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Current location: Seattle, WA
Member since: Tue Nov 23, 2004, 11:22 PM
Number of posts: 9,292

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It is not a left/moderate/right "divide." It's more like this:

There is no "bipartisanship" with right-wingnuts whose only REAL agenda is serving their cronies, feeding the prison industrial complex, elevating those at the top higher, and leaving "the rest" to fend for themselves for the meager "slice of the pie" left

The break down of the electorate is much more like this.

1. Staunch Democrats:
People who will stand strong with Dems no matter what the Dems do.

2. Not Republicans:
People who get out to vote for Dems because Republicans are so much worse. They are at risk for falling into 3. These may not be as strongly "behind" Dems as group 1, but neither are they "moderates" in the sense that they occupy some left leaning/middle ground.

3. Opt Outs:
People who have opted out because they have given up on either party ever doing anything that actually makes a difference.

4. Disenfranchised:
People denied the right to vote for life by their status as felons -- about 4 million nationwide (not a trivial number). And about 30% of the African American male population of Alabama and Mississippi have been disenfranchised. People denied the right to vote by the suppression tactics we are seeing enacted by Republican controlled legislatures.

5. Republican Swing:
People attracted to Republicans primarily because they perceive them as the "strong ones." They go with "Strong and Wrong" Republicans over "Weak and Right" Dems. Many of these would swing to Dems if Dems demonstrated strength and gave them a real choice between Strong and Wrong, and Strong and Right.

Group 5 is not "moderate" in the sense that they subscribe to some ideology in the "middle." It is the strength they see in the right-wingnuts they find most attractive.

6. Knee jerk Republicans:
People who just see themselves as "Republican" and vote that way without much thought. Most of them probably always will. People in this group aren't keen on Trump. Some are "sticking with him," some are opting out or moving to Clinton because Trump is such a horror show. But, currently, aside from their problems with Trump, they go with Republican candidates down ticket. Some would actually start thinking twice if Dems transformed themselves sufficiently to inspire people in groups 3 and 4 to get behind them.

7. Staunch Reps/Dem haters: People whose hatred of Dems is so deep, nothing a Dem could do will ever reach them. Many are far more driven by hatred of Dems feed by the Republican noise machine than the propaganda against reasonable gun control an their commitment to "banning" abortion." (And regarding the latter, they actually have no idea what "banning abortion" would look like. They are generally opposed to incarcerating anybody for violating the "ban." Their position is more "I want it to stop." Instead of "pro-choice" rhetoric, Dems would be much more effective if they focused on the fact that a "ban" won't make it "stop." It will just push desperate women into taking desperate measures that risk death.)


The current Democratic leadership "strategy" of preemptive surrender ignores the existence of 3 and 4. As a consequence, those groups have just grown larger and larger.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. The Dems are currently trapped by insidious memes and beltway group think..

They will never win a filibuster-proof majority if they don't break free of the "conventional wisdom." They won't win of a vast majority of state administrations and legislatures. If they don't change, they will not gain the power necessary to create a far more equitable nation over the coming decades.

Unless they see the light, they will not even weld the power they do gain. (Just as they refused to use the power they had to filibuster Alito.) For example, mass incarceration is the most recent, destructive, insidious, systematic, method to keep African Americans and other POC "down." With the presidency, Hillary would gain the power of the pardon, and could use that power to mark the beginning of the of end mass incarceration. But unless she "sees the light" she isn't going to do it. But if she did, that would be truly informational change. If she used the power of the pen to decriminalize possession of drugs in quantities that were clearly for personal use, it would not be difficult to make the case that the billions saved must be shifted into treatment. Successfully shifting from incarceration to treatment would be extremely likely. When confronted with a new reality, even racists would go for it out of a belief "something" needs to be done about "those people" who are being released from prison.

But I digress. Bottom line: if Dems continue to be blind to the fact that standing strong and committing to an all out fight for the "Big Stuff" is a "WINNING" strategy, we will continue our downward slide.

All that said, there are encouraging signs of change. I will never give up on "them" because I will never give up on "us." I will never give up on our ability to either "get through" to them, or replace them.

What will it take for me to believe Hillary is starting to get it:

What to do?

As I said in my post:

Step 1, elect Hill;

Step 2, fight like hell to make her see she must "Go Big." Help her realize it's futile to "reach out" to the destructive obstructionists known as House and Senate Republicans. Help her see we are out here, and that there are so many others who would be inspired to act, if she just stopped with the "bipartisan" crap, went all out for some big things, and called on us to help her purge the House and Senate of any who are determined to stop us in 2018.

Incrementalism does not inspire. It does the opposite, it disheartens. It does not stop the downhill slide. And as we continue the slide down, down, down, more and more people will give in to hopelessness and apathy."

Incrementalism lost us the House and the Senate.

