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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,568

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There should be a "Radio Free Florida"

Yeah I know that there are far easier and more effective ways to combat censorship and get real information to people when it is being suppressed, but the tag line "Radio Free _____" is deeply ingrained in people, especially in a place like Florida with a long history of supporting efforts to broadcast "the truth" into communist Cuba.

The wattage of the station can be tiny, it's the symbolism that counts. The free publicity Radio Free Florida could generate would dwarf any actual listener numbers. Feature readings from books banned in Florida school and public libraries, and the actual history of race in America.

There also could be informational booklets stuffed into corked bottles released off shore to float onto Florida beaches. Anything to put a spotlight on DeSantis.

There are probably at least a dozen reasons why this may not make any sense, but I can't get the phrase Radio Free Florida out of my mind, lol.

It's simple. They don't give a f*uck about the democratic process if it reaches the wrong result.

Most of us believe in democracy. We believe in the literal process, recognizing that democracy is the beating heart of freedom, and that freedom is what protects all of the rights we cherish. Others think exclusively of right and wrong, thinking that results are all that matter. Of those some are inclined to think democracies intrinsically tend to "get it right" more often than other forms of governance, and so they support democracies. Then there are the rest. Most falling into this bucket are unsure about how to make this world more to their liking. They could vote in elections, they could fall in behind a strongman, whatever seems to work...

The active threat to democracy comes from the ends justify the means crowd, specifically the ones with a clear end in mind. And the most dangerous of these are those who believe they were commanded to implement God's will. For all of the above the means are at root a distraction, their focus is on the ends. Why honor the results of an election if those results are just destined to bring negative or even catastrophic results? They may acknowledge tactical reasons to accept an election defeat, centered on their assessment of whether continued resistance would set them back even further, but they see nothing sacred about elections as a means.

For the narrowly religious among the above the formula is simplest: Reject the Acts of Man (and yes they think in those gender terms) that oppose the Will of God. But others are almost as fervid in their certainty. They know that the purity of the white race has to be defended. They know that America is destined to rule the world. They know that their own culture is better than all others. They know that men are superior to women in decision making outside of the home etc.etc. They "know" what is right for America, and either democracy can ratify their preexisting convictions, or it has to be "reformed"until it does.

Preciction. The House will get semi-reasonable leadership in August

For now the right wing crazies will win enough concessions that the Speaker who gets elected, be it McCarthy or someone else, will be unable to reign them in. That sets the nation up for a serious crisis when the debt ceiling must be raised during the Summer.

Most commentators have focused on how the tiny Republican majority sets up the craziest members of the Freedom Caucus to wield inordinate power through sheer unreasonable obstinacy. The relatively moderate Republican members of Congress are, virtually by definition, less unreasonable, so they are hesitant to recklessly throw their weight around, but they too now have significant leverage now, despite being relatively few in number, with Republicans clinging to a five seat majority in the House. They may be loath to pull the trigger on setting up a working bipartisan relationship with Democrats now, but when the full faith and credit of the United States Government is literally on the line, I predict they will feel differently.


DeSantis is Methadone for MAGA heads addicted to Trump

Good debates can be had over which of these men embrace policies more destructive to America, but only one of them (so far at least) has led a coup to overthrow American Democracy. And of the two only Trump stands poised on the brink of being indicted for his crimes. The fabric of our republic will be grievously damaged if Trump is not put on trial and held accountable for his actions, but putting an Ex President, especially one with millions of fervent and militant supporters, on trial poses real risks to the stability of our system as well. Even if Trump's support among the public dips to below 25%, that rough quarter of our electorate is a potential powder keg that Trump will be throwing matches at if he gets arrested. If they remain firmly embedded in Trump's cult when Trump finally gets arraigned, more than sparks will likely fly.

Few people successfully manage withdrawal from a serious addiction cold turkey. With heroin, a methadone maintenance program can offer addicts a manageable off ramp from a self destructive journey. If enough of Trump's cult switches their allegiance/addiction to DeSantis instead, before Trump is ever put on trial, that could be enough to keep the powder key from actually blowing. Methadone is addictive, there is nothing intrinsically good about it. There is nothing intrinsically good about Ron DeSantis either, but his emergence as a credible Republican rival to Trump right now just might help our nation get through this immediate crisis relatively intact.

Sinema gambled on a resurgent right wing, and she lost.

