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

#18121 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2021-April-19, 19:02

View Postkenberg, on 2021-April-19, 12:28, said:

And we seem to have political problems.

So what do you see as a solution? I value your opinion.

#18122 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-April-19, 20:56

There are all kinds of reasons why a head of state (a normal one) might seek to take a path between sucking up and bared teeth aggression.
The face value of these comments is meaningless.
It sounds like he is trying to lower the temperature to return to the pre-psycho government of the past four years.


All the same, my confidence levels for better government throughout the world is not at an all-time high.
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#18123 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-April-20, 07:40

View PostChas_P, on 2021-April-19, 19:02, said:

So what do you see as a solution? I value your opinion.


In the 1960's Tom Lehrer had a song with the following suggestion:

Step up and shake the hand
Of someone you can't stand
You can tolerate him
If you try

A nice combination of idealism, realism and humor.

Which, of course, is just my way of saying I don't see a way out of this mess.

I might come back to this later.
Ken
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#18124 User is online   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-April-20, 08:51

I can tolerate many people. I choose not to tolerate people who would have preferred if I had died 20 years ago, or actively wish my friends dead. I have told several such, at the bridge table or at the bar after. It's frequently a shock, because I *look* like the kind of Alberta Conservative-voting Professional they've spent their entire lives around.

Which, of course, is my way of saying I don't see a way out of this mess, at least in the United States. It seems here, the conservatives are running into "Hey, our 'hate others, and 20 years from now I'll be dead, so who cares' strategies don't seem to be getting us the younger voters, what are we going to do?" a bit earlier, and it never was as rabid (okay, maybe in rural Alberta). But we also don't have "party affiliation is a family value" quite as hard as the U.S., either.
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#18125 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-April-20, 12:27

This issue of intolerance cannot be solved - it can only be resolved. It requires change by the affected individual. The only way to try to influence the individual is to continually place in front of them the truth until cognitive dissonance becomes intolerable, at which point change is possible but so also is total abandonment of reality. For many, the latter has already occurred.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18126 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2021-April-21, 18:44

View Postkenberg, on 2021-April-20, 07:40, said:

In the 1960's Tom Lehrer had a song with the following suggestion:

Step up and shake the hand
Of someone you can't stand
You can tolerate him
If you try

A nice combination of idealism, realism and humor.

Which, of course, is just my way of saying I don't see a way out of this mess.

I might come back to this later.

And of course there were The Youngbloods in 1967 with

C'mon people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another

Right now

So I agree with you (once again). I, like you, probably don't have a whole lot longer to live. You're 82; I'm 83. So what happens down the road 5-6 years from now probably won't affect you and me. But we both have offspring that we love and want to have a long happy life. I fear for their future. I really do.

#18127 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-April-22, 08:01

Checking out the reactions to the Chauvin verdict, the thing most noticeable is that the arguments from Republicans are fear-based, and what they fear most is a level playing field.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18128 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2021-April-22, 10:50

View Postkenberg, on 2021-April-20, 07:40, said:

Which, of course, is just my way of saying I don't see a way out of this mess.

I might come back to this later.


I'm actually a little more optimistic about this. Over the past few decades, the federal government hasn't done much that directly impacts the lives of most people in visible ways. Sure, they like to tweak the tax rates a bit back and forth, but this is very obfuscated in that most people don't do their own taxes and we're talking about relatively small amounts of money for most non-rich people. They change the middle eastern country that our military is serving in (and the troop levels) but again most people are not serving in the military. The one law that really changed things for a lot of regular Americans was the Affordable Care Act, but this was designed to go into effect very slowly, making it hard for Democrats to effectively run on it. Even Obama's stimulus bill delivered a lot of its benefits in ways that weren't entirely obvious, and he made essentially no effort to sell it to the country afterwards.

When the government does things that visibly and directly impact people's lives, it becomes harder to just lie about it. Republicans lied about the Affordable Care Act for years (enabled by the slow phase-in) but when they actually had the majorities they needed to repeal it, several key Republicans caved (because the impact on the lives of their constituents would be such that they'd likely lose power for a very long time).

