130 Comments

Thank you for this timely call to arms. I don't accept the conventional wisdom that Democrats will be shellacked in the midterms. Protection of the integrity of the election is key, but a Democrat sweep must be fought for, and this of course depends on independents voting Democrat. Warren is absolutely correct, Democrats have to get a strong message out and loud.

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Every candidate must be asked on the record whether the Biden administration is legitimate.

See my comments on the law.

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I love your aggressive legal suggestions.

On another front, is it possible that, at the same time, the AG could actually start prosecution proceedings against Trump? And if so, could these proceedings alone derail Trump's candidacy?

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Of course. But have to prove he's a party to conspiracy. Jury question.

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Wickedness NEVER takes a day and takes advantage of every opportunity that comes it’s way. Democracy must be fought for tooth and nail, figuratively in house to house combat.

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I agree with you Michael. I believe we will have another Blue wave much like we did in 2018! Electing more women to state offices would also be a Plus but this country definitely needs more women elected to the US Senate!

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Professor, Because no one seems to have a ready answer about how to resuscitate momentum at the federal level, I couldn’t agree more that we must look to how we can defend democracy at the state and local levels.

Though far less polished than your messaging, since the failed Senate vote this past January to pass minimum nationwide voting standards, I, along with a host of others, have emphasized the need for enthusiastic poll workers and other election officials—county clerks and election judges—who can help people easily to register and stay registered and also ensure that their votes are counted. We’re also amplifying the importance of out-organizing Republicans, who, as you stated, ruthlessly are organizing to fill state and local positions with their own people—people who don’t believe in free and fair elections. As important, we’re in touch with groups that provide lists of Secretary of State candidates that need our support.

Though I haven’t given up on getting some federal voter safeguards passed, I, nonetheless, know we need to get started, nationwide, mobilizing for democracy at the state and local levels.

My sincere thanks for today’s comprehensive and highly accessible newsletter that merits the broadest distribution each of us can manage.

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Well said, Barbara Jo.

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Thank you, Anne.

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You’re welcome. I am deeply concerned, just as most of the readers of this newsletter are & plan to volunteer to write postcards for another state. (Grateful resident of MD here.)

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Apr 19, 2022·edited Apr 19, 2022

Anne, Thank you for your note. As an equally grateful resident of MA, I, too, write postcards and do virtually whatever else I’m asked to do.

Though, since 2016, we repeatedly hear that the current year’s election will be the most consequential, if the truth be told, 2016 was the most consequential, which leaves us with a small window to protect the key mechanisms of democracy in the U.S.

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You are right again, Barbara Jo. Since 2016 every single election is crucial; our Democracy hangs in the balance.

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Sounds great, however, election workers are being threatened and they are quitting their jobs by the thousands. I believe there is a well organized mob that are behind this. https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-trump-georgia-threats/

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@Eadie Sharron This is definitely all planed. Has been. Back to my last years serving as a county commissioner. Actually, after reading the WIRED article about Joel Kaplan and Facebook/Meta, it’s been going on since Bush/Gore. Read that and weep. Then, organize!

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Eadie, Clearly, you raise a valid point. Still, if we are to resist a fatal weakening of our civic institutions, we must look out for one another and, as PaulaOH writes, “Then, organize.”

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A message... Don't allow republicans to hand over American democracy to Trump/Putin.

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Perhaps another thing local people can do is ask candidates for every office, "who won the 2020 presidential election and how do you know?" Then ask if they would swear to that. Anyone who can't acknowledge the truth of Biden's win is a potential coup participant. It is sad so many people are desperate for excitement and will put our democracy at risk to get it. They are hoping they will be in the elite group when the Trumpers take over. They have no clue that the Trumpers are as disgusted with the screamers at rallies as with everyone else who is not white, straight, rich, and male. They simply tolerate the women and others who are willing to give up their souls for them, only as long as they are useful.

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Right. See my comments on the law.

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Bannon said: “We’re taking over all the elections.”

So....is this not a conspiracy? A criminal conspiracy exists when two or more people agree to commit almost any unlawful act, then take some action toward its completion. The action taken need not itself be a crime, but it must indicate that those involved in the conspiracy knew of the plan and intended to break the law.

If the Justice Department is asleep at the switch, does the Democratic Party have standing to bring an action?

As a predicate, establish that each candidate denies that Biden is the legitimate president.

