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It’s Time For Democrats To Get Out Of Bed And Protest By Vote

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It’s Time For Democrats To Get Out Of Bed And Protest By Vote

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Democrats, Protests, Red State

Many Democrats hope the massive demonstrations against Donald Trump will evolve into a Democratic tea party. Sloppy rollouts of incoherent policy dressed in malevolence can rile people up. But Democrats must first understand what made the tea party powerful. Its great success came not from the members’ anger, but from the ability to turn that anger into a show of force on Election Day.

Tea party people vote. They vote in midterm congressional elections. They vote for state reps and for mayors and for judges. They show up.

Democratic constituencies famously disappear in off-presidential years. That said, the party did take control of Congress in the 2006 midterms. To get there in 2018, though, it must first replace the party’s somnolent leadership.

Given the Democrats’ generally dismal performance in the recent congressional races, it was surprising how easily Nancy Pelosi retained her post as House minority leader. She had a competent challenger in Tim Ryan, who was just re-elected in an industrial Ohio district that Trump handily won.

For evidence of the national party’s failure, look no further than Texas’ 7th Congressional District. Hillary Clinton won the 7th, which covers wealthy parts of Houston and its suburbs and has been trending Democratic. But the Democratic candidate for Congress, James Cargas, lost after receiving virtually no support from national Democrats.

Cargas had only $62,000 to spend on his campaign against incumbent John Culberson’s $1.9 million. He still managed to pull in 44 percent of the vote. Imagine if the national party had actually tried.

Some state Democratic organizations have all but flatlined.

In the pivotal state of Wisconsin, the party “couldn’t be bothered to recruit a candidate to take on conservative state Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler,” writes editorial page editor David D. Haynes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. And in one of the state’s most Democratic counties, it failed to find people to challenge Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s circuit court appointees.

Though Democrats’ gloom may lighten at panoramic shots of throngs protesting Trump’s latest outrage, the party must recognize that crowds, in and of themselves, don’t necessarily translate into votes. Trump had crowds but lost the popular count to Clinton by millions of votes — and so, for that matter, did Bernie Sanders.

If these marches lead to grass-roots organizing, that could be a swell thing for Democrats. But as mere spectacle, protests can grow old. They attract vendors of narrow ethnic, gender, and other identity interests uninterested in big-tent politics. They occasionally provide a stage for anti-social behavior. And they inconvenience motorists, businesses, and locals in their path.

The good news for Democrats is that they have new blood clamoring to run for office. Interest is especially high in the 22 districts that voted for Clinton but elected Republicans to Congress. Many are in former Republican Sun Belt strongholds in Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Southern California.

With the public growing increasingly restive over Trump’s disruptive antics, it’s possible that Republicans will fix the Trump problem themselves. It is not the mission here to discuss what Republicans could do about Trump, but there are various tools at their disposal.

So it’s early for Democrats to count on Republicans’ letting Trump continue his reckless joy ride to a disastrous conclusion. For the good of the country, none of us should want that ending.

But whether the politics are normal or abnormal, it’s a truism that you can’t win it if you’re not in it. In too many places, Democrats are perilously close to becoming a PINO, party in name only. Opportunity knocks, but you can’t open the door if you don’t get out of bed.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. 

IMAGE: Activists march to protest against President Donald Trump’s travel ban in Portland, Oregon, U.S. January 30, 2017.  REUTERS/Steve Dipaola

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Froma Harrop

Froma Harrop’s nationally syndicated column appears in over 150 newspapers. Media Matters ranks her column 20th nationally in total readership and 14th in large newspaper concentration. Harrop has been a guest on PBS, MSNBC, Fox News and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and is a frequent voice on NPR and talk radio stations in every time zone as well.

A Loeb Award finalist for economic commentary in 2004 and again in 2011, Harrop was also a Scripps Howard Award finalist for commentary in 2010. She has been honored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the New England Associated Press News Executives Association has given her five awards.

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41 Comments

  1. Budjob January 31, 2017

    I,m afraid it is going to take more than mass demonstrations folks! Trump,and his gang of Fascist/Nazis,are backing us into a corner,and when you back ANY animal into a corner,the results aren’t very good! RESIST by any means necessary!