She looked at the 2020 election results, but didn't focus on Trump. Republicans outperformed significantly in House races that year. Even Trump outperformed almost all of the 2020 national polling. Republicans did fine at the local level that year. Until the Georgia run offs, Democrats failed at winning quite a few Senate races that they initially had high hopes for. Up until Election Day 2020, we thought Democrats would increase our House majority. Instead Republicans swept all the toss up districts. Biden's electoral college win was solid, but a strategic shift of a couple of hundred thousand votes could have taken that away.The Georgia Senate wins were nail biters, and Trump's taint was all over those races.

Free from Trump at the top of the ticket, Sinema probably assumed that 2022 would be a sizable red wave year. She began positioning for it right after the 2020 election. She underestimated Biden, and she underestimated the backlash Republicans would suffer for embracing the far right wing. She presented herself as Republican lite, thinking that was the ticket to success that even Democrats would turn to after suffering a shellacking in the mid term elections. Democrats didn't suffer a shellacking in the midterm elections, of course, pretty much the opposite under the circumstances. Now Sinema is a politician without any Party base. She had no real choice but to become an "Independent."

The House January 6th Committee is Responsible for Turning the Tide

And by tide I mean: The Tide, as in "the tide of history." I thought twice about whether that is too bold a claim to make, and concluded, "Nah."

On the world stage the United States of America is currently without question the foremost force associated with the concept of "The Rule of Law", in a centuries old ongoing struggle by "the people" to curtail the power of monarchs and the like. But that by itself says too little. Dictatorships have laws too, and dictators use them quite effectively to rule. What makes the American Experiment in Democracy so important is the corollary concept; that "No one is above the law." Donald J Trump came perilously close to making a mockery of that.

Trump took a crowbar to the machinery of our Democracy, and the January 6th Committee a) effectively documented virtually all of Trump's efforts at institutional sabotage, and b) showcased it to brilliant effect in the glare of an unblinking public spotlight focused like a laser on it.

I will always believe that the work of the 1/6 Committee stiffened both the spine and resolve of those within the U.S. Department of Justice who are tasked with making the call whether to prosecute the former President for any number of potential crimes. They had/have to weigh the risks inherent in either seeking an indictment of a former POTUS, or turning the page instead, leaving it to historians to argue if legal inaction was ill guided. If they/had they chosen the latter, the America those future historians would have inhabited would differ greatly (IMHO) from the one we still live in today, in ways that would have set back the cause of freedom internationally for decades to come.

The January 6th Committee put the fear of "The Law" into a number of key witnesses to (and in some cases participants in) Donald Trumps acts of treason. Prior to the 1/6 Committee's disciplined, and ultimately very public probe, conventional wisdom for many of those figures was simply to lie low and allow it all to blow over, either that or to bluster outrageous lies to the media, never under any oath, without fear of perjury or related charges. As more and more witnesses came in to testify before the 1/6 Committee however, in many cases no doubt only to avoid possible Contempt of Congress charges, others felt compelled to also, if for no other reason than to cover their own asses as the true narrative of Trump's insurrection began to emerge.

All of this fed a growing public perception that Trump and his most rabid MAGA allies did indeed represent a threat to our Democracy. That in turn shifted public perceptions of what was at stake in the 2022 mid-term elections, helping Democrats secure a historically positive outcome for a Party in their position, holding both the presidency and both houses of Congress, under a first term president in uncertain economic times. It significantly contributed to the defeat, nation wide, of a wide slate of high profile Trump promoted candidates for office. And THAT in turn did irreparable damage to the Teflon coating Trump cultivated to enforce his role as the Republican king maker, exposing him as an Emperor with No (or at least moth eaten) Clothes.

I will never know with certainty how heavily, if at all, a fear of triggering off massive social unrest with a potential Trump prosecution, has weighed on our Department of Justice. I do know with a high degree of certainty that Trump's hand in threatening violent repercussions should DOJ move against him, is far weaker now than it was before the 1/6 Committee went to work. I firmly believe they turned the tide.

I remember when Bernie was almost mocked here for putting such faith in young voters

The often repeated retort was that young voters can't be counted on to actually vote, so making a major effort to court their support was ultimately a fool's errand, with that time better spent on GOTV efforts with more reliable elements of the Democratic Party base.

Yes there are more reliable elements of the Democratic Party base who should never be taken for granted, who Democrats need to keep doing outreach to. Yes "young voters" tend to turn out at a lower rate than do "old voters." But young voters, particularly those below 30, tend to break for Democrats at a dramatic rate, usually even more so than do women in general. And that tends to be true in just about every state in the nation. What is even more important though is this: Youth votes are, so to speak, "a growth industry". You can only turn to traditional Democratic voter groups so many times and still hope to extract significantly more votes from them.

