Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series
It is 21 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
Do you remember Goofus and Gallant, the cartoon strip appearing in the Highlights for Children magazine?
Both the magazine and the strip remain in monthly publication, a fact that’s likely better known to those with young children. If you’re not familiar with the comic, it contrasts in very simple terms the good actions of Gallant with the bad actions of his brother, Goofus. The idea, obviously, is to subtly teach right from wrong.
One strip from my childhood has stuck with me particularly well. I don’t remember exactly what Gallant was doing in his half of the frame, but Goofus was taking pleasure in stepping on ants.
The key is “taking pleasure.” I have baited fire ant mounds when they were a threat, swatted flies in the house and slapped mosquitoes sucking my blood. If a spider is outside, I generally go around it and move on, but if it’s in my house, the encounter might be a bit squishier. But it’s not something I delight in. (OK, when a fly’s been buzzing my face for a couple of hours and I finally swat his behind, maybe I celebrate a little.)
The Goofus and Gallant message, of course, wasn’t limited to insects but life in general. It’s a lesson Donald Trump and his rowdier followers failed to embrace.
Adam Serwer, a staff writer at The Atlantic, examined the president’s blatant cruelty in “The Cruelty Is the Point – President Trump and his supporters find community by rejoicing in the suffering of those they hate and fear.”
Read it; you’ll recognize a few ant-stompers you know. More to the point, you’ll visualize those photos that have been way too prevalent, depicting red-faced, screaming, full-of-hate supporters of the president at one of his numerous ego-stoking rallies.
Serwer starts his story talking about photos from other rallies, specifically those that ended in the gruesome deaths of blacks in America just a few decades ago. He noted how the white men grinned at the camera, straining to get into the photo alongside a mutilated corpse of a human being.
No, we’re not talking ants or flies here.
The writer cited numerous examples where Trump exacted various forms of cruelty on people near and far. The article particularly examined how the president chose to mock a woman who stifled decades of pain to tell the story of being sexually assaulted. Trump wasn’t alone, of course, as the crowd began chanting, “Lock her up!”
This is not new information. Republicans can harvest nothing beneficial from having Trump in the White House other than the fact he’s not a Democrat and he isn’t black. Their bonus is they enjoy seeing him punish people not like them – people of color, who more recently immigrated here, who worship differently, who love differently.
As one Zakariah Johnson tweeted a few months ago in response to information that Trump felt the separation of immigrant children from their parents was not aggressive enough: “Trump’s power is based on performative cruelty. That is what his supporters voted for – not for any policy, and not for any other principle than to do the worst thing to people outside the fold at every opportunity.”
One reason, outside pure joy, why Trump feels he must be cruel can be seen in a Twitter thread by NBC News correspondent Katy Tur where she explained there is nothing Trump is more afraid of than looking weak.
In his mind, it seems, he can appear strong and tough when he’s taking a hard line, hurting someone, where another person with compassion and empathy might balk.
She made another notable point, that Republican leaders at times did not want him to do something or another, but he would anyway … because it was loudly endorsed by his rabid crowd.
He would hurt someone, and they would cheer approval, a sadistic pep squad.
As Serwer wrote in closing: “Trump’s only true skill is the con; his only fundamental belief is that the United States is the birthright of straight, white, Christian men, and his only real, authentic pleasure is in cruelty. It is that cruelty, and the delight it brings them, that binds his most ardent supporters to him, in shared scorn for those they hate and fear: immigrants, black voters, feminists, and treasonous white men who empathize with any of those who would steal their birthright. The president’s ability to execute that cruelty through word and deed makes them euphoric. It makes them feel good, it makes them feel proud, it makes them feel happy, it makes them feel united.”
They feel good, proud, happy and united when people are hurt.
We will feel good, proud and happy when we unite in the fall election to put a Democratic majority in the House and Senate, so they can begin protecting people the Republicans love to damage.
Vote early, vote Blue, take a friend and be happy.
It is 22 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
As we were awakening on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, as we were questioning the unbelievability Donald Trump might be our next president, as we were looking for a way out … we were advised by one Republican after another to accept the fact they had won and we had lost.
After all, wasn’t that what they wanted? To be “winners”?
Winning is all that interests them. Confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was a win they had to have, regardless the price.
There is no way (we pray) he was the best-qualified judge out there. He certainly wasn’t one who could pull bipartisan backing. For some reason, Trump and the GOP wanted him. Knowing how Trump likes to own people who will give unconditional support, I cannot help but believe the judge promised the blooming dictator to help provide him total judicial cover. Now, don’t quote me on that as it’s just my gut talking.
Victoria Bassetti, a contributor to Brennan Center for Justice, laid it all out in her opinion piece, “How the Republicans Broke the Senate in Confirming Kavanaugh.”
It was an exercise of brute power, even with the slimmest of margins, insisting to get what they want, despite its threat to the country.
The destructive actions (and inactions) of this administration are widespread – public faith, international relations, needs of the poor, honor, environment, on and on – so it might not seem too much of a stretch that it also … well, let Bassetti put it in her words … “broke the Senate for the foreseeable future.”
In the upcoming election, we can begin to lay a foundation to repair things. Vote Blue this fall.
That includes in your state legislatures, statewide offices, congressional races and Senate.
For Senate, support and vote for Beto O’Rourke in Texas, Jacky Rosen in Nevada, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, Phil Bredesen in Tennessee, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Jon Tester in Montana, Mike Espy in Mississippi, Bill Nelson in Florida, Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona, Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Tina Smith in Minnesota, Robert Menendez in New Jersey, Dianne Feinstein in California, Christopher Murphy in Connecticut, Thomas R. Carper in Delaware, Mazie K. Hirono in Hawaii, Angus S. King Jr. in Maine (yes, the incumbent independent), Benjamin L. Cardin in Maryland, Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, Amy Klobuchar in Minnesota, David Baria in Mississippi, Jane Raybould in Nebraska, Martin Heinrich in New Mexico, Kirsten Gillibrand in New York, Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Robert Casey Jr. in Pennsylvania, Sheldon Whitehouse in Rhode Island, Jenny Wilson in Utah, Bernie Sanders in Vermont, Tim Kaine in Virginia, Maria Cantwell in Washington, Joe Manchin in West Virginia, Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, and Gary Trauner in Wyoming.
