LIVE AMA ENDED @ 11:00 a.m. MDT

Thank you all for your interest and participation. This AMA was fun and instructive. There is one thing I would like to say:

Too much of this thread was devoted to going down the rabbit hole on gun legislation. On this, though, I am certain we can agree: first, let's institute Universal Background Checks. Let's repeal the Dickey Amendment, which is responsible for the rash of non-authoratative statistics over which we needlessly squabble. I am willing to shunt other reforms aside, for now, to get that done.

I am a lifelong resident of Utah and a U of U grad (PoliSci 2005). My key issues are campaign finance, health care and equal protection.

I am endorsed by SL County's chapters of Our Revolution and I am a Justice Democrat. If you need to pigeon-hole my politics, call me an aggressive progressive.

http://kirkhamforcongress.com/ https://twitter.com/ElectionsUtah/status/972157756688941057

Comments: 203 • Responses: 66  • Date: 

Suck_It_Trebek30 karma

Utahns are some of the most conservative people in America. What is your strategy for motivating local liberals/progressives? Is there a margin of moderate voters that you can effectively engage with?

Also, have you considered linking environmental and conservation policy with the abundance of outdoor tourism in Utah generated by skiing, hiking, river-rafting, hunting, and fishing? It's always seemed to me that Democrats have ceded fertile ground in the Western states outside of large population centers when that would provide an inroads to capture some of the moderate vote.

sheldogg41 karma

Unaffiliated voters outnumber Democrats 4-1 in the 4th, and outnumber Rs.

Those voters, in my experience and estimation, are not 'centrists'. They are almost uniformly progressives who have been alienated from party politics (mainly blame the Ds for that). Reaching those voters is the key to my electoral strategy.

Environment and conservation are central to my political ideas. I am universally opposed to sacrificing public lands to private development. Protecting the natural beauty of Utah, in particular, is important to sustaining a safe and civic atmosphere.

Suck_It_Trebek15 karma

I've just read through all your policy positions, and I'm impressed. I do have one criticism, and it's something that liberals/progressives need to take on board more broadly.

Raising the Federal Minimum Wage across the board will be catastrophic, not just for people at the Minimum Wage, but also people being paid close to it. Failing to take into account local variations in cost of living, as well as overall economic output, means that raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $15 regardless of locale will increase unemployment by either speeding automation or scaling redundancies.

I broadly think that Minimum Wage rates are abysmal right now, and create an artificially low floor of compensation, but it needs to be increased properly. To address this, I have several thoughts:

1) I think the Federal government needs to re-evaluate the statutory limits for the poverty line, which are a joke.

2) We should peg minimum wage to prevailing cost of living and set it as a floor, whereby not more than 40% of an average month of labor at Minimum Wage would be required to pay for housing costs (30% is typically the established level for poverty by economists).

3) We should use the Department of Housing and Urban Development's already-available-and-constantly-updated Area Median Income data used for housing programs and peg Federal Minimum Wage to that information.

4) The average ratio of CEO-to-worker pay in 1950 was 20:1. It is currently hovering around 271:1. We should use the Internal Revenue Code to incentivize a return to a less insane ratio by raising corporate tax rates, paired with a corresponding decrease based on said ratio.

The above would mark a radical departure from previous Minimum Wage theory and policy, so it would have to be phased in over a period of several years, perhaps a decade. What do you think?

Intimately linked to this problem are the housing and homelessness crises. Most job and wage growth is occurring in cities, and currently cities are struggling to manage demand for living space. Would you support a national vacancy tax to prevent real estate speculation, and encourage renting of unoccupied units?

Edit: Proposal #4

sheldogg8 karma

I have to allow that, as you read, I am not a big proponent of federal minimum wage increases. Not at this late stage, wherein the minimum wage is so far below standard that one cannot get there from here.

I think federal jobs programs, an expansion of HUD and the institution of federal transportation subsidies would do more to affect the quality of a wage-earner's life than nominal increases in the minimum wage. I have more aggressive proposals to combat income inequality, but some of them fall into the Modest Proposal category rather than the modest proposal category, if you catch my meaning.

I must admit, unfortunately, that I find it necessary to pursue a federal minimum wage increase at this time, or at least to not oppose it. The austerity-driven mindset in Washington must be reversed before public investment can once again influence markets. That reversal, favored overwhelmingly by the public, will take an enormous effort in Congress. Why? Congress serves the interests the donor class, which constitutes .04% of the public.

I appreciate the thoughtful nature of your reply, and we are in at least partial agreement. The vast suffering of the wage-earning class, which has increased every single year of my life, has to be combatted with every available tool. In the present climate the federal minimum wage is a tool progressives are forced to consider, and I will not oppose it.

CrimsonSmear1 karma

If you want to get more bipartisan support, you might want to try to come up with ideas that make the economic environment more friendly for the working class, rather than expanding the number of people working for the federal government.

sheldogg5 karma

It is established fact that government spending at the federal level on jobs/works programs results in increased wages and job stability in the private sector. It is my position that 'public-private partnerships' are little more than a grift. In the present climate that is especially true; no-bid contracts are the rule. Public funds being dispersed to unaccountable for-profit firms is unfriendly to the working class.

Reading between the lines a little, I take it you are not familiar with my policy positions. My platform revolves entirely around elevating wage-earners at the expense of the donor class and welfare-queen corporations.

I am not looking for bipartisan support. Apart from active members of the Democratic Party my target constituency is the unaffiliated voter.

SizableZergForce17 karma

How willing are you to stand up to your own party? Last night numerous Democrats voted to repeal bank regulations put in place after the 2008 meltdown including Doug Jones. How will you know when to say, "no" to your own party?

sheldogg19 karma

I will begin saying no from the moment I arrive. I will confront party leadership when it attempts to institute the same tired and unresponsive rules. I will confront party leadership when it attempts to ignore progressive reform. I will confront them in committee, on the floor and in conference. (Do I sound like Seuss yet?)