    Reply
    1. dbtheonly January 31, 2017

      Resistance means nothing without the vote. Mass demonstrations are nice theatre but until you pull the lever, it’s just a show.

      If you think Democrats are spineless, become one and show us your spine. Seems we Democrats have put a spanner into Trump’s plans today.

      Reply
      1. Budjob January 31, 2017

        EVERYONE in my family are DEMOCRATS,and no one has ever voted for any republican in any capacity and we never intend to.I wouldn’t vote for a fucking republican,if Jesus Christ was running for office as one!

        Reply
  2. Budjob January 31, 2017

    And,no,the republicans aren’t going to correct anything themselves.They are just as spineless as thr fucking democrats!

    Reply
  3. 1standlastword January 31, 2017

    The problem is some how politics in America has become like two rival sports teams where you can only have one winner that makes the other team a loser. And it is a high stakes competition!

    I have consigned myself to believe that until very fundamental changes are made at the structural and operational levels of the business of governing from political office it might take two or more generations before we even have a chance of gaining a unified and functioning government.

    Our Republic and our democracy is rife with corruption.

    It has become contaminated by special interest groups of all sorts that have money to create advantages for their benefit and worse–they have made public office a pathway to independent wealth.

    This is a formula that attracts the least virtuous Americans to office wherein they then make a career for themselves.

    As for political action leading to policy change and the example of the Tea Party “success”….What an illusion!!!! The Tea Party has succeeded in perpetuating the demise of our Republic

    We are now a people without leadership that we can all as one respect and that is a result of a rival “teams mentality” and government corruption that brought us Donald Trump!

    I think we have the POTUS we deserve given what’s been happening. The solution is going to be born out of deep pains and injury to the Republic.

    Get ready for some heavy hits America

    Reply
    1. Jim Samaras February 1, 2017

      “Our Republic and our democracy is rife with corruption.”

      “It has become contaminated by special interest groups of all sorts that have money to create advantages for their benefit and worse–they have made public office a pathway to independent wealth.”

      You are absolutely correct on this subject! DJT, love him or hate him was elected to stop this practice. These articles on here paint him in a different light than the voters who elected him see. He is actually our first Independent president elected since George Washington. The republicans are witnessing a new type of government forming. One for the people instead of for their corruption. Now, with that said I realize that many times what the people want is not always the right avenue. Let’s wait to see how Trump disseminates the difference before we start bashing him.

      Reply
      1. johninPCFL February 1, 2017

        Riiiiggghhht. And the first appointments are a Goldman-Sachs (who contributed millions to his campaign) insider to run the treasury (I wonder where their bonds will be sold next issue?) and BigOil to run state (I wonder whether Saudi Arabia will ever have to break into the 18th century?).

        He’s pumped the swamp straight into the White House water coolers.

        Reply
        1. Jim Samaras February 1, 2017

          While being a wonderful libtard talking point those are nothing but suppositions. If in fact that’s what occurs I will be the first here to say you were right. But I’m willing to bet you’re dead wrong!

          Reply
          1. Bill P February 1, 2017

            so Jim I thought you don’t liked being called any names yet your response to johninPCFL starts with you calling him a “wonderful libtard”. So much for truth from you .

            Reply
          2. Jim Samaras February 1, 2017

            I was speaking generally on the subject matter and not pointing fingers at john in particular.

            Reply
          3. Bill P February 7, 2017

            Oh gee now I understand, anyone on this site that you disagree with is a “wonderful libtard”. I feel better knowing that you made a global statement denigrating most of the people who comment on this site.

            Reply
        2. dpaano February 2, 2017

          Every single one of his nominations were individuals who gave heavily to his campaign…..he doesn’t care that they have no qualifications to run the various departments he’s nominated them for…..this is the stupidest thing for him to do!!! It goes to show that he just doesn’t care about this nation and only cares about the pundits around him that gave him money!!!

          Reply
      2. 1standlastword February 1, 2017

        Jim, Donald Trump has as too many bad ideas and a paucity of good ones. Further, he is like a bull in a china shop as exhibited by his impulsive implementation of policy and the cabinet positions assigned to others with an iconoclastic propensity.

