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The USA politics thread - The other political idiocy - This is Democracy?

#13561 User is offline   Malankazooie 

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 07:14 PM

I imagine a drone presence will be at the ready to eliminate any terrorist camp/training reconstitution.
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#13562 User is offline   Macros 

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 07:50 PM

America thrives on war. I mean economically, and I mean the old rich white dudes at the top of the food chain there. They'll find another hole to throw men and material into if they pull out of afghan
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#13563 User is offline   Cause 

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 12:23 AM

Can the situation in Texas end in a win for anyone?

Democrats any stay in Washington forever. How do they defeat the bill without retuning?
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#13564 User is offline   Gwynn ap Nudd 

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 01:59 AM

Not returning before the session ends (in a month or so iirc) should defeat the bill. There needs to be a certain percentage of representatives present to hold a vote on new legislation. With most the Democrats not there, there aren't enough members present to pass any legislation in the Texas House.

Only way someone wins is if the Democrats give up and return (Republicans win) or somehow the federal government passes voting rights legislation (Democrats win, but very unlikely).
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#13565 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 02:46 AM

View PostGwynn ap Nudd, on 14 July 2021 - 01:59 AM, said:

Not returning before the session ends (in a month or so iirc) should defeat the bill. There needs to be a certain percentage of representatives present to hold a vote on new legislation. With most the Democrats not there, there aren't enough members present to pass any legislation in the Texas House.

Only way someone wins is if the Democrats give up and return (Republicans win) or somehow the federal government passes voting rights legislation (Democrats win, but very unlikely).


But Republicans will put it forward again in the next session (unless Manchin and Sinema finally vote to end the filibuster). How long are Democrats willing to go without passing any new legislation?

'remaining members of the Texas House [...] authorized the sergeant-at-arms to "send for all absentees...under warrant of arrest if necessary."

The sergeant-at-arms doesn't have jurisdiction outside of Texas, however, meaning Democratic lawmakers are likely safe from arrest and cannot be forced to come back to the House as long as they remain in Washington, D.C., and law enforcement there doesn't cooperate with Texas' warrants for their arrest.

The lawmakers could face arrest whenever they return to Texas, with Gov. Greg Abbott saying Monday the Democrats "will be arrested" and "cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done" as soon as they return to the state.'

https://www.forbes.c...sh=271342503bdf

'Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell calmly declared in May that "100% of my focus" is on obstruction and that he has "total unity" from the GOP caucus on that goal. Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy was recently caught on tape explaining to donors that "for the next 18 months, our job is to do everything we can to slow all of that down to get to December of 2022," and that all Republicans offer to Democrats is "chaos and the inability to get stuff done." In another recently leaked video, House Republicans can be seen laughing at what fools Manchin and Sinema are to think the filibuster serves any purpose but giving Republicans the ability to turn their noses up to the negotiating table.

If Manchin and Sinema want to return to the supposed glory days of bipartisanship and cross-party negotiation, they have the power to make that happen. They must vote to nuke the filibuster. Then they must start passing [...] legislation meant to protect the right to vote and stabilize election systems so that Republicans cannot cheat their way towards more illegitimate power[...]

This will work for two reasons. First, if Republicans are forced to compete in fair elections, instead of coasting to victory on the backs of an authoritarian minority, it will have a moderating influence on the party. They'll have to appeal to voters who want more moderate candidates, instead of merely blocking such people from voting at all.'

https://www.alternet...crats-hardball/

This post has been edited by Azath Vitr (D'ivers: 14 July 2021 - 02:48 AM

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#13566 User is offline   Gwynn ap Nudd 

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 05:51 AM

Harry Reid did away with the filibuster for judicial appointments outside the Supreme Court. How'd that go for Democrats?

I really don't understand why none of the articles (maybe 538 has touched on it) regarding removing the filibuster note the huge structural advantage Republicans have in the Senate. It looks like a good tactic for passing new legislation now, but as the Republicans are favoured to hold the senate majority more often than not, it kinda looks like a disaster down the road.
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#13567 User is offline   EmperorMagus 

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 06:04 AM

View PostGwynn ap Nudd, on 14 July 2021 - 05:51 AM, said:

Harry Reid did away with the filibuster for judicial appointments outside the Supreme Court. How'd that go for Democrats?