I'm glad you mentioned Dodd-Frank. I am furious. It is a poor-quality production, but here's what I had to say about it (before the bill was expanded to include even more rollbacks than when I recorded my comments): http://kirkhamforcongress.com/video-blog

SizableZergForce11 karma

They will retailiate, they will blackball your legislation, they will put you on meaningless committees, they will require you to spend more time fundraising for them. They know how to break fresh faced, idealogical freshman like you.

sheldogg18 karma

You have a point. Allow me to retort.

The Democratic majority in the 116th Congress (if they don't blow it with their wishy-washy hand-wringing approach to the election) will be a slim one. A few aggressive Ds can force the party into action.

I will not be alone.

From coast to coast there are, at present, nearly 60 Justice Democrats pursuing these House seats. 11 of them are in D-lean or competitive districts without a challenge in the primaries. One of those is in TX.

Speaking of TX, 4 other Justice Democrats are in primary election runoffs in May.

There is a wave coming. It's not only the proverbial wave election, or the self-congratulatory Blue Wave the Dems think is coming. There will be, I predict, two dozen Justice Democrats elected to the House. That will be enough to challenge the party's business-as-usual approach.

I would probably be the most vocal and aggressive of that lot. I have so long been furious at the national party that they forced me to run for public office just to stop myself yelling at the radio/TV set.

adamislolz3 karma

As long as you’re bringing up Texas, you mind if I ask you about Beto O’Rourke? What are your thoughts about him and do you think he’s got a chance? (I’m a Texan)

sheldogg4 karma

I strongly favor his candidacy; did so during the run-up to the primaries and I hope he stays on message for the General.

I think O'Rourke has an uphill battle, and electoral strategy will be key to his campaign. Apathy and restricted access to the ballot in TX will be the two biggest hurdles to his unseating that Cruz specimen. He has got to be out there, himself and in person, every day from now until November. If he is, he has an outstanding chance.

SizableZergForce2 karma

Will you congressmen form a new caucus? I really, really want to believe you'll be successful. But I also distrust any politician who comes along promising so much more than anybody else has delivered in the past.

sheldogg6 karma

I'm not promising anything but that which I will do. What I will do is challenge the Democratic Party, try to force it to reform.

Yes, I believe there will be a Justice Caucus in the Democratic Party in the 116th Congress. The Progressive Caucus has a few too many members who want to signify their politics and are not interested in doing the work necessary for those reforms.

Try_yet_again0 karma

What answer did you expect? Politicians will say anything to get elected. No one is going to say, "well, I'm going to bow to them and let them run my life, while I get to sit in a cushy chair making campaign fundraising calls while on the clock."

sheldogg1 karma

Do not doubt my resolve. I am going to conduct my campaign on these non-establishment principles. Should it result in my being elected to the House I will conduct my job in the manner that won me my job.

learath14 karma

Who are your donors? (rough demographics, like 'mostly from utah, average donation 100$' or 'almost entirely from California, average donation 100k', or if you are willing to be more specific that would be terrific too)

sheldogg20 karma

I have no money. I will, therefore, be 100% upfront with you.

I have received one unique donation, from a Utahn outside the 4th District, in the amount of $100. The rest of my financing has been the result of personal loans made to campaign from myself.

learath7 karma

That is a terrific answer, thank you very much!

sheldogg6 karma

Thanks for participating!

Saljen5 karma

You should use the technology that Justice Democrats and other progressive groups have available. Being able to accept donations online will drastically increase your chances of success. If you put in the effort to set something like this up, I'll be happy to be one of your first donors.

sheldogg2 karma

There is a donation portal on my website's front page!

Justice Democrats are using ActBlue like everyone else. I resisted. And I was wrong. I'm setting up an ActBlue account today.

Saljen1 karma

Is there a reason that we shouldn't be using ActBlue?

sheldogg3 karma

Just its association to the Democratic Party. Oh and the processing fees above standard cc fees, which the party pockets. ActBlue fees are greater than PayPal fees.

TheBadWolf2 karma

You're running for my party's nomination, but you don't like the party? Why should I or any other Democratic delegate support you?

sheldogg11 karma

The Democratic Party is in need of drastic reform. I find it to be responsive only to the desires of the donor class. It ought to be responsive to the desires of the public.

I take it for granted that you don't believe the GOP is responsive to the wishes of the public, to the needs of the citizenry. Shouldn't the Democratic Party be that organization? Unless challenged from the inside, it never will be.

Nancy Pelosi, when asked what makes her the most effective legislator, replied, "Because I raise the most money." That sentiment is demonstrably false.

In the 2016 presidential race the party spent $2b more than the campaign whose primary job was to keep a big wet baby fed on fast food and cookies. They lost. Since 2010 the Democratic Party has spent 217% the money it spent in the preceding 7 years while losing more than 1,000 legislative seats nationwide.

Money is what the Democratic Party is interested in. They do not care if they pass meaningful legislation; in fact, meaningful legislation runs contrary to what the donors want. They do not care if they lose; in fact, apart from spending more money, losing is all they do. They do not care about strong messaging; in fact, the DCCC would sooner abandon a strong national elections strategy than endanger 'conservative Democrats' like Heitkamp (NE) and Manchin (WV).

You ask me why you should support my candidacy at Convention. That is the central question to my campaign. Support me because you want the Democratic Party to be responsive to the public. Support me because it's your party, not the party of the big-spending also-rans. Support me because the House of Representatives is your house, and you want it back.

adamislolz11 karma

You’ve mentioned the phrase “Justice Democrats” multiple times. It’s a phrase I’m unfamiliar with. What do you mean by it and how are “Justice Democrats” different from other Democrats?

sheldogg13 karma

https://www.justicedemocrats.com/

These are a cadre of candidates who are committed, as I am, to accountable politicians. That means an end to kowtowing to the donor class and a return to responsiveness and responsibility.

