The conservative threat in 2022

What exactly do conservatives want to conserve? Clearly, they want to conserve what they consider to be the “good old days” where straight white rich men controlled everything and the rest of us were basically pawns for them to use in their goal to get richer and more powerful.

Let’s look at what they seriously are proposing this election season:

I mean, come on, they’re still supporting this asshole
  • Make abortion illegal everywhere and curtail women’s rights;
  • Make gay marriage illegal again;
  • Restrict access to contraception;
  • Shut down medicare and medicaid;
  • Repeal the recently passed law that limits what Big Pharma can charge for medicine;
  • Repeal Obamacare;
  • Force Christian religious training in schools while banning books they find dangerous;
  • Reduce taxes on the very wealthy;
  • Prevent higher education from being free or cheaper;
  • Fight against raising the minimum wage;
  • Refuse refugees begging for help at our border;
  • Allow governors to throw out election results they don’t like…

I could go on, but you know the pattern. Every one of these things is opposed by a majority of Americans, but they don’t care. They’re used to the minority of rich, white men running everything, and they see nothing wrong with it.

It is predicted that the GOP will win the House in November, which means you can expect that we’ll never see anything of value accomplished. Instead, there will be investigation after investigation of made-up conspiracy theories, along with numerous attempts to impeach Biden for stupid reasons.

Our only hope is that people (and especially women people) are mad enough to vote in numbers never seen before for a mid-term election. The signs are encouraging so far, but the other side knows it, too, and you can expect them to turn out in big numbers. Remember that Trump cultists are often underrepresented in public opinion polls, because they don’t want to come out and admit that they support treason and racism.

 

Why Democrats lost (and why they didn’t): 2021 election results

“This is a terrible day!” liberal commentators are saying. “A Republican won the governor’s race in Virginia! Democrats are doomed! Doooooomed!”

Let’s first put things into perspective. Most states did not have major elections last Tuesday, but in Virginia and New Jersey, governor’s races were up.

Virginia has a term limit law preventing a governor from running for re-election so there’s never an incumbent. And in 10 of the last 11 elections (that is, for the last 44 years), the party not in power in Washington has won the governorship. In other words, if there’s a Republican President, the governorship goes to the Democrat.

So this year was no different. History predicted this.

In New Jersey, governors rarely win re-election. Until now. Democrat Philip Murphy will stay in office.

The media is downplaying it. “He only won by 2.7%! It’s a narrow victory!” they scream.

Meanwhile in Virginia, these same pundits are saying “The Republican won by 2.2%! It’s a major landslide!”

So instead of the headlines being “Democrats break losing streak as predicted by history,” instead we get “The Democratic party has lost hugely! They’ll never recover! It’s all over!”

Look. Anyone who studies politics knows this: The party in power in the White House loses in the off elections, as people vote against whoever is in there. During Trump’s four years, the Democrats won the House and the Senate, and in next year’s midterms, there is a good possibility the Republicans will take back the House. That’s normal. There’s only been a few exceptions to that rule.

But there are other reasons Terry McAuliffe lost in Virginia when he probably should have won. There are all the main reasons (Democrats don’t vote in the same numbers as Republicans even though we outnumber them; voter suppression; gerrymandering discourages participation, etc.) but let’s discuss problems Democrats always have.

First: We tend to nominate smart, competent people who would make good leaders but are wonky insiders who don’t have a lot of personality. (Michael Dukakis, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry…) Terry McAuliffe is one. He was not hugely popular in his first term, so why Democrats thought he’d be a good choice to run again is a mystery. Republicans know personality is more important, so they nominate completely incompetent people who have charisma (at least to their voters).

Dancing like this didn’t help, Terry

Second reason: The Republican party has become a cult — the cult of Trump. In a cult, you don’t question your leaders, and you don’t fight among yourselves. It’s even easier when almost everyone in the cult is the same (white, Christian, male, straight).

We Democrats represent the rest of the country, and we don’t all get along. That is part of the problem. Even though we have the White House, Senate, and House, we can’t even get a bill passed that many Republicans support, because we’re fighting among ourselves. Meanwhile, the GOP votes in lockstep to prevent us from accomplishing anything, even bills that they supported when they were in charge.