        He is not the man for the critical changes we so badly need.

        I understand completely why he appeals to you and others and I respect that. I myself would like to apply my heavy boot to the heads of the American establishment and their corporate gangster paymasters, so I’m half way with you minus the adoration and faith in Trump

        I KNOW he is going to increase our pains ten-fold and I also know that that is necessary for change.

        If you like omelettes you have to break eggs!

        Reply
        1. Jim Samaras February 1, 2017

          While I’ll admit this detention of immigrants at the airports thing was not well thought out the premise is positive. One could blame the fact that his cabinet is not yet in place and guidance was needed at higher levels. We’ll see….

          He is however the ONLY man we could have elected to enact the critical change we need. It’s what Trump represents that is his appeal more so than the man but is the only vestibule that was available. Anyone else would be ineffective for the job needed to be done.

          I hear ya as far as the pain….no gain is in our future without some

          Reply
    2. dpaano February 2, 2017

      I agree here also….when Gingrich was speaker of the house, he advised all the Republicans not to socialize or deal with the Democrats. No more “hands across the aisle.” They were all afraid of being censured if they didn’t follow his orders. Since then, we have had a very wide gap between the two parties that should NOT be there! We need to get back to the days when both sides worked together, compromised, discussed, negotiated, and came up with solutions! Today, each group only goes along with their respective party and to hell with their constituents (you know, the ones that pay their salaries). I’m not sure how to do that, but it would be easier if we had a majority in the Senate, the House, or the Congress, as a beginning!! I’m hoping that the gap that this president is causing with his party becomes so wide that the Congress decides it is more lucrative for them to work WITH the Democrats against this demagogue than to work against each other!!! But, we can’t always depend on that….we need to get started NOW in getting viable candidates, getting people that are not currently registered taken care of, and getting out the vote. We have until 2018 to do something to change the outcome.

      Reply
      1. 1standlastword February 2, 2017

        The People can’t thrive when the government is divided against itself and any victory either side of the warring factions think they’ve gained is simply an illusion.

        I too have read that Gingrich inspired young aspiring republicans to “tear the face off the opposition”. It was so long ago that I read that I don’t recall the title of the book.

        It is completely apparent that the republicans have made an art of playing hardball dirty politics to win elections and retain power. The democrats have not stood up to them and have become complicit in the demise of our democracy.

        I see Trump as a gift to America resultant the dynamics between the two major parties.

        Now we see the democrats employing the defense of obstruction but to much less potency of effect than the republicans during Obama

        Reply
        1. dpaano February 3, 2017

          I guess I agree….it’s time we turn our government over to the younger generation…..they are the ones that seem to have it all together! They are the ones that would protect our democracy!

          Reply
  4. William Thompson January 31, 2017

    It is time the Democratic Party specifically the DNC stop being a money raising machine and start listening to their constituents. Debbie Wasserman Schultz should be in jail for malpractice. Harry Reid makes Casper the friendly ghost look scary and Nancy Pelosi needs to be put out of her misery. I get it she brings in money but she’s clueless. Give her a job licking stamps. She stands at the podium unprepared stammering then waves for someone to take over the speech. Hopefully Chuck Schumer can stand the heat, a lot is riding on his leadership. It’s time the DNC has a full time leader with a holistic vision. My vote goes to Tom Perez. I expect the DNC to focus not only on presidential politics, house politics, Senatorial politics, but governors and state congressman right down to the local level. It is an all inclusive strategy. I have offered my services to the Democratic storefront in Babylon New York numerous times. I have never been called upon to do anything. What a waste of potential resources. I am expecting inclusiveness and vocal opposition to every backwards policy that is put forward. I expect dogged opposition to any Supreme Court Justice that is not at least moderate. Be prepared for a flurry of reconciliation votes that send gay rights, women’s rights, environmental protection, organized labor, Davis bacon, national right to work, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the weakest and most vulnerable Americans backwards. Number one on the agenda needs to be a counter to the nation wide voter suppression efforts that the Republicans have been so successful with. Hit them where it hurts,it is time to make sure every Democratic voter has the necessary ID to go to the polls and vote. Efforts need to be organized to get people to the polls even if they must be picked up carried and or driven there. It is time to organize smaller county in town groups to work in conjunction with the DNC. Protesting in the streets is all well and good. Real change happens on election day..

