Clarence Thomas Must Be Forced to Resign

Clarence and Ginni Thomas have disgraced the court and the country. Ginni Thomas could be prosecuted for her actions leading up to January 6.  She has sought to overthrow the government that has given her the stature to make malicious mischief. She has agreed to appear before the January 6 committee. She sent messages to more than two dozen lawmakers in Arizona, arguing, without evidence, that there had been widespread election fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

She  says does not believe in the results of more than 60 court cases, or more than 60 judges looking at the 2020 election lawsuits.  It is incredible that she can contend this. None of the claims were true, and she rejects all of that. That it’s irrational is not a strong enough word for it. I just keep coming back to demented. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

How about trading Thomas’s resignation from the Court in exchange for an agreement not to prosecute his wife?

What’s at stake goes beyond Roe v Wade. Conservatives have been laying the groundwork for decades to reduce the power of federal agencies like OSHA, the Securities Exchange Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Federal Trade Commission.

Since Congress is not equipped to implement the laws it passes, a civil service does this in a regulated democracy. If conservatives are able to overturn the 1984 decision in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council in which the justices said courts should defer to the expert judgment of regulators when interpreting statutes whenever the wording or meaning of those statutes are ambiguous. Such an outcome would put the regulatory power of agencies subject to being thwarted in the courts.

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What kinds of proposals might they consider?

Expanding the court as Franklin Roosevelt attempted to do.  While the Constitution does not provide for the number of justices, the number of justices has changed starting with six, then five, then seven, then nine, then ten, then nine. Nine has been the number since 1869.FDR’s actual proposal would have allowed him to appoint a new judge in all federal courts for every judge older than 70. Branded as “court-packing, the measure died. Expanding the Court would not only restore balance but provide an opportunity to build a Court that is representative of the multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural nation that it serves.

  • Reducing the power of the federal judiciary is over certain kinds of cases such as gun control and labor regulations. This suffers by eliminating checks and balances on the restricted law.
  • Term-limiting justices to 18 or 20-year terms is an undesirable possibility, When the Constitution was adopted, life tenure didn’t anticipate people living much beyond age 65. To do this would require a Constitutional Amendment which takes approval from both the House and the Senate, as well as ratification by at least 38 states.
  • Term limits, however, spaced and staggered, will make the court appear more, not less, political in the eyes of the public. Confirmation battles will become more numerous and subject the court to the suspicion that attaches to courts around the world that have term limits or retirement ages. The change would leave the court shorthanded too often if confirmation delays set in. That risks leaving the court with an even number of eight members, hardly an ideal composition for any institution predicated on majority rule.
  • Requiring a supermajority of six or seven justices (rather than the current five) to declare a federal statute unconstitutional. This might get the support of both parties.

Each of these concepts needs to be measured against their feasibility of being adopted and their long-term impact.

Clarence Thomas, the hardline conservative supreme court justice, is again facing calls for his recusal in the case over race-based affirmative action in college admissions. Again, this is because of his wife’s political activity.

A one-person conservative powerhouse, she set up her own lobbying company Liberty Consulting in 2010. By her own description, she has “battled for conservative principles in Washington” for over 35 years. The conflict in the current case is because Ginni Thomas sits on the advisory board of the National Association of Scholars. This group has intervened in this affirmative action case and this presents an appearance of a conflict of interest.

It has been established that Ginni Thomas met and advised Trump on who was loyal to him and who was not and who she believed to be part of the “Deep State.”. The New York Times and Axios have previously reported that Thomas would pass hiring and firing recommendations, compiled by her conservative organization Groundswell.

Trump reportedly went into rages upon being told who was disloyal. The meetings often resulted in Trump demanding that the alleged disloyalists be fired “immediately,” according to the Daily Beast.

The case, which is being brought against Harvard and the University of North Carolina, is the latest potential conflict of interest involving Thomas and his wife Virginia Thomas. Ginni, as she is known, is a prominent right-wing activist who speaks out on a raft of issues that frequently come before the nation’s highest court.

In an email on Nov. 9, just days after media organizations called the race in Arizona and nationally for Biden, Thomas sent identical emails to 27 lawmakers in the Arizona House and Senate urging them to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure”  as reported by the Washington Post. She corresponded with John Eastman and Mark Meadows.

Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed lawmakers to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory not only in Arizona, as previously reported, but also in a second battleground state, Wisconsin, according to emails obtained under state public-records law.

The Washington Post reported this year that Ginni Thomas emailed 29 Arizona state lawmakers, some of them twice, in November and December 2020. She urged them to set aside Biden’s popular-vote victory and “choose” their own presidential electors, despite the fact that the responsibility for choosing electors rests with voters under Arizona state law.

Newly discovered emails show that Thomas also messaged two Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin: state Sen. Kathy Bernier, then chair of the Senate elections committee, and state Rep. Gary Tauchen. Bernier and Tauchen received the email at 10:47 a.m. on Nov. 9, virtually the same time the Arizona lawmakers received a verbatim copy of the message from Thomas.
The Bernier email was obtained by The Washington Post, and the Tauchen email was obtained by the watchdog group, Documented, and provided to The Post.  Thomas sent all of the emails via FreeRoots, an online platform that allowed people to send pre-written emails to multiple elected officials.