Anyway, the thing that has me a bit more optimistic is seeing a much more aggressive approach in delivering benefits to people. Biden's Covid relief bill includes a program that delivers $250 per child per month to American parents to help pay for child care. When you're getting a check every month from the government that's a pretty direct benefit for a pretty large number of people! Biden's proposed infrastructure bill has a lot of direct benefits too, and he seems to have learned from Obama's mistakes and be willing to sell it directly to the people.

Republicans aren't going to miss the boat here -- they voted for direct stimulus checks on several occasions and are starting to propose programs that deliver benefits to people too (if less aggressively than Democrats). Anyway, this tends to refocus the debate on policy rather than personalities or family party loyalty and could lead to a reduction in overall craziness over time.
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#18129 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-April-22, 11:20

An important read:

Quote

The political conspiracism of the New Right takes various forms. I have identified three basic types of claims. The first sort is the exaggerated attack on the political opposition: Here we see New Right thinkers attacking the legitimacy of the left, with the added suggestion that the left is out to destroy the country. The second is the exaggerated attack on the establishment/existing institutions more generally. The final kind of conspiratorial claim involves exaggerated attacks on the political system itself, including the electoral system. With Trump's "Stop the Steal" campaign so vivid in the collective memory, there is obviously a lot to say about this final, most corrosive type of conspiracism.


It's hard to be upbeat when 40 million or so of our fellow citizens are slaves to conspiracism in their thinking and belief systems.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18130 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-April-22, 15:12

View Postawm, on 2021-April-22, 10:50, said:

I'm actually a little more optimistic about this. Over the past few decades, the federal government hasn't done much that directly impacts the lives of most people in visible ways. Sure, they like to tweak the tax rates a bit back and forth, but this is very obfuscated in that most people don't do their own taxes and we're talking about relatively small amounts of money for most non-rich people. They change the middle eastern country that our military is serving in (and the troop levels) but again most people are not serving in the military. The one law that really changed things for a lot of regular Americans was the Affordable Care Act, but this was designed to go into effect very slowly, making it hard for Democrats to effectively run on it. Even Obama's stimulus bill delivered a lot of its benefits in ways that weren't entirely obvious, and he made essentially no effort to sell it to the country afterwards.

When the government does things that visibly and directly impact people's lives, it becomes harder to just lie about it. Republicans lied about the Affordable Care Act for years (enabled by the slow phase-in) but when they actually had the majorities they needed to repeal it, several key Republicans caved (because the impact on the lives of their constituents would be such that they'd likely lose power for a very long time).

Anyway, the thing that has me a bit more optimistic is seeing a much more aggressive approach in delivering benefits to people. Biden's Covid relief bill includes a program that delivers $250 per child per month to American parents to help pay for child care. When you're getting a check every month from the government that's a pretty direct benefit for a pretty large number of people! Biden's proposed infrastructure bill has a lot of direct benefits too, and he seems to have learned from Obama's mistakes and be willing to sell it directly to the people.

Republicans aren't going to miss the boat here -- they voted for direct stimulus checks on several occasions and are starting to propose programs that deliver benefits to people too (if less aggressively than Democrats). Anyway, this tends to refocus the debate on policy rather than personalities or family party loyalty and could lead to a reduction in overall craziness over time.


I suppose my optimism/pessimism level varies with the day and with just which mess I am thinking about. My first "mess" reference was in response to barmar saying that "These things have feedback effects -- typical salaries took into account the expectation that the worker would be supporting an entire family, not half.". There are a lot of single parent families, and I don't see that as changing any time soon. Will the programs you suggest cope with this? Well, they certainly will help. On that much, I agree. I can't say I like the idea that one salary is not enough, I see it as deterioration of our standard of living, but the programs will help.


I was surprised to see that most people do not do their own taxes but I guess it is so. I still mow my own grass because I enjoy mowing grass, but about fifteen years ago I decided that I had been doing my own taxes for close to fifty years, I did not like doing my taxes, so I decided to pay someone else to do it. We also hire a woman to come in and clean the house every week. Becky and I are retired and in good health, so we could do it, but we are happy to hire it out. I see these three things as three sides of the same coin. Grass mowing, yes, I enjoy it, taxes no, and the weekly house cleaning no. A friend still changes his own oil on his car. Now that's weird.


