Steve Martaindale

Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series

47. In the House

Vote here sign

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.

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49. Senate-bound?

women voices

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.

50. Housework

capitol-visitor-center-exterior-138

U.S. Capitol

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.

51. Warning

gun watch

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.

53. You must vote

keep calm

It is 53 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

Register, stay informed, get to the polls, vote early, take friends.

 

 

54. Young vote

Obama vote frame

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.

55. Slacking

Brennan trump disgraceful

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.

 

56. Lies

lying dont believe

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.

Liars hate honesty

lying no respect

liars lie

57. Health II

healthcare - gofundme

It is 57 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

A few additions to yesterday’s post.

healthcare - non-profits

healthcare - countries

Make sure you’re registered to vote and then help put more Democrats in office this fall.

 

58. Health

for-profit medicine

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.

medically bankruptAccording 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.

59. Maybe

He is a con

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.

  He is lying

60. Praying

It is 60 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

Following up on yesterday’s post:

Christians 

Register, stay informed, get to the polls, vote early, take friends.

 

61. Pray

Trump-evangelicals

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.

62. Caring

Care about people

 

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.

63. Just do it

Kap web site

 

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.

Kap - just do it

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.

kap tweet - Rannt

Kap tweet - Brennan

Kap tweet - Best

Kap tweet - Gu

 

64. Labor Day II

It is 64 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

labor day mag

labor day fight

labor day abe

I’ll be back at work on the countdown tomorrow. Enjoy your day.

65. Labor Day

Labor 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.

66. Remember, remember

vendetta

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.”

67. It matters

It matters

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.

Don’t boo

obama - go vote

It is 68 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

Register, stay informed, get to the polls, vote early, take friends.

69. Get up

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.

get up

70. Why bother?

Raise your voice

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.

71. Getting there

Lyft

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.

72. Equality

Women voters could win Democrats the House. Newsweek.com

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.

73. Vote

Vote by voting

It is 73 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

Elie Wiesel quote

 

Follow what’s going on, educate yourself, ask questions, consider how politicians’ positions affect you and the country as a whole.

Then vote.

74. Small

Keep fighting

Artist unknown.

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.

 

75. Not normal

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.

Register. Tell a friend. Vote Blue.

 

 

76. Register to vote

rock the vote

It is 76 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

register

keep calm

18-25 voters

Register. Tell a friend. Vote.

 

77. Numbers

non-voters

It is 77 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

Optimistically, we’ve been referring to the election as the Blue Wave or Blue Tsunami, symbolizing people rising against the nationalistic movement and its Russian supporters who have pressed our republic to the brink of credibility.

Is that optimism realistic?

Seriously, what we need to take over the House of Representatives and the Senate is no small feat. Merely protesting, tweeting, cursing at the storm are not likely to bring about the changes we need to be able to put a damper on the radical right. Gerrymandered districts, drawn by Republican legislatures to create and protect Republican congressmen, require massive, liberal voter turnouts.

We must draw out those who have not been voting, and those who are undecided about which side to support. We must continue to encourage blue voters to bring new people to the polls this fall.

It’s commonly known that Hillary Clinton received 2,868,686 more votes in the 2016 presidential election than Donald Trump. However, did you realize 7,830,934 ballots were cast for other candidates? That’s more than 5.7 percent, including 749 votes, for example, for Princess Jacob, running on the Loyal Trustworthy Compassion party or label.

Worse is the fact 698,990 ballots were cast for write-ins. More than 1 of every 200 voters willingly threw away their vote, not even supporting one of the second- or third-tier candidates.

Worst, only 55.67 percent of America’s voting age population bothered showing up. That means 108 million people who could have voted … didn’t. (These numbers come from the Federal Election Commission.)

It is those non-voters who hold our future.

