SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

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The Romulan Republic
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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-04-25 09:59am

Some mention I feel is also due of Andrew Yang, a Democratic contender who is supporting universal basic income:

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/20 ... look-like/
April 15, the day tax returns are due to the IRS, is always an easy moment for politicians to grandstand about their plans to change how the government collects money. And on this year’s Tax Day last Monday, long-shot presidential candidate Andrew Yang hosted a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to push for the central plan of his 2020 campaign: offering a “universal basic income,” a monthly payment of $1,000 to every adult in the country.

“I was drawn to his campaign because I am one of many freelancers who needs a dependable tomorrow,” said Rachel Spellman, a local artist and “Yang Gang” member, before Yang took the stage. Another supporter, Dave Han, put it more bluntly: “No other candidate is going to cut that check. Andrew Yang will cut that check for all of us.”

Yang’s speech during his visit to Washington, DC, focused heavily on his Freedom Dividend, which would guarantee $1,000 a month in cash payments to every US citizen over the age of 18. Unlike existing welfare programs that are bound by means testing and tax status, and restricted in use, UBI could offer Americans of all income levels cash assistance. “Our welfare programs are designed to be difficult. They’re not designed for the recipients top of mind,” Yang said in an interview with Mother Jones. “The truth is we just need to get more money into people’s hands and that’s what will improve people’s lives.”

But to receive UBI, citizens would have to choose between the $1,000 or any existing welfare benefits—potentially including Social Security, disability insurance, food stamps, and housing assistance. And it’s unclear whether Yang’s UBI would be worth that trade-off for many low-income families, instead leaving the program as a boost to middle- and upper-income people. Yang’s press secretary, Madalin Sammons, could not provide a “full list of programs…but health care is definitely not considered part of someone’s current benefits when talking about the Freedom Dividend.”

From a macroeconomic perspective—looking at how the plan would impact the economy as a whole—UBI would likely grow the economy, regardless of how much it costs or how you fund it. A study from the left-leaning Roosevelt Institute examined three UBI plans ($1,000 a month per adult, $500 a month per adult, or $250 a month per child), and researchers found that all three resulted in higher spending power for lower-income Americans. (Though the report, unlike Yang’s proposal, did not take into account people needing to give up other social safety benefits to qualify for UBI.)

“It would be a tremendous reorientation of the social safety net away from families with children.”
For welfare experts, this is where cash benefits can become a boon. “There are certain programs in place currently, which are deeply paternalistic, that tell the poor how to spend their money,” says Rakeen Mabud, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. “That paternalism, I think, goes away to some degree, when you replace some of those programs, the cash transfer program.”

“There’s a wealth of literature of the effectiveness of cash transfers over ad hoc [welfare] programs,” says Samuel Hammond, a researcher at the Niskanen Center who studies poverty.

Unlike welfare programs, UBI would also be much more straightforward to execute. “One of the issues we face is most people do not participate in every program they’re eligible for,” Elaine Maag, a senior research associate at the Tax Policy Center, tells Mother Jones. “In some cases, you might meet eligibility requirements but the program might not be fully funded.”

Because of uneven participation rates and funding, it can be difficult to directly compare how much the average welfare participant would gain or lose by taking a $1,000-a-month UBI instead of current safety-net programs. According to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities, a single parent of two making the federal minimum wage would be eligible for $435 in food stamps per month. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits vary by state, but according to CBPP research, benefits for a single-parent family of three can range from as little as $170 in Mississippi to $1,039 in New Hampshire. Social Security, while disproportionately benefiting seniors, also has an enormous reach in lifting families out of poverty: According to CBPP, Social Security annually lifts more than 1 million children out of poverty.

“Our pure welfare programs are not really generous to begin with now. So I don’t know how many people would lose benefits,” says Jesse Rothstein, a professor of public policy and economics at the University of California-Berkeley. “But it would be a tremendous reorientation of the social safety net away from families with children.”

In a February working paper co-authored with economist Hilary W. Hoynes, Rothstein found that while a “generous UBI” could replace the need for most welfare programs, it could also run the risk of redistributing funds away from the lowest-income families. The loss of disability benefits and Social Security would almost certainly put seniors and households with disabilities at a disadvantage.

“We certainly don’t want to just throw the baby out with the bathwater,” says Mabud of the Roosevelt Institute. “Cash is valuable in and of itself in reducing inequality. It certainly is not enough. We need more than just cash-transfer programs to help reduce what we’re seeing around the country.”

When asked if UBI should work with other economic policies, Yang expressed support for initiatives like a child tax credit. Yang also endorses paid family leave. “The only reason I advocate for UBI over other plans…is the timing of payment issues, bureaucracy. We’re putting people into better positions to succeed if we get them cash on a regular basis to rely on,” says Yang.

UBI isn’t exactly a new idea. From Thomas Paine to Richard Nixon, thinkers across the political spectrum have touted ideas for a guaranteed income for centuries. Similar existing programs, like the monthly share of the state’s oil revenue that Alaskans receive, also show that UBI would be unlikely to discourage people from working. In recent years, the idea of a universal basic income, or a guaranteed monthly payment from the government to everyone in the country, has gained popularity with over 50 percent support from voters under 50.

“The thing that’s changed is both an appetite for bigger bolder ideas and also the automation debate, the future of work debate,” says Hammond. “And that’s clearly how Andrew Yang uses it. I think UBI is as much a specific policy proposal as it is for him to talk about the mass automation of jobs, the struggles of the blue collar working class economy.”

There are already smaller, perhaps more implementable versions catching on in Congress. For instance, the American Family Act, which would expand the current child tax credit to more Americans and give families up to $300 a month per child, has the majority support of Democrats in the House and Senate. While 2020 candidate Sen. Kamala Harris doesn’t have a UBI plan, she did introduce legislation to provide “middle class and working families with a tax credit of up to $6,000 a year—or up to $500 a month—to address the rising cost of living.”

Sen. Cory Booker has also proposed some innovative solutions to generational poverty. His American Opportunity Accounts Act would give every child a savings account with $1,000, with the government making subsequent annual payments up to $2,000 a year depending on family income until the child is 18. At that point, the recipient could use the money for “allowable” expenses like college or buying a home. Booker has also introduced a plan to expand eligibility and refund amounts for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Proposals like Harris’ could fix one of the biggest drawbacks with the current tax-credit system: It’s distributed just once a year in a lump sum. “A monthly payment would be responsive to that because it would provide you a base income you can rely on no matter what’s going on with your lives,” says Maag.

And unlike in 2016, when Hillary Clinton considered running on a version of UBI but considered it too much of a moonshot, economic reform seems to be a key policy point in 2020.

Yang, who wrote a book about how automation will change the job market, is fully committed to the policy. “By the time this campaign is over we will have others advocating for UBI, but most politicians are risk-averse. The majority of Democrats at the polls already support UBI,” Yang tells Mother Jones. “My job is to show everyone this is the future, it is inevitable. The sooner we get across the finish line, the sooner we can end this human suffering.”
Despite the flaws in his plan, he's at least drawing attention to an essential economic issue that until recently was barely being discussed (I had never heard that Hillary considered it in 2016, though I'm not surprised she chickened out in typical Centrist Hillary fashion), especially given he's now polling at three percent, tied with or ahead of a number of big name candidates (as mentioned in the following article). I also think there's a lot to recommend Corey Booker's proposal (and Harris's, though it is far more modest in scope, and certainly doesn't qualify as UBI).

At least UBI is now an actual issue in American Presidential politics. I don't expect it to win the day this time around, but even having it as a subject for serious consideration in Presidential politics is a big step forward. You can't win the argument when there's no debate.

Of course, that's not to say that Yang would be a good candidate- there are considerable reasons to doubt that, including his utter lack of political experience, his general kookiness, and more disturbingly, the fact that white supremacists seem to be drawn to his campaign (though he has disavowed them, he has also echoed some of their rhetoric about the shrinking white demographic). I think its pretty clear that the weird merger of the fringe Left and fringe Right that we saw with Bernie or Bust is still going strong, sad to say:

https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/17/1840 ... it-twitter
ANDREW YANG IS THE CANDIDATE FOR THE END OF THE WORLD
He’s a fringe presidential hopeful who thinks automation is the country’s greatest threat — and the answer is to give every American human $1,000 a month
By Russell Brandom Apr 17, 2019, 8:00am EDT
Photography by Amelia Holowaty Krales

Andrew Yang can’t quite believe he’s running for president. On a chilly Wednesday night at Boston Common, he’s speaking to a crowd of more than 500, the kind of audience most outsider candidates would kill for. His staff has primed the crowd to respond, telling us to cheer “math” when he talks numbers and leading us in a three-beat cheer. “An! Drew! Yang! An! Drew! Yang!”

When Yang gets on the bandstand, he seems to find the whole thing sort of funny. “Chant! My! Name!” he yells back. “Chant! My! Name!”

Yang has been campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination all year, but audiences like this have only started to show up in the past couple weeks. The tipping point was an appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast in February. It was a deep, analytic, two-hour interview, which is catnip for Rogan’s Reddit-centric audience. Yang’s pitch was simple: automation is destroying American jobs, and we need a president with some kind of answer. If you believe that, the robot-obsessed startup guy could be your only option.

Yang’s answer looks a lot like socialism, although he doesn’t use the word himself. The centerpiece of Yang’s campaign is a $1,000 monthly check to every person in America, paid for with a Nordic-style Value Added Tax. That’s normally called a basic income, although the Yang campaign calls it a “freedom dividend,” since focus group testing found the idea was more popular in the language of corporate ownership. Left-wing think tanks like the Roosevelt Institute and Data for Progress have been pushing a basic income for years as an alternative to the current labyrinth of federal aid programs, but Yang is the first presidential candidate to build a campaign around it.

The Boston crowd is mostly techies and earnest college kids. I catch a few whiffs of weed but nothing unreasonable given the venue. An iRobot engineer is holding up a “Humanity First” sign. (“People say immigrants are taking the jobs,” he tells me, “but really it’s me.”) Farther back, a man named Joe is selling bootleg Yang2020 hats, copies of the “vaporwave” hats used in Yang memes. According to his Etsy store, he’s made 10 sales online, with at least two more made in person at the rally.