It’s time we make good things, not break them.
It is 23 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
The previous post included a quote from Umair Haque (originally trained in neuroscience, now a London-based consultant, often cited as one of the world’s great thinkers) in which he called out America’s Generation X members for not stepping up to modernize America into a decent, working society.
Had you clicked the link and read the headline of his article, “Why America Stayed a Backwards Society (and Collapsed), While the World Grew (and Prospered) – The Unholy Trinity of American Collapse,” you may have wondered what he meant by backwards society and the American collapse.
Had you read the article itself (I admit, this is one of those times he’s difficult to read; I re-read sentences and paragraphs two or three times to unravel his meaning.), you would have found some damning accusations and labels. In fact, if you count yourself among those who believe the United States is, hands down, the best country on the planet in which to live, I suspect you wouldn’t have even finished reading.
Here are some of the phrases he tossed around about the good ol’ US of A:
“America’s a bizarre, weird, gruesome outlier among nations: an exceptionally backward society.”
“Just 20% of women make up political office, as opposed to 40-50% in Europe, less even than in Pakistan.”
“80% of people live paycheck to paycheck and can’t muster $1000 for an emergency.”
“Kids are routinely mowed down at school, and told to wear bulletproof backpacks — or put in concentration camps.”
“An apartheid state.”
“Grim and poisonous residue of supremacy, capitalism, and tribalism.”
“Economic attitude of extreme self-reliance, of naked, aggressive self-interest.”
“Social attitude of tribal supremacy — whites above everyone! Men above women!”
“A stunted, decrepit, crippled thing, a sham democracy.”
OK, so he thinks America is in decline, even collapse. What does that mean? What is his evidence? What are his standards?
If you dig into Hague’s recent writings, he’s brought it up often. In an earlier article, “The Anatomy of American Collapse – How America Imploded Socially, Culturally, Economically, and Politically,” he specifies more concretely what he means. (I found this one an easier read, by the way.)
“People fighting bitterly among themselves.”
“It’s as if America is hell-bent on confirming, as visibly and proudly as possible, the worst suspicions that all its fiercest critics had.”
“The result of incomes flatlining for decades, while the costs of the essentials of life, whether healthcare, education, rent, finance, food, or media, have all skyrocketed.”
“The middle class is collapsing, while inequality has skyrocketed — and that means the vast majority of Americans live right at the edge of ruin — every single day.”
“America is the world’s first poor rich country — what it means is that in terms of people’s lives, their lived experience is one of frustration, resignation, anger, and despair. Their expectations haven’t been fulfilled.”
When the generally accepted idea of hard work leading to prosperity and an improved life, when that idea is shattered, “people are going to grow mistrustful of their institutions and systems. They’re going to grow resentful of each other. They will grow afraid of the future. And probably hostile to the world, too. The rules are broken — why follow them anymore? Why bother with democracy, with civility, with decency, with any of these things? What did they ever do for you? … Maybe by dehumanizing and scapegoating those dirty, filthy animals, those Mexicans, those Jews, those Latinos, those blacks, those Muslims — just like those strong, strutting men who tell you will be great again — you will get ahead. Maybe these new rules will work for you — where the old ones failed you so badly.”
“The poisons and venoms of authoritarianism, of kleptocracy, of fascism, of theocracy, are now beginning to really kill the body social, political, cultural, and economic.”
I hope I’m not sharing too much. Seriously, read the article … slowly, deliberately, leaving yourself open to a new way of thinking. What if he’s right? If so, we need a groundswell movement to fundamentally change things before this country goes all “Lord of the Flies” on us.
We must begin investing in people, not corporate machines. I’m talking healthcare, education, employment, respect for everyone. We need to accept the idea our society is no better than how we treat the poor, the damaged, the vulnerable. We need to learn enough about the rest of the world to realize there are great people, traditions and cultures everywhere. We should figure out America is not the answer to everything.
So, can we correct all of this with the mid-term election in 23 days?
But we can take the first step by disciplining electorally the politicians who have allowed Trump and his hate-filled, rich-enriching, cruelty-loving minions to run rampant over decency. We must remove from office every Republican possible.
This would send an indelible message not only to them as they rebuild but to the newly empowered Democrats, as well. We must then stay on top of them, reminding that we have taken charge and are willing and able to boot them from office, as well.
We the people should feel the calling to press our new leaders to help us make deep, fundamental changes to our economic, political, social and cultural structures, changes that put people first.
Umair Hague is doing his job as a philosopher and observer, pointing out the American Dream is wearing no clothes.
The onus falls on us, the American people, to stitch together communal fabrics into an embracing, loving new society.
Radical, yes. More radical than watching the country implode … I think not.
It is 25 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
I’ve happened to see different articles this week casting blame in diverse directions concerning how our nation put itself into such a lose-lose proposition.
Wrote Timothy Egan in The New York Times: Baby “Boomers gave us Donald Trump, the draft-dodging, tax-evading, wife-cheating poster child for ’60s-bred self-indulgence. It’s boomers who are bankrupting the nation with a trillion-dollar deficit from a selfish tax cut. And it’s boomers who are ignoring climate change while the earth convulses and heads toward an early end.”
Wrote Aaron Blake in The Washington Post: Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook “noted, for example, that younger voters (millennials), perhaps assuming that Clinton was going to win, migrated to third-party candidates in the final days of the race.”
Wrote Umair Haque on Eudaimonia and Co.: “The generation born in the 1970s (Gen X) was the first one which could ever really try to modernize America, bring it into line with modern notions of democracy, civilization, and prosperity, to make it what people would call a decent, working society. And the problem is that generation has failed at precisely that challenge, in abysmal, ruinous, and catastrophic ways.”
So, should blame go to my generation, my daughter’s generation or those even younger?
By all means, yes.
