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    • Reasons For Hope (1): The Solutions Are Known
      Ok, this place has mostly been about how fucked we are, and how we’ve fucked up. Blame is more on our leaders than us, but as a species we’re on the hook. But there is cause of hope because mostly we know what we have to do. We know we have to reduce CO2 and Methane emissions. We even know mostly how. We pretend we don’t, because the how will involve changin […]
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Sen. Mike Lee’s Objective: Phase Out Social Security

You have to wonder why it is they are so hell bent to dismantle the most reliable source of income for millions of Americans. They’re deferred income payments that workers earned over the course of their working lives. It’s not a gift. It’s a savings plan.

Pfffft!, says Lee:

That goes for Medicare and Medicaid too. I’m not sure what he thinks we’re supposed to do with all the sick people with no money for health insurance but that’s not Lee’s problem. He’s on a mission.

Sure, it’s from twelve years ago. So we shouldn’t ask him if this is still his objective? Quick! Someone go ask Lee if that’s his objective.

Eisenhower warned us about politicians like Lee. He thought they were nuts for wanting to bust people down to an insecure retirement, if they could retire at all. They had forgotten the lessons of The Great Depression when Seniors lost their money in the crash, didn’t have pensions, and didn’t have money to spend to keep the economy afloat.

What is it that shriveled the souls of Republicans like Lee? He and Rick Scott are open about what their plans are. We can only imagine what the rest of McConnell’s bunch is thinking.

“Oh, they would never do that.” Or “They’re going to see if you really need it” are the two most naive statements a voter can make. There is nothing good about this. Nothing. It will undermine the system, make workers reluctant to contribute to a fund they can’t rely on in the future, and the result will be phasing it out.

If they get a majority in the senate and the house, they can phase it out quicker.

Oh, yes they would. When they tell you what they’re thinking, believe them.

The Price We Continue to Pay

When my parents and I would discuss politics and elections, they would sometimes say something to the effect that the people who were voting Republican were mostly voting against Black people. I always thought that this was too simplistic an explanation for why Democrats might lose various elections, but they knew the ’40’s and the ’50’s. They didn’t say this for any reason but their sense of what most motivated Republicans. They of course were well aware of Republicans’ ties to big business, and the Red Scare of the McCarthy era; but still, they thought that racial animosity was the major motivator of many people who voted Republican.

One could agree or disagree with that, but it seems pretty clear that this is what is going on this election. Oh, of course, inflation and all that. The economy is actually pretty good by any historical standards, but the Republicans and their media allies have convinced tens of millions of people that it is awful. The increasing ignorance and illiteracy, and frankly, stupidity of people, is certainly a factor in this. The fact that so many are going to vote for Republicans, whose only economic plans are tax breaks for the very wealthy, and eliminating Medicare and Social Security, and also likely not raising the debt ceiling, which would lead to economic calamity, is a testament to how foolish and ignorant these voters are.

But I think it is an inescapable fact that much of the Republican motivation is anti-Black people. When we read that “crime” is listed as the second most important issue for Republicans, we can see it. “Crime” is virtually a code word for their belief that Black people are committing most of the crimes.

I have seen and read about various states where they run ads almost literally saying that. And of course the absolute stupidity of the “defund the police” signs and statements in 2020, after the George Floyd murder and the consequent…call it rioting unrest, looting, it was there, even in Santa Monica, CA, made this worse. Biden said after the election, something like “Defund the police, killed us” (in several House districts which might have cost us 10-15 winnable seats). And in this cycle, Republicans are still using it.

Simply, but directly put, there are many people who vote against every Black candidate, and they fear that the Blacks and other minorities are going to threaten their lives, their careers, and their freedoms. This is racism, and it is bad, but it is there. And we see that virtually every senatorial candidate who is Black, is going to lose. Demings. Beasley. Barnes. Even Warnock may well lose, to a Black person, but a Far Right Republican one. Booker in KY, too, but McGrath lost there last time, so race made no difference either time.

Democrats also lost with Harrison, who later got appointed to DNC Chair, in South Carolina in 2020, and Espy in Mississippi. Again, almost impossible states for Democrats to win. But what has happened, is that in any state where a large proportion of registered Democrats are Black people, they almost always vote for someone who is Black to be nominated for Senate. And they all lose. The most glaring example is Wisconsin, where I am pretty sure, though I obviously can’t prove it, that Sarah Godlewski would have beaten Ron Johnson; but the Black voters all voted for Barnes, sufficient to make the difference in a multiple candidate primary, and now the Republicans have run against him as “too far to the Left,” and have used various comments of his to portray him as some kind of radical. Do Republicans often try to do this? Yes, but the state treasurer Sara Godlewski was a much more difficult target for them. Look at how well Tim Ryan is doing in the more Right-controlled state of Ohio, or Franken in Iowa.