In the eastern corner, a group of four visibly libertarian stragglers is gathered by a green, vaguely fascist Kekistan flag, one of 4chan’s many in-jokes. One holds up a Shepard Fairey-style portrait of Thomas Jefferson bearing the caption “I want YOU to end the Fed.” I present as a reasonable, sympathetic listener, and they seem genuinely surprised when I say the flag makes me nervous. When I first saw it, I thought they might be some obscure group of Irish Nazis.

“One guy got furious about that!” the larger libertarian says, not believing I could make the same mistake. “He got in my face and said, ‘This guy’s a fascist!’” He does a pantomimed finger-point, showing me how intense and unreasonable the man had been. “Come on,” he continues. “It’s a piece of cloth with some stripes.”

In the background, Yang is laying out the imminent threats to retail work, already half-crushed by the juggernaut of Amazon. “Unfortunately, the most common job in the United States is working in retail,” Yang says. He’s kicking into numbers mode, but there’s no pause and it’s hard to tell if we should be chanting “math” or not. The average retail worker makes less than $11 an hour, he tells us, and there are millions. “So when 30 percent of malls and stores close in the next four years, what is her next move going to be?”

This isn’t an applause line, and the crowd isn’t sure what to say. One man near me yells out weakly, “Die?”

Normally, a politician would be rousing here, angry, but Yang barely raises his voice. Like a good businessman, he acts like his feelings are beside the point. He’s coming back to the core pitch now, picking up momentum. “The first time you heard about me and the $1,000 a month you probably thought, ‘That sounds fantastic but it’s too far out,’” he tells the crowd, coming into the home stretch. “But then they think, ‘Wait a minute, he’s talking a lot of sense. Cars and trucks are going to drive themselves. AI is going to do a lot of the work. My mall did just close. Donald Trump is our president. I do have a supercomputer in my pocket. He is Asian.’”

There’s some laughter there, but he’s too wound up to slow down for it.

“And all this stuff starts clicking in their minds and they’re like, ‘Holy crap… He’s right… We should totally give ourselves $1,000 a month.’”

“We’re dealing with the devaluation of labor on an epic scale,” Yang says. “Relying on the market is going to get more and more destructive as it zeroes out more and more people.”

One on one, Yang’s self-deprecation makes more sense. He comes off like a fun boss, ready to make a few jokes to keep people listening, but quickly jumping back to the language of a pitch deck. When I ask him about his unusual rally style, he acknowledges it, but he has a hard time thinking of it as anything but the natural thing to do. “I have a very particular approach to things,” he says. “There are problems, and there are solutions.”

The business-minded approach makes sense: until recently, Yang was firmly on the executive track, moving from Phillips Exeter to Brown to Columbia Law, starting one company and serving as senior management in a string of others. In his 2018 book, The War on Normal People, he attributes his success to his ability to be “very good at standardized tests” — a weird brag, but a skill that ultimately put him in charge of the test preparation startup Manhattan GMAT. In 2009, the company was acquired by Kaplan, a huge windfall for anyone holding stock. He was 34.

Yang stayed on as CEO after the acquisition, but the flush of money set the stage for his next move. He had been troubled by all the young graduates going into banking or corporate law as a default, then growing disillusioned with their new careers while smaller cities withered for lack of ambitious young people. He imagined “an army of smart, enterprising graduates building businesses in Detroit, New Orleans, Providence, Baltimore, Cleveland, St. Louis, and other cities that could use a boost.” In 2011, he donated $120,000 of his own money to start Venture For America (VFA), an accelerator meant to build new startups and new jobs in emerging cities outside of coastal startup hubs.

Arriving at a moment of tech-fueled optimism, VFA was a hit, earning Yang the title of “Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship” from the Obama White House and a spot on the thought-leader circuit. Conferences and ideas festivals were eager to present VFA as a new hope for devastated regional economies, a way to solve social problems with the familiar tools of entrepreneurship and venture capital. That circuit came with immense opportunities, a chance to raise funds by peddling hope to the rich and powerful. At the same time, Yang was shaken by the social disintegration he saw in the cities VFA was trying to help. Detroit was still dying, and more cities were joining it each year, collapsing into drug addiction, poverty, and despair. The world of TED Talks and cocktail parties didn’t seem capable of doing anything about it — himself included. In his book, he says he was gripped by two nagging questions: “What the heck is happening to the United States?” and “Why am I becoming such a tool?”

When I ask Yang about that period, his frustration starts to show through. “Imagine being this celebrated entrepreneur,” he says, “and then feeling like your work is like a wall of sand in front of a tidal wave. And people keep asking, ‘How did you build the wall of sand?’”

“One of the things I pride myself on is a degree of intellectual honesty,” he continues. “So then if you say, ‘I honestly do not believe that I am solving the problem doing the work that I am doing,’ then you have to go to the drawing board and say, ‘How would I solve that set of problems?’”

The set of problems has hardened into a set of bleak statistics about America, which Yang summons up at a moment’s notice. The story starts with economics: The top 1 percent of earners have accrued more than half of US income growth over the past decade. Only 63 percent of Americans are actively engaged in full-time work, a number that’s stayed flat since 2014 while the nominal unemployment rate has plummeted. 62 percent of Americans say they wouldn’t be able to cover an emergency medical bill of $1,000 or more. One of Yang’s favorite statistics is that persistent financial insecurity lowers a person’s IQ by 13 points, making us more impulsive, less creative, and angrier.

That financial desperation is already destroying lives. For the first time in over a century, US life expectancy has declined for three years running, driven by a rise in opioid overdoses and suicides. A 2017 paper explored an unusual spike in the death rates of white men between 50 and 55, who had become 5 percent more likely to die from alcohol, drug use, or suicide since 2000. (Morbidity researchers classify these as “deaths of despair.”) Taken together, the numbers show us losing everything that makes us human: our intelligence, our sense of purpose, and, finally, our will to live.

Behind all of it, Yang sees automation, driven by the unstoppable will of the market. The story starts with the decline of American manufacturing, something politicians are used to talking about. But Yang thinks that decline is driven less by globalization and more by automated assembly lines, which have allowed the sector to maintain roughly the same output levels as 2007 while dropping nearly a million jobs. In a few years, self-driving freight trucks will follow, unlocking tens of billions of dollars for investors and displacing millions of truck drivers, to be followed shortly by cab drivers, clerks, service workers, and radiologists. There will be no profit motive to reintegrate them, no training program that can make their skills valuable again. Yang predicts an epidemic of depreciating human capital hitting profession after profession until society disintegrates, overwhelmed by the sheer volume of human despair.

It’s grim, with obvious echoes of Marx (who was writing about automation too). But where Marx saw a struggle between discrete classes, Yang sees a tidal wave hitting group after group in sequence. In his reading, no one is safe and we’re all in it together. “Relying on the market is going to get more and more destructive as it zeroes out more and more people,” he says, “unless we come together and build a different kind of economy as fast as possible. And the first concrete step in that direction is to give everyone $1,000 a month in cash.”

That unremitting bleakness has led some of the more rabid online fans to name Yang as the “chaos candidate,” a title previously held by Donald Trump. It’s an “accelerationist” idea, working from the premise that the present society cannot be saved. For accelerationists, the most humane course of action is to bring about collapse as quickly as possible, like ripping off a Band-Aid, to prepare for the next societal order.

I explain the idea to Yang, who seems to be hearing it for the first time.

“That’s highly interesting,” he says. “Is there a view of what that end state looks like?”

I tell him it’s hazy at best.

“Because to me, the end state looks unthinkably terrible,” he says, loading up the mental cache of numbers again. “Even now, we have an epidemic not just of drug overdoses, but of anxiety, depression, and mental health problems. If you load pervasive financial insecurity and scarcity on top, you will have a population that starts dying younger, is less rational, does not know what to do.”

He is looking off to the side in concentration now, his voice still low but more forceful. “People think Donald Trump is a problem. No, Donald Trump is a symptom of this ongoing transformation,” he says. “The path from here to figuring it out is fraught with a lot of misery and suffering. And right now, our political feedback mechanism in this country is breaking down... So the accelerationism idea, it might be satisfying, but do we really want to sit around and watch our society come apart?”

A politician’s sincerity is always in doubt, and Yang is more doubtable than most. This is his first campaign, his first venture in electoral politics of any kind. Before 2017, he had no history of anti-capitalist activism. It’s easy to paint him as a vanity candidate who is indulging in fashionable socialism to build his thought-leader credentials, like a smarter, more detail-oriented Howard Schultz. But describing this collapse in person, Yang seems genuinely shaken and moved to do something — anything — to stave off the collapse. If his campaign comes off as doomed or absurd, it’s simply because he didn’t know what else to do.

“That is literally what drove me to run for president,” Yang says. “I thought to myself, realistically, my choices are to watch the society come apart or try and galvanize energy around meaningful solutions.”

When I visit the Yang campaign in March, it’s in the middle of a fundraising tear, with more than $2 million raised including high-profile donations from Jack Dorsey, Noah Centineo, and Nicolas Cage. But the campaign still does most of its work out of a small office in New York’s Garment district, sharing the floor with a math-tutoring business and at least three fashion companies. One corner of the office has become a make-shift supply closet, stacked with coat hangers, tripods, brochures, and “Yang2020” bumper stickers.

It’s the deputy campaign manager’s second week on the job and another staffer’s second day. The new bodies are sorely needed: the campaign is still unwinding from a visit to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, where Yang had spoken alongside Eric Holder, Tom Perez, and Stacey Abrams. He’d arrived with only one campaign worker, which the team realized too late had left no comms staffer to hand out business cards and make connections with potential supporters and donors at the event.

Online, the landscape seems more favorable. Yang’s CNN town hall was announced just a few days earlier, and the meme crew quickly noted it would be on the same day as the return of Game of Thrones. The campaign’s digital director Andrew Frawley saw the chatter and started thinking about how to play off it, something that would get some viral lift. What if they put Yang on the Iron Throne, with a caption, “The Robots Are Coming”? There is an Iron Throne at the HBO Shop in Bryant Park, just a few blocks west. It would be easy enough to get a Jon Snow-style fur coat to drive the point home. Campaign manager Zach Graumann nixes the coat as off brand. Does he really need a photo at all? Photoshop would be faster and more authentic, and lots of online supporters are happy to do some quick cut-and-paste work on behalf of the campaign. The final product arrives a few days later on Yang’s Instagram and Twitter accounts, presenting the town hall and GoT premiere at 8PM and 9PM, like a two-hour doubleheader.

