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April 04, 2021

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nous, I don't see much of this as obstacles. Proving you are eligible to vote isn't an obstacle it is simply a requirement. Getting to the polls is how it was done, not a n obstacle, a requirement. Easing that requirement too much adds risk.

The Democrats have been out literally convincing people to vote that were apathetic at best for decades, ballot harvesting, bussing people to polls, feeding them on the way, this isn't even handed let's get everyone to vote stuff, it's getting our people to vote stuff.

Making sure all that doesn't cross a line is ok with me. There are certainly places for helping the elderly and disabled to vote, all good. But campaigns and local party people shouldn't be allowed to collect votes or people to vote.

So, a fair inference with some caveats.

The part of the GA law that is most worrying from the point-of-view of both the Brennan Center and the ACLU is the provision that allows unlimited challenges to the voter roles and that cedes to the legislature the right to overrule local election boards. Here's some context for that:

https://www.gregpalast.com/wisconsin-movers-didnt-move/

https://www.gregpalast.com/wp-content/uploads/Palast-Fund-ACLU_Georgia-Voter-Purge-Errors-Download.pdf

https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/mass-voter-challenges-georgia-runoffs

These mass challenges are designed to cause bottlenecks and suppress votes, and the reports document who is targeted by those challenges.

Thoughts?

nous, I am not a fan of unlimited, in this case challenges. I am a fan of reviewing the voter rolls and verifying those people are alive and living in LA. Purge errors are an issue, certainly more than an inconvenience so unlimited isn't great.

I don't support every dotted I of the bill, it's not Jim Crow either.

This is the most ridiculous of all the arguments, for whatever value of harder it might be, it is applied to everyone. The Dems want special treatment of people they anticipate will vote for them.

you understand that there is a logical problem here, right?

It's not Jim Crow in that, unlike Jim Crow, it does not aim to stop all voters of color, just enough of them to eke out a narrow win, while letting just enough vote to allay accusations of racism. And the evidence shows that these laws, though formulated in a color-blind fashion, have a disproportionate effect.

As bobbyp helpfully pointed out earlier, that disproportionate effect language was, until recently, the benchmark for measuring harm to minority voters. With that benchmark waived, suddenly we see all this legislation.

Tony P., I appreciate you weighing in. The analogy I would make would be to playing some weekend sport. Most people who into sports have had the experience of having someone who wants to play the game more competitively than everyone else. Within limits, that's ok, it's just the guy (and it's usually guys, amirite) who does that, if he goes too far, ends up being the only one on the court cause everyone else has decamped to other places. (It also means that a lot of interesting people decamp a lot earlier cause they don't want the drama, which is our loss) I'll cop to being that guy far too many times in my life and I think most folks can think of times when they have fallen into that. But if the person doing it has no self-awareness that they are doing that, the other players are under an obligation to tell them, if they want to keep playing on the same court. (that closing sounds like a threat, but it isn't, it is just an observation)

The Democrats have been out literally convincing people to vote that were apathetic at best for decades

I'm trying to understand why this is bad.

One of the red herring arguments is that there aren't any widespread abuses.

How the heck is that a red herring?

"We need restrictions because there are abuses".

"But there aren't abuses beyond the noise level".

That seems pretty on point to me.

I don't think campaigns should be allowed to drive busses around to pick up people and take them to the polls.

Why? How the hell is giving people a ride to the poll "election interference"?

It's the corollary of the "voting as test of faith" thing. If there are no challenges to voting then faith is never actually tested and proven.

If voting is a given, then it ceases to be a marker of civic virtue. If everybody's somebody/Then no one's anybody.

The Democrats have been out literally convincing people to vote that were apathetic at best for decades

I'm trying to understand why this is bad.

I, on the other hand, feel compelled to obsrrve that the sheer numbers testify that the Republicans also, this past year, convinced a lot of previously apathetic people to vote. (That's just people voting for them. Not counting the previously non-voting people who were motivated to go out and vote against them.)

That being the case, why is it bad for the other side to do so?

lj,

Blitz chess in Harvard Square used to be my weekend sport. The sort of person you describe was somewhat familiar to me. They tended to be good at playing the game. Over the board, they could "win" more often than not. As I have observed before, a game of chess is like an argument in every way except this: you can convince your opponent to acknowledge defeat, within the 5 minutes per side time limit and under mutually accepted rules. In the larger context of spending a pleasant weekend afternoon playing chess at the tables in front of Au Bon Pain, these weekend warriors were NOT popular. The spectators (lurkers, if you like) tended to cheer on their opponents. The regulars tended to seek out other players to have a game with.

Perhaps I should add that much of the time our games had a dollar or two at stake. Little enough that nobody's retirement was at risk or anything, but still a practical consequence outside of the 64-square arena of the "argument" -- another difference with blog comment section disputes.

I must also confess that on occasion I would willingly play against these aggressive weekend warriors, knowing that my chance to "convince" them was small, but the point was to have fun trying. Luckily, fun and not "winning" was my goal.

--TP

Tony, interesting! I played chess as a kid and watched Searching for Bobby Fischer (the book is good too)

This also might be of interest
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/mar/18/bongcloud-meme-opening-carlsen-nakamura

Also, this wired piece
https://www.wired.com/story/bird-feed-seller-beat-chess-master-online-harassment/

and the follow-up on chess.com
https://www.chess.com/news/view/most-watched-chess-stream-in-history-dewa-kipas

Any connections to what happens in ObWI are left to the reader.

