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50% Disapprove of Biden’s Job Performance, Support From Independents Collapses
www.grinnell.edu/news/62-americans-say-politics-not-law-driv...
When asked whether they [likely voters] approve of the job President Biden is doing, only 37% approve (50% disapprove). Disapproval is highest when it comes to his handling of immigration (27% approve; 58% disapprove) and the economy (36% approve; 53% disapprove)....

“In 2020 exit polling, President Biden won independent voters by a 54% to 41% margin,” said J. Ann Selzer of Selzer & Company. “If the election were held today, our poll shows former President Trump winning that group 45% to 28%. It is a massive shift in a demographic that helped carry Biden to victory less than two years ago.”

DB2
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But it probably won't matter. If another Trump-like person opposes him, he'll probably win.

That's the key thing: there are only two choices, and you have to pick the least odious. Usually they're all odious, you just have to pick the least. If it's DeSantis vs Biden, easy choice. If the Repugs put up someone credible/reasonable, Joe might have a problem. But I doubt the Trumplicans will allow that. They want crazy.
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But it probably won't matter. If another Trump-like person opposes him, he'll probably win.

I agree with you, but the poll seems to indicate otherwise as independents make the difference in many states:

“In 2020 exit polling, President Biden won independent voters by a 54% to 41% margin,” said J. Ann Selzer of Selzer & Company. “If the election were held today, our poll shows former President Trump winning that group 45% to 28%. It is a massive shift in a demographic that helped carry Biden to victory less than two years ago.”

DB2
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I agree with you, but the poll seems to indicate otherwise as independents make the difference in many states:

Independents, by definition, don’t have an allegiance. Sometimes you can convince them to like your guy but I suspect more often you can convince them to dislike the other guy.

If the Republicans put up a hard right winger, and I expect them to even if it’s not Trump, then getting the (un)enthusiastic vote of independents wouldn’t be that difficult. It might affect the turnout, but for those who do vote, I would think coaxing them back into the Democratic column would be fairly easy.
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Independents, by definition, don’t have an allegiance. Sometimes you can convince them to like your guy but I suspect more often you can convince them to dislike the other guy.

That used to be the case. Nowadays, a huge number of 'independents' are hardcore conservatives or liberals that refuse to register under a party affiliation because they are dissatisfied with the party, not because they truly vacillate between the two parties.

Bernie Sanders is an independent, after all.

Fivethirtyeight had a piece a few years back looking at the differences and distinctions between three groups that often get described interchangeably: independents, moderates, and undecideds:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-moderate-middle-is-...

Albaby
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Probably true. But I do think we saw a rejection of Trumpism last year. So if another Trump-like candidate runs against Joe, I suspect he/she will lose. Even if Joe doesn't really inspire. We already knew he didn't inspire, but at least he wasn't a narcissistic hate-mongering moron.

And, as Gh has posted, he has done a lot in his first year. It doesn't get a lot of press, but he's done good. Even if he falls short in several areas (e.g. whipping Haitians at the border).

If the QoP put up a reasonable alternative, I think Joe could be in trouble. But the QoP doesn't have a reasonable alternative. The reasonable alternatives are speaking out against the QoP (like that congressman from Illinois, I think...he's actually sane, even if I disagree with him on several points).

1poorguy
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If the QoP put up a reasonable alternative, I think Joe could be in trouble. But the QoP doesn't have a reasonable alternative.

The most likely Republican nominee is still Trump. Assuming Trump doesn't run, potential nominees certainly include deSantis, Haley, Cruz, Noem, Pence and Pompeo.

They're likely not going to be considered 'reasonable' in our eyes - but any of them would meet the 'Not Trump' standard enough to avoid the negatives that Trump personally would have brought to the table. If things aren't going significantly better than they are right now, politically, I think Biden could be in trouble against any of those. It's not great that his approval rating has gone deeply underwater this early in his Presidency. If the economy happens to be sour in late 2023-early 2024, there's an excellent chance Joe could be the underdog in the race.

Albaby
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If the economy sours, I agree. That would be a problem for any incumbent regardless of their popularity (which usually declines as the economy declines).

He does need to start touting his list of accomplishments (that you enumerated a few days ago), and getting something about infrastructure and some of the other programs in that bill would be a huge win. Climate is dead**, but most people don't seem to care about that anyway. So I doubt that affects him politically.

I think DeSantis is the only one on your list that could be a problem. We know he is a wrong-headed idiot, especially with respect to COVID. But he seems to be very popular anyway. For whatever reason (it totally escapes me, but then I'm diametrically opposed to him).

1poorguy



**And so are we, but that's a subject for a different discussion.
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I think DeSantis is the only one on your list that could be a problem.

Any Republican can be a problem.

In the 2020 election, Trump captured 47% of the popular vote. Republicans captured 48% of the House popular vote. Republicans captured 49% of the Senate popular vote (actually larger than the Democrats, but it wasn't a great map for Dems). And Republicans captured 52% of the gubernatorial popular vote.

That's not a portrait of a country that has soundly rejected the Republican party and wholeheartedly embraced Democrats. That's a country that's pretty evenly divided between which party they want to have running the show. Democrats like to tell themselves that the GOP is a deeply despised minority party that is clinging to power using anti-democratic maneuverings, but there's only a few percentage points of difference between them.

