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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,216

Journal Archives

July through September represents the high water mark for a Covid-19 economy

The third quarter began after all of the pandemic necessitated Spring closures were eased, and after those closures contributed to the first wave of infections finally cresting and receding. But, more importantly, it consisted of warm weather months that allowed people to spend their time and money outdoors. Now a chill has descended over most of the nation and people are heading back indoors, just as the next major wave of this pandemic sets in. Of course it didn't hurt that stimulus money was still flowing during the first two months of the third quarter, but even leaving that aside, conditions for a partial economic recovery hit their sweet spot that is fading increasingly now as days grow shorter and nights grow long.

Burying Trump and the Elephant He Rode In On

That is the goal, and it can only be achieved with a landslide. Of course electing Biden/Harris is critically important, but the stakes in this election are much larger than that alone, which is why "overconfidence" is not a relevant concern. There is no political target reachable that can warrant slackening off during this election, no level of support for Biden we can possibly attain that can ever be "enough". It's like the psychology involved in setting a fund raising goal, if you hit it early then you simply raise it. A budding authoritarian movement must be smashed, and nothing we can achieve during one election cycle can finish that job, it's just a question of how much damage to "Trumpism" we can realize this time around.

We do this in two ways. One, we fire up our own side to take on any and all opposition, both up and down the ballot. Two, we depress the hell out of the other side, causing some of them to stay home on Election Day. We see it as proof of our strength and a source of pride to overcome every obstacle to voting. This time around let our opposition wonder if it will ultimately make any difference if they go to the trouble of voting or not.

It is setting our sites too low to look at early voting numbers and hope that Democrats are banking enough votes in advance to overcome a probable Republican advantage on Election Day itself. Where is it written in stone that significantly fewer Democrats will turn out to vote on Election Day than will Republicans? It is within our power to effect that. We are successfully executing phase one of this election, by decisively winning the early vote. Next comes phase two. If we can surge on Election Day also we can have the major landslide that we dream of, but to do so we must frame what is at stake correctly. I repeat, it's about much more than just electing Biden/Harris.

For anyone concerned about a woman's right to choose, the answer is: VOTE

For anyone concerned about runaway climate change, the answer is: VOTE

For anyone concerned about back breaking student debt, the answer is: VOTE

For anyone worried about affordable health care and preexisting conditions: VOTE

For anyone worried about an out of control Dept. Of Justice persecuting political enemies: VOTE

For anyone who believes the U.S should stand with other world democracies rather than tyrants: VOTE

For anyone who thinks Black Lives Matter: VOTE

For anyone who cares about poverty growing while wealth flows to the top: VOTE

For anyone who believes in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic with everything we've got: VOTE

For all those who stand with the Dreamers: VOTE

For all who believe the United States should never rip children away from their parents: VOTE

For all those who believe that Voter Suppression must finally be ended, once and for all: VOTE

Of course the list of reasons to vote this year is virtually limitless, so I'll rest here for the moment. But this is the final point that needs to be driven home, now.

For all of those who remain skeptical about whether voting ever makes much of a real difference, who think the system can not change, here is the chance they have been waiting for to finally find out. This is the year many fellow skeptics have already decided this time they too will vote. This year can be the experiment for what can change if two thirds of Americans actually vote. This is that moment: VOTE!

Rides To Drop Off Boxes?

Is there anyone out there organizing anything like this? We all know about organizing volunteers to offer "Rides to the Polls" on Election Day, but this year the main choke point seems to be a danger of mail in ballots not making it back in time to be counted in the final results due to mail slowdowns. Now, on top of that, with the current make up of the U.S. Supreme Court the chances are growing that in some states ballots postmarked by Election Day but delivered after Election Day will end up being discarded regardless of what current State laws currently allow.

IMO Democrats now should discourage mailing in ballots if possible when other options are available, and we should be helping make other options accessible. Not everyone is able to make it to a ballot drop box in person, or to the local Board of Elections where Drop Boxes are not provided. Further, some State Laws prohibit dropping off a ballot other than your own at a Drop Box. One way around that is to provide rides for voters so that they can safely deposit their own ballots in person.