    Reply
  5. Bill Thompson January 31, 2017

    It is time the Democratic Party specifically the DNC stop being a money raising machine and start listening to their constituents. Debbie Wasserman Schultz should be in jail for malpractice. Harry Reid makes Casper the friendly ghost look scary and Nancy Pelosi needs to be put out of her misery. I get it she brings in money but she’s clueless. Give her a job licking stamps. She stands at the podium unprepared stammering then waves for someone to take over the speech. Hopefully Chuck Schumer can stand the heat, a lot is riding on his leadership. It’s time the DNC has a full time leader with a holistic vision. My vote goes to Tom Perez. I expect the DNC to focus not only on presidential politics, house politics, Senatorial politics, but governors and state congressman right down to the local level. It is an all inclusive strategy. I have offered my services to the Democratic storefront in Babylon New York numerous times. I have never been called upon to do anything. What a waste of potential resources. I am expecting inclusiveness and vocal opposition to every backwards policy that is put forward. I expect dogged opposition to any Supreme Court Justice that is not at least moderate. Be prepared for a flurry of reconciliation votes that send gay rights, women’s rights, environmental protection, organized labor, Davis bacon, national right to work, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the weakest and most vulnerable Americans backwards. Number one on the agenda needs to be a counter to the nation wide voter suppression efforts that the Republicans have been so successful with. Hit them where it hurts,it is time to make sure every Democratic voter has the necessary ID to go to the polls and vote. Efforts need to be organized to get people to the polls even if they must be picked up carried and or driven there. It is time to organize smaller county in town groups to work in conjunction with the DNC. Protesting in the streets is all well and good. Real change happens on election day..

    Reply
    1. Dominick Vila February 1, 2017

      I agree. We need new blood, and a new narrative that appeals to the average American and demonstrates, in clear terms, that we understand and share their goals and fears, and that we are prepared to do something about it. The problem with Hillary’s campaign was not that she did not have a plan, the problem is that she is not charismatic, did not listen to the concerns of many of our core constituents, could not connect with the average voter, and presented detailed solutions to complex problems at a time when people are more inclined to listen to a cute soundbite, a patriotic harangue, or simplistic solutions than spend hours analyzing the proposals of a policy wonk. Add to that the fact that many among us love glamour, celebrities, and are persuaded by overt expressions of showmanship and what happened last November should have not been as surprising as some of us think. Last, but not least, consider what happened last night, and it is not too difficult to understand why millions of evangelicals and Catholics ignored Trump’s personal faults, his despicable behavior, his ignorance of relevant issues, and voted for him because they knew he would deliver control of the Supreme Court to the ultra conservatives. For half of our population, over turning Roe V Wade, same sex marriage, Affirmative Action, and eliminating most social programs is far more important than having to put up with an arrogant narcissist pursuing an agenda designed for self aggrandizement that, if successful, will transform the USA from being a bastion of freedom and democracy, with opportunities for all, into something a lot closer to neo-fascism than we care to admit.

      Reply
      1. Independent1 February 1, 2017

        You folks can throw out all your assumptions about how the politicians ran their campaigns and you’re wasting your time. The Dems could have had the best candidates in the world and would still have lost because the election was rigged; Trump kept saying so – because he knew it was being rigged in his favor.

        Why is it everyone here on the NM refuses to believe the GOP stole the election by hacking the voting computers?? CNN’s exit polling has never been so far outside the probabilities of error – and for good reason – the GOP hacked the vote counting computers in over 10 states. And their projection was very close on a national level – Hillary took the popular vote by 4.5% – how could she then have messed up as badly as you describe in your post???

        And all the evidence points to the GOP having stolen the election:

        1)Trump kept insisting the election was rigged – that’s because he knew it was being rigged in his favor and if he kept harping on it, most Americans would insist it couldn’t be rigged and mistakenly believe so.

