CivCon discusses San Diego 1-2 per year. But usually look at its emerging problems or govt structures or elections. In recent years we’ve done homelessness, transportation, affordable housing, and high utility rates.
Yet we never talk much about the people of San Diego. Our city is not famous for its all-consuming, bitter divisions over race, ethnicity, religion, or geography like those that many American cities famously have: St. Louis, Newark, Baltimore, Milwaukee, L.A. We like to think of ourselves as an open, high-tech, pacific rim crossroad, where innovation and inclusiveness go hand in hand.
Fine. Yet, San Diego has its share of social and political tensions that both result from and reinforce economic and social inequalities between different population segments. Paradise has plenty of residential segregation, regional economic disparities, and underserved neighborhoods in terms of infrastructure, educational opportunities, pollution, and criminal injustice. These differences are no longer just confined to the “below versus above I-8” division of the old days. As we’ve spread out our problems have, too.
Since disunity has been on everybody’s mind these days, how about spending an evening discussing the problems of social inequalities at home, here in San Diego? Hopefully at minimum we can learn a bit about how San Diegans perceive the consequences of our divides concerning race, ethnicity, immigrant status, and social class.
Luckily, our resident expert on San Diego, John M., will be there to give a brief opening presentation. We also have others in the group with experience in seeing the not-in-tourist-guides problems of our city.
Below are a few reading suggestions from me. I will add any I get from John this weekend.
Oh, we have a NEW Zoom link for Monday. It will be added tomorrow and emailed out on Sunday night in the usual way. There will be no password needed this week.
OPTIONAL BACKGROUND READINGS –
- Some census facts on San Diego: Demographics, income, housing, etc. Much more detail here.
- Poverty + income inequality in San Diego in 2018, broken out by race, ethnicity, children, suburb, etc. Recommended.
- How different adjacent SD communities can be.
- Some 10-year-old hard truths about San Diego. Recommended.
- Refugees: San Diego has accepted a lot of them.
- Unauthorized (illegal) immigrants in SD: About 175,000 inc. 125,000 from Mexico.
- Seven major promises and priorities of San Diego’s new mayor, Todd Gloria.
- SD County Board of Supervisors just declared racism a public health problem.
NEXT WEEK (Jan 25): No mtg
Peter suggested this topic. Gentleman that he is, Peter has said a number of times that he finds Civilized Conversation to be unique: A forum where people with diametrically opposed opinions can at least talk and listen to each other respectfully, and learn a little bit about each other’s POV and the moral values and humanity behind them. Other group members have echoed similar sentiments occasionally.
So, does Civilized Conversation have any lessons to teach about how to communicate with the “other side” or at least with people not fully on my/your side? Have we stumbled on an approach that, if scaled up, could be used to begin the healing of America after the last four (or 20, IMO) years of division and growing fear and contempt and hatred? What about other goals the group or its sneaky leader might have? Are the means to achieve them applicable elsewhere?
CivCon has had plenty of practice debating emotional topics from difference POVs, that’s for sure. The group has met once a week with rare exceptions since 2003! That’s 17 years x 50/yr = 850 meetings. Analyzing post tags shows about 100 meetings on political polarization, 85 on morality and politics, 70+ on political philosophy, 66 on religion, 45 on the Middle East, 40 on Liberalism, 30 on Donald Trump, and 10 on abortion! I have been in charge since June 2010, for about 500 meetings. Hundreds of people at least have participated in meetings, we have almost 1,000 Meet-up members, and the website has had close to 100,000 page views including thousands by outsiders doing their own research.
That is impressive in its own way, I suppose. But Peter is asking whether CivCon has broader value than just learning stuff and entertaining ourselves. Have we broader lessons to teach others about how to bridge our national chasm and reform our shredded national dialogue? Without some mutual respect and a national conversation can democracy really long endure? Maybe we have three questions to answer:
- CivCon: Have we in Civilized Conversation learned something along these lines, about how to talk to people we disagree with in our own lives or how to inform more neutral people that are open to it?
