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

#18861 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2021-September-29, 11:28

View Postkenberg, on 2021-September-25, 18:22, said:

I realize that any optimism, even limited and uncertain optimism, is out of fashion. Too bad.

When Trump was elected, I tried to be optimistic. Maybe he would rise to the occasion, and even if he didn't, how bad could he screw things up in 4 years?

It's like he deliberately set out to show me how wrong I could be.

I like Biden, but I'm tempering my optimism now.

#18862 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-September-29, 12:10

View Posty66, on 2021-September-29, 10:17, said:

From Why Is Every Young Person in America Watching 'The Sopranos'? by Willy Staley at NYT


Young people these days. Why can't they just read Steven Pinker.


Birds of a feather. No doubt optimists do better - at least financially - than pessimists. But I see optimist/pessimist as a non-choice, like straight/gay. You can move somewhat the other way, but you cannot change forever the spots with which you were born.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18863 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-September-29, 12:28

View Postkenberg, on 2021-September-29, 11:09, said:

The Marc Fisher piece speaks briefly of the 1950s. For a while now I have been thinking about myself as a product of the mid-century USA and trying to get a handle on what that means. Probably one thing that it means that it is tough to sell me on radical anything. At some basic intuitive level I believe that the people that I grew up with had a pretty workable approach to life. As mentioned, my minister told me to get my parents to come to church more often so that they would not burn in the fires of hell. How to do that? I stopped going to that church. Problem solved.

I think that the future if we are to have one, has to be based on realism and practicality. Some idealism is fine as a guide to that we should use our realism and practicality to bring about, but realism and practicality are essential. I think that view was common in the 1950s, maybe less so today. If Biden gets his 3/5 trillion dollar plan passed into law, i will very happily eat my words.

Put annother way: I thought about the problems of the world for a while after reading the Marc Fisher article. Then I went out to mow the grass.


I agree with practicality.

When I write we need to be radicals for democracy I mean that we each must take a responsibility to protect our democratic processes from attack either by nation states or each other. We don't have to take to the streets - we can simply vote for non-authoritarian candidates.


PS: Note I said non-authoritarian candidates, not Democrats. While I do not think it possible to vote Republican because the party has been co-opted I do think there are right-leaning Independents that are disgusted with the Trumpian Way.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18864 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-September-29, 17:11

Jennifer Rubin


Quote

The media's obligation is not simply to record what Republicans say, but to inform Americans if what they are saying is demonstrably false. It is not to decry "stalemate" or "dysfunction," but to explain which party is causing it.

In the context of ongoing voter suppression, media coverage has generally been unclear and unenlightening. The voting restrictions are not "strict"; they are designed to keep people from casting ballots. The entire notion of "voter security" is a canard; there was no demonstrable fraud in 2020 and many of the measures passed by Republicans (e.g., curtailing early voting) have nothing to do with security. Language matters, and the use of deceptively neutral descriptions ("tighten voting rules") benefits the party seeking to undermine democracy

.


I am in total agreement with this conservative's views here.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18865 User is online   Chas_P 

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Posted 2021-September-29, 19:25

Quote

The voting restrictions are not "strict"; they are designed to keep people from casting ballots.

Do you really believe that requiring people to prove that they are who they say they are and that they are legal to vote is "designed to keep people from casting ballots"? Do you REALLY believe that? Say it ain't so Winnie. Please. Surely you aren't that stupid. You have to prove who you are to buy MucinexD at the drug store. But you don't have to prove who you are to vote? Please.

#18866 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2021-September-29, 20:40

View PostChas_P, on 2021-September-29, 19:25, said:

Do you really believe that requiring people to prove that they are who they say they are and that they are legal to vote is "designed to keep people from casting ballots"? Do you REALLY believe that? Say it ain't so Winnie. Please. Surely you aren't that stupid. You have to prove who you are to buy MucinexD at the drug store. But you don't have to prove who you are to vote? Please.

The issue is not of whether any voter ID is required - only 15 states require no in-person IDs. The issue is rather one of laws that specifically target very strict photo IDs that are generally not commonly available in certain groups of the electorate. In almost all states, pharmacies do not require photo IDs for prescriptions, let alone restricting it to 7 or 8 specific types of ID. Photo IDs are however required in 19 states. Can you think of any reason to restrict access to voting more heavily than the distribution of potentially dangerous drugs?
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#18867 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-September-30, 07:37

I do not closely follow the debates about voting IDs but a few thoughts.