My own disquieting conclusion after watching the last few months of elections and post-election flood of legislation is that our politicians are pretty much divided into two groups:

The types who take the government-legitimating concept of the consent of the governed as a bedrock, sacrosanct principle, and the types who take it as an impediment to doing what they want and therefore do everything they can to undermine its widespread application.

Kind of turns the whole American experiment on its head when the people whose power to even create public policy in the first place derives from that very consent use whatever means they can to avoid the complete and thorough expression of that consent.

And then those same underminers of democracy at home will be the first to lecture other nations around the world about the superiority of representative democracy.

Sad.

I agree with Lewis completely, although I suspect which side is which differs.

AlaMcT (that appellation is to remind everyone that he admitted to coming here to throw bombs) is just getting what he dishes out.

mmk, you're the boss. as such, you set the tone.

...bussing people to polls...

OMG, they're making it less onerous for people without cars to vote. This is terrible because
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they might vote for the side I don't support.

This is the most ridiculous of all the arguments, for whatever value of harder it might be, it is applied to everyone.

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."

I agree with Lewis completely, although I suspect which side is which differs.

When I read this, I have to ask if you think the 2020 presidential election was stolen, Marty. If not, all I have left is to shrug. (Now that I think about it, all I have left is to shrug if you do think the election was stolen, but for a different reason.)

"I agree with Lewis completely, although I suspect which side is which differs."

Yeah, well a good guess is that the side that is trying to 'solve' imaginary problems is the one hostile to democracy.

“Maybe you do not care much about the future of the Republican Party. You should. Conservatives will always be with us. If conservatives become convinced that they can not win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy.”

― David Frum, Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic

It seems David was prescient.

"I agree with Lewis completely, although I suspect which side is which differs."

No doubt it does. Althought when one considers that one party has won the national popular vote (for President) only once in the last 30 years, while the other party has won all the rest. Well then who mostly has the consent of the governed is fairly clear. So who likely takes the concept of the consent of the governed as a bedrock, sacrosanct principle, and who inclines to take it as an impediment, is also pretty clear.

I agree with Lewis completely, although I suspect which side is which differs.

Don't want to speak for either you or Lewis, but I think that means you disagree with Lewis, completely.

Look - is it horrible that voters in GA will only have 3 months, rather than 6, to apply for an absentee ballot? Seems like 3 should be enough, right?

How hard can it be to send a Xerox of your license with your absentee ballot application? Right?

You won't get an absentee ballot application automatically now, you have to ask for it. But how hard is that?

Fewer drop boxes and no mobile voting locations, but still some drop boxes, right?

If people really want to vote, they'll still be able to vote.

Right?

So what's the problem? Why is everyone worked up about this?

I'll explain it to you.

The GA (R)'s lost their state's electoral votes and both Senate seats. The (D)'s won by the skin of their teeth. The (R)'s don't want that to happen again.

To avoid that happening again, they could moderate their platform and messaging so that they appealed to a broader audience. Or, they could work their asses off and get their people to the polls, like the (D)'s did.

Or, they could make it incrementally more difficult to vote in ways that disproportionately affect people who vote for (D)'s.

They picked door number 3. If they can't win by the rules, they'll change the rules.

It's one example among many of the national (R) party doing their damnedest to prevail politically in spite of the fact that they do not represent a majority of the country.

They've lost the popular vote in 7 out of the last 8 presidential elections. Their members in the House and Senate represent less than a majority of the country. They, and their policies, are not supported by most people who live here.

And that's only going to become more so, the longer that they double down on the kind of conspiracy theory and culture war BS that is what they have been running on since at least Reagan.

They can't prevail in small-d democratic terms, so instead of adapting, they've decided to take the Calvinball approach. Move the goal posts.

The changes to the voting laws in GA do not address any real issue or problem with the voting process there. The only thing they are intended to accomplish is to make it less likely that people who tend to vote for (D)'s will vote at all.

It's a close thing in GA, so they don't have to shave away that many voters. 11,000 would have done it in 2020. They can probably get to that number by penny-ante shit like making people Xerox their license, or drive another 20 miles, or remember to apply for an absentee ballot.

So that's the approach they're taking.

They're a sinking ship, but they're damned if they won't break some stuff on their way down.

That's why people are angry.

That's why people are angry.

If enough people get angry enough, they'll do their damnedest to overcome the added difficulties of voting put in place by the GA law and others like it elsewhere. And they may likely succeed in enough numbers to make such laws counterproductive in practice. Some people take will that as some sort of evidence that these laws were not intended to suppress voting among people not likely to vote Republican. But being hoisted on your own petard doesn't mean your petard was anything other than a petard.

If enough people get angry enough, they'll do their damnedest to overcome the added difficulties of voting put in place by the GA law and others like it elsewhere.

it's what they've done in the past, luckily.

the GOP will just keep coming up with new fantasies to justify more of this crap, though.

If enough people get angry enough, they'll do their damnedest to overcome the added difficulties of voting put in place by the GA law and others like it elsewhere. And they may likely succeed in enough numbers to make such laws counterproductive in practice.