- Others: Is the “other side” still reachable anymore? If not, is that second group, those regular people that lack a fixed ideology and heads full of (false) knowledge reachable using the methods/lessons we’ve learned in CivCon?
- How: How could we do more? Are any in-group lessons transferable to other groups we might belong to, or scalable so the people with the real organized power to reunite Americans might use them?
Lots to discuss. I will open the meeting by letting Peter explain his idea a bit further. Then, I will (a) give a brief history of Civilized Conversation and explain what my own goals have always been for the group, and (b) describe how I view “success.”
OPTIONAL BACKGROUND READINGS –
Civility and its detractors –
- Must read + discuss: “The greatest danger to U.S. democracy is not an excess of vitriol – it is the false promise of civility.”
- Also: Civility versus “civility.”
Obstacles to persuasion or even tolerance.
- One chart shows our growing fake news problem.
- Many want accountability before a hollow “reconciliation.” Yet eventually only true empathy can kick start reconciliation. (Conservative Catholic author, actually)
- Is any reconciliation possible if this is true?
- Or this? A must-skim.
How to persuade others, in general
- How to persuade a liberal. If you want to substitute “conservative” for liberal and it’s still pretty good advice. Recommended conservative POV.
- Are conservatives harder because their beliefs are rooted in unbendable first principles, not pragmatism? (2005 – 15 yrs ago! – but nailed it).
Related old CivCon mtgs:
- 3 weeks ago: The psychological roots of political beliefs.
- 2015: How to talk to the “other side” about politics.
- Key link: How to use language intelligence to persuade people. A 20-minute TED talk by the smartest person I’ve ever met.
- 2016: The decline of “social trust” in America. A hugely relevant problem.
- 2013: Liberal and conservative principles – any common ground?
- 2011: What, in politics, has the “other side” been right about?
NEXT WEEK (Jan 11): Can empathy and compassion be taught?
Monday’s Mtg (12/7/20): Will Trump succeed sabotaging Biden’s presidency and Americans’ faith in our democracy?
Our topic this week is unavoidable. It arises from the widespread fear that President Trump, out of pique, and his outgoing Administration, out of ideological conviction, are trying to destroy Americans’ faith in democracy and sabotage the incoming Biden Administration.
There can be no doubt that Trump is guilty of the first charge. We’ve been watching him do it daily since election day – and even for months before! Forget his refusal to admit or formally concede defeat. He has repeatedly denounced the results as fraudulent and woven increasingly ridiculous conspiracy theories to explain how that could have happened. Massive voter fraud by illegal immigrants or by shadowy figures turning in millions of fake ballots. Collusion by thousands of poll workers and state election officials. Rigged voting machines. And anything else he can think of that might work regardless of consequences to the country of spreading such beliefs. All of this to convince his voters that an election with an outcome he and they didn’t like must have been fraudulent.
Sure, he has lost his quixotic battle to flat out overturn the outcome. In court he was 1 for 39 at one point, and then people stopped counting. But, he continues to make unhinged claims that the election was stolen and Biden is an illegitimate president.
And, incredibly, it is working. Spectacularly!! About 70% to 85% of Republican voters now say they believe Biden did not legitimately win the election. They believe Trump, not the evidence. Nearly every, single high-level GOP official has either joined in or stayed silent and refused to defend the Constitution they are sworn to uphold. Mission accomplished. Unless, of course, you believe that a president deliberately undermining citizens’ faith in our democracy, the legitimacy of a free and fair election, and the peaceful transfer of power is not a monstrous betrayal of his oath of office and an assault on the rule of law and on the already frayed fabric that holds our society together.
If there is evidence or an argument that the above is false, feel free to present it Monday at the mtg, and you will be heard respectfully. But until then, I feel the only real questions for us on this part of our topic involve the “why.” Why did so many Trump votes believe all of this, why is the entire GOP leadership complicit, and (most importantly) how enduring will the damage prove to be?
