Friday, April 16, 2021

GOP: falling on their Trump swords

 What is the GOP trying to do?  Commit suicide?  The following recent polls regarding Biden's infrastructure legislation show how out of step with public sentiment is the GOP in Washington.  Biden's own polling is not the issue that is on the front burner.  It is the midterms in 2022 when all members of the House are up for reelection or there will be vacancies to be filled.  One-third of the Senate is also on the ballot.  In gerrymandered districts dominated by the GOP, the Trump loyalists will have no problem becoming their party's candidate, but then they have to deal with the buzz saw in the general election.  Independents and Democrats will be all too eager to remind the GOP party of no just where they stood on the infrastructure bill.   I can see the general election commercials now. "Your GOP candidate opposed...(.fill in the blanks").

The question is will this move any 2020 Trump voters to vote for someone else other than Trump loyalists in 2022 or will "cultural" wars keep them in the Trump fold?  Rolled into the "cultural" issue are some gut grabbing considerations ranging from white nationallism of America firsters, not at all disguised by calling there goal to keep "Anglo-Saxons" in charge of their

  

As Biden approaches 100th day in office, Republicans admit difficulties in attacking his agenda (yahoo.com)

With broad support for his infrastructure plan among U.S. voters, Biden reaches out to GOP (yahoo.com)

Poll: Americans Support Biden's Nontraditional Infrastructure Plan (businessinsider.com)

"Of the following four main findings, three are measures the GOP has argued for excluding from the bill:

  • 87% of the public backed fixing roads and bridges;

  • 82% of the public supported increasing pay for elderly caregivers;

  • 78% of the public supported expanding high-speed broadband;

  • And 70% of the public supported fixing the electrical grid and making buildings and homes more energy efficient.

The poll also found that 50% of respondents supported raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% to pay for the plan. When asked about corporate tax hikes generally, 46% said it was a bad idea because it would raise wages and cost jobs, while 43% said corporate tax hikes should be raised to pay for infrastructure because companies "do not pay their fair share."

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Replacement theory revisited April 2021

 The following report inspired me to repost this  nearly prophetic August 12, 2020 blog posting on  April 11, 2021 when Tucker Carlson of FOX brought into the mainstream a slogan and the racist theory of replacement: Anti-Defamation League Calls on Fox News to Fire Tucker Carlson (businessinsider.com)

I remember Neo-Nazi chants in Charlottesville, "Jews will not replace us". The "replacement" word was picked up by many on the right and applied to Hispanics and immigrants. If this is not white nationalism, I do not know what is. The results: the words from right-wing media...and that includes Fox stars, ..inspired the El Paso shooter who used the same words to justify his murder of 22, targeting in his own words Hispanics. Those who approve or repeat such language are complicit in promoting white nationalism. ..and racism. The results will be the opposite of what they wished.

For those who protest this designation, think what the end result of their words means.  With or without "the invasion" of migrants, the demographic shift of the makeup of America to more brown and black citizens will happen anyway because of projected birth rates. So what is the goal now? Slow it down by scaring migrants off with acts of cruelty or by inspiring angry young men to kill them? 

 If the fear harbored by Republicans is that the impact of more black and brown citizens voting for Democrats,, the backlash could be much more immediate instead of farther in the future.  Not only are polls showing the important swing voters, suburban women, are more likely to vote for Democrats, because of the Trump administration's racial politics, Hispanic citizens traditionally have a large segment, 20 to 30%, who have voted Republican in past elections and that ratio could change..  The Republican party will for years be known as the party of white nationalists and enemies of Hispanics as a group.  If the RNC's goal is to suppress the growth of Hispanics voting Democrat, this strategy of embracing white nationalism and inspiring racism will backfire long term because even those Hispanics who are already citizens will be swept up in the hatred of them because of their color, race, name, and background regardless of their political philosophy or citizenship status. If the GOP fears a high turnout of African-Americans and Hispanics in 2020, they are doing all in their power to increase the turnout of those voices and voters they have attempted to suppress. It is a lesson they should have learned in the 2018 midterms. The historic turnout of minority voters turned red districts blue, including Colorado's 6th Congressional District and contributed to the House of Representatives flipping to blue. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

So here's the GOP game: make it hard to vote so only' quality' voters vote easily

 If we didn't get the point before, we know it now.  Coded words delivered with a wink to those in on the joke are no longer necessary because some in the GOP actually spilled the beans to the rest of us..  ‘Everybody Shouldn’t Be Voting,’ Republican Blurts Out (nymag.com)  A state legislator from Arizona was not the first to publicly claim. only quality voters should vote and. the goal was not quantity.  What they really mean is no secret now, thanks to that legislator's and others' slip of a loose tongue.  That may be what the GOP wants, but the emperor has no clothes any longer. Until then, the GOP had been clothed in the piety of preventing fraud, real, imagined, fantasy, or feared. Their real goal is now bared naked for the world to see. Their agenda is to make it inconvenient for all who are over 18 to vote. but particularly those of low wealth,  dark skin color, or less education. 