Sure, I pray that more conservatives will see that the current policies are slowly breaking the backs of almost all Americans, that money is being funneled up to the very richest and mostly staying there, that the world is a less safe place, that we are taking actions to further harm the environment. I even hope they will decide that people are worthy of saving just for being people, even if they’re different in how they look, sound, worship or love.

But what we need to concentrate on now is new voters, including those wonderfully strong voices of newly qualified, young voters.

Please join me. Do your own thing to build the Blue Wave.

78. Not safe for Trumpers

annoying political posts

It is 78 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

Oops, looks like the time finally arrived to repeat the message I put out when I started this countdown to the election.

This comes from the series opener on July 29, “Be heard”:

“Advisory: This series is written for liberals, others who have not voted, and those who simply are undecided. Please understand I am not writing to anyone who remains a Trump supporter or who backs his Republican Party enablers. Such folks need a spiritual reawakening I’m unlikely to give them. I will not be entering arguments. In fact, I won’t even allow such comments on this blog. Here on FB or Twitter, I will delete them and, if necessary, unfriend or block the person. In all honesty, you might want to not follow me the next few months if you’re a diehard Trump fan; I’d understand.”

To some surprise, my friend count in Facebook has only dropped one, my blog followers has grown by two and Twitter followers has increased by 45. Either my old, die-hard conservative friends are ignoring me to maintain a sentimental connection or maybe reconsidering their positions.

Then, for some reason, Sunday’s post about a possible Trump impeachment being an indicator of the resiliency of the U.S. Constitution caused the first real backlash. It was nothing strong or mean, just testing my policy of not allowing them to play their games.

However, I never assume everyone has read all my posts, so this is a repeat advisory.

If you remain a Trump supporter after his embarrassing first 19 months in office, please, please, please ignore my posts from now until we fix this problem. I do not want to get you overly-agitated and possibly cause high blood pressure. With the way the Republicans are attempting to dismantle health care, you won’t be able to afford treatment.

Now, back to the reason for this series.

If you’re not registered to vote, it’s time to get into the game. We need everybody who cares about human beings to register and then vote Democrat this fall. Too many people sitting on the sidelines is what got us into this mess.

Register. Tell a friend. Vote.

PS – I have nothing against you posting photos of your meals.

79. Impeachment?

Impeachment

It is 79 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

Let us address the elephant in the room. The tweet above states it as unequivocally as possible: If Democrats take over the House and Senate, President Trump will be impeached, convicted and removed from office.

I’m not sure many candidates will come out and state it that strongly, but it’s simple reasoning.

Trump’s impeachable offenses are staggering, barely surpassing the unbelievability of Congress’ inaction. He is a human wrecking ball to this nation and the crane hoisting the ball is the Republican Party.

So, let’s accept Brian’s assessment that impeachment will definitely follow the Democrats taking control of the House. This may open to some people the question of whether that’s a good thing for the country.

“It’s embarrassing.” “It makes our country look weak.” “We shouldn’t air our dirty laundry in public.”

No, no, no, no, NO!

Removing a developing tyrant is EXACTLY what would illustrate the greatness of the United States of America.

Our system was designed with checks and balances because the framers were wriggling out from underneath the pressure of a tyrant. They wanted nobody to have ultimate power. In their intent, the current GOP Congress would have long ago reined in the president. Republicans have failed miserably in their responsibility.

What next?

It now falls back on the voters. Is this why congressmen have to run for election every two years, because our forefathers figured that’s not enough time to totally botch everything? Regardless, Congress has taken a pass on doing its job in favor of coddling a man who would be king. Now, it’s up to us.

We the voters, come this fall election, must send a Blue Wave crashing into Washington. There must be such a resounding rejection of the past two years that even the remaining Republicans in office will see the errors of their ways.

THAT, my friend, is something of pride. It will show this country is still on its feet, still a friend of justice, still a land of liberty. Still a government by the people.

To make it happen, we need nobody to sit on the sidelines. If you are eligible to vote, make sure you are registered. Be certain you vote. In fact, vote early to make sure nothing keeps you from it. And vote Democratic; be part of showing to the world part of what makes America truly great.