Saljen4 karma

Justice Democrats are just Democrats who have agreed upon a set of progressive goals and have agreed to help elect fellow Democrats who support those goals. Check out their page and see what they stand for.

Other groups worth checking out are Our Revolution and Brand New Congress.

sheldogg1 karma

I am endorsed by both of Utah's Our Revolution groups. I'm expecting the national endorsement before the April 28 convention.

Rhodysia9 karma

How do you plan on combating the current push to curtail nationwide 2nd amendment rights, despite there being no evidence that such a push would have any effect?

sheldogg0 karma

If you care to be specific about those rights to which you refer we can talk about it. I'm finished responding to vague references to the 2nd amendment. It's not a monolith or a suicide pact.

adamislolz8 karma

If you are elected, what are your highest priorities when you take office? Like what is the first thing you will want to start working on?

sheldogg17 karma

First is to challenge the Democratic majority (assuming that's the case) in the House to adopt rules other than those under which Congress has been operating since the Gingrich era. Those rules protect a majority party as if it is a permanent majority, and create an atmosphere in which only the DONORS have access to lawmakers.

Health care is the #1 legislative priority. I favor single payer, or Medicare for All, but that is unlikely to get off the ground straight away.

What I propose is that the Public Option be re-inserted into the Affordable Care Act, administered by Medicare. Individuals in the marketplace may choose to purchase from Medicare, which will score their premium based on their FICA tax status. This will create downward pressure, immediately, on premiums inside the interstate insurance marketplace.

Saljen4 karma

What I propose is that the Public Option be re-inserted into the Affordable Care Act, administered by Medicare. Individuals in the marketplace may choose to purchase from Medicare

What do you say to people who say that this is nothing but Democrats trying to keep their donor base (ie: health insurance companies) alive and well, rather than providing actual single payer insurance for Americans like the rest of the civilized world has? This plan just seems like ACA 2.0, another Republican plan to keep the donors alive.

sheldogg9 karma

I say that Democrats trying to keep their donor base are opposed to this proposal.

There is something like it, Public-Option Lite if you will, favored by some establishment Ds in the Congress. They want to reform Medicare administration to make it look like a private insurance firm (annual limits, office co-pays, etc.). I am uniformly opposed to that idea. I am talking about Medicare administration, as it exists, providing the public option to people in the ACA Marketplace. It is the lack of a public option which completely doomed the ACA from Day 1.

I reiterate, though: I favor single-payer. I canvass for single-payer. I am, and will continue to be, an advocate for and activist on behalf of single-payer. However it's 'marketed' (at present Medicare for All), that is the only rational system of guaranteeing universal access to health care.

Saljen1 karma

Well said. Also, well done with this AMA. You seem to be holding your own. I wish you the best of luck.

sheldogg2 karma

Thank you Sal!

LoveBy1377 karma

Being that Ben McAdams has been running for the seat longer and has higher name recognition, how do you intend to defeat both him in a primary and then overcome the Republican advantage Mia Love has in the 4th?

Do you feel like you could inadvertently set up another Misty Snow-type situation if you were to beat McAdams in the primary?

I'm a Utah Democrat and while I'd love to see some more progressive Dems coming out of the state, pragmatically it won't happen with the way Utah was gerrymandered.

PilotWombat8 karma

This is the real question. I am one of those "independents" OP talked about, and I am super excited that Ben is running as he is probably one of the only people who legitimately has a chance to unseat Mia. I might agree with your policies OP, but you stand no chance in a general election against Mia. So, I dont mean to offend, but rather to be realistic: How do plan to get me, a moderate Dem, or dear god any moderate Rep in the district, to vote for you over McAdams? And in the general, over Mia?

sheldogg3 karma

I disagree with your analysis. A progressive candidate with a consistent and determined message is precisely who is needed to defeat Love in the general.

I think you're overlooking message, both in substance and transmission. I won't dive into the substance of my message again, as it can be found throughout this thread, on my website, etc. Suffice it to say that Mayor McA seems intent on having no message and the other declared candidates are committed in varying degrees to the totality of a progressive cause.

Transmission, then. I will not be content to blast the constituency with the barking noises of radio and TV ads in the 45 days leading up to an end. Don't you find that annoying? Don't you tune it out? Yeah, so do I. So does virtually everybody. My campaign will be built on in-person interaction, mainly canvassing, phone and email, but I won't stop there.

If I see a few parents watching their children on a West Jordan playground, I'll talk with them. If there are some union members at their local hall willing to have me, I'll talk to them. If there's a big community function (Taylorsville Days where I'm from), I'll talk to everyone there. If I see a farmhand on his slow-moving machine on a two-lane road around Nephi or Mt Pleasant I'm going to get out of my car and talk to that guy too. If someone, anyone, in Utah's 4th Congressional District wants a chat with me, they'll get it.

Will I, and whatever number of volunteers I manage to put two work, be able to talk to everyone between now and November? No. But I'm going to try. Then, and only then, will we see if a committed progressive can win Utah's 4th. Running a business-as-usual media-blitz money-wasting campaign will surely not turn the trick. I wouldn't try that again, had I fiat power over the Utah Democratic Party.

sheldogg4 karma

McAdams isn't my only primary opponent, and two other declared candidates (McDonald and Taylor) have been pursuing the nomination longer than he has.

I intend to win the primary by tirelessly and personally making my case to the unaffiliated voter in the 4th District. That means I will personally canvass every day from the Convention to the June 26 election. I will personally draft emails and maintain my list. I will personally make phone calls. I will personally write SMS blasts. I will personally write snail-mail letters.