I really don't understand why none of the articles (maybe 538 has touched on it) regarding removing the filibuster note the huge structural advantage Republicans have in the Senate. It looks like a good tactic for passing new legislation now, but as the Republicans are favoured to hold the senate majority more often than not, it kinda looks like a disaster down the road.


1) If the Dems don't pass voting rights legislation right now, there is no indication that they will hold any majority in the foreseeable future.

2) Even if the Dems don't remove the filibuster right now, the Republicans can always remove it with a simple majority. They have clearly shown they don't care about norms and public opinion so long as they hold on to power and with the gerry-mandere districts and the brain washed supporters they will remain in power.

3) The Republicans already have more seats in the Senate than they should have proportional to their States' pops, an undemocratic situation. Add to that the filibuster and the entire American legislative system is gridlocked because a minority want it to be so. It makes no sense on a moral or practical level.
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#13568 User is offline   Mezla PigDog 

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Posted 15 July 2021 - 09:04 PM

Have you read about the leak from Russia essentially confirming that they maneuvered to get Trump in the WH because it would forment social unrest and polarisation and weaken the US thereby fulfilling a strategic Russian goal? The leaked material is allegedly very authentic but highly unusual for leaks to come from those circles.

Now I don't do conspiracy theories but as I was reading it my first thought was that all right minded people knew this all along and I was nodding sagely to myself. But then I thought, what if they didn't do it on purpose but have faked the leak to say that they did do it on purpose to further exploit the situation and polarise people regardless? If I believe it am I dissing Trump or letting the Russians manipulate me?

I'm so confused.
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#13569 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 15 July 2021 - 09:26 PM

I think the right frame of mind is to stop believing in anything and begin drinking.
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#13570 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 16 July 2021 - 01:43 AM

View PostAptorian, on 15 July 2021 - 09:26 PM, said:

I think the right frame of mind is to stop believing in anything and begin drinking.


While I don't generally believe in being skeptical of people who refuse to ever drink alcohol or consume intoxicants, I do find it interesting that Trump and Putin claim they don't drink (apparently Putin has made ceremonial exceptions, in spite of his famous theme song...).




In contrast, in China apparently businesspeople are generally expected to get a bit drunk when making deals, partly in the belief that any perfidy or inconsistencies will show through. Xi Jinping drinks alcohol with world leaders. Took an online course in ancient Chinese philosophy and present-day cognitive psychology with a professor whose latest book is on the importance of alcohol to the development of large-scale political organization:

'Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization


[... previously] argued that the ancient Taoist concept of wu-wei (akin to what we now call “flow”) could help with both the demands of modern life and the more eternal challenge of dealing with other people. Intoxicants, he pointed out in passing, offer a chemical shortcut to wu-wei—by suppressing our conscious mind, they can unleash creativity and also make us more sociable.


[...] For a long time, most archaeologists assumed that hunger for bread was the thing that got people to settle down and cooperate and have themselves an agricultural revolution. [...] But lately, more scholars have started to take seriously the possibility that beer brought us together. (Though beer may not be quite the word. Prehistoric alcohol would have been more like a fermented soup of whatever was growing nearby.)


[...] Göbekli Tepe[...] dates to about 10,000 B.C.—making it about twice as old as Stonehenge. It is made of enormous slabs of rock that would have required hundreds of people to haul from a nearby quarry. As far as archaeologists can tell, no one lived there. No one farmed there. What people did there was party. “The remains of what appear to be brewing vats, combined with images of festivals and dancing, suggest that people were gathering in groups, fermenting grain or grapes,” Slingerland writes, “and then getting truly hammered.”

[...] Göbekli Tepe—and other archaeological finds indicating very early alcohol use—gets us closer to a satisfying explanation. [...] alcohol might have [...] lured hunter-gatherers from all directions, in numbers great enough to move gigantic pillars. Once built, both the temple and the revels it was home to would have lent organizers authority, and participants a sense of community. “Periodic alcohol-fueled feasts [...] served as a kind of ‘glue’ holding together the culture that created Göbekli Tepe.”

