Introducing Kerith Strano-Taylor, Democratic candidate (in the general!) for US Congress, for PA-5.

On Wednesday morning, on the third day of the Democratic National Convention, fellow New Jersey delegates and I went to a hotel in Center City Philly to attend a conference, but we were unable to get in because the room was too small for the turnout. They scheduled a new one for a few hours later, so we waited around. The point at which this video starts, I had just finished a 36 minute interview and was signing off. But then I saw this person animatedly talking with Richard, my delegate-hotel roommate, and I decided to continue recording and meet her.

Her name is Kerith Strano-Taylor and in addition to being a Bernie Sanders delegate from Pennsylvania, she is also a Democratic candidate for US Congress in PA-5, the far northwest corner of Pennsylvania. She was unchallenged in the primary, and is now in the general. Now. As you can see, she is a passionate person, and I ended up spending most of the day with her, much of it recording her talking about anything she wanted to talk about.

In this video, Kerith talks about her background, her experience as the only Democratic member of her school board (“The schools were terrible because of funding cuts. Do I take my kids to another school? No, I run for school board.”), elected by her peers as president, and why she decided to run for congress.

Please help Kerith win. Donate, volunteer, and vote for her this November.

Nuisance: Wed 7/27: Lunch with Kerith Strano-Taylor. [Timestamped highlights]

I met Kerith about an hour ago, when we all attended a working family party conference on “continuing the revolution”, and we are now all making our way to the DNC together. First we stop for lunch. On the way, I teach Kerith how easy it is to livestream (“That’s it?!”), and ask if I can keep the camera on her so her constituents can hear her talk about…anything. And because it is a livestream, they can ask questions.

We arrive and I start the livestream, Kerith uses her phone to share it to a couple of her pages (watching me with a 15 second delay, from right across the table), and we begin. The lighting on Kerith is terrible for the first few minutes, but greatly improves after we switch sides at the six minute mark.

Highlights from this video

8:45: Jeff: “I might as well show you my lunch. That’s what social media is all about right?

9:10: Kerith wants the camera off of her so she can take a bite to eat. Michelle: “Hello my name is Michelle, and today I’ll be playing the part of Kerith.”

They talk in depth about charter schools. How their only benefit is making rich people richer. Michelle and Kerith are both on their local school boards.

15:00: Kerith reviews how her current Republican congressman believes that the lessons of charter schools should be brought to public schools…meaning that unions should be dismantled.

17:00: Charter schools get their money before public schools do, because only they have the right to sue.

18:30-25:20: Discussion of the idea of arming teachers: Kerith: “I’m a good shot, I like to shoot. But I don’t think I would be nearly as a good shot if I was being shot at. Let alone a whole bunch of babies between me and the target.”

No insurance company will grant policies to the schools that choose to do this.

24:15: Michelle: “We are resigned to so many things that we shouldn’t be resigning too. Like Bernie says, ‘Never lose your sense of outrage.'”

Jeff: “Are we allowed to have any sense of outrage at the DNC? No. Because that implies that there is a reason to have our age, and they can’t go there. They don’t want to go there.”

26:30: Kerith: “Trump believes that the country is broken and can’t get any worse. Bernie believes it’s is broken and that it can only get better. Hillary doesn’t believe that the country is broken.”

29:55: Kerith’s view on guns, as asked by a viewer.

32:55: Why Kerith likes guns.

She has no gun at home. But my neighbor “is well enough armed that, so at the zombie apocalypse, he can take care of me and my family.”

34:00: Discussion of the concept of taking a single incident of a crime, and expanding it into a law against all people, resulting in a more nefarious purpose. Such as voter ID laws preventing people to vote or with purchasing firearms.

42:15 Kerith’s friend and campaign volunteer, Jen. They met when Kerith represented her child’s father in court. According to Jen, Kerith was declared child advocate of the year.

46:30: Jen: “It’s not how well you can help people, it’s how good you can get a speech, how are you can raise money, how much you vote with your party.”

Nuisance: Wed 7/27: A Hillary delegate’s perspective of the the #DNCWalkout. [Timestamped highlights]

Councilman Kwanzaa Hall from Atlanta, and friend of Killer Mike, while traveling on the subway.

Highlights from this video

0: Bernie delegates are feeling disenfranchised by the Hillary campaign and by the Democratic Party

He states it wasn’t totally appropriate that Bernie people cheered in the middle of speakers, but,

come on, this is the Super Bowl of politics… You’ve never been heckled? … Sorry y’all, that means you haven’t done enough to reach out.

If you haven’t reached out to people and they feel like you don’t give a shit, that’s what you get! It’s on you. The onus is on the person who is trying to lead.

3:55: His perspective of the walkout: “It’s all fair in politics.”

The fact that some people walked out and they didn’t want to be a part of the process at that moment? It means you’re supposed to go out and ask them, ‘Hey, Can we have another conversation?’

The folks who are on the winner side or the ones that need to reach out.

5:05: Discussing the booing of Elijah Cummings on Monday night.

He thought it was unfortunate, but not directed to him, and the scheduling of the speakers enabled.

I, Jeff, spoke to Mr. Cummings off the record on Tuesday, and he was viscerally, visibly angry. I found it surprising that someone so involved in the African-American struggle was unable to see the motivations behind it, and was only taking it personally. I understand he gradually responded on the record with respect towards the protesters.

7:30: Kerith talks about how the term “white privilege” makes no sense in her district, which is primarily white and poor.

9:20: Michelle brings up Hillary Clinton’s struggles with authenticity.

11:30: Kerith: Some of Trunp’s supporters think he’s authentic.

One thing Trump was successful with, that Bernie was not, was that Trump won despite the establishment not wanting him.