However, the second part of our “sabotage” question – whether Trump’s lame duck changes to policy are sabotaging Biden or the country – is a bit trickier. Trump is still the President, with the full powers of the office. Yes, he says nothing about the pandemic that has killed 300,000 Americans. Behind the scenes, his Administration may or may not be doing a decent job of preparing for the immense challenge of vaccinating 320 million Americans (not sharing their plans with Biden’s people is a bad sign).
Lame duck presidents typically mainly tread water and help with the transition unless events compel otherwise. But, there have been many exceptions. Defeated presidents sometimes hurry to accomplish unfinished policy business they consider important to the country or/and their legacies. Sometimes they deliberately box in their successor by making the policies hard to overturn (e.g., by passing a law or getting court rulings).
So, for this sub-topic, we have to know a few things, like:
- What important policies is the Trump Administration still trying to put in place?
- Which can justly be called “sabotage” rather than “things Democrats oppose?”?
- How hard will it be to reverse these policies for the Biden Administration, the courts, or the (probably) still bitterly divided Congress?
Below are some articles that debate sabotage. Mostly they deal with policy sabotage, but some are about how much faith in democracy Trump has destroyed. My opening remarks will focus on policy changes and why some might be called sabotage. I will mostly leave for our discussion the whole “let’s destroy Americans’ faith in their democracy that so many died protecting because my feelings are hurt” thing.
OPTIONAL BACKGROUND READINGS –
Faith in Democracy –
- 70% GOPers say Biden stole the election. The % keeps growing.
- WHY were they so easily persuaded and why are GOP leaders so willing to let them? A must-read.
- Is “presidency was stolen we’ll just never be able to prove it” now the moderate position in the GOP?
Domestic policy sabotage?
- Refusing to cooperate with Biden transition teams at key agencies. The most damaging sabotage?
- Refusing to pass a sufficient new stimulus package (many emergency benefits expire 12/31) or exhort the public to wear masks and act safely.
- [Sunday] Vaccine distribution: Will Trump Admin. screw that up until Jan 21?
- The rush to weaken environmental and worker protections. Recommended.
- Full list of known “midnight regulations” in motion. Lowering immigrant farm worker wages, excluding scientific input into science policymaking, radically narrowing the grounds for asylum eligibility, etc. Some are benign; some YMMV, some sound benign but are horrible, IMO. Ask DavidG.
- Confirming Trump judges after he’s lost, violating a 120-year-old Senate tradition.
- Executive order [EO] to fire USG any employee involved in “policy” without cause – which could mean purging thousands for disloyalty to Trump or GOP agenda.
- EO outlawing 14th Amendment’s “birthright citizenship?” (clearly unconstitutional – but to this Supreme Court?)
- “Burrowing in:” Some Trump political appointees will convert to civil service jobs under Biden. (NOT as big a deal as liberals say, IMO. Article explains.)
Foreign policy sabotage?
- Overall: Light so many fires Biden can’t put them all out? Recommended.
- China: Many acts to lock in hostile relationship. If Biden reverses any of it, it’s “appeasement.”
- Middle East/Iran:
- Bringing us to the brink of war with Iran? Recommended.
- [Update Sunday: Link alleging Trump spurring a Sunni-Shia war deleted because it was a low quality article]
- To be fair, Trump helped negotiate peace agreements between Israel and several Persian Gulf nations.
Stopping any sabotage –
- What Democrats can do.
NEXT WEEK (Dec 14): What are the moral and psychological foundations of political beliefs?
It’s now pretty much settled wisdom that the novel coronavirus pandemic has exposed deep failures in the United States. Catastrophic political failures, obviously, especially at the very top. But, also failures on the part of regular people, like an unwillingness to imagine a catastrophe of this magnitude could “happen here,” to accept the results of science, and even to give a damn about millions of other Americans.
Which of these charges are really true, and which are not so clear cut? More importantly, why do we have these political/economic/cultural weaknesses and how did they go unnoticed by so many people for so long? Or, was just no one listening?