[...] “Compare us with our competitive, fractious chimpanzee cousins. Placing hundreds of unrelated chimps in close quarters for several hours would result in “blood and dismembered body parts,” [...] Human civilization requires “[...] intensive cooperation, a tolerance for strangers and crowds, and a degree of openness and trust that is entirely unmatched among our closest primate relatives.”'


https://www.theatlan...problem/619017/
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#13571 User is offline   Malankazooie 

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Posted 16 July 2021 - 06:38 PM

That information coming out about CJCS Milley. I knew that was the case going back to (what I thought at the time was the lowest Trump could go, but then Jan. 6 happened) when that photo op at the church where Trump held the bible upside down took place. Go back and watch it and focus on Milley. You can see confusion at first in his body language (you just know he wasn't informed about what was about to happen). He then looks obviously agitated and angry as it becomes clear what was going on.
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#13572 User is offline   Tsundoku 

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 11:16 AM

Says it all really, what an absolute shitshow and an unlikely Svengali telling middle, white America all the nasty stuff they wanted to hear.
The Front Row Joes sound like some sort of evil Grateful Dead groupies.

https://www.news.com...60619115557725e

‘Saddest thing I’ve ever seen’: What the latest tell-all book reveals about Donald Trump
In the early hours of November 4, a “confused and dejected” Donald Trump had twelve people shouting at him. In the end, he only listened to one of them.

SamClench

JULY 18, 20218:10PM

The most intriguing character in the latest tell-all book about Donald Trump is not the former president. It isn’t a Trump family member, or any of the White House staffers trying to quietly rehabilitate their reputations, or anyone in a position of power at all.

It’s Saundra Kiczenski, a 50-something-year-old employee of Walmart’s patio and garden department in northern Michigan.

Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost is, for the most part, exactly what it says on the cover: a behind-the-scenes breakdown of Mr Trump’s tumultuous final year in power.

Like every other account of the Trump presidency, it’s peppered with unsettling and occasionally shocking anecdotes, which shed new light on the dysfunction of Mr Trump’s White House and the character of the former president himself.

But the author, Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender, weaves those revelations around the story of the Front Row Joes, a group of Mr Trump’s most committed supporters.

Ms Kiczenski was one of their founding members.

Throughout Mr Trump’s candidacy in 2016 and then his presidency, the Front Row Joes followed him across the country like groupies pursuing their favourite rock band.

That analogy sounds trite, I know, but it’s actually rather fitting. Mr Trump rarely says anything new at his political rallies. Usually he just plays the greatest hits, like an ageing band cycling through its old songs, trading off the audience’s nostalgia.

And that’s just how Mr Trump’s diehard supporters like it. Some of the Front Row Joes attended more than 50 of his rallies, and they were usually first in line, often showing up days before the event.

Through the stories of Ms Kiczenski and her friends, Bender goes some way towards explaining Mr Trump’s enduring appeal, and why no lie, scandal or screw-up could ever sever his bond with millions of Americans.

The Front Row Joes are sympathetic characters; fundamentally decent people who found a larger purpose, and a new sense of community, in their shared support for Mr Trump.

“Saundra’s life had become bigger with Trump,” the author notes.

But we also see the dark side of his influence. Mr Trump uses and manipulates these people without remorse, indifferent to the harm he’s causing.

After the coronavirus pandemic struck, one member of the group, Randal Thom, fell severely ill with “high fevers and debilitating congestion”. Symptoms of Covid.

“He was convinced he had coronavirus but refused to go to the hospital. He didn’t want to take a Covid test and potentially increase the caseload on Trump’s watch,” Bender writes.

“I’m not going to add to the numbers,” Mr Thom said.

Mr Trump had repeatedly complained that the rising number of Covid infections and deaths recorded in public data made him look bad.

Mr Thom risked his own health, denying himself treatment for a deadly disease, to stop that infection figure from going up. He seemed more concerned about protecting Mr Trump’s petty political interests than preserving his life.

Is that what Mr Trump would have wanted? Maybe not. The indifference is the point here. The president was too self-absorbed, too obsessed with his own political troubles, to stop and think about the consequences his words might have in the real world.

