382 Comments

Just two things. I live in a rural red county in Virginia. I have always been astounded that folks here predominantly vote Republican against their best interests.

To get votes here, Democrats HAVE to make two things clear. First and foremost - that Democrats are not "coming to take people's guns away." That is the biggest fear out here in red country - the predominant reason folks vote Republican. Gun control is a vote killer and will be until Democrats out maneuver the NRA - and make crystal clear that great-granddaddy's hunting rifle is not at risk.

Second. ALL of the folks here benefiting from social welfare DO NOT associate that money as coming from programs supported by Democrats. That is "my govamint check" - and the government in their minds is Republican. The Democrats must inundate rural areas with advertising that clearly links child care money and internet services with Biden and the Democratic Party in conjunction with exposing Republicans who vote against the bill. Persistent Hard Ball is the only thing that is going to work here.

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EXACTLY! I also live in a totally red county of Missouri. What you said Cheryl is right! When MO had an issue being voted on several years ago to regulate puppy mills, the NRA had a billboard here that said, First your dogs and cats, then your cows and pigs! Vote NO! Of course it failed in my county but passed in the state. The republican legislature voted against it and somehow it ended up never being put into effect.

You're also correct that these stupid people (that only listen to Fox) don't know what socialism really amounts to and how much they depend on it. We have a small county hospital that happens to be the town I live in. The people passed Medicaid Expansion last Nov. but the republican legislator decided they couldn't fund it. It went to the MO Supreme Court who said, no, no, no! It passed, you find a way to fund it! Without this expansion, our hospital would have closed and left a lot of people out of work and going WTF! They don't realize that Medicaid is socialism! I'd be willing to bet that every single family with children in this county is getting the expanded child tax credit. The child tax credit is socialism!

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I'm sure that just about everyone in your area also was offered free Covid vaccines (whether they had them is another thing, though), received money from the Rescue Plan, and all seniors get Medicare and Social Security, but they fail to recognize that those government programs are socialistic. The Republicans are masters of the message that socialism equals communism, and just don't mention that Democrats favor free trade and all of the philosophies that are opposite communism.

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Missouri is good at ignoring the voted wants of the people. Pretend it didn’t happen.

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That’s royaly’s modus oporendi (sp?). It goes with the master/slave mentality

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I believe today's conservatives would have been Loyalists in 1770s.

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Lets ask Heather who were loyal to King George.

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I know your belief is correct.

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How to save our democracy?

The greatest enemy of democracy in America is not Tя☭mp and conservatives. The greatest enemy is apathy. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” It is clear that when turnout in American elections is typically between 60% and 65%, the largest political party is non-voters. Apathy, distraction, and yes also voter suppression, these are the enemies destroying our democracy. It is essential we fight these and unite in speaking to those not engaged in the political process. It is far easier to turn a non-voter into a voter than a conservative into a progressive.

We will never turn conservative Republicans into progressive or even moderate democrats. That is a hopeless task. The key to electoral victories for Democrats everywhere, even in the reddest of red districts is the education, organization, and motivation of non-voters.

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Backing you up:

"The Overlooked Hallmark of the Trump Administration--and Other Autocracies" is indifference.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-overlooked-hallmark-of-the-trump-administration-and-other-autocracies?utm_campaign=cm&utm_source=crm&utm_brand=tny&utm_mailing=TNY_SubObgICYMI1_11222019&utm_medium=email

and target the 40% Independents in the middle between registered Dem's and Repub's.

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Can you explain why democracy is important to the corporate world and/or global interests?

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1. It isn't.

2. It gives the rubes the illusion of holding power.

3. When the rubes start believing they actually hold any power, see Rule 1.

That's why democracy is important to the corporate world.

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Eliminate the Electoral College, hire a couple of first rate cartographers to straighten out the districts and pass an adequate For the People Act.

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Cheryl, it sounds like in your rural VA. county you at least have some Democrats on the ticket. The red county I live in usually can't get a Democrat on the ballot, certainly not in local races, and seldom in races for the General Assembly. They have reliably sent Republicans to Raleigh as long as I've lived here, going on 32 years. To run on the Democratic ticket in Randolph County is a suicide mission.

It's been interesting to see some of the entrenched Republican stalwarts now being threatened with primary challengers from the lunatic fringe. And the challengers just might get in. Watch this space.

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Hi Sandra. In my county the Democratic Party is extremely weak, timid, and in fear of retaliation.. Democrats who spread the word here work outside the party. Also, our district is gerrymandered to the point of looking like a huge snake through the eastern Blue Ridge. Still, we persist. LOL Northern Virginia saves the state.

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Would it do any good for some people to discover they are not Democrats after all, but 'Eisenhower and Lincoln' Republicans?

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I definitely support the Lincoln Project.

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Hey, Cheryl. I'm in the Catoctin District here. From what I can see (on the ground) we share your snake. It's the diverse cities that make Virginia Blue. My delegate proudly served District 33 by his presence at the Capitol on January 6, and sent a letter to former VP Mike Pence to Nullify Va's Electoral College Votes.

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I am in Madison County, District 5 - but even Charlottesville doesn't put us over the top.

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Was he bought? Is he one of Epstein’s friends?

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I don't know! He's been a delegate since, I believe, 2012

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We never have any Democrats running locally or in the county. Waste of money for sure. State wide, they try. Once in awhile one will get in. US, we had a great senator, Claire McCaskill but the devil himself, Josh Hawley beat her. We have an important senate race in 2022, replacing Blunt. You've probably heard of the main two republicans running, Eric Greitens, the republican governor who resigned in disgrace who made Parsons governor and Mark McCloshey. he and his wife are the two lawyers from St. Louis who came out and threatened BLM marchers in their neighborhood with a rifle and a hand gun. (found guilty of some little thing, Parsons just pardoned them) And then there's Eric Schmitt the attorney general who last week sued St. Louis for declaring a mask mandate indoors even if you are vaccinated. What a sad group.

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Sad but good grief…Missouri is in a helluva bad shape!

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Cheryl, you've raised excellent points. Biden tends to fly under the radar about his strategy, but many people assume that he's not doing anything. When appropriate, he should speak up in Republican-controlled areas and let voters know what the Democrats are doing to help them, and that the Republicans voted against the measures. Certainly, the Republicans are shameless in touting their support of popular measures, even when they actually refused to sign on.

