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I think that Shapiro has missed the mark with his “democracy is on the ballot” piece. Regardless of how serious anyone feels the real threat to democracy is, it’s not THIS election that might indicate we have lost democracy; it’s the idea that should Republicans capture sufficient power in the 2022 midterms, they will enact sufficient new laws to render FUTURE elections effectively moot (either through voter suppression or simple refusal to recognize any results that don’t go their way).

This is the similar to the notion heard so often in 2016 from the right-wing (courtesy of Limbaugh and others) that “if Clinton wins, this will be the last election we will ever have because she will allow millions of illegal aliens to come into this country and vote, and they will vote for the Democratic Party”. But while it is similar, it’s also distinctly different in that right-wing’s rant was based on nothing but their fever dreams while the current GOP’s stance on “election integrity/election denialism” is a real, frightening thing.

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founding

Biden's speech was spot on.But why not hammer on this message two months ago?And why wait to use Obama to deliver it until the last week or so? Our democracy stands on a knife s edge.Perhaps James Carville should be in charge of Democrats messaging. DY

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I found this response to Josh Barro extremely persusasive.

https://johnganz.substack.com/p/small-d-delusional

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That was "chef's kiss" worthy right there.

(and yes, I sub, and pay for it)

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According to NYT polling, Democratic support from white suburban women plummeted in just 2 months from +12 in August to -15.in October. Kind of amazing, but in this country pocket book issues exert a gravitational pull that eventually they subsume all other issues – including abortion war, and democracy, to name a few.

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I have no doubt that the new House of Representatives will waste an enormous amount of time on meaningless -- and meanspirited -- investigations, and then impeach Joe Biden. Probably several more members of the Administration, as well. The silver lining is that all the time they spend on that performative nonsense is time that they won't have available for serious legislating and constituent services -- you know, the kind of stuff that improves politicians' reputations and gets them re-elected.

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They wouldn't accomplish much anyway with a Democratic President and a committed policy of obstruction. The thing their investigations will do is showcase for those paying attention the difference between a riot in our nations capital with the intent to overturn an election and ... a laptop? A relative trading on their influence?

The hyper partisans will get all worked up, but the mass of the American people, if they notice at all, will roll their eyes at the pettiness and blatant hypocrisy. "Jared Kushner, son-in-law of the former President got $2B from the Saudis for what, coordinating higher gas prices? Just asking questions."

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I agree. Hunter Bidrn may have got a higher paying job he didn't deserve because his father was Vice President. All of Trump's spawn got high paying jobs in the White House and one or two of them couldn't get security clearance. That is way, way more nepotism to the nth degree.

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Garbage at the Intercept. Shocking. Why, they'll be finding garbage at landfills next.

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What is this world coming to?

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Wow, this just in ...

The overgrown children at the Intercept have wildly distorted yet another "insider account" of our Intelligence Community actually doing their jobs.

Remember everyone, this is the same publication founded in part by Glen "Russia? Nothing to see here!" Greenwald. The guy who won a Pulitzer by taking dictation from Comrade Snowden, a low-level nobody (y'know, a modern day Deep Throat!) diligently exposing classified, legal programs fully vetted by the FISA courts and Congressional intelligence committees and claiming, falsely, that they were being unlawfully weaponized against the American public.

These people have a long con going against the American public. They exploit the bad reputation the FBI/CIA got in the J. Edgar Hoover and Dick Nixon eras, ignore the copious reforms that have taken place since then, then distort every piece of information they get their hands on, making an easy sell to an American public weaned on phony X-Files / Enemy of the State depictions of the classified areas of government as a lawless, Mafia state. When the info is classified, the government has a gag on regarding how much they can push back. And to whatever extent they attempt to set the record straight, you get the canned cynicism about how the mainstream media uncritically accepts everything that "the spooks" tell them.

Nice work if you can get it.

