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Sun Apr 20, 2014, 11:05 AM

 

Why voting is not the end all to oligarchy



Some folks here are confusing citizen involvement with voting. Oligarchies are never brought down by voting alone, and I am betting those pushing GOTV as the all and end solution are not including in the vote the bums out one of the two parties. (Then I would give them points for commitment). But they are not.

The one percent loves this sum of all involvement equals voting, since it means nothing else. What we need is things like Moral Mondays to go nationwide. Occupy also has led to a lot more of the kind of citizen involvement that the oligarchy fears. Such as people attending the always exciting California's Public Utilities Commission's hearings and city hall meetings. It's refreshing to not be the only idiot there.

Voting usually is secondary but will come after people do things like get arrested for civil rights.

But to some folks the solution is very simple and they point as evidence the voting suppression laws. Those are insurance by local oligarchies who also control, ultimately, who gets on the ballot.

We cover local politics. We know how disengaged the American people are from sausage making. I mean people piss and moan about education and schools, go ahead and ask your neighbors, do you know who is on the school board? Hell, you know where the school board meets?

The same applies for city council.

Yesterday we covered a rep coffee with citizens. She just happens to be mine, but this is an opportunity for people to talk to their Assembly Member in Sacramento, including press, there were twenty people at best. That is the problem, not people not voting. A democracy requires involvement all the time, not just with the election. So no, GOTV is not a solution. You want to bring an oligarchy down, voting is navel grazing. Do it, but do not expect it to change a thing.

So when these folks raise this vote will solve all, I laugh. They have no idea what forces are involved. I was cynical before. After occupy and covering local politics far worst. The asshats we cover walk the streets every day, and local interests still make them dance like puppets. Every member of the council knows these special interests have a megaphone is they vote the wrong way in the local controlled media. And the little independent media is called the Penny Saver by even people here on DU that should know better.

So do vote, none is telling you not to, but realize if you want to change the world it will take real blood, real sweat and real tears. The voting booth is hardly the extent of how this will change things. You need to realize this is a very long game, and that you will need comfy walking shoes. We have done this in the past. The Gilded Age was just as bad. We retook it from robber barons, but it was in the streets, over decades, not in the booth.

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Arrow 43 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why voting is not the end all to oligarchy (Original post)
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 OP
JayhawkSD Apr 2014 #1
sorefeet Apr 2014 #6
Fuddnik Apr 2014 #8
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 #13
MineralMan Apr 2014 #2
pintobean Apr 2014 #4
MineralMan Apr 2014 #5
ChisolmTrailDem Apr 2014 #12
MineralMan Apr 2014 #16
ChisolmTrailDem Apr 2014 #17
tabasco Apr 2014 #3
HomerRamone Apr 2014 #7
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 #10
MisterP Apr 2014 #9
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 #11
jtuck004 Apr 2014 #14
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 #15
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 #18
struggle4progress Apr 2014 #19
betterdemsonly Apr 2014 #20
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 #23
betterdemsonly Apr 2014 #28
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 #29
betterdemsonly Apr 2014 #30
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 #31
betterdemsonly Apr 2014 #32
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 #33
betterdemsonly Apr 2014 #34
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 #35
betterdemsonly Apr 2014 #36
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 #37
gulliver Apr 2014 #21
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 #22
Vashta Nerada Apr 2014 #24
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 #25
snot Apr 2014 #26
snot Apr 2014 #27
socialist_n_TN Apr 2014 #38
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 #42
socialist_n_TN Apr 2014 #43
WillyT Apr 2014 #39
L0oniX Apr 2014 #40
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 #41

Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 12:03 PM

1. One vote in one election, no, but democracy is the answer

 

"... an opportunity for people to talk to their Assembly Member in Sacramento, including press, there were twenty people at best."