Allocating blame for this massive, partially preventable disaster is not a gotcha game, dammit. Assigning responsibility is the linchpin of democracy. As I have quote a million other people saying the last few months, major catastrophes lay bare a society’s worst flaws and vulnerabilities. Like Pearl Harbor did for military unreadiness, or 1960s urban riots exposed the pathology of concentrated urban poverty and racism, or 9/11 revealed counterintelligence failures.
Losing 250,000+ Americans to find out that the United States is not ready for some of the major challenges of the 21st century is a hard lesson. The only upside is if we are willing to be honest about our country’s flaws and its festering problems and why they have not been addressed. Ideology and archaic cultural attitudes must not blind us to what must change. (Nor, of course, should short-term panic force us to abandon what is best about our country.)
So, let’s discuss this delicate topic using evidence and reason. Some liberal accusations about root causes are true; some may not be, and the same may hold for conservative POVs. But, getting a vaccine is not the only thing that has to start soon if we are to prepare for a better America. So does doing some deep and profound thinking about why were so vulnerable to this pandemic – much more so than most other nations. Call this topic, if you will, American Exceptionalism: The Reckoning.
I will open on Monday as I typically do, by outlining the major criticisms of what led us to the problem to be discussed. The background readings sum them up and give more details and competing POVs.
OPTIONAL BACKGROUND READINGS –
- Three flaws have been exposed, said Time Magazine in May: Failures of U.S. political leadership; widespread public distrust of science, expertise, and the news media; and a perverse view of what “liberty” really means.
— Time can’t say it, but these all have become conservative, Republican Party principles in recent years. (But they weren’t always, IMO).
— Either/both Recommended.
- Exposed: Our health care system. Recommended
- Exposed: Flaws in our childcare economy.
- Exposed, progressive POV: The real American virus = Historic indifference to large swaths of humanity, especially citizens of color and the working poor.
- Exposed, libertarian POV: Libertarianism has warped beyond what it should stand for (Niskanen Center, a reformed Libertarian think tank). Recommended.
- Exposed, conservative POV: Too much arrogance and blind belief in American exceptionalism. American Conservative Magazine.
- Harvard Business Review (!) says pandemic shows we need to reimagine modern capitalism. Recommended.
- Other countries’ successes, via Ed:
NEXT WEEK (Dec. 7th): Will Trump and his enablers succeed in sabotaging his successor and destroying faith in U.S. democracy?
In American politics today our most pressing concern revolves around a single question: How did one of our two major political parties become so openly hostile to democratic processes and so casual about abusing democratic institutions when they do control them? And, will the Republican Party come down to earth from this extremism or will the Democrats just join them?
One cause of growing acrimony on both sides seems to be the return of an old problem: Bitter regional political divisions. The radicalism of today’s GOP is reminiscent of the passions ignited by regional political schisms of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Democratic Party, including its progressive wing, was implicated in the regional hostilities, too, especially in (duh) the Dixiecrat South.
CivCon covered the sharp resurgence of region-based politics pretty well in a 2019 meeting. The year since, including the reaction/non-reaction to the COVID pandemic and the results of the 2020 election further reinforced how deep those cleavages lie and how easily people’s lazy regional stereotypes can be manipulated. Of course, a perverse countervailing force is also at work, as smoldering regional grievances continue to be nationalized by clever propagandists determined to divide us against one another for their own power and profit.
(We discussed the “Southernization” of conservative politics in 2012’s the South’s role in U.S. politics. Other related meetings include 2019’s What if the USA could have 4-5 major political parties and 2011’s the Red/Blue cultural divide.)
Below are some maps and descriptive material on regional cultural and political divides and opinion on whether they are contributing to our larger cleavage into two, mutually-loathing camps. A few were linked to for older meetings; some are new. After my short intro, maybe we could ask a few basic questions like:
- What negative and harmful stereotypes do Americans have about regions of the country they don’t live in (and in many cases have never even visited)?
- Are their roots more the result of regional economic inequality, snobbery aimed downwards or upwards, racism/xenophobia, Media propaganda, or some other reasons?
