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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#18281 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2021-May-29, 08:05

View Postkenberg, on 2021-May-25, 17:18, said:

There is a huge difference between saying "We need to provide opportunity" and saying "Your success is just because you are white, nothing to be proud of at all".

White privilege doesn't mean that white people have it easy. You can have a difficult life regardless of your race. What it means is that they don't have it even harder because of their skin color.

#18282 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2021-May-29, 08:27

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-May-27, 08:27, said:

For about the thousandth time, my sister-in-law (who supported Trump) made a throwaway comment in a Zoom meeting with us the other day, and as usual this was a right wing meme, this time that no one wanting to work when the government is paying them $300 to stay home. Suffice it to say, whenever I have been in their house the television has been tuned to Fox and when I rode in their car I got an earful of Rush Limbaugh.

While not "no one wanting to work", I've heard similar stuff on NPR. Cape Cod businesses are having trouble hiring the workers they need for the expected summer surge, and one of the reasons they've given is that some people are making more from the stimulus payments. So if it's coming from both the left and right, there's probably some truth to this.

But as others mentioned, this is not the only reason. Many people who were furloughed during the pandemic have found other occupations. Some are still worried about COVID safety. Many seasonal workers are H2B visa holders, and Trump slashed the number of these that have been available; Biden has opened this up somewhat, but probably not enough.

#18283 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-May-29, 09:16

View Postbarmar, on 2021-May-29, 08:27, said:

While not "no one wanting to work", I've heard similar stuff on NPR. Cape Cod businesses are having trouble hiring the workers they need for the expected summer surge, and one of the reasons they've given is that some people are making more from the stimulus payments. So if it's coming from both the left and right, there's probably some truth to this.

But as others mentioned, this is not the only reason. Many people who were furloughed during the pandemic have found other occupations. Some are still worried about COVID safety. Many seasonal workers are H2B visa holders, and Trump slashed the number of these that have been available; Biden has opened this up somewhat, but probably not enough.


Yes, I'm sure there is some degree of validity to the argument that the poorest and least well-protected among us is in no hurry to return to starvation wages with no medical benefits if they can get the same thing without sacrificing dignity.

The overriding reason I have read about for the shortage of labor is a single word: wages. If the Golden Arches is in need of workers they should offer high enough wages to attract those workers - that is, after all, how the invisible hand and market is supposed to work.

But our capitalist brethren who run corporations and buy lobbyists who in turn buy lawmakers that then allows capitalists to buy back their stock and repeat the cycle get to treat the invisible hand as the invisible hand out - millions and even billions to subsidize the oil industry and save banks from losses caused by their own greed and no problem. But even suggest that one person who is not lily white might possibly have the chance to abscond with the kingly sum of $300 in a whole week without having to slave for it and the entire right wing universe goes ape and starts pounding its chest and tearing up the underbrush.

I'm sick to death of the John Galt fantasies fanatics. I say f&^k them all.

Let them bitch about having to cough up payroll taxes like everyone else does.



Quote

Many of former President Donald Trump's political appointees got a nasty surprise when they left the government: A big tax bill.

They've been ordered to immediately repay months of payroll taxes that had been deferred under a bid by Trump to boost the economy ahead of last year’s elections — levies he had assured them would later be forgiven.




I am shocked, shocked to find that the former president may have lied to these people!

This post has been edited by Winstonm: 2021-May-29, 09:54

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#18284 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-May-29, 09:56

From Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies Remain Large: An Update Based on Country-Level Estimates, an IMF working paper (2019):

Quote

This paper updates estimates of fossil fuel subsidies, defined as fuel consumption times the gap between existing and efficient prices (i.e., prices warranted by supply costs, environmental costs, and revenue considerations), for 191 countries. Globally, subsidies remained large at $4.7 trillion (6.3 percent of global GDP) in 2015 and are projected at $5.2 trillion (6.5 percent of GDP) in 2017. The largest subsidizers in 2015 were China ($1.4 trillion), United States ($649 billion), Russia ($551 billion), European Union ($289 billion), and India ($209 billion). About three quarters of global subsidies are due to domestic factors—energy pricing reform thus remains largely in countries’ own national interest—while coal and petroleum together account for 85 percent of global subsidies. Efficient fossil fuel pricing in 2015 would have lowered global carbon emissions by 28 percent and fossil fuel air pollution deaths by 46 percent, and increased government revenue by 3.8 percent of GDP.