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You are so right, Cheryl, and Sean Patrick Maloney agrees with you. In a meeting with Dems, he said that they risk losing the majority in the House unless they start changing their message. https://www.politico.com/news/2021/08/03/sean-patrick-maloney-democrats-house-majority-502265

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I have to ask, how many of those people are pro-life?

Because of the people I know who vote repub, they admit to some extent, that they know who and what they are voting for, but that pro-life is all they care about.

As for the gun thing, maybe because it's MI I'm talking about, it isn't as much as an issue, but a few days are into that whole take my guns from my dead hands mentality.

I also want to point out that if not for faux news station, most of these people would be a little, err, more well rounded shall we say.

Also, a lot of they have a bias against demo because to them every demo is a baby killer. Even though at least 10% of the hundred people I'm talking about have had abortions themselves.

Here's the last conversation I had with one of those people.

Them, man your weather has been really bad.

Me, yes, and it's only going to worse. It's getting hotter sooner and we are worried about our water availability.

Them, yeah, from everything I'm seeing it looks thinks are bad all over. It almost makes me feel like climate change is real, but we all know it's a hoax, so I just don't understand all the worry.

How do you deal with that?

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I've been in rural Virginia for thirty years. Yes, there is the pro-life issue, but that is an undercurrent rather than a bubble on the surface in my area. It truly is all about guns here. Climate change is of course an issue. But we are a farming area - and everyone I know is worried. That is a step forward.

My husband and I get along with the majority of our neighbors, but this is how we talk to them on all issues. Laconically.

For example. Neighbor Sue bitterly talked about being forced into "Obama care." Later, when her husband was hospitalized with a heart attack, my response was, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I hope he'll be ok. Good thing you had that insurance, isn't it?" She opened her moth and closed it.

My husband listened to another neighbor complain about having to wear a mask on a plane, if he goes on vacation to Florida. My husband's reply was, "Well, that's easy enough. You don't want to wear a mask, drive." Stopped our neighbor cold.

To folks who are adamant about not getting the vaccine, we both respond, "I don't see what the big deal is. We got it moths ago, and we're fine." Then we just shrug them off.

I think the important thing is to not attack, lecture, or make folks defensive, just to give them a little something to think about. Do not bother to fight with them. That's useless. Anyway, it works for us.

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Thank you, Cheryl! You’re the ongoing catalyst for some wonderful exchanges here, today and beyond!

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Ashley, you are too kind. Best wishes.

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I agree don't attack, because it is pretty much useless. Your tactics are fine--don't pretend you agree, make your views plain without making them feel bad. Not worth the discussion, I've found. People are making these decisions out of pure emotion, not rationality. The ones that start to think a bit harder about it are the ones that will eventually come back to reality. But they will be a very small percentage I fear, due to the barrage of misinformation out there.

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If anyone remembers the horrible ads Kemp ran in GA - both showing off his big gun- certainly helped him with rural GA.

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Unfortunately you can't deal with that. But your comment about being Pro-life (not!) prompted me to tell you that here in Floriduh, Governor DeathSantis has said no mask mandates anywhere, even in schools, or he will cut off funding. Today's paper had a story that even the Catholic schools are now unable to mandate masks. In being relegated to "encouraging" masks, the superintendent had to appeal to Catholics' pro-life stance in asking that they mask their kids.

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You know these people hate the southern border immigration. I wonder if they have connected the climate change consequences to the worsening of agricultural decline in Central America to the need for these people to move north? Devastating droughts are beginning to become the norm in the states and Canada, too. Soon Americans will be moving inward and upward.

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I think you hit the nail on the head with pro life, single issue, voting.

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When you make the statement that your neighbors "vote against their best interests", you simply do not understand the world you live in. Those neighbors 100% are voting in their personal "best interests". Their "best interest" is the maintenance (or restoration) of white supremacy. The only "currency" they worry about losing is preferential treatment over people of color. Period.

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Hi Stephen. Though I certainly cannot say that there aren't racists in my county, I am talking about a socioeconomic group that are financially dependent upon social security, medicare, medicaid, and county welfare programs. Many, and I do mean many, come from families that were ruthlessly uprooted from the Blue Ridge Mountains after the Shenandoah National Park was authorized in 1929. 500 families were yanked off 3000 acres, paid a pittance, and placed in tiny tract houses, many cinder block, in small crowded government housing developments. A better plan would have been to allow life-time rights to the heads of families of the mountain settlers, giving these families adjustment time. Instead displacement fostered an understandable distrust of the government that persists to this day. The feelings still run stong. These families identify with the Republican party because of its traditional believe in small government - even though many are dependent upon programs that are supported by the Democratic party. That is what I mean by voting against their own best interests.

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Your comments are manifestations of what I call the "Hillbilly Elegy" syndrome. For every injustice to white Americans, there have been hundreds of injustices to non-white Americans. The more I time I spend reading comments from subscribers to "Letters from an American", the more I am convinced that the average Democrat is constitutionally incapable of comprehending that Republicans who voted for Trump in 2020 are all despicable human beings. To assign any political motivations other than the destruction of color-blind democracy to even ONE of the 74 million is a recipe for disaster.

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My comment was about what Democrats need to address in rural communities to gain votes: Gun rights and how programs that benefit folks are supported by Democrats. Period. If you want to turn this into a racists thing, so be it. But I find your comments both narrow in scope and extremist. Not every person who voted for Trump is a racist. Not everyone who did not vote for Trump is an isonomist. Absolutes are fine in math, but they do not apply to humans.