- Do regional resentments really contribute much to our insane political divide, or is this all secondary to other problems/grievances, real or imagined?
- Should reducing regional tensions be a priority, or are other things much more important?
OPTIONAL BACKGROUND READINGS –
- The 11 distinct regions that divide up North America. (Note: It’s about regions, not states.)
- There are many other ways to do this, but you get the idea.
Why regional disparities –
- Growing extremes of economic inequality are exacerbating long-extant regional disparities in economic opportunity. Recommended, or next one.
- Why coastal cities are surging economically while much of the US interior is stagnating. Recommended.
- The Big Sort keeps getting bigger – and more strongly correlated with people’s political allegiances.
Stereotypes and electoral effects –
- Different (some awful) responses to COVID-19 may reflect longstanding regional differences in attitudes towards individual liberty versus mutual cooperation.
- Google’s most used search terms for 50 U.S. cities when people typed, “Why is [City X] so…”
- 2020 rural/urban divide got worse: Biden won in cities that produce 70% of GDP; Trump won where they make 30%. Recommended.
- The 2018 midterm and Trump’s 2016 election reflected dangerous – and centuries old – American regional divides. Recommended.
NEXT WEEK (Nov 30): Has the pandemic exposed huge failings in U.S. economy, society, & politics?
This is a very old and yet very new – and very important – topic. We have had several related discussions, but not this one.
OPTIONAL BACKGROUND READINGS –
The numbers –
- USA: A few basic numbers on leadership in politics, academia, business, etc. We rank 75th in women’s representation in govt. Recommended.
- World: Numbers on parliaments, CEOs, mayors, more.
Govt: Do women lead differently?
- Yes, women really do govern differently. NYT 2016.
- Women political heads of state might be better at managing diverse, divided countries. Recommended.
- USD researches identified 8 qualities women leaders need to exhibit. Note: Not the same as saying these are inherently female qualities.
- COVID: Have female leaders outperformed male-led countries? Maybe a little, but it’s hard to tell because of small sample sizes and so many confounding factors.
- Kamala Harris had to learn to overcome the belief that women should be self-effacing and never brag. Interesting, Atlantic Monthly
- Biden plans to pick the first woman to head DoD + many other women in national security positions.
- The many obstacles to more female corporate leadership. Recommended.
- The 21st century economy might advantage stereotypically-female skills, like negotiation, teamwork, and writing.
NEXT WEEK (Nov. 23): Do U.S. regions have harmful stereotypes about each other?
Trump is beaten, and by a healthy margin by the time all the votes are counted. SCOTUS stealing it for him looks less and less likely. But Biden had no coattails. The Senate is undecided, but likely will stay Republican. U.S. House Dems lose seats, but it won’t affect vote outcomes much there.
In short, another close, bitterly divided election, like most elections of the last 20 years. Trump is gone but his legacy lives and may yet flourish again. Our national govt – and our nation – have grown more bitterly divided than…since 1968? Since 1860? Beyond who won and lost and the reality and magnitude of that divide, what have we learned? Anything we didn’t already know and/or could help us to reform a functioning national govt, if nothing else (like make progress addressing our many festering problems)?
The navel-hazing has begun, so let’s gaze with them. Join us next Monday on Zoom for a post-mortem on this mortem of an election. Later in the week, Peter, Linda N., and DavidG will pick topics for Nov. – March. Expect a lot of politics, but less of a tsunami than in recent weeks. If you have any ideas, let me know. It is your group, too, and this is the best way to influence its evolution – by suggesting topics.
DavidG will open our mtg on Monday with a short “tentative lessons learned” type intro, with an emphasis on what types of lessons might have been learned and when we might know more in the coming months.
OPTIONAL BACKGROUND READINGS –
- Nationwide. President, Senate, House.
- A blue/red map of the USA that actually is accurate. Your must-glance at graphic.
- California. President, props, state legislature.
TRUMP’S GOTTERDAMERDUNG –
- Why didn’t history’s worst president lose in a landslide? Recommended.