 What the rest of us need are quality legislators who can comprehend and honor the Constitution and legislate fairly and intelligently.  I am trying to find the word "quality" in the Constitution as a condition for approved voters. It just is not there. Once in our very racist south, we used to have literacy tests along with poll taxes and other hindrances to less than desirable voters, meaning African Americans.That was found unconstitutional years ago and stopped by voting rights legislation. The voter suppression law passed in Georgia has specifically aimed at voting habits of African Americans, causing them to stand in line for hours without food or water to vote and lack of car-owning mobility of African Americans to get to the few drop boxes and voting sites left in their neighborhoods.. This is Jim Crow 2021 by another name.

 If fraud prevention GOP says is the goal, that is a bogus reason based on a lie since there was no evidence of any significant numbers. The GOP had 60 chances before judges of all ideological ilk to present their evidence, and they failed...Preventing fantasy and feared fraud is not their real game, but preventing people to vote easily who they deem unqualified voting for the other party, is their goal..   What is broken in such minds so it needs to be fixed is there are just too many young people, black and brown people,, folks who work with their hands or who have less than a college education, or doddering old people,  voting who are likely to cheat or not know what they are doing because that is who they are.  Fraud fighting is their cover story, but that is not the reason.  Those demographic groups are not inclined to be GOP voters.

 Try Colorado's legislation if stopping fraud and convenient voting is really their game. It is possible to make it easy for all to vote and still stop fraud.  Colorado devised a way to do it with one of the highest turnouts in the nation with   99.3% of voters doing it by mail and dropping off their ballots in convenient boxes.  But that is really not these GOP goals. We know that now because they could enact such workable laws if they wanted to. There are successful models to follow if they cared to encourage all to vote and still guard against fraud.. Since 2013 I have been voting by mail in Colorado and I am a big city  (Denver) former election official.  I marvel at the checks and double-checks built into the system to prevent fraud. It can be done. It was devised by a GOP-dominated legislature and shaped by a GOP Secretary of State and the implementation continued by a Democrat Secretary of State with an agenda to make it easy to vote and to prevent fraud. You have to get into the weeds of rule making and administrative procedure conforming to the legislation to grasp it, but given the history of a lack of voter fraud since the Colorado law was enacted years ago, it has worked to protect against fraud.

Better informed voters are not really  GOP goals either. We know that now. If that kind of quality is your concern, do it by mail. I have found that I am also able to take time, study the issues and candidates, at home. The Blue Book and whatever information  I need to understand the issues and candidate is sitting on the kitchen table as I go through the ballot since I got the ballot in the mail sent to registered voters.  I do not need to get a doctor's permission slip or take the extra step to fill and send a mail request to get an absentee ballot. I have no excuses. There it is staring at me on the table so I can get it right without having to wing it in a voting booth.. I am making more informed decisions than ever have.  If the quality of decision-making is defined as an informed voter is the goal, doing it by mail makes it more possible. But that is not what those legislators mean by "quality", is it?  We know that now, don't we.

These suppression attempts are springing up in over 40 states. This points to a need for passage of federal legislation like HR-1 and SB-1to stop these voter suppression tactics. They cropped up because Supreme Court decisions gutted many enforcement provisions of prior voting rights laws and GOP leaders felt free to revert to past laws.  Many formerly slave states with GOP-dominated legislatures and statehouses were alarmed that nonwhite voters made the difference in their Senate and House races and cost them elections. Other states whose politics were dominated by Trump-aligned state government officials have followed Trump's party line or used their sponsorship of such voter suppression tactics to establish their Trump follower bonefides.

 Colorado Vs. Georgia Voting Laws: What Are The Differences? | Colorado Public Radio (cpr.org)  The MLB will play their All-Star game at Coors Field in Denver as a protest to Georgia's proposed voter suppression laws.  Colorado is considered the gold standard on voter participation laws and there is a very significant difference, per the CPR article. Fraud fears in Colorado?None: Colorado does require voter ID to vote in person but it does not require voter ID to vote by mail, unlike Georgia. Voter ID in Colorado permits 16 kinds of ID, but in Georgia, only 6 kinds.  Georgia's new law does enlarge early voting in person a few days more than Colorado, but  99.3 of Colorado voters vote by mail with out the two step hassle of request ballot, provide ID mail in voting as in Georgia. Per the CPR report" Kemp and others also have said that Colorado requires photo identification to vote, which is false."  .https://www.5280.com/2020/05/no-fraud-isnt-rampant-in-colorados-mail-in-voting-system/ Colorado has mail-in voting and it has very effective ways to deal with fraud.  