3:15: Councilman: “He needed to pivot that because of the reality of this business.”

He is framing Bernie Sanders stump speech as “narrative” as opposed to realistic/actual policy. But with Bernie Sanders, those two things are one of the same.

Jeff: “How do you pivot when your word is your bond?”

He answers, but the true answer, in my opinion, is that you don’t. When your word is your bond you don’t pivot. You change your words the first time, so pivoting is not necessary. “Pivot” is a pretty and gentle word for lie and mislead.

15:30: Kerith makes the point that Bernie was getting so many new voters, that he should’ve focused less on persuadable voters. Kwanzaa agrees.

As we approach the station in the end of the video, I ask him his name again. He says he’s a city councilman in district 2 in Atlanta Georgia.

Jeff: “And you’re in Killer Mike’s district right?” Kwanzaa: “No, Killer Mike is in mine.” Smirks.

Nuisance: Wed 7/27: Finally! Bernie Sanders delegates meet their supporters at FDR Park. [Timestamped highlights]

(This is part one. Part two: Kerith and I sit in the grass and talk with our supporters.)

All week long, Bernie Sanders supporters in FDR Park have been struggling to communicate with their delegates at the Wells Fargo Center across the street. Although some of us (delegates) could see supporters from a distance, as we entered the convention center yesterday morning, it was not enough. Rumors were making their way across the street unchecked, and delegates felt alone and like nuisances in the Wells Fargo Center.

This event is our finally doing something about it. It was organized by me, Eric Beechwood, and Dicky Wurfel.

Highlights from this video

0: Dicky Wurfel, Senior Adviser on Philly.FYI, and the person who personally paid for this main stage production, introduces us.

0:45: Supporter: “What happened in there?!”

Jeff: “Our goal today is not to talk to you, our goal today is to answer your questions. So we’re going to introduce ourselves quickly, and then get right to your questions.”

Supporter: “We have lots of questions.”

Here is an alternative view of the same event, by the Sane Progressive.




Many of the pledged Bernie Sanders Delegates on stage:

full-res Jeff Epstein from NJ

full-res Wayne Lewis from NJ

full-res Richard MacFarlane from NJ

full-res Kerith Strano-Taylor from PA

full-res Rob O’Connell from MO

full-res Jill from GA

full-res Gina from IN, Miquel Rodriguez(?) from CA, Saleed(?) from GA.

full-res Michelle McFadden-DiNicola from NJ

full-res James Pinard(?) from MA

full-res Jamie Brennon

full-res Kalilah and her father Andy, from ND

full-res Ann (Pelton?) from NC-10

1:45: Jeff, emotional: “I have been seeing you from across the street and it has been beautiful. So thank you.”

2:40: Kerith, from Pennsylvania, Berniecrat running this November in the general in PA-5:

“I need to tell you, that barefoot in this park is been the happiest I’ve been in three days.”

3:05: Rob: “…and I am Bernie or Bust I love all of you guys.” Laughs.

3:30: Gina from Indiana. White hat, light blue shirt with short sleeves:

“You are keeping the faith alive inside, so thank you. I walked out of the convention tonight, and I am not going back.”

3:55: Miguel Hispanic/Lebanese? from Los Angeles:

I am a lifelong democrat, and my and my wife’s registrations were switched. “Talk about disenfranchisement? You want my vote, you should’ve counted it the first time. I will spend the rest of my life battling the party. And we’re going Green… You guys are so beautiful.”

4:40: Saleed, member of Black Lives Matter, organizer for Fight for $15, Field Organizer for for the Democratic Party “mostly because Bernie Sanders”. From Georgia:

“Power to the people!”

6:20: Jill from congressional district 10 in Georgia. Licensed clinical social worker and part-time faculty member at some university. Wearing pink, long brown hair, glasses on top of her head:

Like many of you, I’ve always been a voter, but Bernie called me into the political process… I want you guys to know that it was very, very tough in that room. And there were times that I had to really hold on to [the fact that] I was representing 15,000 folks in Georgia, and 13 million voters across the United States.

Due to the orchestrated camera shots I’m not sure what you were able to see, but I hope you were able to see us and feel us. And know that we made our voices heard on Monday night.

7:35: Michelle from Middlesex County, New Jersey. Ran with Bernie on the ballot in NJ to give him a better spot:

“I’m filming you guys. I’m so proud to show everybody how gorgeous you look…

I am lucky to be a delegate. I feel like every single last one of you earned it just as much as I did. I know you’re treating us like celebrities–”

Supporters: “Because you are!! Because you are!!”

9:05: Jeff tells the story of yesterday morning’s encounter. Unfortunately when I say Michelle’s line, “I am so happy that you are not happy”, the video briefly cuts out as I switch the camera view. The crowd laughs and cheers.

Michelle: “Amen! Amen. Because There are far too many Americans that are complacent…” Emotional: “Stay fucking mad! Never stop never stop!”

10:00: Crowd chants: “Never stop!”

10:20: Chant: “We. Are. The 1900!”

11:10: James from central Massachusetts: “I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life working as a mental health counselor for children, including for LGBTQ kids in crisis transition. And this party has nothing to say about that currently. And I’m a little upset about that.”

13:00: Jamie from FL-23, Debra Wasserman Schultz’s district. Orange sleeveless shirt with buttons. Shoulder length brown hair:

“Sometimes I think the empty chairs in that room will speak louder…”

14:10: Kalilah, Native American from North Dakota, and her father, Andy, late 60’s? Yellow shirt, red suspenders, carved wooden cane.

“When we got off the bus and we’re heading into the convention, we heard you. Thank you.”

Crowd: “Thank you!!”