        2) Hillary won the popular vote with actually a little higher percent margin than CNN projected countrywide – by 4.5% (so why should she have lost 4 key states CNN’s exit polls said she should have won handily? She didn’t – the GOP stole those 4 states – FL, Wi, PA and NC.

        3) CNN’s exit polling has never shown the enormous deviation outside their probabilities of error as it showed in 2016 in 20 red states, 13 of them exceedingly outside the probabilities of error.

        4) As part of the GOP’s voter suppression tactics, they’ve gone about closing numerous voting places – two reasons for that 1) to make it harder for minorities to vote and 2) to cut down the voting places they needed to have someone hack the computers at.

        Sorry, but there are 3 things Democrats have to do to win in the future 1) somehow discredit the right-wing propaganda machine that is brainwashing millions of Americans minds:, Faux News, Clear Channel, Rush Limbaugh, etal.

        2) do something to prevent the GOP from further corrupting the voting process

        3) Solve the GOP’s gerrymandering problems

        If those 3 things aren’t accomplished, it won’t matter how good the Dem candidates are, the GOP will continue stealing elections.

        Reply
        1. Dominick Vila February 2, 2017

          Gerrymandering, voter suppression tactics, intimidation, and complacency on the part of many Democrats who thought the election was in the bag and did not bother to vote, or Bernie supporters who decided not to vote for ideological reasons, probably had more to do with the outcome of the 2016 election that voting machine hacking. Add to that Russian interference, Comey’s intervention, Bill meeting the AG in Arizona while an investigation was in progress, a well organized and highly effective demonization campaign, and prejudice and hatred, and what happened is not surprising.
          BTW, I do find McConnell’s decision to not give Judge Garland a hearing very suspicious. Was he that confident in winning that he was willing to risk Hillary nominating a liberal Judge to the Supreme Court? Garland was a middle of the road nominee whose record was neither far right or far left.

          Reply
          1. Independent1 February 2, 2017

            Of course McConnell was confident in the GOP winning. He knew that Republicans who ran a number of battleground states had rigged things so they could manipulate the vote count to ensure GOP wins. Just like Jeb Bush had rigged things in Florida by manipulating the ballots themselves back in 2000; the GOP had come up with a way to change votes cast for Hillary into votes for Trump via the voting computers.

            I’m not sure the margin of votes by which Trump won in some of those 13 states where the actual vote counts were way outside CNN’s margin of error, but the GOP could have manipulated several million votes; and if you consider the several million votes that voters cast for non mainstream party candidates because of the lies spread about Hillary by the Russians, right-wingers and even Bernie Sanders, Hillary could have possibly won the election by the biggest landslide in history.

            Reply
      2. Independent1 February 1, 2017

        Spend a couple minutes and read this article:

        Hacking voting machines: Easier than ever imagined

        https://www.rt.com/usa/voting-machine-election-hack-088/

        Reply
        1. Dominick Vila February 2, 2017

          This is why I prefer paper ballots, which offer verifiable evidence in the case of a recount.

          Reply
          1. Independent1 February 2, 2017

            Exactly, and why are people still going around, believing that a candidate who had favorability ratings in the high 30s and low 40s with negative ratings over 65% actually won an election??
            Come on!! It never happened!! Just like with 2000 and 2004, the 2016 election was stolen by every devious means possible and especially by hacking the voting computers in districts within battleground states that leaned toward the Democrats.

            Reply
      3. Independent1 February 1, 2017

        And consider this:

        Clinton wins US popular vote by widest margin of any losing presidential candidate

        December 22, 2016
        —Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by the widest margin of any losing candidate in US presidential elections history, carrying nearly 2.9 million votes more than President-elect Donald Trump, according to an Associated Press analysis of certified results from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

        http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2016/1222/Clinton-wins-US-popular-vote-by-widest-margin-of-any-losing-presidential-candidate

        Reply
    2. Margaretroliver February 1, 2017

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      Reply
    3. dpaano February 2, 2017