That means we have nothing we can brag about at election time. Thanks to Senators Manchin and Sinema, no candidate could point to any accomplishments of President Biden in order to ride in on his coattails. We shoot ourselves in our own foot often.

Third: We’re not good at fear. Republicans know fear drives people to the polls and that’s why they make up fake boogeymen to scare their cultists to the polls. “They’re going to force our kids to get vaccinated, fear them! They want to make children learn about racial injustice! They’ll force your daughters to have abortion while giving them free marijuana while they spit on the Bible and declare a War on Christmas!”

“The American people are smarter than that,” Democrats say, ignoring the American people saying, “No, we’re not!”

Come on, there’s a huge chunk of the Republican party that believes JFK Jr. was going to reappear from the dead and run as Trump’s Vice President. They believe every QAnon claim despite the fact that not one has ever come true. They’re crazy. You can’t fix that.

So we need to be inspiring to get our people to the polls. Obama was a nerdy wonk of the type we like, but he also had the charisma we needed at the time. And Terry McAuliffe? He’s no Obama.

So the election didn’t go the way we wanted, but at the same time, it wasn’t the shellacking the media wants to portray it as. (Here in my purple county in Pennsylvania, we Democrats did quite well actually, holding back the GOP cultists trying to take over the school boards and local governments).

Texas Democrats and their Lack of Options

Republicans in Texas (like in many other states) are doing everything they can to make the most basic right in a democracy harder, because Republicans know that the only way they can win is by cheating.

The Democrats in Texas have left the state to prevent the Republicans from having a quorum to enact these laws.

Some people are saying this is unfair and that the Democrats should “do the job they were elected to do.”

Well, they are. They’re protecting the rights of voters, just like they’re supposed to do.

The GOP has fixed the game so that the only way they can do their job is by protesting. You know, the thing the Founding Fathers did a lot of. The thing that is protected by our very first Amendment. That thing.

“But the laws have a process that should be followed! They’re supposed to vote!” This argument has been used for generations to justify discrimination and bad laws. “Well, I’m sorry you don’t like the fact that blacks can’t vote, but the laws preventing them from voting were passed according to our rules.” Well, sure. But if the rules allow the majority to trample on the rights of the minority, what other option does the minority have?

The Texas Democrats are stuck using this as a means because the rules have been written by those in power to prevent any other means (in the same way the Filibuster is preventing the majority from accomplishing their goals in the US Senate).

Texas is, believe it or not, a purple state. Beto O’Rourke came this close to defeating Ted Cruz. Trump won it by only 1.3%. Republicans have gerrymandered the state in such a way that they control far more than 1.3% of the state house. They’ve used legal means to disenfranchise many voters, and now they’re trying it again.

Here’s a map. Notice how all the cities (which are heavily Democratic) have been divided in such a way that it is practically impossible for Democrats to win. Instead of having one big district in a city, it’s split so that the Democratic part of the city is overshadowed by the Republican rural areas adjacent to it. So. If we had a fair playing field, maybe one could argue that refusing to play is unfair. But the game is rigged, and the only way to fight it is to refuse to play.

Bamboozled

I am not making this up.

Arizona Republicans are doing another ballot count in one of their largest counties, convinced that the election was stolen because of the Big Lie. This ballot count follows previous ones that found zero evidence of ballot fraud, but since these QAnon idiots believe anything, they’re convinced that there is some vast conspiracy out there and they alone can find it.

So one of the things they’re looking for is bamboo.

I am not making this up.

Somehow, some crazy person suggested that the ballots were all forged and sent in from China for some reason and everyone knows that in China, they use bamboo in all of their paper. (No, they don’t.) And of course, there is no bamboo in America. (Yes, there is.)

So the Arizona Republicans, convinced that the Democrats were cheating (in a county where the election board is run by Republicans), demanded another recount. And it’s not going well. The state’s Republican governor has recently had to call in protection for the Secretary of State, who had the gall to declare that the election was fair and who has been receiving death threats for reporting the truth.