14:45-35: Andy was “supposed” to talk for two minutes, but ended up talking for 20. It was stressful for me but exactly what the crowd wanted.

This was very stressful for me as the MC, but beautiful for the audience, many of whom stood entranced, some of whom by the end were crying uncontrollably.

I felt it was important to get through the delegate introductions, to get to supporter questions as quickly as possible. We were given a total of 45 minutes. But each of the few times that I/we tried to stop him, people in the audience got very upset, referring to the centuries of genocide committed against his people, and they wanted him to take as much time as he needed.

My video does not focus on Andy’s speech, as much as it does on my trying to manage the situation. A better source for his speech would be at the 15 minute mark in The Sane Progressive’s broadcast of this same event.

Andy: “Bernie Sanders speaks to my heart, and he loves indigenous people.”

17:00: I tried to stop him, the audience wanted more.

Supporter: “Let him speak! As long as he needs!”

Jeff: “OK. As long as it’s what you want.”

Supporter: “We’re going to fight for you!! Fight the power!”

22:20: Supporter interrupts with a question. I enable this by giving him the microphone.

Another supporter: “Why are you interrupting him?”

25: He continues speaking. Supporter: “Let him speak! Let him speak! They been experiencing this for 250 years.”

30: I am told by Dicky that they have canceled the next event and we are granted an extra 30 minutes. I stop resisting.

32: He ends by singing a song and some in the audience are seen bawling.





33:50: His daughter is filming and crying.

35: Debbie The Sane Progressive speaks.

38:00: Debbie: “It’s a fraud. It’s a fraud. It’s a fraud.”

Crowd: “Fraud! Fraud! Fraud!”

39:30: What happened the roll call?

40:15: Richard reviews what happened to trigger the walkout, as he and I discussed on this morning’s bus.

42:45: Gina addresses what happened at the media tent. The supporters stated that “we were waiting!”, apparently not realizing that where we walked out to was still well within the security perimeter, far from FDR Park.

She also clarifies about the police temporarily not letting people in or out of the media tent.

44:45: For the first time, I hear that there was snipers on the roof during the walk out. I believe that they were there for The entire convention. She says they were “aiming at the Bernie delegates”. While arguably true, I think is an exaggeration.

45: Jeff: “I livestreamed the entire walk out which you can see for yourself on Citizens’ Media TV.”

46: According to Ann, the two organizers of the walk out, one for Vermont, were “detained for hours” by the Secret Service. While it’s true that there were no arrests, people were detained “illegally” for hours. This is the first I’m hearing this as well.

48-55: Saleed talks to the crowd.

“What they are doing in there is a scripted television show. What we are doing out here is real democracy.

Show me what democracy looks like!” Crowd: “This is what democracy looks like!”

49:55: Supporter: “We heard your tears! We heard your tears!”

He does this exactly once. It’s not repeated as I expected it to be.

55:45: Debbie the Sane Progressive gets worked up.

Your votes don’t count anymore. We just had this election stolen! I don’t know how many more times I can say it!… They cheated, OK!? … She [Hillary Clinton] doesn’t need your vote! I beg of you!! … They stole it!! This is not real!! They’re pretending!! I beg of you, tell every single candidate that you will not vote for them. You will not get the money. You will not work for them! Unless they address the issue of election fraud!!



Kerith and I discuss this in part two of coverage of this event. We strongly disagree with not voting.

58: Jill

59: Michelle discusses how the roll call was silent on a piece of paper in the morning, not perhaps as expected with each individual shouting out their vote.

1:01:30: Jill: Bernie sent an email requesting that we don’t protest.

1:02:20: Moving speech by Richard about how Hillary supporters do not have the passion about her as we do about Bernie.

1:04:00: Crowd: “Bernie! Or Jill! But never! Hill!”

Miguel: “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this moment!”

Miguel offers his credentials to anyone in the crowd who wants them, so they can enter the DNC. Credentials are giving out each morning and are only valid for the current day. It is unlikely that anyone who tried could actually get in, given the time of day and that the president is about to speak. Perhaps if they took them now and rushed over…

I am now so stressed about getting the microphone to Kerith, to give her the time she deserves, before we are kicked off stage.

(The original video goes out of sync with its audio at around this point.)

1:07:05-1:10:30: Kerith closes out the show with a three minute speech.

1:11:05: Stephanie Anders (?), independent Florida candidate running for Congress in Debra Wasserman Schultz’s district. She will indeed be in the general. She created this petition on labeling genetically modified foods.

1:12:45. A supporter (Dana Hall?) asks me (Jeff) if any Bernie delegates voted for Hillary. I don’t know the answer. I suspect a small amount, but the final roll call count will make that clear.

1:14:30: I show the top of the DNC coffin.

1:14:50-1:16:50: Billy Taylor

1:17:05: Jeff: “So let’s talk to the people who actually matter.”

1:18:05: Behind the stage: Kerith is interviewed by Pittsburgh’s WPXI TV.

1:20:20: Kerith and I realize that we cannot go back to the DNC, since Obama is about to speak.

1:20:50: Kerith: “So I can hang out and be in my bare feet for the rest of the damn night.”

Jeff: “And we can talk to real people.”

PA-5 Democratic congressional candidate Kerith Strano-Taylor addresses Bernie Sanders supporters at FDR Park during the DNC

Kerith addresses Bernie Sanders supporters on the mainstage at FDR Park, during the Democratic National Convention. For more information on Kerith, here is a great introduction video, and her official website. As promised by Kerith at the end of this video, here is a list of Berniecrats around the country.

This speech comes from this longer video.