At any time, the American electorate can be willing to give a Republican a chance at the Presidency. Obviously candidates matter - but the idea that none of these GOP candidates other than deSantis could pose a problem for Biden is wrong, I think.

Except for Cruz. Most people seem to hate Ted Cruz.

Albaby
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At the local level, I agree. Repugs win a lot (the majority?) of local races. And in some locales, Trumpism works. But I don't think on a national level it does. Too many reject it at that level. The Repugs need a candidate that stops well short of that, and does not also have a repulsive personality. Cruz certainly isn't it. DeSantis may be, even if I think he's a blithering idiot. I think Pence nuked himself by aligning with Trump. Don't know about the other guy you mentioned (Noem?).

But, yes, in principle we are divided. A slightly less loony POTUS candidate has a credible shot. The trick is getting him/her past the primaries. The Repug primaries the past few cycles have been a freak show of lunacy. I think few sensible candidates could get through that intact.

Dems have a similar problem in that progressive candidates (like Sanders) are very popular, and have credible chances at winning primaries. Translating that to a general victory is tricky (as you pointed out at the time). I think Sanders would have beaten Trump. But, were he alive, I don't think Sanders could have beaten McCain.

Let's hope Biden gets one more "win" before the intransigence begins next year. The last half of his term will be marked by zero accomplishments. McConnell will see to that. Joe needs a significant victory to run on in three years.

1poorguy
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And in some locales, Trumpism works. But I don't think on a national level it does.

Again, Trump received 47% of the national popular vote in 2020. Better than he did in 2016. Almost the identical proportion as Mitt Romney, better than McCain. If we assume that Trump's personal horribleness cost him a point or two, any near-Trumpist candidate that doesn't have actual Trump's baggage is going to be competitive. There is a hope among Democrats that Trump has poisoned the GOP brand so much that the party is now no longer able to be competitive in national races.

A slightly less loony POTUS candidate has a credible shot. The trick is getting him/her past the primaries. The Repug primaries the past few cycles have been a freak show of lunacy. I think few sensible candidates could get through that intact.

Every candidate is less loony than Trump. Even Ted Cruz or Kristi Noem (Governor of North Dakota).

That said, I'm not sure that the 2024 primary will be a freak show of lunacy. Trump might run (in which case no real primary). Trump might decline to run and endorse deSantis (in which case the lunacy is contained). If Trump declines to run and declines to endorse anyone you would see real lunacy - because I think that scenario features Trump as gleeful excrement-stirrer trying his best to make sure that the GOP loses and loses big. No one wins but Trump!!!

Albaby
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Nowadays, a huge number of 'independents' are hardcore conservatives or liberals that refuse to register under a party affiliation because they are dissatisfied with the party

Yes, I didn’t mean Capital I “Independents”, I meant people who actually change their vote, and they do exist. I acknowledge that they are relatively few in number and parties would do better to energize their base than try to find switchers, nevertheless there are “independents”.

n the 2020 election, Trump captured 47% of the popular vote.

So … 7% better than Herbert Hoover, running on his record of 3.5 years of grinding depression, Hoover tent cities in downtown parks, “Hoover flags” (pockets turned inside out to show there was nothing in them), running against a popular large state governor who was nationally known.

There is an absolute floor at about 40%, I am convinced. I also have little doubt that Trump energized some people who weren’t sure about him in 2016, but who are closet racists, idiots, or actual medical morons, but he also energized a lot of people who were meh about Hillary, and who would have voted for a floating brown log in a public toilet rather than Orange Man.

I am also sure they will come out for him in 2024, should he run. (Personally I’m hoping for a 14th Amendment lockout to prevent that, but that’s a fantasy, I know.) That’s why it’s important that Joe not stumble as we get near the election. We’re three years away, I’m not at all concerned with “how things are going” right now, poll-wise.
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Again, Trump received 47% of the national popular vote in 2020. Better than he did in 2016.

But he lost despite this fact.

I can't prove it, but I think he energized people to oppose him when they realized what Trumpism meant. Invoking Trump won't help a candidate in that situation.

If Trump declines to run and declines to endorse anyone you would see real lunacy - because I think that scenario features Trump as gleeful excrement-stirrer trying his best to make sure that the GOP loses and loses big. No one wins but Trump!!!

I still am holding out hope that Trump goes to prison. He committed several crimes (both before, and during his presidency). NY state was investigating him. They've subpoenaed records. Apparently they're serious. But, yes, I would giggle with glee if Trump started muck-raking during the GOP primaries.

There is a hope among Democrats that Trump has poisoned the GOP brand so much that the party is now no longer able to be competitive in national races.

Technically that's me. I'm a Democrat. But only because I wanted to vote in the primary, and I have to declare a party in Arizona. Before that I was "independent". I still think of myself that way, but realistically, there's no way I'm voting "R" anytime soon. I used to, but now I'm pretty much straight ticket "D". Have been since around Obama-time.

1poorguy
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I am also sure they will come out for him in 2024, should he run. (Personally I’m hoping for a 14th Amendment lockout to prevent that, but that’s a fantasy, I know.) That’s why it’s important that Joe not stumble as we get near the election. We’re three years away, I’m not at all concerned with “how things are going” right now, poll-wise.

I think that's right - Biden's poll weakness right now is devastating for the Democratic party's midterm hopes, but it's not necessarily predictive of Biden's re-election chances.