If that seems corny, it’s nothing compared to most of the Yang memes out there. A turn through the #YangGang Twitter tag shows a crying MAGA-hat Wojak finding comfort in a vaporwave Yang hat and a $1,000 bill. Another shows a blunt-smoking Elon Musk, with ghostly overlays of Harambe (a beloved gorilla slain by zookeepers in Cincinnati) and a Bombay Sapphire bottle. “Once we secure the bag,” the caption reads, “I can quit my job and rap about Harambe.”

If you’re under the age of 25, your first awareness of Andrew Yang probably came from an image like this, dropped in a Discord channel or a Reddit thread. For reasons that seem unclear even to the campaign, Yang has become the meme candidate. Most of the memes revolve around the promise of $1,000, simple enough to be the punchline at the bottom of an image macro.

By now, people make Yang memes because they’ve seen Yang memes. Some outsiders wonder if the campaign is secretly behind the meme explosion, but Frawley tells me he has little to do with most of what’s out there. Still, they do what they can to boost the good ones. The campaign merchandise is full of meme-y in-jokes, including Bitmoji bumper stickers of Yang’s face and tote bags reading “Secure the bag,” all boosted through the campaigns official accounts.

Frawley is skeptical of Facebook, seeing it as useful mostly for reaching an older audience, and only when the campaign is willing to pay. Most importantly, it’s not where Yang’s young supporters are spending their time. “Most of our under-35 reach out is Twitter and Facebook,” he says. “It’s really Boomers and Gen-X that have embraced Facebook.”

Sometimes, the enthusiasm goes somewhere uglier. 4chan’s /pol/ board seized on Yang after the Rogan interview too, and some of the subsequent memes were shot through with anti-Semitism, showing Jewish bankers and other gleefully racist /pol/ cartoons. When I first wrote about the racist memes, Yang was quick to push back, telling me frankly, “for anyone with this agenda, we do not want your support.” But the trolls haven’t been so easy to shake. Weeks later, the campaign scrambled to cut ties with a far-right podcaster who had worked his way onto the Michigan volunteer staff. At CNN’s town hall, the moderator told Yang straight out, “White nationalists are supporting you online,” even as he tried to distance himself. The next morning, a tweet tagged as “#YangGang for #SystemCollapse” showed the candidate Photoshopped into a Nazi salute, with anti-Semitic slurs and clown-wigged Pepe frogs pasted below. Soaked with toxic irony, it was hard to tell if the tweet was attacking Yang or supporting him.

This tornado seems to have caught the campaign off-guard, but it didn’t come out of nowhere. An outsider candidate, Yang has embraced outsider media. That approach started with the Rogan appearance, but it carried over to later interviews with Sam Harris and Ben Shapiro, both of whom often walk the line between earnest skepticism and neo-reactionary racism. In one campaign video, Yang uses his usual matter-of-fact tone to describe the shrinking of the white population, driven by declining birth rates and the raging opioid crisis. This logic can be a dog whistle to white nationalists, a signal that someone secretly shares their view that the white race is under attack.

When I tell Yang that, he is alarmed. “I never really set out to talk to a specific group,” he says. “This is going to have an impact on all of us.”

Sometimes, when you put an idea into the world — or, more specifically, the internet — you lose control of what it means. Yang has succeeded so far by throwing out as many new ideas as possible: not just basic income, but federal marriage counseling, campaigning by hologram, backing off on medical circumcision, implementing new nuclear launch fail-safes, seemingly anything he decides is a good idea. It’s a conscious break from the narrow, unimaginative grind of professional politics. But campaigning is about people as much as ideas, and the right idea can sometimes come with the wrong people. And then, sometimes those people Photoshop a joint into your mouth and caption it “Yang Weed…Gamers Rise Up.”


The day after the rally, Yang is back in New York, meeting with staff. We’ve arranged a photo shoot in the campaign’s new office space. It’s two floors above the main office and completely bare, rented out to accommodate the rush of incoming staffers.

Yang is tired, but he’s in a good mood. He’s been watching a documentary about disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, who visited the Obama White House with Yang in 2012 as a Champion of Change. A few interviewers have asked him about Holmes, and he hasn’t been sure what to say. “Some people are odd and impressive,” he says. “She just seemed odd.”

Yang has surged ahead in the polls. The most recent numbers put him at 3 percent, tied with Julián Castro and ahead of party favorites like Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar. He’s eighth in a field of twenty, and Nate Silver, icon to political professionals everywhere, has gone on record saying, “We actually can’t discount the possibility that Andrew Yang will just grow and grow and take the whole thing.” The campaign likes the quote so much that they print it out at poster size and tape it to the wall.

The main elevator is out, so when we’re finished, we take the freight elevator to back down. Waiting outside, one of the other tenants, an older man with gray hair and a heavy New York accent, sees the camera equipment and asks what’s up. We say we’re taking photos of Mr. Yang.

“Who’s Mr. Yang?”

“I am,” says Yang.

This only makes the man more confused. A staffer pipes in that Yang is running for president.

“Of the United States?”

We assure him that it’s true. He knows most of the tenants, but, of course, the campaign is new, and something doesn’t seem to be clicking. He knows about the primary race, surely, but this guy in front of him just doesn’t seem like the type. There’s a pause. He seems worried he might be on some kind of hidden-camera show, roped into a gag he doesn’t yet understand.

“Are you pulling my leg?”

“We’re trying to get the word out,” Yang says, as amused as anyone. “Watch CNN on Sunday. You’ll see.”

Another pause. “For president?”
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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The Romulan Republic
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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-04-25 07:32pm

On the possibility of Trump refusing a peaceful transfer of power, avenues by which he might do so, and steps that can be taken to counter him if he does so:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/23/opinions ... index.html
President Donald Trump's critics are increasingly focused on the question of which Democrat will challenge him for the presidency in 2020. It's an important question, but another one might be even more important: Regardless of who runs in 2020, if Trump loses, will he leave the Oval Office peacefully?

Let's start with why we need to ask this question: Trump is increasingly proving himself to be a President eager to overstep his authority. Just last week, Trump displayed his willingness to invoke unprecedented presidential power to declare a national emergency utterly without justification. This week has brought a startling report from the New York Times that, for the past two years, Trump has tried to undermine the investigations by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and other parts of the Justice Department in order to, in the words of the Times, "make the president's many legal problems go away." In light of these overreaching assertions of his own authority, it's at least plausible that Trump might attempt to cling to power in ways previously unimaginable by an American president.

Thankfully, there are four steps that key actors across the American system of governance can take to get ahead of this possibility.

Remember, when Trump was merely a private citizen running for President in 2016, he became the first presidential candidate in recent memory to refuse to commit that he'd honor the results of the election if he lost. Now, he occupies the Oval Office. He's the commander in chief of the most powerful military on Earth. If he even hints at contesting the election result in 2020, as he suggested he might in 2016, he'd be doing so not as an outsider but as a leader with the vast resources of the US government potentially at his disposal.

Trump's unrelenting assaults on the media and intelligence community, augmented by his baseless insistence on widespread voter fraud, have laid the groundwork for him to contest the election results in worrisome ways by undermining two institutions Americans would count on to validate those results.

As the 2018 midterms approached, Trump appeared to preview exactly such behavior. He tweeted that he was "very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election" and "pushing very hard for the Democrats." Without pointing to even a shred of analysis from the intelligence community, media reports or any other sources, Trump seemed to dangle the notion that, if the elections went too badly for the Republicans, he might allege foreign interference with the vote tally to cast doubt on the validity of the results.

In 2020, with his reelection on the line, the stakes for Trump himself are, of course, wildly bigger.

All told, there's real reason to worry here. So, what can be done now to avoid a potential constitutional crisis and ensure that the 2020 election results -- whatever they might be -- are respected and that any transfer of power occurs peacefully?

While many of us worry that President Trump has fallen woefully short in addressing foreign election interference through social media that can change American voters' minds, there's nonetheless an obvious imperative to respect the actual vote tally unless the intelligence community indicates that malicious actors have directly altered it (which would be unprecedented). Thankfully, there are four key sets of governmental actors across the United States that can commit now to certain steps that would help to isolate President Trump should he refuse to hand over power peacefully.

First is the justifiably much-maligned Electoral College. As we were reminded in 2016, elections are not determined by popular vote but by the votes of each state's and the District of Columbia's electors, who are generally chosen by the political parties at state conventions or through a vote of the party's central committee. For the sake of the rule of law and peaceful transfer of power, both parties should require anyone seeking to be one of the college's electors to pledge that they will not withhold, delay or alter their vote based on the claims or protestations of any candidate, including President Trump.

Second is Congress. It's the newly seated Congress that, in January 2021, will meet in joint session to receive the Electoral College's handiwork and count the electoral votes. Thereafter, the President of the Senate will formally announce the election's result. Unlike the electors, who haven't been selected as of this writing, we already know many who will be serving in Congress that day (with the exception of any defeated incumbents, resignations, deaths or other unusual occurrences). These senators and representatives should make a joint pledge not to delay or alter counting of the votes based on any candidate's objections. Moreover, they should pledge to hold public hearings with intelligence community leaders should those officials or any candidate suggest that vote counts were influenced by foreign election interference or for any other reason. That unvarnished testimony by intelligence professionals could debunk any claims by Trump (or any other candidate) that the final vote count shouldn't be honored.

Third, 39 of America's 50 state governors will not be up for reelection in 2020. They represent continuity in critical positions of leadership, and some command respect across party lines. Those 39 should band together now to make clear that they will serve, at least informally, as bastions of our democracy should a peaceful transfer of power look threatened by any candidate's response to the election. Especially because most, if not all, are sure to support one candidate or the other, they hold great power to urge respect for the election's results, regardless of who wins. Think here of the example set by former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas after the December 2017 special election for a Senate seat in Alabama. When Republican candidate Roy Moore initially appeared intent on baselessly contesting the election results, Huckabee, a Republican stalwart, issued a sharply worded rebuke to Moore. Moore soon acknowledged defeat.