First about my own voting: I have voted on the relevant Tuesday in November every two years beginning in 1960. I try to be reasonably prepared but there are times that there is some office or some issue on which I have no opinion. Maybe I have never thought at all about the candidates for judge of the orphan court. I might (mildly) berate myself for this but if I have no reasonable basis for making a choice then I don't vote for that person or issue.

Now about others. People vary. First consider those who are mobile. Some lives are very complex. I can imagine having a five day stretch for voting at the polls. Maybe have the polls open from, say 6AM to 4PM on MWF and from 10AM to 8PM on TuTh. As always, that won't cover all mobile people, but I would expect it to cover the vast majority of mobile people. Not many could say "Well, I couldn't make it to any of those hours but if you had just made it 10 days and had the polls open from 3AM to 11PM every day then I could have done it".

But people do go on necessary trips so we should accommodate that. If they are canoeing on a river in a rain forest that will be tough, but if they are registered in Minneapolis but at a business conference in LA I imagine accommodations can be made.

Now for those who are not mobile. This gets tricky, it seems to me. A friend has her inlaws, both in their 90s, living in her home. Both of the inlaws are having mental deterioration issues, the mother in law more so than the father in law. Our friend would not trick them into signing a ballot that is filled out by her with her choices listed, but I can imagine it happening. This probably would not qualify as voter fraud since neither inlaw has been legally declared incompetent, but still it would not be good. There are, I am pretty sure, many households where one member of the household is very overbearing and would insist on checking the ballots of everyone that fills out the ballot at home.. Again this would probably not show up as voter fraud but it's not something we want to happen. How do we ensure that a housebound person is able to vote privately? I don't know the answer to this important question.

Back to my own history for a moment: I have moved from time to time. Possibly after some of those moves I could have voted twice, once in my old location, once in my new location. Of curse, I have never done that. I highly doubt that voter fraud of that sort is at all common. Usually, the problem is to get people to vote once, preventing them from voting twice is rarely a problem.

Short version: I can imagine honest people addressing serious issues of voting rights. Unfrotunately, I don't think that is what is happening today.
Ken
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#18868 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-September-30, 08:36

If we want a more democratic country, we encourage more voting, not less. We often forget or simply don't think about those who have difficulty getting to the polls on a Tuesday workday while the polls are open, the truck drivers on the road or the fishermen at sea or the graveyard workers who sleep during the day - not to mention those who must work two jobs because of minimum wage jobs in order to support their children.

Those legitimate voters who have almost impossible tasks to get to polls should be accommodated before we even begin to think of those of us who can easily go vote on Tuesdays during the day. That means mail in ballots allowed everywhere.

Another step should be to establish election day as a national holiday. Then we add required voting. Establishing voter registration rolls should be done at birth along with birth certificates and social security numbers, that way a person's SS # would always verify the right to vote.

I'm all for solving problems. I am not for fishing for red herring. I don't like the taste.
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#18869 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2021-September-30, 08:53

View Postkenberg, on 2021-September-30, 07:37, said:

Back to my own history for a moment: I have moved from time to time. Possibly after some of those moves I could have voted twice, once in my old location, once in my new location. Of curse, I have never done that. I highly doubt that voter fraud of that sort is at all common. Usually, the problem is to get people to vote once, preventing them from voting twice is rarely a problem.

Even this sort of language gives air to the false claims Ken. Voter fraud in the US is not "rarely a problem", it is an event with odds below that of being involved in a traffic accident or even being struck by lightning. There have been a number of reports that have painstakingly tracked voting data and voter registrations across state lines - the incidence of voter fraud is less than 0.003% and most likely closer to 0.0003%. Now if you have one of the candidates actively encouraging their supporters to commit fraud, or encouraging organised efforts to undermine election integrity, that number could potentially rise in the future. But it has only happened once so far - I would suggest that legislation to make encouraging election fraud be a felony is a better solution than millions of the poorest of voters, those typically least able to fight back and retain their voting rights, having their names stripped from state registers.
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#18870 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-September-30, 09:20

View PostGilithin, on 2021-September-30, 08:53, said:

Even this sort of language gives air to the false claims Ken. Voter fraud in the US is not "rarely a problem", it is an event with odds below that of being involved in a traffic accident or even being struck by lightning. There have been a number of reports that have painstakingly tracked voting data and voter registrations across state lines - the incidence of voter fraud is less than 0.003% and most likely closer to 0.0003%. Now if you have one of the candidates actively encouraging their supporters to commit fraud, or encouraging organised efforts to undermine election integrity, that number could potentially rise in the future. But it has only happened once so far - I would suggest that legislation to make encouraging election fraud be a felony is a better solution than millions of the poorest of voters, those typically least able to fight back and retain their voting rights, having their names stripped from state registers.


