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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 19,141

Journal Archives

Fake Facts, Fake News, Fake Elections...

Facts can't be trusted if they are unfavorable to Trump. News can't be trusted that it is unfavorable to Trump, and elections can't be trusted if they are unfavorable to Trump. Republicans know their marching orders, and they have learned to fall in line. Accusations of stolen elections in Florida etc. now are merely a prelude to 2020 and the likelihood that, should he run again, Trump will lose in a fair election. That is not acceptable to him, so elections themselves must be condemned. The "outrage" expressed by Scott is a trial run in preparation for confrontation in 2020.

OK, the 2018 votes have been cast. NOW I don't mind arguing about possible 2020 candidates

I also picked a new neutral avatar because at this stage I am open to a number of possible Democratic nominees for President in 2020, (and of course I will support whoever wins the actual nomination.)

I tried to stay true to my word and for the most part stayed out of extended debates akin to re-fighting the last primaries before the midterms that, IMO, mostly served to divide us when we really needed unity. I checked, I posted well over 100 OP's in the last year and none of them championed or bashed a past or future Democratic candidate for President. That likely won't be true of the next 100.

I want to acknowledge DUers who hold strong pro or con opinions about any past or future candidates for President on our side, who chose not to make those feelings a central theme of their posting here while we needed to stay focused on winning the 2018 election.

We did it. Our Blue Wave was powerful, and very very real. Next we retake the White House and Senate.

Overall a good night - with dark shadows

Largely through the hard work of the Resistance the Republic lives to fight another day. With Democratic control of the House, Trumps crimes will not be swept under the rug. There will be no more tax givaways to the rich. Republican corruption will be probed. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Obamacare have protection in the House of Representatives, where Democrats now govern by a relatively comfortable margin. This is all HUGE. Had Democrats failed to take the House everything was at grave risk with a power hungry and emboldened Chief Executive reigning unchecked in the White House. This can't be overstated. Thus if for no other reason, it was a good night.

Americans now have voted, with significant majorities, against Trump in the popular vote in 2016, and now against Republicans in both the House and Senate if the cumulative votes for members of both bodies are tallied by party preference. That at the very least says something at least mildly reassuring about the American people, even though our political system is slanted toward rural America by granting every state two Senators regardless of its actual population. With the House systematic gerrymandering in favor of Republicans muted some of the Democratic surge but it could not stop it. And the machinery by which Republicans managed to install those gerrymandered districts has now shifted somewhat against them. With Democratic pick ups in important Governorships and with Democratic gains in State legislatures. much of that gerrymandering now can be reversed for subsequent elections.

Democrats elected new generations of leadership last night, something our Party desperately needed. Many dynamic younger candidates won seats in Congress, they represent a positive future for all of us. The same holds true for State and local contests where strong new candidates were recruited - and won.

It remains frightening however exactly how much racism remains active in America, and how many low information voters continue to fall in line behind a wannabe Strongman in Trump. This would terrify me if our resistance had not proved its mettle against him last night. We rounded a corner with Democratic non presidential year turn out finally starting to surge. The battle is now engaged. We have to build on these victories and not be discouraged by our losses. Remember, this was still "an off year election" and statistics about the economy favored the Republicans. The odds of an economic slow down before 2020 are relatively high. The potential for damning information about Republican rule emerging from Democratic oversight in the House are great. And then there is the work of Special Counsel Mueller yet to be fully revealed.

New leaders are emerging in our Party even if all of them could not yet break through last night. We must keep up the fight, we are actually (slowly) winning.

Losing ground in the Senate stings but it doesn't reduce Democratic power.

The Senate was incredibly important to Democrats after Trump became President because all of our hopes to stop the worst abuses of his power lay with that body, where Republicans had a narrow majority and a few "less extreme Republicans" had the power to vote with Democrats and prevent a Trump victory. The obvious example was McCain casting the deciding vote that prevented the repeal of Obamacare. The House was hopeless, Trump could get anything he wanted passed there. There was a shred of hope in the Senate...