On the other hand … I don’t care about placing blame.
Here’s the problem: We must fix it and start repairing the damage. All of us – young, middle, old – must head to the polls. We must forget casting protest votes and whining about a candidate who, while markedly better than the Republican, isn’t everything we want. We must vote Democrat. We need to elect many more women, people of color, and younger leaders. We must teach Republicans what they’ve been doing will no longer fly with us, forcing them to pull back from their make-the-rich-richer and blame-those-not-like-us game plans. Believe it or not, we must help them save the Republican Party.
Who do we blame?
I do not care.
However, if we fail to cause a massive Blue Wave this fall and in 2020 … we’re all to blame and our world will suffer.
It is 29 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election. Various reasons have kept me from posting the last few days; please accept my apologies.
You must vote in the general election just four weeks from tomorrow to do your part to help put the brakes on the dictatorial dream of Donald Trump, but you must first register.
And you need to do that NOW.
Consider the image at right as a reminder but double-check the date in your state. I say that because I know Texas’ deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 9. Maybe it differs from the chart because the seventh is a Sunday and today is Columbus Day.
Seriously, though, don’t ponder the chart too long, just visit the site linked here to make sure you’re registered. (I just checked mine again to make sure I haven’t been removed for some reason.) It will direct you to your state’s site to check your registration and, if necessary, to register.
You’ll notice on the chart that a growing number of states allow registration up to and including the date of the election. If you’re in one of those states … don’t relax. Go ahead and register now just in case there is a problem.
For the same reason, please vote early if it’s allowed in your state. Or vote absentee. Yes, they will mail a ballot to you (conditions may vary). During the mid-term elections of 2006, I was working in Antarctica and cast my ballot from the frozen continent … that was actually pretty cool.
Register. Vote early. Take a friend. And vote Blue.
It is 38 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election. There was no post Friday.
I carried the following with me all day. It was a 15-hour day, not atypical for end-of-season in tourism work, so I had plenty of time for it to steep. However, I’m certain I cannot do it justice.
An old friend – someone with whom I worked some 20 years ago but didn’t ever know that well and who is now a Facebook friend – posted her incredibly poignant #WhyIDidntReportIt story on the social media platform, starting with the deep statement, “It’s time. Be kind.”
I have no intention of itemizing a remarkably well-written list of offenses committed against her by a series of men. She mentioned two instances where guys threatened her with guns, and how she pretty much stopped speaking for two years, and how she had not been able to hold it together to finish college, and … and … and …
As often as we’ve heard women come forward with such stories, from the #MeToo movement to #WhyIDidntReportIt, we really, really must admit there is a problem. Not only is it real, but it’s gargantuan. Seriously, men, you don’t need to read my friend’s statement. Ask women dear to you; odds are you’ll find stories you had no idea existed.
It is definitely way past time for men to “man up.” Not only must we control ourself and grant women the respect they deserve, but it’s time for all of us to rain down holy hell on the weak men among us – those with whom we work, play or … yes … worship – who take pleasure in recounting their sexual conquests. We must tell them when they’re wrong. We should do whatever we can to communicate it is sinful, evil and dehumanizing to force oneself upon another person.
My friend, after listing several reasons for not reporting the assaults, added this:
“Because of the stories I still can’t tell.”
My heart broke yet again. All this … and even more she is not yet able to talk about.
My friend is a courageous, amazing woman.
She still deals with assaults committed decades ago. Then she decided it might help other women if she spoke out.
I love your bravery, my young friend. May it help you find peace. May your tormentors squirm under the pain of a righteous gaze as they try to hide a horrendous past.
It is 41 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
The events surrounding the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is really all one needs to see how desperate the Republican Party is to force its will into reality regardless of the concerns of the governed.
Blocking the vast majority of the nominee’s records and ramming the process into high speed when, two years ago, they used the same blunt force to totally ignore President Barack Obama’s nominee for a year is proof enough they only want to fill the seat, even if the nominee has possibly perjured himself to the point where he could be impeached by a more level-headed Congress.
Then add how the GOP senators and president have handled the allegations of sexual assault.
Even if the women making the charges are lying, a proper response would be an investigation. That, by the way, is what the woman scheduled to testify Thursday is seeking in order to have her story proven.
Like I said, the fact Republicans care nothing about decency, morality and justice is painfully obvious.
If, like me, you’re tired of our country being the punchline for a joke, prepare to take action in this fall’s election to put Democrats into office to start effecting changes and to put checks on the clown who would be king and those who enable him.
Make sure you’re registered, vote early and take a friend.
It is 42 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
I had a wonderful opportunity Sunday evening to chat with a particularly engaged and informed young man from Taiwan who is among the students we’ve worked with this summer at Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
It appears he sought me out after learning about my background. He did an admirable job of guiding the conversation to pick my brains about the United States, the world and where we are today. In return, he allowed me to do the same, granting me insight into his view of his home country, including its tenuous efforts to be considered not a part of the Republic of China.
He guarded his words somewhat but made it clear he understood the Trump presidency is damaging the country. I asked about healthcare in Taiwan and he said they had universal care, adding, “We know healthcare in the United States is very expensive.”
He knows the president of the United States – once casually referred to as the leader of the free world – is now its clown.
That was Sunday, two days before Trump was literally laughed at by the world.
If, like me, you’re tired of our country being the punchline for a joke, prepare to take action in this fall’s election to put Democrats into office to start effecting changes and to put checks on the clown who would be king.
Make sure you’re registered, vote early and take a friend.
It is 43 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
Are you registered to vote?
If no or not sure, click here and get registered.
If yes, ask a friend the same question. If needed, help him or her prepare to vote this fall.
It is 44 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
Saw a Facebook post last night that apparently is making the rounds. It depicts a photo of a reportedly nude man (a black box blocks out the area of his body that might offend us) on a stage or runway. On either side is a young girl holding his hand and each of those girls is holding the hand of another. The girls’ faces are blurred and they are fully dressed.
The accompanying text says, “Ladies and gentlemen … this is the liberal left trying to NORMALIZE PEDOPHILIA! It has begun!”