At any rate, I did my own taxes for about fifty years and just about everyone I knew did the same. I just got tired of it.
Ken
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#18131 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-April-22, 17:29

I used to do minor service on my motorcycles but I gave them up years ago. I've been taking my car to Joey B's Auto, a neighborhood shop, for almost 30 years. Last week I couldn't get the blade off the mower to sharpen it so I called Joey and he said bring it in. I was amused to see he had to wrestle with it too but did not let on. He got the bolt loose using a breaker bar and a hammer. Then he offered to sharpen the blade which I accepted, showed me the blade for inspection, smiled and asked if it was sharp enough, put the blade back on and helped me load it into the car. When I offered to pay for his time he waved me off. That's my case for optimism. I would feel more confident if there were more guys like Joey in the world.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#18132 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2021-April-22, 18:50

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-April-22, 08:01, said:

the arguments from Republicans are fear-based, and what they fear most is a level playing field.

I'm not a Republican but, just for the sake of argument, please give us your definition of "a level playing field".

#18133 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2021-April-22, 19:32

View Postkenberg, on 2021-April-22, 15:12, said:

At any rate, I did my own taxes for about fifty years and just about everyone I knew did the same. I just got tired of it.

And it got more....and more....and more....complicated.

#18134 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-April-22, 20:26

David Brooks said:

https://www.nytimes....pgtype=Homepage

Those of us who had hoped America would calm down when we no longer had Donald Trump spewing poison from the Oval Office have been sadly disabused. There are increasing signs that the Trumpian base is radicalizing. My Republican friends report vicious divisions in their churches and families. Republican politicians who don’t toe the Trump line are speaking of death threats and menacing verbal attacks.

It’s as if the Trump base felt some security when their man was at the top, and that’s now gone. Maybe Trump was the restraining force.

What’s happening can only be called a venomous panic attack. Since the election, large swathes of the Trumpian right have decided America is facing a crisis like never before and they are the small army of warriors fighting with Alamo-level desperation to ensure the survival of the country as they conceive it.

The first important survey data to understand this moment is the one pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson discussed with my colleague Ezra Klein. When asked in late January if politics is more about “enacting good public policy” or “ensuring the survival of the country as we know it,” 51 percent of Trump Republicans said survival; only 19 percent said policy.

The level of Republican pessimism is off the charts. A February Economist-YouGov poll asked Americans which statement is closest to their view: “It’s a big, beautiful world, mostly full of good people, and we must find a way to embrace each other and not allow ourselves to become isolated” or “Our lives are threatened by terrorists, criminals and illegal immigrants, and our priority should be to protect ourselves.”

Over 75 percent of Biden voters chose “a big, beautiful world.” Two-thirds of Trump voters chose “our lives are threatened.”

This level of catastrophism, nearly despair, has fed into an amped-up warrior mentality.

“The decent know that they must become ruthless. They must become the stuff of nightmares,” Jack Kerwick writes in the Trumpian magazine American Greatness. “The good man must spare not a moment to train, in both body and mind, to become the monster that he may need to become in order to slay the monsters that prey upon the vulnerable.”

With this view, the Jan. 6 insurrection was not a shocking descent into lawlessness but practice for the war ahead. A week after the siege, nearly a quarter of Republicans polled said violence can be acceptable to achieve political goals. William Saletan of Slate recently rounded up the evidence showing how many Republican politicians are now cheering the Jan. 6 crowd, voting against resolutions condemning them.

Liberal democracy is based on a level of optimism, faith and a sense of security. It’s based on confidence in the humanistic project: that through conversation and encounter, we can deeply know each other across differences; that most people are seeking the good with different opinions about how to get there; that society is not a zero-sum war, but a conversation and a negotiation.

As Leon Wieseltier writes in the magazine Liberties, James Madison was an optimist and a pessimist at the same time, a realist and an idealist. Philosophic liberals — whether on the right side of the political spectrum or the left — understand people have selfish interests, but believe in democracy and open conversation because they have confidence in the capacities of people to define their own lives, to care for people unlike themselves, to keep society progressing.

With their deep pessimism, the hyperpopulist wing of the G.O.P. seems to be crashing through the floor of philosophic liberalism into an abyss of authoritarian impulsiveness. Many of these folks are no longer even operating in the political realm. The G.O.P. response to the Biden agenda has been anemic because the base doesn’t care about mere legislation, just their own cultural standing.