- Trump lost, but he kind of won, too
- A large minority voted for the sociopath and it’s time to stop our illusions about those voters and see November 3, 2020, for what it is: A devastating indictment of American conservatism – and of its continuing threat to our democracy. Either recommended.
- More broadly: The bitter truth: We are two countries now, neither conquerable by the other.
- Lessons of this tight race for the Democrats.
- A warning sign for Democrats, esp. its left wing. Progressivism was repudiated.
- Wrong. A direct rebuttal.
- Control of the Senate hinges on 1-2 runoff elections in Georgia in bleeping January! Dems won’t win both.
- Will Republican senate control render the Biden presidency stillborn?
- Dems losing House seats matters little because party discipline will remain high, even if Nancy Pelosi is ousted..
- Dem failures in state legislatures mean GOP will dominate redistricting for the next decade.
- Did we learn California is not as liberal as we think? Recommended.
Any good news?
- Donald Trump is a failed, on-term president.
- The other thing America has gained: Civic courage + renewed voter engagement.
NEXT WEEK (Nov. 16): TBD by Friday 11/14, along with new 4-month topic list.
Is it almost over? We may know who will be the 46th President a day or two after Tuesday, as well as which party will control Congress. Most likely (by far) this would happen if the polls of Biden’s big lead prove accurate and enough of the votes in key swing states are counted quickly enough that Biden’s victory (and maybe Senate control) are so obvious that the Republican Party’s openly-admitted plan to steal the results (read the links if you doubt this) falls apart in the face of clear defeat.
I’m dubious. Voting ends in four days, but the aftermath probably will drag on for a while – along with this almost unbearable stress and fear for our democracy’s future.
We discussed the formal process of determining who wins the presidency in Part I of this topic on October 18. The news media “calling” the winner has no legal or constitutional weight. No state publishes or certifies election results within 48 hours of an election. In fact and as this list shows, all but 11 have statutory deadlines that allow more than two weeks after election day for counting and certifying results! (But, alas, two swing states, VA and PA, require it by Nov 10th and 11th, respectively)
Beyond legal deadlines, a link below describes how quickly we can expect each state actually to finish its vote count. The killer is that several key swing states – like PA, MI, and WI – cannot by law begin counting a single ballot until the polls close next Tuesday, and Republicans have defeated all efforts to let them start earlier. Worse, very few states have experience receiving mountains of mail-in votes like they will get this pandemic year, so they could be slow to count – especially with rooms full of partisan lawyers and campaign reps “helping” them. Federal law makes December 8th the “safe harbor” day by which all 50 states are expected to have certified results transmitted to the Electoral College (I’ll explain safe harbor). States then will have chosen the 538 people that will comprise our glorious Electoral College, which meets on Dec. 14th to vote on a presidential winner. That’s 41 days after next election day!
But wait! It’s not over. Congress must certify the EC’s results when it convenes on January 5th, 2021. if the EC does not reach a result (we will talk about why it might not) then the Constitution requires the House to pick the president and the Senate the vice-president. Each state’s entire House delegation gets a single vote (e.g., all 55 California House members have one vote, as does Wyoming’s one member). Get 26 of these 50 votes and you’re the next president, sworn in on January 20.
And all of this assumes the Supreme Court does not swoop down at any time in the process to determine the outcome, as happened in 2000 when SCOTUS stopped Florida’s vote recount – on a flimsy rationale and using an unprecedented voting standard – to declare that George W. Bush had beaten Al Gore.
This schedule, though, is merely the backdrop for the drama that could play out in the weeks or months ahead. So, it’s just a small part of our topic for Monday. Our real question is more: How will the campaigns and parties, the public, the news media, the courts, and other major actors really react if this thing drags on? Would the GOP really try to steal this thing, even if the popular vote is not even close? What role will the Media play? Would the public acquiesce? Could it be stopped?
Some things we know:
- Suppression: The GOP has pulled out all the stops to prevent and suppress voting. But it may be backfiring since absentee turnout is at record highs. Still, we don’t yet know who these people really voted for.