Fourth, our civilian and uniformed Defense Department leaders have a role to play. The health of our democracy rests, in part, on not involving the military in transfers of power. And that should continue. But imagine the most extreme scenario, with Congress certifying Trump's defeat but Trump refusing to leave office. In those circumstances, the military would no longer owe its loyalty to Donald Trump as of noon on January 20, 2021. And it's worth asking the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as they testify before Congress in coming months, to affirm that they understand that and would act consistently with it.

These are dire thoughts. But we live in uncertain and worrying times. Perhaps, in 2016, Donald Trump never really intended to contest a loss at the ballot box. Still, having seen him in action as President, it's surely best, as we hurtle toward 2020, to be prepared in case President Trump makes good on his threats from 2016 -- now with far more power at his disposal.

This piece has been modified to correct and clarify references to the members of Congress and the electoral college in January 2021.
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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by Batman » 2019-04-25 08:57pm

I wouldn't necessarily call his insistence on widespread voter fraud 'baseless'. He's just wrong about whose favour it was in
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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-04-25 09:04pm

Batman wrote:
2019-04-25 08:57pm
I wouldn't necessarily call his insistence on widespread voter fraud 'baseless'. He's just wrong about whose favour it was in
Not fraud. Voter suppression. Those are two different things. Suppression (by gerrymandering, strict voter ID laws, etc.) is common. Fraud (changing votes, voting under a false identity, etc.) is rare. Though not unheard of (as in that NC Congressional race).
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-04-26 03:26am

Andy McKean, a moderate Republican and the longest-serving member of Iowa's state legislature, has declared that he is switching parties and will run for reelection as a Democrat, specifically citing Trump's "unacceptable behavior":

https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/23/politics ... 1556263230

"With the 2020 president election looming on the horizon, I feel as a Republican that I need to be able to support the standard bearer of our party. Unfortunately, that is not something I am able to do," McKean said Tuesday of Trump.

"He sets, in my opinion, a poor example for the nation and particularly for our children by personally insulting -- often in a crude and juvenile fashion -- those who disagree with him, being a bully at a time when we are attempting to discourage bullying, his frequent disregard for the truth and his willingness to ridicule or marginalize people for their appearance, ethnicity or disability," he said."

If more Republicans would do this (or had done it sooner), I might not treat membership in the GOP as almost equivalent with membership in the Klan.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-04-28 07:33am

Trump is out trying to incite Bernie or Bust:

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/4 ... screws-you
President Trump lashed out against the Democratic National Committee in a pair of late-night tweets Saturday and accused the organization undermining Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) presidential run.

In a couple of tweets on Saturday night, Trump claimed that the DNC was “working its magic in its quest to destroy Crazy Bernie Sanders for the more traditional, but not very bright, Sleepy Joe Biden.”

“Here we go again Bernie, but this time please show a little more anger and indignation when you get screwed!” he continued.

His remarks come as several polls have pointed to former Vice President Joe Biden holding a slight lead over Trump in a 2020 general election matchup in recent days.

This is not the first time Trump accused the DNC of having worked to thwart Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) chances in the 2016 Democratic primary, however.

Trump previously accused the panel of “illegally” stealing the primary race “from Bernie Sanders. Bought and paid for by Crooked H” back in November 2017, following details that emerged at the time about the party’s institutional support for Clinton.

"This is real collusion and dishonesty," Trump added in a tweet then, "Major violation of Campaign Finance Laws and Money Laundering - where is our Justice Department?"

At the time, Trump had made the remarks in response to comments Donna Brazile, who served as the former interim chairwoman of the DNC, made about a deal she discovered between Clinton’s campaign, the DNC and the former secretary of state’s joint fundraising committee.

Brazille said the 2015 deal said that Clinton’s campaign would “control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised." She said the deal had been made to help the party financially as it faced struggles with debt around the time.

Though Brazille said the deal “looked unethical,” she later said that she found “no evidence” that the 2016 primary process was rigged as a result of it and also took issue with critics who said otherwise.

“The only thing I found, which I said, I found the cancer, but I’m not killing the patient, was this memorandum that prevented the DNC from running its own operation," she said.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-04-28 08:32am

Roy Moore is coming back for another round:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/ro ... -not-last/
Welcome to Pollapalooza, our weekly polling roundup.

Poll of the week

One thing you really don’t want to be in this era of partisanship is a Democratic candidate in a state that’s 27 points more Republican-leaning than the country as a whole.1 Unfortunately for Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, he finds himself in that exact situation, and he’s widely considered to be the most vulnerable incumbent senator in the 2020 elections as a result. And this week, we got a poll that gives a clearer picture of how that Senate race may be shaping up.

The Mason-Dixon poll, which surveyed registered Alabama voters by telephone between April 9 and 11, gave Jones a 45 percent job approval rating and a 44 percent disapproval rating. That makes him a divisive figure, but for a Democrat in a very red state, it’s actually pretty impressive. In fact, in the fourth quarter of 2018, his net favorability ranking in a Morning Consult poll was good enough to rank him first in the Senate in Popularity Above Replacement Senator score — a goofy, baseball-inspired stat we devised that compares a politician’s net approval rating2 to what it “should” be based on partisan lean. However, less promising for Jones is the fact that the Mason-Dixon poll also found that 50 percent of respondents would vote to replace Jones with a generic Republican, and only 40 percent said they would vote to re-elect him. But this question doesn’t tell us much about how the actual Republican candidate, whoever they may be, would fare.

Indeed, Jones’s best hope may be to run against a Republican with serious flaws as a candidate — and he may get such an opponent in twice-dismissed former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. Mason-Dixon found Moore currently leads the potential GOP primary field, with 27 percent of respondents in his corner. But a Moore nomination could be a disaster for Republicans, as it was Moore who lost to Jones in the first place in a 2017 special election amid a perfect storm of controversies, culminating with allegations that he initiated unwanted sexual contact with teenage girls when he was in his 30s. Moore is not yet officially a candidate for the 2020 campaign, but the Washington Examiner reported on Tuesday that he is “poised” to enter the race in the next few weeks.

However, there are a few reasons to be skeptical that Moore could really win the Republican nomination again. First, Mason-Dixon itself points out that Moore’s lead in this poll is probably a side effect of the fact that voters are more likely to be familiar with him than with the other contenders. The pollster tested six candidates (including Moore) in its GOP primary horse-race question, and the candidates’ levels of support corresponded with their levels of name recognition — i.e., the best-known candidate (Moore) finished first, the second-best-known candidate (Rep. Mo Brooks, who has since announced he’s not running) finished second, and so on. Mason-Dixon’s press release even predicted that Moore’s lead “will evaporate once the campaign begins in earnest.” Not to mention that if President Trump decided to endorse a candidate, that could change the dynamics of the race in a hurry — although he campaigned for Moore’s primary opponent in 2017 to no avail. Furthermore, Mason-Dixon did not ask about one of the most prominent Republicans currently in the race, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville.

Finally and most importantly, Moore can’t win the primary with just 27 percent of the vote. In Alabama, candidates need to win a majority in order to claim the nomination or else the top two finishers advance to a runoff. And while Moore might be able to get a plurality in the first round of voting, he might have a tough time winning a one-on-one race against another Republican; the GOP establishment would surely rally behind his opponent, worried that Moore would once again lose in the general election. All in all, this is just one poll of a race that’s still more than a year away — there’s a lot of campaigning yet to unfold.

Other polling bites

The Pew Research Center found that many more Americans today say that Jews face discrimination in the U.S. than said so in 2016: Overall, 64 percent now say they believe Jews face discrimination, up from 44 percent three years ago. The subset of people who say there is “a lot” of discrimination against Jewish people is up too, now at 24 percent (up from 13 percent), including roughly doubling among both Democrats and Republicans.

Monday was Tax Day, and The New York Times found that many Americans didn’t think they got a tax break under Republicans’ 2017 tax bill when they actually did. According to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center, about 65 percent of Americans got a tax cut this year, but according to a SurveyMonkey poll commissioned by the Times, only 40 percent thought they did. The Times identified successful Democratic messaging, which painted the law as a tax hike by focusing on how most Americans’ taxes will increase in 2026 after the individual tax cuts expire, as the reason for the gap.

And according to YouGov, 56 percent of Americans prefer getting a refund on their taxes even if that means paying too much throughout the year (and delaying their chance to spend or invest that extra cash). Just 24 percent prefer underpaying taxes and owing money to Uncle Sam come tax season.

On Wednesday, Indonesia held the largest one-day election in the world; early returns show incumbent President Joko Widodo on track to win a second term. Since emerging from a dictatorship about 20 years ago, Indonesia has become a success story for democracy, and a record number of Indonesians now say they are confident in the integrity of their elections. According to Gallup, 75 percent of Indonesians believe their elections are honest, and just 20 percent lack confidence in them.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to raise the state’s gas tax by 45 cents per gallon to fix the state’s roads is extremely unpopular. According to a survey by Marketing Resource Group, just 21 percent of voters support Whitmer’s plan, and a whopping 75 percent oppose it.

To contain a measles outbreak centered on Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn, New York City declared a state of emergency last week that made vaccines mandatory for all residents of the area. A Siena poll out this week found that, statewide, New Yorkers support requiring schoolchildren to be vaccinated regardless of their parents’ religious beliefs, 78 percent to 17 percent.

Trump approval

According to FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracker, 53.0 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president, while 42.0 percent approve (a net approval rating of -11.0 points). At this time last week, 41.9 percent approved and 52.8 percent disapproved (for a net approval rating of -10.9 points). One month ago, Trump had an approval rating of 41.6 percent and a disapproval rating of 53.2 percent, for a net approval rating of -11.6 points.

Check out all the polls we’ve been collecting ahead of the 2020 elections.

CORRECTION (April 19, 2019, 10:23 a.m.): An earlier version of this article switched the numbers for Trump’s approval rating and disapproval rating.

Nathaniel Rakich is FiveThirtyEight’s elections analyst.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-04-29 11:19pm

In a new poll, 55% say they will not vote for Trump under any circumstances. Of the remaining 45%, 14% said they would consider it, while only 28% were committed Trump voters.