True to form for the radical right, this is an outright lie generated to inflame the masses who will not bother to confirm it.
The photo is accurate, but it was not a project of American liberal politics. It was a display in an art museum in Brazil. It’s worth noting that, even though many cultures around the world are less likely to equate nudity with sexual perversions, there was some outcry in Brazil over this living art demonstration.
The point for us, those considering how to vote this November is this:
Expect lies and distortions.
If you watched the Beto O’Rourke-Ted Cruz debate Friday, you may have noticed the number of times Beto pointed out Cruz was lying.
Double-check the negativity you hear. If it sounds unbelievable, there’s probably a reason for that. If they’re saying something to defend a man accused of sexual assault, look closely at both sides.
It’s 44 days until we’re able to elect a new Congress to start holding the Liar-in-Chief in check.
It is 45 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
Have you read any of the #WhyDidntIReport posts on Twitter and Facebook?
It grew out of Donald Trump’s malicious tweet directed at Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has raised the charge she was sexually assaulted by the Supreme Court appointee Brett Kavanaugh. The president basically said she was lying because he thought she would have surely reported an assault when it happened.
If you’re smart enough to click on a link to read this blog, you understand – to some degree, at least – how a woman might not file a police report, especially a few decades ago. Trump does not have that basic sense of empathy.
People – men and women – responded with their stories about how they were not believed, how they felt it must have been their fault, how they were too frightened. The stories are heart-breaking.
But what makes them even worse is watching elected leaders at the highest levels of our government as they continue to do the same thing.
Dr. Ford’s testimony must be heard without efforts to reduce her status simply because she is the feminine party of a “he said, she said” argument. To assist, a full FBI investigation must be conducted.
I am tired of watching men, mostly old men, mostly old white men, as they struggle to turn back the tide of Woman Power that is surely coming. I am convinced our lives will be better when we have at least equal representation of men and women, as I wrote almost a year ago.
We have many women running for offices around the country. Give them fair and careful consideration when you vote this fall.
And start believing women when they speak up.
It is 46 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
However, the election begins today, at least in Minnesota and South Dakota.
The Land of 10,000 Lakes and The Mount Rushmore State are, I believe, the first to open early voting this year and both began today.
Notes I made several weeks ago said New Jersey and Vermont start on Saturday, but I’ve had trouble finding verification of those online.
The thing is, outside the fact Election Day is Nov. 6 across the country, voting laws and procedures vary widely and wildly from state to state. Most states allow early voting, but not all. Some require you to give an excuse for why you cannot vote Election Day, which is referred to as absentee voting. Some states’ early voting lasts only a few days and some a few weeks.
Why should I care?
Early voting and absentee voting have been pushed through state legislative bodies for the purpose of making it easier to vote. One 12-hour period on a weekday is tough for everyone to meet, but most people can – if they will – find a time to vote when the option includes several days, especially if weekends are included.
But you should consider voting early even if you’re certain you’ll be free Nov. 6 because, let’s face it, things happen.
In many parts of the country, early November can bring winter storms. Anywhere can be beset by miserable if not dangerous weather conditions. On a personal level, people get sick or must attend to family emergencies, a car breaks down or one might simply forget about it.
Then there is the more nefarious issue.
Many states have put into place extra barriers that make it more likely you’ll be denied the right to vote. For example, make sure you carry a valid photo identification, even if you think you shouldn’t have to present it. Make sure you do no politicking once you pass the posted limits. I would advise you to not talk politics at all once you get to the polling place.
But, should you have a problem while attempting to vote early, you have time to remedy the situation and vote later. Should it happen on Election Day, you might never get your votes cast.
(This is a great time to remind you to make sure you’re registered to vote. Click this link, enter some information about yourself and confirm your status. Do this even if you know you’re registered because some states have been aggressively purging rolls of those who have not voted recently and mistakes have happened.)
When can I vote?
That’s where you’ll need to do a little research.
Vote.org offers an early voting calendar, of sorts, at this site. It also has links to local offices that should help you. If you have trouble with these, just call your county offices or local media.
It is 47 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election. There was no column posted yesterday.
We’re moving back to the races for the U.S. House of Representatives. Here are the 33 Democrats in races currently considered by fivethirtyeight.com as “leaning,” which means they’re close but one candidate has a perceived advantage. Twenty-five are Republicans and eight Democrats.
If this is confusing you, maybe a glance at Monday’s column will help you understand what we’re talking about.
Without further ado, here are the 33 Democrats in races where one candidate is currently considered to have at least a 60 percent chance of winning but less than 75 percent. Click on names to visit their Twitter pages, and then follow and support them. Some were on the toss-up list Monday but have moved since then.
Alyse S. Galvin, Alaska’s at-large.
Josh Harder, California’s 10th.
T.J. Cox, California’s 21st.
Katie Hill, California’s 25th.
Gil Cisneros, California’s 39th.
Harley Rouda, California’s 48th.
Diane Mitsch Bush, Colorado’s 3rd.
Nancy Soderberg, Florida’s 6th.
Kristen Carlson, Florida’s 15th.
Mary Barzee Flores, Florida’s 25th.
Carolyn Bourdeaux, Georgia’s 7th.
Sean Casten, Illinois’ 6th.
Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, Illinois’ 13th
Lauren Underwood, Illinois’ 14th.
Sharice Davids, Kansas’ 3rd.
Amy McGrath, Kentucky’s 6th.
Gretchen Driskell, Michigan’s 7th.
Elissa Slotkin, Michigan’s 8th.
Haley Stevens, Michigan’s 11th.
Dan Feehan, Minnesota’s 1st.
Kathleen Williams, Montana at-large.
Susie Lee, Nevada’s 3rd.
Xochitl Torres Small, New Mexico’s 2nd.
Anthony Brindisi, New York’s 22nd.
Linda Coleman, North Carolina’s 2nd.
Dan McCready, North Carolina’s 9th.
Aftab Pureval, Ohio’s 1st.
Danny O’Connor, Ohio’s 12th.