And if there had been 500 people because the people in that district were actually involved in democracy, then we would be getting somewhere. If primary elections were not the current sham of two "candidates" and 20% of the voters, but were 30 candidates and 85% to 90% of the voters, then to oligarchy would lose its power in a heartbeat.

So yes, you are right. Going to the polls on final election day and voting for the "lesser of two evils" chosen for you by the oligarchy because of the letter after the name is, indeed, not the answer. But actually participating in democracy, from town hall meetings, to primary elections, to holding incumbents accountable for their actions, is the answer.

We need to accept responsibility for the degree to which the problem is that we have abdicated our responsibility to participate in the democratic process, and correct that issue. We need, as you suggest, to quit complaining about what is wrong and get out of our armchairs and get involved in the governance of our nation.

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Response to JayhawkSD (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 12:41 PM

6. How often are they held accountable

once they reach the big time they are protected by their own laws. How many from the last 50 years that should have gone to jail.

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Response to JayhawkSD (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 01:23 PM

8. Democracy is dead.

We're a Oligarchy now.

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Response to JayhawkSD (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 01:36 PM

13. At this point elections are secondary

 

truly secondary.

People need to do more than just "hold their elected officials accountable." That is part of it, but a minor part since they dance to other interests.

It is in the streets, it is in union halls, it is in retaking the means of propaganda (that is what our media is these days) It means a lot more than just voting.

And while I agree with this

We need to accept responsibility for the degree to which the problem is that we have abdicated our responsibility to participate in the democratic process, and correct that issue. We need, as you suggest, to quit complaining about what is wrong and get out of our armchairs and get involved in the governance of our nation.


It goes far beyond that. In fact, the power structure HOPES you do that, and then get frustrated as you realize the wave is hitting the shoals and just that.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 12:09 PM

2. "Navel grazing?" Slim pickings in the average navel,

I think. Funny, though.

GOTV 2014 and Beyond!

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #2)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 12:25 PM

4. We're all just tiny sheeple. /nt

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Response to pintobean (Reply #4)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 12:29 PM

5. I suppose so. However, voters certainly changed

a lot of things in Minnesota through voting in the 2012 election. There was an anti marriage equality amendment on that ballot, and Minnesota's state legislature had Republican majorities in both houses. Thanks to a strong GOTV effort, the voters voted down that amendment and voted in Democratic majorities in both houses. The result was a marriage equality bill passed and signed, a balanced budget, and many other positive changes. This year, our legislature passed an increase in the minimum wage, as well, to $9.50/hr.

People who are trying to convince people that GOTV doesn't matter are blowing foul-smelling smoke up people's legs. It won't wash. GOTV can make all the difference when it is used properly. Such nonsense causes great damage.

"Navel grazing" notwithstanding. Even sheeple can't live on grazing in navels. There's just not enough to eat there. Dust mites, maybe.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #5)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 01:31 PM

12. So there's no oligarchy in MN? nt

 

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Response to ChisolmTrailDem (Reply #12)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 01:50 PM

16. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that question.

As in most places, elected legislators, governors, and the like tend to be successful people, often tied to the business community. That's not always the case, of course, but it's common. Our Governor is a Dayton, the family that started the Dayton corporation, which became Target. He isn't part of the Target corporation, though, and is no unusually wealthy. My congressional representative, Betty McCollum was a teacher before going into politics. I know her, and she has no obligations to the corporate world. The state legislators from my districts are all ordinary people with no particular corporate connections, although some of them have worked for corporations at one point or another.

Minnesota has a mix of the caucus/convention system and primary elections for determining who the candidates for general elections will be. In my state Senate district, for example, we dumped a state Senator who wasn't sufficiently labor-oriented. We did that by refusing to endorse him at the senate district convention. Lacking that endorsement, he withdrew his candidacy. He was replaced by a Hmong Immigrant who has been a community organizer in the Hmong community, which has a relatively large population in the district. I campaigned for Foung Hawj (pronounced Fong Her) in that election.