Per the NYT aritcle "Representative John Kavanagh, a Republican legislator who chairs Arizona’s Government and Elections Committee and is shepherding through a bill to make voting more cumbersome and therefore rare, described his party’s motives with blundering candor."“There’s a fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans,” he told CNN. “Democrats value as many people as possible voting, and they’re willing to risk fraud. Republicans are more concerned about fraud, so we don’t mind putting security measures in that won’t let everybody vote — but everybody shouldn’t be voting … Not everybody wants to vote, and if somebody is uninterested in voting, that probably means that they’re totally uninformed on the issues. Quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes, as well.”


         

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Much ado about nothing: GOP's agenda

While Joe Biden proposes and gets passed a parcel of Congressional legislation with public opinion approval of 60 to 70%, the last thing the GOP wants you to focus on is exactly that.  Instead, their supportive media want you to be wrapped up with Dr. Suess, a misbehaving Biden dog, and the national debt. That is the much ado about nothing to take your mind off of much ado about much.  Some political wags have had the temerity to suggest that if the GOP wants to take on the Biden agenda head-on, they should come up with their own plan.  That's a laugh since the GOP caucus in Congress has another agenda that has nothing to do with solving their constituents' problems with constructive and effective plans.  Instead, their game is to make Biden look like a failure and just say no to whatever he proposes, regardless of its merit or popularity.  Their only rationale to say no is that Biden is being way too generous toward their constituents because it piles on too much debt and it contains public policies that are not conservative. It might even cause inflation, though that is a matter of which economist you ask.  That's a laugh, too, because the price tag of the COVID relief bill was exactly the same as Trump's tax cut to the rich, 1.9 trillion. It appears the GOP has no problem with the debt if it benefits the wealthy, but they object to the same amount if it benefits the poor, middle class, and small business. as the COVID relief legislation does.  The infrastructure proposal is another chunk of change, but an argument that can be made is that jobs will be created and the return on investment is long term, but necessary before roads and bridges collapse. and the weather disasters brought on by climate change hasten expensive mitigation measures. As the old saying goes: a stitch in time saves nine. The proposed infrastructure costs would be paid by increasing taxes on the wealthy and raising corporate taxes a bit ( from 21 to 28%, but not to prior high levels of 35%), also a popular approach.  Nonetheless, the GOP policy is just to say no for the same old reason. Stop the Democrats so we can get in power again to do nothing except approve judges.

  In one of my favorite movies, Amadeus, the emperor criticizes young genius Mozart's compositions for having too many notes.  To meet the critics' comment, there was no follow up in the movie script,, and the obvious conclusion was "what silliness!". It was Mozart's choice of notes that made him an icon of musical genius for centuries.   My take on that was, if so, which notes would the emperor have Mozart take out? Likewise what part of Biden's COVID relief law and infrastructure bill would the GOP want to cut out or reduce?    They will never advocate anything specific because they will tick off some important constituent group or other and business interests who would lose something from which they would benefit.  

The GOP has one goal, to take back the House and Senate in the 2022 midterms, but they are using a risky strategy with their obstructionism.  First, wiley Senate veteran Biden has a tiny majority,  the Presidential decision power of whether to use or not use the veto pen, and priceless knowledge of how to get around a filibuster. Given the one-vote margin Democrats have in the Senate means so far it is not enough to reach the  60 votes needed to pass  Ending the filibuster is not a wise move because what goes around comes around if the Senate flips in 2022.  However there are other tricks up Biden's sleeve that would reduce the enthusiasm for a filibuster such as returning to the prior rule of requiring the person invoking the filibuster and the senators to listen until all drop from exhaustion, Senate rules can be changed with a simple majority vote or a parliamentarian rule interpretation such as increasing the number of times the complicated reconciliation process could be used when the proposed legislation has a budget impact.  

The GOP is also taking a risk with their just say no approach. Not only are they trying to make Biden fail, but they are also failing to meet the day-to-day needs and wants of 60 to 70 percent of their own constituents. That makes for a tough-to-sell platform which will be mostly," vote for me because I am like Trump". I can see the 2022 campaign ads run against GOP incumbents by Democratic challengers. One-third of the Senate and all of the House are on the ballot in 2022.  A Democratic candidates' ad might look like this:" Hey, you like the help you got, the relief checks, the access to COVID shots, and the new bridge?. Well, your GOP incumbent voted against it, and had the GOP  been in the majority,  you would have been out of luck." 

Poll: 72 percent approve of Covid relief law - POLITICO

Voters Want to Pay for Infrastructure With Taxes on Wealthy: Poll (businessinsider.com)

CBO Confirms GOP Tax Law Contributes to Darkening Fiscal Future | House Budget Committee Democrats

COVID-19 stimulus: How much do the coronavirus relief bills cost? (usatoday.com)

The difference between the Trump tax cuts and the Biden relief bill, in one chart - The Washington Post

Biden breaks with Obama, as well as Trump, on everything from Afghanistan to spending (yahoo.com)