John Eastman, the former clerk to Clarence Thomas,  allegedly spent weeks pressuring Pence’s top aides, to get the vice president to agree to do one of two things:

  1. Reject electoral votes in swing states Joe Biden won and just simply call the election for his boss, Trump.
  2. Reject electoral votes in swing states Biden won, send them back to the state legislatures to decide, and pressure Republicans in those states to say Trump won, rather than Biden.   Eastman was advised by Eric Herschmann, another Trump attorney to get himself a criminal defense attorney.

The potential appearance of a conflict of interest over the Harvard case was noted in a recent investigation by the New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer that takes a deep dive into the overlapping interests of the couple. The article chronicles in devastating detail the many instances where Ginni’s political activism appears to present problems for the image and integrity of the court.

“Ginni Thomas has held so many leadership or advisory positions at conservative pressure groups that it’s hard to keep track of them,” Mayer concluded. “Many, if not all, of these groups have been involved in cases that have come before her husband.”

An even more troubling recent occurrence came about when Ginni Thomas lent her voice to Trump’s big lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.  Virginia Thomas sent at least 29 messages to the White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows pressing him to use his influences to overturn the 2020 election.  She described the loss to President Biden as an “obvious fraud” and “the greatest heist of our history.”Paradoxically, Mark Meadows is under investigation for potential voter fraud.

Virginia Thomas has publicly acknowledged that she participated in the Jan. 6, 2021, “Stop the Steal” rally on the Ellipse that preceded the storming of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

On the morning of January 6 itself, Mark Joseph Stern of Slate reported, Thomas, posted on her Facebook page words of encouragement for the “Stop the Steal” marchers in Washington. “Watch MAGA crowd today best with Right Side Broadcasting .. and then C-Span for what the Congress does starting at 1:00 pm today. LOVE MAGA people!!!!!” “GOD BLESS EACH OF YOU STANDING UP or PRAYING!”

Shortly thereafter the post was removed after the deaths of five people and more than 100 police officers injured.

Soon after the insurrection, Thomas was forced to apologize to her husband’s former supreme court law clerks for comments she made privately to them that appeared to lament Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election. The remarks were sent to a private email list called “Thomas Clerk World”.

Ginni Thomas attended an extremist “Stop the Steal” Rally meeting in Orlando, Florida on March 6, 2021, her attendance at the Orlando gathering indicates that her alliance with election deniers continued even after Joe Biden was inaugurated. Frontliners has hosted hard-right lawmakers, insisted on strict secrecy, and proclaimed that the nation’s top enemy is the “radical fascist left,” according to social media posts, court filings,  and interviews with several people involved in the group.

One photograph from the Orlando event shows pastor and conservative radio personality C.L. Bryant Bryant posing with Thomas. Others show Thomas wearing a name tag decorated with a yellow ribbon she and others wore saying “Trouble Maker.”

Thomas’s influence has grown in the new six-justice conservative supermajority. He’s being called the unofficial chief justice of the court.

Is Mrs. Thomas no less responsible for helping to trigger the incitement? We may find out as she is being subpoenaed as a witness before the January 6 committee.

The Thomas’s have been skirting ethical boundaries for years. Between 2003 and 2007, Virginia Thomas earned $686,589 from the Heritage Foundation, according to a Common Cause review of the foundation’s IRS records. Thomas failed to note the income in his Supreme Court on financial disclosure forms for at least five years, checking a box labeled “none” where “spousal noninvestment income” would be disclosed.

Prior to the election and just after the Vindman termination, the Washington Post reported that Ginni Thomas was working with and on behalf of the White House on the great “purge” while Trump was president.

Clarence Thomas was the only justice to say Trump could keep his records from Congress. He has acted as a minority of one in cases in which his wife is deeply involved. This is unethical on the face of it and any judge in the federal system would be disciplined for a breach of ethics like this. However, Supreme Court Justices decide for themselves whether they have a conflict of interest.

Virginia Thomas originated Liberty Central, whose purpose is to restore the “founding principles” of limited government and individual liberty.

The pressure should build to force  Thomas’s resignation. At age 72, he has been on the court as the longest-serving justice. After Court 30 years ago, Justice Clarence Thomas assured his law clerks, “I ain’t evolving.”  We live in a time of unprecedented change and Justice Thomas sits like a stone in the middle of the road.

With the unfolding cases unfolding in the criminal court against Trump and his operatives and with the prosecution of Trump officials increasingly certain,  now is an opportune time to call for the resignations of Thomas and Kavanaugh from the Court.  This is an opportune time to release the FBI records on Kavanaugh that were suppressed by the Trump administration.

We already see Trump’s handpicked trio of justices being accused of blatant disregard for the separation of church and state. Their ascension to the Supreme Court was enabled by a web of right-wing dark money.

Republican operatives have developed a robust network of conservative and Catholic-affiliated nonprofits, charities, and funds large out of public view  For more than a decade, this network has been leveraged to propel conservative judicial nominees. While most Americans wouldn’t recognize these operators, they have been the overseers of massive amounts of money that have gone into federal judicial races. They don’t have social media accounts and don’t give public speeches. They do all they can to operate in the shadows, out of public view.

What we do know is this began with the now-defunct Wellspring Committee, a 501(c)(4) organization that took in perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars from undisclosed donors for more than a decade. Charles and David Koch gave the first $10 million seedling donation from attendees at a Koch donor seminar.