So, do we have an oligarchy? Not in my districts we don't. We elect progressives, and none of our representatives are beholden to any corporate interests. Each district elects its own representatives, though, so that may not be the case in some areas. However, at the state and congressional level in Minnesota, most of our representatives are more community leaders than corporate representatives. That's true, at least for DFL (Democratic) office-holders.

The voters in 2012 decided to elect Democrats to the majority in our state legislature, and we have a Democratic Governor. That combination has resulted in good legislation since 2012. I, like other DFL party activists, am working to keep it that way. GOTV is a powerful tool here.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #16)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 04:05 PM

17. Thanks for the detailed response. It's good you guys are doing it right up there. We could

 

learn a lot from your experience. I know there are others here on DU, too, who have ideas for and solutions for winning big in November. But, they are being drowned out by stupid shit like Woo Wars, homeopathy, naturopathy, Snowden, and various other distractions.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 12:12 PM

3. Propaganda works

 

He who controls the media controls the masses.

Send them to their voting booths and let them think they're free.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 01:08 PM

7. The assumption that everything else in the system is rigged but our elections? Conspiracy Craziness

is one of the biggest problems...

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Response to HomerRamone (Reply #7)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 01:30 PM

10. Exactly, we cannot have everything else rigged

 

but elections be pure.

If anything elections are truly manipulated like the rest of it, but if all we ask of citizens is to vote, and NOTHING else... then they might vote and not do anything else.

And trust me, watching your government at work requires a strong stomach.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 01:24 PM

9. it goes hand-in-hand with the Cold-War-vintage notion that elections are a perfect

expression of the popular will: if someone gets 2% of the vote they represent 2% of the people--but of 70-90% want HSR, Medicare for all, peace, financial equality, reasonable drug, gun, and tuition policies--where are the Senators and Reps, then? it thus legitimizes arguments that those positions are a wonky little sliver ("a third of a third", or shouldn't be listened to for other reasons

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Demonstration_elections

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Response to MisterP (Reply #9)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 01:30 PM

11. I know, and source watch is one of my favorite oversight group

 

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 01:46 PM

14. Whomever owns the assets owns your freedom. They never give them up on request, only demand. n/t

 

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #14)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 01:47 PM

15. Correct

 

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 07:30 PM

18. kick, cause it matters

 

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 07:49 PM

19. If it is a mistake to look for a single magic bullet that will solve our problems, it is equally

a mistake to neglect various options in our efforts to change our situation

Voting is one of the options we have. To claim that we should not expect it to change a thing is misleading. One has, of course, only limited effect if one merely votes now and then and does nothing else. More involvement than that with the electoral process is not only possible but desirable. The voting suppression legislation of recent years shows clearly that certain interest groups regard control of government as essential to their aims and therefore want to rig the game in their favor: rather than suggesting that voting cannot change a thing, these efforts at suppressing the vote strongly suggest that those interest groups are very concerned about who votes and about how

Voting is not the only option we have. For our votes to be effective, in helping push the policies we want, it is necessary to remain involved in the process beyond election day, to push for legislation and regulations that we want. One can certainly do that as an individual, but there's a bigger result for the same effort if one can organize groups of people to follow state and federal bills, as well as state and federal regulatory actions, and to apply pressure to obtain the desired outcomes

Power in society is built from thousands of daily interactions. Reconstructing power requires forcing people to rethink their interactions. And that involves organizing: there are many ways to organize, but it always requires time and effort, as well as a willingness to learn minute-by-minute. Different people are able or willing to do different things, but all organizing requires a willingness to reach out to strangers to push for the changes we want. Some of the skills (such as phone-calling or door-knocking) can be learned by engaging in political campaign work. Other important skills can be learned in other ways. None of the skills can be developed by pure thought, and hardly any can be developed by posting on the internet

I posted about this event several weeks ago:

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 10:08 PM

20. It is not the answer because they generally select

 

all the candidates. Voting the primaries should be empahsized just as much as the general election, but it never will be.

