As a historian, I am bemused by instant analyses after a political (or football) event. The Democrats are ‘frantic and had a disastrous game plan’ because of what occurred in the Virginia or New Jersey (where polls had Governor Murphy comfortably ahead) elections. Were I to analyze election results in Southold NY (Congressman Lee Zeldin’s territory—his major distinction with Trump sycophant Jim Jordan is that Zeldin wears a jacket), I would find that the Democrats have scored a resounding victory by ousting a long-entrenched Republican government.

“White back lash”in Virginia, still studying the entrails of the NJ results, mass repudiation of President Biden—-blah, blah, blah. Of course, when election results are disappointing, there is an immediate blame game. However, this is a four-quarter ‘game,’ and an agile quarterback, as is President Biden, is capable of getting his team more focused before half time in 2022. The Democrat cat fight over the physical and social infrastructure bills was debilitating for all to see. Quarterback Biden seems capable of giving several recalcitrant Dems in Congress catnip to obtain some of the most significant legislation since LBJ’s Great Society.

Many Americans are distressed by the ups-and-downs of the pandemic (in which the Biden administration has performed admirably, after the previous quarterback was dismissed). The supply snafu, which is world wide, may impede Christmas shopping, but by mid-2022 consumers should again be happy, the economy should be growing robustly, and President Biden’s quarterbacking is likely to be applauded for his PROMISES MADE/RESULTS DELIVERED as contrasted to Republican cheap shots and policy-less braying.

Traditionally the party that’s in the White House loses Congressional seats in mid-term elections. However, this is not written in stone nor are these traditional times. I am not in a funk at the end of the first quarter. My team has a seasoned quarterback with a flexible playbook. I have a bag of popcorn and a beer in hand, as I await the second quarter.

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1. JD Vance is a hypocrite. His entire point in the book that gave him this platform was that education, especially at the college level, made the difference for him. Who’s giving that to him if not the professors?

2. The trick is going to be reminding people that by not voting, they become less equal. Every time a person doesn’t vote, they make the vote of someone else more powerful.

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Last night I voted in person in Minneapolis. To my great surprise, I wasn’t registered! I always vote, I’m always registered…. I don’t know why I wouldn’t be? Luckily, my husband was with me and vouched for my address, therefore I was able to register on the spot, and get my vote in before the polls closed. I just wanted to share this with you all, because I felt like it was awfully sketchy! If I had voted by mail, what would have happened?

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Let us all be clear, practicing, supporting, teaching, and failing to actively oppose discrimination against or suppression of any group of our neighbors and fellow travelers on this orb we call earth because of the color of their skin, place of birth, ethnicity, religion or none that they practice, their economic circumstances, who they love, or what sex the believe themselves to be is simply wrong by any moral code you may choose to believe. There is no acceptable excuse for such attitudes or behavior.

Those who believe such discrimination or suppression is acceptable diminish the quality of life for us all, including themselves. Such reprehensible behavior is to be identified and called out by name for what it is. We should neither tolerate or excuse it for anything other than what it is. We must teach our young that we are all entitled to equal respect and opportunity. Opposing a moral code that promotes such teachings is evil in whatever time it occurs - in history, at present, or in the future.

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As Robert Hubbell quotes Dan Rather, "fatalism has never been a winning strategy." So we dust ourselves off, regroup, and get back to work.


Here is some 11/02/2021 progressive down ballot inspiration:


Tips to be "ruthlessly patriotic" in clear messaging for democracy:


"People need to know what we stand for...in six words or less." From a woman some are nominating to chair the DNC.


Pick 6 words. Okay, 7 bullet points. The Build Back Better Act delivers:

1. Childcare

2. Universal pre-k

3. Affordable housing

4. Lower prescription costs

5. Monthly payments per child

6. Home and community based care

7. Millions of good-paying jobs

...this list from a Democrat who knows what she's talking about.


Go forth and amplify!

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As Dr. Richardson's daily accounts for future readers, historians, and all those who would be aware and wish to know their past mount, I'm finding it very hard to live through the present with anything akin to mental health or hope. Curiously, I take some (ironic) comfort in knowing my awareness, too, may have always been one hoped for outcome of the message in a bottle sent to us by those in the past who monitored and recorded historical events. I feel deep in grief for my country, something I know many others currently share--and many, many diverse people have felt in the past. They survived (or perhaps did not), as I will (or will not), and my hope is that the fight we are in now leads to a fairer, more just future comprised of more equity under the law and less grieving. It's a good reason to keep hoping and fighting.