Do you guys want something to do after tomorrow? There are 30 Berniecrats running for Congress that could flip the face of Congress this year. I ran for Congress in 2014 and I followed the Democratic line. You know what they told me? Raise money first. The viability of a candidate in the Democratic Party is determined by how much money you raise. It has nothing to do with whether you’d be a confident legislator in our seat of government.

[My name] is Kerith Strano-Taylor. I’m running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s fifth district. My district covers 24% of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is rural and it is poor. We are suffering under the economy that our party has given us, with the help of a Republican gridlocked Congress for six years.

We can beat this, but nothing will change if we don’t give Bernie some people to work with in Congress! This morning in my Democratic breakfast, I was ready to be done! This process grinds candidates who believe in the progressive movement into the dust.

I went to Democracy for America’s training and I met Jeff Epstein who said, ‘Holy shit! You’re running for Congress!’ And I gotta tell you, It is the best I’ve felt about trying to take a seat in the People’s House in over three years.

There are a lot of people that are running to agree with you. They need your help. You need to find them and help send them to Washington to stop Hillary or trump. It doesn’t matter who takes the White House, they’re going to need our help.

Thank you for standing strong for Bernie Sanders. And for standing strong for America. Thank you.

Kerith Strano-Taylor speaking to Pittsburgth WPXI TV, after giving speech to Bernie Sanders supporters at FDR Park

A few minutes previous, Kerith gave this speech to Bernie Sanders supporters at FDR Park, on the mainstage. Afterwards, behind the stage, she is approached and interviewed by Pittsburgh’s WPXI TV.

These folks are really excited about the idea of a progressive getting elected to Congress. And it’s not just me, there’s 30 others across the United States that are running. I realize I have the opportunity to maybe connect this fervor with people who could really use their help and who could really get some people into Congress.

Will she support Hillary?

The choice for me is no longer between Bernie and Hillary. The choice is now between Hillary and Trump. Trump frightens me. Hillary was not my choice. But what I see under Trump as president is frightening. I have two children that he frightens. He says things that scares them.

So that’s not a choice for me. Some are going third-party but I keep seeing Brexit. A lot of people thought the vote wouldn’t matter in Brexit, and we saw the consequence. So that’s not my direction, but it might be others and I respect their right to make their choice.

What about the people here in the park?

I think we have people caring about their politics in a way that they haven’t what about in years. And if we were smart as Democrats, we would embrace this power and say how can we build into the future? Instead of putting up walls and barriers. They don’t want to have that conversation, and I don’t want to be to their peril. And when I say ‘their’, I’m a Democrat it makes me very nervous for future. Because if this goes off on the wrong way, we could have a present Trump.

According to the reporter, this was broadcast that same night at 11 PM, but I cannot find it on their website. We realize that we cannot go back to the DNC, since Obama is about to speak.

So I can hang out and be in my bare feet for the rest of the damn night.

Jeff: “And we can talk to real people.”

We meet six people who want to talk to Kerith and have her business card. She sits in the grass and talks with them for an hour-and-a-half.

Nuisance: Wed 7/27: After being on stage, Kerith and I sit and talk to our supporters in the grass. [Timestamped highlights]

(This is part two. Here’s part one: Delegates are on stage talking to their supporters.)

1:21:00: after listening to Karen speak on stage, six supporters want to talk to Kerith and get her business card.

David1 and David2. David1 was a Bernie Sanders Field Organizer in Ames, Iowa, where he met David2, Who is from Massachusetts. He also went to five other states.

He met a candidate in Wyoming who “is a really great speaker but is not very organized.”

1:24:30: Two women from Burlington County, NJ, cast their very first vote for Bernie Sanders and me!

full-res Jamie Anderson

full-res Corretta Co-Washington (?)

They are concerned if Bernie delegates were threatened to vote for Hillary, such as with stripped credentials. Beyond the general guilt of ‘not voting for Hillary is a vote for Trump’, this is untrue.

Another concern: Are Hillary supporters using their signs to cover Bernie signs? This is significantly true, but whether it is officially sanctioned, that is impossible to know.

1:26:00: Jeff: “Hopefully in two years maybe you’ll vote for me again. We’ll see what happens.”

Jamie: “Of course! I already know that you care what we care about. That’s what matters.”

1:26:25: Kerith is sitting and talking with the whole crowd of people from before.

1:26:50: A supporter, Ryan Scott Davis, a Democrat from Maine, asks how does one become a delegate?

According to him there was only 3,400 total votes in the entire state for the democratic presidential primary. Maine closed two thirds of its polling stations. According to the New York Times, the Democratic primary had 3470 votes, and the Republican primary had 18,627 votes.

Jeff: “Because when there’s chaos you can do whatever the hell you like.”

He arrived in Philadelphia today. He was at Independence Hall earlier, and worked his way to the park.

The park’s curfew is at 10 PM. At that time the main stage shuts down, and you’re supposed to leave the park. But the police are allowing people to stay and pitch tents. This is something very strongly fought for by Philly.FYI.

1:33:35: Kerith is still talking to the group.


You can run as independent, but in our two-party system, it is harder…

Let me be clear, there is no funding to get. You have to go find it. There’s this myth, that if you’re a Democrat, that there’s money to be found. Obviously it makes it easier to raise from Democrats, because they’re organized. So there’s that.

She talks about the need of getting 1,000 signatures in order to get onto the ballot in Pennsylvania, and you only have three weeks to do it. And in order to survive any challenge, you need many hundreds more than that. “You need friends.”

1:34:35: She is holding a light in her lap, pointing it up to her face, like when telling a ghost story.

Jeff, to Kerith, totally deadpan and dry: “I have something very important. Could you please say bwah-ha-ha-ha?”

Lots of laughter. My favorite moment of levity at the convention.