Misty Snow was a good candidate. I don't to take to long getting into the reasons her performance was so poor; suffice it to say that she was far more aggressive and thoughtful on the '16 Convention floor than her campaign messaging.

CD4 is infinitely winnable. It relies on GOTV and bringing the strong progressive message directly to the electorate.

LoveBy1377 karma

I'm sorry but Misty Snow was not a good candidate. A Democrat had no chance of beating Mike Lee unless someone like Mitt were to change parties. When you add on her being transsexual, a progressive Dem, and a cashier from Harmon's without a college degree, it made it even more challenging for her to win.

I wish you the best of luck with your campaign, especially as I agree that the 4th district is probably the most winnable for Dems in this state.

sheldogg3 karma

I must re-iterate my dispute with you. The unaffiliated voter, the alienated voter, the disenfranchised voter, the voter who outnumbers all others, is not a 'centrist'. That voter is almost always a progressive for whom these two parties are complete failures.

That is the voter I am going to convince to get out and vote.

Yazashmadia5 karma

Sorry dude, but you're falling to the idiot democrats line of thinking when it comes to guns. Utah has a LOT of gun owners and we know our shit, you pushing this bullshit of "Assault Weapons Bans" will get you nowhere in this state where we actually know wtf we're talking about when it comes to guns.

The simple fact you use "Assault Weapon" will raise a red flag to most people in the state and you pulling these same bullshit talking points w/o any proof to backup your claims will get you clobbered.

I have a feeling I know someone on your "campaign" and she basically embodies everything that is wrong with the modern democrat movement in Utah. You play to the identity politics, you play to the mainstream bullshit on guns, you play to the whole $15 minimum wage, which has gone over spectacularly for Seattle.

Sorry dude, but with these policies in Utah, you're gonna get fucked. It's not because we "don't want change" but because you peddle the same mainstream democrat policies that Utah has rejected pretty handily. People really saw what Democrats as a whole represent in Utah after Mia Love was elected and saw the bullshit that was thrown at her because she's a black woman that's a Republican.

sheldogg-2 karma

There is only me on my campaign. Thus far, that is.

Your commentary on my policy ideas indicate that you do not know much about my policy ideas. Your assault weapons fetish indicates that you do not know how to connect signifier to signified, or believe you can disconnect them whenever you feel triggered.

If you do want significant change in Washington open yourself up to different ideas, rather than pigeon-holing them in your narrow worldview. Otherwise don't go claiming change is what you want.

ShadowDestroyerTime5 karma

Which do you think is more important, the liberties of each individual citizen or the security of the collective as a whole? How would your policies reflect these values?

What are your views on gun control? Do you think that with more advances in 3D printing technology that gun control will still be a possible method in stopping violent gun use in the future?

Are you for universal health care, free market healthcare, the current status quo, or some other form of healthcare?

You describe yourself as a progressive, do you hold views that would make you an SJW?

sheldogg3 karma

I'll start with SJW, as it is germaine to a broad yet crucial element of my understanding of American governance and institutions.

Equal protection is the foundation of our legal and civil systems. It happened almost by accident (or perhaps via historical determinism, as in the phrase which opens the DoI) that the United States would have as its foundation these principles: equality before the law, equality of opportunity, equality in the selection of governance. The application of those principles has been imperfect and constantly challenged by the wealthy and powerful. We live in a time when the institutions are established but are malfunctioning. The assault on American ideals is effective so long as the public is quiescent. It is therefore every citizen's duty, especially those holding elected office, to publicly agitate for policies which promote equality and publicly agitate against that which promotes inequality. Social justice warriors are needed only insofar as the public is apathetic and elected officials are held unaccountable. I wouldn't say I'm one, as it is my aim in activism to promote civic engagement and hold the powerful to account.

"Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."

Good place from which to start. At present, American politics is dominated by an upside-down interpretation of liberty and security. Security for the commons is defined mainly in military terms, while liberty is defined mainly as allowing the wealthy to do what they please with the power inherent in their vast resources. The trouble with this approach is that the wage-earner, the representative of the commons, is in far less need of military might and police presence than it is in need of housing, wages and infrastructure. The liberty afforded the wealthy and powerful to do as they please is in direct conflict with the nation's security, hence the liberty of an ordinary citizen is curtailed.

johnnyrebel18615 karma

Gun control?

No un-necessary gun control. Banning certain features (telescopic butt stocks or flash hiders for example) will do NOTHING to stop gun violence.

Need we remind you: that we had the 1994-2004 "Assault" Weapons ban. During that time period, we had THREE of the worst mass casualty events in recent history. 1) OKC. 2) Columbine. 3) 9/11. It shows that people who wish to do harm to innocents will do so regardless of a AWB.

Please do not be ignorant. Do your own research.

sheldogg8 karma

Your citing those mass casualty events proves that you haven't done your research, or that you feel like citing whatever standard cultural events fit your pre-determined narrative. Maybe you are agitating for box-cutter shields at airports or restrictions on the purchase of fertilizer...

Two of those three events did not involve firearms. The third involved firearms attained from careless adults to whom they had been issued by the military.

Mass casualties involving firearms have exploded since 2004. Since the Dec 2010 Sandy Hook murders...

Well. You do your research.

johnnyrebel18615 karma

Well then. Explain to me how banning certain features like the AWB did will help curb gun violence.

sheldogg1 karma

Mass-casualty incidents involving firearms exploded after the 2004 expiration of the AWB...? The preferred firearm is an assault weapon whose sale to the public was prohibited 1994 - 2004...?

MasterLJ12 karma

I'm not your constituent, but always wanted to ask a politician how they can come to such conclusions on guns. I don't understand how reasonable people can take a look at FBI Table 8 see that handguns are 98%+ of the problem, and then go after "assault style weapons", especially with the precedent set by Virginia Tech, that handguns can be every bit as lethal in a mass shooting as an AR-15. Las Vegas was the only mass shooting in which it made a difference that he had a rifle. Literally all others, replace their AR-15 with handguns and the body count stays the same.