      First of all, Nancy Pelosi wasn’t “waving for someone to take over her speech;” she was waving because her microphones were not turned on and she was trying to get someone’s attention. She’s an excellent leader and always has been! She’s never had a problem speaking her mind! As for the DNC, yes, I agree that Tom Perez is an excellent choice, but the DNC needs to make their decision and get going! They’ve been sitting on their butts doing nothing and need to make up their minds so we get someone to lead the DNC that can get the job done!
      As for the rest of your post, I agree wholeheartedly. We MUST do something about the gerrymandering of various states that give the GOP a leg up in elections! We have to come up with viable candidates that can win!!! We have to start putting together campaign funds for these people so that they have the money they need to win over the Republicans!! And, as I said earlier, we need to help those who are not already registered because of one reason or another to GET registered no matter what it takes. Again, we can’t wait until the last minute for this to be done!!! If all the people who were marching in the Women’s March got to work and got people to vote, that would make a MAJOR difference!! This president may have won the election, but he did NOT have the majority vote. Can you imagine what would have happened if the majority had gotten out and voted? We would not be in the mess we’re in currently and we WOULD make American great again!!!

      Reply
      1. Bill Thompson February 2, 2017

        I appreciate your unwavering defense of Nancy Pelosi, for the record I was not referring to the microphone disaster. Although that was symbolic of her leadership style. The days of singing this land is my land have gone by the wayside, “coomb by Ya” politics no longer works. She Lacks the energy and the Spitfire thinking that is necessary to communicate in the modern age particularly to young people. She has to go, she is a roadblock to the democratic parties progress. It should be evident to every Democrat at this point that there are major problems that need to be solved. Soft spoken and inarticulate leaders will no longer do. We need leaders like Senator Warren and Senator Sanders. Even Warren and Sanders are a problem due to their age. No one capable of filling the void is another major concern for the Democratic Party. During the election season the first time I heard Kellyanne Conway speak I knew the election was lost. Hillary Clinton’s synapses could not fire that quickly if she was plugged into a wall socket. Where are the people like Conway speaking for the Democratic Party? People want decisive and articulate speakers. We need to put Fourth politicians that have a vision and are able to speak at the level that most of America understands. The elitist Personna that many Democrats exhibit is a major turn off to blue-collar working people. The Democratic Party needs to be more educational regarding the good things that they do for most Americans. Americans need to understand that the birth of the middle class happened as a result of organized labor, and rising wages for all as a result. How many people know what the Wagner act is, or what Davis-Bacon is? As unionism has decreased so has the middle class. This should be one of the primary goals of the democrats to make people understand how the middle class came about. The American people want toughness as is evident in the debacle that just occurred in the presidential election’s. They want people that will follow up with what they say, they want people that have the chutzpah to get things done. Like it or not political correctness is out the window Donald Trump made that happen.

        Reply
        1. 1standlastword February 2, 2017

          You’re on to it. The Democrats are too old, too rich and the perception of superiority has not helped!

          They eclipse the republicans in individual wealth and age

          Democrats need to vote their permanent political class incumbents…OUT OF OFFICE!

          Reply
          1. dpaano February 3, 2017

            As an old geezer myself, I do agree with you. As I said to Bill earlier, Javiar Castro and his brother (both from Texas) are my top candidates. They are outspoken, are of the age that millennials will listen to, and have their stuff together! They are both also VERY good speakers and will be listened to. We need MORE people like them to energize the Democratic party….this is the ONLY way we’re going to give Democracy BACK to the people of this country!

            Reply
        2. dpaano February 3, 2017

          I understand and respect your comments. You may correct, we DO need to find Democratic leaders who can speak the nation’s language! We need to let the DNC know that they MUST get on board and find candidates that CAN get the job done. People like Javiar Castro, Joseph Biden, etc. I know Biden is considered “over the hill” by most standards, but he DOES have the people’s ears. He is well liked, but I agree, we need younger, more persuasive candidates! We need to find candidates who can integrate with millennials and younger people. So, I agree with you. However, until that happens and until we all get on board and let the DNC know our feelings and what we feel is needed, Pelosi is all we have for now! The most we can do at this point is to keep in touch with our respective congressmen and women and keep them in the loop as to what the majority of us feel and want to see happen! We have to remain optimistic.