Wellspring could pass itself off in those terms thanks to U.S. tax law, which a decade ago mandated that organizations of that type could devote no more than 49 percent of their expenditures to political activity. What distinguishes “political activity” from “social welfare” continues to be an open question, however. This loophole potentially gave Wellspring free rein to donate unlimited amounts of money to other social welfare groups, even if those groups had explicit political goals and in the process have taken control of the Supreme Court.
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Biden appointed a commission to study possible court reform. Possible recommendations may include adding four new justices to the Supreme Court, term limits for justices, and finding a bipartisan selection process, among others. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) called on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to resign after news that his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas,  made numerous emails to with conservative lawyer John Eastman, who was central in former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.  Thomas by participating in a  decision involving his wife’s misconduct is complicit.

Now it’s time to improve the Supreme Court. It’s time for Clarence Thomas to be pressured into resigning or move to impeach him.  Any other judge in the federal judiciary would be impeached for such conduct.

McConnell when asked if a Republican Senate would confirm a Biden nominee in 2024. “It’s highly unlikely.” So McConnell is planning on pulling the same stunt if a vacancy arose in 2023, with, say, 18 months left in Biden’s term.  When asked whether a Biden nominee — a “normal mainstream liberal”— “get a fair shot at a hearing. Well, we’d have to wait and see what happens.” Bipartisan votes on Supreme Court nominees are ancient history. That Senate is no more.  It doesn’t work with McConnell.

Ending the filibuster and court reform is the only answer and it may take one or two more Congresses to get this done. In the meantime, the Court loses credibility. Justice is the loser.

The Supreme Court dealt more blows to the Voting Rights Act on Thursday, ruling in favor of Republicans that Arizona can maintain restrictions that critics say discriminate against nonwhite voters. Justice Kagan in her dissent said, “State after State has taken up or enacted legislation erecting new barriers to voting” in recent months, saying the U.S. is “at a perilous moment for the Nation’s commitment to equal citizenship.”

“The law that confronted one of this country’s most enduring wrongs; pledged to give every American, of every race, an equal chance to participate in our democracy; and now stands as the crucial tool to achieve that goal,” she wrote. “That law, of all laws, deserves the sweep and power Congress gave it. That law, of all laws, should not be diminished by this Court.”

President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass both the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to protect voting rights. “The Court’s decision, harmful as it is, does not limit Congress’ ability to repair the damage done today: it puts the burden back on Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act to its intended strength.”

The Senate failed to pass the Voting Rights Act because two Democratic Senators did not vote to create an opening in the filibuster rule. These same two Senators have created openings in the filibuster rule on less critical matters.  Now the best way forward is to elect additional Democratic senators in 2022 to make it possible to achieve needed voting rights legislation.

The Supreme Court has ruled several times over the past 50 years that a woman has a right to an abortion before the fetus can live on its own, around 22 to 24 weeks. The overwhelmingly conservative Supreme Court has upheld, on procedural grounds, a Texas law banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected — so, basically, all abortions, since that’s before most people know they’re pregnant. This Supreme Court seems certain to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In another fulfillment of a right-wing plot to control America, the Supreme Court ruled for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in his legal challenge to federal placing limits on the amount of money candidates can raise from donors to pay off their personal debt after an election. This makes running for office into a business – run for office and collect enough campaign funds to pay off debts or fund a pet project. In this way, a candidate can profit without winning.

The 6-3 ruling struck down a $250,000 cap on the amount of post-election funds a candidate can be repaid for personal loans they made to their campaign, finding that the restriction violated the First Amendment.

Biden is improving the composition of the lower courts, but with a “deeply broken” system there are no quick fixes because judges who were already woefully understaffed and often undertrained are now overwhelmed with a growing backlog of over 1.6 million cases.

Dozens of federal actions dealing with everything from energy efficiency standards to funding for transit projects have been upended by a recent Supreme court ruling against the Biden administration’s climate change calculations.

 

 

 

 

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t use their marathon question-and-answer session with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to challenge her about two high-profile decisions she issued that went against former President Trump.

Instead, they focussed on other issues, a shift that marks the latest sign that Senate Republicans see Trump as more of a liability than an asset heading into the 2022 election. Let’s hope we’ll see the last of Trump by 2024 if the Justice Department procedures Trump and his allies.

“The Supreme Court is out of step with the American people. The decisions we are seeing are not popular. The majority of Americans want Roe upheld, but the court might well go the other way. A majority of Americans would like to see some regulation of guns; the court may not do that,” according to Shira A. Scheindlin, a former federal judge in New York who is co-chair of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

The Pew Research Center found this year that only 54% of respondents had a favorable view of the court, down from 69% in mid-2019, according to several opinion polls. the Gallup Organization reported last year that Americans disapproved of the court’s performance by 53% to 40%.

Chief Justice John Roberts is no longer able to manage the ultra-conservatives on the Court. In good conscious, it is time for him to resign.

The Washington Post has said: “Public faith in the Supreme Court is down to a historic low of 25 percent, and there’s a good reason why it keeps eroding. We are experiencing what the Founders feared: a crisis of governmental legitimacy brought about by minoritarian tyranny. And it could soon get a whole lot worse. In his concurring opinion in the abortion case, Justice Clarence Thomas called on the court to overturn popular precedents upholding a right to contraception, same-sex relationships and marriage equality. So much for Hamilton’s hope that “the sense of the majority should prevail.”

A petition calling for Clarence Thomas’s  removal from Supreme Court has gotten over one million signatures.

Thomas is feeling the heat.  He has canceled plans to teach a seminar this fall at George Washington University’s law school, a few weeks after the private university in the nation’s capital had defended the conservative jurist’s position on its faculty.