A less selfish leader would have seen the pandemic as a public health problem, and would have encouraged Americans to get tested and go to hospital, whatever effect it would have on the government statistics.

It’s quite simple really: if more cases are identified and more people are treated, fewer people die. This is why Australia’s premiers celebrate days with unusually high testing rates.

Every insider account so far, including Bender’s, has made it excruciatingly clear that Mr Trump instead saw Covid as a political problem, a threat to his re-election.

So instead of dealing with it properly, he kept insisting it was overblown and on the cusp of “going away”, right up until election day.

His supporters believed him.

At his infamous Tulsa rally, with Mr Thom in attendance, Mr Trump said he’d told his staff to “slow the testing down”.

His supporters listened.

There’s a tragic truth at the heart of MAGA, one shared by most personality cults: the relationship is not reciprocal. Hardcore fans like Mr Thom care more about Mr Trump, and about the movement, than themselves.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump cares more about himself than he does about them.

By the end of the book, Ms Kiczenski is standing outside the Capitol in Washington D.C., observing a scene that horrified the world: an anti-democratic mob swarming over the building, adorning it with Trump flags, tear gas hanging in the air.

She isn’t horrified by what she sees. She feels proud.

“Saundra was inspired by a vista of Trumpian strength and patriotism: the Washington Monument off in the distance, the majestic Capitol in the foreground, and freedom-loving patriots fighting like hell to stop a stolen and fraudulent election, liberate their country, and save their president,” says Bender.

Then there’s this quote, from Ms Kiczenski herself.

“It just looked so neat. We weren’t there to steal things. We weren’t there to do damage. We were just there to overthrow the government.”

Hundreds of the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol (to be clear, Ms Kiczenski wasn’t among them, she stayed outside) have since been arrested and charged with crimes. Some will spend time in jail.

Two others died in the chaos, including Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, whom Mr Trump is now trying to turn into a martyr.

“Who shot Ashli Babbitt?” he keeps asking.

The answer is that Ms Babbitt was shot dead by a Capitol Police officer, who remains unnamed, as she tried to force her way through a barricaded door and enter the Speaker’s Lobby, adjacent to the House of Representatives.

But ask yourself, on a more fundamental level, why Ms Babbitt was shot. Why was this “innocent, wonderful, incredible woman”, as Mr Trump has called her, even there? What compelled her to join that mob, to confront police, to breach the Capitol in search of traitorous politicians?

She was drawn there by Mr Trump’s lies about the election. He told his supporters it was stolen. He urged them to come to Washington and march on Congress. He told them the vice president, Mike Pence, had the power to unilaterally overturn his defeat.

It was nonsense, and Mr Pence had told him so in private at least “a dozen times”. But the people at Mr Trump’s January 6 rally near the White House were genuinely shocked when Mr Pence released a statement saying he would not reject the electoral college votes.

When the crowd poured into the Capitol Building a short time later, there were loud chants of “hang Mike Pence”.

“If Mike Pence would have come out of that building, I guarantee he would have died,” said Ms Kiczenski.

“And if it wasn’t by gunfire, he would have been pummelled. They were going to kill him in the street.”

Let that sink in for a moment. “They were going to kill him in the street.” It isn’t the “liberal media” saying that. I’m not saying it. It’s coming from one of Donald Trump’s most devoted supporters.

If Mr Trump had accepted the election result and encouraged a peaceful transition of power, as every other beaten president in US history has brought himself to do, none of this would have happened.

Ms Babbitt would not have been in Washington on January 6. She’d still be alive. Those other Trump supporters now facing prison sentences would be free.

But there’s no self-reflection about his own role in what happened. No sign he feels guilty. No acknowledgment of responsibility for the suffering he caused for his loyal supporters, let alone the rest of the country. He just Does. Not. Care.

When Bender visits Mr Trump for his last interview with the former president, he’s been hanging out at his Mar-a-Lago club, playing rounds of golf, basking in the adulation of his paying guests and moaning that he hasn’t got enough credit for (supposedly) saving eight Republican Senate seats.

The book gets its name from Mr Trump’s quote late on election night, when he falsely claimed victory before a huge number of the votes in key states had been counted. He knew those votes would favour his opponent.