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#18285 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-May-29, 12:46

View Posty66, on 2021-May-29, 09:56, said:



No, no, no, no, no. You got it all wrong. Trillions are too big of numbers to be real. Let's talk about the real money - that $300 dollars a week that some may be getting who are ....how shall we say it....less than hardworking? Crimey. What if they used that money to better themselves with a trade school or an associates degree instead of dishing up my coleslaw? What then? Who will be left to shred cabbage? Without cabbage shredders, we're doomed I tell you. Doomed!
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#18286 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-May-29, 17:07

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-May-29, 12:46, said:

No, no, no, no, no. You got it all wrong. Trillions are too big of numbers to be real. Let's talk about the real money - that $300 dollars a week that some may be getting who are ....how shall we say it....less than hardworking? Crimey. What if they used that money to better themselves with a trade school or an associates degree instead of dishing up my coleslaw? What then? Who will be left to shred cabbage? Without cabbage shredders, we're doomed I tell you. Doomed!


We'd be in a right pickle - and then you could have sauerkraut.
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#18287 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2021-May-30, 03:26

View Postbarmar, on 2021-May-29, 08:27, said:

While not "no one wanting to work", I've heard similar stuff on NPR. Cape Cod businesses are having trouble hiring the workers they need for the expected summer surge, and one of the reasons they've given is that some people are making more from the stimulus payments. So if it's coming from both the left and right, there's probably some truth to this.


If you are talking about Cape Cod businesses, small business owners tend to be Republican right of center. In general, they hate having to pay any taxes, and want to pay employees the very minimum possible, forget a living wage. The other thing is that temporary summer work is just that, temporary. There's no future in working a couple of months a year, and then trying to find work to pay for food and housing for the rest of the year. What they need are students looking for work on their summer break. And students aren't normally going to be collection unemployment benefits.
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#18288 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-May-30, 04:35

Seasonal work in Australia is back-breaking and poorly paid. That's the reason they can't get workers.
Here is a quote from Reddit 2 years ago. https://www.reddit.c...l_workers_live/

Quote

Oh this is a fun topic for locals. If you're thinking "oh it sounds like business owners are using cheap foreign labor because their businesses can't survive having to pay proper full-time wages to people who have to live within the American cost-of-living after the job ends" you'd be right in most cases. So the first answer - pay usually isn't good if you're not working service industry. If it were, you'd see a lot more local~ish seasonal employees like you did here in the 70's, 80's, and 90's. Back then you'd rent a room for $25/week and wait tables to pay for college. My mom says she made $200/shift even back then to put it into perspective.

A lot of the seasonal employees are J1 (the type of visa) kids come over thinking Cape Cod is wayyyyyy different than it is. They think it's less spread out and closer to Boston than it is. They're sold that they can get around by foot, or on a bike. That's why they come here.

Then they get here with a job secured in Orleans and a place to sleep in Eastham and no clue what that actually means. So surprise, all of sudden they have to commute down a highway at 1am every night.

Looks like nothing has changed.
Whenever I see the words "seasonal worker" I think "exploited".

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#18289 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-May-30, 21:41

Margaret Renkl at NYT said:

... In short, the coronavirus pandemic became a perfect illustration of James’s “moral equivalent of war.” We weren’t fighting a human enemy, but we were fighting for our lives even so. This national calamity, this invasion by a destructive and unstoppable force, was our chance to come together across every possible division. We could finally remember how to sacrifice on behalf of our fellow Americans, how to mourn together the unfathomable losses — not just of life but of security, camaraderie, the capacity for hope.

Plenty of Americans — essential workers, first responders, hospital staff, teachers and many others — lost their lives because they made such sacrifices. Millions more complied unhesitatingly with measures designed to keep the most vulnerable among us safe. But too, too many of us did not. Too many were hostile to the very idea that they should alter their behavior even in the smallest way for the sake of strangers.

But for those “patriots,” we might be able now to imagine the proclamation of another kind of Memorial Day, one that commemorates not self-sacrifice in war but the lives we saved by joining together to serve the same cause. If Vietnam exploded the unquestioned commitment to national service, the coronavirus pandemic should have been the very thing to bring it back.