Of course, voters can be flighty and that gap is concievably closeable if Trump's base has much higher turnout and he massively suppresses the vote, but that is really good news:

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/4 ... mp-in-2020
More than 50 percent of respondents in a new survey say they will not vote for President Trump when he seeks reelection in 2020.

The ABC News–Washington Post poll released Monday found that 55 percent of respondents said they will not vote for Trump next year, with only 39 percent approving of his work since taking office.

Of respondents who were asked if they would vote from Trump in 2020, 14 percent said they would consider it and 28 percent said they definitely would vote for him to have a second term in the White House.

Of those respondents who said they wouldn’t vote for Trump, only 29 percent said they would for sure vote for his eventual Democratic counterpart.

Nearly two-thirds instead said they would wait to see who emerges from the crowded Democratic field, which is currently made up of 21 candidates vying for the nomination.

On par with other recent polls and a surge in voter participation in last year’s midterm elections, 85 percent of registered voters said they plan to vote in 2020, a high mark this far out from the presidential election.

The survey was conducted via phone from April 22 to 25 in both English and Spanish and asked a random national survey of 1,001 adults. The poll carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Note also that phone surveys also tend to over-poll older and more conservative voters (this was a frequent complaint of Bernie supporters in the 2016 primary), so the actual numbers could easy be even worse. The potential for high turnout is also very good news, as it suggests that the enthusiasm that gave us the House and kept Senate losses minimal in a very bad Senate map is still there, and high-turnout tends to suggest a more Left-wing (or anti-incumbent) result.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2019-05-01 09:35am

I mean, more than 50% of voters DIDN'T vote for Trump last time, but he still won. Hopefully, if the Democrats don't run an utterly incompetent campaign, there will be enough backlash against Trump's first term to keep him from winning. But it's going to be damned close. And honestly I'm worried about the competency of the Democrats, who seem VERY intent on running with Joe Biden, which I think is a mistake (not even that I don't like Biden, but rather it feels like the same thought process that led the party apparatchiks to so blindly anoint Hillary).

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-01 09:40pm

Ziggy Stardust wrote:
2019-05-01 09:35am
I mean, more than 50% of voters DIDN'T vote for Trump last time, but he still won. Hopefully, if the Democrats don't run an utterly incompetent campaign, there will be enough backlash against Trump's first term to keep him from winning. But it's going to be damned close. And honestly I'm worried about the competency of the Democrats, who seem VERY intent on running with Joe Biden, which I think is a mistake (not even that I don't like Biden, but rather it feels like the same thought process that led the party apparatchiks to so blindly anoint Hillary).
Please don't carelessly repeat Trumpist/Bernie or Bust talking points by portraying the Democrats as a homogenous block backing "the establishment". This is not the case. Nor is this 2016. There is a faction that backs Biden, and its a strong one, but there are over twenty people running in the primary this time, including several big names in the party, and either Biden or Bernie is the front-runner depending on the poll. There is no rigged primary, there is no fix in, Biden is not the heir-apparent (he didn't even confirm he was running until a few days ago). And the first vote is the better part of a year out.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2019-05-01 10:24pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-05-01 09:40pm
Please don't carelessly repeat Trumpist/Bernie or Bust talking points by portraying the Democrats as a homogenous block backing "the establishment".
I am really struggling to see how you got this interpretation from my post.

Even stranger to me is that I know for a fact that you have expressed similar sentiments on this forum, with your disappointment in the Democratic Party hierarchy being so committed to giving Hillary "her turn" in 2016 that they were disdainful of Bernie and other alternatives. Like, literally all I said was, "Wow, I hope the Democrat's don't repeat the mistakes of 2016", and somehow this is a Trumpist talking point and an accusation of vote-rigging?

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-01 10:42pm

Ziggy Stardust wrote:
2019-05-01 10:24pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-05-01 09:40pm
Please don't carelessly repeat Trumpist/Bernie or Bust talking points by portraying the Democrats as a homogenous block backing "the establishment".
I am really struggling to see how you got this interpretation from my post.

Even stranger to me is that I know for a fact that you have expressed similar sentiments on this forum, with your disappointment in the Democratic Party hierarchy being so committed to giving Hillary "her turn" in 2016 that they were disdainful of Bernie and other alternatives. Like, literally all I said was, "Wow, I hope the Democrat's don't repeat the mistakes of 2016", and somehow this is a Trumpist talking point and an accusation of vote-rigging?
You said "And honestly I'm worried about the competency of the Democrats, who seem VERY intent on running Joe Biden..."

Now, perhaps it wasn't what you meant to say, but that reads like an accusation that the party, or at least the party leadership, has already collectively decided to back Biden as the nominee, when that is really not the case, certainly not to the extent that it was with Hillary in 2016.

So that's what I was responding to.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by Tribble » 2019-05-01 11:55pm

Ya, I'm guessing Biden is going to win the nomination. I mean, he probably would have been the one running in 2016 If it weren't for an unfortunate family tragedy and the Chosen One working around the clock behind the scenes to make sure she was on the ticket.
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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-02 12:04am

Tribble wrote:
2019-05-01 11:55pm
Ya, I'm guessing Biden is going to win the nomination. I mean, he probably would have been the one running in 2016 If it weren't for an unfortunate family tragedy and the Chosen One working around the clock behind the scenes to make sure she was on the ticket.
He's the likeliest candidate, sure, but not nearly to the extent Hillary was (or was assumed to be) in 2016. Bernie is close to or ahead of him in some recent polls (most crucially in Iowa and New Hampshire), and there are several other candidates who are polling respectably for this early on.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-02 01:44am

Hmm... I may have been a bit behind the times in assuming Sanders held his commanding position.

This shows Biden generally in the lead, but a huge variance in polling on how much he's in the lead:

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/4 ... n-new-poll
Former Vice President Joe Biden has seen a surge of Democratic support in the days since he announced his 2020 presidential campaign and now sits comfortably at the top of a new survey of the race.

In the CNN–SRSS poll released early Tuesday, Biden is supported by 39 percent of the Democratic electorate, leading his nearest challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), by 24 points. Biden and Sanders were the only candidates registering double-digit levels of support in the survey.

The poll shows an 11-point surge for Biden since last month, when 28 percent of Democrats said they would support him in the primary.

Sanders is now supported by 15 percent of Democratic voters, according to the poll, which found Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) at 8 percent support and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) with 7 percent.

Biden leads Sanders among all the major demographics, according to CNN.

Just 36 percent of Democratic votes say, however, that they are locked in to their choice for president. Biden wins the support of 50 percent of Democrats who say they have made up their minds so far, according to the poll.

The CNN–SRSS poll was conducted from April 25 to 28, and the margin of error is 5.9 percentage points for Democratic-leaning voters.

A Morning Consult survey also published early Tuesday found the vice president with the support of 36 percent of Democrats compared to 22 percent for Sanders, a 6-point surge since Biden's campaign announcement last Thursday

The Morning Consult survey, which contacted only Democratic-leaning voters, surveyed 15,475 voters with a margin of error of just 1 percentage point.
The interesting thing, though, is that that support is not fixed- barely a third are absolutely committed to one candidate. That's probably healthy. In 2016, it was Hillary vs. Bernie, no room for compromise, and that contributed to a very vicious primary. I'm hopefully that with voters feeling more flexible about their options, less locked-in to supporting one candidate, it'll be a less nasty and polarized primary.

In other news, Warren seems to have jumped up in the polls while Bernie has fallen, with some polling putting her in second place behind Biden now:

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign-p ... -new-polls
Three new polls show Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) support in the Democratic primary growing, offering some new hope for her presidential campaign.

Quinnipiac University's national survey of the 2020 presidential race released Tuesday showed Warren as the top choice for 12 percent of the Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters asked.

That second-place finish, behind former Vice President Joe Biden, is a significant jump from Quinnipiac's poll released March 28, which had Warren in fifth, polling at just 4 percent.

A CNN-SSRS poll released Tuesday had Warren polling at 8 percent, in third place, doubling her support from 4 percent in its poll last month.

A Morning Consult survey released Tuesday also showed Warren in third place, polling at 9 percent, 2 points higher than on March 31, and placing the senator slightly ahead of South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

All three candidates were ahead of Warren in the previous Morning Consult polls.

Warren's rise in the three polls comes after the senator announced this month that she raised $6 million in the first quarter, well below other contenders such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.) who brought in $18.2 million.

Warren garnered some positive attention during her CNN town hall earlier this month, and she has released a slew of policy proposals in recent weeks, including a sweeping plan to reform higher education that would cancel nearly all student loan debt and create universal free public college.

The Massachusetts senator was also the first 2020 contender to call for the House to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump after the redacted report by special counsel Robert Mueller detailed 10 instances in which the president may have obstructed justice.

But the report did not make a conclusion on whether obstruction had happened.
I wonder if this has anything to do with her taking a clear stand in favor of impeachment. On that issue, Warren took a position that plays to the base, a position to the Left of Bernie, and moreover, came out looking decisive, like a leader, while he came out looking like a Centrist coward who wanted to win Trumper votes.

This could be the first decisive indication that declining to impeach could be a serious political liability for Democrats.

I think the takeaway here is that while Biden is the favorite, second place and down is very fluid still. We'll probably only really know where things stand after Iowa/New Hampshire (if then), when the minor candidates get knocked out and their supporters consolidate behind the leading candidates, and it narrows down to Biden and one or two others who are credible. Whether Biden at that point goes from "front runner" to "sure thing" will likely depend a lot on where that minor candidate support consolidates. And also how baggage from Biden's long career gets dredged into the light of day.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-02 03:16am

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/01/poli ... -approval/
WASHINGTON (CNN)With Robert Mueller's investigation finished, Donald Trump's approval rating stands at its highest level since April 2017 in a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS, as the share who say Democrats in Congress are doing too much to investigate the President rises 6 points.

Trump's approval rating remains largely negative in the new poll -- 52% disapprove and 43% approve -- but that approval figure is the highest -- by one point -- since a CNN poll completed around the 100-day mark of his time in office. At the same time, the share who say they strongly approve of the way the President is handling his job (35%) is at its highest level ever in CNN's polling.

The American public increasingly feels that Democrats in Congress are going too far in investigating the President -- 44% say Democrats are doing too much on that score, up from 38% saying so in March. That shift stems largely from independents, 46% of whom now say congressional Democrats are going too far.