A widely shared perception of a rapdily approaching and inevitable Blue Tsunami

is our best public defense against any threat of election theft. Trump is trying his best to assert confidence now in the opposite, a Republican victory strong enough to regain the House. This on top of his claims that the only way he can lose is if the election is rigged against him. These are political mind games laying the groundwork for a power grab. In order to blunt or even reverse Democratic gains in the upcoming 2020 election, by "less than legitimate means", it is imperative that Republicans push the narrative that a victory for them still remains within grasp. And, in my opinion, it is imperative that Democrats exude confidence that the nation is turning toward Biden and away from Trump.

We no longer exist in the political landscape that dominated the latter half of the 20th century. Many of us now share a growing fear of possible vote manipulation on a scale large enough to reverse the results of a fair election. In prior decades a side that was leading in the polls often saw an upside advantage in downplaying their lead to the public, the better to boost voter turnout for their side through the fear that the outcome rested on a relative handful of votes, so that no one could afford to "sit this one out."

There is still some truth in that political creed, but it now needs to be balanced by an updated reality. We know Russia will do anything it believes it can get away with to help Donald Trump remain in office, possibly up to and including manipulating vote tallies. Meanwhile we also know that voter motivation on our side remains white hot, regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans are favored to win locally. Personally, I have far more fear of the potential deadly consequences of allowing a political narrative to grow that this election "can still go either way" than I do of lulling Democratic voters into complacency by feeding the public perception that Trump is headed toward a resounding defeat.

The media keeps suggesting there may be hidden Trump voters...

They are hidden all right: in fact they are so hard to see because they are being blocked out by millions of disgruntled former Trump supporters and newly engaged Democratic voters.

Of course there are some "hidden" or "secret" or "shy" Trump voters. With some 160 million or so voters out there, there are some of everything. You know what else there are? There are "hidden" or "secret" or "shy" Biden voters too. Those include voters too embarrassed to admit out loud that they could have been so wrong about Trump. Those include life long "Red Dog" Republicans who have a hard time admitting that, for the first time in their life, they will vote for a Democrat' and not just any Democrat, but Barack Obama's VP who has chosen a Black woman to be his own VP. Those voters also include some Republican women married to blow hard Trump supporters who just don't want to rock the boat at home.

But focusing on hidden voters misses the forest for the trees. The American electorate changed dramatically the day after Election Day of 2016, and all evidence supports a conclusion that nothing will change it back while Donald J. Trump remains in office. We have held annual elections since then in 2017, 2018, and 2019, along with numerous special elections throughout those years, and in almost every case Democrats have outperformed. Forget worrying about "hidden voters", and look at the masses assembling in plain sight eager to remove Trump from the presidency. Look at grassroots fundraising, look at early and mail voting, look at all the voices screaming at the top of their lungs that this is the most important election of our lives and everyone has to vote!

Democrats and others who lean to the left are not going to sit out this election. Complacency might have been an issue in prior election cycles prior, but not in this one. Our side is turning out, and we are being joined by increasing numbers of Republicans and right leaning Independents who still actually believe in decency, and the integrity of both our Republic and our international alliances.

There are just two real arguments given for why Biden supporters should not express confidence in his victory. Actually there is only one, the other argument is only relevant for pollsters and pundits. Those political pros are worried about damaging their credibility if they somehow get it wrong and openly suggest that Trump is going down hard but then get it wrong, after Trump already defied the odds once in 2016. Their reputation potentially getting besmirched might be something for them to lose some sleep over since their living depends on it, but worrying about bragging rights doesn't make the list of actual voter concerns: Our lives may well be riding on the outcome of this election.

The other reason given to reign in the specter of "over confidence" is that "over confidence" leads to slackening off, pf not following through, of failing to do all that we can and must do to defeat Donald Trump. May I suggest that there is a core difference between the concept of "confidence" and that of "over confidence?" No one, by literal definition, defends "over confidence" or says that it is a good thing. Over confidence does not exist on the Democratic side of the spectrum this year, because we are not even confident that we can reverse most of the damage to our country that Trump has already done even if Joe Biden is elected President. We are scared for the future of our Democracy. Just evicting Trump from the White House isn't enough. We need a resounding victory to roll back Trumpism with or without Trump in office. We need solid control of the U.S. Senate, we need control of State Legislatures. And we need margins of victory substantial enough that it becomes near impossible for Republicans to steal this election.