Scott Wallace, Pennsylvania’s 1st.
Elaine Luria, Virginia’s 2nd.
Abigail Spanberger, Virginia’s 7th.
Lisa Brown, Washington’s 5th.
Dan Kohl, Wisconsin’s 6th.
As stated above, some of these races sitting on the border of two fields are subject to moving. Just as some of the names above moved from toss-up to leaning since Monday, here are four races recently added to the toss-up category.
Katie Porter, California’s 45th.
Jared Golden, Maine 2nd.
Kara Eastman, Nebraska’s 2nd.
Tom Malinowski, New Jersey’s 7th.
As always, make sure you’re registered, vote early and take a friend.
Tomorrow, it begins to get real.
It is 49 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
In Sunday’s post, I pointed out seven “toss-up” races for the U.S. Senate where we could help by supporting Democratic candidates. Today, using the ratings efforts of fivethirtyeight.com, we’re going to review five races that are deemed “likely Democratic” and one “likely Republican.
If you’re doing the math, that leaves 22 races that are considered slam dunks, in which fivethirtyeight.com assigns one party at least 95 percent odds of winning. Eighteen of those are Democrats and four Republicans.
As for the “likely” races listed below, the website considers them to have between a 75 percent and 95 percent chance of winning. That’s incredibly likely, in my book, but we do know elections do not always play out the way they’re expected. That’s why it remains worthwhile to follow these five candidates and give them a little support.
Alphabetized by state, they are:
Joe Donnelly, Indiana.
Tina Smith, Minnesota.
Mike Espy, Mississippi.
Jon Tester, Montana.
Robert Menendez, New Jersey.
Joe Manchin III, West Virginia.
Each name is linked to the candidate’s Twitter page.
Register, vote early, take a friend.
It is 50 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
My post yesterday asking you to “support and vote for” Democrats in seven closely contested races for the U.S. Senate should have been clearer.
Point one, obviously, you can only vote in a Senate race that’s happening in your state, if there is one. However, you can support all the candidates. I follow them all on Twitter and am quick to retweet their best. It’s a little thing, but I like to think it might help.
Point two, by all means, support the other 28 Democrats running for Senate. (Yes, there are 35 due to special elections in Minnesota and Mississippi.) I did not list the 23 who are considered likely to win or the five who are considered likely to lose (relying on projections from fivethirtyeight.com).
Continuing with that way of looking at where to concentrate our efforts, let’s examine some of the more interesting races for the House of Representatives.
As I said yesterday, don’t take predictions like fivethirtyeight’s too seriously. They’re saying (as of early Monday afternoon) there is an 82.3 percent probability Democrats will take control of the House, that there’s a good chance they can even gain 38 seats or more. (They need to pick up 25 seats to take control of the House.)
Don’t take that for granted. Remember we went into the 2016 general election with everybody from Donald Trump on up feeling it was a lock for Hillary Clinton.
Before we run through the 48 House races that are closest, I’ve a question for you. Do you know which district you vote in? If not, you can find it on your voter registration card. If you’re not registered, click this link and take care of it. If you are registered, it will confirm that fact and tell you what district you’re in.
The following list of the closest House races is alphabetized by state. I’m printing only the Democrats’ names to avoid confusion. Therefore, if your district has an incumbent Republican fighting for his or her seat, you won’t see that name, which is why you need to know your district or at least your Democratic nominee.
Eighteen races are considered toss-ups, so your influence in them could be particularly effective. Each name is linked to that candidate’s Twitter account.
Gil Cisneros, California’s 39th District.
Diane Mitsch Bush, Colorado’s 3rd.
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Florida’s 26th.
Brendan Kelly, Illinois’ 12th.
Cindy Axne, Iowa’s 3rd.
Paul Davis, Kansas’ 2nd.
Amy McGrath, Kentucky’s 6th.
Gretchen Driskell, Michigan’s 7th.
Elissa Slotkin, Michigan’s 8th.
Joe Radinovich, Minnesota’s 8th.
Andy Kim, New Jersey’s 3rd.
Antonio Delgado, New York’s 19th.
Kathy Manning, North Carolina’s 13th.
Danny O’Connor, Ohio’s 12th.
Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, Texas’ 7th.
Gina Ortiz Jones, Texas’ 23rd.
Leslie Cockburn, Virginia’s 5th.
Kim Schrier, Washington’s 8th.
You know, that’s enough for today. You have your work cut out for you to check your voter registration and then follow these 18 candidates. Tuesday, we’ll go over another batch of races that right now are not quite as close.
It is 51 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election. There was no post yesterday.
An article appeared on The Associated Press’ website this afternoon. Written by Julie Pace, Catherine Lucey and Zeke Miller, it was headlined, “Grim warnings for White House, Republicans ahead of election.”
Don’t buy into it.
I’m not discrediting their work, which outlined cautions from “top Republican pollster” Neil Newhouse that things are not looking very good for the GOP in the election 51 days from now.
He said the economy and jobs would not sway voters in midterm elections as much as how they feel about Trump. And, according to the presentation (as if we haven’t all heard it) is the majority of Americans, including a “sizeable percentage of Republican-leaning voters,” do not feel good about a president who is making a mockery of the country he’s supposed to be leading.
OK, so if I believe their story, why do I say, “Don’t buy into it”?
They touched on that, too, writing that the warning appears to be a strategic move by Republicans to scare their diminishing base into voting lest those nasty Democrats take charge and start doing Congress’ job of providing checks and balances against the White House, maybe even impeaching the president if he hasn’t already resigned, not to mention protecting marginalized people and fighting against the rising tide of white supremacists. (Most of those words are mine, by the way; they were not quite that direct.)
Don’t buy into the warning of a Blue Wave. The Republicans are already spreading lies and stirring up fear to drive their voters to the polls. I don’t know how it works, but even after they screamed for eight years that Barack Obama was coming for all their guns, not a single gun restriction was put in place. Yet, they’re crying again that the Democrats are going to take your guns.
And the sheep believe it.