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I agree with Stephen. It is dangerous to underplay or pretend the gun rights movement is ancillary and not central to insurrectionist plans to tip this country into full-on authoritarianism. Gun rights have been pushed to the point where vigilantes can run around with Open Carry to quietly threaten minorities as they make their way to the Voting Booth, or use Stand Your Ground to avoid murder charges for chasing minorities away from their white suburbs. We have the perfect storm forming for political vigilantism. And yes, the insistence on the loose laws for guns is entirely about racism and trying to take back control, regardless of what the majority wants. This isn't about grandpa's shotgun under the bed or hunting. This is about automatic weapons pointed at our Capitol Police. Remember, many Trump supporters are not just rural poor, but suburban middle class types and 1%ers who are absolutely delighted to stir the pot. There will be no gratitude for any government assistance, just rage at being reminded they need the help and explosive anger that minorities they feel should remain firmly below them are also getting help: "more handouts to lazy Welfare Queens" and "OMG, Democrats are overspending!", all while they continue to ignore the Trump handouts to 1%ers. The next insurrection will done with guns, bombs, and worse. And JD Vance will be standing by holding up his fist along with Hawley.

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I agree that the anyone who voted for Fake45 and put members of the GQP into powerful seats, are despicable.

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Not denying this is a massive strain for a frightening numbers of voters. But I don't believe it's all of them. I think there's a not small portion who are muddled, who are not actively, purposefully maintaining white supremacy.

Just as there are disengaged, confused, "non-political" people nominally on the left who can be reached, there are those on the right who are malleable.

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There are at least 74 million American voters who are ABSOLUTELY non-malleable.

To deny this is to fall into the same pitiable state of mind that, unless re-aligned, will lead to the ultimate demise of the Democratic Party and American democracy. There are ZERO non-racist "good" people who voted for Trump in the 2020 election.

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You are as extreme as the tRump republicans. I know many wonderful people who voted Republican because their fathers did, not to mention they believe the lies spread about dems. My local state reps are republican and I vote for them despite their party, not just because no one runs against them. I'm in liberal MA.

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Dotsieradzki - Thank-you. I thought the very same thing.

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Local state reps are 100% responsible for voter suppression laws throughout America. ANY vote for a Republican candidate on ANY level is a vote in support of white supremacy.

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You sound like the reps, any vote for a dem is pro socialism, etc, etc.

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Disagree. I don't know the numbers, though surely it's a small minority, but some of those 74 million are confused, don't make decisions for themselves, have been to some extent brainwash and could be "unbrainwashed."

Yes, it a serious mistake to minimize for a moment the to-the-core amount of white supremacy in the Republican Party. You are correct that that will lead to the demise of a two-party system and American democracy.

Nor am I calling this minority "good" people.

But, yes, I believe that some of them are changeable. I've met a couple. I've read about many. The percentage is small, but I don't believe their absolute numbers are so small that they should be dismissed. (Though, of course, you are not dismissing them. You are saying they don't exist. I get that.)

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The reason they cannot be changed is because they truly are zealots. Every single reason they give for voting Republican is a complete lie (whether they know it or not is irrelevant at this point). As long as FOX News exists, you would have to lock them up and perform a brain-washing that would please Stalin or Hitler to change their minds. An old adage is always appropriate when discussing this particular subject: "Never, ever try to teach a pig to sing. The pig will NEVER sing, but you will definitely have to deal with a very annoyed and dangerous pig before your experiment is over." Yep, that says it all.

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They continue to believe that there is not enough to go around.

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When you make the statement that "they continue to believe there is not enough to go around", you are buying into the myth that one of their "principles" relates to fiscal irresponsibility. By doing so, you are unconsciously enabling them. There is no belief in the Republican Party other than non-white Americans are inferior human beings and do not deserve to have any voice in American daily life. The idea that this reality has not been articulated effectively by the media or the Democratic Party will assure the demise of the Party and more importantly the demise of democracy.

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Thank you for your comments. But I am a bit confused. I think I was merely positing that, perhaps, at the base of discriminatory thinking in a certain segment of the population, might be a belief about resource insecurity. If they feel threatened then, by god, there must be a group even less deserving of those limited resources than their own, especially with respect to, say, immigrants or POC. So, the hoarding impulse might account for the impulse towards discriminatory systems. Discriminatory "rules" then get set up justifying the unjustifiable. I fail to see how that idea "enables" "them" or relates to "fiscal irresponsibility". Would you care to elaborate? I certainly hope my words to not sound as if I am discounting the significance of discrimination in any way.

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Communists think so too, dont they? I mean they think in pie terms too, dont they

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Self preservation or “property protection” or hoarding….is this not a basic instinct for protecting against hard times? Not sure I get your point?

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Yes, but so is the idea of creating wealth.

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The twentieth century communist leaders in Russia thought they could control all the resources which they saw as limited. Todays oligarchy, unofficially represented by the Republicans, are trying to do the same, as if they dont understand how capitalists can create wealth out of thin air, printing money, creating construction sites with landfill, importing workers, finding needs to satisfy and niches in the economy. Oligarchy doesnt create wealth, doesn’t know how. Entrepreneurs, who find a need, organize, manage, and assume the risks of business, according to Mr. Webster, know that wealth is unlimited, like yeast in the air (which is a source for making bread), and like solar power, neither of which can be controlled.

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Pretty much the same in Texas, except they go on about “socialism”.

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Yes, here in rural Missouri, as well.

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True. From one who lives here.

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I remember way back in the day when every politician and gun owner spewed the reasoning for not registering or conducting background checks for guns and rifles. “If Russians or the Chinese were to invade us, they would take the list and visit everyone registered and remove their guns.” It didn’t matter that the likelihood of invasion by troops was tiny. It was important that this was their most urgent reason. Rural America’s inaccurate belief systems were not invented yesterday, but keeping them ignorant is increasing rapidly. It’s vital for Republicans to spew lies and manipulate their most ardent followers for support. Fear, intimidation, and anger create good and loyal constituents.

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and, of course, fear of the "other." In order to control, they have to make everyone paranoid, and depending on their (Repugnant) saviors.

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But, but, but the Black Guy’s going to take your guns.

Never happened but the threat still works.

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Sounds a lot like eastern Oregon as well.

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And eastern Washington!!!

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And Northern Michigan.

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Throw in a rising crime rate and a porous southern border into the mix and Democrats running for office will have their hands full.

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That brings to mind tRump's name on the relief check in the last administration. He understood the implication.

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Cheryl, why do you think that those who vote Republican think it's not in their best interest?

Gun Control is a vote killer, yet background checks are not. Most Americans favor background checks.