          Reply
  6. FireBaron February 1, 2017

    Oh, I have a feeling that Teflon Donnie is going to be the greatest recruiting tool in the history of the Democratic Party. Just look at what he has done for DAESH membership!

    Reply
    1. dpaano February 2, 2017

      Agreed again, but we can’t wait for that to happen….we can’t expect it to happen. We have to get to work now and get going!! Do not depend on the Republicans to do anything, even with the problems they are seeing already with their candidate! They had their chance to go against him last November, but they didn’t.

      Reply
  7. PrMaine February 1, 2017

    Yes, we all need to get out to vote – but also we need to make it possible for people to get out to vote. Voter suppression by the GOP is a serious problem that will not go away by simply ignoring it. Quite possibly, vote suppression by the GOP is what led to the election of Trump.

    Yes, we all need to get out to vote – but we also have to understand how our voting system works. We have to understand that with our system of voting, what matters is the total number of votes and that means that a party like the GOP has always been has an advantage. GOP voters don’t get distracted by libertarians that they may like better, they fall in line and vote for the GOP nominee.

    The other day I listened to a dialog between two former Green Party candidates and they were talking about how people just need to get out and vote their hearts. Just vote for the candidate who you like the very most and everything will work out just fine. Wouldn’t that be nice – it surely is how we all wish our voting system worked but in fact that is not how plurality voting works. And wishing doesn’t make it true – no matter how hard you wish.

    The reason we can’t just vote for the candidate we most like is the voting system we use. The problem is the so-called spoiler effect. Yes, I know that is not a politically correct term – no one in particular is a spoiler of course, anyone has a right to run and no one running is more of a spoiler than anyone else – but in fact the voting system we use cannot work properly when there are more than two candidates running. Spoiler effect may have objectionable connotations but it is the term we use conventionally to refer to the fact that plurality voting cannot deal reasonably with more than two candidates at a time.

    What to do? Maybe we could follow the lead of the younger Ralph Nader who was concerned with auto safety. Did he exhort drivers to be more careful? No, he demanded that automobiles be made more safe. That worked well for him, so it is a wonder that now he wants to fix our election process by pleading with voters to vote as he wants.

    It does seem futile to fix the voters – change their hearts and minds. But we could consider changing the way we vote. Maine did this in the November elections and without any help from Congress, the Maine legislature or (of course) Maine’s Governor, Paul LaPage. Maine adopted ranked voting by exercising the voters’ right to petition that the issue be put up on the ballot and then they passed that citizen’s initiative into law. Other states could do the same.

    Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) does deal effectively with the spoiler effect and it is likely an improvement. But it is not the only alternative voting system that can do this. There are other systems and some seem simpler and quite possibly better alternatives. Various alternatives are described and compared in a series of short articles that you may find enlightening.

    Reply
    1. dpaano February 2, 2017

      Agreed…..we have to get voters registered NOW rather than wait until the last minute…..this goes for those who are in gerrymandered groups. The more democrats we can get out to vote, the better we will do!! People who aren’t already registered have 2 years to get to their local precinct and register…..they can’t wait until 6 months before the election!!! If they have a problem with proving they are citizens, we need to help them get the proper paperwork together so that they can register. If we start NOW, we might be able to do a lot better than we did in November!

      Reply
  8. Julius Hayden February 1, 2017

    To find out what rallies, events and meeting are happening in north Georgia, please visit http://www.ourrevnega.info the listing found there show many events both in Atlanta and around north Georgia. Don’t give up; Show up!

    Reply
    1. dpaano February 2, 2017

      That should go for ALL states, not just Georgia!!!

      Reply
      1. Julius Hayden February 2, 2017

        I don’t mind sharing what I did, just go to the site and contact me.

        Reply
  9. dpaano February 2, 2017

    This is SOOOO true….we all need to get on the ball with the DNC and get them moving. I don’t think they’ve even chosen a chairman yet. I’m not sure exactly what they’re waiting for! I know that 2018 seems a long way from now, but it comes up quickly, and politicians need to start planning NOW for campaigns.

    Reply

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