That’s why you and I must keep up the fight, continue to educate voters, encourage folks to register and then to show up and vote.
We must finally remove the stain of the far-right experiment before our country is further damaged, before it is shunned by the rest of the world, before it becomes illegal to have dark skin, to worship in any way other than the radical Christians, to be gay, to come from another country.
Don’t buy into the suggestion that Democrats have the elections wrapped up. We must press on to gather new state seats, to win an astounding majority in the House, even to flip the Senate.
Support and vote for Beto O’Rourke in Texas, Bill Nelson in Florida, Phil Bredesen in Tennessee, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona, Jacky Rosen in Nevada, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, and the rest of the Democratic candidates to help swing the Senate. (Each name links to that candidate’s Twitter page.)
Tomorrow, we’ll look at some of the House races that are particularly important. Leave a comment or otherwise contact me with suggestions for that list.
It is 54 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
President Obama has had enough.
If my pleas for you to vote aren’t sufficient, perhaps he can persuade you to register, to make sure you’re still properly registered, and then get out early to vote.
In this video, he is primarily talking about young voters, which by and large tend to not show up during elections. And isn’t that who I’ve been trying to talk to here? Non-voters and those who traditionally don’t bother with midterm elections?
Obama is taking the somewhat non-traditional step of critiquing the president who followed him. This presidency – which he said exhibits “unprecedented behavior that violates norms that in the past have been observed by both Democrats and Republicans” – is not new to criticism. Every living former president has called out Trump from time to time.
Obama offers advice to young voters: “But what I’ve told them is they shouldn’t be discouraged. They gotta step up and vote.”
You have your concerns – from the cost of education to protecting the environment – but your voice will not be heard if you don’t help elect people who will represent your message.
Additionally, we need to elect women and men to Congress, and to statewide and other offices, who will stand up to Trump’s bullying, fear-peddling, deceitful tactics and provide legal checks on his policies that are damaging the country.
Bonus: This applies to you even if you’re not a young voter.
It is 55 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
Nothing new today, but I’ll make up for it tomorrow.
Meanwhile, register, stay informed, get to the polls, vote early, take friends.
It is 56 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
Another quickie for today’s countdown to the election. It sprang from hearing President Trump lying … again … this time about how wonderfully his administration handled the hurricane in Puerto Rico a year ago.
The truth is his response was abysmal and was made incalculably worse by the fact they ignored reality and simply continued to sing praises to the nothingness they accomplished.
So, here are a few memes and quotes about lying.
Register, stay informed, get to the polls, vote early, take friends.
It is 57 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
A few additions to yesterday’s post.
Make sure you’re registered to vote and then help put more Democrats in office this fall.
It is 58 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
Why am I bugging you – for the 43rd consecutive day now – to make sure you’re registered to vote and then to help elect more Democrats this fall?
There are many reasons I’ve mentioned before, often more than once. To answer my question, though, I’m going with healthcare.
President Obama in no way was able to “fix” healthcare, but the Affordable Care Act that he dragged out of Congress made some good inroads. It was a first step, but Republicans are trying to tear it down.
I was doing some looking around for possible places to work next summer and saw something like this on the page of an employer: “XYZ will provide healthcare benefits to new employees as is required by the Affordable Care Act.” In other words, I read between the lines, there may be no such offer without ACA.
Republicans are doing all they can to return us to the days where more and more people cannot afford insurance and where they sometimes cannot afford the copay even if they do have insurance. It is disgusting how many Americans file for bankruptcy because of medical costs.
According to this Forbes article last month, a third of the fund-raising campaigns on GoFundMe are to cover medical costs. GoFundMe runs 250,000 medical campaigns – an average of almost 700 a day – that raise $650 million each year.
Currently, some states are trying to relax ACA guidelines, the most ominous effort being doing away with a requirement that insurance companies provide coverage of pre-existing conditions. That hits home for a lot of people.
I had bladder cancer seven years ago. It was successfully removed and hasn’t come back, but if I had to change policies and another tumor arose … there’s a good chance the surgery would not be covered, and we would face some tough decisions.
The solution includes considering healthcare a human right, not something only wealthy people can receive. It means removing the for-profit aspect of the industry. Universal health care can be done; dozens of countries are doing it successfully right now.
It will be difficult to make that happen, but nothing is changing if we don’t break the Republican stranglehold on progress.
And that, my friend, is one reason you owe it to yourself, your family and your country to make sure you’re registered to vote and then help put more Democrats in office this fall.
It is 59 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
“Maybe you’re right Trump supporters.
“Maybe the majority of the country, FBI, CIA, Congress, women, Muslims, natural disasters, children in cages, mass shooting victims, entire countries, & his own cabinet picks are all out to get him.
“Or maybe, just maybe… you have been conned.”
Don’t fall for the con. Register, stay informed, get to the polls, vote early, take friends.
It is 61 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
I cannot say how many different ways I’ve heard people make a statement or raise a question similar to that in the above tweet.
To be fair, Trump didn’t begin this. The Tea Party movement, in an amazing act of larceny, had already assumed public claim to God and Christ and many evangelicals began linking their professed religious beliefs to a political party or movement. Somehow, they managed to convince their followers that liberals were something akin to the antichrist, never mind that what liberals talked about – feeding the hungry, housing the poor, bringing justice to the oppressed, etc. – were things Christ taught.
One example, about four years ago, an old friend who thought he knew me much better than he did, expressed his concern that I had wandered from my religious background. I finally had to unfriend him to cease his intrusions into my life.
Another, the other day, a friend mentioned that his relationship with his father had become heavily strained. His dad felt my friend’s progressive leanings indicated he had drifted from his religious upbringing.
Then there’s Trump. While he bragged about grabbing women by the genitalia against their will, had publicly cheated on each of his three wives, had a court record of denying housing to people because of the color of their skin, had repeatedly cheated laborers of their earnings, had proven he was quick to lie about something and then lie about lying about it … just to scratch the surface … while this example of how to not live a New Testament life was prodding followers to exert violence against other people … the people of the religious right somehow crowned him all but the second coming. Some, it seems, haven’t yet ruled out that he’s the returning savior.