Congressional Democrats have called for Attorney General William Barr to testify this week, including in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, and have issued subpoenas to try to gain access to the full, unredacted version of Mueller's report and for former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify. The Treasury Department recently missed a deadline set by House Democrats for turning over the President's tax returns, and the Trump administration is fighting subpoenas issued for financial records from accounting firms and banks connected to Trump.

Even with growing concern about overreach, majorities want Congress to investigate whether Trump committed obstruction of justice in the course of the Mueller investigation (58%) and to pursue legal action to obtain the full, unredacted version of the Mueller report (61%). The public is divided on Barr's handling of the release of Mueller's report -- 44% approve and 43% disapprove, with a wide partisan gap.

About two-thirds still say Trump ought to release his tax returns (66%, including 52% who consider it important for the President to do). And most, 54%, say the President is not doing enough to cooperate with Democratic investigations.

The poll finds no change in the share of Americans who say they believe the President ought to be impeached compared with a March survey conducted before the completion of Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Overall, 37% say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, 59% say they do not feel that way. And while most who do back impeachment feel that way strongly (34% of adults strongly support impeachment, just 3% back it but not strongly), the share who strongly oppose it is larger (45% say they feel strongly that the President should not be impeached).

Trump's job approval rating has not risen significantly compared with last month's poll, but his standing now is a big improvement over where he stood in January amid a government shutdown. At the start of the year, just 37% of Americans approved of Trump's job performance, including only 36% of independents. Now, his 43% approval overall includes approval among nearly half of independents (46%), as well as 86% of Republicans and 5% Democrats.

Though his overall approval among Republicans hasn't moved much since the start of the year, Republican support has become stronger. In an early February poll, 65% of Republicans said they strongly approved of Trump's handling of the presidency. Now, 77% say the same. Those figures haven't moved as much among independents (33% now, 30% then) or Democrats (4% now, 1% then).

The positive signs for Trump in the poll may not be directly tied to Americans' impressions of how Trump fared in the Mueller report itself. About half (48%) say they believe Trump committed obstruction of justice during the course of Mueller's investigation, 45% say he did not. More still say that the things Trump has said publicly about the investigation have been mostly false (50%), than that they have been mostly true (43%). And 51% say they disapprove of the way the President handled the release of Mueller's report.

The end of Mueller's investigation has brought a boost in positive sentiment toward the special counsel. Nearly six in 10 (59%) say they approve of the way he handled the investigation, up from 48% before it was completed, and 48% say they have a favorable opinion of Mueller himself, up from 36% last fall.

The rise in Mueller's approval stems from a whopping 30-point increase in approval among Republicans (from 20% in March to 50% now) and a 12-point rise among independents (57%, up from 45%), while his numbers softened among Democrats (69% approve now, down from 75% in March). The increase in his favorability rating comes across party lines, though is largest among Republicans.

Public opinion on the investigation itself, however, has held about even with where it was before the release of a redacted version of Mueller's report earlier this month. About six in 10 (58%) say they think the investigation was a serious matter that deserved to be fully investigated, while 38% consider it mainly an effort to discredit Trump's presidency. Both figures moved little over the course of the investigation in CNN's polling.

In one point of partisan agreement over Mueller's work, 69% think Congress ought to investigate the origins of the Justice Department's inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including 76% of Democrats, 69% of independents and 62% of Republicans.

A scant 24% of Americans say they have read any of Mueller's report, 75% have opted not to dive in to the 448-page document, and just 3% report having read the whole thing.

The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS April 25 through 28 among a random national sample of 1,007 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
Very disturbing new polling- Trump's approval, though still low at 43%, is at its highest by some counts since his first hundred days, and the percentage who strongly approve, at 35%, is the highest ever. This appears to be driven largely by independents, shifting toward him and away from the Democrats.

The takeaway from this should be that we cannot count on independents to turn out against Trump, and should focus on mobilizing our base. Unfortunately, if history is any guide the "lesson" many Democrats will likely take is "We're going too far Left, quickly, concede more to the Republicans to win over Independents!"

But yeah, this race is going to be about turnout, and turning out the base. We need a nominee with backbone.

The other thing we have to face is that nearly half the electorate is okay with fascism. And we have to think about how we will deal with that reality going forward. But the answer cannot be "compromise with the fascists." Because fascists don't compromise. Concessions are merely seen as weakness, and an invitation for further aggression.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by Tsyroc » 2019-05-02 11:19am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-05-02 03:16am
Very disturbing new polling- Trump's approval, though still low at 43%, is at its highest by some counts since his first hundred days, and the percentage who strongly approve, at 35%, is the highest ever. This appears to be driven largely by independents, shifting toward him and away from the Democrats.

The takeaway from this should be that we cannot count on independents to turn out against Trump, and should focus on mobilizing our base. Unfortunately, if history is any guide the "lesson" many Democrats will likely take is "We're going too far Left, quickly, concede more to the Republicans to win over Independents!"

But yeah, this race is going to be about turnout, and turning out the base. We need a nominee with backbone.

The other thing we have to face is that nearly half the electorate is okay with fascism. And we have to think about how we will deal with that reality going forward. But the answer cannot be "compromise with the fascists." Because fascists don't compromise. Concessions are merely seen as weakness, and an invitation for further aggression.


Trump probably got a bump because of Tax Day. I've been getting a crapload more money back each year that he's been in office. We'll see how long that "euphoria" lasts.

I think it's going to be tough. The Democrats need someone who gets a strong turnout from the party while also not skewing too far off into a platform that ends up causing people to vote for Trump because they are so strongly against items in that platform. At this point I think it's unlikely that a candidate will get the nomination that people will hate as much as a lot of people hated Hillary. There's a couple that could probably come close but I don't think they have much of a chance getting the nomination.

The Democratic primaries are certainly going to be interesting and I'm waiting to see if we get any third party candidates with any traction. Which ones might draw votes away from Trump and which ones from the Dems?
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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-02 05:25pm

The big fear on the third party score is a Howard Schultz (or possibly Bloomberg) independent run. A moderate, Centrist running in the middle would probably peel off a lot of Democratic votes from more conservative members of the party and independents (notably, it seems to be independents who, having turned en mass toward the Dems in 2018, now seem to be turning en mass back to Trump).

I'd frankly call Howard Schultz the third most dangerous man in American right now, and that's only third because he hasn't yet declared and Trump and Barr take the top two spots.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-04 07:50am

California has passed a law requiring candidates to release their tax returns to qualify to be on the primary ballot:

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watc ... b1b1i79JSI
The California state Senate on Thursday approved a bill to require candidates appearing on the presidential primary ballot — including President Trump — to release five years' worth of income tax returns.

The measure was approved in a 27-10 vote, according to The Associated Press. California, for the first time, will be one of the first states to hold its presidential primary in the 2020 cycle.

The bill is a response to Trump's insistence that he will not release his tax returns as presidential candidates traditionally have done, claiming he is under audit. If the bill becomes law and Trump does not release his returns, he may not appear on the California primary ballot.

"We believe that President Trump, if he truly doesn’t have anything to hide, should step up and release his tax returns,” said state Sen. Mike McGuire (D) who co-authored the bill, according to the AP.

All 10 Republicans in the state Senate voted against the bill's passage.

“I get that playing the resistance card may be good politics for the majority party, but I would submit that it’s bad policy for Californians,” Sen. Brian Jones (R) told the wire service.

The state's legislature passed a similar bill in 2017, but then-Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who did not release his own tax returns, vetoed the bill. A spokesman for Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) told the AP that if the bill was sent to Newsom's desk, "it would be evaluated on its own merits.”

Other presidential candidates would also be subject to the bill, but several 2020 Democrats have already released their tax returns.

Trump is facing one primary challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld (R).

Similar bills are making their way through the Washington and New Jersey state legislatures.
I've heard Illinois is too.

Of course, this will give Trump a pretext to claim that the election is being rigged by blue states, but... since this affects primary ballots, it means that Weld has just pretty much been guaranteed the Republican primary in California, and possibly in Washington, New Jersey, and Illinois too.

I wonder if that's the play- keep Trump off enough primary ballots to make Weld look like a serious challenge for the nomination (while stinging Trump's ego in the process). If so, its actually pretty clever.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-04 08:56am

A rather dire look at what might happen if we win... and still end up losing:

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/05 ... -race.html
Winter has come. The air stings your skin as you shuffle toward the National Mall. But there are scattered patches of blue in the sky, and sunlight peeking out from behind a cloud. And the crowd that now surrounds you is alive with good cheer. Your fellow Americans are high off civic pride, or their proximity to future history, or possibly marijuana (your nose is stuffy, but you think you think can smell a trace of something skunky on the wind).

He emerges from the Capitol Building. The crowd goes wild. You join their cheer, but can’t make out your own voice above the din. And now you’re not even sure what it is their chanting. But you know their words are not your own. You look up at the nearest television monitor and there it is — that awful, orange face.

It all comes back to you in an instant, the flashing images in your mind alternating with the crowd’s chant, like light and darkness beneath a strobe lamp: LOCK HER UP; the Upshot’s needle swinging blue to red; LOCK HER UP; those last 10,000 votes in Waukesha County; LOCK HER UP; the headlines heralding RBG’s death right before Christmas; LOCK HER UP; Supreme Court Justice Sarah Huckabee Sanders; LOCK HER UP; the bombs already falling over Tehran; LOCK HER UP; the president’s face as he signed “The Voting Wrongs Act of 2021”; LOCK HER UP; Elizabeth Warren being led to a squad car in handcuffs; LOCK HER UP; and now, as they turn toward you, their red hats glowing in the winter sun, you realize that you are her, this place is a prison — and your sentence is another four years to life.

Liberals are well-prepared for this kind of “2021 nightmare.” They’ve been fearing it since November 9, 2016. To avert such a terror, they took to the streets in historic numbers the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, and showed up at the polls en masse last fall. And they’re right to be afraid. Each day, Trump grows a bit more lawless, and the Executive branch a bit less willing to defy him. Another four years of judicial appointments would give the conservative movement a hammerlock on the judiciary for a generation. And in that time, Trump’s judges could rubber-stamp changes to election laws that further erode what remains of popular sovereignty in this republic — and the world’s most powerful nation would stumble four years closer to climate catastrophe.