And to achieve that we need confidence that all of our efforts can be rewarded. Virtually any scenario conceivable for Trump to steal this election starts out with a premise that the polls must have all been wrong, that "hidden Trump voters" somehow propelled him into an upset victory. Fuck that. We are laying the groundwork for a contested election if we buy into the plausibility of that scenario. We are handing them their weapon of choice on a silver plate by conjuring up the menace of "hidden Trump voters" now. They are like left over ghosts from Halloween, you can't see them but they must be there. Meanwhile we have hoards of defecting Seniors and principled Republicans deserting Trump, and legions of women, highly energized African Americans, and passionately engaged youth coming out for Biden/Harris.

If Trump supporters become demoralized less of them will come out to vote. If they think that Trump still has a chance more of them will come out to vote. I say let's go all in with confidence of victory, and celebrate the likelihood of election results that will go down in history by making additional donations to Democrats, additional phone calls for Democrats, additional outreach to our friends and neighbors for Democrats. Let's pile on with enthusiasm. We have work to do, both before and after Election Day.

After massively hemorrhaging, stemming the bleeding falls far short. A blood transfusion is needed.

At best Trump stopped the bleeding off last night of some Right leaning voters, who really didn't want to desert him but needed a rationale not to bail after watching him self destruct at the last debate and during the weeks that followed. Trump didn't come off as totally off his rocker last night, and that might be enough for some. But nothing that happened on that stage last night helped Donald Trump expand his limited appeal. There was no blood transfusion given his dangerously anemic presidential campaign last night.

And that is seeing Trump's performance in the most favorable of Pro Trump lights. Trump's attempts to attack Biden's character if anything worked against Trump, reinforcing his own image as a man who is totally unhinged, contrasting poorly against Biden's dignity and sincerity. Trump once again repeating that the Virus is "going away" was the most devastatingly jarring sound bite of the evening, encapsulating in one sentence his willful detachment from reality while the pandemic once again surges across America. Trump embraced ending Obamacare in the midst of that pandemic as millions of Americans are losing employer provided health care plans. And he offered nothing but empty promises for how he would replace it after four years in the White House doing nothing to advance a specific alternative.

Trump might swing a few votes his way in Texas and Pennsylvania with his fervent embrace of fossil fuels, but in so doing he probably provided the sharp contrast with Joe Biden's concern over climate change that can motivate more younger voters to make it to the polls for Biden on election day. And once again, in his last best chance to do so, Trump offered no vision to America of what a second term of a Trump presidency would look like beyond "more of the same" if and when the pandemic ends. Trump is the only president since polling began who has never registered a positive approval rating from the public while in office. America is rejecting more of the same.

Covid-19 is the October Surprise

To be more exact it is the year 2020 Surprise, but Trump deluded himself into thinking that he could make it "disappear" in the minds of most Americans by now. Surprise. He can't. Covid-19's impact will build daily between now and election day, as the fall wave builds. Increasingly the pandemic is the top local news story in many media markets, especially, it seems, in most of the states that Trump is trying to defend. Even when he counter spins attempting to debunk science, Trump is off message. "Fauci is an idiot" fails as an effective closing argument.

So, Trump is OK with mail in votes if the voter must request their absentee ballot

I do NOT accept Trump's evidence free assertion that all other scenarios for mail in voting are rife for massive voter fraud, e.g. States automatically sending out requests for absentee ballots or those actual ballots themselves. To the contrary, all evidence proves the exact opposite. However, to be better prepared to prevent Trump from declaring victory on Election Day based on any minority tally of same day votes only, we should be prepared with some facts that are indisputable.

Specifically, we should be ready to cite the names of every state where voters must initiate a request for an absentee ballot prior to one being sent to them. By definition Trump, in his own words, has conceded that there is no new potential for "fraud" in counting those votes, according to state election laws, in the days that follow Election Day, before declaring a winner in those states. Further, we should be quick to identify those states that have conducted exclusively mail in vote elections for years, where Republicans have never before raised any objections to how those elections function (I think Oregon, Utah, and Colorado fall within this group, but I may be wrong).

