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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#13901 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-October-04, 01:50

The Manchurian President tries to get ahead of the news

Trump Brought Up Biden, Warren In A Call With Chinese President: Report

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President Donald Trump brought up two of his potential 2020 opponents ― former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) ― in a call with Chinese President Xi Jinping in June, sources familiar with the phone cal told CNN on Thursday.

The report comes hours after Trump suggested, while speaking to reporters, that China investigate Biden, appearing to openly ask another foreign government to influence an American election despite Congress investigating Trump for doing the same thing with Ukraine’s president.
...
According to CNN’s report on the June 18 call, Trump brought up the “political prospects” of Biden and Warren, the latter of who had recently started rising in the polls. In that same call, he promised not to speak out on the ongoing Hong Kong protests as China and the U.S. negotiate a trade deal.

A record of the call was moved to a highly secure server, CNN reported.

There was much speculation why the Criminal in Chief would commit an impeachable act on national TV. This story gives some insight into the unstable non genius's alleged mind. My view is that he realized that releasing the Ukraine call summary worked out horribly, and that news about the China phone call was about to break and cause even more damage. The Grifter in Chief decided he could con some of the American voters by basically repeating what he said on the China call in public so it would look like he had nothing to hide. :rolleyes:
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#13902 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-October-04, 01:53

Need the cheapest lawyer you can possibly find?

‘Need A Lawyer? Call Crazy Rudy’

Quote

Giuliani will do “back-deal channels, cable news appearances, has no shame” and “will work for free!” pitch the mock ads.

Davram Stiefler and Jason Selvig — of the comedy pair “The Good Liars” — created the signs and hung them in trains on three lines Tuesday.

They also created the CrazyRudyLaw.com site, which advises: “In an effort to shield money from my wife during our divorce, I’m willing to work for FREE! I only ask that you pick up the bar tab at the end of our session.” The website also promises that the former New York mayor’s appearances will be “unhinged, combative and fun!”

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#13903 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-04, 07:01

From David Leonhardt at NYT:

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The news can feel exhausting and demoralizing right now. Each day seems to bring a new assault on the notion of democratic governance. Yesterday brought two: President Trump’s public call for China to intervene in an American election; and new details about the pressure the Trump administration was putting on Ukraine to interfere.

Nevertheless, I want to inject a little optimism into your news diet this morning:

Things are not going well for Trump. He is facing a political crisis unlike any of his presidency. And his continual escalation of the situation is a sign of weakness not strength.

The situation is not guaranteed to end well, it’s true. (I define “end well” as a definitive rejection of a president who rejects democracy.) But anyone who believes that Trump is harming the country should feel more encouraged than they have in quite some time.

Why? As I’ve written before, impeachment is an inherently political process. It has always been a battle for public opinion, above all. That’s why Richard Nixon was forced out of his office and why Bill Clinton finished his term. For now, Trump is losing the battle.

Consider a chart that FiveThirtyEight has published, tracking national opinion about impeachment through an average of polls. Neither the release of Robert Mueller’s report this spring nor Mueller’s testimony before Congress this summer caused any noticeable change in the percentage of people supporting impeachment.

But the Ukraine scandal has had a substantial effect. The share of people favoring impeachment has risen. A new poll came out yesterday, from USA Today, showing that “Americans by a 45%-38% plurality now support” impeachment and by a similar margin support the Senate convicting and removing Trump.

Recent polls on Trump’s approval rating — which are probably more meaningful than impeachment polls — have also been bad for him. As Nate Silver tweeted, “Trump approval down from ~43% to ~41% since the Ukraine story broke.” (Pay no attention to stories that ignore poll averages and cherry-pick outlier polls. Ditto obviously for stories posted by trolls on BBO.)

A 41 percent approval rating is obviously not good. Morning Consult released a state-by-state poll yesterday showing Trump with net negative approval in Arizona, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, all of which he won in 2016. He is hovering around the break-even point in Florida and Georgia.

This story has a long way to go, and much of it will depend on how well Democrats conduct their impeachment inquiry. Currently, though, things are going quite poorly for Donald Trump.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#13904 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-04, 07:07

From Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:

Quote

When the story of the probable impeachment and perhaps removal of President Donald Trump is written, Thursday, Oct. 3, is going to be one of the big days.

It started off with the president publicly asking China and Ukraine to dig up – or perhaps manufacture – dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden; see my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Timothy L. O'Brien for the sordid details. Then, in the evening, bombshell after bombshell after bombshell landed, capped off late at night with House Democrats releasing text messages that detailed how the U.S. pressured Ukraine to go after Biden and to pursue bizarre conspiracy theories about the 2016 election.

Put it all together, and one thing is clear: The normal defenses that a president’s allies in Congress would mount in such a situation increasingly aren’t available.