I don't understand how reasonable people believe school shootings are on the increase, or mass casualty shootings, specifically decreasing school shootings? Violence in the US has been on a sharp decline, including gun crime and homicide. I'm certainly not suggesting it's declining because of guns, but it seems weird that there's an outcry now. What data do you have to suggest otherwise?

EDIT: My violent crime decline link stops at 2004, I don't want that to play into your claims, so here's another link that goes up to 2014, including after the AWB

sheldogg-1 karma

It is mass-casualty attacks, and always has been. This argument about handguns being the weapon used in most incidents of gun violence is a straw-man. It is data meaningless to the issue of mass-casualty prevention.

johnnyrebel18618 karma

You prove that you don't know much

The AWB of 94 only limited magazines to 10 rounds. Banned telescoping buttstocks. No Bayonet lug. The AR-15 was still available and sold.

And even if, you CANNOT infer causation based on correlation.

sheldogg3 karma

"...don't know much"

This from the person who believes OKC bombs and planes flying into the World Trade Center are valid arguments to make contrary to an assault weapons ban.

You are incorrect, though. The model of AR-15 being used in these events were illegal before 2004. Only one of the central modifications making it the mass-shooter's weapon of choice were allowed.

johnnyrebel186111 karma

They were illegal only in FEATURES. The AR-15 is a family of weapons! They are many of them out there, made by different manufacturers. You could still buy an AR-15 in, for example 1996, it just couldn't have a telescoping buttstock, bayonet lug, or flash hider. But you probably don't even know what those are. The AR-15 of 1996 and the AR-15 of 2016 were essentially the same thing, minus a few features, that really didn't make the weapon any more/less "deadlier".

Explain to me how the AWB is a good thing.

sheldogg3 karma

When a shooter doesn't use an assault weapon or high capacity magazine, he or she shoots 7 and kills roughly 5 people on average. When a shooter is using a high capacity magazine or an assault weapon, he or she shoots about 16 and kills better than 8 people on average.

Will that do to give you what you want? You are paying no mind to my argument; you're just shouting. If I wanted that I'd watch cable news.

Undownload5 karma

Why does every politician feel the need to label themselves Democrat or Republican? The American people are tired of this constant bipartisan bickering. Don't be a fucking pussy. Run as an independent, and if the people agree with your views you'll get elected. If they don't, then you won't. Relying on the backing of a political party is a coward's move.

sheldogg8 karma

This is a good point. It does not face the reality of electoral politics, though I wish (as you do) that it did.

I am not a member of the Democratic Party. I am challenging for their nomination to this office. You might recall that Sen Sanders is also not a member of the Democratic Party, but affiliated with the party in order to pursue the nomination.

The odds of Sanders, myself or any other serious progressive winning high elected office as independents or in 3rd parties is, at present and unfortunately, nil. I take up the challenge to confront the Democratic Party from the inside, in an effort to make it the people's party rather than the donor's 2nd party.

Undownload0 karma

If we're being completely honest, I was not expecting you to reply to my comment. As /u/Saljen said in a comment below, the system is broken and needs to be fixed. What steps would you take to fix it?

sheldogg1 karma

I hope you don't mind me sticking to the short form answer.

💰

That's the general answer to why the system of governance in Washington is broken. You see specific instances just this week: the financial industry is getting its wishes from the Democratic party in a Dodd-Frank roll back while the gun manufacturers are once again levying their outsized elitist influence to prevent reasonable and popular legislative measures.

Start by supporting a candidate who's refusing the money and will go to the mattresses in opposition to those who take it. That's me.

najing_ftw5 karma

How are you going to inspire people that normally don’t vote, to vote in this election?

sheldogg5 karma

I will personally bring my message to that voter. The short form goes something like this:

US politics, especially in Washington, are dominated by monied interests of the donor class. I will ignore the donor class. I will fight to remove the influence the donor class. I will combat legislation which favors the donor class. I will confront fellow members of congress who are doing the bidding of the donor class.

I will not respond to money. I will respond to you.

MulanIsMyDad5 karma

What factors caused you to switch parties, and when?

sheldogg7 karma

How long a reply shall I submit :/

I did not switch from the GOP to the Democratic Party. I have been an unaffiliated voter since 1998. HRC was the first Democratic candidate for President who received my vote and Dole was the only R with that honor.

I am now affiliated with the Democratic Party in order to pursue elected office. The progressive voice cannot be ignored as coming from the 'rank-and-file' members when we hold high elected office.

To answer your question more directly, in 1999 I actually called a lawyer to see about suing Rush Limbaugh under the same medieval statutes Ozzy Osbourne was once sued (corruption of youth). I had the misfortune of picking up the wrong, um, book when I was 14 years old and it stymied my intellectual growth for years.

MulanIsMyDad2 karma

Sorry, just saw on your website that your first civic engagement was with Teenaged Republicans Society, so I wanted to clarify.

Your first Dem presidential vote for HRC was in 2008 or 2016?

sheldogg2 karma

In 2016 I voted for HRC, because lead-in polls indicated that McMullin would get roughly 30% of the vote in Utah. That put Clinton in play.

The polls were badly wrong. The President got just over 50% and McMullin what 11%? It was the first (and I promise last) time I did not vote my conscience. Jill Stein was, as in the '12 general, my preferred candidate.

In '08 I did participate in the D primary. As in '16, I preferred a candidate other than Clinton. I supported Kucinich, who had withdrawn, and cast my vote for Obama.