That it did exactly the opposite tells us something about who we are as human beings, and who we are as a nation. There is more to mourn today than I ever understood before.

https://www.nytimes....pgtype=Homepage

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#18290 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-May-31, 06:39

How Young G.O.P. Leaders Sold Out Their Generation by Charlotte Alter.

Ms. Alter is a senior correspondent at Time and the author of “The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For: How a New Generation of Leaders Will Transform America.”
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#18291 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-May-31, 08:57

y66 said:




As often happens with the links that you provide, I read the entire article. And as often happens, I liked it very much.

Which is not to say that she and I are in complete agreement. I would love to have a back and forth conversation with her.

I am much older than she is, she watched the Viet Nam news as a child, I am a bit younger than her father, he was in the Army Reserve for the Korean War. a war that started when I was 11. Her father's view of serving in the military roughly matches mine and that of many of my friends.

Quote

He was prepared to go when called, but he was never called. He once remarked that his was the only Alabama unit to spend the entire Korean War in Alabama, and he regarded this circumstance impassively, with neither relief nor dismay. It was simply the luck of the draw.


Or as I might put it when my student deferment for Viet Nam was changed to 1-A, I didn't run in either direction, not to Canada, also not to the recruitment center.

Then she speaks of William James [Yes, I did first say Henry. At least I didn't say Jesse]:

Quote


In 1906, the American philosopher William James delivered an address at Stanford University that was later published as "Proposing the Moral Equivalent of War." In it, he made the case for a form of compulsory national service that would instill the same virtues as those so often ascribed to military service. Without the fear and brutality of war, national service would be a morally uncomplicated way for young people "to get the childishness knocked out of them, and to come back into society with healthier sympathies and soberer ideas."



No, definitely no, not for me. I was 3 (almost) when Pearl Harbor was bombed, and when that happens we have to fight. No choice. It, drafting for the "moral equivalent of war", is entirely different. I could well become a draft resister if they drafted people into national service hoping "to get the childishness knocked out of them". The government can butt out of my maturing process. If the government has some things that they would like me to do, they can pay me to do it, but otherwise I will manage my own sober ideas.


I just finished a novel called The Right Side. A woman who served in Iraq and Afghanistan is in Walter Reed. The story concerns her possible, and partial, physical and emotional recovery from the traumas of war and her involvement with, among other things, a search for a missing child. But it also describes how difficult it is to intervene in a culture that is very different from our own. I am not claiming it's a great book but I liked it and it seemed like a good book to read just before Memorial Day.


There are many things in life to be grateful for. Also, choices can be complicated. Thanks to all who have served.



Ken
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#18292 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2021-May-31, 16:52

Trump’s Ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn Calls For Myanmar-Type Coup In U.S.

Quote

Flynn presented his dark vision of a military coup and dictatorship in the U.S. in response to a question from the audience at the conference.

“I wanna know why what happened in Myanmar can’t happen here?” an unidentified member of the audience asked Flynn, though he pronounced the nation as “Minnimar.”

“No reason,” Flynn responded to wild screams of approval. “It should happen.”


During the 2020 election and aftermath, top active military leaders clearly stated that it was not the role of the military to interfere in elections or the peaceful transfer of power. Imagine what could have happened if the twice impeached one term Manchurian President and Grifter in Chief had appointed more toadies, insurrectionists, and seditionists like Flynn to the very top of the military and DOD chain. And these traitors to America had decided to stage a military coup, or at least prevent the transfer of power. Where would America be now???

The only long term solution is to let right fringe areas of Red US peaceably secede from the Union and form whatever kind of government they want, probably some kind of totalitarian fascist dictatorship or oligarchy where elections are based on the sound principle of one dollar, one vote.
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#18293 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-May-31, 17:34

View Postjohnu, on 2021-May-31, 16:52, said:

...
The only long term solution is to let right fringe areas of Red US peaceably secede from the Union and form whatever kind of government they want, probably some kind of totalitarian fascist dictatorship or oligarchy where elections are based on the sound principle of one dollar, one vote.


As people that know how to play Bridge keep saying to me: "Try to imagine what that would look like".

