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Home | Tag Archives: bernie sanders

Tag Archives: bernie sanders

Despair, Meteors and F-bombs: Texans’ Write-in Voters had a Lot to Say

Texans who weren’t interested in any of the presidential candidates on the ballot wrote in everything from Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz to Chuck Norris and Harambe. Some left colorful messages for election officials.

This year’s presidential election may have caused a surge in the number of Texas ballots cast, but not everyone who voted was excited about the major-party candidates. Or was interested in casting a ballot for one of the 13 certified write-in candidates whose votes were officially counted.

Thousands of voters instead wrote in others — living and dead, real and fictional — for president. In an hours-long investigation, The Texas Tribune reviewed the tallies for uncertified write-in candidates to give voice to at least some of the voters whose presidential picks were completely and totally rejected.

We looked at uncertified write-in tallies in four of the five largest counties: Bexar, Harris, Tarrant and Travis counties. (Our request for Dallas County’s list of uncertified write-in votes has yet to be fulfilled.)

Bexar’s results were the most difficult to draw overarching conclusions from because they were grouped by individual precincts and not candidates.

But clearly, many Texans weren’t happy with their choices. Hundreds of urban voters wrote in some version of “no confidence,” “anyone else,” “none of the above,” “none” and the like. More than a dozen Texans didn’t just abstain from voting for president but actually took the time to write the word “abstain.” A Bexar County voter wrote “undecided.”

And those were the friendlier ways Texas expressed their disdain for major-party candidates. One person in Travis wrote “disappointed” while another wrote “disgusted.”  Someone in Harris wrote, “America deserves better.”

It gets sassier from there. An apparent Bexar County Republican used their vote to request “a real conservative.” A Harris voter wanted “anyone else except Cruz.” Someone in Travis just wrote “Texit,” a play on this year’s “Brexit” vote in the United Kingdom. Each of those three counties also got one vote each for “We the People” and “We Can Do Better.”

And it gets darker. Two Harris voters cast ballots for anarchy. Another in Bexar simply said (or warned?), “control is an illusion.”

One person in Harris wrote “America U R Broken.” The sentiment from another Harris voter: “I just cant.”

Then there were the lighthearted write-ins. Some version of “giant meteor” or “giant asteroid” got about 8 votes. That includes the very particular “sweet meteor of death.” And someone in Harris County just went with a “bag of tarantulas.”

At least we think those were meant as jokes. Maybe they were genuine pleas, along with the nine or so voters who wrote some version of “God help us” or “God help America.”

Travis County, which includes Austin, seemed to have the most f-bombs. Two people there wrote “fuck you,” two more wrote “go fuck yourself” and another threw in a “go fuck yourself America” for good measure.

More insight from The Tribune’s disheartening, hilarious, uplifting and legitimately enlightening investigation:

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont waves while leaving the stage after addressing the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 25, 2016.SCOTT AUDETTE / REUTERS
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont waves while leaving the stage after addressing the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 25, 2016.SCOTT AUDETTE / REUTERS

Texans felt the Bern

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the Democratic Party’s also-ran, appeared to top urban Texans’ list of uncertified write-ins. He

collectively got more than 4,000 write-in votes in Harris, Tarrant and Travis counties and scores more in Bexar County. Of course, most of the state’s urban counties lean more Democratic, so he may not have done as well in rural areas.

Republican presidential hopefuls who didn’t score their party’s nomination also did well, but none so more than Texas’ own Ted Cruz.

Former Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the third night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Former Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the third night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Despite no longer being an official candidate for president, the state’s junior U.S. Senator got more than 1,200 write-in votes in Harris, Tarrant and Travis counties.

He also appeared to lead his fellow Republicans with uncertified write-in votes from Bexar County.

Following up in second place in those counties, Ohio Gov. John Kasich was roughly neck-and-neck with someone who didn’t even run for president in 2016: U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida trailed those two in Harris, Tarrant and Travis.