As I said earlier, the apparent 'self-correcting' nature of this is a problem because it has Republicans believe that their platform needs no change, no moderation.

I'm curious what the Republicans who came out for Biden think of this. wj helpfully points us the Michael Steele's take
https://thebulwark.com/the-state-assault-on-voting-rights-hurts-all-of-us/
So what about others? For whom is this a bridge too far? Curious minds want to know.

A little something for McKinney et al. From someone who is nothing like a flaming liberal.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/04/07/lets-not-miss-whats-important-about-anti-voting-legislation/

It's not just the various specifics in the various bills. It's the overall trend which is a concern.

More context and evidence for respecting the will of the people:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/aug/06/republicans-florida-amendment-4-voting-rights

Since we're linking, here's one from 538 (of course), with some quotes that jumped out at me:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-we-are-and-should-be-talking-about-voting-rights-right-now/

… the specific methods of voting being targeted by Republicans (almost half of the voting restrictions that have been introduced regulate absentee voting), the states in which they are targeting them (disproportionately swing states), and the timing of that targeting (after Republicans lost the 2020 election) all suggest that they are only passing these restrictions because they think they will help the GOP win future elections.

(...)

Republican politicians also seem to acknowledge that it’s likely they won’t win future elections without some sort of changes to the voting system. Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News that “mail-in balloting is a nightmare for us,” even though it wasn’t controversial before this past year. I think these changes are more about preserving power than about “voter fraud.”

(...)

Yeah, Julia, you see this in how surgically targeted some of these provisions are. For example, legislators in Georgia originally proposed banning early voting on Sundays, which would end the “Souls to the Polls” initiatives that are so popular at Black churches. That provision did not end up passing, but one that did — prohibiting food and water be handed to voters in line — will disproportionately affect urban areas, where there are both more lines and more voters of color.

(...)

At this point, though, do Republicans need the “Big Lie” to push through this agenda?

That is, it feels like there is a shift at play here with Republicans increasingly distancing themselves from the election being stolen in 2020 and more so focusing on scoring points against how Democrats are now characterizing the laws (i.e., Jim Crow 2.0).

(...)

I think this reveals a key asymmetry (or at least a potential one). Democrats can overplay their hand by stoking outrage in their supporters and end up being lambasted for being wrong or exaggerating. Republicans, on the other hand, don’t seem to suffer repercussions for changing up the logic of their arguments; instead, they seem to have found a strategy in attacking “cancel culture” whenever under scrutiny.

(...)

I’m torn on the countermobilization argument, because I’ve seen the same logic used to talk about Black voters (i.e., efforts to make it harder to vote will motivate more people and backfire against Republicans). But people shouldn’t have to surmount unconstitutional hurdles to vote!

I’m not saying you’re making that argument, Nathaniel, I’m just saying I’ve seen a few people argue that voter suppression isn’t real because a turnout gap didn’t/doesn’t materialize as expected.

(...)

For example, even if people are willing to wait hours in line to make sure their vote gets cast, that inconvenience can have non-voting-related consequences, such as having to pay extra for child care or losing out on wages at your hourly job.

That last one gets at people needing to arrange their affairs (or however McKinney put it). Those lazy poor people just need to try harder, amirite?

The Guardian link nous posted will burn your biscuits, btw.

That last one gets at people needing to arrange their affairs (or however McKinney put it). Those lazy poor people just need to try harder, amirite?

Or get a job, like McKinney, or me (or, I suspect, pretty much everybody here), which allows them the flexibility to schedule work around the need to vote, or even take time off to vote. If your job(s) don't provide that, well you should find a different job.

More from earlier times about these restrictions and ID requirements (which have nothing whatsoever to do with requiring proof of identity and everything to do with 91,000 votes suppressed in a state that was also gerrymandering for partisan gain).

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/wisconsin-voter-id-law-turned-voters-estimate/

Thank goodness the problems with the GA law have only the *potential* for abuse. I'm sure that things will go entirely differently there than they did in WI, though...

Different states with different needs, amirite?

everyone who trusts the party of 1/6 to not abuse a law that gives them the ability to overturn election results, raise your hand.

now slap yourself with it.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/a-whole-bunch-of-crazy-inside-the-south-carolina-gops-maga-coup?via=newsletter&source=DDMorning

When the fascist right wing starts limiting voting rights for RINOS like Marty and McTX, they'll see the light at the end of the tunnel coming at 'em and still think it's both sides.

everyone who trusts the party of 1/6 to not abuse a law that gives them the ability to overturn election results, raise your hand.

now slap yourself with it.

Total waste of time. Nothing short of a 2x4 (maybe a 6x6) will make an impression.

how about a 45" 1x6, for symbolism?

If it walks like racisim, talks like racism, and acts like racism, then why can we not call it racism?

Signed,
bobbyp, incendiary

OT (because the Trial thread comments are still, quite reasonably, closed)

You can't make this shit up:

Derek Chauvin’s defense team argued that George Floyd saying, “I can’t breathe,” while police attempted to load him into the squad car was a form of resisting arrest.
Words fail me.

Oh, I am waiting for the defense to say: 'If he was unable to breathe how was he (physically) able to voice that?'

