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Garrett78's Journal
Garrett78's Journal
November 17, 2019

Gerrymandering: funny-shaped districts aren't the problem

Much is made of the odd shapes that gerrymandered districts take. And "nice-looking maps" have been drawn up by computers that ensure all districts are compact and that there isn't as much disparity in terms of population size. The latter is important, but there are some major problems with making districts 'compact'.

But it's important to note that because of their simplicity, these maps don't take several factors into account — factors many people think are quite important in ensuring good representation.

For instance, they don't try to keep historical neighborhoods or regions intact. They don't try to ensure representation of racial minorities. And they don't pay any attention to striking a balance between political parties, or ensuring that districts are competitive. "Pretty little districts," John Sides wrote at the Monkey Cage, "could actually be pretty terrible."

So, let's focus less on the odd shapes. Because that's really not the problem.
November 13, 2019

Centrists entering race out of fear a centrist won't get nominated???

I can't be the only one confused by that strategy. How does the addition of centrists make a Warren nomination *less* likely? The only thing that occurs to me is that they'll attack Warren so Biden can remain above the fray, so to speak.

November 8, 2019

"I've sat and listened in uncomfortable silence..." -Anonymous

And that's the problem. You sat in silence. After going to work for someone you already knew was an ignoramous, narcissist, racist, sexist, xenophobe, rapist, fraud, tax cheat, habitual liar and then some.

You, Anonymous, are most all of those things, too. That is the only conclusion one can reach.

November 3, 2019

If the bottom line were the bottom line, every state would be blue.

Dear nation,

Stop already with this nonsense about how Trump or Republicans more generally win because of pocketbook or kitchen table issues. Stop already with this nonsense about how Clinton's message wasn't focused on economics. It was, heavily so.

It's the racism, stupid.

If economics were truly every person's bottom line, so to speak, the Republican Party wouldn't survive. It would cease to be a viable party absent racism and sexism.


P.S. Kiss my ass, Brokaw.

November 2, 2019

Messages to drill into the public consciousness:

Republicans aren't acting in good faith, and you can't compromise with those not acting in good faith.

The Republican Party knows it can't win fairly and has no interest in election integrity. The Republican Party relies heavily on foreign interference, voter suppression and gerrymandering.

The Republican Party relies heavily on fomenting and exploiting racism, sexism and xenophobia.

The Republican Party relies heavily on projecting onto Democrats what they themselves are doing.

The Republican Party relies heavily on obfuscation and lies, which they pathetically refer to as "alternative facts."

Republicans support legislation that is so horrifyingly inhumane and destructive that writers of horror and satire can't compete.

These messages must be repeated over and over and over again. We must be blunt about that with which we're dealing.

Smash-mouth politics and taking the high road don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Be blunt about right wing ideology, about how the mission is to undermine faith in government and all democratic institutions. Be blunt about how promoting white nationalism and patriarchy is key to that mission.

Be blunt about the tactics that are employed when Republicans spout nonsense, which they do every time they go on the air. If you debate the *what*, you give it credence. Talk openly about the *why*. With enough repetition about tactics such as projection and the Gish gallop, eventually those tactics will be recognized by the public and the *what* will be dismissed as the nonsense that it is. Go on the air and say something like, "Kellyanne is doing what she does best, the Gish gallop. For those who don't know, the Gish gallop is when someone tries to overwhelm the opponent with baseless arguments. In other words, Kellyanne is just throwing as much crap at the wall as she can in hopes that some will stick. When she's ready to leave her alternate reality and debate honestly, we can chat. In the meantime, I'm not going to dignify her pathetic strategy."

Repeat, repeat, repeat. Drill these messages into the public consciousness.

October 30, 2019

Sorry, folks, but the Republican Party is not on its death bed.

I see post after post after post suggesting that the Republican Party is done for, or that it will be if it doesn't remove Trump from office. That idea is comforting, but it isn't rooted in reality. Demographic change isn't sufficient given our broken system.

The demise of the Republican Party has been predicted for decades. Without major reform of our tyranny of the minority political system (such reform is virtually impossible for the very reasons why reform is so desperately needed), without public education reform, without media reform and without putting an end to what is essentially election fraud (voter suppression, foreign interference, dark money, gerrymandering), the GOP will live on. It's ethically bankrupt but it will continue to be a major player. The GOP, as batshit crazy as it's become, currently holds more power nationwide (state legislatures, governorships, etc.) than the Democratic Party. As more and more of the population lives in a disproportionately small number of states, the problem will worsen.

2020 may go really well for us, but between all of the aforementioned issues and an incredibly ignorant public with the attention span of a gnat, the Republican Party isn't anywhere close to being laid to rest. And after Trump is gone, the "everything is back to normal" narrative will dominate, unless Democrats are vigilant in pushing back and establish a different narrative (even then, we're dependent on the profit-driven media to speak the truth).

October 24, 2019

*IF* Trump is removed, there will be 2 main right wing narratives, which will overlap some.

Members of the media, right wingers and possibly others will push one of the following narratives:

One narrative will suggest that Trump was a victim of the Deep State, evil Democrats and RINOs. That's what we'll hear from the likes of Gaetz.

The other narrative will be something akin to, "Republicans put country over party and did the right thing. Trump had gone too far and nobody is above the law. Everything is back to normal now and most Republicans are honorable civil servants."

There will also be some who sort of meld the 2 primary narratives.