Thomas, on the high court for more than 30 years, has taught at the D.C. law school since 2011. His adjunct faculty position there drew controversy this summer after the court’s conservative majority overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that had established a constitutional right to abortion.

With the support of three justices chosen by President Donald Trump in the past five years, the Supreme Court now has a 6-to-3 conservative majority. Those justices sent the court on a dramatic turn to the right in the term completed this summer, overturning the guarantee of a constitutional right to abortion in Roe v. Wade, striking a gun control law in New York, limiting the power of the Biden administration to confront climate change, and scoring victories for religious conservatives.

The Supreme Court conservatives have ignited a new era without hesitation. 

The court’s approval rating has dropped to one of its lowest levels ever in public opinion polls, led by unhappy Democrats and to a lesser extent people who heretofore identified as independents.

But Roberts said it is the Supreme Court’s job to decide what the law is. “That role doesn’t change simply because people disagree with this opinion or that opinion or with a particular mode of jurisprudence.”  In all due respect, Mr. Justice Roberts, it’s the Court’s drastic rulings that have riled the public.

 Irving Kaufman said it well, “The Supreme Court’s only armor is the cloak of public trust; its sole ammunition, the collective hopes of our society.”

What We Need to Do to Win in 2022?

It was a sunny day when Democrats won the White House, held onto the House, and gained control of the Senate with the help of Vice-President Harris casting the decisive vote. If we look more closely, we find that Democrats lost 10 House seats by razor-thin majorities. Democratic candidates running for re-election seeking to turnover districts Trump had won in 2016. They raised millions more than their Republican opponents and still lost. Democrats were hoping to pick up as many as half a dozen legislative chambers and ended up with none. Republicans hold total legislative control in 61 percent of state legislatures, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State LegislaturesNow the defection of just a few Blue Dog Democrats on key issues like court voter reform, and minimum wage prevents revered issues from being adopted.

An inordinate number of people who voted for him said their chief motivation was voting against Trump, rather than for Biden. Another is that Democrats farther down the ballot underperformed him — particularly in the Senate.

In losing, Trump received ten million more votes than he got in 2016. Trump voters turned out at unexpectedly high rates.  Neither the public polls nor the Democratic internal polls nor the Republican polls forecast this heavy a vote for Trump.

How explain the increase in Trump’s vote?

  • The economy appeared to be coming back. Households benefited from the stimulus checks; many people paid off credit card debt while cutting back on expenses like travel, doctor visits, entertainment, restaurant meals, and millions of Americans stayed solvent.
  • The pandemic affected voters already disposed to voting for Biden more harshly, such as urban and coastal state voters than Trump voters.
  • Republican voters did not blame Trump for the deaths caused by the coronavirus and the ensuing recession, treating it more like an act of God.
  • Why are Trump voters consistently missed in the polls? The New York Times postulates Trump voters are distrustful of institutions and thus will not talk to pollsters. The Pew Research Center estimates that on average, only 6 percent of people were willing to respond to polls in recent years, compared to an average of 50 percent a few decades ago. That leaves pollsters to reconstruct the U.S. population, and they are clearly not getting it right. Will any of them pause for a moment to reflect after results from Starr County, Texas — the most Latino County in the United States — that went for Clinton by a whopping 60%, has now only gone for Biden by about 5%?

Explaining Why People Turn to the Right

A better explanation for the turn to the right is that their political machinery knows how to articulate the gut feeling of voters’ worst fears. They believe statements likening the mob’s overwhelming Capitol Police and vandalizing Capitol offices to a “normal tourist visit.” (Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.). Most Republicans see through red-colored glasses, and that means real-life economic conditions have less of an effect on elections than they did in the past. Trump’s ability to tickle the darkest recesses of the white American’s lizard brain is unparalleled, in a country that doesn’t elect its presidents by popular vote, but by a system that overrepresents white rural states.

What underlies the fear and distrust of government, media, and most institutions?  Resentments have metastasized as American’s most important role in life has become that of consumers. This took shape before World War I but became commonplace in America in the 1920s. Over the course of the 20th century, capitalism preserved its momentum by molding the ordinary person into a consumer with an unquenchable thirst for more stuff. Consuming is now seen as our principal job in life, resulting in more luxurious homes, vehicles for land, sea, and air, electronics, hobbies, toys, and collectibles of all kinds.

The result is half of Americans work in “low-wage jobs.” Three out of four Americans struggle to pay their bills, 80% live paycheck to paycheck, and most will die in debt. Half of American the workforce deserves more than they are being paid. We live in a society, not just an economy.

Roughly 1.1 million older workers dropped out of the job market during the pandemic. Many are financially unprepared.

More than a third of all U.S. workers changed employers or lost their jobs since the start of the pandemic, double the typical level in the previous two decades, according to a paper by Alexander Bick of Arizona State University and Adam Blandin of Virginia Commonwealth University.

For people who had been at their job for less than two years before the pandemic, the churn was much higher, according to the study. Almost 62% had separated from their employers a year later, versus about 16% for those who had been employed by the same company for at least a decade.

Among workers who had a job in February 2020, almost 37% were no longer with their employer a year later.  Almost 26% had a different employer, and the remaining 11% were out of a job. It appears that many people were finding new jobs rather than returning to their old employers.

This may help explain the current labor shortage, especially in the restaurant, entertainment, and hotel industries, which lost the most jobs during the pandemic and are now struggling to hire fast to meet brisk demand.