Another well-known figure who showed up a handful of times was former Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who garnered national praise for how he steered that city following the deaths of five police officers who were ambushed and fatally shot by a gunman in July. He appeared to get three votes in neighboring Tarrant and at least one in Harris. Presumably, some Dallas voters also wrote his name in but, as we mentioned above, the county has yet to release that information.

Four more years!

President Obama couldn’t run again, but he scored more than three dozen write-in votes, from what we could tell. First Lady Michelle Obama did even better than that. She picked up at least 54 votes in Harris County alone.

Presidents George H. W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush, also did well in the urban counties. They were roughly tied in Houston and Tarrant counties, but Travis voters seemed to prefer the father to the son.

Oh, and Michelle Obama wasn’t the only first lady who got a nod. At least one voter in Travis County would like to see Jackie Kennedy back in the White House.

Just sound it out… and add a vowel or two

One reason this isn’t an exact science: Spelling. Voters went into the booths with an array of ways to spell names of their preferred candidates and local election officials could not be bothered to reconcile the voters of Deez Nutz and Deez Nuts.

It appears Bernie Sanders gave write-in voters more trouble than anyone else. There were at least 24 versions of Sanders’ name in Travis County. Not to be outdone, Harris voters came up with about 30. Among variations in the four counties were Berny Sanders, Berni Sanders, Barnie Sanders and, because someone wanted to add syllables, there was also a Bernie Sasanders.

Meanwhile, someone in Tarrant County spelled Matthew McConaughey’s name flawlessly. Yet the actor didn’t appear to get any votes in his home Travis County.

Speaking of Celebrities

Only three Harris County voters likely cast ballots for their most famous resident, Beyonce Knowles. And that’s if you count the vote that

Cowboys at Redskins 9/18/16
Cowboys at Redskins 9/18/16

was just, “Bey.” Which we totally do. But that’s fewer votes than Grammy nominations she just received.

Other celebrities written in: media magnate Oprah Winfrey, singers Keith Richards and Eddie Vedder, actor and meme-magnet Chuck Norris and Oscar winner Morgan Freeman. Dolly Parton joked about running for president at her Austin concert this week. Hopefully all the Texans who voted for her – there’s at least three – caught the show.

Country singer George Strait was also a popular choice, especially in Harris County where he picked up about six votes. But, y’all, there’s only one true king when it comes to entertainers that Texans want to see in the Oval Office: Willie Nelson. The American icon scored more than 80 votes in Harris, Tarrant and Travis.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, leading the team on a long-awaited successful season, picked up at least five votes in Harris, Tarrant and Travis. How many in Dallas County? Again, we don’t know.

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt scored nine votes in Harris County and another one in Travis County.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban picked up at least 19 votes in urban counties.

Some dead celebrities got love, too. That includes Elvis Presley and Tupac Shakur. But neither did as well as fallen gorilla Harambe. Because 2016.

On the religious front, Pope Francis picked up a handful of votes. But his boss did way better. Jesus Christ garnered hundreds of write-in votes, if you assume people meant the religious figure and weren’t just fed up and using his name in vain. Someone in Bexar, on the other hand, would like to see what Lucifer would do in the White House.

Who cares about reality anyway?

Fake people – and animals – got some love, too. Batman scored at least three votes. Rocky got one. Aldus Dumbeldore scored two. So did Mary Poppins. Darth Vader got at least three, all in Harris County. Those folks also liked Frank Underwood, the fictional politician in House of Cards.

A Snoopy-Woodstock ticket got a nod in Travis County. Buddy the Elf got two votes in Tarrant.

Even Clark Kent got a vote. And people say Americans don’t trust journalists any more.

Then there was the Harris County voter who was very adamant about voting for Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character on Veep by writing “Selina Fucking Meyer.”

Because why should Austin voters get to have all the fun with obscenities?