I agree with you about the floor, but not at 40%. I think it's closer to 45%. It's hard to imagine any Republican nominee getting less than 45% of the two-party vote. The same is true of Democrats as well.

But that's my point. Any of the early-lead GOP nominee candidates (except perhaps Cruz, who everyone hates) can present a problem for a Democratic challenger, even though most of them have embraced Trump to some degree or another. In any 2024 environment in which one of them could beat Biden, I think all of them could have a legitimate chance at winning. There's no 'safe' opponent any more. We won't see a Barry Goldwater again. That doesn't mean candidates don't matter, and I think some are stronger than others - but none of them are so categorically out there that they can't pose a problem for Biden. Again, except maybe for Cruz - but I don't see how Cruz wins a primary.

Albaby
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In your opinion, do you think we're headed for civil war? We almost had it Jan 6. I'm wondering if this nation is divided beyond the hope of repair, and that an victory by "the other side" will be regarded as fraud**. Gone are the days of accepting defeat with grace, or so it seems.

The nation couldn't easily split up. It seems to be more of an urban/rural divide, and urban centers are surrounded by rural. You can't just draw a new Mason-Dixon line and divide the two sides.

1poorguy




**Though I don't recall that from the left in 2016. Just the right in 2020. But the left could win again in 2024, and then I expect to hear cries of "fraud" again.
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1pg: In your opinion, do you think we're headed for civil war? We almost had it Jan 6. I'm wondering if this nation is divided beyond the hope of repair, and that an victory by "the other side" will be regarded as fraud**. Gone are the days of accepting defeat with grace, or so it seems.


One of my pet dreams is to have Washington, Oregon, and California secede from the union and start a new country called Cascadia. The eastern parts of those states may secede right back. (See West Virginia's secession from Virginia in 1860.) We could also invite Hawaii to join, and call the new country Oceania. (With a nod to George Orwell.)

One tends to think of Oregon, Washington, and California as liberal, and they are on a percent of the population basis. But if you get away from the large cities, they become rather conservative. Why are rural people more conservative? Less affluent, yes. Less educated, maybe. Hate being dominated by the large cities? fer sure.

There was a big article in the L.A. Times recently about the city of Redding, CA. I know very little about Redding, but my ex wife had an aunt and uncle there. We visited once. They had a small meat cutting business, supplying local restaurants and small markets. They were Chinese (from Hawaii - I think second generation, but maybe immigrants.) and they liked to help new immigrants assimilate . Helped them find jobs, housing, help with schools, etc. I call them good people. We went out to dinner with them. They were embarrassed to go to any Chinese restaurant, because they could not pay for their meals. Always "on the house" because of the kindness they showed to immigrants. The other thing I remember about Redding is that it was hotter than the hinges of hell. 105°F iirc in early September. We had a (un-air conditioned) red Jaguar XK-E coupe at the time (The apple of my eye.) Black leather interior. My poor wife was passing out in the car, so we stopped at a bowling alley and got her a cold drink. (First place we saw.)

Bach to the Times article, it seems Redding is a gun totin' concealed carry mecca. Along with various other ultra conservative causes. Don't mess with them! Wonder how my ex in-laws are faring?

Cliff
... dreamer
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In your opinion, do you think we're headed for civil war?

No. Absolutely not.

Civil wars usually start when one 'side' is excluded from any possibility of obtaining power through a political process. That's not the case. The GOP has every opportunity to seize control of the federal government in the next two election cycles. In fact, they are expected to win back the House and the Senate by 2024. They have as good a chance to win the Presidency in 2024 as they typically do - contingent on the economic and political environment and the candidates, of course. The GOP has a wide open path to power through the normal political process.

And the same is true of Democrats. Despite the cataclysmic rhetoric lobbied by Democrats about how the GOP wants to destroy democracy, the actual provisions that have been adopted by the GOP will have an exceedingly minimal effect on the outcome of elections (that doesn't mean they're right or just - simply that they're not likely to have a significant enough magnitude to be dispositive). On the voter-facing side, most of them end up prohibiting changes to voting practices that didn't exist (or weren't widespread) prior to the 2020 election. In almost every state, it will be vastly easier and more convenient for voters to vote in the 2022 and 2024 elections than in the 1992 or 1994 election. On the elections administration side, most of them end up shifting ultimate authority from one politically partisan office (the Secretary of State or elected local elections officials) to a different politically partisan office (the legislature) but still subject to judicial oversight and review.

Again, it doesn't mean these changes are right or good, or that they might not have a marginal effect in an extremely close election. Just these changes aren't anywhere close to large enough to block Democrats' access to political power altogether, and thus leave civil war as the only path to a role in government.



We did not come close on January 6th. At all. One cannot seize control of the U.S. government by taking control of the Capitol. We certainly came close to a lot of individual members of Congress, even the Vice President, suffering grievous bodily harm and perhaps even being killed - but again, that's not going to transfer control of the government or itself be a civil war. No one was planning this to be the initiating incident to an actual effort to seize control by force of the U.S. government.

Trump is a narcissistic man-child who managed to spend four years as President without learning how the government works. So he violated every norm of conduct in casting about for some way - any way - he could avoid being a one-term loser. But his useless fumblings towards trying to stay in power, while execrable and corrosive to the dignity of the office, didn't bring us 'close' to either a civil war or a coup. The pantomime on the Hill was similarly impotent - I don't believe for a single second that any member of the House or Senate believed that their actions would genuinely prevent Biden from taking office, rather than a protest vote to show how ticked off their constituents were at Democratic shenanigans in the election.