All economic crises result in job losses. But the most striking difference during the pandemic is that a quarter of workers had a new employer a year after COVID-19 hit, said Bick and Blandin, who use a benchmark U.S. Census Bureau population data set as the basis of an online survey to collect labor data in real-time. That’s almost twice as large as the next-highest rate, about 13% in 1997.

Roughly two-thirds of rural voters across the country cast their ballots for Trump. Any election results map you look at offers a bleak visualization of the political divide between rural and urban voters: a sea of red dotted with islands of blue.

Why did Trump do so well with rural voters? From my experience, it is not because local Democrats failed to organize in rural areas. Instead, conversations with dozens of voters, neighbors, friends and family members reveal the pain and struggle in their community, yet rural people do not feel it is taken seriously by the Democratic Party.

Farmers’ share of every retail food dollar has fallen from about 50 percent in 1952 to 15 percent today. Corporations control more and more of the agriculture business—from the seed and fertilizer farmers buy to the grain, milk, and meat they sell—sucking out profits instead of giving farmers a fair price or a fair shot at the market. Every day, small farmers are squeezed: They can either expand their operations and take on more debt in an attempt to produce more or close their business entirely because of chronically low commodity prices.

Rural health care is a disaster. At least 176 rural hospitals have closed since 2005, the majority of them in the past 10 years; it is generally not profitable for hospitals to operate in low-population areas. Wisconsin has not been hit as badly as other states, but those hospitals that remain open in rural parts of the state are scaling back services and struggling to retain doctors. In my own county, there are zero ICU beds, even as Covid infection rates surge. Our profit-based health care system is failing rural people.

Rural people in Wisconsin are dying by suicide at rates higher than folks in suburban and urban parts of the state. This is not just a matter of poor mental health services—many rural counties lack a single practicing psychiatrist. It is also about an inescapable feeling of failure and an overwhelming sense that there is no future here.

This does not mean we need to begrudge the sports and entertainment stars their helicopters, ships, BMWs, Jaguars, Porsches, Mercedes-Benz’s, and Tesla’s as long as we have shelter, enough to eat, health care for ourselves and our families, as well as access to the universe through the internet where we can earn money and have an endless supply of possibilities for entertainment and knowledge.

The political result is that in the entire country there are only 16 “crossover” districts (seven districts voted for a Democrat and Donald Trump while nine voted for Joe Biden and a Republican), according to a study by the Center for American Progress.  This represents the lowest number of split-ticket districts in a century, a result of historically high levels of partisan polarization.

The economic anguish between the ultra-rich and the rest of us is so great that Trump was able to tap into these resentments to the point, he was instigating an attempted coup on January 6.  Almost every week, there is an outpouring of violence, everywhere from Hialeah, St. Louis to San Antonio. Where violence will break out next, no one knows – will the next outpouring of right-wing anger threaten a downtown, a state capitol, a synagogue, a sports venue, or a shopping center. Not know this makes dealing with the economic divide more problematic.

How a Minority Predominates Over the Majority

While white born-again or evangelical Protestants are a declining share of our population, they comprise just 16 percent of the population, down from 19 percent in 2009.  Despite numbering only 1 in 6 Americans, their share of the electorate accounts for a quarter of the electorate since 2008, making their influence stretch beyond their numbers.

The vote in May that defeated the establishment of a commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection was voted down by Senators representing only 109 million Americans while Senators voting for the commission represented 160 million Americans. This is the tyranny of the minority over the majority. When 20% of Republicans say the January attack on the capital was justified, we can wonder what our neighbors are thinking.

White evangelicals are either 23 percent of the electorate, according to the Associated Press or 28 percent according to Edison Research exit polling. Voter suppression and gerrymandered districts enable them to have political power disproportionate to their share of the population.

This means White evangelicals turned out in mind-boggling numbers. Because they maintained their roughly 80 percent support for Republicans (76 percent and 81 percent in the two exit polls) of recent years, it also means some 40 percent of Trump voters came from a group that is only 15 percent of America.

White evangelicals have, in effect, skewed the electorate by masking the rise of a young, multiracial, and largely secular voting population. The White evangelicals’ overperformance also shows, unfortunately, why the racist appeal Trump made in this campaign was effective. White evangelicals were fired up like no other group by Trump’s encouragement of white supremacy.

The Institute’s American Values Survey from September found overwhelming majorities of White evangelical Protestants saying that police killings of African Americans were “isolated incidents,” and that Confederate flags and monuments are symbols of Southern pride rather than racism. (Smaller majorities of White mainline Protestants and Catholics felt the same way.) Majorities of white evangelicals also perceived discrimination against Christians and Whites. They rejected the idea that slavery and longtime discrimination make it difficult for Black Americans to succeed.

Such findings aren’t surprising. White evangelicals abandoned the Democratic Party after the Voting Rights Act of the 1960s. They became an active political force in the early 1970s in large part to defend the ban on interracial dating at Bob Jones University (they didn’t embrace abortion as an issue until 1979). The Republicans’ Southern strategy stoked White resentment for decades but never as overtly as Trump did. White evangelicals responded passionately: Pre-election, 90 percent said they were certain to vote, and nearly half of those voting for Trump said virtually nothing he could do would shake their approval. There was little evidence of differences among White evangelicals by gender, generation, or education.

They are, as a group, dying out (median age in the late 50s), and their views are appalling to other Americans. Majorities of white evangelical Protestants don’t see the pandemic as a critical issue (they are less likely than others to wear masks), believe society has become too “soft and feminine,” oppose same-sex marriage, think Trump was called by God to lead and don’t believe he encouraged white supremacist groups.