80. Just vote

raised hands as if voting

Be heard. Raise your hand. Register. Vote!

It is 80 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

The objective here is for you to vote, which isn’t necessarily as simple as it sounds.

As was mentioned in “85. Purges,” Republican-led states have gone to considerable effort to keep people from voting.

A tweet I came across a month ago warned, “Watch what you wear to the polls too. They can deny entry for anything THEY deem offensive.”

Actually, a Supreme Court ruling in June cracked down on voting judges denying citizens wearing politicized clothing. As for “offensive,” I don’t know.

But let’s keep our eye on the end game here.

The objective is for you to vote, not to challenge some arcane law. Sure, maybe it needs to be challenged, but let’s make sure you vote.

So, don’t wear anything political – T-shirts, buttons or anything that might be perceived as a political statement. Avoid talking politics at the poll. Certainly, don’t get into an argument.

Show up with your ID, prepared to vote Blue. The ballot is the only place you need to make a statement on Election Day.

81. 1,000 words

It is 81 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

It’s Friday and we’ll let the pictures do the talking, in no particular order.

Be like Sally

Family members

Starve a child

gop - press

white privilege

medically bankrupt

get up

core values

lying press

Be a part of the Blue Wave taking America back from the grasp of extremism. Register to vote, vote, engage a friend.

82. N-word misdirect

respect for women

It is 82 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

I do not care, at this point, if Donald Trump used the N-word, much less whether it’s been captured on tape. Considering what he has said and done, him using a racial epithet would rank rather down the list.

Seriously, how much worse can that make him?

He has singled out black athletes and marshalled his hate-fueled forces against them because they have the audacity to cry out for justice for black men who suffer inequitably at the hands of law enforcement and the justice system.

Following a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in which a woman was killed, he asserted there were “fine people on both sides” of the rally.

There was his description of Haiti, El Salvador and African countries in general as “shithole countries.”

He charged that a U.S. district judge did not treat him fairly because the American-born judge was of Mexican descent.

Don’t forget his loud accusations – long before he entered any political race – that the nation’s first African-American president was born in Kenya and was a Muslim.

During the campaign, he attacked Muslim parents who lost a son fighting for the United States in the Iraq war.

He opened his run for office denouncing Mexican immigrants as the “worst people” and “rapists.”

As president, he’s fought to block immigrants from whole countries, all of which are majority Muslim. It’s worth noting his ban did not affect Muslim countries where he does business.

He referred to Puerto Ricans as ingrates when they protested government response after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

I won’t even try to decide which examples to cite illustrating Trump thinks of women as objects to be owned and values them solely for their physical attributes. Some two dozen women have accused him of sexual assault over the last three decades.

During one of his debates, he mocked a physically handicapped reporter. Of course, he continually mocks all reporters and news outlets that report truthfully about him.

I cannot imagine, given his track record, that he hasn’t used the word.

But I ask again, how could even that make him worse? Even if he never has and never will use it, he is verifiably full of hate for most people and takes pleasure from their suffering. What else do you need to know?

Now, back to the reason for this countdown to the election…

If you wish to be associated with and support Trump and the disheartening number of Republicans who think like him and/or assist him, prepare yourself for a disappointing fall because…

If you find the conduct of Trump and his enablers to be abhorrent, if you wish to see our nation’s image changed, if you care about how all people are treated, if you desire good health care for everyone, if you recognize the important contributions to immigrants and see that we need them to help fund and craft our future, if…

If you want to be part of what it takes to begin repairing this damage to our nation, then make sure you’re registered to vote and help drive the Blue Wave during the fall elections.

And enlighten a friend.

 

 

83. Straight ticket?

Republican defeat

It is 83 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

I’ve been preaching “vote Democrat” throughout this series and, frankly, that bothers me a little bit.