Kerith: How do you start to get involved right now? Go look on your state websites for the rules, they’re different everywhere. Go look now.

“But no one is running for the seat, right? And no one wants it. So there’s no getting in to get into get in. You don’t need the party apparatus. You need to get the petitions, you need to get the signatures, make sure that they are good… File them with the State Department, your name goes on the ballot…

I don’t want this to turn into Occupy… You can be pissed, but you need something to do next.”

1:37:30: Jeff hands out the Brand New Congress leaflets, as an example of what to focus on, to avoid making the same mistake as Occupy.

1:38:30: Kerith talks about how Brand New Congress helps candidates raise money, to compete in this corrupt system. She talks about the negative cycle of fundraising, and how it is antithetical to actually helping people.

1:30:55: Dicky:

This moment, and the moment where Joe Sullivan the police chief, and I stood on the stage together, in front of City Hall on Sunday, and looked out at the crowd, And said “This is the way it’s supposed to look like between the cops and the people.” And he stuck out his hand to shake my hand, and I slapped his hand away and I hugged him. And then we looked and we stared at each other with big smiles on our face. And then he turned and said, “And this is the way it will look between the Philadelphia police and you.”

1:41:25: Jeff talks about how Brand New Congress is a staff for all of their ~440 candidates, so candidates don’t have to worry about fundraising or polling or media, or anything except for connecting with their potential constituents. Brand New Congress is also a brand, so that no matter who you vote for, if they are under the Brand New Congress label, you know what you’re getting.

1:42:50: David1 talks about how, despite not having a lot of clinical experience, he worked intensely for six months during the Bernie Sanders campaign, and that it takes a lot of discipline. He asks me if I had that discipline during my campaign, and it’s hard for me to answer.

1:44:40: A 23-(“and-a-half”)-year-old woman from New York asks what she can do to prepare for the future, “because I would love to run for Congress one day.” She’s especially upset about the State of the school system on Long Island.

1:46:30: I suggest joining Brand New Congress, Democracy for America, and Our Revolution. Attend as many things as you can, find what you like best, focus on them and drop the rest.

1:47:15: David1 talks about in addition to going to meetings, to get experience now, such as by volunteering for a campaign. “Make yourself a permanent body in that office.”

1:48:35: Caleb: “The Millennial Generation is the most progressive generation in American history.”

Jeff: “How much did Bernie Sanders teach you this?”

NY Woman:

Almost everything…

Being here [in FDR Park] is great, is rallying is great, but unless I’m actually active and doing something, this is all for naught.

1:50:45: David1 suggest picking an issue and learning everything about it. Run on that issue. This is what I like to do personally, which is to go deep, instead of wide.

1:51:00: Jeff: “So when did you arrive here?”

NY Woman arrived on Monday morning. Caleb arrived very late Sunday night, after a 24 hour straight drive from Iowa, With two friends, Ryan and Javier.



1:51:30: NY Woman:

As soon as we realized that there was foul play in this election, we knew that we had to be here. I wouldn’t be able to look my children in the eye and tell them that I didn’t try.

1:52:20: Caleb: “Our generation is terrified to have children.”

Our generation is just terrified to have children, because we know the world that they are going to be born into. We don’t want our children to be born in a world where everyone is fighting for resources. We want to live in a world where everyone is able to cooperate and get along and everyone’s needs are met. That is not the direction the world is currently headed in.

1:53:00: NY Woman’s Tim Canova shame bell, inspired by Game of Thrones.

“Hillary Clinton, DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Shame! Shame!” Smiles.

1:53:45: David one reminds us of Stephanie Anders, who was the last person to speak when we were on stage. Anders is running as an independent in Florida against Debra Wasserman Schultzin the general. And if Tim Canova wins, she will be running against him

NY Woman: “That’s the choice we need to make! Those are the choices we need in this country.”

I bring up the point of, yes it is a good choice, but it would also be splitting the vote between them and the Republican in the general.

1:55:0: Kerith is speaking with Claudia from Kentucky, about how dramatically Claudia’s electric rates are going up. They talk about solar and feeding energy back into the grid and leasing arrangements.

1:57:05: Kerith: “See if you can challenge the ordinance. Challenge the law. There’s lots of ways to effectuate change.”



She talks about getting a petition signed by 100 people in her town, go to the state house and complain. While a petition doesn’t guarantee anything it makes it clear that people are upset.

1:57:30: Jeff asks about the difference between online and paper petitions when the issue is local.

Kerith talks about how paper petitions used to be weighed.

1:59:05: Kerith: “Shake that cage. Make an appointment.”

Shake that cage. Make an appointment. Go say, “Here’s my $400 utility bill. How do I afford that? … Here’s my paycheck, here’s my grocery bill, I had to take the dog to the vet this month, and here’s my utility bill. How do you propose I do that?” And see what they say to you.

I suggest recording meeting, and we briefly discuss the legal implications of audio versus video recording, and permission.

2:00:30: We meet Brian

(See the full article on Brian. The entire dialogue is below.)

2:00:30: Brian joins us. A 21-year-old, soft-spoken, Hispanic man from Brooklyn, New York, wearing a gray tank top. He has a small goatee on the very bottom of his chin.

He asks Kerith what the next moves are, to avoid becoming Occupy. Kerith ask about finding candidates and Brand New Congress.

2:02:20: Kerith: “Find the thing that makes you angry, and run for that seat.”

She reviews Claudia’s problem, and says that the likely place to solve that problem may be in the state house, or perhaps the city council.

Kerith: “What motivates you? Because the campaign, it is grueling. You better care a lot about it.”

2:03:13: Brian is concerned how when you search for “DNC” on Google, there is nothing about the protests. And the first articles about the protests are negative against the protesters.