I am sincere in my apologies over my involvement in Republican politics. That doesn't make me a booster of the Democratic Party. What the Clinton and Obama administrations did to attack the progressive legacy of 20th century American policy are things Reagan would never have gotten away with.

syncro373 karma

What is your specific stance on LGBT issues?

sheldogg3 karma

I favor Congressional action, authorized by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, to target those states and municipalities which pass laws or enforce regulations which discriminate against anyone based on gender identity or sexual orientation. That means laws by which punitive measures will be triggered against any governing body which pursue such discrimination.

The Civil Rights Act charged Congress with proactively defending the civil liberties of all people residing in the US, and enabled Congress to assume authority over subordinate governing bodies which attack those liberties. It is long overdue that LGBTQ individuals are specifically protected by Congress under the purview of the Civil Rights Act.

Nietzsch_avg_Jungman3 karma

To be honest "aggressive progressive" sounds kind of scary. Just to give you a little insight to how someone in the middle might think of you, imagine What pictures come to mind when I describe myself as an aggressive conservative? Hitler or some other kind of racist, right? Also here is a tip: Shave your soul patch off... Jesus Christ

sheldogg7 karma

Thanks for the grooming tip!

Aggressive progressive may sound scary. What it means to me, then:

Party politics are irrelevant. I agitate for policy. Those policies are not to be sacrificed at the twin altars of party loyalty and campaign donations. I am unashamed in confronting the powerful, the popular, or the 'electable' with these policy ideas. I will not back away from an argument over policy, and will use aggressive rhetoric in defense of those policies.

Saljen2 karma

The only people that "aggressive progressive" will scare off is people who wouldn't consider voting for you anyways. Those who don't normally vote need someone to push policy that affects their lives positively in order to be convinced to get to the ballot box. In my opinion, that takes an "aggressive progressive", so don't change a thing.

Nietzsch_avg_Jungman7 karma

The amount of people in Utah that would vote for someone that describes themselves as an aggressive progressive is extremely small. My tip is to tone it down a bit. I am an atheist but lean conservative and when I hear that I think "oh my god don't put me in a gulag".

Saljen-2 karma

Do you conflate Progressives with Communists? You realize that those are two differing ideologies, right? One supports progressive regulation of Capitalism, while one is a replacement for Capitalism all-together. Also, you realize that 2018 America has a higher incarceration rate of it's own citizens than the Soviet Union did at the height of the gulag system? Hell, even communist China has a prison population of 120 per 100,000 while America's prison population is 735 per 100,000. Literally 6 times more people are locked up in American prisons than in communist China, and you think the issue is progressivism?

If you do conflate the two, then all you've done is fallen for propaganda. That's not something to be proud of.

Nietzsch_avg_Jungman0 karma

Nice you just compared tens of millions of people dying and suffering in the Soviet Union to our prison system... To pretend that within the progressive movement there isn't a good amount of Marxists is insane. Go to any rally and you will see the hammer and sickle, hell I even had a couple of teachers describe themselves as Marxists. To act like progressiveness isn't correlated to Marxism (especially when described as aggressive) is just ignorant and would be similar to me saying aggressive conservatism isn't correlated to fascism.

sheldogg2 karma

And here you conflate Marxism with the Soviet Union <clap>

sheldogg2 karma

Thanks again for the boost Sal. You are right, people afraid of aggressive progressives are not really my target constituency.

I'll put this here, though: UT CD4 is definitely on the DCCC's target list. That makes their candidate, McAdams, dangerous to what they hope will be a 3rd term for Love. Perhaps a handful of 'centrists' and outright conservatives are interested in supporting me in the primary as a foil? Perhaps they find me less electable than McAdams and support me in the D primary while intending to vote Love in the General?

yupyepyupyep2 karma

Why does your website claim that fossil fuels are the sole determinant of climate change when there are obviously other contributing factors such as animal agriculture and deforestation?

sheldogg-2 karma

Why do you claim that reduction in fossil fuel combustion isn't key to combatting climate change when it clearly is?

yupyepyupyep2 karma

It is key. Fossil fuel reduction is incredibly important for reducing GHG. Buts it's not the only important factor, like the candidate is claiming. I'm not impressed that you put words in my mouth, either. I never said you were wrong. I said you left out key info. Pretty lame.

sheldogg0 karma

I disagree that I left out key info. I do not believe that confronting Brazilian cattle ranchers or NA industrial ag in Congress are important to climate policy. I believe that if you want climate policy you focus on fossil fuels.

You are right - my reply was lame. Without context, I thought you might be tossing out some of the climate denial camp's favorite straw men.

donfelicedon22 karma

Who do think the Democrats should choose as their candidate for president in 2020? There doesn't seem to be any clear candidates at the moment

sheldogg5 karma

2020 is ages away. But I will keep it simple for now.

It's Sanders. Should have been Sanders in 2016. He is the only national office-holder with approval ratings in the 60%s. In short, he's the most popular man in the country and he re-introduced New Deal Democrats to the Democratic Party.

MorningsAreBetter8 karma

Bernie is 76 right now, and will be 78 in 2020, which would make him the oldest candidate from a major party. What happens if 2020 comes and Bernie decides he's too old to run? Who is your backup choice?

sheldogg0 karma

2020 is, I repeat, ages away. My 1st choice in 2020 would be my first choice in 2016; Elizabeth Warren. Trouble is, to your point, she is nearly Sanders' age.

There are few national Democrats who I can cite as a backup choice. One will emerge. For now I'll toss out a few names - Sen Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Rep Keith Ellison (Minn), Rep Ro Khanna (Cal), Sen Ron Wyden (Ore).

thesaltedchip5 karma

I hope you don't adopt his approach ... which is driven only by quixotic ideals and not by hard data on what policy tools actually work in fixing problems. Most expert economists were harshly critical of his proposals.