Back up to Lewis' quote of Frum about needing a Republican party, I pass along this

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/04/the-longest-con

If conservatives want to yoke themselves to a party that is going to defraud, lie and steal, they deserve everything they get.

I'm wondering if I want to make a (very small!) donation. Just so I can uncheck thr box and get labeled a "defector". . . If nothing else, it might stop their spamming text messages.

I just don't understand how anyone can't see the blatant stupidity of that "appeal." How much of a blockhead do you have to be to fall for crap like that?

Blockhead? Or just really, really desperate to "belong" to something? Anything. And terrified, on some level, of being cast out.

That may not be the explanation for all of them, stupidity being as powerful as it is. But it might account for some.

There’s precedent: “You’re either with us, or with the terrorists,” Nuance and shit.

wj: "If nothing else, it might stop their spamming text messages."

ANY response will get you on the "good address" list...death will not release you.

this just in: Joe Manchin is a doofus. i repeat, Joe Manchin is a doofus.

ANY response will get you on the "good address" list...death will not release you.

Just opening an email can let a spammer know that they have a valid email address that someone is paying attention to.

this is why good email clients (ex Thunderbird) will refuse to download images in email unless you explicitly allow it.

email tracking is typically implemented by embedding a small (1x1 pixel) image in the email: an image that has been created and named just for you! so when you view that email message, your special 1x1 pixel image is downloaded from the sender's server, drawn in the email body somewhere (though it's probably invisible) and then the sender can tell that you have opened the email.

nice trick.

I've been doing a lot of free-floating pondering about the explanation for why reasonable, half-way decent conservatives (as opposed to racist, reactionary bastards) might be unable to see anything much wrong with the new legislation in GA and elsewhere.

I know I have referred in the past to my observation that liberal/lefty/Dems seem to have more imagination than conservative GOPers, and used the example of my beloved R friend who really saw nothing much wrong with the healthcare situation in America for decades, until a family member who had been adopted from central Europe was found to have Hepatitis B, and the family (though rich) had trouble getting him medical insurance. I observed that left-of-centre people could imagine being in that sort of situation (and many others), just by a sort of empathetic projection, without having to have the actual experience themselves.

I wonder to what extent this could be the explanation for some of what we have been experiencing? And I wonder, for example, how this corresponds with such people's experience of good fiction, whether they experience the same sort of imaginative identification with characters' circumstances?

This is very complicated, of course, and no doubt even if I am partly right there are other mechanisms involved. We know from stories Marty has told us that he had a hard childhood and youth, and he nonetheless holds opinions that most of us consider the opposite of empathetic generally towards people in difficult circumstances, (although he does seem personally empathetic when you drill right down to specifics, as opposed to economic generalities).

As I say, this is a sort of vague, free-floating speculation, too vague to even articulate properly. But I wonder if any research has ever been done on it, to go with all the other research that has been done into personality traits of Ds versus Rs.

I wonder if any research has ever been done on it, to go with all the other research that has been done into personality traits of Ds versus Rs.

Are you sure what you're after isn't research on liberals vs conservatives? Or perhaps reactionaries vs non-reactionaries? If so, you'd also have a chance for studies (if any) done outside the US.

so shocking.

When compared with almost 2,900 other counties in the United States, our analysis of the 250 counties where those charged or arrested live reveals that the counties that had the greatest decline in White population had an 18 percent chance of sending an insurrectionist to D.C., while the counties that saw the least decline in the White population had only a 3 percent chance. ... Put another way, the people alleged by authorities to have taken the law into their hands on Jan. 6 typically hail from places where non-White populations are growing fastest.

so, so shocking.

but of course the GA GOP was totally colorblind about which counties got more ballot drop-offs and which got more.

What I've learnt, to my surprise and disappointment, is that reasonable Rs see making it harder to vote as roughly neutral (McKTx) or even good in itself (Marty).

Marty: I don't think campaigns should be allowed to drive busses around to pick up people and take them to the polls. That seems pretty much election interference to me.

For Marty, the natural order of things is that people without cars should find it hard to vote. Any attempt to lesson that difficulty is wrong.

The rest of us think it obvious that voting should be made as easy as possible. So we disagree with Marty on the basic principle of how elections should be run, not some detail of the legislation.

We're certainly opposed to electoral fraud: no one has spoken against reasonable measures to discourage fraud which actually happens. That would mostly be ballot harvesting, which, unlike personation, could possibly swing enough votes to make it worth the risk. But we think measures against fraud should be proportionate to the actual problem. For us, measures which make it harder to vote could be justified if they reduce actual electoral fraud: for our R commentators, such measures need no tangible justification.

Here's an article from the Obama-McCain election about busing people to the polls.

https://www.wired.com/2008/11/obama-and-mccai/

With so many ground workers transporting so many people to their polling place, it's hard to imagine that this kind of thing used to be illegal. According to a New York Times article from 1912, giving a fellow American a ride to the polls violated the Corrupt Practices Act.

Marty is a nostalgic sort, I guess. I'm sure he can point to all the problems with this well-established practice and how it's somehow unfair, even when available to any party or candidate on the ballot and to individuals and organizations supporting them.

