Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Trump & Company claim they have a sweeping mandate from voters to remake America —but wait, it is just a magic trick — almost half of the electorate chose not to vote in last November’s presidential election.

Here’s another fact: Those of us fighting for populist justice are stronger than we’ve been in decades. But how can that be, since Trump is in the White House? Because the vast majority of people agree with the ideals, issues, and ideas of progressive populism, not with Trumpism. Even most of his supporters were not voting for what they’re getting — a plutocratic/autocratic agenda that’ll steamroll the working class and poor.

Trump was not elected on issues, but on anger. Yes, many white supremacists, misogynists, nativists and xenophobes did turn out to support his raw bigotry, but a lot of Trump voters simply heard him speaking one truth repeatedly: The system is rigged by and for the elites. That group of voters was filled with a deep, seething fury created by corporate, political, and authoritarian elites who’ve been flattening the majority of people for years, then callously stepping over them as if they don’t exist. That’s true — so the riggees, furious at being flattened by the corporate and political powers, saw Trump as a great big bois d’arc stick they could grab to thump the whole smug establishment upside its collective head.

However, far from alleviating their anger and despair, Trump is already betraying them, as revealed by the actual proposals he’s made and the people he’s brought inside the White House. Remember his promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington? Instead, he’s pulled a new slew of creepy-crawly swamp creatures out of his hat to help him run the country — like Jeff Sessions, Steve Mnuchin, Rex Tillerson, Tom Price, Scott Pruitt and Betsy DeVos, among a mess of Wall Street insiders. These are career-long corporate hacks, not working-class champions!

Let’s look at one of the issues affecting working-class Americans. The Amazing Wunderkind of Global Luxury Living — and now Our Nation’s Phantasmagoric, Fast-charging President — is proving to be a legislative magician on the issue of Obamacare.

In his campaign, Trump’s number one promise was that he would “immediately” repeal the entirety of Obamacare, then — hocus-pocus and abracadabra! — simultaneously replace it with “great health care for a fraction of the price.” Wow – that’s why his White House media operation calls him “President Action, President Impact.”

But… oops! It seems that the Amazing Donald has abruptly learned that what magicians do is not magic, they just perform illusions. In other words, it’s fakery. So, Trump is now caught in the spotlight of reality, unable to produce a workable plan to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, as he had so glibly promised. In fact, the GOP replacement scheme he’s been backing would leave millions of people with no health care coverage, while reducing the benefits and jacking-up insurance payments for millions of others.

Frustrated, President Action recently whined to a meeting of state governors that “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.” Of course, by “nobody,” he meant that he didn’t know, therefore no one could’ve known, since he knows everything.

But wait – in a truly amazing magical act, The Donald has promised to dazzle us with more smoke and mirrors. His new Trumpcare plan, he brags, will guarantee that every American will have access to health coverage. Before you erupt in applause, however, notice the trick word he’s using: “Access.” That doesn’t mean you’ll get coverage, you’ll just get access to coverage — if you can afford it. It’s the same as promising that everyone will get “access” to owning a private jet and living in a fabulous Florida golf resort, just like Trump. See, he truly is magical!

Progressives not only need to resist the plutocratic agenda, but also to put forth our true people’s agenda and start rallying voters around it. Now!

Trump supporters in Fairfax, VA

Screenshot from Sept. 20, 2020 edition of News Leader/ YouTube

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The photo showed six mask-less Trump supporters waving Trump-Pence signs outside the entrance to Fairfax County Government Center on September 19, Virginia's second day of early voting. The accompanying New York Times report describing their loud electioneering in the populous blue county outside Washington inflamed passions and went viral.

"No gang of goons is going to deter Fairfax from voting," tweeted Nate Jones, an area resident, who noted that local officials moved the line inside the center, where people still had to wait several hours to vote, as it was the county's only open early voting site.

The photo showed six mask-less Trump supporters waving Trump-Pence signs outside the entrance to Fairfax County Government Center on September 19, Virginia's second day of early voting. The accompanying New York Times' report describing their loud electioneering in the populous blue county outside Washington inflamed passions and went viral.

"No gang of goons is going to deter Fairfax from voting," tweeted Nate Jones, an area resident, who noted that local officials moved the line inside the center, where people still had to wait several hours to vote, as it was the county's only open early voting site.

"What happened was they just came in revving truck and cars around the parking lot where there was this mile-long line that you have been seeing on the national news," said Kristin Cabral, co-chair of the Fairfax County Democratic Party's election law and voter protection committee, speaking on an activist call on Monday. "Then they got out of their cars with all sorts of banners and sticks and the like, not wearing face masks, and they gathered on the center plaza, which is basically where the front entrance, the front door, is."

"They were creating such a ruckus," she said. "This is the start of election interference, voter intimidation, that we can expect throughout early voting and on Election Day itself… The one thing that I was surprised, here in the open-carry state of Virginia, which is also the headquarters of the NRA, [was] that more folks did not have their weaponry on them."

Cabral was hoping the county's prosecutor, an elected Democrat, would file charges to send a message. Other non-Virginians on the call suggested that activists and election officials meet with local police "who don't know anything about election law," to be clear on what constitutes disturbing the peace and intimidating voters.

The episode was, at best, a cautionary tale, and, at worst, a portent for battleground states. Inviting a police presence to polls is dicey. What some people see as protecting voters may be seen by others as intimidating voters.

The law, too, has inconsistencies. While federal law is clear on what constitutes voter intimidation, state law primarily regulates elections and has widely varying standards. In some states, electioneering activity—anything that urges voters to support one candidate or cause—has to stop hundreds of feet away from polling place entrances. In other states, it can follow voters up to the doors or even go inside.

Federal law says that "whoever intimidates, threatens, coerces, or attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote" can be fined or jailed up to a one year.

State law draws different lines. This chart, from the National Association of Secretaries of State, and updated as of January 2020, lists the varying distances that campaigners must stand from polls. Sometimes that distance is measured in feet from the entrance. Sometimes it is the distance from building's perimeter. Sometimes it is how far a partisan campaigner must stand from a voter in a hallway.

Louisiana has the largest berth, "a radius of 600 feet from the entrance to any polling place." In most states, that distance is 100 feet or more from the entrance. But there are exceptions in some 2020 battleground states.

In Virginia, electioneering has to stop "within 40 feet of any entrance." Pennsylvania partisans "must remain at least (10) ten feet distant from the polling place." North Carolina's line is 50 feet from the entrance door and 25 feet from the rest of the building.

In Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin, it's 100 feet. In Georgia, it's 150 feet. In Mississippi and Alabama, it's 30 feet. In Missouri, it's 25 feet. In Vermont, electioneering must stop at the entrance to a building. In New Hampshire, it can continue inside, but voters must be given "a corridor 10 feet wide."

"I think what we have to do is meet with our boards of elections, meet with our mayors and city councils," said Joel Segal, a former House Judiciary Committee legal staffer who lives in North Carolina, speaking on Monday's activist call. "It is not unconstitutional to tell people that there's a limit on your freedom of assembly. I don't remember anything that said that could you block the entrance for people voting."