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.

There Is Nothing Normal About One Million People Dead from COVID-D

Americans for the most part go along with the regimens and rules of a developed nation. We get licenses before we are legally able to drive. All but 6% pay our fair share of taxes. We obey the law, abide by homeowner restrictions, and pay our bills. Most Americans see that their children get 27 vaccinations before they are 18 years old. In spite of this, some people refuse to go along with Covid-D vaccination or safety measures.

A few have good reasons, but most of those who refuse are afflicted with an epidemic as deadly as Covid-D can be – they willfully refuse to take into account that their actions affect and may infect the people with whom they are in contact – family members, co-workers, anyone they have minimal contact within stores, restaurants, bars theatres, and concerts. Many Americans are spooked by the strange pandemic economy, and Republicans keep pounding that  Democrats’ legislative agenda is politically unpalatable, and the media pay too much attention to Republican bellyaching.

42 percent of the unvaccinated adults surveyed said that they “definitely” would not get vaccinated. Along party lines, 30 percent of Democratic men said that they would consider getting the vaccine to protect against the omicron variant, and 29 percent of Democratic women agreed. Just 4 percent of Republican men and 6 percent of Republican women responded “yes, definitely” when asked about getting vaccinated as a preventative measure against the strain.

U.S. vaccination data shows that people living in counties that voted for Trump last year are nearly three times as likely to die from the virus, a statistic that also gets worse as the vote share percentage increases.

The publication looked at the death rate in roughly 3,000 counties across the country, starting in May 2021, when vaccines became widely available to the general public. Specifically, counties that voted at rates higher than 60% for Trump had a COVID-19 death rate that was 2.7 times higher than equivalent counties that swung for Biden.

Attorney generals in 26 Republican states have to get President Biden’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 employees or more blocked. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has gone along with these states. The Fifth Circuit covers Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. All but seven of the 24 judges are Republicans.

This reflects the effective packing of the courts the Republicans have been able to accomplish in the past 30 years.

It’s not just the Supreme Court that is the problem. Moderate and progressive forces need to mount an effort that will result in enabling fair judges to be appointed.

Counties that went heavily for Donald Trump have seen much lower vaccination rates and much higher death rates from COVID is not surprising but Fox News does not report this to their viewers.

A Kaiser Family Foundation survey finds 87 percent of unvaccinated adults asy the emergence of the omicron strain does not make them more likely to get the shots, compared to 12 percent who said the variant makes them more likely to get the vaccine. Almost half of the unvaccinated respondents, at 48 percent, said nothing could persuade them to get the vaccine.  6 percent said mandates and 5 percent said large monetary incentives could encourage them to get vaccinated.

Former Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin said while being interviewed by Charlie Kirk at Turning Point USA’s AmericaFest,  “It’ll be over my dead body that I’ll have to get a shot. I will not do it. I won’t do it, and they better not touch my kids, either.”  QAnon cultists are now drinking bleach compounds from a communal bowl, which immediately evokes images of Jonestown.

Another instance of obstinance is why folks who think their teenagers can be trusted with guns don’t think they can be trusted with books?

Anti-vaxxers make it sound as if requiring people to be vaccinated and masked in the company of others is a huge threat to liberty — and frequently claim that statistics suggest there is no scientific basis for mandates.

While vaccinated people can get COVID-19 and spread it, the difference in outcomes between vaccinated and unvaccinated is quite significant. Statistics show that the vaccinated are more resistant to catching the virus, and when they get it, their cases are milder and of shorter duration.

More importantly, perhaps, for the mandate debate, those who catch COVID-19, despite being vaccinated, have a considerably shorter period during which they “shed” the disease — that is, in which they are infectious to others — than the unvaccinated.

In addition, when infected, the unvaccinated usually have a higher viral load, which increases the risk they will transmit to others. That alone justifies both masks and requirements for vaccination.

There really are no legitimate freedom issues at stake; no one has a license to knowingly spread a potentially deadly disease to others. But the growing hue and cry from those who claim such a  “freedom” can only deepen the divisions in this society, ensuring that more people will be permanently damaged or die and that the overwhelming burdens we face will continue to mount.

One consequence of the pandemic is that American students have lost  20 years of progress in math and reading during the pandemic, national test results showed.

Math scores dropped seven points  from just before the pandemic to performance two years later, marking the first-ever decline, while reading scores slipped five points, producing the largest dip in 30 years on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, often called “the nation’s report card.” The students who took the tests were 9 years old and mostly in fourth grade.