if they have to worry if the EPA will actually look into the harms they do with water pollution, air pollution, toxic foods and other products, and the like!

Bernie can do it.  Trump won’t even try.  Hillary may want to, but thinks that she can’t.

But nothing stops Bernie from using lawful Presidential power more effectively than anyone before him.

That’s why he deserves your vote — because we want to see how much a government can accomplish if it’s led by honest people who want to govern well.

Vote on Tuesday.  If you’re an NPP voter, print out the graphic above and hand it to the poll worker when you get your ballot — or you can stand outside of polling places (they’ll tell you where you can be) and hand them out to voters as they come in.

This is our chance to be heard.  Let’s not waste it!


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. A family member co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)