I am asking DUers to help compile a "data base". I know that in my own State on New York, a voter must initiate the absentee ballot process, nothing is automatically sent out to us. So, for example, Trump should have no trouble allowing New York State to count absentee ballots before declaring a winner here. Of course we all know that A) Trump has no chance of winning New York and B) Trump has already called how long it takes New York to declare a winner in a tight race "unacceptable". But the point isn't to win Trump over with logic (Ha!) The point is to arm our talking heads, pundits, and journalists in general with strong arguments to counter any attempt by Trump to declare victory based on fragmentary returns,

Trump is on record saying that mail in voting in states like Florida is "fine". When Trump is pushed to explain his claim that mail in voter fraud will be "massive" he always describes a delusional scenario of millions of ballots being pushed out by states to voters who never even requested them. Yes Trump is incoherent on this issue, like with most everything else, but on Election Night we should know which States even qualify for Trump's delusions.

I've heard it reported that the only potential "swing State" that will send out unsolicited ballots is Nevada, but I don't know if that is accurate. I've heard New Jersey mentioned as a state that either sends out unsolicited ballots or requests for same also, with it being noted that no sane political observer thinks that Trump has a ghost of a chance to win New Jersey. My expectation is that, come Election Night, even if Trump tries to "throw out" the results from States that distributed unsolicited Ballot requests or ballots to voters, he would clearly lose the electoral college to Biden once all votes are countered in all of the other States if the votes of solidly blue and red states get logically apportioned . If so, WE SHOULD BE READY TO POINT THAT OUT.

Trump heading toward a landslide loss gives pause to those who might steal an election

The stakes are rising daily. The calculations they are making increasingly become more fraught with peril. If they reach to steal the White House but end up falling short, what fate awaits them? The worst case scenario they must ponder becomes grimmer by the day. It is far worse than simply being turned out of office, far worse than having future career options narrow. Prison potentially looms on the horizon for co-conspirators, with no one in a position to manipulate the Department of Justice on their behalf, or to issue them pardons if need be.

A high percentage of the American people are conflict avoidant when it comes down to it. If the Trump regime is allowed to fall unimpeded, if the vestiges of its corruption are cleanly swept aside, many might opt for concentrating on the future rather than litigating the past. The most vile acts committed by Trump Administration and Republican political figures won't be swept under the rug by a Biden Administration, but there are inevitably judgement calls that must be made. Is it really worth pursuing so and so over such and such now?

With a peaceful transition of power from a Trump Administration to Joe Biden's, the answer to that question would far more often be no, than it will be if our nation is plunged into a constitutional crisis before the will of the people ultimately emerges triumphant. The difference may come down to who is willing to go down with Trump's ship rather than jumping off it now, as unappealing as the inevitably stormy seas might be to swim in. It is too late for many to politically separate themselves from Trump now, but how many new felony crimes are they willing to participate in during Trump's final days in power?

Kamala could have been more aggressive, but instead she nailed the tone

I realized while watching the debate last night that Kamala seemed to pull some of her most forceful punches. Don't get me wrong, she more than held her own against Pence, and she skillfully worked into her responses all of the key talking points that the Biden-Harris campaign wanted to highlight. Kamala Harris came across as the brilliant and strong woman that she is last night, but she was far from the pit bull attack dog that she, as a highly skilled and experienced prosecutor, has it in her to be when the situation calls for it.

When the debate ended I mulled over for awhile whether she missed an opportunity or two to land some instant classic devastating blows against Trump/Pence, delivered with the force needed to leave her palm print on Pence's face for the rest of their televised debate. Kamala is perfectly capable of doing that if and when she chooses to. Instead she calmly and skillfully countered Pence, and spoke directly to the public about what she and President Biden will do for the American people. Kamala got it right,

Most Americans had never been in Kamala's extended virtual presence prior to last night,
but in less than a month she can literally be a heartbeat away from the presidency. Americans by now are well acquainted with Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and Mike Pence. The woman they met on stage last night showed a sure and steady hand, while simultaneously radiating both strength and warmth.

How well she played her hand last night was made perfectly clear this morning, when Donald Trump went on a feverish rant painting Harris as a power hungry monster and a literal communist. Without need of uttering a single sharp word, she just painted the president as a dangerous and delusional fool.
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