Governed by 18 USC Ch. 73, Obstruction of justice: The Omnibus Clause,18 U.S.C. §1503, or Omnibus Provision, provides that anyone who corruptly... obstructs or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct or impede, the due administration of justice", is guilty of the crime of obstruction of justice.

See also: 18 U.S. Code § 595 - Interference by administrative employees of Federal, State, or Territorial Governments

Whoever, being a person employed in any administrative position by the United States, or by any department or agency thereof, or by the District of Columbia or any agency or instrumentality thereof, or by any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States, or any political subdivision, municipality, or agency thereof, or agency of such political subdivision or municipality (including any corporation owned or controlled by any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States or by any such political subdivision, municipality, or agency), in connection with any activity which is financed in whole or in part by loans or grants made by the United States, or any department or agency thereof, uses his official authority for the purpose of interfering with, or affecting, the nomination or the election of any candidate for the office of President, Vice President, Presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, Delegate from the District of Columbia, or Resident Commissioner, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

This section shall not prohibit or make unlawful any act by any officer or employee of any educational or research institution, establishment, agency, or system which is supported in whole or in part by any state or political subdivision thereof, or by the District of Columbia or by any Territory or Possession of the United States; or by any recognized religious, philanthropic or cultural organization.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 720; Pub. L. 91–405, title II, § 204(d)(6), Sept. 22, 1970, 84 Stat. 853; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(H), (L), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)

See also: 18 U.S. Code § 610 - Coercion of political activity

It shall be unlawful for any person to intimidate, threaten, command, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, command, or coerce, any employee of the Federal Government as defined in section 7322(1) of title 5, United States Code, to engage in, or not to engage in, any political activity, including, but not limited to, voting or refusing to vote for any candidate or measure in any election, making or refusing to make any political contribution, or working or refusing to work on behalf of any candidate. Any person who violates this section shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

(Added Pub. L. 103–94, § 4(c)(1), Oct. 6, 1993, 107 Stat. 1005; amended Pub. L. 104–294, title VI, § 601(a)(1), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3497.)

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It was interesting to see on MSNBC that Marjorie Taylor Green may be blocked from running for office with the 14 amendment clause. Her oath to the Constitution was violated by her public statements and actions regarding the 2020 election and the Big lie.

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Would be very nice if big law firm attorneys would volunteer their time to take this on...it’s a gargantuan undertaking but would be a valorous pro bono gift to the world. Giving up clients who might have a problem with such an effort would be a sacrifice. Of course, if democracy falls, so will the free economy world.

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It's hard to believe that people like Brian Kemp can get away with what he did. How is it that a person with an obvious conflict of interest can just go ahead and mess up the set up? No wonder things have gotten as bad as they are now!

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Yet, Kemp certified Biden’s win despite Kemp being a person who is republican through and through.

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good to know

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That's why I became a poll worker for Polk County, Florida during the presidential election and while I intend to work as one in the upcoming election.

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founding

I don't know how to get a message to people who think the Republican Party is on their side? I know that a small minority of Americans are both under-educated and of less than average intelligence. Nonetheless, these people are still citizens and I would defend their right to vote their conscience. But there is another whole bunch of folks who are not that dumb and not that uneducated, but who still vote for the Republican ticket. Say all you want about the pernicious impacts of false media and bemoan the role of money in politics until the cows come home, there is still something wrong with our understanding of these people! Why are they vulnerable to those false claims on media? Even worse, in one survey I heard about, some folks admitted that they knew the claims were false but they liked the messages anyway! I think we have come to a time when "root cause analysis" is of little use; now is the time to deal with the reality on the ground. In addition to what Secretary Reich recommends, those of us with even modest means must challenge all crimes in a court of law. I live in California, a pretty strong blue State. But we have some Republicans in Congress from our State and we have some Republican challengers now that district lines have been re-drawn. I'm searching for those people who are trying to break down our legitimate election processes, and I'm going to do something about it!