One typical excuse made when a president gets into trouble is that there’s insufficient proof. That’s what President Richard Nixon’s defenders often resorted to, and it’s something Republicans tried out over the past week – noting that the whistle-blower in the Ukraine scandal had access only to secondhand evidence. That always seemed like a weak defense, especially once the White House published a summary of a call between Trump and the president of Ukraine that corroborated the whistle-blower’s account. But after Thursday, it’ll be hard to use that one at all, at least in good faith.

Another classic defense is to question whether the president was personally involved. That’s how Republicans defended President Ronald Reagan during the Iran-Contra scandal, with some success. But it was never especially viable this time, and after Trump’s public performance on Thursday, it’s hopeless.

That leaves the defense that Democrats successfully used for Bill Clinton: that the president’s misconduct doesn’t merit impeachment. Unfortunately for Republicans, that one isn’t credible either. Not only does asking (or pressuring) foreign nations to interfere in U.S. elections obviously fit within traditional conceptions of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” but there’s plenty of other evidence of Trump abusing his power, obstructing justice and more. If this doesn’t merit impeachment, nothing will.

And so, with reasonable arguments increasingly untenable, we’re starting to see some preposterous ones. The one to watch out for now is that impeachment and removal is inherently undemocratic. Trump won the 2016 election fair and square; preventing him from serving out his term defies the will of the electorate.

This one won’t fly either – even if we ignore the Framers’ intentions and more than 200 years of precedent (including Clinton’s impeachment). The U.S. simply isn't a majoritarian democracy, with the president as an elective monarch who fully embodies the intent of the people. It's a system of separated institutions sharing powers. Congress has just as much claim to being the voice of the people as the president does. And if upholding the law and respecting constitutional procedures is essential to maintaining a republic, then impeachment is an appropriate democratic remedy for malfeasance in office – especially when the offenses involved are central to the operation of constitutional democracy.

What all this adds up to is that there are few good-faith defenses left. That doesn’t mean Trump’s allies can’t spout cheap slogans and phony “facts” and otherwise refuse to acknowledge what’s actually going on. In fact, it’s still more likely than not that most Republicans in Congress will do exactly that. But they’re going to get undermined again and again by the facts of this case, and there’s a good chance that only the most intensely loyal party voters will be swayed by what they’re saying.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#13905 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-04, 09:41

"Pulp Factions"

Bill Taylor: "Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigation?"

Gordon Sondland: "Are you calling me on the cellular phone? I don't know you. Who is this? Don't come here, I'm hanging up the phone! Prank caller, prank caller!"
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13906 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-04, 10:08

The Daily Beast today is reporting on leaked e-mails from The Dossier Center, a London-based anti-Putin organization which leaked the emails that led the U.S. DOJ to file obstructin of justice charges against Veselnitskaya, the Russian attorney involved in the infamous Trump Tower meeting:

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The leaked emails suggest Cymrot wrote to Veselnitskaya on April 17, 2016, to outline their progress: “Rinat has told us that Senator Jeff Sessions is willing to start an investigation into how the Magnitsky Law came about.”

After denying any 2016 contact with Russian officials during his attorney general confirmation hearing, Sessions admitted that he had failed to disclose meetings with the Russian ambassador. His story about whether he discussed the election with Sergei Kislyak changed over the following months but even by October 2017—when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and confirmed his meetings with Kislyak—he was still adamant that he had not discussed the sanctions with anyone. “I don’t believe I’ve ever had any discussion at any time about the Magnitsky Act,” he said, under oath.
my emphasis

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13907 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-04, 13:02

I have slowly come around and now have finally figured out that the reason Trump is so effective in his gaslighting is due to his fervent personal belief that the bullsh*t he is hearing and repeating is true. He is the Conspiracy Theory Zealot par excellence.

Conspiricist par excellence.
Grifter-in-Chief
King with Adderal nose
Travis Bickle Wannabe
Butin's Pitch
Zany old Wackadoodle
Mr. Goldwanker

Am I missing any?
Oh, year, forgot this one: F%ckin' Crook:

Quote

Politics
'We’re looking at near raw bribery': Trump hotel taking bookings from foreign officials who never stay in rooms, investigation told


I'm really trying to understand the issues from the supporters' side but it is growing more and more difficult to understand how anyone would think it patriotic to continue to keep this slimebag in the White House when his actions and motives are totally self-centered and un-American. Shouldn't we at least try to keep the office of President more in keeping with people like George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower? We cannot, I know, but we can at least try to keep the office as pure from corruption and foreign influence as possible.

Why is that so hard?