The best way to deal with this situation is not to apply the same uninformed decision making process Rs are applying but to instead listen to the advice of experts and make informed decisions that will actually solve problems. That's one of the things Obama did best.

sheldogg-2 karma

Sorry; whose approach? The thread gets lost in reply.

I'll comment on the latter. Obama made decisions on economic policy which were ruinous to our future. I hope you are not sincerely advocating that I listen to the advice of ex-bankers, hedge-fund managers and right-wing 'centrists' in crafting an economic policy.

What upsets me the most is the missed opportunity the Obama administration. I don't want to belabor the point too much, but that expert advice led to wishy-washy hand-wringing half-reforms designed to make the '12 election of Obama look like he was Republican Lite. Sunk the working class into unnecessary stagnation and nearly sunk Obama's re-election bid.

PMzyox2 karma

There is only real one political question that matters. How do you plan to end lobbying?

sheldogg3 karma

First by simply ignoring lobbyists.

Second by supporting legislation that would limit candidate spending on elections, causing fundraising pressures to be a non-factor.

Third by supporting a move to publicly-financed elections, causing fundraising pressures to be non-existent.

Fourth by exposing and challenging those members of Congress, particularly Ds, who do the bidding of their donors at the expense of public policy.

Combatting the influence of money in politics is central to my campaign. Virtually none of my other legislative goals are possible without that goal's being addressed.

sent-via-leapfrog2 karma

In order to keep the Justice Democrat status, you have to actively fight against money in politics and not take any corporate or PAC money.

sheldogg2 karma

I am not officially endorsed by JD, but give my political proclivities I don't hesitate to invoke that moniker on myself.

sjets32 karma

What is your position on marijuana legalization?

sheldogg2 karma

Unless Congress acts, retrograde clowns like AG Sessions will be an ever-present threat to citizens living in states wherein legislative initiatives have expanded legal access to marijuana. I do not see nationwide legalization an immediate possibility or necessity, but Congress can prevent the executive from pursuing re-criminalization by removing marijuana from Schedule I of the 1972 Controlled Substances Act. Taking away that set of DEA fangs will protect individual states' efforts to pursue their own regulatory decisions.

uknolickface1 karma

What is more of an uphill challenging the winning the Primary or if winning the General?

sheldogg2 karma

Frankly I think it is the primary. There are 5 declared candidates and a presumptive nominee. I am determined to get on that ballot and illustrate to the Democratic Party and the public at large that a large campaign coffer is not necessary to winning elections.

mkandersen11230 karma

How does it feel to run for a position amongst the most openly hated government in the world?

sheldogg5 karma

Thrilling. We can change it. That the American public and the world at large hate Washington so much means that it is broken. It is time for serious change.

mkandersen11232 karma

Why do you think people dislike Washington so much?

sheldogg2 karma

In short because Washington is completely disconnected from the public and its demands.

_Blood_Fart_-1 karma

I am sort of a lonely guy.

Could you please bring back Polygamy?

sheldogg5 karma

You'll be happy to know that a) there is no federal statute prohibiting bigamy and b) it would not be a priority of mine to institute one.

gl with the IBS!

Lysergic_Love25-2 karma

Do you support the efforts to remove the Deep State / shadow government and end the corruption that plagues our political system?

sheldogg1 karma

Define?

Lysergic_Love25-2 karma

I apologize. Im not clear on what you need me to define.

sheldogg1 karma

Be specific?

Lysergic_Love25-3 karma

The crooked and corrupt politicians and federal agents beholden and the banking elite and their globalist agenda. The ones that Donald Trump is at war with. If you dont want to answer the question then dont. What are the odds that you do not know who i am speaking of?

sheldogg2 karma

You do not know of whom you are speaking. Here you make reference to slip-shod ideas founded in fantasy and skirt into anti-semitism. Then you erroneously claim that the President is at war with something other than bad press.

Lysergic_Love251 karma

There was nothing anti- Semitic there. I speak of much of the CIA FBI the Clintons. Everyone in her inner circle. It includes the better part of your party. And even many on the other side of the isle. Including the Bushes. I am not implying that it includes you. I think it likely doesnt. I guess to wrap it all up for you who i am referring to would be who Trump usually refers to as the swamp. This was not to attack you if thats what you think. I was interested in the thoughts of someome has not already spent a great deal of time in Washington. Im grateful to anyone who restores order regardless if they have an R or a D next to their name. The sense i get is that the whole Left vs Right thing is just a way to divide the people. It shouldn't matter as long as everyone is working toward the best interest of the country. Good luck with your campaign.

sheldogg2 karma

The White House is occupied by financial industry crooks, Goldman Sachs executives, individuals who lie on applications for security clearance, people with business interests tied to official executive branch conduct, and folks whose standard of ethics doesn't rise to any low-bar normal.

That is a swamp.

MCJizzrag-4 karma

What are you going to do to restore the image of people from Utah as horse fuckers?

sheldogg2 karma

Be a thoughtful person from Utah? Or at least try...

dunnman1981-6 karma

What are you going to do to stand up to the NRA and bring about common sense gun control to Utah?

sheldogg-5 karma

I will not allow the issue to drop. Democratic members of Congress have too long been given a pass on restricting access to guns. If elected I will agitate in every committee, in every piece of proposed legislation and in every floor debate for:

Universal background checks; Mandatory waiting periods; Re-institute the '94 assault weapons ban; Restrict large-capacity magazines; De-militarize schools, police forces and civil society at large.