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Apr 19, 2022·edited Apr 19, 2022

As a former Republican who bought into Ronald Reagan's government is not the solution but the problem, I would say that this appealed to my everyday sense that government did not work, and was more a hindrance to getting things done, with seemingly endless and confusing rules and regulations. My personal wakeup call was the financial meltdown in 2008 when someone said, I believe it was Milton Friedman, that nothing could have done to prevent it because you can't regulate greed. What BS! I am not sure that level of intelligence or education makes that much difference in how people may vote but more so their own experience with government. In my opinion all levels of government would do themselves a big favor by concentrating on the most important issues in people's lives, keeping things direct and simple so people can readily access government services they need and want. For example, why does filing your tax returns need to be so complicated? That's why I thought the Child Tax Credit was so effective. It reached many people, put money directly in their pockets, with no complicated means testing where you had to show eligibility. And it worked exactly as intended, helping working families, reducing childhood poverty. Just think what it would be like if the government provided Medicare for All, universal preschool, and other popular programs that benefited the working families in this country. But of course, Republicans benefit by keeping government complicated, where only the monied interests and the wealthy and monied interests can benefit and also corporate democrats like Manchin try to impose complex means testing on every program all in the name of avoiding an entitlement society. Personally, I think this is what Present Biden is trying to get done, but there are just too many obstacles weighing him down. I just wish he acted more forcefully in trying to get these things done, less like a Senator and more like a FDR or JFK.

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founding

While I agree with you to some extent, Jim, I think it’s people’s personal financial situations that influence how they vote more than anything. They could be benefitting from Medicare and vote Republican because the price of meat goes up. It’s very tricky. A lot of what influences them is outside of government’s control but they blame elected officials anyway.

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Paula, I agree that's true as well, but would add that an effective government that enforced competition by limiting corporate consolidation of industries would also go a long way in helping solve these types of problems as well.

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founding

Absolutely!!

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The msm does not help much with blaming Biden and Democrats. Fox 'news' is worse.

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@PaulaB there’s actually polling showing that working class voters call themselves middle class. That has become part of the puzzle. When we put together policies/programs that are aimed at workers or working poor, those voters are not “receiving” that message and are instead open to hearing the R aspirational message against tax and spend thinking they already ARE middle class.

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founding

There’s nothing like cognitive dissonance, is there?

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Discouraging. Yet we must keep trying.

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Jim Tedford ; He seems to be trying to pass a billionaire tax on wealth of 20%. That is a start.

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Definitely 👍

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Maybe start with Kevin McCarthy?

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founding

@Todd. I'd have to move to Lancaster to personally vote against him (a rather untenable prospect). But he is up again, now in the 20th District, and there may be a real opportunity to mobilized Democrats in that District.

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founding

There’s Mike Garcia in my district. He beat Christy Smith by 333 votes. I don’t know what effect redistricting will have on him but he needs to go.

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The scenario that Robert describes seems more and more probable, ending our democracy. Since the last election cycle, the Republicans have been putting in place the people and procedures to guarantee that they will win the midterm election coming soon and the next Presidential election. The danger is already happening! People need to wake up!

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They do this in plain view. Nothing is hidden. They don’t have to! There are no meaningful consequences!

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Plus they have a majority on the Supreme Court covering their backside now.

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We shall see soon enough whether the changes that the Repubicans have made to limit voting and voting rights, to the states' office of Secretary of State in key states have "meaningful consequences", such as making it virtually impossible for Democrats to win in any of the elections.They're using a perverse Trump trick: while screaming falsely about Democrats stealing elections, they are doing all they can to steal coming elections.

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That’s their game, for sure. And always projecting what they do onto Democrats. Sick creatures! They’ll gladly destroy the country, as long as a Democrat can’t bring progress and help to people who need it. Power hungry whores. (And I apologize to anyone who works as a prostitute- you’re far better than the Qpublicans.)

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In many of these states, they have the votes to do whatever they want. So they can do it legally.

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It is disheartening, sad, irritating, frustrating, etc., that you even have to write this piece since the evidence is so overwhelming and PUBLIC, and yet we still contend with criminals who seem to hold our government hostage.

When states can determine who WE elect president, then we have lost democracy. There is still a short window of opportunity for Dems to do something to protect our government and, ultimately, our country, but is appears that is not high on the agenda.

Finally, I realize that DOJ need to get their ducks in a row before going after the insurrectionists, but prolonging the process is giving the republican traitors the ability to SHOUT their message to the cult following.

To say I am frustrated, embarrassed, and, frankly, confused is an understatement. If the DEMS don't find some mental strength, then it is certainly possible the mid-terms will be lost.

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Yes, I feel ashamed that our nation can not live up to its ideals most of the time. I want to be able to be proud of this country that I call home.