Over the last decade or so, as illiberalism, cancel culture and all the rest have arisen within the universities and elite institutions on the left, dozens of publications and organizations have sprung up. They have drawn a sharp line between progressives who believe in liberal free speech norms, and those who don’t.

There are new and transformed magazines and movements like American Purpose, Persuasion, Counterweight, Arc Digital, Tablet and Liberties that point out the excesses of the social justice movement and distinguish between those who think speech is a mutual exploration to seek truth and those who think speech is a structure of domination to perpetuate systems of privilege.

This is exactly the line-drawing that now confronts the right, which faces a more radical threat. Republicans and conservatives who believe in the liberal project need to organize and draw a bright line between themselves and the illiberals on their own side. This is no longer just about Trump the man, it’s about how you are going to look at reality — as the muddle its always been, or as an apocalyptic hellscape. It’s about how you pursue change — through the conversation and compromise of politics, or through intimidations of macho display.

I can tell a story in which the Trumpians self-marginalize or exhaust themselves. Permanent catastrophism is hard. But apocalyptic pessimism has a tendency to deteriorate into nihilism, and people eventually turn to the strong man to salve the darkness and chaos inside themselves.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#18135 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-April-23, 06:43

I am always cautious about polls but the ones cited by David Brooks seem bizarre.
Take When asked in late January if politics is more about "enacting good public policy" or "ensuring the survival of the country as we know it,"
I can imagine a respondent thinking "Well, I would like to do both but if the choice is between the survival of the country or getting one of my favorite policy initiatives passed I guess I would go with the survival of the country. The poll designer would say that was not meant to be the interpretation but I can very well see someone interpreting it that way, I can see myself interpreting it that way.
Or take "It's a big, beautiful world, mostly full of good people, and we must find a way to embrace each other and not allow ourselves to become isolated" or "Our lives are threatened by terrorists, criminals and illegal immigrants, and our priority should be to protect ourselves."
These are my choices???? I think most of the world throughout human history has been a tough place to live. So big beautiful world is not on my radar. I don't generally think about threats, I don't own a gun for example, but I think it would be very naive to view the world as a big beautiful world. I certainly would not advise us to make policy on the assumption that we all love one another.

Who thinks up these questions? The cynic in me has the answer: Someone who understands how the answers will come out and hopes to make a point with the results.
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#18136 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-April-23, 14:36

I agree.
Ask a nearly incomprehensible question, and you get a nearly incomprehensible answer.


There is a thing called push-polling where the questioner is actually attempting to sway the opinion of the person being questioned.
Very common in politics.


This sounds like something a little different - sort of "drama-polling".


I knew a psychiatrist that complained that reporters would ask if being blonde was associated with eating disorders.
They wanted a headline that read, "Psychiatrists believe that Lady Di has an eating disorder."


The objective of all Journalism is to make money by being exciting. Conveying truthful, useful information comes a distant second.
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#18137 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2021-April-23, 18:44

Political polling made simple.
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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#18138 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-April-23, 19:03

Noah Smith said:

Conservatives need to make a lot more art.

This one also generated a bit of an uproar on Twitter too. Conservatives don’t like being told that they need to spend some time in the wilderness, plaintively pining for a vision of a better world and waiting for their chance at a renaissance. Who would? But I think it’s what they need to do.

Religion’s importance is declining rapidly in American life. That, along with other internet-driven social changes, has created massive dislocations that mean there’s very little left of old American culture to conserve. In the 80s you could still pretend that you were living in the 50s, or even the 20s. Now, you can’t.

Conservatives have, in general, responded to these dislocations with aggression, by focusing on how much they fear and hate liberal culture rather than what they’d like to build. That kind of threat-driven ideology will be able to motivate a few people for a while, but in the long term it’s just plain exhausting. People won’t fight for conservatism unless they know what they’re fighting for.

That’s where art comes in. Conservatives need to write books and stories, make music, make independent films, make webcomics, make visual art, even fashion. If done well, that will unite conservatives culturally and broaden the appeal of the movement, as well as inspiring people to fight for an imagined conservative future — whatever that ends up meaning. Right now, conservative art mostly consists of boring fascist memes. Come on, folks, y’all can do better.