Am I then saying that Democrats should not vote for Black candidates for Senate? No, but I will point out that they almost always lose. Now being Jewish, I am well aware of the insidious nature of an argument that says, “We cannot nominate a minority person, because some people don’t like the minority.” But does that then mean that out of virtue, and a sense of obligation for past atrocities, we should keep nominating people who are inevitably going to be voted against by the Far Right? I don’t know the answer to that, but if Republicans win the Senate this time, we are not getting it back any time soon, this was the most favorable map for us.

Now, I will focus on Barack Ohama, who is certainly a decent person who was elected President twice, and did not do anything bad, except that he didn’t fight Republicans; either when they threatened to not raise the debt ceiling unless he “gave us 98% of what we wanted” (Speaker Boehner’s comment after the deal was made to avert the default); or when McConnell brazenly and unconstitutionally refused to hold hearings on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Garland; or when Intelligence agencies told him that Russia was interfering with the election, and McConnell told him that if he told the American people, he would claim that Obama was interfering with the election (something that Republicans never shrink from doing, of course).

And I have little doubt that despite Obama’s electoral success, there have since been many people in Southern or other states, who simply refused to vote for a Democrat for anything, and some states are lost forever. Is that simply a price we had to pay? Maybe. But Obama also did not disburse campaign money to Democratic candidates; he kept the DNC money for himself. That is one of the reasons that during his presidency, Democrats lost about 90 House seats, ten Senate seats, numerous governorships and state legislatures, to the point that we are still suffering from that.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which incredibly just decided that anyone who cast a mail-in ballot in this election, and forgot to date it, will have the ballot not counted (they said that they will hold them and decide later, which is a lie), may have cost Democrats crucial elections in that state. That Supreme Court, appointed by Republicans,;and the state legislature, still under Republican control, in a blue state, is one of the vestiges of Obama’s inability to get any Democrat elected but himself.

And he is traveling to states and making good speeches on behalf of Democratic candidates, but I don’t think it does them much good. I liked Bill Clinton’s comment about Republicans, better. He said that “they will get you very angry, and then when they take office, they will make things worse, and blame Democrats for it.” Words to that effect. I thoroughly believe that if Hillary had won the nomination in 2008 (she won almost all of the major primaries, but lost caucuses in Red states, and had her delegates stolen by Donna Brazile of the DNC), she would have been elected, and the Democratic Party would be in much better shape today. But Obama represented the personification of a Democratic Party dream; and Brazile championed “a new coalition” which certainly had a value, but also lost a whole lot of formerly Democratic voters.

So here we are. I don’t have an easy answer to this, and even if I did, it seems as if the train has moved too far down the tracks to fix it. We’ve got a plethora of Red states which have no intention of ever voting for Democrats, and we have a party which means well, and does good things, but is seemingly incapable of effectively framing issues in state elections, at least sufficiently to win and hold Congressional majorities. Since Obama was first elected, the Republicans took over the House in 2011, and held it until 2019, and will now likely win it again. Republicans took over the Senate in 2015, and they held it until 2021, when Democrats took over nominal control with 50 votes, which is in serious jeopardy again.

Do I blame Obama for all of this? Certainly not all, but much of it. Democrats want to do good things for people, and have done so in the last two years. But to do that, they have to win elections. If they can’t get enough people to vote for them, all their commendable plans and intentions are futile. I will say that while virtue, and never offending anyone, and always being inclusive, are certainly good things, there has to be a much greater focus on how to win elections. Not to sell their souls for it, but to be pragmatic, and willing to gerrymander like Republicans do (not keep giving districting to commissions, like the one in California which might have cost Katie Porter her seat), and even to play hardball politics in order to gain an advantage.

And either we are not doing it well enough; or alternatively, the country is simply beyond saving. I didn’t feel that way when Bill Clinton was President. Remember the Crime Bill which was strongly supported, but then after he left office, was attacked by various Democrats, causing many to apologize for it? That was a big mistake, to run away from that bill. We are in some sense paying the price for that in this election, and yet far too many Democrats do not see it, or simply refuse to, and so will keep arguing the same things they do now, and hence get rolled over on the crime issue in every election, as is apparently happening now.