Albaby
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...a victory by "the other side" will be regarded as fraud. Though I don't recall that from the left in 2016.

Don't forget Stacy Abrams who, IIRC, never conceded her 2018 defeat.

Stacey Abrams Defends Refusal to Concede Georgia Gov. Race
https://news.yahoo.com/stacey-abrams-defends-refusal-concede...
Stacey Abrams defended her refusal to concede last year’s Georgia gubernatorial election on Monday, arguing that adhering to the democratic norm of conceding to a victorious opponent would make her “complicit” in a “rigged” system. Abrams has consistently refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of Republican Brian Kemp’s November gubernatorial victory....

DB2
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Democratic shenanigans in the election

=================================================

What shenanigans?

Jaak
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What shenanigans?

The numerous changes to the elections process, nearly all of which were adopted by state and local administrative officials using emergency powers. These included new methods of absentee ballot distribution, novel methods of ballot collections (such as drop boxes, new remote polling places, drive-through voting, or 'in-person absentee' voting), expansion or modification of existing early voting schedules (such as allowing 24-hour voting).

The most notorious shenanigan was the decision by the Pennsylvania Secretary of State the night before the election to change the rules governing 'curing' of absentee ballots.

All of these things were technically legal - or at least, they weren't subject to post-election challenge. But Republicans regard them as deeply unfair. One of the things that helps give election rules their legitimacy is that they are typically set before the election cycle starts - in other words, the rules are agreed on before the campaign begins, so that neither side can see the specifics of their position in the campaign in shaping the campaign rules. It's the more pedestrian version of John Rawls' veil of ignorance from A Theory of Justice - you get a more fair set of rules if you set the rules before you know whether they will help or hurt you.

That's only compounded by the fact that the overwhelming majority of these rule changes are perceived - by both parties - as helping Democrats. To the point as the Congress is considering federal legislation to require that these rule changes be made permanent - or as GOP legislatures are considering rule changes to roll back to 2018-era laws - Democrats have insisted that these changes are necessary for Democrats to keep winning elections.

Oh - there's the false stuff about the actual counting of the votes, too. But we all know that's hogwash. The many changes to the election process, even after Democrats knew that they would benefit their chances uniquely in an election where the President was attacking mail-in ballots, and even up to the night before Election Day? Yeah, that's gotten a lot of the GOP ticked off.

Albaby
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In addition to independents, 538 points out that things aren't going well with Latinos.

Biden Has Lost Support Across All Groups Of Americans — But Especially Independents And Hispanics
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/biden-has-lost-support-...
Over his first nine months in office, President Biden has lost support among Americans of all stripes — men and women, Black voters and white voters, Zoomers and Baby Boomers. Even Democrats writ large are more disenchanted. But two groups with whom Biden has lost support stand out: independents and Hispanics....

As the chart below shows, there has been a drop in support for Biden among all three racial and ethnic groups we measured, but the drop among Hispanics — from the high 60s to slightly below 50 percent — marks Biden’s most precipitous decline....

The latest poll from The Economist/YouGov found just 45% of Hispanics approved of Biden’s handling of the pandemic, compared with 65% in early June....Earlier this month, Quinnipiac University found that only 23% of Hispanic Americans approved of Biden’s work on immigration, down from 49% in late May.

DB2
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What shenanigans?

The numerous changes to the elections process, nearly all of which were adopted by state and local administrative officials using emergency powers.

If these are "shenanigans", then I just lost a whole lot of respect for whoever calls them that. The twin ACTUAL emergencies of:
1. a pandemic ** DIRECTLY ** affecting the logistics of voting in person, and
2. a sitting president and ruling (not governing, not representing, but ruling, from the minority) party ** ACTIVELY ** working to sabotage the function of democracy by removing mailboxes, eliminating polling places, and for the love of humanity, INTIMIDATING voters just standing in line

COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY JUSTIFY the use of "emergency powers". I'm not sure whether you noticed, but 2020 was not a normal election year.

It's NEVER "shenanigans" to do legal things fight racists trying to steal the democratic process. Georgia's law criminalizing giving food or water to people just standing in line to vote makes it ABUNDANTLY clear who's doing the shenanigizing here. Note that the people handing out food and water don't care how the people they're serving are going to vote. They're just being good humans. That's the POLAR OPPOSITE of what the Republican Party is doing with their 100x bigger "shenanigans". It's extremely reductive to even use that word for what they're doing in broad daylight, which is attempting to ** END ** free and honest open elections in the United States of America.

So again, No. Not standing for that. I declare immediate Shenanigans on the use of "shenanigans" to describe the defense of our voting rights. Full stop.

-n8
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If these are "shenanigans", then I just lost a whole lot of respect for whoever calls them that.

Which is totally fine. Democrats believe that these are justified exercises of emergency powers. Republicans believe that the Democrats used the pandemic as an excuse to implement a host of changes that benefited their electoral chances.

The point was that neither the changes that the Democrats made to the electoral process nor the changes that the Republicans have made to the electoral process have the effect of excluding either party from the possibility of obtaining political power through the electoral system. That's why I don't think a civil war is likely.

It's extremely reductive to even use that word for what they're doing in broad daylight, which is attempting to ** END ** free and honest open elections in the United States of America.