He says that while the future is important, it’s also important to make a statement right now.

2:09:05: He wants to know what kind of a statement we can make right now, with all these people already here. Kerith says that the statement that we can make is getting the people that we want, and they don’t want, into Congress.

Kerith: “It’s not a tomorrow thing.”

My thoughts, as I’m writing this, 9/14: The energy that it would take to make a statement in the last day of the DNC is likely not worth it. The statement that we can make is in the long term, but get started organizing for that right now.

2:09:45: Brian: “But we have to address the fact of how ridiculous of a picture it [this] is. There’s two walls and SWAT preventing us from showing our outrage of a rigged election.”

Kerith: “Being angry and fighting it won’t change who’s there making the decisions.”

2:11:15: Jeff: “We need to create a new game. But we also need to expose their game for what it is. That’s what I’m doing.”

I think there’s another side, and that’s what I’ve been doing. Which is–all of these things she’s been saying areaccurate… We need to create the government that we deserve. That’s one part of it. We need to just forget these rules, this game is not one that we choose to play. They want to play their game–

Brian: “But we’re playing it.”

Jeff, taking back control, not being distracted:

This game is one we choose not to play. So we’re gonna create a new game. However, the other side of it is, we need to expose their game for what it is.

Brian: “Yes! Exactly.”


That’s what I’m doing. I’m not going in and protesting. I’m going in and showing what it’s really like. Livestreaming all of the walk out, which the news is not going to do. But you can see the truth. The truth is there for you. The truth is there for you.

I’m not out there screaming, “This sucks! This sucks! This sucks!”, But I’m recording everything that’s going on, because the people out here want to know the truth. And this is the only way that they’re going to get it.

2:12:15: Claudia: “Find what you do in your spare time, and that’s your passion.”

Claudia works four jobs, but spends her spare time on politics.

I’m here in Philly. I’m here as a protester. I’m here as a guest for two delegates. If you would ask me even a week ago, if I thought I would be sitting here, on a livestream, talking to people about how I could affect change, I would’ve said no. That’s not gonna happen.

If your pasttime is art, make political art. If what you doing to pass time is livestreaming, then livestream. Do whatever you can. [Bernie says that] change does not happen from the top down, it happens from the bottom up. And we’re the bottom.

Claudia is currently working on the campaign for a city commissioner in western Kentucky, one of 13 running for four available seats. She herself wants to run for the House of representatives.

Claudia: “It’s a long game. It takes two years. I’m in this to win this.”

2:14:00: Brian:

But were acting as if the rally is already over… My impression is that[, despite understanding the long-term goals], it’s speaking in a way that–making it seem that we have already like–we’re past this DNC already. It’s over. We’re just sort of biding time until the next step.

He wants to organize something now, at the DNC, with the delegates, to make a statement. “To do something drastic.”

Jeff: “Why do you need to convince them of something?”


Because the message of this entire movement. The message of this entire March, wasn’t just to protest against the–HRC. [The fraud and corruption was obvious to all of us. We need to protest against the entire Democratic Party.] The whole point of this protest was to show how outrageous we are at a rigged election.

As I write this, 9/14, I disagree. While important, protesting the rigged election is not the most important point. We are here to begin a revolution and change the system.

2:15:05: Jeff: “And I’m asking you. I’m asking you: Why do we need to convince them, that they’re corrupt?”


It’s convincing America through progressives who will– By showing America, the right wing America, and Latino–you know, the whole other side of the country that’s republican. That we’re going to do real, immediate change. We’re not just idealists looking towards, oh tomorrow, tomorrow, we’ll get a seat in Congress. If we look impotent, what are people going to do…

Jeff: “Impotent to them. To the Democratic Party.”

Brian: “To America.”

Jeff: “So who do you want to convince? Do you want to convince America, or do you want to convince the Democratic Party?”

Brian: Pause. “Both.”


So why do we waste time across the street, when they have no interest in anything that we have to say? Forget them… If we waste time trying to convince the bully that they’re a bully… That is time that we could otherwise be creating the government that we deserve…

We notify America through us, not them. We don’t try and go through the media’s filters, or fun house mirrors. We create the media. We inform America the way that we want to inform America…

Do you understand? Am I making sense?

2:17:10: Brian:

I understand. It’s perfectly logical. But I’m saying this isn’t pressuring anything. This is an showing power, this isn’t showing unity. This is showing a massive people who want to change, and are not doing anything with the numbers that they have. And they’re not organizing in a way that’s going to have an immediate effect now.

9/14: Brian seems to believe that, while actual change is important, it is more long-term, and the perception of change by others is a more urgent and immediate concern. He sees all of these people standing around him with the energy and the anger, and the window of opportunity for something more immediate is slipping away.

2:19:10: Claudia: “If we weren’t pissed off, we wouldn’t be here talking right now. We’ve already done something…”

Claudia talks about how this DNC is different, given the amount of supporters from all around the country that are already here. How remarkable it is that she, as someone from western Kentucky, is talking to Brian from New York, on a livestream, here in Philadelphia.

2:19:45: Claudia: “We’re not going to get [the coverage that we want] from the mainstream media–”

Brian: “Unless we do something rash.”

Claudia has been interviewed by CNN and the New Yorker while in Philadelphia. I have been interviewed on television and was quoted in four newspaper articles while at the DNC. But Brian believes that we are only talking amongst ourselves. He believes it is critical to break through that wall so that people outside of our community hear our message.

We need to preach to those outside of our choir. And he seems to think that the only way to do this is by taking a dramatic stand right now, before the DNC ends (with this being the the night before the final day), So that it is indeed covered by mainstream media, and in the way that we want it to be covered.