"That's my govamint check." - This is why Democrats don't have rural support, and frankly support from many Republicans across the country. Carville said it best, Dems need to quit acting like elitist, ivy leaguer types and speak the language of the community.

Maybe if Democrats would be more strategic, versus hip shooters, when events occur, Republicans and other might have a better view of them. For example, defunding the police almost lost some Dems in your state their seat. Reform the police would have been a better message. But, not, jumping on the band wagon of defund, it became the call to arms. Interestingly, the guy who didn't jump on that train is now the President of the United States. Maybe if Democratic politicians had offered up examples such as Eugene, Oregon where a different mode of community policing occurred, Republicans would have listened.

Maybe if Democrats would take the party's message from the center versus the far left, people would listen.

Hate to be a troll on this, but just pointing out this attitude is exactly what Carville was saying is wrong with Dems today. Want to win in 2022 and remain in the White House in 2024, then suggest the Dems follow what Carville stated a few months ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AizzlteP_F0

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I don't think we disagree. My main comment was about what Democrats need to address in rural communities to gain votes: Gun rights and how programs that benefit folks are supported by Democrats. My point was Dems haven't done that. I apologize if I wasn't clear.

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I also apologize if "That's my govamint check." sounded snarky. That was not my intent. For a lot of people in my area, the phrase "government check" does not imply party. It naively implies a specific entitlement. Not a program that can be taken away. Dems have not been good at identifying themselves as protectors of such programs.

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Thanks for the sage advice.

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The former president will continue to “run” for president as long as the money keeps rolling in. Doubtless, as far as he’s concerned, the money is his to do as he pleases. The accounts should be closely monitored by DoJ and charges should be filed for any improper use of the funds.

Just now the thought came to mind that any of the donated funds spent on personal expenses, including legal defense fees, qualifies as income and should be subject to income taxes. Those taxes would be yet more personal expenses that could not be paid from political donations.

The tax man is going to be the one that gets him.

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Republicans in the Senate gutted the infrastructure bill by taking out funds for IRS expansion to go after grifters and others who slip between the cracks. That's Trump and his minions.

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How long has it taken the 'tax man' so far? He/She/They obviously needed a hand from the Department of Justice and still waiting. You will be absolutely correct, Ralph, someday.

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T-Rump shall be Al Caponed. Be assured the tax powers that be are hot on his case.

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I just saw that the clown 🤡 is going to try to stop the Treasury Department from transferring his tax records to the house committee. This will once again delay the House getting those documents, if the delay lasts 18 months and the House flips do you think there’s any chance that we will ever see them, Delay is the name of the game and he is very good at playing it, if we keep the House chances are he’ll loose his bet. The silver lining in all of this is that he’ll never be able to delay his karma which I wouldn’t trade him all the money 💰 in the world 🌎 for. 😎

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...and let us pray.

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Another historical hit done by the IRS comes to mind.... Al Capone.

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Imagining that day was made me smile often

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Pamela, I was just going to say the exact same thing.

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What tax man? The IRS is woefully understaffed, according to reports I've read. They''ll go after the smaller taxpayers -- the ones who can't afford to bring a CPA with them to an audit.

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Well, that’s how they got Al Capone!

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Ain't that the truth.

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Ha! I now hear the Beatles song "Tax Man" playing in my brain.

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Good luck!

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BINGO!!!

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Just like with most other gangsters.

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My big concern is that no matter how much people in low income and rural areas are helped by and love the tax credits and high-speed Internet and other infrastructure programs, if their vote is suppressed, it won’t matter how much they would like to vote Democratic if they are prevented from it. I feel federal legislation to protect voting rights is key to the continuation of our democracy.

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This, to me is the MOST IMPORTANT issue to be addressed. All others are moot after 2022 if Repugnant legislators can choose whom they wanted to win the election even if the voters struggle against all other suppression and win for democracy.

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😢😢😢

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My heart is breaking. We saw a huge percentage of people vote. The 2020 election was an excellent example of how we stood together as a nation during a pandemic. The GQP is undermining what could be a political awakening.

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We must always remember that it is possible to elect a President by popular vote and have him or her lose with the electoral college. The stacking has begun.

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That’s how we got Bush 2 and Trump.

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Thank you Heather. And thank you Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue, and President Biden - for standing up to and pushing back on fools and their foolishness.

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Yet neither of them said anything about it until now. Great it’s come to light, but what damage has been wrought by the long silence?

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Rosen is not really to be applauded. Why? Because he had every opportunity to inform the FBI of Fake 45’s intentions and he did not do so. We would maybe see TFG in prison by now.

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I wish Pres. Biden would spend some time talking to the people, maybe a weekly TV event. While Covid 1 was rampant, our governor held twice (twice!) weekly press conferences that lasted as long as reporters asked questions. I have never felt so connected to my state government. With the proliferation of misinformation out there, and people who are hurting and have developed lack of confidence in the federal government and therefore went from Obama to Trump, I believe if Biden talked to folks, directly in a direct and honest way, about what he is doing, why he is doing it, what the challenges are, what the downsides are, but why he is doing it anyways—that kind of conversation—he might well bring folks back to the tribe. As time goes on, we all know that some of his supporters could grow skeptical too. The presidency is like that. I believe people want to be heard and seen and Trump makes them feel that way, unfortunately. Yes, some people are too far gone or were never ever going to veer left. But the former Obama supporters who got nothing (because Obama couldn't fix the system the GOP has put in place,) might consider coming back, as HCR says in this piece when they start getting checks to help them out, if they feel their president understands what they are going through and takes the time to connect. Pie in the sky?

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I think the weekly radio chats that FDR provided were what made him so popular with the people, despite the constant criticism he received from opponents. Honest, supportive, and caring communication goes a long way towards easing fears when people are struggling. Biden would benefit from more communication.

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The chats were important but I think the lessening of pressure and food, job, economic stress that Dr. R pointed out is the key. And no one needs to admit any wrongness. We the people. That includes them.

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Biden needs to let people know that he's responsible for the good.

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I wonder if Biden will be helping to build back the middle class.

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Tell your senators to tell Biden to do like FDR.

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I like this idea, but it is very difficult in this day and age. We used to be limited on our radio and TV sources and gathering around to hear the same info is near impossible.