Curious. Okay, I'll bite - name one GOP state where it is less convenient for a person to cast a ballot in an election today than it was thirty years ago.

Albaby
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Republicans believe that the Democrats used the pandemic as an excuse to implement a host of changes that benefited their electoral chances.

In other words, they want to exclude lots of voters that they think may vote against them.

Very undemocratic (small "d") of them.

Also, very stupid. I read an analysis a few weeks ago (months ago?) that mail-in ballots actually benefited Repugnantcans. And I still support them anyway, even as an anti-Repug, because it's the right thing to do in a democracy: make it easier for people to vote.

1poorguy
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I read an analysis a few weeks ago (months ago?) that mail-in ballots actually benefited Repugnantcans.

Generally, yes. Absentee voting has traditionally made it easier for rural, elderly and overseas (read: servicemembers) to vote. Here in Florida, for example, the absentee vote has typically gone in favor of the GOP.

Which, again, is part of why the GOP got so upset at Democrats. For years - decades - all these local elections administrators refrained from implementing these innovations to make it easier for people to cast absentee ballots. But after this particular election cycle had already started, and after Democrats could see that the absentee vote in this election was likely to be more favorable to them than historically because of Trump's attacks on the process, a number of Democratic officials changed the rules to make it easier to vote absentee. In the most extreme case in Pennsylvania, literally deciding the night before the election to change the rules on ballot-curing.

They think it's unfair. Even if a rule change is a good idea, changing the rules in the middle of the 'game' can be unfair to one side or another. That's why setting the rules of a contest before it starts, and before you can know whether one party's position will be helped or hurt by a rule change, is an essential element of fairness. Whether you agree with them or not, the GOP was enraged that the rules got changed in mid-game (as it were).

But again - my point is that this isn't going to drive the GOP into civil war. These types of shifts in the electoral rules aren't enough to exclude the GOP from having the opportunity to win at the ballot box, so there's no particular need for them to try to seize political power outside the ballot box.

Albaby
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No. of Recommendations: 4
The numerous changes to the elections process, nearly all of which were adopted by state and local administrative officials using emergency powers. These included new methods of absentee ballot distribution, novel methods of ballot collections (such as drop boxes, new remote polling places, drive-through voting, or 'in-person absentee' voting), expansion or modification of existing early voting schedules (such as allowing 24-hour voting) ....

======================================================

I think you protest too much over minor issues that expanded the voting availability for more people.

These changes were needed to deal with Covid-19 Public Health issues.

Maybe you think that these expanded voting are not good for democracy - I think having more people vote is good for democracy.

I support the Voting Rights bill that the Republicans just spit on because the bill would really restrict their mega gerrymandering and voter suppression shenanigans.

Jaak
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Curious. Okay, I'll bite - name one GOP state where it is less convenient for a person to cast a ballot in an election today than it was thirty years ago.

Curious. Do you mean it is less convenient to “cast a vote” or to “have the vote count” as equal to other votes? Because if it’s the latter, then it’s clear that the GOP has nearly perfected the art form of gerrymandering to reduce the effectiveness of Democratic voting. Eight of the ten worst gerrymandered states are controlled by the GOP: North Carolina, Pennsylvania, WestVirginia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Utah, Texas, Arkansas, Ohio.
https://rantt.com/the-top-10-most-gerrymandered-states-in-am...

Meanwhile, a recent decision by a federal court in the case of Whitford vs. Gill, ruled that gerrymandered districts in Wisconsin unfairly suppressed the vote. Wisconsin!

Democracy is severely screwed up, and it isn’t because of mail-in voting, it’s because of the corruption of politics by “selecting the voters” instead of “selecting the candidates” practiced mostly, but not exclusively by the GOP.
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Curious. Do you mean it is less convenient to “cast a vote” or to “have the vote count” as equal to other votes?

The former. We were talking about voter-facing changes to election procedures, not the establishment of districts. Gerrymandering certainly has a major influence in political outcomes for certain races - but has no direct influence in Presidential, Senatorial, or gubernatorial races, which are almost entirely statewide and thus don't have districts.

Gerrymandering has been around since the country was founded - the term dates back to 1812, and the practice is even older. None of the recent changes made by Republicans legislatures to voting practices relate to gerrymandering. And while currently the Republicans are the ones doing most of the hardcore gerrymandering, that's a somewhat recent phenomenon created (in part) by the alignment of the parties along rural/urban lines (makes it easier to pack and crack Democrats). So although gerrymandering can be really bad (some instances of tinkering with district boundaries to "choose the voters" is intended to fulfill the Voting Rights Act), it's not really part of the universe of recent rule changes to election procedures that might constitute a change in the GOP's approach to democracy.

Albaby
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No. of Recommendations: 12
All clear on the 'civil war is unlikely' point, with which I agree but for a slightly different reason--I bet we couldn't find 10,000 soldier-able Americans willing to give up their cell phone, much less their lives, to try to actually overthrow the government (because be real, 1/6 was an absolute weak-sauce publicity stunt). This is a response to your request, in defense of the truth about Republicans' efforts to undermine American democracy, specific to voting convenience.

It's extremely reductive to even use that word for what they're doing in broad daylight, which is attempting to ** END ** free and honest open elections in the United States of America.

Curious. Okay, I'll bite - name one GOP state where it is less convenient for a person to cast a ballot in an election today than it was thirty years ago.