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Jim Tedford ; Money is the root of all evils. Frustrating. We must pay attention to who is running for Secretary of state and other election worker positions that require non partisan people. I live in a blue state, but realize that it's no guarantee that all will be well. Vigilance is needed now. It is a tricky time on a slippery slope!

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Apr 20, 2022·edited Apr 20, 2022

Agreed, I’m also in a blue state, California, luckily! But sometimes it makes it even more frustrating that we have such little impact on national politics because of the electoral college and almost no influence on what happens in other states.

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IMHO, the underlying problem is having a single partisan official, the secretary of state, with the power to supervise and certify elections in his/her state. Elect or appoint the wrong person to this position, such as Brian Kemp, and you get the abuses seen in the 2018 Georgia governor's race, where Kemp's actions stole the election from Stacy Abrams. In Virginia, a group of appointed individuals, the State Board of Elections, supervises elections. I believe this makes it less likely for election abuse to occur. Other states should consider a similar system.

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And then there’s this, where Kemp has made illegal for Abrams to fund raise for a period of time:

https://amp.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/mar/22/stacey-abrams-lawsuit-fundraising-campaign-georgia-governor

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Good point. So much of our election system is totally corrupts le when corrupt people are allowed in.

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founding

@Tim. Another point in the establishment and its role in protecting/advancing minority rights in this country (not immigrants and people of color! By minority I mean the rural Repugnicans!).

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Once again, we expect people to overwhelmingly show up for a known corrupt process! The focus should be on immediate arrests of those planning coups in the open! We continue to do things backwards and then get shocked when we are overthrown. I believe in 6 out of the past 7 elections the Democrats won the popular vote! Yet we’ve had republican so-called presidents. There are many years of getting trampled and expecting the winners to forego their hopes for moving forward. Part of this is lack of arresting those responsible. We’ve watched the police kill black citizens over petty crimes, but taking down our Democracy/government sits on the back burner!

We are out of time for this next election…we must ALL vote to reverse everything the republican lunatics have put in place. If we can do this, we (Progressives-representing the majority of the nation-based on approval stats for priority of Climate action, Health Care for All, Free/low cost Higher Ed etc) MUST BE REWARDED WITH MEANINGFUL CHANGES! Last chance!

And lets be sure, those committing the heinous crimes of Trump et al are put under arrest immediately after the crime is committed. We do this for middle/lower class citizens.

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From yesterday: First report people who repeat the big lie and deny the legitimacy of our government. 18 U.S. Code § 2385 - Advocating overthrow of Government

Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or

Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or

Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof—

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

If two or more persons conspire to commit any offense named in this section, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

As used in this section, the terms “organizes” and “organize”, with respect to any society, group, or assembly of persons, include the recruiting of new members, the forming of new units, and the regrouping or expansion of existing clubs, classes, and other units of such society, group, or assembly of persons.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 808; July 24, 1956, ch. 678, § 2, 70 Stat. 623; Pub. L. 87–486, June 19, 1962, 76 Stat. 103; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(N), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)

18R

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The problem is lack of enforcement! You can add that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Tell that to a dead black man who was killed without cause or for a misdemeanor.

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That is a scary scenario! But more scary is people don't really understand the dire consequences to that. How dangerous that is. This must be made repeatedly clear to the voters. And sadly, Democrats are not making it! Too trusting and complaisant in their positions.

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Constantinos Ragazas ; Just tell them Republicans support Putin, and war crimes. "Careful for what you wish for, tRump voters!" We need them to connect the dots somehow.

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The problem is deeper than that, unfortunately! Most Trump voters believe America is no longer a Democracy already. That their "Government is their problem" (Reagan). So through Trump they seek to "take back their country" by any means, legal or illegal!

They see liying and cheating and colluting as how everything in their lives and country gets done. And sadly, they may be right! What gives me nightmares, as I have two daughters and two grand daughters growing in such world of corruption.

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Constantinos Ragazas ; My daughter is expecting our first grandchild. I know how you feel. At any rate, what you said is right. But those who are in thrall have also been brainwashed by people like Tucker Carlson, who has a show on Russian TV on Putin's channel; the only one allowed. It's true that since the Reagan era, incomes have gone down along with regulation and the fairness doctrine. Reagan welcomed Rupert Murdoch with open arms and now we have Fox 'news' and other misinformation products. The oligarchs of the world want complete control and all the wealth, without working much. Pure evil. We must be active and vigilant. Thank you for your comment.