Read more:

Julian Aguilar, Rodney Gibbs, Scott Hudson, Robert Inks, Jim Malewitz, Alexa Ura, Edgar Walters and Amanda Zamora contributed to this report.

Author:  BRANDON FORMBY – The Texas Tribune

Herald-Post Reset: Sanders Rallies Vado, El Paso, Las Cruces and Southwest Supporters

VADO, New Mexico — On a hot and sometimes blustery Saturday, more than 3,000 Bernie Sanders supporters waited in line outside of Vado Elementary School in Vado New Mexico to see the presidential candidate and listen to his platform.

Several people made their own signs, some of which coined unique phrases on them. “They tried to bury us but they didn’t know we were seeds,” one sign read.

DSC_2834Another supporter was creative and wrote: “The only B.S. we want is Bernie Sanders.”

His message to his supporters in Vado focused on increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour across the country; providing free college education; using a tax on wall street to pay for students’ higher education; reducing the student loan interest rate; providing better quality healthcare for our veterans and everyone in the nation; and supporting a comprehensive immigration reform that would protect undocumented workers.

Prior to arriving he spoke in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is also set to speak in Albuquerque on Tuesday.

The Crowd in Vado

Vado, which is just south of Las Cruces and West of El Paso, was Sanders’ third stop in the state of New Mexico this week. The presidential candidate held his rally on the school grounds, which is surrounded by farmland and was highlighted by the picturesque setting of blue skies and the mountains in the background.

Diana Ramirez, an employee with the District Attorney’s Office in El Paso, said she and her brother arrived at the elementary school at 5 a.m.

They were the first to arrive.

13278134_892180937574999_410261439_n“We really wanted to make sure we saw him,” Ramirez said. “It’s really a momentous thing. It’s awesome that he came here so close to us. It’s a lifetime opportunity to see him.”

Ramirez said she and her family have supported Sanders throughout his campaign. “I think the one thing that draws me to him most is this – getting rid of the politics in politics – and it really being just about the people and what the people are about. It’s not about who’s trying to give them (politicians) money to win elections.”

As they waited, several vendors selling Bernie Sanders T-Shirts, buttons, signs and other merchandise. Outside of the school, truck vendors were selling burritos, tortas and tacos.

Along the side of the road, an ice cream truck parked and used the opportunity to profit from the heat.

Las Cruces for Bernie, a group of volunteers who support Sanders and his campaign, were in the middle of the school parking lot seeking donations of about $20. The group also sold T-Shirts, apples, bananas, and home-made signs crafted by an artist.

Kathy Wooten, a volunteer for the group was impressed with Sanders’ choice to come to Vado – a population of about 3, 574 with the average household earning $35,834 according to The median household income is $28, 322.

DSC_2845Wooten, who was helping her group sell T-shirts, said she thought it was a “wonderful move” for Sanders to stop in a small town.

“These are the people that are forgotten,” Wooten said. “These are the colonias that the federal government has identified as colonies that are underserved – they don’t have the infrastructure- he’s here to talk to these people. He cares. He’s the real thing. He could have chosen down the road in Las Cruces. Las Cruces is a little bit more – you know – substantial in population and we would flora him to be there – however he came where the need is. He wants to be heard by the Latino population he cares about them and people like them.”

As the sky grew brighter, the sun seemingly became hotter beating down on the crowd, as the line expanded and snaked around the entrance and started to form outside the perimeter of the school’s fence.

There was one protester who stood outside the gates, but was later asked to leave.

By 10 a.m. the line was a quarter of a mile away from the school. People who brought umbrellas to shade themselves from the heat kept them open, others dabbed themselves with sunscreen.

Nathan Cook waited with his mother, Cathy Vadney, outside the school perimeter. The two Las Crucens had arrived at about 9:30 a.m. and had to park about a quarter-mile down the road.