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Mr. Khatiri's piece was interesting and well written but as is customary with the pundit class, offered nothing by way of solution to the problem he poses. More valuable would have been suggestions for a course of action that the administration could take with a reasonable expectation of success. Perhaps the reason they've done nothing so far is that, with Iran sanctioned past the point of effectiveness and no nuclear deal to use as a negotiating lever (however limited), Mr. Blinken and company have run out of ideas that don't involve American forces in the country; that option isn't even an unreasonable possibility and would most likely result in the unification of the Iranian people to drive out the country that's already screwed them twice.

With respect to point #2, the Republicans don't really want budget reform, they just want attention and distraction which they've already achieved. When the last minute (or even the minute after that) comes, they'll get some essentially meaningless but very public concession from the administration and, with the exceptions of the outer limits (Paul, Lee, Massie and a few others), will pass the necessary resolution and kick the can down the road a couple of months. This has become such standard practice for both parties that it amazes me because, somewhere along the line, people quicker on the uptake than I am will have figured the game out and started to regard these gameplayers as the fools they are.

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There are two problems with the Republicans' holding the Debt Ceiling for ransom that make it more toxic than simple performative politics:

1. They're playing fast and loose with a constitutional mandate that all debt for funds already appropriated must be approved by Congress, thus modeling contempt for the Constitution and, by extension all law. Does anyone really think anymore that their base has the perspective to realize that they're just kidding?

2. One of these days, these geniuses are going to miscalculate and default, and then it's going to blow up in all of our faces.

So no, not just harmless playacting, easy to dismiss.

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Purely an aside, but I had a close friend and colleague in school whose initials were ACB3.

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Interesting -- mine have been AB3 since I was thirteen. 😃

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"Does anyone really think anymore that their base has the perspective to realize that they're just kidding?"

Much of their base certainly doesn't have the perspective to understand what a default would mean, so no, they don't believe they are kidding. And when it comes time, anyone willing to bet the economy that MTG, Boebert, Gaetz, and the like will understand it any better?

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founding

Using the debt ceiling as sword held over the economy has not been standard practice of the Democrats.

Unless you didn't mean that, then my bad for jumping the gun.

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I should have been clearer that holding 'must pass' bills up to the deadline has become standard practice; the GOP has much more often used the debt ceiling and government shutdown as a tactic and aljbrown3 makes very good points other than that I didn't suggest the playacting was harmless.

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Re: Josh Barro : The difference between Democrats and Republicans as regards the threat to democracy is that Democrats are not declaring or inferring that the only way they will lose is if the election is stolen from them. They will not attempt to cling to power. Many of the Republican candidates of 2022 are saying just that. They will not accept defeat. That's different from encouraging everyone to vote for your party. Republicans are also the Party intimidating voters by policing ballot drop boxes with face masks, camo gear and firearms. Those are authoritarian, Third World tactics.

Re: Nick Catoggio: I think we are still several days ahead of knowing what voters really think. How about we wait before declaring a 30 seat majority in the House for Republicans? It seems to me that the media are pushing the polls to such an extent that when Republicans lose they will point to those polls and say that they prove that the election was stolen from them. What will we call the insurrection of 2022?

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Nov 3, 2022·edited Nov 4, 2022

I agree. If they lose they will

scream they were cheated.

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But what would be the value of a predictor if we all waited to see what actually happened before we panicked over what might or might not? Things might actually calm down; people might start talking about something other than politics and, about the time the pigs came down for a landing, Congresspeople might start doing the jobs they were elected for.

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Man...dripping with fear and loathing much, Charlie? If Allahpundit thinks Dobbs was a blip but now Americans are focused back on hunting & gathering to feed their families in this hellscape of pointless coast to coast violence, he/she should change their name again. Maybe to Lamepundit?

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How dare women think they should have autonomy over choices they make? Better to let local political leaders weigh in when women are in exam rooms with their physicians, no? A society can be judged on how they treat their women. Let the Serena Joys triumph in concert with their "male protectors."

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I mean, doctors have been crying out for help since the start of the pandemic. You think they'd be more grateful that Ted Cruz is willing to give them lists of treatments and meds they are no longer allowed to use.

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You mean like the "stable genius" Trump?

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Nov 3, 2022·edited Nov 3, 2022

I know the current narrative is terrible for the Democratic Party right now and the polling doesn't look very good.