I would imagine enforcing a prohibition on driving people to the polls would be costly and would disenfranchise many voters, particularly those without resources, so I have to think Marty has a very robust justification for making it illegal to give people rides to the polls.

In short GftNC, I think much of the difference lies in the differing levels of empathy and expectation. I am empathetic to individual situations but my expectation is that most people will find a solution themselves, and should. Setting government policy based on the individual challenges people have is ineffective, expensive and always unevenly applied. Moving that to the federal level exponentially exacerbates those problems.

Government policy should be very limited to either the broadest swath possible, lifting all boats, or the narrowest identifiable group that should qualify. It isn't a question of being less empathetic, it is a question of the expectation of government to solve every problem. Government, especially federal government, is a blunt instrument that is mostly ineffective, even in areas it should be addressing. So stepping outside those is simply counterproductive.

To address your anecdote, there are 350 million people in the US and 35million in Canada.For each anecdote on US Healthcare you can come up with there is one where Canadian Healthcare sounds as horrible. I believe, have all along, that needs based Medicare for the uninsured could be made to work. I get shouted down because people would have to qualify. Again, not a difference in empathy, a difference in expectation. Voter ID is the same, you should provide an ID, it should be free and I would expect people to find a way to get it if they want to vote. I am empathetic to challenges in getting one and assistance for those who actually can't get one should be a minor problem at the local level.

We should help people, but they have a responsibility also. When they have expended every effort there should be a helping hand. If they sit around and decide it is just too much trouble my empathy fades quickly.

The answer to that view is almost always that I am broad brushing poor people or people less fortunate(welfare mom syndrome), thats bullshit. I know tons of hard working conscientious poor people thatdeserve a hand. I know poor addicts that deserve a different kind of hand. I know people for whom any effort on their part is just too big an inconvenience so they just complain. We spend way too much time trying to set policy based on the last group.

The difference may be that I did grow up poor. I know the range of people who live in these communities.And I did know actual welfare moms who bragged about gaming the system. I know, today, two guys that have 6 and 7 kids by multiple women who go around each month and pick up the check provided by the state. When the kids turn 18 they don't get a check, so they are told to leave.

There are abuses, and systems with no check will be abused, systems with checks will be abused.

That's pretty long for me. But it might provide some insight to why I think I, just me, see things different sometimes.

Yes hsh, somewhere between no one can give someone a ride and the campaign getting busses to take people to the polls there's probably a solution I would be comfortable with. No campaign person can go within 150 feet of a polling place but they can pick them up and take them?

What I've learnt, to my surprise and disappointment, is that reasonable Rs see making it harder to vote as roughly neutral (McKTx) or even good in itself (Marty).

Hey! Some of us "reasonable R's" think voting should be made easier. (Not least because it might reduce the hold of the crazies over my party.)

No campaign person can go within 150 feet of a polling place but they can pick them up and take them?

Yes, because you don't want people being harassed or intimidated at the polling places and it becoming a zoo. Why? Because that would discourage people from voting. How does giving them a ride discourage voting? And why can campaigners go around knocking on people's doors, but not give people rides?

honestly, i can see how campaigns giving rides is iffy.

but that just brings up the issue of why people need rides in the first place. and the answer is: many people simply can't get to a polling place on their own.

so, either provide public transportation to the polls or make vote by mail easier!

the GOP doesn't want to do that either.

needs based Medicare for the uninsured could be made to work

Isn’t that Medicaid?

I appreciate your comment at 11:44 and agree with a lot of it. I don’t really agree with what I take to be your general attitude about whether voting should be made convenient or not. There’s nothing special-case or helping-the-unworthy about, for instance, mailing a vote-by-mail ballot application to every registered voter. It just makes it somewhat more convenient to vote. Why that is a bad thing escapes me.

That said, I think you miss the point of the dispute about the election law changes in GA. For any specific point in the law, there is some other state that is either more restrictive, or less. The complaint, or at least my complaint, is that the (R)’s response to losing is to change the rules in ways that disproportionately affect folks who vote for their opponents.

Calvinball is bad form.

I'm good with making public transportation available. I am also fine with mail in voting with appropriate ID checking.

I don't know russell, changing the rules seems to be a popular thing these days. Electoral college, filibuster, number of Senators, voting rules. I think the changes are interesting in GA. The drop boxes for example never existed until the emergency covid order for the last election. So the change to make them permanent seems more notable than the number. It was always ideal for campaign workers to approach the line, the clarification on food and water seems trivial if the election workers provide water.

The ability forthe stare to overrule the local certification is just wrong without a lot of restrictions as to under what circumstances.

So not many rules "changed". But he one that did is a bad idea. As would some other rules changes being proposed.

Ideal = illegal

So I missed medicaid, no the program is very different than Medicare. Basic Medicare provides a baseline that would ensure everyone has access to routine care.

the program is very different than Medicare

Correct. It's means-tested. You have to be poor to qualify.

Maybe that isn't what you meant by 'needs based'.

also:

Electoral college, filibuster, number of Senators, voting rules.

Changing or eliminating the Electoral College would require a constitutional amendment. The benefit to one side or the other is not really that clear, it could go either way in any given election. It's just a weird, archaic, perverse way to elect a POTUS, and has the effect of making some votes worth more than others. But no worries, it's unlikely to change, ever.