Impressed by the magnitude of that goalpost move. "Thirty years ago" is miles away from the point. The whole MAGA movement is specifically about *returning* to thirty or more years ago when suppressed voting rights for Black people were the "just the way it is" in the south. I'm talking about closing polling places since the USSC overturned major parts of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. So let's start with Mississippi:

https://www.mississippifreepress.org/6577/mississippi-offici... (from ~356 days ago)
Mississippi Officials Moved Three Times More Polling Places Than Reported for 65,000 Voters

In some cases, county officials appear to have notified local news organizations about the changes, who reported them, without notifying the secretary of state’s office for inclusion on the Oct. 27 list. In other cases where county election officials did not publicize precinct changes the Mississippi Free Press identified in the SEMS report, local media organizations have continued to direct voters to now-defunct polling locations based on publicly available information.

and https://www.sunherald.com/news/politics-government/election/...
Free from federal oversight, 5 percent of Mississippi polling locations have closed since 2013

Civil-rights advocates have long argued that precinct consolidation, although an effective way for counties to save money on elections, may lead to longer commutes for rural voters, many of whom lack transportation, and longer lines at the polls. Any of these hurdles disproportionately burden the poor and, possibly, minorities, which is why civil-liberties advocates heralded the Voting Rights Act as a backstop to voter suppression.

The "Local County officials" who move/close polling places are *almost* exclusively white, and their target poor and Black voters. This is not speculation. So yeah, there's your one state.

For another example, one could ask oneself, honestly, *EXACTLY* why Texas's Republican Governor felt the need to do this:
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/10/texas-ballot-dro...
It Just Got Even Harder to Vote in Texas
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott closed ballot drop-off locations in two large, Democratic counties.


He ordered that each county could have only one drop-off location for ballots, forcing Travis and Harris counties—two Democratic strongholds—to shutter some sites they had already opened.

A county with 4.7 million people (Harris, where Houston is). Through specific action by a Republican, reduced to *ONE* ballot drop box, same as Loving County, with its 64 residents. Yeah, I'd call that "less convenient for a person to cast a ballot", wouldn't you? Travis County, the state's 5th largest with 1.3 million people, is where Austin is; arguably the most liberal place in the whole state. Probably a coincidence.

You're one of the three smartest people in Florida I've ever communicated with (a former co-worker who's now planning director down Miami way, and a UF professor I went to college with), but I gotta tell you you're off base on this single thing, and invoke the famous words used often in NFL commentary: C'mon, man.

-n8 (again, key thing: '30 years ago' is not at all the point)
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Gotta disagree. I think many of the folks on 1/6 were expecting an overthrow. Especially the organized dudes with radios (Proud Boys? Oath Keepers?). It wasn't shelling Fort Sumpter, but it was an attempt to seize government and/or assassinate some of its members, and forcibly change the outcome of an election. Maybe "coup" would be a better term. Though had it succeeded, there would have been civil war, IMO.

And if successful, you can bet they would have outlawed the Dem party in some manner (dictators can do that, and Trump would have been coronated Il Duce Naranja).

The QoP will likely have a string of victories in the near term, but if Dems win again in 2024, expect a repeat of protests and riots. "Stop the Steal" isn't going away anytime soon, it will just migrate to different candidates. Even though it's the Repugs that are trying to steal, as N8 enumerated (and just in TX; it's more widespread than that).

1poorguy
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Impressed by the magnitude of that goalpost move. "Thirty years ago" is miles away from the point.

Not really.

A lot of what the GOP has been doing with their recent voting measures is undoing recent expansions of voter convenience. Which makes it hard to support the claim that they are "end[ing] free and honest open elections in the United States of America." Or even working towards that goal.

It's lousy and terrible that Texas is reducing the number of drop boxes. But drop boxes aren't necessary for free and honest open elections. They didn't exist as a voting mechanism in Texas even ten years ago. The fact that there are fewer drop boxes today than two years ago doesn't erase the fact that it is still easier to vote in Texas than it was ten years ago. Two steps forward and one step back makes elections more open and convenient to voters - not fascist.

Mississippi, I don't know about. It's entirely possible that their changes have resulted in actually making it harder to vote. It's one of the few states that hasn't liberalized their absentee balloting. That's what drives some of my thinking about this, here in Florida. Regardless of everything else, the adoption of the new ballot access mechanisms of no-excuse absentee voting and early voting means that voting is worlds easier in Florida than it ever was before those two things were adopted.

In nearly every state, voting is vastly easier today than it used to be. That's because nearly every state has adopted no-excuse absentee voting or early voting or both. The exceptions are few - MS, CT, NH, and MO are the only states that have neither.

So when you ask:

A county with 4.7 million people (Harris, where Houston is). Through specific action by a Republican, reduced to *ONE* ballot drop box, same as Loving County, with its 64 residents. Yeah, I'd call that "less convenient for a person to cast a ballot", wouldn't you?

...I'd ask in return, "less convenient than what?" Up until 2020, you couldn't use a drop box to cast a vote anywhere in Texas. So while one drop box in Harris County is certainly less convenient than having lots of drop boxes in Harris County, it's still no less convenient than it was in 2018 or any other time in Texas history. It's no less convenient than in nearly every other democratic country, most of which do not have in-person drop off of absentee ballots (let alone multiple locations). In fact, Texas had never ever implemented an election with multiple drop boxes - so the 2020 election still had more drop boxes than any other prior election in Texas history. So has Texas really taken action to undermine open elections when every single person has at least the same options for returning a ballot as they had in every prior Texas election?

