Tag Archives: Elections

Minority Rule

Originally posted on October 4, 2020

Within a number of states the Republicans have an edge in their representation due to gerrymandering. Nationally the Republicans have about a 5% edge in representation due to each state, regardless of population, having two senators along with the subsequent electoral college makeup.

Right now in the Senate there are 54 Republicans and 46 Democrats (or independents who caucus with one of the parties). You might expect, in any reasonable democracy, that those 54 Republicans were elected by a majority of the voters. Almost needless to say, you’d be wrong.

I went through all 100 current senators and tallied up their vote counts from their last election. The 46 Democratic senators received 66,328,155 votes while the 54 Republican senators received just 54,938,938 votes.

So not only are the Republicans slowly making the U.S. a worse place to live, they are doing it with a minority of the population. I generally try to be optimistic, but at some point the majority will get tired of this. Whether it stays peaceful is an open question.

For the details, you can download my spreadsheet here.

Who is Reponsible?

Originally posted on October 1, 2020

Trump likes to blame anyone else for whatever problems exist. A common blamed group is the Democratic party. A neutral observer might ask which party has held the balance of power in, say, the last 20 years. So I spent a couple of hours (Wikipedia is great for this sort of research) putting together a chart of which party controlled which branch of government, with the Senate and House each counting as half of the legislative branch.

The resulting chart is below, along with the numbers I used to color the columns. It is pretty obvious which party has been in power the bulk of the last 20 years, and it isn’t the much-blamed Democrats.

For the numerically-inclined, there are 60 colored “squares” above (20 years times 3 branches). Only 15 of those squares are blue, the other 45 are red. Every single branch has had a larger Republican presence. Democrats have never controlled all three branches, while the Republicans have during 8 of the 20 years.

Many of us Americans think the country is getting worse, and I am always a little surprised when they can’t figure out who has held the balance of power since 2000, and who might be responsible for the decline. Trump is simply the latest in a long line of Republican failures.

Vote Twice?

Originally posted on September 3, 2020

Yesterday, Wednesday September 2, Trump suggested a way to “make sure your vote counts”. Here’s the transcript of a radio call-in show.

They’ll go out and they’ll vote and then they’re going to have to go and check their vote by going to the poll and voting that way because if it tabulates then they won’t be able to do that. So let them send it in, and let them go vote. And if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote. So that’s the way it is, and that’s what they should do. …

But send in your ballots, send them in strong, whether it’s solicited or unsolicited. The absentees are fine. We have to work to get them. It means something. And you send them in but go to vote and if they haven’t counted it, you can vote. So, that’s the way I view it.

Any number of people who know about these things have said that trying to vote twice is illegal, and even suggesting the idea to someone (like Trump just did) is also illegal.

I guess in Trumpworld, election fraud isn’t really fraud if it favors him. Meanwhile in the rest of the world, going to the polling place probably wouldn’t work the way Trump thinks it would. Any number of states don’t even count the mail-in ballots until the election closes, so they’d have no idea if someone had voted or not. And it would be unusual for a polling place to have this information even if it were available.

Eventually they find out that your voterid has been used twice. Then the cops show up.

Anthony

Originally posted on August 20, 2020

August 18 was the 100-year anniversary of the 19th amendment, the one that gave women the right to vote. In a transparent effort to pander to women he pardoned Susan B. Anthony of her conviction for voting when voting by women was against the law. I’m guessing not many women were impressed by his pardon of someone who died in 1906.

Like a lot of things Trump does, he apparently didn’t study this one enough to fully understand it before he acted. While she was alive Anthony refused any idea of a pardon because it would lend an air of validity to her conviction.

The National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House responded with a tweet that mocked Trump’s pardon. Among the museum director’s comments was Anthony’s support for “sex education, fair labor practices, excellent public education, equal pay for equal work, and elimination of all forms of discrimination.”

Of those five items, which ones is part of any Republican agenda? Until they are, empty gestures like unwanted pardons are just insulting.

RVAT

Originally posted on August 18, 2020

In nosing around the internet I came across a very powerful site where republican voters tell their stories of why they are voting for Biden. It’s called Republican Voters Against Trump. They come from a variety of backgrounds and locations, and their stories last anywhere from roughly 2 to 5 minutes. One of them, Miles Taylor, worked in the White House and his story about dealing directly with Trump should scare you.

So, if you are still thinking of voting for Trump, take a look and listen to these stories from ordinary, decent Americans. Please.

The Axios Interview

Originally posted on August 5, 2020

Last Tuesday, July 28, 2020, Axios’s Jonathon Swan interviewed Trump at the White House. I have mentioned one part of that interview, Trump’s comments about John Lewis, in a previous post. But there was so much more of Trump on display in that interview I thought I should write a post about the rest of it.