Obama has empowered the oligarchy in most respects, with his bailouts, and so did Clinton, with bank deregulation and the Telecommunications act.

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Response to betterdemsonly (Reply #20)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 12:05 AM

23. This is why people need to retake local party apparatus

 

But they need to do far more than just that.

It is multifaceted. And one thing is not the answer. We have mostly forgotten that citizenship is work.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #23)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 12:29 AM

28. I work my ass off

 

but I am only one person. I can't personally overcome outright bribery and corruption. Neither with my vote or my labor.

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Response to betterdemsonly (Reply #28)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 12:35 AM

29. That is why I said we, not I.

 

A single individual is a fools errand.

I do my bit as independent media, (and get attacked for it here).

But we all need to become active. The me and city council, cozy I know, needs to end. It has to be me and a bunch of other citizens. My rep (the story we covered yesterday she also happens to be my rep) freshman class in state house. She was adamant in telling people they need to go down to the school board and demand answers, and vote them out if they are not delivering.

She was singing my song.

Nothing will change until we all get very active.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #29)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 12:41 AM

30. people tried to march against the banking oligarchy

 

and the teabaggers coopted it, and the ows people, marched and marched and thats it. Protest movements get coopted or mislead into not doing anything but protesting. I am very tired. The truth is democrats that bought into deregulation hurt us terribly. Women, Blacks and non property owners may well lose the right to vote. We don't have enough money time or political accumen to overcome much of this stuff. It is just going to have to play out. I think we will have a civil war, maybe some kind of war in middle east. I don't know. No amount of positive thinking can change death and things have definately died. When you are denied all food you die of starvation and that is where we are.

Most are simply to uninformed to organize effective marches.

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Response to betterdemsonly (Reply #30)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 12:48 AM

31. It took two generations for the Gilded Age to come under control.

 

And the beginning of a third for the New a deal to finally come. It's been three years since OWS. Why I said this is a lifetime job. (1875-1932). It also took three depressions, including the Great Depression and a world war.

And while we might see a civil war, things seem that radical and I expect it, but hope it can be averted. Change does not happen in three years, this kind of change will take decades.

The civil rights took generations as well.

I don't expect to see the end result. So while I vote, I do other things. And I expect my nephews and nieces to maybe benefit.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #31)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 12:52 AM

32. I most certainly won't be alive

 

there was a lot more progress in the guilded age than anything we are currently seeing. They had the Sherman Antitrust act and the Food and Drug Acts. Things are so bleak now we will probably lose those things along with voting rights.

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Response to betterdemsonly (Reply #32)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 12:54 AM

33. I do not give up

 

And those OWS people, locally they have taken on the California Public Utilities Commission, and are winning. (San Onofre)

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #33)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 12:56 AM

34. My local ows turned into a bunch Alex Jones people

 

and a good 1/4 went to Nv to defend the Bundy Ranch. The problem I am having with we is that many of the people in we aren't really we at all. They are them. There are many right wing moles in ows and in the Democratic Party.

If you fight a strong rip tide you'll tire and you will drown. Sometimes all you can worry about is survival and that is where I am at.

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Response to betterdemsonly (Reply #34)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 01:00 AM

35. Well each group is different.

 

And there are reasons why people did that. Every movement has stages. I think we are going to see this in fits and starts. But the last thing we can do is throw arms in air. Vote, but we need to do far more than just vote.

And we also cannot give up hope.

Though trust me, I am extremely cynical.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #35)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 01:06 AM

36. I try and try

 

and I don't just vote. It's just nothing works. Protests are uninformed and compromised. Politician are corrupted and don't change anything even when elected to do so, so voting hasn't worked. Don't assume the problem is lack of work. The problem is that being several times more wealthy than everyone, makes it hard for people to fight you. That is why democracy has never lasted long and the middle class is not really natural.