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What I see is a forest fire.

In 2016 - 2020, arsonists set the fire. The original arsonists are now largely out of the picture. They still make incendiary noise, but the media are slowly forgetting them.

But the fire continues to burn. It is no longer built on accelerants and incendiaries: it has now caught in the forest itself. It is no longer an arsonist president throwing racist gasoline: it is racism itself, burning in Congress and in communities.

This, too, will burn itself out in time, though at tremendous cost and destruction. Like a forest fire, the details are unpredictable. One house burns to ash; the neighboring house is untouched. One state will be well-governed by sensible policy; another will be poorly-governed on the politics of resentment, political graft, and naked corruption. We can name the ones that are burning now.

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I have found it necessary to turn off the radio--or switch to music--in the last few days because of the idiocy even of the NPR reporting on election results. This is clear to me: the fact that Rethuglicans are "disciplined" in their "messaging"--whether it is full of race-baiting, sexism, and antisemitism or not--makes it easy to present them as an organized political body, but the fact that Democrats are extremely varied in their political stances, are promoting a wide variety of strategies and options, and are in love with undercutting each other even when the stakes are super high that they remain a united front against the Forces of Evil, means that media presentations of their activities can be full of melodrama, hand-wringing, and dire predictions of mayhem,. This is not a comparison between equal messaging, which the Fairness Act was supposed to require. It is an unequal contest because people are addicted to rubbernecking (as the traffic guys in NYC love to call it when there is an accident during rush hour) and easily ignore the real existential threats.

The results of this election cycle of 2021 were decidedly mixed, and they absolutely reflect the whiplash levels off confusion a lot of Americans feel. Turnout was lousy, which always helps the radical right, but even so, in a lot of places, Dems came out on top by presenting highly localized rational plans. These are too complex and varied to be able to be put into a single sound-bite. It is far easier for the reporting to simplify the contests to race-baiting, dog whistles, and the "failure" of the Dems. This misrepresents every single contest that occurred this year. But media outlets don't care. They can't make money by presenting the real complexities of people's lives.

Here's an example: NPR ran a good story this morning on the stupidity of state legislators who are demanding that physicians prescribe ivermectin, even though it is a dangerous drug that does NOTHING to help Covid patients. But instead of presenting clear clinical information about WHY ivermectin doesn't do anything, and WHY the snake oil salesmen pushing it are doing so, they went with the sound bites of embattled, exhausted, and irritated physicians trying to get a word in edgewise while self-important s***s in government shout them down. You can claim that the shortness of the news cycle is the reason for this kind of reporting. I say it is because it is the easiest thing to do. The end result was that NPR posed a "do you trust doctors or do you trust politicians?" question, instead of reporting legitimately on this issue.

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“The professors are the enemy,” Nixon said. It's clear the Republicans in their quest to rewrite history and quash democracy want to control what young people know and the way they think. Why? Professors have a superpower. They can open those maturing young minds to the way the world has been, is now, and could be in the future. Well, not just young minds. Heather has been opening a lot of our minds since she began her letters.

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Morning, all!! Morning, Dr. R!!

I received the following thank-you message from Lissa Savaglio, Chair of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee:

"I am sure I am not alone in my disappointment in last night's elections. This election was so deeply important for us, for our neighbors, and for our communities. Our progress comes not in a straight line, but in a jagged path. As we zig and zag along that path, Loudoun Democrats delivered up and down the ballot.

"Loudoun Democrats held every House of Delegates seat in Loudoun.

"Loudoun Democrats delivered a double-digit county victory for our statewide candidates.

"Loudoun Democrats won 7 of 8 magisterial districts.

"Loudoun Democrats delivered the most votes to a statewide Democratic ticket in modern history."

While this is heartening news, it is clear our message needs to be better focused to ensure we keep the ground gained by the new voting rights laws Virginians enacted this year.



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Today's/last night's election-results seem to indicate that the Democrats need a better message than, "[opposition Republican] is a Trumper." From the sources I trust, the election in VA was more about the sleeping D voters or the milquetoast messaging (see above) that was the only motivation to vote D. Same thing in NJ. Poor D turnout in a state that has 1 MILLION more D's and it should not have been close.