The interview runs for about 38 minutes and is one of the few times Trump has allowed himself to be interviewed by someone who doesn’t fawn over him. The only other recent interview of similar caliber was Fox’s Chris Wallace’s, during which Trump also displayed his usual alarming lack of coherence.

In what has to be the supreme act of self-sacrifice I’ve listened to all 38 minutes, just so you don’t have to. Here’s a few things I noticed where Trump is simply some combination of clueless and/or flat-ass wrong. The most obvious comment I have is that Trump hardly ever waits for a questioner to finish the question. He’ll take off on one of his rants and never even let the question get asked, let alone answer it. It’s like he is so glued to his talking points that he never even bothers thinking about what others might want to talk about.

If you don’t want to go through my tedious verbiage below, you might want to read this instead.

6:10 – By my count Trump tells three lies about his rally in Tulsa. (1) Tulsa was NOT doing so well with its Covid cases leading up to his rally there. I’ve posted on that myself. Tulsa’s case load was increasing rapidly leading up to the rally. (2) There were no large antifa (or any other) protests outside. (3) There were not 19,000 people there. I can only guess Trump just can’t admit anything he is a part of was a failure.

7:30 – Trump asserts the pandemic is “under control” and “it is what it is”. He may be just about the only person on earth who is saying this. Perhaps he is confusing “we doing everything possible” with “under control”, except the federal government isn’t “doing everything possible”, at least by any normal rational adult standards.

9:25 – Trump takes credit for getting the governors massive amounts of equipment, like providing this sort of support isn’t in his job description and he considers himself generous for what little he has provided. Trump claims handling this pandemic is the governors’ job, but simple efficiency (which is what you really want in a fight against a disease) would dictate the feds take the lead.

9:45 – Jonathon asks a fairly simple and important question – when will widespread testing be available? Trump never answers. Instead he brags about what testing we have done, and how all this testing drives up our case numbers.

13:15 – Trump shows his charts. They show deaths per cases, which makes no sense. Jonathon argues that deaths per population is a far more important and useful number. Trump doesn’t seem able to understand any of that and for the next 3 minutes tries to justify the nonsense that his charts show. This is where Trump uses his “many” references for justification, but never names them.

16:30 – Russian bounties. Trump says lots of people are calling the report “fake news”. When asked who, he never answers. He reclaims that it never reached his desk, when a number of people who would know say that it was in his daily briefing. When asked if he actually reads the briefing, he says he reads a lot, including the briefing. A number of people who again would know say that he doesn’t.

22:30 – Mail in voting. Trump claims they are automatically sending out millions of ballots. That is simply not true.

25:40 – Ghislane Maxwell. He wishes her well.

26:45 – Portland. Trump again blames antifa and anarchists for the riots. This certainly doesn’t agree with the video. Trump goes on and on about how violent the agitators were and how his troops have lessened the violence, a conclusion that does not square with all the local reports.

31:20 – Black Lives Matter and the protests. He repeats his claim that he has done more than anyone for blacks. Too bad that most blacks don’t agree.

34:20 – Trump’s claim that he’s done more for blacks than anyone except “possibly” Lincoln. Even more than Lyndon Johnson. Really? Trump’s sole “gift” to blacks has been the continuing expansion of the economy, at least until recently. And the continuation of Obama’s expansion has been driven by going into more and more debt, which cannot continue.

35:30 – John Lewis. I already posted on this.

Delay the Election?

Originally posted on July 30, 2020

It was only a matter of time until Trump showed his real intentions for the upcoming election on November 3. He certainly doesn’t like mail-in voting because he’d lose even worse than the polls currently have him losing, but the virus has made in-person voting a risky endeavor for many of us. So what would be his cure?

Sure, just delay the election. Until ??? Perhaps he’s thinking of 4 years. No doubt that would suit him just fine. Of course, there might be a problem with that pesky Constitution.

In an interesting back story, Biden actually predicted that Trump would try something like this. Biden said on April 23: “Mark my words: I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held.”

Shortly thereafter Henry Olsen, one of the Washington Post’s “conservative” writers, wrote an editorial beating up on Biden for this “baseless accusation”. Apparently Olsen is a terrible judge of character – anybody with half a brain knows Trump is totally capable of trying anything to stay in power, and our low opinion of him is justified one more time.

The Trump campaign also got into the act, describing Biden’s speculation about Trump wanting to delay the election as “incoherent, conspiracy theory ramblings of a lost candidate who is out of touch with reality.” Even Trump’s campaign projects rather well, doesn’t it?

I’m guessing that at some point in the near future Trump will walk back the idea after he sees even his toadies like Mitch don’t support this. Look, I was kidding!