The most egregious failure was the failure to demonstrate commitment to our most basic principles, say NO to torture, and do everything in their power to see Bush/Cheney impeached, win or lose. That failure invited Trumpism. If torture is ok, ANYTHING goes. Obama's blanket amnesty for the torturers said to the nation "this is tolerable." He left the right-wingnuts in positions of power.

The right-wingnuts do not do "incrementalism." They dig their heels further in. Despite the fact that what they advocate is so incredibly destructive; despite the fact that the only interests they actually represent are corporate interests, their demonstrations strength -- their willingness to "fight, win or lose," their (false) rhetoric of "standing on principle," -- is seductive. And it has attracted an unbelievable number of Americans.

Democrats have dedicated themselves to the principle "can't win so don't fight." Over and over they demonstrate their willingness to abandon their principles in the name of "practicality."

Going Big is the only way to inspire those who have already descended into apathy. It is the only way to hang on to those that will be lost if the Democratic leadership continues "business as usual."

However wrongheaded, as long as Republicans are perceived as the party of "strength," they will come out on top. Especially when their strength is in contrast with the weakness demonstrated by the Democratic Party's leadership.

Bill Clinton got it right when he said:

When people feel uncertain, they'd rather have somebody that's strong and wrong than somebody who's weak and right.
--Bill Clinton

And I would add, "Strong and Right" beats "Strong and Wrong."

It is tragic that Bill Clinton, and now Hillary Clinton, themselves have failed, and continue to fail, to act in accord with those words.

We can, and will, fight the best "ground game" possible to win back the House and Senate. But, if we don't see a willingness to "Go Big" from the top, those who have opted out in apathy will not be inspired to get back into the game. If the Democrats stay on the incremental and practical path, it will severely undermine any chance we might have.

We do need to be screaming "Not Enough."

If the Democrats want to win back the people, and win back the sort of majorities that enable them to actually bring about meaningful change, they must start demonstrating strength. They must commit to the principle "We will fight to the finish, win or lose." That is the ONLY way they can ultimately win.

There can be no "bipartisanship" with right-wingnuts

The Dems notion that "pivoting to the middle" or declaring intention to "reach across the aisle" is somehow a "winning strategy" is one of the most misguided and destructive notions the DC Dems have every had.

And they are so damn committed to the insanity.

As the Repubs have been racing toward looney town, the Dems just keep chasing after them to "stay in middle."

One problem. They've completely lost sight of the liberal/progressive starting point that supposedly anchors the "spectrum."

And, fighting for "something I think the Republicans will let me do" is not particularly inspiring.

American's are desperate for representatives who inspire us and show us we can "make dreams come true." Like free college. Like universal healthcare. Like pardons for all who are, or were ever, imprisoned for possession of drugs for personal use. Like restoring the right to vote to all felons. Go Big!

What people want is someone who says "Hey, Join Me! I will fight to get you a whole loaf of bread. I can't do it alone. Elect the others who are committed to getting a whole loaf and we will make it happen.

What Dems give us are so called "leaders" who tell us, "Hey, Join Me! I can, perhaps, get four slices of that loaf you wanted... Or... eh... seems 'the other side' says four is too many, but, hey, well, get behind me and I'll 'reach across the aisle' and get you one slice (maybe, if it's a really small slice)."

As Lewis Rothschild put it (character in "The American President," 1994):

People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand.

Trump could never have arisen, had the Dems not left such a giant vacuum.

So, what now?

Step 1, elect Hill;

Step 2, fight like hell to make her see she must "Go Big." Help her realize it's futile to "reach out" to the destructive obstructionists known as House and Senate Republicans. Help her see we are out here, and that there are so many others who would be inspired to act, if she just stopped with the "bipartisan" crap, and went all out for some big things, and called on us to help her purge the House and Senate of any who are determined to stop us in 2018.

LINES need to = FINES for SOS/County

All over, states and counties are cutting back resources to save money on elections.

The most obvious result is long lines.

LINES are no different that the POLL TAX.

TIME = MONEY. The idiom is part of the vernacular for a reason. Time is VALUABLE.

If we're going to allow lines, we might as well just bring back the poll tax.

We need federal law that sets a maximum allowable wait time and penalizes state or county agencies responsible for under-allocating resources in a way that creates wait times that exceed the maximum allowed.

An election is neither free nor fair when it "costs" ANY voter a substantial amount of time.

It needs to be Federal. We could try to do it state by state, but we'd get nowhere in "Red states." (Particularly with the latest about the Koch bros putting big money into getting "their" people elected as SOS's.)

Penalties must be substantial enough to cost the state or county much more than than any "savings" they may have gained by cutting resources in the first place.

Other ideas welcome, but I think the only way things will change is to create a monetary incentive to allocate sufficient resources to run elections well.

The penalties need to be big enough to be scary. Begging and pleading for change, appealing to conscience, none of it is flying. It has come down to this; officials need to be frightened into doing the right thing.
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