I'm not aware of any plans to change the number of Senators. Are you referring to proposals to make DC or PR a state?

The filibuster is a reasonable analogy, although there are procedural reasons for it aside from the obvious partisan motivations. I.e., it might make it possible for laws to be passed.

The voting rules thing is just a straight up play to make it less likely for people who don't vote (R) to vote.

It's just a weird, archaic, perverse way to elect a POTUS, and has the effect of making some votes worth more than others.

it also creates confusion and frustration in the minds of voters who have to relearn about the EC (and the meaninglessness of national polls) every four years. and it ultimately creates apathy about government because people aren't interested in learning the bullshit arcana of why it exists and what it's for. we're taught democracy and the biggest vote in the country ends up being a vote for a set of some unfathomable number of anonymous proxies who can, if they want, disregard your vote entirely?

one person, one vote. that's what people expect. that's what it should be.

adding complications turns people off.

The proposed changes to the EC, filibuster, and numbers of reps and senators are to make government more representative of the majority - that is, more small-"d" democratic. As it stands, representation is pretty out of whack.

You can make the argument that Democrats only want to do those things because they know those things will help them. I won't argue that point. But it's not trivial that a more democratic form of representation will help a given party in a representative democracy. If you're party has to rely on undemocratic practices to stay in power, then it shouldn't be in power in a democracy. That's minority rule.

It's just a weird, archaic, perverse way to elect a POTUS, and has the effect of making some votes worth more than others.

It also creates an incentive to ignore voters in all but the obvious "swing states." Without it, candidates would need to campaign everywhere, because "every vote counts."

adding complications turns people off.

That's a feature, not a bug, to those who fear a representative government that is actually representative. Anyone who can be turned off should be turned off because they don't deserve to vote.

But the people who want to expand voter access are "elitists."

As for GftNC's pondering about empathy, the current line of political neurobiology has two things to point to. One is the difference left/right in Cingular Cortex vs Amygdala activity respectively when presented with difference. The left reads difference as a puzzle to be understood. The right as a threat to be managed. The second thing is a number of studies that seem to indicate that personal wealth reduces empathy and compassion:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-wealth-reduces-compassion/

Taken together, this covers a lot of your ground.

Marty: I'm good with making public transportation available.

How would we "make it available"? Some level of government hiring vans and drivers, or contracting with Uber and Lyft, for the day? With what money?

Or should we be thinking of a huge (and long-term) infrastructure project to provide convenient public transport in general?

We already have (for now) a public transportation system for MAIL, which is easier and cheaper to transport than people. So I'm happy to hear that:

I am also fine with mail in voting with appropriate ID checking.

What "appropriate" means -- to you -- may or may not match what it means to me, or to Colorado, or to the Georgia GOP.

--TP

I would think that asking for divine help to hate would result in help from a source other than God.

"A seminary professor in Georgia is featured in a book of prayers asking God to help her “hate white people.”

The book, A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal, features a prayer from Chanequa Walker-Barnes, Mercer University associate professor of practical theology, that begins with “Dear God, Please help me to hate White people."

“Or at least to want to hate them,” the prayer continues. “At least, I want to stop caring about them, individually and collectively.”"
New York Times bestselling devotional implores God to 'help me to hate white people'

Everyone nothing blog knows we are a representative republic. Outside town meetings we were not formed as a one person one vote democracy. We are a federal republic and the notion that this is too complex is bullshit. It is exactly the Democrats trying to do exactly what the Republicans try to do, change the rules to their advantage and find a justification.

"WE" are doing it for noble reasons, it just happens to help us be in charge.

What does "representative" mean to you, Marty? Are you saying there is no democratic aspect to our form of government? Why do we have elections?

I would think that asking for divine help to hate would result in help from a source other than God.

I guess the evangelical right has a hard time with the idea of imprecatory psalms, (which are pretty common).

And they are completely missing the irony of asking god for the ability to stop caring about the feelings of people who wish you harm.

Never expect a culture built on unreflexive literalism to grok poetry worth a damn.

Not playing hsh.

What "appropriate" means -- to you -- may or may not match what it means to me, or to Colorado, or to the Georgia GOP.

Or the national Democrats. One of the things in HR1 that I'm concerned about -- which may simply because I misread or misinterpreted -- is a statement that a signature mismatch can't be used to disqualify a mail ballot. Signature matching is certainly an important part of the security in the Colorado system. For a given election, there is exactly one of the return envelopes sent out for which my signature is the correct token. If my wife and I were to mix things up and swap envelopes, both would be rejected.

We would also be notified that there was a problem and be given an opportunity to cure it.

hsh: That's minority rule.

From here:

The 57 senators who voted to convict Trump represent about 202 million people, while the 43 senators who voted to acquit represent only about 125 million. In total, the bloc of senators who voted to convict Trump represents 76,704,798 more people than the bloc that voted “not guilty.”

Majority rule is the horror of horrors, but minority rule is just fine as long as it's the right minority. /s

Everyone nothing blog knows we are a representative republic. Outside town meetings we were not formed as a one person one vote democracy. We are a federal republic and the notion that this is too complex is bullshit

We were set up as a representative republic, in large part, because a straight democracy was simply technologically impractical over the distances involved at the time that the nation was set up. Even establishing a national postal service was a major effort. Today, we could actually do straight democracy if we wished to. At least we could do elections which more accurately represent the wishes of the population.