Yes. By "rarely a problem" I meant pretty much what you say, namely that although absolute with no exception fraud-free is probably not possible, worrying about people such as myself voting twice is a waste of time and resources. I do however think that the problem I cite for those who are housebound is real. My wife and I respect each others independence, the same was true of my parents, but it is not difficult at all to imagine a spouse, particular a male spouse, telling his housebound partner that sure he will deliver her vote for her as soon as she fills it out as he instructs her to do. I am not so sure this would show up in any study of fraud.

My main point is that I can well imagine there are things that are worth thinking about if we want to be sure everyone can freely vote their preference. I agree that that is not what is going on now.

As far as getting people to go and vote by pretending to be someone else, why would anyone do that? Well, maybe someone pays them? But how? You put an ad in the paper "Fraudulent voters needed, apply at ...". If a person thinks about how it could happen on a large scale, I think the conclusion would be that it can't. Now sabotaging voting machines, perhaps that is possible but not easy. Something of a spy versus spy technology war. Care is needed, but loose claims hurt rather than help such efforts.
Ken
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#18871 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-September-30, 15:21

The whole debate about voter fraud in America is bonkers.
The anxiety about it refers to the racist belief that only certain people should vote because you need particular personal qualities (i.e. you're white) to be capable of voting.
The concept was examined in Robert Heinlein's dystopic vision of America in Starship Troopers where only certain people are entitled to be citizens and they have to defend the world from evil 'others' portrayed as invading insects.


This is how America acts in foreign policy to this day. Only wealth and whiteness are valid - look at the excitement at the murder of one white woman - (Pettito) in the all-white press compared to the relative lack of outrage about the background noise of black men and women being murdered - sometimes by police.


A civilised society cares about all its citizens, who are all allowed to vote in free and fair elections.
The government is not stymied by a Gerrymandered House of Lords (in the USA, the Senate), where a tiny portion of the population regulates the activity of the representative House.


The voter fraud in America is that everyone is not required to vote, and if they struggle and manage to vote, their vote is negated by wealthy white oligarchs in the Senate.


Even the term 'identification' is loaded in the USA and is almost a trope for "prove that you're white enough to be important".


America is not a democracy, it is not an experiment, it does not have 'values'. It is more akin to Goldings "Lord of the Flies" - such a popular idea in American fiction that it is constantly remade in stories - such as "Hunger Games".
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#18872 User is online   Chas_P 

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Posted 2021-September-30, 17:01

I am 100% in favor of legal voting. I am 100% opposed to illegal voting. The devil is in the details.

#18873 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-September-30, 17:47

What is "legal" voting?
Is that where only people that the local authorities think are 'worthy' of voting are allowed to vote?

Voting in America is the equivalent of a gated community; it is designed to make it as difficult as possible to get in if you are not the "right sort".

If everyone doesn't get to vote at every election, then that's immoral.
No taxation without representation.
But oh no, America is more than happy to suck the blood out of millions of taxpayers and never allow them to be represented.
Even if they do manage to cast a vote, a Senatorial oligarchy prevents them from being represented, and by stacking the supreme court, the lickspittles deny them any real justice.



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#18874 User is online   Chas_P 

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Posted 2021-September-30, 18:20

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-September-30, 17:47, said:

What is "legal" voting?

1. You register to vote.
2. You go to the polls on election day and cast your ballot.
3. If unable to get to the polls you request an absentee ballot which will be mailed to you, you cast your ballot, put it back in the mail, and your vote is counted.
4. You are alive when you do that.
5. You don't request an absentee ballot for your mother who died 20 years ago and is still on the voter rolls.

Next?

#18875 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2021-September-30, 20:28

View PostChas_P, on 2021-September-30, 18:20, said:

Next?