White evangelicals have become, in essence, lost whose inhabitants are slowly but steadily distancing themselves from the American core values.

Republicans Labelling the Issues

Compounding the fact that Republicans make more clever use of labels and lies, Democrats wound themselves. Democratic strategist James Carville slammed liberals for even mentioning things such as “defunding police.” Using phrases like “defunding police” results in losing otherwise winnable races in districts like the fifth district in Virginia.

Labeling the issues raised by Democrats as “socialist” resonated with Hispanic voters in Florida, costing Democrats two House seats. Republicans capitalize on fear and the reluctance of people to adopt change, using labels like socialism. Polls find that over 55% of Americans have a negative opinion of socialism.

What is ironic is the distortions the right-wingers about the safety of vaccines or of wearing facemasks, denying climate change is self-destructive. It results in lower state vaccination rates in states Trump won while most blue states are vaccinating at levels well above the national average.

Secret Hate Vote

There is a secret hate vote.  What is the “secret hate vote”? The phenomenon of what American pundits call “the shy Trump voter.” (What a euphemism.) People who tell pollsters one thing, and then turn right around and do another. They surfaced en masse in 2016 and in 2020, rendering polls wrong.

Why does the secret hate vote exist? There are a few reasons. There is a certain glee for Trumpists in making the polls wrong — theirs is an authoritarian movement, remember, and they rely on delegitimizing democratic norms and institutions. What better way than to render polls wrong. There is also the shame factor. Would you really want to tell people you are voting for Trump? Even a lot of Trump voters are ashamed of him — but they back him because they feel heard and seen by him. Shame precludes them from telling pollsters what they really feel.

The hidden deplorable people are not Republicans. They are not even conservative. They are apolitical, otherwise ignoring politics because their lives legitimately suck. They live in meth country, with dim job prospects (in fact, those two factors are highly correlated). Institutions have failed them—corporations abandoned them for cheaper labor overseas, the government seems and feels distant, and it is certainly not improving their lives. Cities feel like walled gardens—unattainable, unaffordable, yet that’s where all the jobs are, the culture, the action. These deplorable have been left behind. So their attitude? “Fuck them all.”

Trump shows up in 2016 and gives them hope for change, saying the quiet part out loud—that their lives suck not because of their own choices and that of those corporations that have deserted them, but because all that sweet, sweet government money is going to “illegals” and “thugs” in those cities. He puts uppity Black and brown people and women in their place. He offers them hope that if he can not improve their lives, that at least he’ll hurt all those others.

Their lives suck, but Trump was supposed to be bringing everyone else down to their level. That’s why all that nonsense about “economic uncertainty” was such bullshit. None of these people ever thought Trump would bring back the factories, paying good middle-class wages. But it would all be worth it if Trump would just hurt the people he needed to be hurt.

From the start, let us dispense with the notion of a “shy Trump voter.” These people aren’t shy, yet they certainly exist. They are the assholes trying to run the Biden campaign bus off the road in Texas. They are the anti-government militias in Michigan. They are these people:

There is nothing “shy” about these people or their support for Trump, yet pollsters aren’t catching them. They turn out for Trump, but they didn’t turn out for Republicans in 2017, 2018, or 2019. Remember, last year Democrats picked up governorships in the blood-red states of Louisiana and Kentucky.

No amount of personal begging and pleading from Trump could get Republicans to the polls in those red states, nor did his extensive campaigning help his party during the 2018 Democratic wave year.

What is remarkable about Trumpism is that it is the Death Star of the American Idiots. Trumpism unites all the various kinds of American Idiots. In a kind of epic, colossal suicide pact.

What are the American Idiots really fighting for — whether they are religious fanatics, Covidiots, gun nuts, or bigots?  In the rest of the rich world, freedom now has a modern meaning — it means something like “the set of rights that enable one to enjoy a decent life, from healthcare to retirement to income to childcare to, no matter how harmful it is to anyone else, yourself, your city, town, country, or your loved ones.

Free-dumb is individualism gone thermonuclear, taken to its most absurd outer limits. It means that your right to carry a gun to Walmart is more important than kids getting education. That you can teach your kids whatever kind of nonsense you want, instead of educating them to be proper members of a civilized society. It means that Justice Amy Coney Barrett can belong to a religious cult dignity.” But in America, freedom means something so different it is diametrically opposed: the right to do whatever you damn well please.  You can go on “believing” Covid does not exist, while you are dying of it. America cannot get a grip on Covid, because the Covidiots keep right on spreading it…since they don’t believe it exists in the first place., Society can not make any progress since the vast majority of Republicans apparently believe the election was rigged., because the idiots block even the smallest iota of it, crying like big slobbering babies that their free-dumb is under attack. The smallest kind of cultural progress — gay rights, women’s rights — are at constant risk of reversal, because the idiots can not abide anyone else being a true equal, since the world has to spin around them, and their ignorance, stupidity, rage, and superstition.

How did all this come to be? Trump printed a license for every American Idiot to go out and set fire to their own neighborhoods, sure — but why did they think that was a good thing to do? Because America’s a country so backward it is hard to explain just how the American Idiot ends up thinking the bizarre things they do. Certainly, the internet reinforces it. Visit an American bookshop, and most of the best-sellers are fanatical right-wing screeds. And American education is something you can opt-out of.

