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Member since: Wed Aug 19, 2015, 04:47 AM
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Regarding this notion that confirmation will do permanent damage to the Republican Party...

Those who think confirming Kavanaugh will ruin the Republican Party are, in my estimation, being far too optimistic. Memories and attention spans are short. A massive number of American adults don't vote. A large number of those who do vote, for either Republicans or Democrats, don't pay very close attention to politics.

If Kavanaugh is confirmed, I will be beside myself with anger. There will not be a silver lining. There will only be a grave injustice, and a horrific message sent to all survivors of sexual assault. That does not mean we give up. Perhaps criminal charges will be brought against Kavanaugh. Perhaps Democrats will manage to increase the number of SCOTUS justices, as some have suggested. But confirmation of Kavanaugh would be a tragedy of epic proportion.

But back to my main point...I will once again reference the following article: https://www.vox.com/2018/5/1/17258866/democratic-party-republicans-trump-election

David Faris
...no policy platform is going to win three or four consecutive national elections for Democrats because we know policy isn’t what decides elections; that’s not how most voters make decisions.

So there are no policy changes that are going to reverse the overall trajectory that this society is on right now. We have to address some of the structural barriers to progressive power in this country, and we need to take those things as seriously as we do the policy fights within the party.

Sean Illing
I definitely want to get into some of these structural barriers, but let’s be clear about this point you’re making. A lot of people still think there’s some meaningful connection between policy outcomes and voter decisions, but there’s a good bit of political science research to suggest that’s just a fantasy.

David Faris
Right. People just don’t seem to make the connection between policies and the party in power.

So, for example, the Democrats passed Obamacare and gave millions of people heath care, and yet tons of people who benefited from it have no idea what it is or how they benefited. And it’s like that with a lot of policies — voters simply don’t connect the dots, and so they reward or punish the wrong party.

I think the idea that we’re going to deliver these benefits to people and they’re going to be like, “Thank you Jesus, thank you for everything that you’ve done, let me return you with a larger majority next time,” is just nonsense. It’s the wrong way to think about politics.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do things for people, but we’ve got to be serious about how elections are won. And they’re not being won on the basis of policy proposals or policy wins.

Sean Illing
In the book, you say that Democrats are engaged in “policy fights” and Republicans are waging a “procedural war.” What does that mean?

David Faris
The Constitution is a shockingly short document, and it turns out that it’s extremely vague on some key procedures that we rely on to help government function at a basic level. For the government to work, cooperation between parties is needed. But when that cooperation is withdrawn, it creates chaos.

Since the ’90s, when Newt Gingrich took over Congress, we’ve seen a one-sided escalation in which Republicans exploit the vagueness or lack of clarity in the Constitution in order to press their advantage in a variety of arenas — from voter ID laws to gerrymandering to behavioral norms in the Congress and Senate.

Sean Illing
What the Republicans did to Merrick Garland was one of the most egregious examples I’ve ever seen.

David Faris
Right. They essentially stole a seat on the Supreme Court — a swing seat, no less. But they correctly argued that they had no clear constitutional obligation to consider the president’s nominee for the seat. They didn’t violate the Constitution. They violated the spirit of the Constitution. They violated the norms that have allowed these institutions to function normally for years and years.

This is the sort of maneuvering and procedural warfare I’m talking about, and the Republicans have been escalating it for two decades. And they’ve managed to entrench their power through these dubious procedures.

The result is that the structural environment is biased against Democrats and the Republicans have engineered it that way.

Does a Kavanaugh confirmation hurt or help the Republicans in November's election?

Various Republican talking heads have suggested that failing to confirm Kavanaugh will make for an even tougher November for Republicans. Supposedly getting him confirmed would fire up the Republican base.

I'd like to think confirming Kavanaugh would hurt Republicans and help Democrats (i.e., it's our base that would be even more fired up), and that those talking heads are pushing for a quick vote simply because they know Kavanaugh on the court makes it easier to protect Trump. Then again, how much do they really care about Trump?

In the end, we just have to GOTV. But what do you all think about the notion that confirming Kavanaugh would actually help Republicans do better in November?

On days like this, it really hits home what a toll Trump has taken on my psyche.

It might seem counterintuitive, but I think it's because encouraging news allows me the opportunity to breathe. Life provides distractions, but there's always a simmering rage. It sometimes boils over.

I hate that I've allowed Trump and his klan to impact me so, but I have to admit that I'm in a constant state of disgust and anger.

Why it's important to elect women.