Prior to 2016, I had never been a straight-ticket voter. Even had I voted for everyone in a particular party, I would have voted for each individually; I never agreed with voting for party over person.

(Should you not be familiar with straight-ticket voting, my home state of Texas is one of few which allow voters to choose a party-line option on their ballots, such as simply voting for all the Democrats with a single mark. This fall’s election will be the final time that opportunity will be offered in Texas. For purposes of this article, however, let us assume the definition includes anyone who would automatically vote for all the members of one party.)

The question I posed at the end of yesterday’s post was, “Do you have to only vote for Democrats?” I answered, “No.”

Sure, I keep telling you to vote Democrat because that’s the safest thing to do. However, if you’ve done your due diligence and you’ve found a Republican candidate who truly cares about other people and he or she is running against a Democrat who is a weak representative of your beliefs, then, sure, vote for the Republican.

If that’s not the case, then vote Democrat (not Independent or third party; which we’ll discuss in a future article) and know you’re likely even doing Republicans a favor voting against them.

Consider this tweet from Bruce Bartlett, who served as a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and as a Treasury official under George H.W. Bush:

“The ESSENTIAL precondition for Republican reform is defeat–large enough and enough times that is (sic) cannot be blamed on bad candidates, lack of money, bad luck etc. The party must know that it cannot win without reform. Only then will it reform.”

We need the Republicans to clean up their act, to move away from extreme, prejudicial, hurtful politics. I believe we need at least two strong parties, but the GOP is hurtling toward oblivion as it ostracizes one group of people after another.

So, help Republicans reach the bottom so maybe, in another election or two, they can begin becoming a helpful presence in this country.

84. People

Care about people

It is 84 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

There are times – more often than we realize, I suspect – that major arguments can be isolated as incredibly simple issues.

Oh-so-many things that form the divisions between left and right, liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican can be boiled down to the graphic posted above.

I need not itemize the people who have been harshly affected by policies of the current administration and the majority party in Congress, but I will up the ante a bit.

President Trump clearly takes pleasure in causing misery for people. It appears to be just one of his many power trip mechanisms to make him feel more important than others.

Do you care about other people? Do you think sick children should be able to get medical care? Do you think families should be able to financially exist with a full-time job? Do you think education is important for everyone? Do you think people of different religions can live in a community that benefits all?

If you care about people, make sure you’re registered to vote, then cast a ballot for the Democrats on the ballot. Share this with a friend; ask if he or she is registered.

Do you have to only vote for Democrats? Of course not, but I’ll talk more about that tomorrow.

 

85. Purges

Vote

It is 85 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

Are you registered to vote? I’ve been posing that in the form of a question or as an instruction every day for the past two weeks. Today, let me rephrase it.

Are you sure you’re registered to vote?

Just because you were registered and voted in November 2016 doesn’t necessarily mean you’re still registered because states have been purging voter rolls with what appears to sometimes be reckless abandon.

Purging voter rolls is not in and of itself wrong or evil. Like so many things, it’s a matter of whether it’s done fairly, as is stated in this quote from the study, “Purges: A Growing Threat to the Right to Vote,” conducted by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law:

“When done correctly, purges ensure the voter rolls are accurate and up-to-date. When done incorrectly, purges disenfranchise legitimate voters (often when it is too close to an election to rectify the mistake), causing confusion and delay at the polls.”

The study found numerous cases of states wrongfully purging legal voters from rolls.

Oh, this might be a good place to remind you, there have never been found – even by President Trump’s own investigation – evidence of substantial voter fraud. Far more people have been denied their legal right to vote than have illegal votes been cast.

A story this morning from The New York Times suggests that’s liable to worsen as the Department of Justice has shifted from defending voters’ rights to pressing and assisting states in tightening voter restrictions under the guise of fighting voter fraud. (If you’ve forgotten already, reread the previous paragraph.)

But let’s focus this on you and me. We must take care of our rights.