American idiocy is a kind of complex cultural problem right about now. The American Idiot is, we know, three things. One, less educated, as in, often, not very educated. Two, white. And three, downwardly mobile. Those give us standard explanations — the downwardly mobile lash out at even more powerless groups in society, in resentment and rage at their fall. That explains Trumpism’s virulent hate and bigotry.

The sad thing is none of this is an accident. It is the result of decades of policy decisions—by Republicans and Democrats—that deplete our communities.

The Republicans are sinking lower and lower. Republican nominees are just getting worse and worse. An Indiana man charged with murdering his wife has won A Republican primary election from jail.

What Issues Can Democrats Talk About?

Every issue needs to be related to some experience people can relate to. Choose the issues you want to focus on. Issues need to be rooted in common sense.  Appeal to self-interest without scaring people. Stick to the facts and manipulate experiences so they make sense.

 

January, 2020 March, 2o2o October 20, 2020 Voting for

Biden

Voting for

Trump

Economy 86%

 

Jobs  79%

 

 

 

Terrorism  71%

 

Social Security  70%

Education  70%

 

Medicare & health care costs 65%

 

Strengthening economy – 86%

Job  – 79%

Reducing

budget deficit – 72%

Defending against terrorism – 71%

Securing Social Security – 70%

Improving education – 70%

Securing Medicare – 65%

Reducing health care costs – 63%

Helping poor and needy – 57%

Reducing crime – 55%

Protecting environment – 52%

Dealing with nation’s energy problem – 45%

Strengthening the military – 41%

Dealing with illegal immigration – 39%

Strengthening gun control laws – 37%

Dealing with global trade – 31%

Improving infrastructure – 30%

Dealing with global warming – 28%

Economy

Health Care

Supreme Court Appointments

Covid-D

Foreign Policy

Abortion

82

66

82

 

50

42

42

44

64

24

 

53

48

48

 

Most Americans align with Democrats on the economy, health care, social security, and treatment of Covid-D. Democrats can persuasively talk about all issues except abortion.

More members of the millennial generation and Generation Z voted in the 2020 presidential election than in any prior election, according to several studies of the electorate that have taken place in recent months.

Most Americans (60 percent) supported the general idea of dramatically reducing the United States fossil fuel use over the next two decades in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a 2019 Gallup poll.

A 2019 Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that most Americas support the goals of the Green New Deal.  Things like guaranteeing jobs with good wages for all U.S. workers and providing all people in the country with health care through a government program — although there was little support for achieving the proposal’s goals by increasing taxes.

Talking About Money and Taxes with Voters

How can we pay for programs that will both save the middle class and assure the nation’s future?  Many Americans are hesitant to have the federal government spend by the trillions on infrastructure. They do not have to be.

People by nature are aversive to losses and so voters tend to be risk-averse, not willing to lose what they already have. It needs to be emphasized that the United States does not need to increase taxes on the middle class to pay for the nation’s needs. It is vital to project gains larger than any possible losses.

Billionaires have increased their wealth by 44% since the pandemic began The top 25 richest Americans paid taxes at a “true” tax rate of 3.4%.  For comparison, households with a median average income of $70K pay about 14% in taxes.

The richest 1% of Americans do not report about 20% of their income to the IRS. A study released last month by two IRS officials as authors finds that collecting that money would boost tax collections by $175 billion a year.

Tax cheats are costing the U.S. $1 trillion a year. They do this using cryptocurrencies, offshore tax evasion, illegal income that goes undetected by the IRS, and underreporting from pass-through businesses.  This is a wide gap in tax collection.

Every year Americans spend $153,000,000,000 to subsidize McDonald’s and Walmart’s underpaid workers. The real freeloaders in this country are corporations, not people.

How to Communicate with People to Win Their Votes

Facts matter, but they must be understandable. Voters need to be touched in terms of what they think and feel. Politics vote for values they identify with, for what they see as right, not wrong.

In talking about the economy, health care, court reform, the coronavirus outbreak, the environment, budget deficits, terrorism, social security, education, crime, immigration, and energy, it is critical these issues be expressed in ways that touch people’s day to day lives. In themselves, numbers from the Congressional Budget Office do not mean much to most voters. Senator Elizabeth Warren and President-Elect Biden did this in relating these issues to the everyday lives of Americans in their runs for the Presidency.

Many voters are resentful of the establishment – big corporations and Wall Street. As many as 15 to 20 percent of voters may be conservative on social issues, but progressive on economic issues, or conversely. These are swing voters who determine the outcomes of elections.

Talking to Individual Voters

  (Name of person you are speaking with)

Once you can get another person to relate to a topic that interests them, it breaks the ice.

Then you can ask, “How do you decide whether to vote in an election?”

Some people become convinced if they believe voting is helping others. Some people will not be told what to do; they need to decide to vote. These people are not convincible – they must convince themselves.

On the other hand, some people are defensive or rigid. Your task is to find what issue will motivate them to be convinced voting is in their interest.

Recognize or learn why something matters. What values are foremost?

Identify the thinking that stands in the way of persuading voters to your view.

You can begin conversations with small talk, asking about:

By engaging them in “small talk” or you may have access to information about a voter in a database in your smartphone.

What do they like about living in this neighborhood/area?

You can relate to the season or weather?

What are your favorite shows, movies, plays?

What are your interests or hobbies: art, travel, collections?

What types of food, restaurants, and cooking do they like?

What are their professional interests and responsibilities?

Who are their favorite sports teams?

What is special about living here?