“Frankly, we did win this election,” he said. (He didn’t win it.)

Despite months of baseless speculation about voter fraud before election day, it turns out Mr Trump hadn’t decided what to say until shortly before he walked out to face the cameras.

Behind the scenes, around 2am, the president was reportedly “in shock that he hadn’t won” the election. He stood in the middle of the White House residence with a “confused, dejected look” as more than a dozen people shouted advice at him.

“It was a s***show. And the saddest thing I’ve ever seen,” one official told Bender.

Mr Trump ended up listening to just one man, Rudy Giuliani, who’d go on to lead his farcical efforts to get the election results overturned in court.

“Just say we won,” Mr Giuliani said.

In the subsequent weeks, pretty much everyone around the president knew the election was over and figured he would eventually come to terms with his defeat.

At one point, attorney-general Bill Barr told Mr Trump his Giuliani-led legal team was a “clown show” and his fraud claims were “bulls***”.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo lamented that the “crazies have taken over”.

But conspiracy theorists, including pillow salesman Mike Lindell and lawyer Sidney Powell, had Mr Trump’s ear, and met with him in the Oval Office, hatching increasingly unhinged schemes about seizing voter machines and declaring martial law.

Ms Powell would later defend herself against a $US1.3 billion defamation lawsuit by arguing “no reasonable person” could have believed her claims about the election.

Mr Lindell, unrepentant despite his own defamation lawsuit, is still insisting Mr Trump will be reinstated as president, though he has backed away from his previous prediction that it will happen by mid-August.

Mr Lindell, Ms Powell, Mr Giuliani – they’re all colourful characters. So is Mr Trump himself. But while reading the book I found myself returning, like the author, to the stories of Saundra Kiczenski, and Randal Thom, and the other regular Americans outside the halls of power who believed in Mr Trump and believed that he cared about them.

Then I’d read another chapter detailing the president’s failure to take his job seriously.

One last anecdote. The morning after ousting Mick Mulvaney as his chief of staff, as Covid cases had been detected in more than half of America’s states and governors were imposing states of emergency, Mr Trump was at Mar-a-Lago. He was agonising over an insignificant detail: what the logo for the Republican National Convention should look like.

The convention was almost half a year away.

“I don’t really like the way the elephant’s nose is shaped. And there are only three stars. It should be five stars, like a five-star hotel,” he told aides.

This is how the president of the United States was spending his time in the middle of a snowballing, once-in-a-century crisis. And he wonders why he lost.
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#13573 User is offline   Tiste Simeon 

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 05:11 PM

The fact that guy didn't want to add to the numbers on Trump's watch is just very sad. Especially as Trump would not give a flying hoo hoo about him. Very sad indeed.
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#13574 User is offline   Cause 

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 03:29 PM

I have been wondering. With all the talk about gerrymandering and voter suppression bills. Has anyone looked at the fact that Republicans for some reason have chosen to essentially fight vaccination efforts. At this point 99.5% of people who die are unvaccinated and the people not getting vaccinated are majority Republicans. The number of deaths is in decline, 150? A day now, but are Republicans basically killing their voters at this point?
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#13575 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 05:15 PM

View PostCause, on 19 July 2021 - 03:29 PM, said:

I have been wondering. With all the talk about gerrymandering and voter suppression bills. Has anyone looked at the fact that Republicans for some reason have chosen to essentially fight vaccination efforts. At this point 99.5% of people who die are unvaccinated and the people not getting vaccinated are majority Republicans. The number of deaths is in decline, 150? A day now, but are Republicans basically killing their voters at this point?


It does seem counterproductive. The most likely explanation is that it is---with Republican politicians already in gerrymandered districts being more concerned about getting primaried from the far right. Mitch McConnell called it 'perplexing'. But to the extent it's counterproductive wrt net votes, it increases the motivation for more gerrymandering and voter suppression to compensate.

OTOH given how low voter turnout tends to be in the US, perhaps fearmongering increases voter turnout enough to more than compensate for the % of deaths, with people further down the conspiracy theorist rabbit hole being more likely to vote. This may also be hard to measure with polls:

'Political polls regarding US elections in 2020 overstated Democratic support “across the board”, US political scientists found, while understating support for Republicans and Donald Trump.