1. You register to vote. This registration is not restricted to gate-keeping forms of identification that are often not held by members of groups that vote for the party not in control of the state legislature but tries to be as inclusive as possible.
2. A voting slip is sent to every voter.
3. The voting slip can be returned in the way most convenient to the voter.
4. If lost prior to voting, a replacement voting slip can be obtained from a local voting booth during the in-person polling period.
5. Polling stations and in-person polling periods should be distributed so that delays of above an hour to vote are unusual and above 2 hours impossible absent special conditions (such as a bomb threat).

I would personally suggest in addition the creation of a national voting database if certain parties have doubts about double-voting across state lines. This makes more sense than the current voluntary opt-in state-level system. It also seems obvious that certain minimum standards should be created federally while still giving states some degree of leeway in how they choose to hold their elections to best suit the local conditions.
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#18876 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-September-30, 21:00

The US is already engaged in a cold Civil War between those who favor a theocratic oligarchy and the rest of us.
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#18877 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-September-30, 21:19

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-September-30, 21:00, said:

The US is already engaged in a cold Civil War between those who favor a theocratic oligarchy and the rest of us.


American politics has always been in the thrall of theocrats.
I just saw Dee Snider schooling Al Gore on Christianity and sexism.

Perhaps the best way of trying to visualise what the actual American people (Those people that have lived and worked there for >15 years and are over the age of 18 - criteria that still disenfranchised a large swathe of the tax-paying public) may want is to ask what governance and policymaking and the judicial system would look like if there really was one vote one value.

I note that in order to institutionalise Gerrymandering, American voter registration requires participants to provide an address and their party affiliation.
This means that the partisan committees that determine districts can efficiently work out how to pack all the bad (read black, poor, non-Republican etc.) voters into one area and reserve the rest for the white church-going folk who actually know how a country ought to be run.

It's a fair bet it would not include becoming President when you lose the election.

Of course, you could give a false party affiliation or address, but that's a Federal offence punishable by 5+ years in prison. After which, you are a felon; and will not be allowed to vote.

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#18878 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-October-01, 08:14

Let's see if I have this about right.

There is a trillion dollar plan that has at least some bipartisan support.
There is a 3.5 trillioon dollar plan that has no chance in hell of passing on its own merits
So the plan is to hold the trillion dollar plan hostage to garner votes for the 3.5 trillion dollar package.

I suppose this strategy might work. Or maybe not.
If it fails, it will be seen as idiocy.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
So they tell me.

When I was 15, I played automotive chicken exactly once. We both turned at the last moment, probably coming within a couple of feet of a collision. We decided against a tie-breaking rerun. Note that I was 15. A partial explanation for idiocy.
Ken
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#18879 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-October-01, 08:24

View Postkenberg, on 2021-October-01, 08:14, said:

Let's see if I have this about right.

There is a trillion dollar plan that has at least some bipartisan support.
There is a 3.5 trillioon dollar plan that has no chance in hell of passing on its own merits
So the plan is to hold the trillion dollar plan hostage to garner votes for the 3.5 trillion dollar package.

I suppose this strategy might work. Or maybe not.
If it fails, it will be seen as idiocy.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
So they tell me.

When I was 15, I played automotive chicken exactly once. We both turned at the last moment, probably coming within a couple of feet of a collision. We decided against a tie-breaking rerun. Note that I was 15. A partial explanation for idiocy.


The only correction I can offer is that “merits” has nothing to do with anything being passed. This is about tribal warfare.
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#18880 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-October-01, 08:40

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-October-01, 08:24, said:

The only correction I can offer is that "merits" has nothing to do with anything being passed. This is about tribal warfare.


Yes. And this is a decisive moment.
Possibilities:

A. The holding the trillion-dollar deal hostage to get votes for the 3.5 trillion dollar deal succeeds.
The Dems will be widely regarded as brilliant.

B: The holding the trillion-dollar deal hostage to get votes for the 3.5 trillion dollar deal fails.
The Dems will be widely regarded as idiots.

It's a key moment.

Added: Another way of putting this. I am really hoping that in a week or two, and in election season next year, Dems can be happily exulting in modest success rather than loudly complaining about the failure that came about because the world is so unfair. And usually a trillion-dollar package is considered to be more than a merely modest success. We shall see how it goes.
Ken
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