He frankly seems to want the impossible, yet seems desperate to do something, and to do it right now.

2:20:55: Claudia tells the story about her 68-year-old mother, who was very conservative and closed minded (“Sorry mom”), screaming at the television when, Matt Bevin, an extremely conservative person won the Kentucky governorship (“the worst thing that’s happened to Kentucky in a long time”). Claudia was surprised to find out the her mother did not in fact vote for Bevin.

She took this opportunity to reach out to her, asking who she was going to vote for for president. She said she didn’t know anything about “that Barney guy.”

8 1/2 hours later, 430 in the morning, I turned my mother into the biggest damn Bernie supporter I’ve ever met.

I, Jeff, was very happy to learn that what convinced her was researching his platform, and likely watching videos.

2:24:10: Brian. One of our viewers agrees with him, that we must communicate with the DNC directly, not in directly.

2:25:20: I propose someone walking around tomorrow, during the daylight, documenting all of the security. The fences, the police, the horses, the concrete barriers, the Secret Service tent, the multiple layers between FDR Park and the Wells Fargo Center. I wish I had time to do this.

Brian wants to reach “The people who only have MSNBC.” I think it’s unrealistic goal in the timeframe that he wants to do it in.

2:26:50: Jeff states that he has to leave, and gives Brian the opportunity to give some closure viewers.

Brian: “We’re going to march through [across the street] peacefully, and show you that we’re not going to be ignored.”

He wants to orchestrate a demonstration to breach the Secret Service security tent, so they can peacefully protest inside the DNC. As if the Secret Service would let them anywhere near. He feels that doing it in a way that is “being peaceful” will somehow get them past the Secret Service. He also suggests somehow being assisted by delegates, which implies tricking the Secret Service.

2:28:00: Jeff: “And you don’t think the Secret Service is going to stop you?”

He does believe they will be stopped.

Jeff: “And then what?”

2:27:35: Brian: “And then we demonstrate that America is not going to take a completely corrupt system.”

I have serious doubts that they will ever reach that point. They will be taken away, out of the view of any cameras, before any actions can take place.

I say how regardless of how peaceful he intends to be, that approaching the Secret Service in this manner is extremely aggressive and, in my opinion, inadvisable.

2:29:00: Brian:

Do you think the civil rights movement, That people don’t get hurt? … Don’t you think people are prepared for that? … If we are being peaceful, then why would they attack us?

I was unable to get my head around why that statement didn’t feel right to me. As I write this on 9/14, I get it:

Of course people got hurt during the civil rights movement. During any protest movement. The goal is to choose an action where you can make as much difference as possible before reaching the point of violence. What you are considering seems very likely to reach that point before anything meaningful happens.

When people got hurt during the civil rights movement, during the most effective campaigns, they got a lot of things done before they reach The point of violence. Or the violence was captured and broadcast to the wider public. You are likely not going to get either of those things by approaching the Secret Service in this way.

And no, I do not think that you are prepared for that. I think you are biting off way way more than you can chew, and are sacrificing preparation because of your intense sense of urgency. You seem to feel that it must be done before all these people leave tomorrow afternoon, and I’m just not sure that that’s possible.

If this is really that important to you, then do your research, and contact people that know about this. About the military, about the government, about security, about protests, and be sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into.

And perhaps, given the time constraints, it is impossible to do anything. Perhaps you should lower your standards. If you are convinced that this is indeed the way you want to do it, then you better get started figuring out exactly what you need to figure out so you can make it happen in the most effective way possible.

The Secret Service will not “attack you”, but they will stop you. It doesn’t matter how peaceful you are, if you attempt to breach their barrier, you will be stopped.

2:30:05: Brian: “I have the experience and the knowledge to know what the hell to do against a two-party system that has literally done every corrupt thing in the book.”

Jeff, 9/14: What does that have to do with anything? We’re talking about planning a protest that attempts to breach the Secret Service. The message that we want to express once we have successfully breached the Secret Service, is really not relevant at the moment.

2:30:30: Brian:

What do you think it’s going to happen? … It’s like you’re saying if we go in there we’ll be massacred or something. That something dire will happen when peaceful people that want to be heard walk into a place that directly concerns them?

Jeff, 9/14: If I’m going to participate in something, I want to know that something effective and meaningful is going to be accomplished To before it is shut down. I believe strongly that this particular idea will be shut down before anything even remotely positive is accomplished.

2:31:15: Brian: “It’s now or never.”

Jeff, 9/14: Then I choose never.


I’m not saying don’t do it. If you want to do it, do it. But I absolutely will not participate in it, and, I wouldn’t sabotage you, but if people asked me, [I would say] I don’t think it’s a good idea unless we get some really seasoned advice on how to pull it off.

2:32:35: Brian: “We shouldn’t be this scared to do something peaceful.”

2:36:10: Brian: “This is like something out of a third world country. Peaceful people will be killed if they do anything that is against the rules.”

2:37:00: Claudia and Brian hug. Claudia: “I don’t want you to die today.”

Claudia and Brian introduce themselves to each other and hug. Claudia says, “I don’t want you to die today.”

Jeff: “I want you to die two days after that.” Laughter.

Claudia: “Whatever you do, please be careful.”

2:37:40: Jeff: “We should not have to do that research. This should not be the country that we live in. But this is the country that we live in.”

2:39:15: Jeff: “Before I asked this question, how old did you think I was?”

Brian: “28.”

Jeff: “I’m 44.”

Brian: “That’s great. You look so great.”

Jeff: “My insides are 73, but.” Laughter.

A viewer says I should have a “Dr.” before my name 🙂

Kerith Strano-Taylor: “The people with money won’t give you their money if you haven’t raised enough money.” — So what do you do?