Cook said he felt obligated to come and support Sanders, whom he supports.qt2

“I want to see Bernie – everyone else gets to see him so it’s my turn,” Cook said. “He’s got integrity. He’s been in the fight for a long time. I especially like that he was in the fight when it wasn’t popular – like when he wasn’t getting a lot of news and media attention. You look back sat the civil rights and his position on gay marriage, you know he didn’t do it because he was looking for a vote – he did it because he thought it was right. So I like that.”

When the crowd was finally allowed to enter, they went through a TSA security check process. Everyone who entered the site was screened
and had to walk through a metal detector.

Once inside, some people ran to find a spot, while others – mostly children – headed toward the school’s playground to play. To pass the time, the Sanders team provided entertainment to the crowd by Las Cruces acoustic band – String Awakening.

During lulls the crowd would chant, “We know Bernie’s got our back, he doesn’t need a SuperPAC!”

Sanders Speaks

In a style likened to that of a preacher, the presidential candidate, addressed the crowd as “My brothers and sisters,” throughout his speech.DSC_3220

As he walked onto the stage the crowd erupted in cheers chanting “Bernie, Bernie, Bernie…”

“I’m running for president of the United States because New Mexico has the worst high school graduation rate in the country,” Sanders said to the crowd. “Over 30 percent of students in New Mexico are either dropping out of high school or they are not graduating when they should. Together we are going to change that and create an educational system of high quality that works for the kids of New Mexico and America.”

According to the New Mexico Public Education Department High school dropouts in New Mexico face a 13 percent unemployment rate and earn an average income of $11,426. In Dona Ana County, the graduation rate for the 2014 cohort was at 72 percent, with 28 percent of students not finishing school or dropping out. According to the New Mexico Department of Health.

During his speech, that lasted about an hour, Sanders spoke about drug abuse, immigration reform, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, his support for gay marriage, equal pay for women, global warming, healthcare, higher education and the debt owed the Native American population in this country.

Sanders also chastised his democratic opponent, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, for receiving financial contributions from Super PACs.

DSC_3206“All of you know that from before the time when this country became a country, when the first settlers came here – the Native American people – the first Americans were cheated,” Sanders said.

“Time and time again the contracts and treaties – as they were negotiated they were broken and ignored. Meanwhile we owe the Native American people a huge debt of gratitude that we can never repay. The Native American people have taught us so much, and maybe the most important lesson that they have taught us is that we as human beings are part of nature. We must live with nature, and if we destroy nature we are destroying ourselves. But yet today, if you go to a Native American reservation or a Native American community what you see is very high levels of poverty and unemployment.”

Sanders then transitioned over to global warming and spoke of New Mexico’s potential for using solar and wind-powered energy.

On immigration reform Sanders said if Congress did not pass a comprehensive reform, with a path to citizenship, he would use his executive powers as president to do all that he could do to change that.

“There are 11 million people in this country today that are undocumented and many of those people as we speak today are being exploited on the job because when you have no legal rights,” Sanders said. “When you cannot legally defend yourself you employer can cheat you andqt1 rob you of your wages….I will end the current deportation policies. Our immigration approach should be to unite families, not divide families.”

This campaign, Sanders stressed, was a campaign that listened to all minorities in this country. Again and again, he spoke about poverty and chastised the top one percent in America.  “Poverty is a death sentence,” he said.

On the same note Sanders mentioned Trump’s recent tweet regarding his Taco Bowl and how he “loved Hispanics.”

“Donald Trump will never be elected president because the American people will not support a candidate who insults Mexicans and Latinos,” Sanders said over a cheering crowd. “…who insults Muslims or women; who insults African Americans or veterans. Our job is to bring our people together, to create a government that works for all of us – not just the one percent. And we will never allow people to divide us up.”

DSC_3205At one point Sanders asked the crowd how many of them did not have health insurance – about half of the crowd raised their hands.

“Whoa,” Sanders said and followed by asking the other half how many of them were underinsured with high deductibles and high co-payments.

“Together,” Sanders said. “We are going to change that.”

But change, Sanders said, comes from the bottom up – not from the top down.