Ways to reach people:

  • More than 4 in 5 adults in the U.S. constantly check their email, texts, and social media accounts.
  • Email marketing – email is four times more effective than both paid search and social media; 30% of all email subscribers now use Gmail, almost double from 2014. Use unconventional holidays like National Dog Day or Coffee Day to make an impression. People open these mailings more often.
  • Facebook and Twitter accept email lists allowing senders to target specific users based on their interest in issues and affinities. 55% of Americans say Facebook is their primary source of news.
  • Facebook–most used by 43% of millennials; a higher proportion of millennial women than men use Facebook. The younger someone is the less likely they use Facebook daily.
  • If you are not reaching people on their smartphones, you are not reaching your potential voters.
  • Instagram (26%) – used by 35% of millennial women and 28% of men. The younger someone is, the more likely they are to use Instagram daily.
    • Localize your content
  • Messaging voters with apps such as Flock, Glip, Hipchat, LinkedIn Messenger, Microsoft Teams, Ryver, Slack, Workplace by Facebook, WhatsApp
  • Personal Information that Enables Us to Contact Voters
  • Pinterest (26%), Twitter (21%), and LinkedIn (25%) get smaller shares
  • Snapchat – used by 25% of millennials; younger use it more than older millennials. Instagram use is on the rise while Snapchat use is declining.
  • YouTube – 35% use YouTube every day, but older voters use YouTube less (20%)
  • YouTube offers intimacy, and the ability to communicate with their audience as if they were friends.
  • Be aware of the potential of social media, such as Twitter, for reputation bashing

What Media Do People Trust?

  • Recommendations from people they know (92%)
  • Consumer opinions posted online (70%)
  • Editorial content, such as newspaper articles (58%)
  • Branded websites (58%)
  • Email signed up for (50%)
  • Ads in magazines (47%)
  • Ads in newspapers (46%)
  • Ads on radio (42%) TV programs product placements (40%)
  • Display ads on mobile phones (33%), text ads, (29%). Keep in mind 4 out of 5 people have smartphones, particularly younger voters. However, 4 out of 5 people ignore online ads.

Where do voters get news? Television? Newspapers? Friends?

  • 45 percent of Americans turn to Facebook for news; half of those getting their news from Facebook only got their news from Facebook.
  • 26 percent said they received their news from two social networks; 20 percent said they got news from three or more social networks, up from 15% in 2013 and18 percent in 2016.
  • Audience overlap is most common between Facebook and YouTube.
  • Twitter is also frequently used for news, as is Instagram by younger voters. Terms used are Tweet: A tweet is a post that appears on the social network known as Twitter. Tweets may contain links, photos, and videos. When used as a verb, to tweet is the act of sending a tweet. Your home timeline is a real-time display of tweets from the accounts you follow.
  • With Twitter Assistant, you’ll see the best times to Tweet and what content your audience likes the most. Get set up today and start receiving personalized advice for how to Tweet better.

Who Likes Snail Mail?

  • The Silent Generation (born between 1925 and 1943) are the most likely to trust direct mail with more than four out of five (83%) people in that age group saying they trust what they rein the mail.
  • Millennials prefer to receive email over snail mail.
  • But there is evidence millennials trust printed information over digital information.
  • Political campaigns need to use multiple ways of reaching voters.

Closing Tips

Moderate Democrats who lost or almost lost did not campaign hard enough. If you are not door-knocking, if you are not on the internet, if your main points of reliance are TV and mail, then you are not running a campaign on all cylinders.

Democrats often talk down to people, rather than just talk to people. If you think people are not smart enough or educated enough to just understand what is good for them, you are probably talking down to people. This is alienating. Remember it is better to go on offense and be defensive

There was a lot of talk of supply chain problems leading to people not being able to get the gifts and provisions for the holidays. Packages are moving, gifts are being delivered, shelves are not empty and Democrats need to take credit for this.

Why we need to break the filibuster rule

The filibuster is a Senate rule that requires 60 votes (a super majority) for ‘most’ legislation to get a vote in the Senate.

We say ‘most’ because numerous exceptions to the filibuster already exist. Since 1969, 161 exceptions to the filibuster’s supermajority requirement have been created. Now civil rights advocates are asking for another exception to be created so critical voting rights legislation can pass the Senate.

What is the history of the filibuster?

The filibuster is not by design, it was actually a mistake. Like the House, the Senate used to only require a simple majority — or 51 votes. Then, in 1805, the Senate was doing a clean-up of its rule book and took out the simple majority rule because they thought it was redundant — effectively it went without saying, how else would a democratic body operate?

It took decades for obstructionists to realize the unintentional gift they’d been given and start exploiting it, often to the detriment of civil rights. The longest continuous filibuster debate in Senate history was about passing the 1964 Civil Rights Act1 to end racial discrimination in public accommodations. During the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction eras, senators used the filibuster to block other major civil rights legislation, including measures to prohibit lynching and end poll taxes.2

What happens if we don’t reform the filibuster?

We’re facing another era of anti-democratic reforms. The last presidential election had the highest turnout in U.S. history, and Republican elected officials responded with a wave of new voting restrictions — 19 states passed 33 laws restricting voting laws in 2021 alone, including restrictions aimed at making voting more difficult. In Georgia, you can now be charged with a crime for handing out water or snacks to voters waiting in line at the polls, and in Texas election officials could face criminal prosecution if they encourage voters to request mail ballots or regulate poll watchers’ conduct.3

There is a bill in the Senate that could address some of these restrictions — the For the People Act (H.R. 1). But the filibuster is standing in the way of progress that people are demanding.