Please understand they do not represent all Christians. Personally, I am strengthened in my resolve by my current minister and some previous pastors. They stand ready to preach the Gospel in the face of the lies perpetrated by the far right. You know, such as preaching about loving strangers and refugees, taking care of people in need, pursuing justice … radical things like that.
Let me wrap this up before you think I’ve wandered totally off-course of the mission of this countdown to the election.
If you are a person of faith and have been led to believe Democrats are anti-religious or maybe even anti-Christian … don’t believe it.
What most Democrats are against is having religion – any religion – run the government. You know, like our founding fathers declared.
Also, they will accept people of any religion and those who have none, indeed, even atheists. So, yes, you can find a political home in the Blue Wave whether or not you’re a person of faith.
Because, when you start wrapping religion and politics around the same pole, you get a result that is dangerous to both.
Make sure you’re registered to vote. Unless you insist on having government run by your religion, carefully, even prayerfully, consider voting Democrat this fall.
Do you care about people?
Register, stay informed, get to the polls, vote early, take friends.
It is 62 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
It is 63 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
What does former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick have to do with a countdown to the Nov. 6 election?
Quite a lot, actually.
Kaepernick’s National Football League career has been short (assuming he’s not able to return) but, like his playing style, alternating between moments of greatness and disappointment. He led his San Francisco 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII and to the NFC Championship game the next year. He was exciting to watch, especially when he broke out of the pocket to scramble for yardage.
But that’s not why he’s back in the news today or why President Trump has been verbally assaulting him for more than a year.
It’s because he has the conviction to speak out to draw attention to injustice.
Last spring, Amnesty International honored Kaepernick with its top honor, the Ambassador of Conscience Award. An excerpt from his speech:
“It was James Baldwin who said, to be Black in America, ‘and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.’ My question is, why aren’t all people? How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, ‘freedom and justice for all,’ that is so unjust to so many of the people living there? How can you not be in rage when you know that you are always at risk of death in the streets or enslavement in the prison system? How can you willingly be blind to the truth of systemic racialized injustice?”
That is the more eloquent presentation of what he was silently stating when he began sitting … and then kneeling … during the national anthem prior to football games. While he was heavily lambasted for his protest, other players followed suit, opting to risk popularity to call attention to injustice.
Then, Trump began calling out those protesting racial injustice by executing his own personal brand of injustice – lying about it – and labeling their actions as being against the country and even its military. He called on the NFL to punish them and that’s gone back and forth, as has Kaepernick’s attempts to get back on the playing field.
Then, word got out Labor Day that Nike – that of athletic shoes, apparel and the famous swoosh – is making Kaepernick a face in its 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” advertising campaign.
“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. Just Do It.”
What a perfect message.
And that is how it applies to you getting to the ballot box this fall, and especially if you put your believe to work campaigning for Democratic candidates. (You thought I’d lost my train of thought, hadn’t you?)
I am no Colin Kaepernick, but I’ve had to put up with negative and even degrading comments from people I thought friends because I’ve taken political positions to protect people, their health, their economic situation, their freedoms. I’ve not sacrificed everything, but I have lost things.
It was difficult until I realized I was doing the right thing. If that’s the case, it matters not what others say about me.
That, my friend, is the lesson from a former NFL quarterback you can take into the midterm elections.
Do the right thing.
Just do it.
It is 64 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
I’ll be back at work on the countdown tomorrow. Enjoy your day.
It is 65 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
Hope you’re enjoying your Labor Day weekend. Kicked back and taking it easy. Good food and fun times.
Don’t worry about the current Republican leadership cutting taxes – hugely – to the ultra-rich, who instead of passing any more than a pittance down to employees are instead buying back stock to further enrich themselves. Don’t consider how the massive decrease in federal income (due to the tax cut to the rich) has already been used as an excuse to eliminate planned cost-of-living raises to federal employees, not to mention the cuts in public services that will occur.
Don’t give a second thought to how Republicans are primed to ram through a Supreme Court appointment without an honest appraisal by the full Senate, even though the president who made the appointment is now considered an unindicted co-conspirator in federal laws violations that may very well have contributed to him stealing the office.
Don’t let that ruin your holiday.
Tuesday, however, get back to the business of making sure you’re registered to vote, learning about the candidates and which are lying to you, educating your friends and making plans to vote.
Happy Labor Day.
It is 66 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
“Remember, remember, the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot. I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.”
The movie, “V for Vendetta,” was released in 2005, starring Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman, but I paid it no attention until shortly after Nov. 8, 2016, the last general election.
While commiserating the election, a good friend, a Presbyterian minister, suggested I watch it. The movie is fiction, of course, but it rings warnings as clearly as did George Orwell’s “1984.”
That’s all I’ll say about it, but I did find it currently free for streaming to Amazon Prime members or rent it at Redbox or the site of your choice.
One closing quote that stuck with me, this one read from a note:
“But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you. I love you. With all my heart, I love you. – Valerie.”
It is 67 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
I have abstained from commenting on the death of Sen. John McCain – and Trump’s embarrassing actions following it – until now.
While I appreciated how McCain pitched in at times to slow some of the Republican madness, I was often disappointed that he didn’t do what he could to drive a nail into the coffin. Regardless, I feel an American cannot help but respect his ordeal as a long-term prisoner of war in North Vietnam.
Trump’s handling of McCain was a disgrace.
Here’s the point:
This, too, matters.
Trump has done … and continues to do … an astounding number of amazingly thoughtless and juvenile things. The temptation is to write them off as Donny being Donny, but that’s not right.
Whether we like it or not and until it’s undone, he’s the president of the United States of America.
As such, the way he conducts himself, the things he says, what he tweets, who he insults, who he hurts … it all matters.
In order to start repairing the damage, we must vote in a Blue Wave of Democrats to Congress, to state legislatures, to statewide offices, to county offices.
Click here to make sure you’re registered to vote. Plan to vote early. Carry any documentation that may be requested of you. Go with friends.
Stand up. We all matter.