I think the answer is no. I think if a state chooses to offer a voting convenience to its citizens (say, going from zero days of early voting to 17 days of early voting) and then whittles back that convenience (say, going back from 17 days of early voting to 11 days of early voting), they're not undermining democracy or restricting voting rights. Because the end result is that the voter still has an easier time accessing the ballot box than they did before the voting convenience was offered in the first place.

But I take your point on Mississippi. Again, MS is one of the few states in the union that hasn't offered no-excuse absentee or early voting - two voting reforms that make it massively easier to vote than at any time before.

Albaby
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I think many of the folks on 1/6 were expecting an overthrow.

I wasn't referring to any of the rioters - I was referring to the House and Senate members casting their votes. Not a single one of them thought their vote would result in Trump becoming President, or Biden not ascending to the office. It was just a pantomime - something their voters demanded and a way for them to give expression to how angry their constituents were. Sure, some of the idiots play-acting their twisted false view of Nathan Hale might have had delusions that this was going somewhere. But they were just delusions. There was never, ever any chance that 1/6 was going to result in a civil war or a successful block of the election.

Albaby
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It was just a pantomime - something their voters demanded and a way for them to give expression to how angry their constituents were.

That's not legit, or proper. One of the last old-time Repugs was my senator. McCain. I vividly remember him defending Obama during the campaign. He refuted claims he was a Muslim (as if that were illegal?), not a real American, etc. He didn't play those games. I'm sure if he were alive he would be telling people "no, we lost fair and square...but we'll come back next time".

Instead, some of the politicians stoked the flames. I don't believe that they didn't know what they were doing, and wouldn't have welcomed it if the rioters had taken over and started killing Dems and "collaborators".

I think the two things that saved us this time were a) that didn't happen (but it almost did), and b) the other institutions of government likely would not have accepted it if it had. Key among them, the military. If the military decides to defend the process**, the 1/6 rioters would have been done.

1poorguy

**Though I don't know if they can, given Posse Comitatus. Capitol police certainly weren't up to the job, and several were actually supporting the rioters.
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That's not legit, or proper.

Agreed - but politicians engage in outrageous behavior to make a political statement all the time. Often times the degree of being 'not legit or proper' is what brings heat and light to the political statement they're trying to make. It doesn't mean for a moment they believe that they have the ability to actually stop the election from being certified. They absolutely knew that they did not.

I think the two things that saved us this time were a) that didn't happen (but it almost did),

If by "it," you mean a formal action by the Congress that might have called the election results into question, it did not almost happen. They never had enough votes, they never were going to get enough votes. The Congressional action on 1/6 was itself mere ritual rather than an exercise of actual power, and a political stunt during that ritual does not constitute a coup "almost happening."

We were never close to anything like that happening. No one did anything that moved us materially closer to the transfer of power not happening. No one actually had a plan that could have resulted in the transfer of power not happening. You had a bunch of idiots (Trump especially) that were trying to blue sky ways to pretend that an election didn't happen, but at no point was there any buy-in by anyone that mattered to even attempt to keep Trump in office. That isn't a coup "almost happening." It's just Trump pitching a spec screenplay to himself, with himself in the starring role, and a few toadying lackeys playing Greek chorus so that he could assuage his fragile ego.

Albaby
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If by "it," you mean a formal action by the Congress that might have called the election results into question, it did not almost happen.

No. The execution of politicians. They were gunning for key Dems, and a few of their own (like Pence). They said they were serious, and I take them at their word.

It could have been like the Iraqi coup of Saddam. Anyone speaking against him was taken away (and tortured/shot). In this case, they kill a few politicos, and then expect the rest of the chamber to "confirm" their choice. It didn't get to that point, but they only missed Pelosi and Pence by minutes. Part b) then would have had to save us, but fortunately we didn't have to test that. This time.
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No. The execution of politicians. They were gunning for key Dems, and a few of their own (like Pence). They said they were serious, and I take them at their word.

It could have been like the Iraqi coup of Saddam. Anyone speaking against him was taken away (and tortured/shot). In this case, they kill a few politicos, and then expect the rest of the chamber to "confirm" their choice. It didn't get to that point, but they only missed Pelosi and Pence by minutes. Part b) then would have had to save us, but fortunately we didn't have to test that.


I really don't understand how that would possibly work. Certainly we came close to people committing violence against members of Congress. But killing a few Congressmen isn't going to do anything to help facilitate a takeover of a country. Assassination can be part of a coup - but all the other parts are what make it a coup and not just an assassination.

The rioters never had the capacity to seize the House of Representatives - meaning the physical House chamber and the 400+ members inside of it - in a way that they could force it to take a vote they wanted. These were rioters, not special forces. They had no firearms, no organization, and no plan to seize the chamber. If they managed to kill Pelosi or Pence, it would have been by randomly bludgeoning them in a hallway, not executing them in front of the other Congresscritters sitting in the House chamber as an example.

The point of a coup is that you can kill a few politicians and then still be in control when the legislature meets again, so that your threat of personal harm is still active while they're in session. That wasn't ever a possibility here. There was zero - zero - chance of a vote being held once they breached the Capitol.

This was mob violence - there was no chance at all that it would, or could, have resulted in Democrats changing their votes.