The New Mexico primary is on June 7.

The Fourth Wall.

So did I feel the Bern? In a manner of speaking – yes, yes I did, except it was more of a burn. Temperatures reached the high 80s and some reporters, like myself, came ill prepared. At the end of the day, my arms were so red and they began to hurt on the drive home. (They are now scaly and itchy.)

One thing I noticed was that many of the people in the crowd had water before they arrived, but the secret service and TSA took it away upon screening. However, some never had their water replaced.

At times, event volunteers would meander through the ecstatic crowd – before and during Sanders’ speech – with large gallon-sized waters in their hands. As the volunteers walked through the crowd with one – sometimes two – gallon-sized jugs of water in their hands, they would offer people water, sometimes in pint-sized cups; and sometimes they could only offer to fill up the empty water bottles that the crowd members had in their hands.

If people got thirsty they were also offered a route to a water fountain – but that meant ultimately losing their place in line or their spot in the crowd.

It was not a very efficient way of distributing water and not every member in the crowd was offered a sip.

DSC_3232Even Sanders, during his speech, commented on the heat, and placed a cap over his head – so if Sanders felt the heat, the crowd – some who had arrived as early as 5 a.m.; certainly felt it as well.

At the end of the event, members of the crowd ran toward Sanders as he exited – only the barriers that had been placed there kept them from him.

Once the excitement wore down, people walked to their cars, and on the way there – a group of college students found a water hose laying on the grounds and asked if it could be turned on.

A volunteer for the campaign turned on the water for them – and within a few minutes a small line formed for the water hose.DSCF5080

People drank from it, refilled their drinks and in one instance, a young woman leaned down, pulled her hair forward and poured the water on the back of her neck – and then all over her head.

She turned to the surprised group behind her and said, “That was so worth it!” and walked away.

A few others applauded her idea – but weren’t brave enough to try it.

I’m just sorry I had expensive equipment with me and had a formal jacket on – I totally would have followed suit.

 Photos By Stephen Hinojosa, Special to the ElPaso Herald-Post. To view his work, click HERE.

Story in Many Pics: Sanders Brings the Bern to Vado

Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders made a stop in Vado, New Mexico Saturday, in front of an energetic crowd under at clear late-spring afternoon. Special Photographer to the Herald-Post, Stephen Hinojosa, brings you his view of the rally in this Story in Many Pics

DSC_2824 DSC_2834DSC_2836DSC_2841DSC_2829DSC_2858



Borderland Bernie Sanders supporters start on-line petition to bring candidate to El Paso

A group of dedicated El Pasoans has started an on-line petition to bring Democratic Presidential Hopeful Bernie Sanders to the Sun City.

Sanders, the Junior Senator from Vermont, is making headlines across the country with his rapidly-growing popularity and his equally rapidly growing campaign war chest.

According to the description on the petition’s main page, supporters want Sanders to visit El Paso because, “As a city with progressive views, it would be great to expand Senator Sanders’ support in Texas and New Mexico. The West Texas border for Bernie Sanders group of great volunteers works daily to expand support and would be delighted to host Senator Sanders.”

In addition to the petition, local Sanders supporters have two Facebook pages, that lay out the supporter’s passion in West Texas and in El Paso. This weekend, Sanders is set to speak to supporters in Tucson ahead of the first Democratic Debate scheduled for Tuesday, October 13th.

Here in Borderland, supporters have at least seven local viewing parties to choose from to watch the debate. Supporters have also scheduled a volunteer event for this coming weekend.  The story is much the same throughout the nation, as Sanders continues to attract supporters and donors at a record pace.

In recent polls, Sanders is outperforming former First Lady Hillary Clinton in the all-important states of New Hampshire and Iowa, setting up an interesting debate next Tuesday night. Just this past weekend, 32,000 plus supporters turned out to hear Sanders speak at a rally in Boston.

Click to view Sanders’ Campaign Site


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