But in reality those "less extreme" Republican Senators virtually always fell in line with Trump when the chips were down. Like they did with Kavanaugh. If Democrats lose one to four seats in the Senate this year, when the playing field was sloped heavily against us, it essentially means that Trump can now win votes there by less narrow margins. Democrats still however have enough votes to filibuster so that is unchanged. We risk fewer defections from our caucus now on cloture votes because the Senators who we lost in this election for the most part are the ones who were most likely to break with the majority of Democrats anyway.

But our need to tie up Republican legislation in the Senate just disappeared since we now will control the House. The Senate is no longer the battleground we have to fight on to do so. Nothing can pass through Congress now without the Democratic House signing off on it. Yes a Republican Senate will still do a lot of damage on its own, in particular in regards to the Courts, but no more damage than they were already doing over the last two years. Probably the most significant victory Trump wins by Republicans picking up seats in the Senate during these midterms is that it now becomes even harder to get the two thirds vote of the Senate needed to remove Trump from office should the House impeach him.

Meanwhile the House Republican Freedom Caucus no longer has defacto veto power over what legislation is introduced in the House, the way that it did under Ryan for the last two years. I am saddened and angered by the Senate results, but Democrats regaining control of the House of Representatives, in practical terms, dwarfs the significance of any Republican gains in the Senate.

I heard someone on MSNBC today reference the "hot economy"

It was in the context of how counterproductive it was for Trump to be burying taking credit for a great economy underneath all of his racist immigration fear mongering. Every time the media uses that now tired meme they are carrying water for the Republicans, stressing their talking point for them when they can't make it themselves.

But it is worse than that. This is not "a hot economy." We have a halfway decent economy, almost exclusively due to Obama's rescuing the U.S. from the Great Recession, that is on a unsustainable tax cut for corporations and the rich, crack cocaine high. Unemployment figures may be low but that is irrelevant when tens of millions of American households are still struggling to get by, living from pay check to pay check and unable to save money for even a the slightest emergency.

Overwhelmingly corporations did not pass tax cut savings on to their workers, and even the one time bonuses some of them did give out are long gone while the tax breaks they still enjoy stretch on unabated. CEO pay still is going through the roof while average earnings still are virtually stagnant. Stock prices surged initially, in part from all the money companies poured into stock buyback, but very recent losses have left the DOW flat for all of 2018. Meanwhile the federal deficit is rising faster than a storm surge, looming large in all of our futures.

Meanwhile no one is asking, "If this is a hot economy, what will the next cold economy look like?" Everyone knows it is coming, most likely sooner rather than later. Economic expansions do not continue indefinably, and ours is already overdue for a significant "correction". It is criminally complicit for the media to buy into glowing Republican claims of a "hot economy". Not for most Americans it isn't, and distant storm clouds are already gathering

Our earliest American colonists weren't "the best Europe had to offer"

At least not in the eyes of those holding power they weren't. They were misfits, heretics, radicals and/or impoverished if not literally enslaved. Many were considered criminals and/or subversives. Our nation was founded in large part by people who were seen as "cultists" in England: Puritans, Quakers and the like. Maryland was an early refuge for Catholics who were denigrated by the British Crown. The first (non native) Americans were mostly castoffs, unwanted at home and often unable to provide for their families without fleeing their country of origin. They were virtually all refugees. As were the many generations of immigrants who followed them here. The early elites of America could never have built this nation without them.

No, the refugees who populated America supposedly weren't the best that their homelands had to offer. They didn't come here bearing great wealth. Very few of them found welcome on these shores because of the technical skills they possessed. But collectively they built one of the greatest nations the world has ever known. They had courage, they had perseverance, they had the will to make a better life for their children, and in the process they built a better nation for us all.

Only the worst that America has to offer see poor people walking thousands of mile with their children and only the few possessions they can carry on their back as a grave threat to this nation. Only the worst that America has to offer see those who flee torture rape starvation and death as an invading force who threaten our security and American values.