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13908 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-04, 13:52

Posted Image

Ask not what your country can do for you ...
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#13909 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-October-05, 03:39

Folks who are on Twitter might find the following of interest

https://twitter.com/...271979397558272

Please note: The comments are all coming from a very conservative source.

Heard some interesting discussion yesterday that folks seem to be waiting for a "charismatic defector" to emerge.
Romney probably won't be sufficient.
Collins might.

FOX "News" could serve the same role and seems like the most likely suspect.
Alderaan delenda est
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#13910 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-05, 09:30

The bizarre aspect of Whistlegate is that it shows Trump believes Russian disinformation conspiracy theories to the point of firing an ambassador who wouldn't go along with his fantasies.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13911 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-05, 09:49

Which of these show true American patriotism?

Quote

1.Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.- Thomas Jefferson
2.The freedom of the press should be inviolate.- John Quincy Adams
3.“The liberty of the press is essential to the security of the state.” – John Adams
4.“The FAKE NEWS media is not my enemy. It is the enemy of the American people. SICK!” - Donald Trump



Here's what happens when #4 is accepted as normal. https://www.washingt...tes-propaganda/

Quote

It took a moment for Ben Watson to realize the officer was not joking.

Watson had just told the Customs and Border Protection staffer reviewing his passport that he works in journalism. Then the seemingly routine Thursday encounter at the Washington Dulles International Airport got tense.

“So you write propaganda, right?” Watson, the news editor at the national security site Defense One, recalled the CBP officer asking.

“No,” Watson says he replied. He affirmed again that he was a journalist.

The officer repeated his propaganda question, said Watson, who was returning from a reporting trip in Denmark.

“With his tone, and he’s looking me in the eye — I very much realized this is not a joke,” Watson told The Washington Post on Friday. Watson said he got his passport back only after agreeing with the “propaganda” charge.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13912 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-05, 14:06

Although no quid pro quo is needed for the high crime committed by Trump, it is nice when evidence of such emerges.

Quote

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a leader of the Senate's Ukraine caucus, made several trips to the Eastern European ally this year after the election of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. He told the Wall Street Journal that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, told him the Ukraine aid, which is part of the country's defenses against Russia, was being linked to Trump's desire to have Zelenskiy's team investigate the 2016 U.S. elections.

Separately, Johnson told reporters in Sheboygan, Wis., that Trump had blocked his suggestion that he carry a message to Ukraine's president assuring him that U.S. military aid was on the way.

"I was surprised by the president's reaction and realized we had a sales job to do," Johnson told reporters.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13913 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2019-October-05, 15:08

View Posthrothgar, on 2019-October-05, 03:39, said:

Folks who are on Twitter might find the following of interest

https://twitter.com/...271979397558272

Please note: The comments are all coming from a very conservative source.

Heard some interesting discussion yesterday that folks seem to be waiting for a "charismatic defector" to emerge.
Romney probably won't be sufficient.
Collins might.

FOX "News" could serve the same role and seems like the most likely suspect.

Not sure I've disagreed more with anything written by Richard (and he did suggest a Biden-Warren ticket). The idea that Collins, Aka Collins-who-voted-to-end-Roe-vs-Wade-while-seeking-plausible-deniability-that-she-did, would take a courageous lead seems bizarre to me. The idea that Republicans would follow her lead seems from another world.

I agree with the last sentence - once Republicans decide they'd rather campaign for Pence 2020 than for Trump 2020, Fox is the most likely agent to lead; other candidates would be a random Republican senators seen as reliably conservative, maybe motivated by strong (and fairly principled) views on how to conduct foreign policy - the kind of type Lindsey Graham was made out to be by the press 3 years ago. If it ever happens (and I doubt it will), it will be quite funny to see the marching order reach our resident Trump-bots.
The easiest way to count losers is to line up the people who talk about loser count, and count them. -Kieran Dyke
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#13914 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-05, 15:25

10 days ago I would have thought this impossible:

Quote

Tucker Carlson has criticised Donald Trump for encouraging Ukraine to investigate his 2020 rival Joe Biden in a rare break from his staunch support for the president.

Mr Carlson, who is one of Fox News’ leading presenters, fell short of backing impeachment in an op-ed on Friday but admitted that Mr Trump should not have raised the prospect of an investigation into Mr Biden and his son Hunter.

Donald Trump should not have been on the phone with a foreign head of state encouraging another country to investigate his political opponent, Joe Biden,” he said.

“Some Republicans are trying, but there’s no way to spin this as a good idea.”
my emphasis


The walls are beginning to crumble.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13915 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-October-05, 18:00

View Postcherdano, on 2019-October-05, 15:08, said:

Not sure I've disagreed more with anything written by Richard (and he did suggest a Biden-Warren ticket).