I will also name and shame the NRA for its outsized influence in Congress and the media at every available opportunity. It is not about the right to bear arms. It is about gun sales. Profits to manufacturers. In short, it is about money.

uteguns14 karma

This is why you won’t have any chance of winning, especially with unaffiliated voters like myself (or my family/friends). You’re Misty Snow 2.0 and have a far more progressive agenda than people want, which makes you too detached from the regular Utahn. Utah is an extremely pro 2nd Amendment state and doesn’t want increased gun control. Utah has one of the lowest homicide / mass shooting rate but you still want to go on this obscene crusade to disarm your constituents. How about focus instead on something that we can all agree on, the horrendous opioid and suicide crisis (where almost all of our gun deaths come from) that is plaguing our state?

sheldogg0 karma

I disagree with your premise. The majority of unaffiliated voters are progressives. What's more, the 2nd Amendment does not, and never has, guarantee unfettered access to firearms.

Shaddio9 karma

The majority of unaffiliated voters are progressives.

As somebody who is an unaffiliated voter, I would love a source on this.

sheldogg1 karma

I allow that my evidence is largely anecdotal, as is the existence of an unaffiliated voter who is not a progressive (you).

Polling data on specific policy issues indicate that the public is well to the left of Washington. That includes statewide data on Utah. Additionally, participation in the Democratic caucuses of 2016 exploded. Not because of the party, but because of the presidential preference poll.

If you care to counter in a way other than to say that you're unaffiliated and opposed to progressive politics I'm game.

uteguns8 karma

Would you mind providing proof for your claim?

I agree the 2nd Amendment doesn’t guarantee unfettered access but it also doesn’t allow the government to place burdensome barriers to ownership. It also is specifically for the ownership of offensive arms like the AR15.

sheldogg-4 karma

The proof is in the judicial precedent. The '94 assault weapons ban was refused a hearing before SCOTUS; that is the degree to which the courts agree that restricted access does not violate the Constitution.

uteguns11 karma

That judicial precedent is no longer applicable as many attempts to establish the same law since the sunset have failed (and will continue to fail). You also need to take Heller into account where the Supreme Court ruled in favor of individual ownership.

I was also asking for proof for you’re claim that the majority of unaffiliated voters in the 4th district or Utah as a whole are progressives.

sheldogg6 karma

Do you have something other than anecdotal evidence for your position that the unaffiliated voter in Utah's 4th is a right-winger who simply does not like either political party? Because I have anecdotal evidence on the contrary and the following:

2012 participation in UT Democratic Party caucus - ~ 11,000 2016 participation in UT Democratic Party caucus - ~79,000

What, pray tell, was the difference?

uteguns6 karma

Did I ever say anything about right wingers or republicans? I’m certainly neither of the two and also not the one campaigning for public office. I’m not the one who has to convince unaffiliated voters to vote for me. I just think before you make wild claims that most of the half a million unaffiliated voters in Utah are progressives you should have some proof to back it up. For the growth in the Democratic Party, it could easily be attributed to recent influx of tech workers to the 4th district and not actually a switch in the politics of those already here. Even then 79k Democrats in the 4th only make up a fraction of the overall population (745k).

sheldogg-1 karma

I provided you proof. Your anecdotal evidence isn't superior to mine, and Sanders drove tens of thousands of voters to a Democratic Party event they would not otherwise have attended.

That was a presidential preference poll. Imagine what would have happened if that had been an actual primary election. ~137,000 Utahns voted in the 2008 Clinton/Obama primary.

irondeepbicycle1 karma

What, pray tell, was the difference?

The fact that 2016 had a competitive presidential primary and 2012 didn't? Like, is this a serious question?

sheldogg1 karma

There was no presidential primary in Utah. Not for any political party.

Saljen-4 karma

Fortunately, lots of gun owners in Utah are sane gun owners who actually want gun regulation and know that nobody's trying to ban all guns. It's the vocal minority that changes the conversation from gun control to banning all guns because that is the only argument they know how to fight against. I've never heard a gun nut give a reasonable argument against common sense gun reform.

sheldogg2 karma

This is true, and speaks to the history of the National Rifle Association. That group, prior to 1977, did in fact advocate hunting rights and promote gun safety. Then the Goldwater folks took over, mass-manufacturing concerns became the only constituent, the rhetorical sense went AWOL and here we are.

1977, incidentally, was the year of my birth. So the gun-nut argument has been the only one I have ever heard.

Tubal7 karma

I'm afraid you've drunk the Koolaid friend. You claim you will stand up to your Democratic peers, but then you spout off all their talking points.

The NRA is still all about hunting rights and gun safety. They're also about protecting the second amendment you and your friends are so hell bent on taking away.

Here's a list of upcoming NRA sponsored courses in your state:

http://www.nrainstructors.org/SearchResults.aspx?State=y&SearchState=UT&id=57,56,6,51,47,73,58,8,1,6,51,73,7,3,51,10,73,14,15,41,58,5,4&bsa=&youth=&women=

sheldogg-2 karma

You're flat wrong. the Democratic Party isn't going to act on restricted access to firearms. When have they?

A Koolaid-drinker? I reject the common and thoroughly debunked narrative of the Democratic Party coming to take guns away, which doesn't happen, in order to agitate for restricted access. The Democratic Party is opposed, as a matter of observable fact, to taking action.

Wouldn't your fear-mongering and inability to process pragmatic truth indicate a spot of Koolaid-drinking?

laxm0nkey7 karma

Are you aware that the 94 "assault weapons ban" did nothing to the homicide rate?

sheldogg-2 karma

Nice cherry-picking here. First, you're wrong. Homicide rates did decline in pace with pre-94 rates. Second, you're ignoring the mass-casualty problem which is the aim of such a law.

Don't cite general statistics on crime rates throughout the 90's if all you're trying to do is argue that guns aren't a societal problem in the US. Crime is a far larger issue than that, whose contributing factor guns are just the most deadly.

deflateddoritodinks-7 karma

Why do you love to tax people so much? Why do you love illegal alien criminals.

sheldogg6 karma

Can you, er, be specific? Or at least pretend you're asking me and not your idea of a cookie-cutter back-bencher Democrat?