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Biden spoke yesterday to the press about Covid, And the disgusting decisions made by DeSantis and Abbott. He also spoke briefly about Andrew Cuomo, suggesting he resign. Biden then took questions from the press for a good 20 minutes. He has been speaking regularly to us, but not in prime time.

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Unfortunately Fox News and Conservative Radio Programs own the folks the Democrats need to persuade. I don't see much hope there.

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I’m not convinced that even Biden knows what he’s doing, which might put a crimp in any efforts to communicate that to the citizenry. Obama does not get to use an excuse of republican obstructionism. He came into office with a much clearer supermajority than his former second does now. He had excited a massive cross-section of support from young people, minorities and millions across the board who had been so disheartened by bush’s fiasco of a presidency. Many who had worked to get him elected were ready and eager to keep working to implement the “Change” he had promised with compelling, sometimes exhilarating rhetorical flourish. There was talk of the Republican Party being on its deathbed, about to be buried into extinction.

So, what did Obama tell those folks who were so ready to sow their supercharged grass roots enthusiasm into paving a new way forward?

He basically told them “Okay, folks, you can all go home now, thanks for getting me elected, I got this”. What he had were creeps like Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Arne Duncan, Eric Holder and their like, a corporate enough cabinet that I wouldn’t doubt was the envy of some republicans. Obama’s Democratic Party doubled down on the corporatism that had been fomenting distrust and disgust, rightfully so, in their working/middle class former base since the Reagan years. A golden opportunity to transform American politics was tragically squandered. No matter who said what to whom, Obama was instrumentally, if only passively, complicit in setting the stage for Trump. And, the rest, as they say, is history, isn’t it, great historian that you are, Dr. Richardson?

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Oh my, that's a lot of cynicism. I agree those cabinet folks were disappointing, but I most remember that the Senate and courts blocked Obama at every turn. They had one mission and one mission only...punish him, thwart him, shut down the ACA. Obama's greatest flaw was trying too hard to appease the other guys. But he did pull us out of a recession, he did jerry-rig national health insurance, he did win a second term and lived to tell the story.

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I think, historically, the WH changes hands, ideology, each term. The public doesn't have long term memory, they just vote for a new guy. FDR was the exception.

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I can sleep better tonight after reading your letter. My best efforts in my very small community is to carry your message of truth & hope for all of us.

As so often, I close w great relief and thankfulness that you are working for all of us, Professor Richardson.

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The evidence keeps growing that Trump was attempting what amounted to a coup. We know that he did, but will formal charges be made so he can be held accountable? Unless he and others are punished, there will be no deterrence for future attempts. The enemies of democracy will be emboldened. Does Merrick Garland have the spine to save the country?

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Yes he does, Michael, but not by himself. He needs our help. See my reply to Ellie Kona. You and me, people like Carol O, joining organizations, learning the techniques to help the 'believers' see another reality, listening and slowly resetting their clocks if we can, moving on to the next one if we can't. Takes time. Meanwhile we do bigger things with our organizations. It is going to take all of us.

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Hey, Gus. HCR's chat yesterday was along the same lines as you mention.

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Yes, but was it my imagination, or did she get emotional at the end?

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Can you give me a link? I realized my mistake, but I'm juggling a thousand things from a wheelchair without a caregiver at the moment. I want to see it, thanks.

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That video chat was one of the best.

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It will be bittersweet when she quits...because we got our democracy back

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Do you mean her video chat or daily letter from yesterday?

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Thanks Lynell. I definitely will read it. Been a little busy lately.

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I was referring to her FB video chat.

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HCR must be rubbing off on me!

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So far AG Garland has not demonstrated he will go after the criminals in the trump administration including trump because he doesn't want it to look political. Why isn't a criminal a criminal? Unless he and President Biden is afraid that it would lead to MAGA trying to start a civil war. Even if it doesn't get to that they can cause a lot of deaths. This is the problem when 74 million people are fascists or fascist adjacent. You can't fight them all.

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Holding Trump and the insurrectionists accountable is critical and is in the works. Law enforcement investigations and prosecutions are painstakingly slow, especially when going after a big fish. It is premature to psychologize Biden or the DOJ, whose present and visible actions are only the tip of the iceberg.

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Yes, Ellie! And the iceberg is a really big one. We have to trust our new leadership.

Our president truly did hire "the best people;" however idjt left an unbelievable iceberg behind. It took him 4 years to create it, and it is not going to be melted in 8 or 9 months, to stretch your analogy.

It will take all of us, especially folks like Carol O, doing whatever we can, wherever we can, whenever we can do it. This is the Big One,, and I don't believe Washington can do it without us this time.

Si se pueda!

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Heather’s final sentence, a quote from Biden, gives me hope: “We've got to demonstrate that democracies can work and protect.”

This tells me he knows exactly what’s a stake.

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Yes, Ellie!!

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We all seem to forget the grand jury in Fulton County GA investigating Trump's call to Raffensperg about "find me 11,000 ballots."

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We're just holding our breath here TC. Hoping Georgia can pull off another miracle and redeem us for sending Marjorie up to Washington! (Bless her little heart....)

He asked for a few more votes than that, but we get the idea....votes, schmotes.

Hold the fort out there in LA!

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“Bless her heart,” hahaha. Such a loaded Southernism. When I lived in Rome, GA decades ago I lived in her district.

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It's such a genteel way of expressing exactly how you feel....our little gift to the world of opinion, rumor, and judgement. A way of "getting it said" with a charming patina....I hold it in reserve for special people like Marjorie.

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So love that phrase

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Do not count DOJ out. Time is not up, by any stretch

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Consequences for culpable behavior

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"Trump and his loyalists feed off Americans who have been dispossessed economically since the Reagan revolution that began in 1981 started the massive redistribution of wealth upward." What will it take to get Republican voters to understand this. The narrative they seem to adhere to is that it has been Democratic policies that have left them behind.