It is 68 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
Register, stay informed, get to the polls, vote early, take friends.
It is 69 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
I finished my column for today but balked on publishing it. I need to stew on it overnight and reconsider it tomorrow.
So, today, I’ll leave you with this image and a reminder to make sure you’re registered to vote.
It is 70 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election. Primary elections are taking place today in Florida and Arizona.
Why should you bother voting?
Yesterday, I wrote about making sure you had a ride to the polls, or about helping others get there.
A person commented (now deleted) with the opinion nobody should be helped getting to the polls. This person wrote about “other people” from the “other side of the tracks” being carried to the voting booth and swaying an election.
This person wants decisions to be made by people of a like mind, people who live comfortably enough they don’t have to plan ahead just to have a ride to the polls.
Are you one of the “other people”?
If so, you definitely need to get informed, make sure you’re registered, get to the polls and vote.
Notice I slipped “get informed” in there. Regular readers might remember a column I wrote March 6 titled “Should I vote?” in which I opined it’s dangerous when voters don’t know what’s going on. The article wrapped up thusly:
I mean, do we really want uninformed people voting? Can you imagine what might happen?
Of course, it happened.
Don the Con convinced millions of people they were getting the shaft and egged them into voting. The result is we’re currently relying on criminal investigations and the other branches of government to clean up the mess before it’s beyond repair.
Should you go vote?
Not unless you’ve done your homework. However, if that’s the case, if you know who’s running and why and who you agree with, if you’re up on the issues and how they affect us, then please make your ballot heard.
Almost a third of the way through my 100-day campaign encouraging people to register and to vote, I still believe what I wrote in March to be true. I have been telling you how I think you should vote, but you owe it to yourself to check things out on your own, talk to others, read, and fight to keep propaganda from messing with the process.
Register, stay informed, get to the polls, vote early, take friends.
Or “other people” will make decisions for you.
It is 71 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
The tweet pictured here caught my eye the other day and made me think, “Of course, many people have trouble even getting to the polls to vote.”
It’s something of a “duh” thought, but mine is a rural / small town background in areas where almost everyone owns a vehicle. We want to go somewhere, it’s simply hop into the truck and go.
But that’s not true for everyone.
Folks in larger cities come to mind, as well as people of limited income. Their necessary trips – to the store or the doctor – are budgeted and paying for a special ride to the polls and back can make the effort more expensive than they feel free to exercise.
Perhaps you’re one of them. Or perhaps you can be part of the solution.
Taking advantage of the Lyft offer might be just the thing for you, but make sure you check all the details when they become available, such as whether it also applies to the ride home or on to work. Uber had some kind of offer during the 2016 election and might well do so again. Plus, I seem to remember hearing of some taxi services offering specials.
Closer to the heart of the issue, there seem to always be rides provided by local political parties or other activist groups. Make some calls and keep your eyes open for details in your area. Or, flat out ask a friend to give you a ride; you can offer to bring along a snack.
If you have transportation and would like to provide a lift to the polls, maybe start with friends who do not drive. Offer to take them to vote. Or get in touch with your local political party and ask if they can use you.
Remember, in the latest midterm, 2014, only 35.9 percent of eligible voters actually voted. We’re out to raise that number to something much more respectable.
Make sure you’re registered. Make sure you have a way to the polls. Vote early, if possible, to avoid any last-minute snags. Talk to your friends and encourage them to participate. Maybe go together and celebrate with lunch.
Anything … just make it happen.
It is 72 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
On this date 98 years ago – Aug. 26, 1920 – the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was formally adopted, guaranteeing women the right to vote.
Following a 70-year effort by woman suffragists, the law of the land reflected “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
Still, almost a century later, women are not fully represented in politics.
In 2017, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers, women held 19.6 percent of the seats in Congress, 23.7 percent of statewide elective executive offices, 25.1 percent of state legislative seats, and 21.0 percent of mayoral offices in cities with population 30,000 or more.
If you’ve been paying attention, there is a good chance to see a shift in those numbers this fall as a large number of women decided to run for office in response to Donald Trump assuming the presidency.
Many of them are stepping out of their comfort zones because they see a need to be filled. The least we can do is register to vote, carefully examine the candidates and show up for the elections.
It is 73 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
Follow what’s going on, educate yourself, ask questions, consider how politicians’ positions affect you and the country as a whole.
It is 74 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
If it seems these daily posts are dragging a bit, it’s only because they are. Honestly, I knew there would be a lot of small postings, but my seasonal job plus everyday life plus this project plus trying to keep up with the wild and wacky news … well, let’s just say there are definitely a lot of small postings.
Looking ahead, some of the topics I’m planning to write about are voting early, getting to the polls, the idea of being “too liberal,” voting third-party and many other possible ideas, in addition to looking at what’s happening that day.
Stick it out with me. Election Day is only 74 days away now and 37 states have an opportunity to vote early.
Meanwhile. Register. Tell a friend. Vote Blue.
It is 75 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.
It is important to remember that what is happening now in our country is not normal. For example, here is a collection of headlines at the top of The New York Times web page this evening:
“Attorney General Pushes Back on Trump Attack, Saying Justice Will Stay Independent.” Follow the link and the head atop the story says, “Trump Denounces Justice Dept. as Investigations Swirl Around Him.”
“This Conspiracy Theory Should Worry Trump.” (Opinion)
“President Trump’s tweet on South Africa redistributing farmland seemed to endorse a common claim of white supremacists.”
“With a Vocabulary from ‘Goodfellas,’ Trump Evokes the Wiseguys of New York.”
“David Pecker, American Media Chief, Is Said to Have Immunity in Trump Inquiry.”
“Manhattan D.A. Eyes Criminal Charges Against Trump Organization.”
“The Tax-Cut Con Goes On.” (Opinion)
“President Trump’s lawyers urged him not to consider pardons for ex-aides until the special counsel inquiry was over.”
“Congress, Do Your Job.” (Editorial)
To be clear, these were all displayed at the same time; it’s not a week’s collection.
No, this is not normal.