Trump’s reelection would be a nightmare. But for Democrats, defeating him and winning the presidency in 2021 could be its own kind of horror show.

A president in shackles.

If a Democrat wins the presidency next year, there’s a good chance he or she won’t be able to do much of anything without Mitch McConnell’s permission.

Right now, the odds of Team Blue winning control of the Senate next year are slim, and getting slimmer. Democrats will need a net gain of three seats next November to wrest the upper chamber from Mitch McConnell’s caucus. And while Republicans will have 22 of their incumbents on the ballot in 2020, only two of those represent states that have leaned Democratic in the past two presidential elections — Colorado and Maine. Which is less than ideal, since winning Maine will (almost certainly) require beating Susan Collins, who has held her seat for more than two decades, and remains quite popular with her constituents (including many of the state’s Democrats). Thus, there is no reason to assume Democrats will be able to win the only two blue-state seats on the board. But let’s be generous and say they do.

Unless Alabama Republicans decide to make a theocratic ephebophile their standard-bearer again (which is highly unlikely), Doug Jones will be evicted from the Senate next November. In a presidential election year and an age of straight-ticket voting, even Roy Moore would have a decent shot of beating a Democrat in the Heart of Dixie.

Even with wins in Colorado and Maine, Team Blue would have only netted one seat, which means they’d have to flip two in light-red territory. CNN’s Harry Enten explains why that’s unlikely:

Beyond [Colorado and Maine], the Democratic pickup opportunities slim dramatically. Of the other 20 Republican-held seats up for election, 16 of them are in states that were 10 points or more Republican than the nation as a whole in a weighted average of the last two presidential elections. None of these races look competitive at this time.

The other four have leaned 5 to 10 points more Republican than the nation in a weighted average of the last two presidential elections: Arizona (Martha McSally), Georgia (David Perdue), Iowa (Joni Ernst) and North Carolina (Thom Tillis).

… Elected Republican incumbents are, at this point, expected to be running for all these seats, except for Arizona. Generally, incumbents tend to do better than non-incumbents. Even if the 2018 political environment were in effect (i.e. one where they won the national House vote by high single digits), the lean of each state in the 2018 House elections suggests that only Arizona (because McSally wasn’t elected) would go to the Democrats.

In other words, even if Democrats win the national popular vote in a 2018-esque landslide, chances are they’ll come up at least one seat short. And did I mention that the party’s best prospective Senate candidates in Georgia, and the “reach” states of Texas and Montana, have all ostensibly decided to launch far-fetched presidential campaigns, instead? Or that Joe Manchin is seriously considering resigning his seat to run for governor in West Virginia, in which case, Democrats will effectively need to flip five seats after they (almost certainly) forfeit the Mountain State and Alabama?

Anything’s possible, of course. Democrats could find stellar candidates in every quasi-competitive state. Far-right weirdos could win GOP primaries in all the right places. Millennials could show up at the polls in 2020 in unprecedented force, and remake America’s electoral math in their image.

But odds are, if a Democrat moves into the Oval Office in 2021, he or she will be faced with a Republican Senate. Which means that he or she will not have the power to appoint any Supreme Court justices or, in all probability, left-leaning federal judges of any kind. And do you really think Senate Republicans are going to help President Elizabeth Warren install her preferred leaders atop the Treasury or SEC?

Imagine a Democratic president who isn’t just too weak to advance any of the ambitious legislation she promised her base, but also to rebalance the courts or effectively implement her regulatory agenda. Might this dampen Democratic voters’ enthusiasm for electoral politics when the midterms come around?

A recession that discredits the progressive agenda before Democrats even get to enact it.

In a February survey conducted by the National Association for Business Economics, 75 percent of economists predicted the U.S. economy would slide into recession by the end of 2021, with 42 percent expecting a downturn next year, and 25 percent the following one. Since that poll was taken, the Federal Reserve backed away from rate hikes, and markets soared. And (since expansions never last forever under capitalism) the odds of the economy going south in 2021 are now higher than ever.

If the bubbles pop shortly after President Buttigieg takes the reins, it will be imperative for him to pass some kind of fiscal stimulus; with interest rates already near historic lows, the Federal Reserve’s capacity to mitigate a downturn through monetary policy will be limited.

In this scenario, do you think Mitch McConnell will put country before party and approve a bipartisan stimulus package to prevent the slump from deepening — or will he decide that deficits are bad again? History says this shouldn’t even be a question.

The Senate lost and gone forever (or at least for a decade).
So we’re looking at a historically ineffectual president who has failed to deliver on any of his or her major campaign promises, and is presiding over a needlessly severe recession.

In this scenario, how excited will the progressive base be to turn out for the Democratic Party in 2022? Once gridlock replaces Donald Trump in the headlines, is it easier to imagine liberals sustaining their current levels of civic engagement or catching up on lost brunches?

Odds are, complacency and disillusionment would depress liberal turnout, while revanchist outrage would raise conservative participation, and economic woes would turn swing voters against the party in power. Even relatively effective presidents, presiding over good economic times, tend to lose seats in midterm elections. In the scenario we’ve sketched, a red wave would likely drown the Democrats’ House majority, and allow Republicans to renew their lease on (otherwise potentially flippable) Senate seats in Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Iowa, and Ohio. And the GOP might even flip Democratic seats in New Hampshire and Nevada while they’re at it.

The 2022 Senate map is the friendliest that Democrats are likely to see until those same seats come up again in 2028. If Republicans win big in 2022, the Senate could very well be theirs until the end of the decade. Barring a revolution in the GOP’s internal politics, that would mean no major climate legislation at the federal level until it’s much too late.

Meanwhile, when 2024 rolls around, Republicans will be one branch of government shy of a trifecta, and the Democratic incumbent will have no real achievements to run on. And next time, the GOP’s proto-authoritarian standard-bearer just might know how to stay on message.

This second-worst-case scenario is far from inevitable. One could quibble with every link in its chain of logic. Donald Trump is a historically unpopular president. The turnout rate among voters under 30 was 79 percent higher last year than during the previous midterm election. There remains a decent chance that the U.S. economy will enter a recession next year. Thus, it is possible that Democrats will engineer a 2020 landslide large enough to secure them full control of Congress. And even if they don’t, Mitch McConnell could have trouble preventing two or three of his caucus’s more moderate members from cutting deals with a Democratic president. If a recession does hit in 2021, it could very well be a minor affair, in which case, the economy could be growing at a good clip when voters head to the polls in 2022.

And, of course, even the most nightmarish version of the next Democratic presidency is preferable to another four years of Donald Trump.

Nevertheless, progressives shouldn’t lose sight of the lesser nightmare. If the past three years of political history have taught us anything, it’s the virtue of planning for the worst. And envisioning how the next Democratic presidency could go horribly wrong is a prerequisite, both for preventing such an outcome, and preparing to mitigate its most dire effects. Regarding the former, Team Blue’s leadership must convey the profound stakes of next year’s Senate elections to their highly energized — but presidency-obsessed — base. The small-dollar armies that are currently powering so many dark-horse presidential bids must eventually spread the wealth down-ballot. Democratic elected officials, for their part, must recognize that their party’s agenda will have no future unless the legislative filibuster becomes history.

Big-dollar Democratic donors, meanwhile, need to devote more time and money to developing an answer to their party’s deep, structural problem in the Senate — namely, that as urban-rural polarization deepens, the upper chamber is becoming more biased toward rural voters, and the GOP is growing less willing to accept the Democratic Party’s right to govern. Part of the answer here will be to find messages, organizations, and trusted local leaders who can improve Team Blue’s performance in low-density areas. But rural regions are drifting right in democracies all across the West. It’s unlikely that the trend can be fully reversed. Thus, more audacious solutions must be entertained. The next time Democrats eke out a Senate majority, approving statehood for D.C. — and, if the people of the island want it, Puerto Rico — must be a priority. Meanwhile, America’s bleeding-heart billionaires should consider trying to replicate the right’s success in buying up TV news outlets, and peppering their regular content with propaganda. They might also mull making investments in start-up incubators, or liberal arts colleges in low-population, light-red states. Helping Missoula become the new Austin might not sound like a political project. But turning Montana blue through targeted investments would get a Democratic donor way more bang for her political buck than, say, a national television campaign in favor of impeachment.

Finally, liberal activists must prepare for the possibility that legislative progress at the federal level might not be possible for a long time. Thus, they must redouble their efforts to make state-level change, and exploit the Democrats’ control over California for all its worth; which is to say, they should continue making strict environmental and labor standards the price of admission for corporations that wish to do business in the world’s fifth-largest economy.

By the end of next year, our long national nightmare might be over. But if we aren’t careful, a new one will promptly take its place. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a Republican Senate majority stamping on a human face — forever.
I'll add another point: we absolutely should not nominate for President or Vice President any Senator in a remotely competitive race.

I don't think losing Manchin would be much of a loss, though. I see little difference between him and a Republican in the seat at this point, except that having a Republican in the seat would not constantly tarnish the Democrats' reputation by association.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-05 09:48pm

Right-wing operatives tried to frame Pete Buttigieg for sexual assault:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/05/media/an ... index.html
(CNN)This is a story about how political operatives tried to take down a presidential candidate, and ended up just humiliating themselves.

It's also a story about how a smear was spread by right-wing websites -- and was cleaned up by newsrooms that took some time to check the facts.

On April 29 someone shared a post titled "Pete Buttigieg Sexually Assaulted Me" on Medium, a site that lets anyone upload stories, essays and any other bit of text. It was attributed to a college student named Hunter Kelly.

Within hours, the fake allegation against the South Bend, Indiana mayor and Democratic presidential candidate would begin to crumble, and the real story -- the story of the smear campaign -- would emerge.

But by then, the Medium post already had 12,000 Facebook interactions. It ricocheted around the right-wing internet, thanks to sites like Big League Politics, InfoWars, NewsWars and The Gateway Pundit, potentially reaching millions of readers, according to a media analysis from Ben Decker, CEO of the digital investigations firm Memetica.

According to Kelly, the scheme started when Jacob Wohl, a far-right internet personality, messaged Kelly on Instagram. "Do you want to be part of a political operation?" the message said, according to a copy reviewed by CNN.