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Morning Lynell. I just wrote a screed and touched something..and it was gone...i'm on my phone this morning. The essence of it was that we've had 2 dem Presidents since Reagan started this show and they didn't stop it and even aided and abetted it. Their problem was that they didn't understand the downside for US jobs and salaries of globalization and free trade. The Dems were just easy meat for the determined, rigid, well-financed Conservative Movement Republicans. They know a message when they see one and exploit it effectively. They know where the power lies. The Dems are constantly forced into playing catch-up and are hamstrung by sometimes being too nice and often a trifle utopian...they took and take their eye off the ball and are paying the price.

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Stuart ~ the dems have simply had NO vision, and therefore no succinct message. Words and language matter. Liberals have meekly reacted to the apparent ferocity of the right. Think of Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, then Clinton, Gore, and Kerry. NONE of these candidates and all of the money and labor spent, has left anything of a lasting mark. What has Obama left America? Yet, Professor Richardson and everyone in politics cites Reagan, from 1980, because THIS is the only vision offered to America.

Liberalism has not listened to Lakoff, AND learned from the right - and that is to speak to OUR base. We are basically 65% of the country, who have rejected the “Culture War” of the right.

But the Culture War wins the narrative, because it is the ONLY narrative. 65% of America would support something like "Economic Democracy” or “Christian Capitalism” or “People Power” ... but the left is too focussed on myopic campaigns, such as environmentalism, feminism, racism, immigration, etc. ALL of which could be enveloped in an “Economic Democracy”, or whatever in the world a group of strategic thinkers would create, through grass roots development. I spent nearly two decades organizing and raising funds for these efforts, and found great competition within the left between economical justice, campaigns, pro-choice campaigns, racial equality campaigns, etc .... All of these great efforts led by Planned Parenthood, MoveOn, Sierra Club, ACLU, NAACP, etc and etc., are in competition with one another for money, and most importantly, for the narrative. So, there is no overarching vision - and therefore no narrative.

“Culture War” is VERY big now, and there is one side hell bent on winning it, while the other side is full of complaint, reaction, some degree of subservience, and a lot of reactionary policies.

The 65% base would fight like hell for an “Economic Democracy” - but Bernie never characterized his effort beyond a “Political Revolution!” - which was soundly defeated just yesterday in Cleveland and northern Ohio, in a vital Congressional primary with arguably the most significant Sanders supporter and a more “Bidenesque” Democrat. The moderate won, and AOC and progressives lost. The real loser is the 65%, our base, because yet again another personality contest furthered no vision or narrative.

Words matter, Language matters. Vision matters.

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You nailed it Frederick! "All of these great efforts led by Planned Parenthood, MoveOn, Sierra Club, ACLU, NAACP, etc and etc., are in competition with one another for money, and most importantly, for the narrative. So, there is no overarching vision - and therefore no narrative." Then you presented The Vision and created The Message: " ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY"!! We can ALL get behind that!! No threat of the now pollluted terms "socialism", "communism", "liberalism" - just Economic Democracy. Prosperous but fair, for We the People, All of Us This Time!

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A succinct narrative, to me, is key.

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MaryPat, I ❤️ your astute political acumen 😂🍀!

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Ha! Thank You Professor Frederick!

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Hitler had a vision too. His vision was control total control just like the Republicans are trying to totally destroy and control our country. The Democrats have no vision!? What about the constant work for civil rights. What about saving voters rights. What about healthcare. Lifting children from poverty. And repairing the mess that those visionary Republicans have placed on our country to try and destroy it. I so greatly Disagree with the idea that Democrats have no vision. The vision of controlling the pandemic that was so tragically miss handled. The vision of getting our country vaccinated, while the Republicans work against that. Don’t they see that they are killing their own voters. Making our government work for everyone not just a the wealthy ones. Lifting our country from the the lies and despicable behavior of individuals that are supposed to be leading our country but are determined to destroying it. There is the working vision of strengthening our Justice Department, helping the IRS collect all of the taxes and the vision of getting that guy out of the Post office. Our country right now looks like that condo in Florida totally collapsed and unworkable repairing that is a vision! Quite plainly to just keep working is a vision. The Republican vision, is to control and destroy And that is powered by evil. I am not much of a writer, but my energy is strong. The vision to work for the good, to protest, the vision to stay strong, the vision to keep working every day. Rant over.

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It isn't as much the vision as it is the focus. Someone* mentioned above that our various organizations are competing against each other for our donations , e.g. "do I send money to Planned Parenthood, the NAACP, the Georgia Democrats, or towards climate organizations". I love the title of "Economic Democracy." We need focus, not vision.

*I was being lazy and choosing not to go look for the post. Then I realized that I often get HCR LFAA notifications from "someone". It tickled my funnybone.

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YES! FOCUS & MESSAGE!

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Yes Bonnie, we have a vision, but, we have never had compelling messages that people instantly recognize and connect to. Where is our “It’s morning in America”

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How about. DEMOCRATS: We do not lie, cheat or are stealing your country from you. DEMOCRATS: Working for YOU THE PEOPLE!

“It’s morning in America”. It is not morning in America the sun is setting on America! DEMOCRATS: Making sure the light is alway shining bright on America’s FREEDOM,

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Um, the things you listed as a “vision” for democrats is actually a list of things they have failed to actualize., not because they made a fierce effort but came up short, but because they have cared much more about legislating to please big money corporate donors than they have about the majority of the voting public that could be a passionately supportive base if they felt they were actually represented by the Democratic Party. Having a “vision” is simple, present, promote and pass into law meaningful policies that serve the basic human needs of your constituents. Is that so fucking hard?

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You are so right. Got to listen to Lakoff. Also worth a read is "Mission Economy" by Mariana Mazzucato. Dems can't articulate an overarching grand challenge nor an associated mission. Sorry, my cynic pills have kicked in today.

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I agree. As much as I like Biden, I think we need a Lincoln or an FDR.

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I feel that Biden has the values and policies which can be all tied together in, say, and “Economy Democracy” vision, and ask that all groups and individuals whoa re about an equitable economy and safe planet work together toward this ... one vision ... of an economy that works for the planet and its people. What do ya think? (Biden has even challenged capitalism -corporations - to provide more competition and therefore innovation, and rely less of merger mania for their profits)

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I've been wondering ever since I read "Dark Money" & Democracy in Chains" If the liberal side has put as much money in to politics. By that I mean the more than politicians. This post by Frederick implies that there isn't a big overarching program.