I would think that asking for divine help to hate would result in help from a source other than God.

did you read past the headline?

what she's saying is pretty obvious, and the irony in how she's framing it is unmissable.

Oh wait, before I even got the commented posted Marty chimed in to declare that we aren't really a representative democracy and he likes it just fine like that.

Minority rule rules.

Silly me.

Outside town meetings we were not formed as a one person one vote democracy.

No, but times change. Essentially every state admitted to the Union after the civil war felt it necessary to include some sort of state-level direct democracy in their constitutions.

the only place we don't have one person one vote is for President.

mayor, dog catcher, tax collector, governor, Rep, even Senator - all straight count-the-votes-find-the-highest. even when run-offs are involved, it's one person one vote.

there is nothing like the EC anywhere else in the US. the only other absurdity is the Presidential primary process (which is a party-level thing and could be changed on a whim).

it's an absurd and pointless anachronism and does absolutely nothing to improve anything about this country.

We were set up as a representative republic, in large part, because a straight democracy was simply technologically impractical over the distances involved at the time that the nation was set up.

"In large part"? Seriously? We were set up so that for the most part, only white men, and in many states white men with a certain amount of assets or property, were allowed to vote. This was absolutely not because logistics were difficult.

But as Michael Cain says -- times change. Women have actually been able to vote for a century now! Imagine!

American's Constitution: A Biography, by Akhil Reed Amar, is a fascinating book that includes a lot of information about who could vote in the early days. It differed from state to state e.g. even for the ratification votes.

Not playing hsh.

Ah, yes. Because my response was so sly and indirect. I'm trying to trick you into discussing what form of government we have in a conversation about what form of government we have. I'm such a troll!

Everyone nothing blog knows we are a representative republic.

Representative means decisions are made by our representatives. So, all 330 million of us don't vote on legislation etc., our representatives do.

Federal means that there are political entities separate from and subordinate to the national government, which retain some scope of authority that the national government cannot take from them.

None of those things require or imply that the head of state be elected by basically rounding up the popular vote at the state level. To my knowledge, no other nation organized as a federal republic does that, only us.

The closest thing, maybe, is the BRD, but I don't think they do the rounding up by state thing. I.e., to my knowledge there is no expectation or requirement that all of the representatives from any of the Lander are required to vote for whoever got the most votes there.

I could be wrong about that, I'm sure someone will wise me up if so.

I'd be fine with, or at least far less not-fine-with, the EC if electors in each state were allocated proportional to popular vote in that state. That might even give the advantage to the (R)'s in some cases. So be it. And that would preserve the small state electoral bonus that you seem so concerned about.

If you're a (R) in MA you might as well stay home. If you're a (D) in WY you might as well stay home. Your vote is a nullity. In the case of MA, that's about 1/3 of voters.

That seems wrong to me. YMMV.

One of the things in HR1 that I'm concerned about -- which may simply because I misread or misinterpreted -- is a statement that a signature mismatch can't be used to disqualify a mail ballot.

I wasn't aware of that provision, and FWIW I'm against it.

In MA, if you vote by absentee ballot, your signature is matched against a copy held by town government. No match, no vote.

That seems reasonable to me. It certainly seems more secure than "include a Xerox of your license".

hsh: and now you're doubling down!

*****

Signatures: you should at least be able to go and update your signature from time to time, since people's scrawls do change, and signature recognition is hardly an exact science. Maybe that's already allowed, I dunno.

Maybe that's already allowed, I dunno.

Different places are no doubt different, but I can go to town hall and update my signature if it makes sense to do so.

I'd probably have to identify myself via photo id or similar to do so, but then I'd be all set for election time.

It differed from state to state e.g. even for the ratification votes.

Yes. Which is one of the reasons the EC made more sense in the 18th C. than it does now, where there is (mostly*) consistency at the national level about who can vote.

*notable exception being anyone ever convicted of a felony, which is yet another circle of electoral hell.

which may simply because I misread or misinterpreted -- is a statement that a signature mismatch can't be used to disqualify a mail ballot.

i don't think it says that.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1/text#HDEF22AF32EEA4341BF9C5D6D156B2993

in fact, it seems to be all about making it difficult for people to outright reject 'defective' signatures without second (bipartisan!) opinions, giving the voter a chance to fix it, etc..

(give that link a second to work - it will take you to the top of the bill first and then stick there until it's all loaded. but it will take you to the relevant section eventually)

nobody should be surprised that there was a lawsuit in (drumroll) Fulton Co GA about the signature issue, which the GOP lost, of course.

Marty, thank you for your long, thoughtful post @11.44.

I hear what you say, and understand where you are coming from (to use two appalling modern cliches in one sentence!) As I mentioned, I have never thought you were lacking in personal empathy. (And, FWIW, empathy was only one small part of what I was speculating about, I was more interested in "imaginativeness", which is related of course, a precursor to empathy probably, but is I think a slightly different quality.)

Just one small thing: the point of my anecdote about my rich R friend was not intended to be about a comparison between the healthcare systems in different countries. It was to illustrate the point that even a rich, clever, well-read, well-educated conservative was not able to imagine what it would be like to struggle to get health insurance because of a pre-existing condition until it happened to someone in their own family.