That said, I think it underscores that the on-the-fence voters need to see more effective governance from the D's since they have it, for now, but have produced little. There are various reasons for that lack of production (at least production as observed) but it is now a bellwether for the mid-terms that should not be ignored. This was a free-pass to see what motivates both sides, frankly. R's are going to laud the result in VA and claim it's the new wave of conservatism or at least the assessment of Biden. I am not sure which is more accurate, but locally we saw validation of policing (rebranding the Minneapolis Police Department failed) and a validation of taxpayers supporting MORE MONEY for schools. D's should understand that and learn from what the voters support in those limited areas that they can take intel from.

Public-policing and schools are on the minds of voters. Public safety and Education are hot. Two subjects that are hard for D's to support simultaneously: but that is the will of the voters, here. Our much-maligned Mayor of Minneapolis who had the horrible task of being Mayor before during and after the murder of George Floyd, has emerged victorious and he is nominally a D and also supported his police department, a very polarizing position here. And this is a Mayor who chose to abandon a police-station in the midst of the Floyd-riots. A tough tough deal.

When the dollars ultimately flow to red states from the infrastructure plan and some of Biden's agenda hit locales, his numbers will rise, but for now the right-wing media will fixate on the costs of the social program prior to it becoming law.

I find it FASCINATING that nobody I know objects to the Freedom to Vote Act... not a single R or conservative friend...not one... it seems to be an objection purely-driven by that good -Senator from Kentucky and tied to a litmus-test within his own party, but not from the voters. Hmmmm.

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There he goes again. J D Vance using his childhood trauma as a weapon on the side of evil. The list is long and mighty of those who reacted to their childhood trauma but did so on behalf of the good for others. Rest in peace John Lewis.

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"Yesterday, at the National Conservatism Conference, J. D. Vance, who is running for the Senate from Ohio, quoted Richard Nixon’s statement that 'The professors are the enemy.'"

Now, that's funny, coming from a Yale-educated individual! And wisdom from Richard Nixon to boot! Why not quote Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot while he's at it?

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I think it's a shame that the Democratic party isn't able to rally behind their president and demonstrate their ability to govern, instead bickering endlessly about myriad details of omnibus bills on infrastructure and social programs. While negotiation and compromise are the grist of the legislative process, strength in the face of opposition is also a virtue in the political calculus. Biden has shown his willingness to compromise on legislation he deems critical for the nation's interest. Why is it that a tiny fraction of his congressional party colleagues think that endless resistance is of higher individual value in the long run than showing partisan strength approaching the midterms? Perhaps the better strategy would have been a whole series of narrow, single issue bills with the expectation that 80% would pass and the other 20% could be revisited in a year or two.

I don't hardly see results of this 2021 election as a disaster for Democrats, rather more of a search for the most provocative headline story(s) by the media to pump for the purpose of garnering viewers and advertisers.

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Thanks for the post.

Today's Republicans aren't interested in policies that will help the U.S. population. Why? Because most Republican voters easily take to race-baiting the way bees take to honey (for bees and humankind this this is a healthy symbiosis), for racially anxious conservatives and outright racists such easy baiting and ignorance will spell their doom.

On the other hand, many progressives won contests on the municipal level, and, as you stated, New Jersey's Democratic governor has been reelected.

I continue to have hope.

Thank you.

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Today’s letter showing the world history of authoritarian suppression of democracy and particularly the racist, classist history of the removal of democracy by white Southerners during the American Apartheid, just reinforces this nagging feeling that I am living a nightmare with no end.

The 14th Amendment is still in the Constitution and the Dept. of Justice is supposedly still there, so where are the enforcers of voter rights from the Federal Government? Since the Madman was evicted from the White House, his Repugnant Party Cult of followers has become more insane trying to wrest control of the Federal Government WITH IMPUNITY. When that didn’t work, they have blatantly taken over the state elections by using the BIG LIE projection that voting was not secure and made laws to suppress voting.

Now the Fascist Governor of Florida is instituting his own Brown Shirt Goon Squad to “enforce” voter restrictions that even the tepid local CBS news says is unwarranted. (They finally woke up to the nightmare that has been going on since January) They even showed the demagoguery of DeathSantis crude partisan chanting in which he reveled like those despots before him.

The Dems are unsuccessfully arguing over bipartisanship, (with 2 Fifth Column operatives in their own ranks) while the Repugnant Party condones the successful removal of democracy. This is my daily nightmare, seeing all the progress of equality that has been painfully gained in my long life being systematically destroyed by the fascists in government and the intimidation of their insane cult following in the streets and soon to be in official uniforms to monitor how we vote. AND NO ONE SEEMS CAPABLE OF STOPPING IT.

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