How? Make sure you’re registered. If you’re not, register. Regardless, check back later to make sure you’re still registered. I just checked mine again this morning and I will do so again later.

Start by going to https://www.headcount.org/verify-voter-registration/. Select your state, enter identifying information and check the results. Also make sure your information is correct.

And help a friend do the same.

86. Limits

Checklist

It is 86 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

What will it take for you to become politically active, or just register and vote?

It’s a rhetorical question, but the answer for many teen-age voters is crystal clear: “A string of school shootings.”

It has become cliché since the 1999 Columbine school shooting for all of us – most prominently political figures – to promise we’ll do something to make sure such a tragedy does not happen again. Of course, we know nothing has really happened, as illustrated by a frequency of shootings at schools, churches, theaters, etc., that prevents us from even remembering them all.

Something different came out of the shooting deaths of 17 students and school staff members last Valentine’s Day in Parkland, Fla. Students from that school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, have risen and proclaimed they will do something.

They grabbed ahold of the podium provided by their heartbreak and have parlayed it into a national force. Their objective is to press for gun laws that make us safer. They are astute enough to realize, in the current political configuration, such laws are not going to happen.

So, they have set out to help change the poisonous situation that so closely affected their lives and they’re doing it by encouraging young people to vote.

Their degree of success is up to much speculation, partly because citizens in their teens and 20s are notoriously bad about voting, but these kids – such as Emma González, David Hogg and Cameron Kasky – are doing something.

What about you? Would it take losing Medicare, having health insurance priced out of reach because of a pre-existing condition, or watching your savings disappear as you try to stay healthy? Would it take having someone close to you deported because his immigration papers from 40 years ago were flawed? Would it take a niece dying during an alley abortion because safe abortions had been outlawed? Would it be your brother buying legal marijuana in Colorado, getting busted for possession under federal law and sent to prison for 10 years? Would it be our country’s leaders orchestrating another war to appease the military-industrial complex that has them in its pocket?

Make sure you’re registered, stop the madness, vote Democrat in November.

And tell a friend.

87. Resist, rest, resist

Resist every day

It is 87 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

I’m tired.

And I cannot imagine what it’s like for those who are deeply involved in fighting the tyrants Republicans have become. I’m just a guy out in the world who speaks his mind, even though it’s questionable anyone hears, and even I am tired. They must be exhausted.

I started a new summer job last week (my wife and I are retired but work summers to feed our traveling habit) and it requires me to work outside in the sun all day with a lot of walking around. That has left me physically wasted.

But that’s not the tired that really gets to me.

I have written, over the years, five books in the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series. The latest was published more than two years ago and I was already at work on No. 6. After the 2016 election, I just kind of shut down when it came to working on my book. There was so much going on that I could not focus on being creative.

It’s still true. I made an effort or two, but nothing has lasted. My hope now is to get back to work on it in mid-November after a crushing Blue Wave sets change into motion.

When I started this 100-day countdown to the Nov. 6 election, I knew it would be a challenge to post something every day. I knew some days would be nothing more than a clever meme; they could not all be deep pieces.

We need rest. It’s a message I’ve seen repeated by many in the Resistance: Take care of yourself so you can fight another day.

All I’ve been asking of you during this series is to register and vote Democrat. However, if you do some research and find that you think Democrats will help restore our nation, please consider joining the campaign.

A shared burden makes for a lighter load.

88. Hint: he’s lying

Gaslighting

It is 88 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

National Football League players are not protesting the flag, the anthem and certainly not our servicemen and servicewomen.

Remember this … repeat it to yourself every time you hear President Trump say anything … “he’s lying.”

Even if he’s not lying at some time or another, it’s most likely flanked by lies. You’ll come out far ahead of the game if you just start analyzing any of his comments with the presumption he’s lying.

If you’re enjoying time with friends this weekend, encourage them to register to vote and to help elect Democrats in November.

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