The same can't be said for young voters though. Their potential support at the ballot box is far from fully tapped, and the efforts made by Bernie Sanders, among others, to increase their voter turnout have been succeeding even while their participation rate still lags behind other age groups. Rather than see that as a glass half empty, it is more than a glass half full. The potential clearly exists for Democrats to win even greater margins of victory as ever more youth votes get counted.

I am singling out Bernie Sanders for praise here not because he is the only one who has championed young voters. Of course he isn't. But Bernie has been a consistent high profile and highly engaged advocate and campaigner for young votes for at least seven years now, and over that time their ranks have swelled significantly, to the Democratic Party's great benefit. His appeal for a democratic "revolution" has always been pitched for younger ears, and it resonated with large numbers of young voters whose support now is critical to Democrats of all center left persuasions succeeding.



Oh the irony. Looks like the MAGA rump in the Senate just might bring down McConnell

They are bitter about Democrats retaining Senate control and might depose McConnell in a hissy fit over it. McConnell of course was smart enough to realize that Trump forced a bunch of loser candidates on Republicans in Senate contests that could have won Republicans control of the Senate. He also has been one of the most effective (toward ill ends) Senate leaders from either party in history. Time to get rid of him, Senate Republicans, you are on a streak. Why stop now?

Where can Democrats go on the offensive nationally in terns of winning Presidential electoral votes?

Having both Florida and Ohio shift red after being seen as the quintessential swing states for so long hurts. Iowa seems to have moved from purple to red as did Missouri before it. They all seem lost to us now in anything other than a major Blue Wave election year. Texas may yet evolve into a purple state, probably it will within a decade or so, but it's clearly not there yet and may not be for two or three presidential cycles.

The last major shifts toward the Democratic column were in Colorado, New Mexico, and Virginia. None are yet deep blue but Democrats remain highly competitive and probably favored in those states. Arizona is promising but still fragile. Same for Georgia except it is probably more red tinted than Arizona still. It's great that the Blue Wall is back for us in the Mid West and Pennsylvania, but it isn't quite as formidable a barrier to Republicans as it once was. Democrats, IMO, have less margin for error in assembling an electoral college majority than we did back in the Bill Clinton era

North Carolina obviously stands out to me as a State that Democrats need to pour more resources into. I think there is the potential for NC to vote almost as reliably blue as Virginia now does. The rest of the South stills seems like a huge stretch. Maybe we can claw our way back into contention in Louisiana, I dunno. Over the decades I've watched Democrats make inroads in the Mountain Time Zone region. Is there any hope for a place like Nebraska? How much of a pipe dream is a State like Kansas? Yes it once was blood red and mostly still is, but there are a lot of more moderate type Republicans there seemingly. Could it evolve to become more like Iowa once was, into a future purple state?

Election Deniers are suddenly facing an unfamiliar landscape that they're not sure how to deal with

The total evaporation of any Red Wave (outside of Florida) has them completely off balance. If election results had been more uneven, with MAGA candidates performing well in some states and not in others, then their play book was simple and straight forward: FRAUD FRAUD FRAUD wherever they lost, and power to the people everywhere else. But their showing was almost uniformly dismal. Trump's high profile picks under performed virtually everywhere, often disastrously so. Even the Florida results are a slap in the face to Trump's most hard core base. Trump's image emerged battered from Tuesday's election. So suddenly, closely identifying with Trump's "the elections are rigged" brand of politics is starting to look like a losing proposition. Who really wants to be the ones hoisting that banner into battle now behind an increasingly discredited leader?

Meanwhile the red mirage ploy that Trump's band used to great effect in 2020 has failed them this time. In PA most notably, Fetterman didn't need days of ballot counting after Election Day to pull off a victory. He won outright on Election Day. Meanwhile in the high profile races in Arizona, Republicans have to pin all of their hopes on votes being counted days after the polls closed to deliver them electoral wins. The favored narrative of election deniers is almost hopefully scrambled. No more cries to stop the counting are being heard.

Of course no one needs facts to be on their side in order to promote a lie. But if the act of promoting a specific lie now seems to work to the disfavor of those who do, the motivation behind pushing those lies starts to vanish. There will no doubt be election deniers out there for many years to come, but the winds have shifted. They no longer are at their back, they now are blowing cold and hard in their face.
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