After being on stage with many other delegates in FDR Park, Kerith and I sat in the grass and talked for couple of hours with our supporters. They want to know, “What comes next? We have all of this outrage and energy and enthusiasm. What do we do with it? Where do we focus it?”

At some point Kerith says:

The model that works right now, which is its own circle of hell– When I said we elect people who are capable of fundraising and not capable of much else, it is not a lie. The party line is you spend 40 hours a week… You call, you might connect with two out of 10, they might give, they might not. It might be five dollars, it might be one dollar.

It’s not an efficient use of time and most leaders that run are good at something. They’re effective, they effectuate change. Imagine sitting in an office, tied to a desk 40 hours a week, not accomplishing anything else, and having no money to show for it. If you haven’t raised enough money, the people that give a lot of money to campaigns, won’t give it to you if you haven’t raised enough money… Emily’s List, bless their hearts, and I respect the work they do–flat out told me that if I don’t raise $100,000 in a quarter they weren’t going to return my phone call. That’s how the system works… You have to raise money before you’re credible.

It’s at 1:38:30 in this video:

Our campaign finance system makes it impossible to benefit anyone except wealthy donors, because that’s what you spend the majority of your time doing: courting donations. And if you’re going to ask for money, it’s certainly easier to call on a few millionaires and billionaires, than it is a few million less-wealthy, average, real people.

It has become so that fundraising is seemingly the only tool that can be used to accomplish anything, and that more time is spent perfecting the art of fundraising, than actually accomplishing what matters. It’s become so that fundraising is now the goal, and that what used to be the goal is no longer meaningful or even relevant.

One of the ways our government enables, and effectively requires, this behavior, is by imposing explicit quotas on members of congress. As soon as you, a Democrat, enter Congress, your party tells you that you must spend four hours a day making phone calls, and an additional hour on “strategic outreach”. (John Oliver elaborates.)



If you spend more than half of your time asking wealthy people for donations, the rest of your time is not exclusively spent with the less-wealthy constituents. The majority, and likely all, of that time is spent implementing what was promised while fundraising.

If this is true. how can you even be aware of the presence of your average constituents, let alone learn what’s important to them, let alone do something about it?

But who cares? It’s legal. It’s not right, but you won’t get in trouble. I mean, at least not with anyone who has money or power. So what if average people hate you because of it? It’s not like they can do anything about it. Who’s paying attention to them anyway?

This is what America has become.



So let’s say you do get into Congress the “right way”, by somehow not giving into the negative cycle of fundraising, such as by inspiring people like Bernie Sanders. How do you not get sucked in to this corruption as soon as you enter office? You must immediately stand up to and defy your own party. How can I, as someone who wants to dive into this political world, prepare myself against this massive corruption machine, set up to capture the most eager, enthusiastic, innocent, and incorruptible person?

Kerith again, this time at 2:07:45 in this same video.

The way the system works now, you get elected to office, if you’re Democrat or Republican, you’re expected to spend about 70% of your time raising money. Literally. The day you get in. The day you get in, they hand you a call book. 70% of your time.

If you spend 70% of your job, doing anything other than your job. You’d be fired. Right? So my idea, and I think all of the other 30 Berniecrats that are running, if we get in there: We’re not going to do that.

Now the threat that the DNC makes against those candidates is, ‘If you don’t raise money, we will primary you with another DNC person, and you’ll lose your seat’. To that I say, ‘If I manage to get in, I’m going to spend 100% of my time actually helping people’. I’d like to think this would translate to people wanting me to stay in office. And if they don’t, that’s OK too. That’s OK too! I don’t need to stay forever.

That’s it. Make this declaration the foundation of my campaign. Be open and blunt about it from the very beginning:

On this, the first day of my campaign, I commit to you:

I will spend 100% of my time in office, working with and for the people of my district. All of them. Everyone in my district will have equal access to, and benefit from, my office. I will work with you, not based on the size of your bank account, but because you are a human being.

My party may demand that I spend 50% or more of my time courting wealthy donors, but I will not do that. I will not help only the wealthy. I will not make it easier for those who choose to help only the wealthy.

If this decision results in my being marginalized or ignored or sanctioned by my party, or “primaried by someone who is more cooperative,” then so be it.

I will not be held hostage by a system of begging and bribery. Let us stand up and take back our government, together.

Would I choose to do this by myself? I will, but no, I would not choose to. But if I were among the approximately 440 candidates of Brand New Congress, and we made this declaration, this statement, as a unified team, we could change the world.



And as Kerith says, “I’d like to think this [hard work for my constituents] would translate to people wanting me to stay in office.”

If you help your constituents, they will pay you back by doing whatever it takes to get you reelected. You don’t need to “hold a fundraiser,” because they will be inspired to contribute. And contribute more than just money. They will contribute themselves. They will volunteer–enthusiastically. They will promote you–enthusiastically. They will call in favors. They will be creative about getting you reelected, contributing in ways you could not have imagined.

And if you don’t get reelected, then you didn’t do enough for them. Or maybe the other guy can do it better. And that’s okay. That’s what America is supposed to be.

Update 9/23: I posed the question to Brand New Congress in this thread.

Their response:

Simply don’t comply is going to be our solution. There is no law about having to hit these quotas – it’s just something the parties make you do for the promise of their support. Brand New Congress is setting up its own infrastructure to help candidates run/provide support while in office, so we don’t need whatever support the Democratic party would offer.

The way the Democratic Party is able to enforce its quotas is it can threaten to pull support if you do not comply with their rules. When a congressperson has no other support system, they have to play by those rules. But we’re providing a separate support system so we have absolutely no intention to have our candidates hit any fundraising quotas imposed by the existing parties.