So these Republicans, not content to look absolutely foolish before, decided to hire a professional group with lots of experience to oversee the recount. I’m kidding, of course. They hired a group called Cyber Ninjas, who have absolutely no experience in doing this. They’re led by a conspiracy theory nut who is just looking for fraud, and how much you want to bet he’ll find something that will look real to him and that everyone with any brains will laugh at? (This group also has been promoting the theory that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez rigged voting machines so Biden would win, despite the fact that Chavez has been dead since 2013.)

I am not making this up.

Oh, and did I mention that all of this appears to violate federal law?

How the minority rules in America

The values that liberals push are the values of America. The things we support are the same things a majority of Americans support: National health care, higher taxes on billionaires, free college, a higher minimum wage, legal abortion, gay marriage, legalization of marijuana, “Black Lives Matter”, gun control, vaccinations — all have the support of a majority of our fellow Americans, poll after poll shows.

So why are we always fighting for these things?

Some of it is just history: Those with power have always, since the dawn of time, cheated to make sure they keep that power. No advancement has come about because of the Powerful’s humane caring for those beneath them. Everything we have gained has had to be fought for.

So how did we get here?

Mostly it’s the result of our system of government, which is by its nature not very democratic.

The Electoral College. When you start with a system that allows people who lose the popular vote to become President against the will of the people, you know you’re not in a truly democratic country. Our artificial borders place an emphasis on land instead of people and we end up with a system where the population of a dozen or so very sparsely populated states have more power than even a city. (More on why we need to get rid of the Electoral College here.)

Each one of these states has a smaller population than Los Angeles

The Senate. Similarly, Senators represent land, not people. No matter how small the state, they get two Senators. This means a Senator from Wyoming represents 286,000 people while one from California represents 19,500,000. Many times we’ve seen how the Senators from these smaller states have held up legislation the majority of Americans want simply because of the undemocratic way Senators represent our country.

The Supreme Court. Right now, there are more people on the Supreme Court who were appointed by Presidents who lost the popular vote than justices who were appointed by those who won. (And once more let’s remind everyone that Democrats won the popular vote in 7 of the last 8 elections — spanning 32 years — but only won 5 of them, thanks to the Electoral College.) So when an issue about voting or gerrymandering or democracy comes before this undemocratically-appointed Court (approved by an undemocratic Senate), you can guess what their decision will be.

Gerrymandering. Admittedly, some Democrats have practiced this as well, where lines are drawn to benefit one party over another. This can be done in such a way that even though your party may be the minority one, if you get to draw the lines, you can make sure you get more of your party into power anyway.

Voter suppression. Republicans (who hold the minority viewpoint in America) know they will always lose if everyone votes, so their strategy has always been simple: Let’s change our views to appeal to a majority of Americans! I’m kidding, of course. Their strategy is instead: Let’s cheat to make sure we always win. That’s why they have spent 50 years

  • fighting against the Voting Rights Act
  • purging people from voting lists
  • closing precincts in minority neighborhoods
  • enacting restrictive voter ID laws
  • prohibiting felons from voting
  • stopping early voting and mail-in ballots
  • making sure election day isn’t a national holiday
  • killing any bill designed to prevent Russian interference
  • making sure no paper ballots are used
  • getting rid of election finance laws
  • making it illegal to even give drinks to people standing in line to vote
  • fighting against abolishing the electoral college
  • promoting gerrymandering
  • lying about voter fraud

There are even tapes of them admitting it. It’s not like it’s a secret. And come on, Trump is still claiming he actually won the election, despite more than 50 lawsuits being thrown out when absolutely no evidence was produced to support this insane conspiracy theory.

So yeah, those of us who represent the majority of Americans have huge hurdles to overcome to fight against the minority power controlling us. And that’s why it seems to many that our views are the unpopular ones, since we lose constantly.

But the real reason is much more complicated and much harder to resolve.

Georgia Governor Jim Crow

Oops, I mean Brian Kemp


Clay Bennett

Mississippi bans voting on Sunday because reasons

Chuck Schumer: Why is Mississippi banning voting on Sundays?

Republican Senator Hyde-Smith of Mississippi: Because Sunday is the Sabbath! We have to keep it holy! It says so in Exodus.