I was surprised to learn of the degree of animosity between Biden and Warren...
Alderaan delenda est
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#13916 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-05, 18:28

My reading of Tucker Carlson's piece was quite different. He acknowledged that "Trump should not have been on the phone with a foreign head of state encouraging another country to investigate his political opponent, Joe Biden" and that "there is no way to spin this" which are both obvious even to Trump's base. But he did not explain why Trump's actions are problematic which is because (1) Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, says the president “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” and (2) Trump's attempt to use the power of his office for personal and political gain rather than the public good is as close to what the guys who wrote Article II, Section 4 meant by bribery as you can get and ten times closer than is needed to impeach. The rest of Carlson's piece was a regurgitation of talking points.

Trump is going down and Carlson knows it.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#13917 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-05, 18:41

From Peter Pomerantsev at NYT:

Mr. Pomerantsev is the author of “This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality".

Quote

In Eastern Europe, communism once presented an ideology that claimed to be evidence-based and rational, guiding humanity toward a better future. In the West, the alternative was a vision of capitalism that would inevitably improve the world. Both have now collapsed.

But without an ideology that looks toward the future, there are no goals of progress. Instead of offering a coherent vision for the future, you peddle in nostalgia; you explain the world not through ideas but conspiracies. Instead of being a beacon of hope, you accuse everyone else of being just as corrupt as you are. We are all post-Soviet now.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#13918 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-05, 21:40

The issue eventually will be the SCOTUS.

From the WaPo:

Quote

September 29, 2019 at 12:01 p.m. CDT
The whistleblower at the heart of the Ukraine controversy said White House officials ordered information about President Trump’s phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky to be removed from the classified server typically used to store such information and placed on a hyper-secure “code word” server. Such special protections are typically reserved for material of the gravest sensitivity: detailed information about covert operations, for example, where exposure can get people killed.

The move was highly suspicious, the whistleblower said several White House officials told him, because “the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.” On Friday, the White House confirmed that National Security Council lawyers directed that the call records be placed on that server.

I served under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and worked for four advisers on the National Security Council’s staff. I have staffed presidential meetings and phone calls with foreign leaders and spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours in the White House Situation Room. It is difficult to overstate just how abnormal and suspicious treating the call in that manner would be. It strongly suggests White House staff knew of serious wrongdoing by the president and attempted to bury it — a profound abuse of classified systems for political, and possibly criminal, purposes


The executive branch will not cooperate until and unless compelled to by the SCOTUS (and not even then, possibly). What then?
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13919 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-06, 08:28

From Jeremy W. Peters' take at NYT on the head-spinning changes of hearts of 'Never' Trumpers:

Quote

For the few remaining holdouts, the willingness of so many conservatives to support Mr. Trump’s behavior is troubling. “I’ve heard from countless people who argue and believe that this is an existential moral moment and if a Democrat wins, darkness will descend on the land,” Peter Wehner, a speechwriter in the second Bush White House, said. “If that’s your mind-set, then of course you’ll engage in a lot of unholy alliances to defeat Satan.”

“I’m trying to determine what’s the limiting principle for a person when it comes to casting a vote for Donald Trump,” Mr. Wehner added. “And I’m not sure there is one.”

Don't worry Never Trumpers. If your principles become limiting you can always change them.
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#13920 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-06, 09:05

View Posty66, on 2019-October-06, 08:28, said:

From Jeremy W. Peters' take at NYT on the head-spinning changes of hearts of 'Never' Trumpers:


Don't worry Never Trumpers. If your principles become limiting you can always change them.


When we wonder how these people can change, the reality is they don't change - they only change their thinking about the affects from a single individual.

Quote

The basic idea is that authority is justified by morality, and that, in a well-ordered world, there should be (and traditionally has been) a moral hierarchy in which those who have traditionally dominated should dominate.


The moral hierarchy encapsulates the conservative worldview - it is not what they believe or think but is an aspect of who they are at their deepest levels of self. The moral hierarchy includes God above man, rich above poor, employers above employees, whites above blacks, and the strong over the weak, virtually everything that has comprised Republican platforms for generations.

The threat to that worldview from the diversity and equality that Democrats preach is not a threat to the idea of conservatism but instead a threat to the very natures of the persons who are conservative.

If one is one thing and to be an entirely different thing is required to alter viewpoints, a type of psychological death and rebirth is required to accomplish that task. Rather than this tortured death of self and rebirth, which is brutally difficult, justifications are preferred. Thus, Trump isn't so bad. At least he's not a Democrat.

This doesn't help solve the problem, but it does help understand where the steady 45% approval comes from. At least as of now we can only be grateful that it is not 51%.

The takeaway is that the only way forward is not to win over "them" but to organize and activate everyone else.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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