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Apr 19, 2022·edited Apr 19, 2022

Let this be a major wakeup call to all of us. The 2020 election was saved from Trumps coup by state election officials who followed the rule of law and refused to succumb to lies and threats. If we don't protect these same people we'll end up with officials who will do everything they can to rig the vote to ensure their own victory. If we thought the 2020 election was important, the 2024 election is not only important but critical in saving our country and democracy itself. Scary times require aggressive action. Get involved now.

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Once again, your commentary has focused on a crucial issue in American politics. As in other responses, I keep coming back to the crying need to reeducate (for lack of a better term) the working class citizens who make up much of the Trump/Bannon base. This is a complex undertaking that will walk a fine line between traditional activism and modern media targeting. There is a perception that the Dems have become the party of minorities, immigrants and far-left radicals, rather than the general public. Irrespective of whether it has even a grain of basis in reality, it has a disproportionate influence on perceptions. The battle for hearts and minds can't be won when it's diverted from truth to lies and false perceptions. Ideally, the education system should be providing the basis for discerrnment, but it's too easily lost in the culture wars. So, it's a matter of paying attention to Secretary of State races, as well as school boards and other lynchpin elected offices. This has to be repeated on a state by state and an ongoing basis. If not, the Trumpannons will have their way.

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UNFORTUNATELY, the curriculum in America does not include critical thing from grades 1-12.

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I am happy to report that in my community in MA, our local high school has repeatedly won the Civics competition for the region. This is expanding to other parts of the country and may go national. They are learning critical thinking along the way.

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Good to hear Laurie. This should be taught starting in grade kg.-12

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founding

At the risk of something—I’m not sure what—what is wrong with minorities, immigrants, and far left radicals? We’re almost all children of immigrants in this country. Far left is just a code word for “humanitarian.” And many of us are minorities. We can’t let the right warp our language by turning neutral or positive words into negatives. Please don’t buy into that!!!

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Maybe I could have phrased that response differently if it gives the impression that I think the Dems are wrong to champion the less powerful. I was commenting on the radical rights' using it to drive a wedge between traditional Democratic allies: Working folks and those trying to achieve economic and social stability. This IS a battle for hearts and minds, and the liberal part of America is under attack. We may wish for that better world where prejudice and hatred aren't weaponized, but we have a ways to go before we get there. Words will always be dangerous if they're used to do harm. The best vaccine is knowledge and the ability to apply it.

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Sadly, some people will find a way to criticize anything That is said for the common good.

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founding

I’ve been thinking about this and I’ve come to the following conclusion. Nothing is perfect. The right seizes on what isn’t perfect and blows it out of proportion as if it’s all there is. That’s why they get so many people on their side. They portray everything as a disaster, even when it isn’t. If people focused on the positive in life while still trying to improve the world this wouldn’t be possible. We need to accentuate the positive and attack them for their lies. I don’t have this idea completely worked out but the essence is there. What do you think?

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I think you're absolutely correct on this. I look on this forum as a think tank to raise and critique and refine ideas based on Prof. Reich's lessons and discussions. I hope he and his staff/collaborators are keeping a record of what ideas are emerging from the discussion. That could be a valuable tool for a practical campaign to recapture the mainstream, and the power to do good things.

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Paula B. ; I agree that being positive is good, and it is uplifting too. They emphasize negativity and blow things way out of proportion, like accusing the recent Supreme Court Judge Katangi Brown of being a pedophile just because they disliked her reasoning. Just because she had to deal with real life crime against children. Meanwhile there are Repugs that are into much worse behavior. The big smokescreen and shouting distracts from the truth and attempts to drown it out. Sensationalism (and sex) sells!

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Apr 19, 2022·edited Apr 19, 2022

The OH Supreme Court has just ruled unconstitutional the Republicans' 4th "tweaked" version of a gerrymandered voter districting map previously ruled unconstitutional. That means I'll be working 2 elections. Since the Federal court refused to intervene with the congressional elections, those candidates along with local issues will appear on the May 3 ballot. State General Assembly candidates will be voted on in a later election. OH Republicans aren't trying to suppress the vote. They're trying to choose who will vote for the candidates they're running - a subtler move, indeed, except they can't get it past the kind of conservative supreme court they prefer! More on this as it unfolds.

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So worried

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