Albaby
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I really don't understand how that would possibly work.

A "tweet" from Rolling Stone. Apparently planners for 1/6 met with actual officials at the White House and Congress.

It may have been ill-conceived and doomed to fail, but it certainly looks like they were expecting it to overturn the results. Which is basically an attempted coup. The planners, and officials, should be wearing orange jumpsuits for the rest of their lives.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/fife/AAWUweXE9po_FRQvK141X...

(disclaimer: I have no Twitter; this was sent to me as a screen capture)
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It may have been ill-conceived and doomed to fail, but it certainly looks like they were expecting it to overturn the results. Which is basically an attempted coup. The planners, and officials, should be wearing orange jumpsuits for the rest of their lives.

Depends on what they talked about, of course. It's not illegal to plan a rally and coordinate with the politicians on your 'side' about it, but it is illegal if you start talking about unlawful ways of achieving that goal. It's not even illegal for members of the Administration to have dozens of meetings with the organizers of a rally that 'turned violent' (to quote the RS article), as long as the subject of the meeting wasn't about the 'turned violent' part.

I read the RS article....and there's not a lot there that we didn't already know. We knew that there was coordination between the rally organizers and the Administration, at the very highest levels - else the President wouldn't have been there to address the crowd. We knew that the purpose of the rally was to try to place pressure on elected officials to vote against the certification. We knew generally that at least some GOP members of Congress were working with the event organizers.

None of which results in criminal liability, unless their discussions veered into the areas where crimes were being committed. And for good or ill, the organizers who gave RS their account were adamant that didn't take place:

“We had also been coordinating with some of our congressional contacts on, like, what would be presented after the individual objections, and our expectation was that that was the day the storm was going to arrive,” the organizer says, adding, “It was supposed to be the best evidence that they had been secretly gathering. … Everyone was going to stay at the Ellipse throughout the congressional thing.”

Heading into Jan. 6, both sources say, the plan they had discussed with other organizers, Trump allies, and members of Congress was a rally that would solely take place at the Ellipse, where speakers — including the former president — would present “evidence” about issues with the election.


https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/exclusiv...

So no....probably no orange jumpsuits. And certainly no visibility into how a violent riot might lead to Trump staying in office, since these two were adamant that no violent riot was planned.

Albaby
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the purpose of the rally was to try to place pressure on elected officials to vote against the certification...

And certainly no visibility into how a violent riot might lead to Trump staying in office, since these two were adamant that no violent riot was planned.


The first sentence is already admitting that the purpose of the rally was to attempt a coup. The rioters were supposed to delay certification to give time for SCOTUS to get involved.

https://www.newsweek.com/sidney-powell-drags-justice-samuel-...
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The first sentence is already admitting that the purpose of the rally was to attempt a coup.

Not for the purpose of establishing any criminal culpability.

For good or ill, Congresscritters are permitted to vote against certifying the results of the Presidential election. It is a lawful act for them to do so. Congressfolk having arrogated to themselves by statute a role in certifying the election, it is entirely legal for them to exercise that role.

Without more, it is thus lawful for citizens to use protests, rallies, or other forms of assembly to try to put political pressure on their representatives to cast their vote against certification.

While we might regard that as morally reprehensible or a blight against our democratic heritage, it's not illegal or criminal. That's why none of the Congressbeings who voted against the certification have been charged, and why none of the rally attendees that didn't march to the Capitol building have been charged. There's nothing criminal about attending, or even organizing, a rally to try to encourage members of Congress to vote against certifying electors.

The "revelations" in RS that some of the Congresspeople had a more substantial role in organizing the rally is thus unlikely, without more, to land any of them in orange jumpsuits. Regardless of the fact that they did something wrong, they probably didn't do anything criminal - and those are two very different things.

Albaby
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The criminal liability is covered here:
https://twitter.com/SethAbramson/status/1452833759326257154

There’s *ample* evidence to suggest they wanted the Capitol *occupied* long enough for the joint session of Congress to be postponed.

-IGU-
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The criminal liability is covered here:
https://twitter.com/SethAbramson/status/1452833759326257154

There’s *ample* evidence to suggest they wanted the Capitol *occupied* long enough for the joint session of Congress to be postponed.


I don't see how that that's going to cover criminal liability. "Wanting" something typically isn't enough to establish criminal culpability. If the Administration did not plan for violence or physical occupation, and did not take any affirmative steps to cause any violence or physical occupation (beyond the generally legal steps of planning or promoting the rally itself), they're not going to be criminally liable. DJT and his lackeys may be bad people with bad hearts and bad motives....but that's not enough to convict someone of a crime.

What the organizers describe in the RS piece - a desire that the rally politically motivate members of Congress to cast their votes against certification - isn't criminal, either on their part or the GOP members they met with beforehand. Of course, that's very self-serving - we wouldn't expect these organizers to confess to criminal acts, so obviously they're going to insist that the plan was to stay on the Ellipse. But that's why the article is "thin gruel," as Abramson puts it, and isn't going to do much (if anything) to increase the chances of any Congresscritter ending up in prison.


Albaby


**Note also that this tweet is referring to the President and the Administration, not the Congressbeings that we had been talking about in the previous few posts. I've seen people talking about the RS article as somehow being significant because it outlines Congressional involvement in planning the 1/6 rallies....but there's nothing criminal about a member of Congress coordinating with the organizers of a political rally.
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