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YES, Betsy I feel you are correct. Lakoff said that ‘Democrats were just not interested in investing in the infrastructure (think tanks) to turn out a comprehensive vision (and the organize around it'

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Agreed. Sometimes I think we are just trying to solve too many problems at once for a coherent vision. The movement conservatives have only one issue: Get power and retain it. How? Much easier than trying to fix everything -- lie, cheat and steal. Simplicity itself.

An old playbook that Gingrich updated very effectively.

What kind of comprehensive vision do you have in mind, for a coalition of well intentioned people who will not play dirty? We need one.

I think we have an interim one by default: crush the republicans and take back our country. However, what would you suggest after that?

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Gus, to crush the Republicans we must first pass the For the People Act - a strong enough version of it. Manchin has created one. Let's see it. Voters' Rights has to come first.

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Exactly what FairFight and Indivisible are doing.

Voter's Rights is necessary for crushing. Without the vote, all crushing stops. Got it.

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“Economic Democracy”

Gus, speak of the rights guaranteed by the Preamble and the Pledge of Allegiance. THIS is Democracy. Secondly, speak to the ill affects of cpaitialsim - far too many people left behind, and far too many milking the system to get all they can.

Gus - just TWO points. Economics. And Democracy. PUT THEM TOGETHER

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Excellent goal.

Democrats need a strategic vision to take back our country first, something that will drive and guide us to that goal. Maybe I am missing the point. I love your synthesis, and that is why I was asking you to elaborate.

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Thanks Gus; I appreciate your interest. With all fo thos, we get to DEFINE our terms.. WE define them. This is framing.

On the economics of “Free Market Capitalism”. What exactly is “free”? Conservatives LOVE FMC - why is this? LIMITED GOVERNMENT (Limited Democracy)Well then , WE say:

“It is free of taxation for those who get away with this. It is free of regulation - for those who skirt them. It is FREE from responsibility, who those who deem to skirt them” --- THIS is what conservatives mean in actual terms. THIS is what is meant by “limited government” - OTHERS take responsibility; OTHERS pay taxes; OTHERS play bt the regulations and take care of the earth, pay fair wages, etc. This is what we call “the Conservative Sham-Scam!"

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Integrity, working strong for your America!

AMERICA! DEMOCRATS are marching strong around the walls os Jericho to bring down corruption, cheating, lies, deceit, and the criminals set on destroying our country. Oh yes and to get that thug out of the Post Office!

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Frederick, I get it. And you are so right. Thanks.

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Thanks Lynell. A subtext that Biden is onto is this: “Capitalism DOES NOT work for everyone. There are many ‘losers.’ But Democracy MUST work for everyone. And so therefore, an Economic Democracy is ensures everyone is able to contribute” Or something like this

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Good points made here, Frederick.

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I have health insurance now. But I agree with you.

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To your last line: preacher, preach!

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Note to The Lincoln Project—offer your messaging services to the Dems. Since you helped create the current situation as former repubs, turn the tables!

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Hopefully now that Joe Trippi has joined The Lincoln Project, they can start to do that.

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That's good news. I don't think the Lincoln Project should be officially working inside Democratic campaigns, though. Better they stay separate. There are fewer limits on what they can say.

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The Dems are too nice. Always bringing an NPR tote bag and coffee mug to a mud wrestling match. Big hat, no cattle.

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The image the conjures Charlie!

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The economically disposessed who form the bulk of the former president's support should stop fearfully looking downward on those climbing the ladder a rung or two below them and start looking upward to identify their true oppressors, the movement conservatives who keep putting grease on the rungs. That should be the Democratic message. The real answer is tax reform resulting in a redistribution of wealth which takes the power away from those presently at the top of the ladder, but that is not yet happening.

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Jack, Bingo! The grand challenge is the reduction of social (economic, status, power) inequality. By whatever means necessary.

From a slightly more spiritual perspective: https://media.awakeningtowholeness.net/a-meditation-on-the-three-poisons/

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YES Jack, and that fits the narrative, “Economic Democracy"

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YES! It all fits! Brilliant Frederick!

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The Dems too often act like they wish the Repubs would act. They want to set the example of the kind of governance they want to see. It hasn't worked.

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Morning, Stuart! You have explained it well. It's hard for me to keep all these truisms in the forefront of my brain while trying to grab onto that one thing that's going to propel us forward. Thanks for your insights.

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Well said.

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Stuart, you’ve nailed it.

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In HCR's video chat today [8/03/2021], she mentioned that her whole purpose for writing these Letters is to help change how people think, help change the trajectory of the narrative. Our job is to make our voices heard, amplify HCR's assertion of facts, truth, and fairness that keep a democratic process going. As Biden said, we [Democrats] “have to keep making our case,” while Republicans offer “nothing but fear, lies, and broken promises.”

The Biden Administration continues to enact programs that improve the lives of common people--reduce poverty, support infrastructure and jobs, fight Covid--programs that even many Republicans begrudgingly appreciate. It's not about targeting Republican voters, but about attracting the Independents in the middle. Actions speak louder than words.

For anyone feeling pessimistic about the Republican lies, disinformation, and gaming the system to gain power, keep eyes wide open, and keep hope. Heather, with her expertise about Republicans and today's politics, noted, "So long as I am writing these Letters...you can know that I believe we still have hope."

How to do our part? Keep bombarding elected officials with what we want (particularly the seemingly hopeless sycophants). Keep setting the good example to those enraptured by ignorance. Run for office (!) and support others who are running for office, especially local and state candidates. Energize each other!

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Ellie, General statements, such as:

'Trump and his loyalists feed off Americans who have been dispossessed economically since the Reagan revolution that began in 1981 started the massive redistribution of wealth upward. Those disaffected people, slipping away from the secure middle-class life their parents lived, are the natural supporters of authoritarians who assure them their problems come not from the systems leaders have put in place, but rather from Black people, people of color, and feminist women.' (The Letter)

are not the meat and bones needed to communicate to the victims of this transfer of wealth. It doesn't seem realistic to expect subscribers to break this down in bite size, pieces so that people can get their teeth into the swindle and mentally absorb it. There are sources in the form of books, reports and other materials with which messengers can unfold the truth concerning the country's opportunities and the reasons behind its social and economic challenges.