But I keep wondering, in such a close election, what the impact of more than one million excess deaths from COVID will be and how these deaths will play out in the various states. Let's take the PA election as an example...

In Pennsylvania, in 2020 and 2021 there were 19,776 and 18,880 Excess Deaths, respectively. (Source: http://www.ifo.state.pa.us/releases/534/COVID-19-IMPACT-ON-PENNSYLVANIA-DEATHS/) (An "Excess Death" is one that is above the normal trend line of deaths in a particular area.)

This is a total of 38,656 Excess Deaths. Let's ignoring 2020, since they would have already shown up in the 2020 voting totals, and add an additional 7300 COVID deaths in 2022, which is an average of 20 deaths per day in 2022. (Source: https://usafacts.org/visualizations/coronavirus-covid-19-spread-map/state/pennsylvania.) This would total about 26 thousand Excess Deaths.

According to a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, (Source: https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w30512/w30512.pdf) the Excess Deaths from COVID have disproportionately impacted counties that voted for Trump in 2020. The impact ranged from 76% to 153%. Using the lower of the two numbers and applying it to the PA Excess Deaths, it means that roughly seven thousand more Republican voters died during the past two years who would not have otherwise died. This is 9% (7,000/80,000) of the total difference that separated Trump and Biden in the 2020 election.

In an environment where there are fewer swing / persuadable voters, this is a meaningful number that I do not believe is being captured in the polling and that can impact state-wide races.

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Sadly, Barro isn't the only one. The Atlantic's Shadi Hamdi tweeted this today (rolls eyes):

"The paradox of democracy:

'Democracy is dying, therefore to save democracy you must vote for my party. If you vote for the other party, you are helping democracy die. Democracy is on the ballot, and there is only one choice'"

Two random tweeters hit the nail on the head about the stupidity of that:

"@shadihamid It’s not complicated. Democracy includes future elections as well. Currently there is only one choice. If Republicans lose then perhaps next election they will run on a pro-democracy platform. If they win then they will change the system to ensure no future choice."

and

"@shadihamid It seems a paradox because a vote about democracy is a “meta-vote”. It’s like finding a genie and being able to wish for more wishes. If you ignore the opportunity this is your last wish. If you accept it your future possibilities are limitless."

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The Dispatch writer makes sense, Josh Barro is being disingenuous at best with his argument. He is missing the point of making a party lose so it course corrects and we have better choices again. In some cases (such as here in Wisconsin) we may have a Governor who will refuse to certify a Democratic win, so the only choice is to vote for the Democrat. That won’t make Wisconsin a one party state whereas voting for Republican might. It’s about living to fight another day…though I will concede we may have already lost. The fact that January 6th wasn’t an inflection point for the whole country means it might already be over and the American Experiment is running on fumes…

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Here is what irks me about a lot of this punditry and opinionating:

One of the two major parties has (repeatedly) by word and deed indicated that they are fundamentally opposed to free, unfettered, and accurate/valid elections.

Many politicians in that party have either directly said that they will not accept the results of an election that they lose or remined silent.

Many other politicians in that party have tacitly supported the representations of illegitimacy or have not defended the legitimacy of our electoral system--and sometimes actually supported the position of illegitimacy through their support and speech in favor of denialists.

Many of these same politicians have worked to legislate limitations on voting (many of which have partisan or racist implications) and to remove oversight of elections from non-partisan to partisan institutions.

But the other party is not defending democracy because they say that the people doing the things I have listed above are enemies of democracy and part of their campaign is based upon that observable set of facts.

They aren't stopping people from voting for that other party.

They haven't come out and said that they would refuse to recognize the election results. They will, in all likelihood, peacefully relinquish office and their majority if they lose the elections..

Hmmmmmm.

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Amen and amen!

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Nov 3, 2022·edited Nov 3, 2022

On the Chait article. I am of the belief DePape is not part of a faction within the GOP as Chait states, I don't believe for a second there are factions within the former Republican Party, it is a single faction and DePape is not some mentally disturbed exception, he is a representation of the typical member of this stone cold fuck nuts band of gullible fools.

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Precisely.

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