Both narratives are dangerous. Whether or not either narrative dominates depends largely on how Democrats respond. Democrats will need to be vigilant in pushing back against those arguments. 50+ years of increasingly cruel and unhinged rhetoric and policy created a monster (this is something the Never Trumpers continue to deny). That monster is the Republican Party and its base, as a whole. Trump is a symptom (i.e., he didn't happen in a vacuum) and Trumpism will live on after Trump. The GOP is not filled with people who simply have a different take on the role of government. It is filled with people who foment and exploit racism, sexism, xenophobia and a general ignorance. It is filled with people who have been actively working to undermine all democratic institutions.

Lastly, if (big *IF*) Republicans remove Trump (by conviction or by talking him into resigning), it will be an act of self-preservation and nothing more. None of this "they did the right thing/put country over party/stood up for the law" bullshit. That party is ethically bankrupt. Period.

October 22, 2019

Something highly disturbing that must somehow be addressed

Trump and his minions knew/know there's nothing to the CrowdStrike conspiracy theory and that Biden didn't break any laws. But they also know, as with Clinton/FBI in 2015-2016, simply having Ukraine's government and the media announce that there is an investigation taking place is enough to muddy the water, suppress turnout, plant seeds of doubt. Think about the simplicity of that.

That's all that Team Trump wanted. They knew nothing substantive would come of an investigation. They simply wanted there to be an announcement. Because that alone can make all the difference.

I know I'm not saying anything new here. My point is that the Democratic Party will need to put a lot of time and effort into addressing this issue. I think public education reform and media reform must become top priorities.

October 20, 2019

The Tea Party, Mulvaney and the Narrative that Still Haunts Us

First, let's recall what sparked the Tea Party. Rick Santelli of CNBC advocated for a tea party after slamming Obama for wanting to bail out "losers" (i.e., victims of predatory lending and those who lost their jobs due to the recession). So, one month after the inauguration of the nation's first Black president, the Tea Party movement began. Birtherism played a huge role, and without Birtherism (and his speech about Mexicans being rapists and drug dealers), I don't think Trump would have ever won the Republican Party nomination.

Tea Partiers and Trump have been described, by the media and others, as populists. Well, let's see, populism is defined as, "a political approach that strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups." It was clear, though, that Tea Party "concerns" didn't have a damn thing to do with traditional populism.

Then, after the 2016 election, members of the media and people from all across the political spectrum (including leftists and moderate Democrats, from Bernie Sanders to Tim Ryan) insisted that Trump won due to "economic anxiety" (which, apparently, hardly any persons of color experience). I've been pushing back against that demonstrably false narrative for nearly 3 years and touched on it again in this recent post: https://www.democraticunderground.com/100212599797.

Now, let's consider a certain former member of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress. This swamp creature vehemently opposes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (and, naturally, was placed in charge of it for a while). You know, the agency that is looking out for the 'little guy' by making sure people are treated fairly by Big Finance. This swamp creature vehemently opposes Medicaid expansion. This swamp creature openly stated, when he was in Congress, that he only listened to lobbyists if they had given money to his congressional campaigns. This swamp creature committed campaign finance violations in his run for Congress. This swamp creature has profited off of shady land deals that have harmed South Carolina residents and small businesses. This swamp creature is currently Trump's Acting Chief of Staff.

The Tea Party types who supposedly want to "drain the swamp" absolutely adore the swamp creatures. They aren't populists in any meaningful sense. If anything, they're anti-populists. They're racist, sexist, xenophobic, conspiracy theorist assholes who despise government by and for the people. They're the people who still "strongly approve" of Trump (the 28% or so who are unreachable). Screw 'em and screw anyone who still pushes the narrative about why they vote the way they do. I have no patience for that shit.

October 19, 2019

The AG actively trying to undermine the FBI and intelligence agencies is surreal. But...

...it follows a pattern. The Republican Party has been trying for decades, with quite a bit of success, to undermine faith in government. Run up debt so as to cut entitlements, have corporations write legislation, deregulate industry, install heads of departments whose mission it is to erode those very departments, deny the stark reality that past and present injustice is not evenly distributed, etc.

Since the likes of Putin also wish to undermine democratic institutions for the purpose of self-enrichment, Putin and Republicans make for interesting bedfellows.

This is a war of ideologies: we vs. me. "It takes a village" vs. "every person for themselves" (cheating permitted...nay, encouraged). The likes of Barr, Bannon, Pompeo et al. are especially dangerous--they're white nationalists, isolationists and despise secularization.

They've seen the writing on the wall (social progression, increased secularism, changing demographics, etc.), so their tactics have become increasingly extreme in recent years (intense voter suppression and gerrymandering, full-throated attacks on science and public education, persistent attacks on the "liberal media" to help shift the Overton Window, stealing a Supreme Court seat and packing the judiciary with right wing ideologues, aligning with dictators who share the goal of undermining democracy for personal enrichment, replacing the dog whistle with a bullhorn, and so on). They take comfort, though, in a tyranny of the minority system which, paradoxically, makes major structural reform nearly impossible to bring about for the very reasons why such reform is so desperately needed.

If this current cast of characters is still in power after 1/20/21, the damage wrought may be irreparable.

I wonder how many people (not on DU but nationally) view Trump as an anomaly or someone who just happened in a vacuum and how many people recognize that Trump is a symptom of a much larger problem (to which the GOP as a whole is contributing). I certainly come down on the side of the latter, and at the same time recognize how crucial it is that we remove Trump from office as soon as possible, as he's an especially diseased carrier pigeon for the ideologues who are taking advantage of his narcissistic appeal to the tens of millions of racists, sexists and xenophobes. I also wonder if seeing the big picture (or being helped to see it) would dissuade even a fraction of Trump's soft support (the portion that approves of him but not strongly) from continuing to support him. Are 100% of his supporters really okay with the world Republicans are seeking to realize? If so, they'll regret it.

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