Many are dismissive of the idea that the 'identity' of our next POTUS nominee or that of nominees for other offices is important. The whole gender-blind or color-blind approach is clearly compelling to a large number of people. The assumption is that advocating for our next POTUS nominee to be a woman or person of color, or both, is equivalent to saying, "Our nominee should be a woman just because." But that assumption is false. What follows are excerpts from articles on why that assumption is false, why the dismissiveness is wrong-headed. The articles focus on electing women, but some of the arguments made could also apply to electing persons of color. The Republican Party remains viable because of racism and sexism, so a reduction in both is paramount. Not to mention reducing oppression is simply the right thing to do, and benefits everyone. Without further ado, the aforementioned excerpts:


The global scholarship leaves no doubt: Women in political office make it a priority to advance rights, equality and opportunity for women and girls, in a way and to a degree that men in power overwhelmingly do not.

A large body of research has been devoted to answering a fundamental question: Do women substantively represent women more effectively than men do? In hundreds of studies examining large data sets of roll call votes, bill sponsorship, laws enacted and other measures the answer is clear. "Across time, office, and political parties," political scientist Beth Reingold writes in a comprehensive review, "women, more often than men, take the lead on women's issues, no matter how such issues are defined."

Such findings don't mean that all female officeholders seek to advance women's rights, or that women govern only from the standpoint of gender. But the research does speak strongly to the fact that women and men in power have different priorities.

And then there's the danger that if women aren't at the table, they might be on the menu. In late 2009, the all-male Senate Democratic leadership team met privately to decide what would be included in the final Affordable Care Act. They eliminated a women's healthcare amendment that had passed overwhelmingly in committee, and that included coverage for such things as contraceptives and mammograms. The amendment's sponsor, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), had to demand its reinstatement just as the caucus was about to vote on the final bill.

Certainly part of the explanation is that women voters care about many issues, not just "women's issues." Still, their aversion to explicitly advocating for themselves, I suspect, stems from fear of being labeled selfish. From childhood, women imbibe the notion that selfishness, like ambition, make them unlikable and untrustworthy. This may be part of how we get to a moment in which white working-class men's overwhelming support for Trump or Sanders is called a "movement," while women's support for Clinton is dismissed as touchy-feely "identity politics."

The U. S. has made tremendous advances on equal rights over the last 40 years, and yet we have a ways to go. Women are paid less than men in almost every job and at every level. Ours is the only advanced economy that doesn't guarantee paid leave for new mothers. On broad measures of gender equality, the United States ranks an unimpressive 28th in the world.

To achieve equal opportunity and full participation for women and girls in all areas of American life demands leadership, dedication and political will — and especially the will to expend political capital — at the top.

All the evidence tells us that our odds of making progress on gender equality will be much higher if the president is a woman.


Changing the conversation can have an effect on the laws that Congress eventually passes: One recent study of Congress since 2009 found that the average female legislator had 2.31 of her bills enacted, compared with men, who turned 1.57 bills into law.

All told, Congress allocated $20.8 trillion in federal outlays (excluding defense and military spending) from 1984 to 2004. Women, it turns out, did a better job at getting their share of that money. On average, female legislators sent 9 percent more funds back to their districts than their male colleagues. Districts represented by women received an additional $49 million annually on average compared to their male-represented counterparts.

Sarah Anzia, the author of this study, argues that this might reflect something particular about the type of women who run for Congress. Multiple studies have found that women underestimate their qualifications for office compared to men. When you look at a comparable group of lawyers, business leaders, and others likely to run for office, the men are significantly more likely to say that they’d make a good politician.

"One of the common jokes in this field is that every day, there are a million men who wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and say 'I’d be a great congressman,'" says Heidi Hartmann, an economist who runs the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. "And there aren’t that many women who do that."

As such, Anzia hypothesizes that the women who do assess their qualifications positively are those who are actually overqualified for the job.


Gender may not be the only reason many women are voting for Hillary Clinton, but it plays into many people's votes, Traister said. And given that politics has been so heavily dominated by men (and, specifically, white men), another feminist told NPR earlier this year that it too often unfairly puts other groups' issues in the "specialty issue" category.

"Inherently we believe that white people's issues are the mainstream issues or men's issues are the mainstream issues," said Renee Bracey Sherman, a feminist and reproductive rights activist (who says she has donated to both Sanders and Clinton). "Everything else is a 'sideline issue.'"

The question at issue here may well be whether "the issues" and identity can really be separated from each other. For some, like Traister, seeing yourself represented in office can itself be an issue. And in Bracey Sherman's mind, some women's and minority groups' issues haven't gotten as much attention as they might with a more diverse government.
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