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Response to betterdemsonly (Reply #36)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 01:09 AM

37. Sit back, get a few books on the history of labor

 

And read. It's been done in the past. It will be again. Trust me, the power differential between those workers and Robber Barons was the same.

And if you need to take a break, that's ok too.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Sun Apr 20, 2014, 11:48 PM

21. Voting is the foundation, and your argument undermines it.

Merely voting en masse and reliably would change the entire power equation of the country. It would eliminate one entire dimension of the political battlefield and tilt the whole thing leftward. And it is something that is uncomplicated and people can actually do. Telling people they need to be "involved" but that voting is not a minimum requirement is ironic to say the least. It's like saying you can't make music without studying theory. Yes you can.

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Response to gulliver (Reply #21)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 12:01 AM

22. My argument is based on history.

 

Voting did not capture democracy during the guilded age. People in the streets did, people marching, striking and scaring the living daylights out of the power structure. People still voted, but they realized that it was hardly the true end all of it. I realize how this is a challenge, what I am telling you is that grassroots takes precedence over merely voting.

And yes the 1% thank you! for not getting this. I mean it.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 12:05 AM

24. Voting changes nothing.

 

Local oligarchs are always on the ballot, as well as county, state, and national oligarchs. You're absolutely right. The only way to rid ourselves of oligarchs is through blood, sweat, and tears.

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Response to Vashta Nerada (Reply #24)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 12:08 AM

25. And don't forget to vote for practice sake.

 

And take the party locally from those who refuse to run people for local boards. Actually, that is part of the blood sweat and tears. People do not realize just how much has to be done to recapture democracy. I get irked, because the vote, we promise, is not working. So people need to take the party over, but also march, strike, attend government hearings, not let them do it all in the open, but really in the shadows, since none is watching.

I could go on. But merely voting is not going to change a thing.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 12:12 AM

26. K&R'd!

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)


Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 09:12 AM

38. As Trotsky wrote in "The History of the Russian Revolution"....

*paraphrasing*- Everybody was involved in politics and talking about politics from the streetsweeper to the businessman to the nobility.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #38)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 12:21 PM

42. And that is not unique to 1917 Russia, though it is a characteristic of the culture

 

that happens in places like Australia (that have mandatory voting). It also happens in Italy, and pretty much in Europe at some level or another and in Mexico where I grew up. Here, people are simply not engaged, and with the exception of the Tea Parties, places like this, which are a real minority, and political reporters, people do not get it, don't want to get it, and do not care.

Try to get people to the booths, let alone don their comfy shoes and take to the streets. Good luck. And the oligarchy just loves it.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #42)

Tue Apr 22, 2014, 08:52 AM

43. Well, to be fair about it, this statement applied to.....

Russia during 1917 when the people were talking about all sorts of politics, not just voting. Especially since voting itself was not very widespread because the franchise was not very widespread. The quote referenced the level of involvement at all levels and for all types of politics, electoral, radical, and revolutionary. Russians at that time were INVOLVED, but it WAS a fairly new phenomena, hence Trotsky citing it.

Just like Russia previous to 1917, today's Americans are non-involved for a lot of reasons, but IMO, the MAIN reason is the lack of choices to excite the populous about politics. When you're only outlet is voting for Corporate Candidate "D" or Corporate Candidate "R", no matter how bad Candidate "R" IS, there's no excitement about politics. If you want excitement, you have to get events and candidates that are actually exciting, that capture the imagination of the people. We have neither in the USA now.

Which supports the premise of your OP.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 09:19 AM

39. K & R !!!

 


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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 09:58 AM

40. "We retook it from robber barons" We had FDR.

 

There is no FDR now and the !% will make sure there never is.

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Response to L0oniX (Reply #40)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 11:01 AM

41. FDR came at the tail end.

 

The hard work was done in the 1890s, 1900' 1910' and 1920s. The era started in 1875.

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