***

The left reads difference as a puzzle to be understood. The right as a threat to be managed. The second thing is a number of studies that seem to indicate that personal wealth reduces empathy and compassion:

nous, thank you for this. I was vaguely aware of both these findings, but am glad to be reminded. And although the latter may seem more germane to my ponderings, in fact the former intuitively feels more resonant. I can't help thinking that reduced empathy and compassion among the rich is probably a pre-emptive defence mechanism.


GftNC - two of the concepts we use in rhetoric to talk about what I think you are working through are Kenneth Burke's "identification" and "consubstantiality." Burke shifted his attention away from persuasion as the focus of rhetoric in order to try to understand how we conceptualize communication with another. Identification has to do with finding and expressing shared interests (or at least interests that the speaker assumes are shared). Consubstantiality has to do with acting in common based on identification.

I think that conservative people tend to have more filters working to limit identification based on the perception of threat or a sense of disgust. With conservatives those filters act before identification; with liberals the filters happen after or in concert with identification.

I'm reading Billionaire Wilderness right now - an ethnographic study of the ultra rich in Teton County, WY - and the sort of defensive reactions that you speculate about are something that the author of the book talks about at some length, especially prevalent in those ultra wealthy that came from low-wealth backgrounds. Interesting book.

Here’s the bottom line:

The (R)’s do not represent a majority of the population. Their response to this is to obstruct any and everything they can possible can.

That’s not a sustainable situation. It’s not sustainable because it’s wrong. So it will have to change.

If folks don’t want the filibuster to go away, there’s a simple solution. The (R)’s can quit bottling up the legislative process. Lather rinse and repeat for all of the other scenarios under discussion here.

The fundamental issue in all of this is (a) the Republican Party is a minority party and (b) they’d rather blow stuff up than deal with (a) in a responsible manner. If folks don’t like the things that the Democrats are doing to deal with that, the simple solution is for the Republicans to stop obstructing the proper functions of governance.

Things change. Standing athwart history yelling ‘stop’ is not a useful way of dealing with it. Adapt or die. Or, you know, at a minimum, stop getting in the way.

"We were set up as a representative republic, in large part, because a straight democracy was simply technologically impractical over the distances involved at the time that the nation was set up"

This of course is not the case. We were set up this way because none of the states were prepared to cede all of there sovereignty to a central government, yet they recognized the value of pooled resources for specific functions. And it took two tries to cede any at all.

One of the issues was slavery but it wasn't he only reason the states wanted to limit the power of the central government. The legislative branch was set up to recognize the voice of the people in one chamber and the equal status of the states in the other. The executive was setup to recognize the voice of the people.

More populous states got more say while recognizing the sovereignty of the state to decide how those votes were counted. We don't even count the votes for electors the same way because different states still have different views.

The theme is that states retain the power to decide. It is one person one vote in each state. Nothing has changed that makes that less good.

And while, as russell points out, my vote didn't count for much in Massachusetts, in a direct vote today it wouldn't matter much anywhere. Having had that experience, why would I think that was good?

Also, many of the founders had doubts about or strong objections to straight democracy.

none of the states were prepared to cede all of there sovereignty to a central government, yet they recognized the value of pooled resources for specific functions. And it took two tries to cede any at all.

your bolds are approximately accurate for the first try. it was a failure.

second try was a quite strong national government. i.e., not at all a matter of "pooled resources for specific functions" but the granting of sovereignty to the national government for every function that characterizes a nation state.

The executive was setup to recognize the voice of the people.

Would that that were so.

More populous states got more say while recognizing the sovereignty of the state to decide how those votes were counted.

Actually, the people in more populous states got less say.

It is one person one vote in each state.

And actually, it is exactly not one person one vote in each state. In all states but two, if you are not in the majority, your vote counts for nothing. For POTUS, that is.

For everything else, yes.

in a direct vote today it wouldn't matter much anywhere.

In a direct vote, in 2020 your vote would have been worth exactly 1 158-millionth of the outcome, where 158 million is the number of folks who voted. And that would have been exactly what my vote would have been worth.

And that's what every single person's vote should be worth. No exceptions.

they also thought black people should be kept as slaves, that the natives should be enslaved or murdered, and that women shouldn't be allowed to vote.

The Democratic party spent the last four years standing in the way. Not long before that Republicans controlled Congress and Obama stood in the way. The whole standing in the way argument is the way our government is designed, not a bug, a feature.

It makes some good things take longer to accomplish and prevents some pretty bad ideas from becoming law. "Standing athwart history" is just another way of saying I want to get my way now.

The whole standing in the way argument is the way our government is designed, not a bug, a feature.

Checks and balances is the way the government was designed. Refusing to grant SCOTUS nominees a hearing is not the way the government was designed. Refusing to bring bills to the floor for debate and vote is not the way the government was designed.

Should I go on?

"Standing athwart history" is just another way of saying I want to get my way now.

Couldn't agree more.

You might want to check the provenance of the quote.

1 158-millionth of the outcome

instead, my vote counted for:

(15 / 270) * (1 / 5,524,804) * 0 / who cares because the EC a total absurdity.

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