Scare Tactics

Originally posted on July 29, 2020

As Trump’s polling numbers continue to look worse and worse, he has responded the only way he knows how to – by appealing to well-to-do white fears about their neighborhoods being invaded by the “others”, crime going up and property values going down.

As background, several days ago Trump replaced the Obama-era AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing) rule that was instituted in 2015. That rule essentially used federal funding to encourage affordable housing that didn’t discriminate against minorities. He had earlier gutted enforcement of it and has been making a campaign issue out of it for some time.

Even by Trump’s standards this type of tweet is pretty vile. It openly stokes fears that end up making vast parts of the U. S. ungovernable. Not that Trump cares about any of that, he just wants to get reelected. Given that (a) he’s a racist and (b) he is so self-centered that he thinks everyone is just like him, he must have convinced himself that stoking racial fear will help his campaign. I can only hope he is terribly wrong about that.

The Wallace Interview

Originally posted on July 19, 2020

Several days ago Chris Wallace of Fox News interviewed Trump for over an hour. The interview aired this morning, Sunday the 19th, and immediately caused quite the stir. You can watch the entire thing or clips if you subscribe to Fox and can stand it, or you can get the “4-minute” highlights and a lot of commentary here at the Washington Post.

There were any number of things that Trump said during the interview that were either wrong or problematical.

  • He wasn’t sure if he would accept the results of the November election. Really? I didn’t know he had a choice. But it is pretty easy to see where he could declare there was fraud and he and Barr would use the levers available to see if a loss could be overturned.
  • He reiterated his ongoing claim that the U.S. doesn’t have so many covid-19 cases as other places, blaming the high numbers on the high numbers of tests (that aren’t really that high) we’ve done. Wallace tried to correct him, but either he is too corrupt or too stupid to understand.
  • He dismissed the serious consequences to some people who get the virus, like kids with sniffles.
  • He gave tacit approval to those who display the Confederate flag.
  • He accused the “cancel culture” of wanting to change history, in this case by focusing on the year 1619. I don’t think they are trying to forget 1492; rather they are trying to make sure we don’t forget 1619. I doubt Trump even knew the significance of the date – when the first slaves were brought in.
  • Schools have to open. We’d all agree that having schools closed in not good, but at what cost? Trump doesn’t seem to care about the very real consequences of opening schools without the preconditions to make it safe for everyone involved.
  • Where did he find out that schools are “teaching our children to hate America?” No answer, of course, because schools don’t. But Trump “watches” and “reads”. Really?
  • He claims Biden wants to defund the police. Actually, he doesn’t.
  • All the polls are fake.
  • Trump claims medical preconditions will be taken care of, 100%, in some unspecified new plan that he’ll release in the next couple of weeks. We’ve been waiting for over 3 years for an actual plan, as Wallace mentions, and we’re still waiting. Trump’s answer, involving the DACA dreamers, was nonsensical.

As for Trump not accepting the results of the November election, Biden’s campaign had a nice reply: “The American people will decide this election,” Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said. “And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”

Campaign Grifting

Originally posted on July 18, 2020

It seems that wherever there is money being moved around Trump and his family are there to siphon some of it off into their own pockets. Political campaigns, especially presidential ones, have a large amount of money that fairly quickly goes through the campaign’s coffers, offering numerous opportunities for personal profit. And according to Trump’s sense of morality, he’d have to be some sort of stupid to pass up the opportunity, right?

There was an opinion piece in the Washington Post that recounted some of the ways campaign cash is being diverted into Trump’s pockets. The piece was in turn based on reporting by the Center for Responsible Politics entitled All the President’s Profiting

From the WaPo article: “During this election cycle, the center reports, the president’s campaign and its related committees have steered $2.6 million of their donors’ money to Trump’s family-owned properties and businesses. The Republican Party has spent nearly $1 million as well, and GOP candidates, elected officials and their political action committees have spent another $391,000.”

Some examples include:

  • $380,000 paid to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago for “rental/catering services”. Apparently for a “donor retreat”. What stood out for me was the mention that the bill had to be split into 43 payments, since they couldn’t do more than $10,000 in a single payment. Really? I’m guessing that limit has a lot to do with the IRS’s requirement that every deposit of more than $10,000 needs to be reported.
  • $37,000 per month in rental payments to Trump’s Tower in NYC, even though the campaign’s HQ’s are in DC.
  • The list of 705 entries where some political campaign has spent money at a Trump property. As just one random sample, Christian F Acosta for Congress spent $19,764 at Trump’s National Golf Club in West Palm Beach, FL.

I think I remember Trump promising to “drain the swamp”. His ability to effortlessly project his own avarice is quite amazing.