Kelly, a 21-year-old, gay, Donald Trump-supporter, was intrigued. On Sunday, the Michigan native took a late flight to the Washington area booked for him by Wohl and Jack Burkman, a Republican lobbyist and a conspiracy theorist.

When Kelly arrived, he was taken to Burkman's home. In a later interview with CNN, he alleged that Wohl and Burkman wanted to take down Buttigieg, whom they viewed as President Trump's top threat in 2020.

Burkman had been fixating on Buttigieg on social media. On April 22, Burkman tweeted, "2020 is shaping up to be more exciting than 2016. Looking like it will be Trump vs. Mayor Pete! Get the popcorn ready!" He mused on his internet radio show that Buttigieg had eclipsed Beto O'Rourke as the star of the Democratic field.

By the time Kelly arrived at Burkman's house it was the middle of the night, Kelly said. But they spent the pre-dawn hours Monday going over their plan anyway. Wohl showed Kelly a draft of the Medium post. Kelly said he told Wohl "I was incredibly uncomfortable and not on board with their plan."

It was late when Kelly went to sleep. When he woke up, around 11 a.m. Monday, he said Wohl had already posted the article under Kelly's name.

"Next thing I know, Jack Burkman is telling me how I am a 'star' and people are eating me up," Kelly said, adding that he felt "sick to my stomach" about the article.

Kelly accused the men of creating a fake Twitter account under his name, @realHunterKelly, and sharing the link to the article. (Twitter later suspended the account.) David Wohl, Jacob Wohl's father, was also quick to share it on Twitter.

Reporters from mainstream news outlets saw it, and some newsrooms, including CNN, sought more information. But they held off on publishing or broadcasting anything, given that the claim was out of the blue and completely unsubstantiated.

Some right-wing websites, however, ran with it right away. "Mayor Pete Hit with #MeToo Allegation of Sexual Assault," InfoWars wrote. "Democrat Darling Pete Buttigieg Accused of Sexual Assault by 21-Year-Old from Michigan," said The Gateway Pundit's headline.

Around 2 p.m., three hours after the allegation was posted, Buttigieg held an unrelated Q&A with reporters in New York City. "Mayor Pete, do you have anything to say about the allegations?" a reporter asked.

"Oh, I'm sure it's not the first time somebody's going to make something up about me," Buttigieg said. "It's not going to throw us. Politics can be ugly sometimes, but you have to face that when you're in presidential politics."

As Buttigieg was responding, Kelly said he was receiving hundreds of calls and messages from reporters about his claim. He returned CNN's call around 4 p.m. Kelly sounded nervous on the phone and said he only wanted to talk on-camera. Later, he would tell CNN that Burkman and Wohl were standing over his shoulder, forcing him to read a script.

Kelly sent an address to CNN for the interview. It was Burkman's home, which immediately raised red flags. Burkman helped fuel the Seth Rich conspiracy theories. Last year, Burkman and Wohl had worked together to try to pin a fake sexual assault allegation on special counsel Robert Mueller. The matter was referred to the FBI for investigation.

When CNN asked Kelly for some corroboration of his claims before agreeing to do an interview, Kelly didn't respond. Around 7:30 p.m., Kelly texted: "I was set up."

In a statement sent to CNN and posted to Facebook, Kelly wrote, "It's important for everyone to know that I was not sexually assaulted and would never falsely accuse anyone."

Burkman and Wohl both denied that they were part of a plot to fabricate sexual assault allegations against Buttigieg.

"I am appalled by the lies now being told in the national media," Burkman tweeted. "Hunter Kelly's claims of 'coercion' are absurd. He spent a pleasant day with our firm. The day included a Starbucks run, getting him to a hair salon, and playing with dogs."

Burkman shared a photo of a statement Kelly signed describing the assault as well as a photo of Kelly posing with his Ferris State University ID. Burkman described Kelly as his "client" and said he was only trying to help Kelly get the story out.

Wohl told CNN that Kelly "came here to Washington. He had a very detailed story about how he was sexually assaulted by Mayor Pete Buttigieg. We vetted his allegation in a cursory way, and basically transcribed it. After which he signed onto it."

In follow-up conversations, Kelly described something more nefarious. He said he didn't know what to do when Wohl first presented him with the draft of the Medium post.

"It was almost four in the morning," Kelly said. "I couldn't get kicked out because I would have had nowhere to go. By the time I woke up, security was there, and I just felt very uncomfortable."

He said if news outlets had sent camera crews, he had a plan to expose Wohl and Burkman during the interview.

"I was going to point at both of them and say, 'I'm being set up right now and none of this is true,'" Kelly said. "I felt like that would have made them look like the liars that they are."

Noting his misgivings, Kelly said that Burkman promised him a "lavish lifestyle" if he played his part in the scheme.

Instead, Kelly said that he pretended to be exhausted. He said he needed a nap but instead he packed his things and waited for some of his family members to arrive. Then, Kelly said, he rushed downstairs and told Wohl he couldn't go through with their plan. He left the house and headed back to Michigan.

CNN could not independently verify Kelly's story about the financial promises Burkman allegedly made or the pressure Kelly allegedly faced to go along with the plan.

By both Wohl and Kelly's accounts, Kelly was in touch with his family throughout this saga and eventually left Burkman's house with family members, though Wohl claims that Kelly only retracted the allegations after he faced pressure from his family.

Just before 8 p.m., The Daily Beast published a story exposing the hoax. Right-wing websites began updating their initial stories about the made-up assault allegation. By about 10 p.m., Medium removed the story that set everything in motion. It was taken down without any explanation -- perhaps because it violated the site's rule against deceptive content.

In follow-up conversations, Kelly said he had been excited to participate in a legitimate research and political operation. He said it seemed like "a really awesome opportunity."

Kelly also admitted that when he agreed to hop a plane to Washington, he was already aware of the kinds of stunts Burkman and Wohl had pulled in the past. He just didn't believe he would ever allow himself to get sucked into one.

"I knew that I would never let that happen. But I let it happen," Kelly said. "It was definitely something I wish I could take back, going out there. But I can't, so I'm trying to right my wrongs, let the truth be told."

Now, when someone searches for information about the allegation on Google, stories debunking the smear show up before the smear itself -- a small victory for Buttigieg and for the truth.

--CNN Business' Donie O'Sullivan and Oliver Darcy contributed to this report
Figures that it would be the openly gay candidate who would be the first one targeted for this.

This is a very dangerous tactic, because the potential result, and likely intent, is not merely to discredit an opponent by libel, but to create a no-win situation for the Left: either we take every accusation at face value, in which case the Right can knock off our candidates one by one, or we don't, in which case they can scream about how the Left is hypocritical, and use it to shield their own candidates who get accused via Whataboutism and "Both Sides". Either way, they discredit MeToo and the idea that victims of sexual assault should be believed, and subtly reinforce the whole "the accuser is always lying" narrative, while increasing general political cynicism and nihilism via the "Both Sides" narrative.

Fortunately, the attempts thus far against high profile opponents of Trump (mainly this and Mueller) have been transparently false, clumsy, and amateurish. But I'm dreading the moment someone with more brains and resources on the Right feels emboldened enough to try this tactic.

Edit: Its also a fairly Putin-esque move. IIRC, fake sex tapes of Putin's opponents is an established tactic in Putinist Russia.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by houser2112 » 2019-05-06 08:06am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-05-04 08:56am
I'll add another point: we absolutely should not nominate for President or Vice President any Senator in a remotely competitive race.

I don't think losing Manchin would be much of a loss, though. I see little difference between him and a Republican in the seat at this point, except that having a Republican in the seat would not constantly tarnish the Democrats' reputation by association.
I absolutely agree about pulling Senators out that aren't easily replaced. This is why I didn't want Sherrod Brown to run for President; I don't trust OH to elect another Democrat, let alone one like him.

Regarding Manchin: Yes, his voting record makes him indistinguishable from a Republican (and according to one site I've read, he is further to the right than Collins and Murkowski), but the fact that he's a Democrat pushes the party that much closer to chairing the committees.

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-07 02:10am

houser2112 wrote:
2019-05-06 08:06am
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-05-04 08:56am
I'll add another point: we absolutely should not nominate for President or Vice President any Senator in a remotely competitive race.

I don't think losing Manchin would be much of a loss, though. I see little difference between him and a Republican in the seat at this point, except that having a Republican in the seat would not constantly tarnish the Democrats' reputation by association.
I absolutely agree about pulling Senators out that aren't easily replaced. This is why I didn't want Sherrod Brown to run for President; I don't trust OH to elect another Democrat, let alone one like him.

Regarding Manchin: Yes, his voting record makes him indistinguishable from a Republican (and according to one site I've read, he is further to the right than Collins and Murkowski), but the fact that he's a Democrat pushes the party that much closer to chairing the committees.
We have to weight that, though, against the blight he is on the party's reputation with the progressive base.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-09 05:56pm

A new poll shows Biden, Sanders, O'Rourke, Harris, and Buttigieg all beating Trump, with Warren neck and neck:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/worl ... 97391.html

Surprisingly, O'Rourke did best, beating Dickless by 52 to 42. Biden beat him by seven points, Bernie by six, Harris by four, and Buttigieg by three. Warren, sadly, was one point behind at 48/47.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: SUPERTHREAD: 2020 United States Elections

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-09 06:13pm

Woman-touching notwithstanding, Biden appears to have opened up a massive lead:

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign-p ... -21-points.

I'm disappointed, I admit. Biden, though unquestionably far better than Trump, is a weak Centrist who thinks that Trump is an isolated phenomenon rather than part of systemic corruption in the Republican Party (which at this point makes Biden either a borderline collaborator, or delusional). But if these numbers are accurate, and if they hold for the next year (admittedly big ifs), then Biden is going to coast to an easy win. That might not happen if if, as weaker candidates drop out, their support coalesces behind someone else (likely Bernie). But that probably won't happen until after Iowa or New Hampshire at the soonest, at which point it'll be likely too late to stop a Biden nomination, and the most that could be achieved by backing someone else would be a repeat of 2016- a vicious slug-fest between Anyone But Biden/Bernie supporters and the party leadership, that ultimately ends in a Biden nomination anyway, and a possible Bernie or Bust Mk II walkout.

I really hope that doesn't happen.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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