Schumer (highest ranking, most visible Jewish person in government): Oh, Exodus? Which is in the Old Testament, referring to the Jewish sabbath? Which is on Saturday? That Exodus?

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith

(Clarification: Hyde-Smith really did say this, but Schumer’s comment was made up by me. I’ll bet he was thinking it, though)

One party rule

“Don’t you think it’s better when the government isn’t in control of one party?”

With the Democrats ready to take back the Senate (as I write this), that question comes up.

My answer? Normally, yes.

But that concept labors under the assumption that the parties will then work together and compromise. As long as one of the parties refuses to do that — refuses to even let bills come to the floor to be debated — then no, all that does is make government inefficient, useless, and nonresponsive to the electorate.

Give me a reasonable Republican party and maybe I’d agree.

The stupidest election lawsuit yet

Yesterday, the Trump election deniers lost their 50th case in their ridiculous quest to destroy democracy.

Here’s why it is so laughable.

The legislature here in Pennsyvania — which is still run by Republicans — last year passed the law allowing mail in ballots. Many of the GOP candidates urged their voters to use them. Not one complained about it or claimed the law they had passed was unconstitutional.

Suddenly they lose the state.

“The mail in ballots we passed and didn’t complain about for an entire year are unconstitutional!” they suddenly discovered. “Clearly, the only solution is throw every single one of these ballots out even though there was no fraud whatsoever and literally millions of voters would be disenfranchised.”

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court laughed that out of court, pointing out that not only was the lawsuit untimely but was clearly blatantly political. Not only that, even if the complaint was valid, the resolution suggested (throwing out all the mail-in ballots) was not reasonable.

The Trumpies appealed to the Supreme Court and within an hour, the case was denied with a one sentence statement and no dissenting comments from the court. (It should be noted that in order for the Supreme Court to decide to accept a case, you need at least three judges to agree — so at least one if not all three of the justices appointed by Trump voted to not take the case).

Of course, as I stated earlier, the real reason for all these cases is to raise money from the rubes. It has nothing to do with real law in any sense, which is why real lawyers have either refused to take these cases or have resigned as Trump’s attorneys — leaving us with Guiliani and his crew of slapstick-comedy rejects.

The latest attempt comes from Texas, whose motto is apparently “Don’t mess with Texas, but it’s perfectly fine for us to mess with you.” The Texas Attorney General has filed this case trying to throw out the results in only states Trump lost, with another vague accusation of something-wrong-but-no-one-seems-to-have-any-evidence-or-idea-exactly-what-it-is.

Since Republican ideology never actually stands for anything except money and power for them and their donors, the claim of “state’s rights” gets thrown right out the door in this blatant attempt for one state to interfere with the elections of another.

The Solicitor General of Texas — you know, the one who is supposed to argue these cases in the Supreme Court — has refused to participate, leaving Texas AG Ken Paxton to do all the work. You remember Paxton, right? The guy who is supposed to uphold the law who has been indicted for security fraud? Yes, that Paxton, whose real goal with this lawsuit is to impress Trump into giving him a pardon.

These criminals are so used to getting their way that they are astounded that the law is being applied to them.

Examining Nate Silver’s predictions for 2020

Nate Silver (of fivethirtyeight.com) actually did a pretty good job. Keep in mind that he is not a pollster; he just takes the polls, weighs them based on the pollster’s history of accuracy, averages them with math I don’t understand, and then makes his prediction.

Trump was undercounted in all the polls by about 2%, so the predictions for Florida and North Carolina going Biden’s way were wrong, but the others were around that 2% difference.

His prediction for some of the “swing states” is on the left and the actual percentage is on the right. The two he got wrong have asterisks.

AZ: 50.7 / 49.4

FL: 50.9 / 47.8 *

GA: 50.1 / 49.5

MI: 53.5 / 50.6

MN: 53.7 / 52.6

NC: 50.5 / 48.7 *

NV: 52.3 / 50.1

PA: 52.0 / 49.9

WI: 53.7 / 49.6

These are the swing states he predicted would be in Trump’s column (and they were):

IA: 48.5 / 45.0

OH: 49.2 / 45.2

TX: 48.8 / 46.4