I think the answer lies somewhere in between Northern Ireland, the Middle East and the average thread on Bridgewinners.
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#18294 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-May-31, 18:10

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-May-31, 17:34, said:

As people that know how to play Bridge keep saying to me: "Try to imagine what that would look like".

I think the answer lies somewhere in between Northern Ireland, the Middle East and the average thread on Bridgewinners.


I lived for a while in Bowie Maryland. There was a movement to secede. Which seemed to mean we would secede from something and do something. Be independent maybe, but independent of what? I don't recall the details but I believe some suggested we could become part of Canada, maybe declare ourselves to be a suburb of Toronto. They held rallies. I am not making this up.


Added:

In the interest of accuracy I looked up an old post of mine:

https://www.bridgeba...__1#entry730657

There I said that the idea was to secede from Maryland and join Pennsylvania. Much more reasonable of course. But I still think some of them wanted to join Canada.
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#18295 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-May-31, 19:49

View Postkenberg, on 2021-May-31, 18:10, said:

I lived for a while in Bowie Maryland. There was a movement to secede. Which seemed to mean we would secede from something and do something. Be independent maybe, but independent of what? I don't recall the details but I believe some suggested we could become part of Canada, maybe declare ourselves to be a suburb of Toronto. They held rallies. I am not making this up.


Added:

In the interest of accuracy I looked up an old post of mine:

https://www.bridgeba...__1#entry730657

There I said that the idea was to secede from Maryland and join Pennsylvania. Much more reasonable of course. But I still think some of them wanted to join Canada.


Then you will be interested to know that there is a move afoot for part of Oregon to join Idaho.
Someone suggested they call it "Oregaho".

Whenever I hear politicians in America talking about "working together for the good of the 'American People'." or "bipartisanship" I have to laugh.
A major problem in American politics - when viewed from Australia - is the idea that politicians should be able to vote according to "their conscience" according to "what they believe is right".

In fact, people like me don't give a rats ass about what they "think is right" or "their conscience". That's not what I voted for.
I voted for the policies of the party.
Who cares what Joe Schmo from Hotzeplotz thinks about.
He can move to Oregaho if he (or she) isn't going to represent the platform of the party I voted for.

Such people get booted from the party very quickly in Australia.

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#18296 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-May-31, 22:27

Just so you know that nuttiness is not confined to the USA (I'm sure you didn't) here is an example of Senator Pauline Hanson explaining to an Admiral at a Senate hearing why Australian submarines can only stay underwater for 20 minutes at a time.
http://bit.ly/Hanson20Min
Hanson is (in)famous in Australia for responding to a reporter who asked "Are you xenophobic?" with "Please explain".
On the political spectrum, she lies somewhere to the Right of Bobert and Greene.

Watch the Admiral desperately trying to maintain a semblance of self-control instead of leaping out of his chair and...
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#18297 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-June-01, 06:51

In an interview with Ezra Klein, Barack Obama discusses his political mistakes, how Joe Biden is finishing the job, his navigation of racial issues, winning over Trump voters, aliens and three of his favorite books.

Excerpt:

Quote

Klein: I think the normal way most of us think about persuasion is you are trying to win an argument with someone. You seem to approach it with this first step of making yourself a person that the other person will feel able to listen to, which means sympathizing with their argument, sanding off some of the edges of your own. Tell me a bit about how you think about that.

Obama: Now, that’s interesting. I forget whether it was Clarence Darrow, or Abraham Lincoln, or some apocryphal figure in the past who said the best way to win an argument is to first be able to make the other person’s argument better than they can. For me, what that meant was that I had to understand their worldview.

And I couldn’t expect them to understand mine if I wasn’t extending myself to understand theirs.

Now why that is the way I think about things generally is no doubt partly temperament. Partly it’s biographical. If you’re a kid whose parents are from Kansas and Kenya, and you’re born in Hawaii, and you live in Indonesia, you are naturally having to figure out, well, how did all these pieces fit together?

How do all these perspectives, cultures, blind spots, biases, how do you reconcile them to approximate something true? And I think that carries over into my adulthood and into my politics. It’s how I approach the world generally.

It presumes that none of us have a monopoly on truth. It admits doubt, in terms of our own perspectives. But if you practice it long enough, at least for me, it actually allows you to not always persuade others, but at least have some solid ground that you can stand on — you can, with confidence say, I know what I think. I know what I believe. It actually gives me more conviction, rather than less, if I’d listened to somebody else’s argument rather than just shutting it off.