This is the other piece, too long in coming, which Biden, the Democratic Party, the free-press and advocates of democracy need to deliver.

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Energize each other, and use these nuggets to chip away at the more reasonable of the former guy's followers to plant the seeds of knowledge in their barren fields of hate, and fertilize it with information rather than sound bites.

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I kinda like that approach.

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Exactly Ellie and many thanks for this clear statement

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Yes, Ellie, exactly.

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Because as long as they think they are better than others (e.g. POC) they won’t acknowledge their shared condition.

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As long as they think there is “not enough to go around” and they must protect their culture and livelihoods from “invasion” and “replacement”…. (?)

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Life is not a "zero sum game," despite what T..... would have had you believe.

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Agreed. And this is not based on reality, of course, but based on fear. This is the fear that first "there is not enough to go around", then accepting this, there must be those who are far less deserving. Finding such a group, confirmation bias sets in. What you see is what you want or need to see.

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It is the same policy that convinced poor whites to support slavery.

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Is this true, Claudia, with regard to what we are seeing with today's Democrats? The For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the Infrastructure bill. Just want to know your thoughts.

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For some, yes. The way we have the system set up a simple majority in Congress/Senate doesn't cut it anymore. We have the filibuster that has been streamlined so it can be invoked without anyone having to stand up and speak tediously providing a spectacle for all to see. It can be done semi-secretly. It is essentially minority rule. No longer can a simple majority prevail. It takes a 60 vote super-majority which is impossible these days.

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I think it is a cultural mental health problem for many. In any case, this really needs to be understood better. From where we sit, it is so hard to understand what seems obvious. I'm sure there is no one answer. The repubs also have always peddled fear and anti-change.

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That is because there are more Democrats than Republicans so peddling fear and anti-change is their power source.

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Yesterday I heard a Missouri resident on NPR stating that there was no trouble with prices going up til Biden came in office. Perception is reality. And we can help that perception one story at a time, by not being angry or pushy. Calm the waters, but get in Good Trouble when necessary.

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Actually, they are not incorrect in that perception. Since the Reagan era, democrats sadly convinced themselves that their path to future victories and legislative success was to be more like republicans and rake in big money from corporate donors who were not donating to them out of the goodness of their hearts or a belief in “democratic” principles. Those donors wanted legislation that benefited them, the will and the needs of the people be damned. Had the Obama administrative wielded the power it was handed to deliver the “Hope and Change” they had promised to a ready audience, the Republican Party might have crumbled into historic irrelevance by now.

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True...

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While many Americans feel they are slipping backwards, a lot of Trump supporters are doing very well. Areas in Maine that have suffered mill shutdowns, have communities with new economies based on new wood products businesses, tourism, real estate, commercial. It's not well balanced for everyone but they aren't supporting Trump because they are poor. They may be supporting him because FOX has conditioned them to be fearful and hateful of others, people and places they don't go to, people not like them.

We don't have an open, inviting and supportive culture as we pretend to be.

Trump supporters in business have the connections to take advantage of government funds. They will take them, but often don't need them. They prefer not to let others have them. We could see this in the pandemic funding. Those greatest in need had the least access.

There has always been a desire for white strong men leading our communities and nation. Democracy is hard work. Fewer and fewer Americans are willing to do the work and share the benefits. FDR was a strong white man. He did great things, seemingly from his singular position of power. But fortunately did not destroy democracy. Trump is FDR's antithesis. But of course the only thing Trump could or did do was serve himself. But he created an image that seemed to his supporters as serving them.

People like Stacy Abrams are the quintessential democracy builders. We need people like her in every classroom of America, in every town hall, in every newspaper and media program. Her inspirational talks grow out of her work, not merely out of thin air like so many politicians.

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I watched a piece on the news over a week ago in the lead-up to the eviction moratorium deadline. The reporter followed one renter trying to gain access to government assistance. The application process was so daunting for her and others, that they will give up. There was a course put on by some organization (I forgot what org that was) to teach people (she took the course) how to navigate the application maze. I was like, really?

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Yes, Lynell, you are right in pointing out this travesty. But another one, not published as extensively, is all of the corporate landlords who received CARES/PPP money in the millions who are now trying to evict their tenants. Disgusting.

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Apparently, Oregon has a pile of money for the rent problem, but for some reason has distributed very little of it. We were musing last night why this was. Part of it here is antiquated computer systems which made unemployment help a nightmare. I also think part of it is the fact that WA state for example paid out a lot of unemployment to scammers. A lot of rules that people find obstructive have to do with crooks trying to take advantage. And yes, many agencies are underfunded.

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Michele, this is the case with pretty much every state. They are all sitting on millions of dollars earmarked to help out people who are in danger of being evicted and making it almost impossible to access those funds.

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That’s what I do not understand in HCR’s letter today. The moratorium CDC put on eviction…while government has chance to help get allotted funds to them.

What govt are they talking about? Federal agency? Are they going to override State agency and get this pathway opened up for renters and landlords?

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Have you tried dealing with the IRS lately? It's a nightmare, mostly because they are so underfunded that it takes a near miracle to get a human being to investigate mistakes made by their automated programs. Kafka would feel at home in this world.

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I am reminded of something one of my LMTs told me years ago. A wealthy person he knew made some political donations to Ds. He was an architect and soon was informed by the local business community that if he continued to do so, they would not send any business his way. This kind of under the table pressure goes on all the time. My neighbor is a retired banker and he also has stories about how contracts, bids, etc. work to favor those in power. My final story is about a local business called Got Junk and they would come out and collect junk that wouldn't fit into garbage, yard waste, or recycling bins. They weren't in business long before the local garbage monopolies objected and put them out of business. Now if you have junk, they will come out and collect it for whatever fee they want. These folks leave no stone unturned and so much for free enterprise they tout so much.

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In my little village, if someone offers a lower price, the competitors gang up on them and threaten bodily harm unless they charge the same price.

At the election of bosrd members at the local coop, there is no opposition on the ballot. Members must check the names anyway and are solemnly thanked afterwards for your support.

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