- Counting all of those mail in (and in-person) ballots will happen quickly in many states but will take a long time in key states.
- Stealing: Trump, et. al., have been very clear in public about their plans to use the courts/SCOTUS and or friendly state legislatures to steal the election. They have or will (1) undermine confidence that mail-in votes are legitimate; (2) try to get SCOTUS to disqualify late arriving ones or even declare entire state elections to be of unknown validity; and/or (3) get GOP state legislatures to use this manufactured uncertainty as an excuse to name their own, pro-Trump slate of Electors, which the Constitution allows but no one has dared to try since a disputed 1876 election.
- Media: The News Media know all of this and are being implored to be patient in calling the race. Democrats are trying to inform the public, too.
- Congress Control: The Senate could be really close (50/50 maybe) so it could take a LONG time to find out which party controls it. In 2008, lawsuits delayed seating Senator Al Franken for five months, although control was not at stake. Dems should easily keep the House.
Some things we don’t know yet, like whether
- State-level polls will prove to be accurate or biased systematically against one candidate, like when they underestimated Trump in a few key states in 2016.
- Mail-in votes in large numbers (and disproportionately Democratic ones) will be disqualified, arrive too late, lost, destroyed, etc.
- Election day in-person voters will brave the long lines, health risk, and potential for violence or give up and go home.
- Trump really will try this brazen power play and GOP leaders will really go along. Maybe he will just give up on the whole thing, mutter he was robbed, and go make some real money.
- Media really can resist declaring a winner for a week or more, and whether hack media like Fox News and talk radio will shift public opinion, like in 2000.
- Foreign countries will hack polling places, counting, and/or deceive the U.S. public with propaganda and lies later on.
- Protests/Violence will be sporadic and pathetic or widespread and organized – especially during the vote counting process. Left-wing violence is possible, too.
- Our reputation: Would an ugly, prolonged fight over the presidency weaken the public’s and the world’s trust in U.S. democracy?
The Democrats are not angels either, obviously. Left wing violence is possible. One could argue that Democrats are taking advantage of the pandemic to greatly expand absentee voting, a long-time goal. But I know of no evidence they are trying to stop the other side from voting, would ask state legislatures to pick electors that would vote against their voters’ wishes, or refuse to accept a Trump win as legitimate if all of the lawfully-cast votes are counted.
On Monday, I will open us up by describing these threats in more detail and maybe speculate a bit n what might happen. Then, we can have at it, civilized-style.
OPTIONAL BACKGROUND READINGS –
- Overall summary of everything that could go wrong, chronologically. Long but thorough.
- The day after election day fears about what Trump would do and how theft would start. (NYT)
Last-minute legal rulings could be decisive –
- Oct 28: SCOTUS issues flurry of last-minute rulings.
- Oct 27 rulings coming from:
- Pennsylvania: SCOTUS tentatively just rejected GOP appeal to stop the counting early. But the case poses a major threat to voting rights. Recommended.
- Minnesota: Is a judicial theft of electors in the works?
Voting and Counting it –
- GOP planned to have 50,000 “poll watchers” on hovering on election day. Is it legit or to intimidate voters and slow the lines?
- How long it will take to count the votes, by state. (Or: See here for more details for key state in a NYT story.)
Stealing it –
- Pennsylvania, again: A 3-pronged strategy to steal it. Recommended.
- The SCOTUS plan. Recommended. Linked to last time.
- Disinformation poses biggest dangers after election day. Long but recommended.
- Even a failed attempt to steal the presidency would be disastrous for USA.
Media, Protestors, Violence, etc. –
- How the news media “calls” presidential elections and how it might handle this crazy one.
- Could peaceful demonstrations stop or reverse election theft?
- Homeland Security agencies are planning big response. Responsible or ominous?
- Right-wing militias are threatening violence at polls. All talk? Will left wing do same?
NEXT WEEK (Nov 9th): Election post-mortem. Nov – March will have fewer partisan political topics – unless worst case scenarios play out!