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#18298 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-June-01, 14:46

View Posty66, on 2021-June-01, 06:51, said:

In an interview with Ezra Klein, Barack Obama discusses his political mistakes, how Joe Biden is finishing the job, his navigation of racial issues, winning over Trump voters, aliens and three of his favorite books.

Excerpt:




I might re-phrase Obama's words a little: We should try to be as clear as we can about what we think and how we got there, and we should listen carefully to what the other person says. If we look back at our own experiences this might help us in understanding other points of view.

Hard to disagree with that, but it is often forgotten.
Ken
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#18299 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-June-02, 06:57

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

How worried should we be about the state of democracy in the U.S.? A group of leading political scientists who study the issue say: a lot. A whole lot. In fact, they say: “our entire democracy is now at risk.” They’re correct. If they had asked me, I would’ve signed on.

The problem is easy enough to describe. In a two-party political system, one party, the Republican Party, has in large part turned antidemocratic. That party will eventually be voted into office, and if it implements nationally the policies that some of its leading politicians have advocated — and in some cases advanced at the state level — it’s possible that it will succeed in seriously harming democracy.

On one level, this process is straightforward. After all, if former President Donald Trump had his way, Republicans would’ve overturned the 2020 election on the basis of flat-out lies about fraud. Trump wasn’t a fringe figure; he was the party’s two-time presidential nominee, and he may well be nominated again in 2024. Nor was he alone. Dozens of House Republicans voted with him, and hundreds of party actors across the country, including elected officials, supported his efforts. Even now, months after President Joe Biden was sworn in, Arizona Republicans are holding a fraudulent “audit” of the election. Trump’s supporters are barely even pretending that they’re interested in anything other than an authoritarian power grab, and they seem prepared to kick everyone who isn’t fully on board with this program out of the party.

To be sure, a lot of Republican officials and election administrators stood up to Trump in 2020. And there could be a fair amount of play-acting here, with only a small minority of the party really serious about overturning elections, and lots of people willing to cheer them on as long as it’s not really happening. But that’s hardly reassuring. The prudent thing for the rest of us is to take the threat seriously and do what’s possible to prevent it.

At the same time, the party’s various attempts to make voting more difficult are also a real threat. Scholars will remind us that the U.S. in many ways only became a democracy recently, after the 1964 Civil Rights Act brought something resembling full citizenship to all Americans and the 1965 Voting Rights Act extended the franchise. The threat to those achievements isn’t as dramatic as the possibility that Trump supporters will attempt to throw out election results. But it’s clear that many Republicans think a smaller electorate is a better electorate, and want to make it harder for some Democrats to vote. If they succeed, Black and Latino voters could become a smaller share of the electorate, which would reduce their influence and make it easier to infringe on their rights.

Again: No one knows how serious the threat is. The decentralized, Madisonian system of politics that prevails in the U.S. makes it hard for extra-constitutional seizures of power to succeed. As Dan Drezner points out, Trump’s presidency also sparked a serious counter-mobilization, and there’s an important debate about just how deeply antidemocratic beliefs are embedded within the conservative movement. And since Trump continues to be an unusually unpopular politician, it’s possible that the problem will largely solve itself. Perhaps Trumpism will even erode the Republican Party enough that it has difficulty winning elections.

But that’s hardly certain. Friends of democracy should be doing what they can to make it a lot harder for anyone to subvert an election. The worst that could happen is that elections and voting rights wind up with extraneous protections. I could live with that.

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#18300 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-June-02, 07:29

I might become a regular reader of Jonathan Bernstein. I like this article.

And now.
I'll single out one sentence:
"Perhaps Trumpism will even erode the Republican Party enough that it has difficulty winning elections."

The article is focused on democracy. So, focusing on democracy, the solution is to convince a majority that they should not vote for these Republicans. Yes, I realize that Trump won without having a majority. But many of the Republican Senators and House members won their seats by a clear majority. I realize that I am substantial over-simplifying, but if we celebrate democracy, surely a major portion of the solution must be to convince the electorate that they should make a different choice. And I am not alone in over-simplifying.
Ken
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  1. y66