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#18139 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-April-24, 02:10

Quote

David Brooks also said:

Money Matters Less
10 October 2014
The New York Times
I happened to be in the U.S. Capitol when the Citizens United decision came down four years ago. Democratic lawmakers greeted the decision with a mutually reinforcing mixture of fury and fear. The decision, everyone agreed, would unleash a tsunami of corporate and plutocratic money into politics, giving Republicans a huge spending advantage. ''This is the end of our party,'' wailed one Democrat, aware he was going a tad over the top. Things haven't worked out as expected. In 2012, Mitt Romney did not have a spending advantage over Barack Obama. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, very few publicly traded corporations made political donations. During the 2012 campaign cycle, news articles began appearing in local papers reporting that it was sometimes Democratic groups who were making the most of the post-Citizens United landscape. The Center for Public Integrity looked at campaigns in 38 states in 2012. Democratic-leaning groups outspent Republicans by more than $8 million. This year, the same sorts of articles are appearing. A Politico analysis in September found that the 15 top Democratic-aligned committees outraised the 15 top Republican ones by $164 million. Based on data from the Center for Responsive Politics, Democrats have more money than Republicans in most of the tightest Senate races: Colorado, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Virginia. Karl Rove has been shaking the Republican donor base, arguing that his groups are being outspent. A September study by his ''super PAC,'' American Crossroads, found that Democratic candidates have reserved $109 million in television advertising time before Election Day, while Republicans have reserved $85 million. So was the furor about Citizens United misplaced? Will Democrats end up winning the political spending wars, thanks to their own plutocratic donor base? Well, the situation is complicated. The first thing we know about the post-Citizens United era is that it has accelerated a pre-existing trend: Each year more money flows into campaigns. Spending this cycle is more than double what it was at this point in 2010 and four times higher than it was in early October 2006. Second, the decision has not scared away small donors, as many feared. A study by Douglas M. Spencer and Abby K. Wood suggested that smaller donors were just as likely to be active after the decision as before. Third, many of Democrats' apparent advantages in spending this year are temporary. A major wave of Republican money is expected over the next few weeks. Democrats do have an advantage in the donations made to super PACs, which have to report their donors. But Republicans have an advantage in donations made to 501©(4) groups, which can keep the names of donors secret. The final and most important effect of Citizens United is that it will reduce the influence of money on electoral outcomes. Yes, that's right. Reduce. Remember, money is quite important in local races, with unknown candidates. But money is not that important in high-attention federal races. Every year we get more evidence suggesting that campaign spending does not lead to victory. In 2012 the Koch brothers spent huge amounts of money to pathetic effect. Rove's American Crossroads dumped $117 million into the 2012 election. More than 90 percent of it was spent on candidates who ended up losing. And money is really not important when both candidates are well-financed. After both candidates have hit a certain spending threshold, the additional TV commercials they might buy are just making the rubble bounce. The economist Steve Levitt has found that if you cut a campaign's spending in half, and held everything else constant, then the candidate would only lose 1 percent of the popular vote. If you doubled a candidate's spending, the candidate would only gain 1 percentage point. In other words, big swings in spending produce only small changes in the vote totals. We're now at a moment when a fire hose of money is trying to fill the same glasses of voters. That means every plausible Senate candidate and almost every plausible House candidate has more than enough money to get his or her message out. What matters more is the quality of that message and the national mood. If Democrats exceed expectations this year it will because of the reasons Ashley Parker and Nicholas Confessore identified in a recent Times article: because their message is better defined. The upshot is that we should all relax about campaign spending. We should worry more about America's rich. Some people who are really smart at making money are apparently really stupid at spending it. This year, the big spender is a hedge fund manager named Tom Steyer. He could have spent $42.7 million paying for kids to go to college. Instead he has spent that much money this year further enriching the people who own TV stations. What a waste.
And look how that worked out.
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#18140 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-April-24, 08:43

The words of Der Fuhrer Donny, 6 days after the 2020 election: "Nevada is turning out to be a cesspool of fake votes."

April 21, 2021, Nevada Secretary of State announced that her office had found "Zero evidentiary support" for claims of fraud or bias in the 2020 election.

Reuters-Ipsos poll released in March: 6 in 10 self-identified Republicans believe the 2020 election was "stolen".

What is the connection? My thinking - if the polling is close to accurate - is that these are people who place faith superior to fact when it comes to their personal beliefs. And there is no way to have a discussion with someone who is like that because their facts start off in a different realm than yours.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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