And on top of everything else, those who fear the slow approach of "a caravan" of a few thousand hungry unarmed refugees are quite simply pathetic. Whether or not all of them should be welcomed here, whether or not all of them are walking this way for officially sanctioned reasons, they do not create a national emergency for America. Their numbers would barely add up to a halfway decent crowd at one minor league baseball game. If history is any guide, and it damn well should be, they ultimately have far more to ultimately offer America than our nation may offer to them. These are the type people that America has always been made of.

Message for Millennial Voting Cynics

Climate change will wreak havoc on the world you will inhabit for a half century or more. Older voters, not so much, (we'll be long gone before the worst of it hits.) Only one political party cares about that

Older voters got higher educations back when it was still vaguely affordable. Higher education has to be affordable, a viable future depends on that. Only one political party cares about your past and future college debts.

America's future is either multi-cultural with Americans united for Justice for all, or it is multi-cultural with different groups and races increasingly at each other's throats. One party supports the former and the other is doing everything in its power to ensure the latter. Which America do you want to live in through your life?

If voting doesn't change anything, what is the downside to voting? You maybe wasted an hour or two of your life by voting. If voting can change things, what is the upside? A world you can thrive in for the rest of your life.

It is this simple. Voting for Republicans now enables racists and the far right violent fringe

There is no need to argue over whether everyone who votes Republican is a racist him or her self. There is no need to argue over whether or not there are some decent Republican politicians out there. For all but the most local of elections, where State and National issues seldom are relevant, and where most voters know the candidates personally, November 6th is a referendum on the future of our Democracy and the type of people who we aspire to be as a nation. Trump insisted on making this election all about him, so now in fact it is.

Everyone who enters a polling booth should be clear; Vote Republican if you agree with what Trump is doing to the fabric of our Democracy with his constant anger, insults and hate, or vote Democratic if you don't. Republicans need to lose for the latter message to prevail.

Between now and election day I'm not going to argue with anyone I may meet over whether all Trump supporters are personally racists etc. I will simply state that all those who find any reason to back Trump now are enabling the racists and anti-Semites, and the steady slide of America towards authoritarian rule and a violently divided nation where anger overwhelms all reason.

I will say "Go look for decent Republicans later if you must, this year Democrats must win."

We need something like "The American Electoral Challenge"

Right now 40% of voting age Americans don't vote in presidential elections. Percentages are worse for other elections. The premise would be this: "Let's find out what kind of Government we can have if everyone actually voted".

Call it a Grand Experiment in Democracy and widely use social media to get as many people as possible to make a pledge to collectively suspend all disbelief over whether voting really matters and just do it. Attempt to mobilize peer pressure using web sites where people can affirm that they have taken the pledge to participate in mass voting to find out once and for all how different and better our lives can become if 70% of Americans voted in all local state and federal elections over a five year period.

How different can our future be? Make voting records into a competitive sport if that's what it takes. It can be non-partisan, it should be in fact. Lets all challenge ourselves (but I would love to see a pitch developed toward millennials in particular) to just f'ing try it: What would actually happen if for 5 years everyone just voted? What type nation would we collectively create?

This is so obvious it shouldn't need to be said. But it does

For all those talking heads and politicos of any stripe who decry the "increasing lack of civility" in our politics, as well as all those who also decry the so called "tribiization" of politics in contemporary America today...

May I respectfully ask them all to shut the fuck up unless they are willing to start out their litany of concerns with an overt condemnation of the current occupant of the Oval Office for his non stop fierce campaigning against the majority of the electorate who voted against him in 2016? If pundits refuse to lead with how absolutely unAmerican it is for the person elected to represent the people as a whole to characterize his legitimate political opposition as "evil", they have nothing of any value to say. Period: turn the page, change the channel.

In 2005 Ann Coulter published "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must). If You Must which virtually screams out that liberals are not worth talking to unless one is forced to. Lack of civility? Tribalization of politics? Put the blame where it belongs and then, maybe, we can engage in a meaningful conversation about what is wrong with American politics. That is, after America rids itself of a President who tries to hold onto and consolidate power by ,for all practical purposes, declaring war on half of America.

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