[...] “[...] it didn’t matter what type of race, whether Trump was on the ballot or was not on the ballot.”

“That the polls overstated Biden’s support more in whiter, more rural, and less densely populated states is suggestive (but not conclusive) that the polling error resulted from too few Trump supporters responding to polls.


“A larger polling error was found in states with more Trump supporters.”


[...] “[...] particular candidates who are making appeals about ‘Don’t trust the news, don’t trust the polls’ that kind of results in taking polls becoming a political act.”'

https://www.theguard...ublican-support


But why not fearmonger about something else? Keeping the pandemic going could maintain an atmosphere of fear, but if their audience isn't afraid of Covid-19 to begin with... that leaves fear of the vaccines themselves? A recent study found 1 in 5 people in the US believe the vaccine contains a microchip:

https://www.insider....s-yougov-2021-7


Perhaps more importantly, the pandemic depresses the economy locally as well as nationally. Being worse off economically creates anxiety, which feeds fear and paranoia (blaming Biden for the lumber shortage for example, or for the sauce shortage at Chick-a-File).


Also, pandemic deaths have occurred disproportionately among Black, Latinx, and extremely poor people. (Even in red states most of the poorest white people tend to lean Democratic, but also not vote.) One complication being that Republican voters tend to be older and so more likely to die over all. But most Black voters are also older and concentrated in more densely populated areas, whereas Republicans tend to be more rural. In situations where Republicans control the state, they might be expected to try to prevent vaccination in left-leaning urban or BIPOC areas.


But an increase in blue districts' relative population, alongside other demographic changes favoring Democrats in the long term, could add urgency to the desire to not only gerrymander and engage in voter suppression but to effectively end actually existing democracy: with Republican legislatures seizing control over certifying election results and giving themselves the power to overturn results based on false allegations of fraud... or in the (unlikely) worst case scenario a successful military coup. Given the recent rise in planned Trumpist terrorist attacks against Democratic legislators,

https://www.rawstory...ing-normalized/


if Republicans win back the House, all they'll need to do to get a Republican in office is assassinate Biden and Harris.


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#13576 User is offline   QuickTidal 

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 05:53 PM

It would be macabre, but the Republicans allowing COVID and then anti-vaxx sentiments to kill off their literal base of voters enough to turn the tide hard against them in the next few elections, would be crazy to watch.

It's not even that far off base to assume this has happened to some degree. Conservatives do seem to be by and large the Anti-Vaxxers...

This post has been edited by QuickTidal: 19 July 2021 - 05:54 PM

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#13577 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 06:18 PM

View PostQuickTidal, on 19 July 2021 - 05:53 PM, said:

It would be macabre, but the Republicans allowing COVID and then anti-vaxx sentiments to kill off their literal base of voters enough to turn the tide hard against them in the next few elections, would be crazy to watch.

It's not even that far off base to assume this has happened to some degree. Conservatives do seem to be by and large the Anti-Vaxxers...


Being anti-vax also enables state-level government to make it more difficult for Black people to get easy access to vaccines (nearby vaccination sites with accessible hours, vaccine outreach programs, etc.). Vaccine reluctance among Black people has also been driven by conspiracy theories (seemingly deriving from awareness of the history of medical experiments on Black people in the US, mixed with lower levels of education), though IDK to what extent Black Democrats are influenced by right-wing conspiracy theories.

In a way it could be like pulling the pin from the grenade... if gerrymandering manages to win them the (federal) House (making the Republican Speaker third in line of presidential succession) but population decline leads to losses in the Senate and % of national popular vote... 'if y'all don't manage to murder Biden and Harris, the needle Nazi brownshirts are coming to your doorstop to force you to get the microchip mark of the Beast so they can take your guns and Bibles'.
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#13578 User is offline   Malankazooie 

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Posted 21 July 2021 - 09:21 PM

Any you guys catch a part of that McCarthy press conference about the Jan. 6 commission? Bloody hell that was a lot of whining and bitching & moaning. If I was a member of the media working that, I'd have offered him a balloon and a lollipop to make him feel better.
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