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Back in July 2012, I stumbled on to a little blog that talked about misandry ( misandry means hatred for men, it is similar to the term misogyny). Some of the economics and other stuff from this blogger was nice. But he had a rant about how women are dominating now and there is definite hatred for men. He had  a poll about misandry (Is misandry in the society becoming excessive?) where "yes" was beating "no" 95 to 3.

I posted a link to that poll in Dailykos. My mojo here is no much, and it stayed on the recent postings tab for about 15 minutes. The poll got about 100 votes in that period. The "misandry is excessive" side was losing it 40 to 60, in that 100 votes are so. But he started bragging "even after being posted to Dailykos the misandry poll is winning blah blah blah". 40% of Dailykos visitors voting "yes" surprises me, but many trolls visit this site and many Republicans read this site, at least to get some advance notice about the sentiments, arguments and narratives of the liberals and the progressives. So it is within the realm of possibilities.

The point I was trying to make was "such a tiny sample of 500 to 600 votes, from a self selected sample via the internet has no real meaning, all the poll shows is the sample bias of his visitors".

I tried to convince him that blog is visited mostly by people with prior ideas that men are at immense disadvantage, men are hated by feminists etc etc. They project their own biases on to whatever this blogger (GK) was writing. It would be delusional to think his arguments were so persuasive, cogent and brilliant that he is convincing skeptical and neutral visitors 95 to 3. It just shows that his visitors form a very narrow cross section of the world. I did not succeed in convincing him, he continues to believe that he is an early visionary and his views are becoming mainstream at some exponential rate.

I do not regret not being able to convince him. But I do regret posting it in Dailykos and giving him a way to brag about "winning despite being posted to Dailykos, the veritable den of communists and Stalin worshipers".

After the Santa Barbara shootings and the #yesallwomen I thought I will go over and see what is going on. Looks like his poll is at some 85% down from 98%. He seems to have stopped updating the blog since last August. Not even sure if the poll is still open. I just hope he got married or got a girlfriend and got a completely different view of women. I wish him well, hoping God will bless him with a very loving woman, happy family and many adorable daughters.

I do hesitate posting it again to Dailykos. My mojo here is still not much and if it falls off the cliff, and if he is still his old self, he is going to brag, "despite being posted to Dailykos twice..."

I have decided to post it again. Not sure if it is going to do any better this time.
======
Revision notes: Corrected the terminology about misandry.
H/T to Calvino Partigiani who pointed out that misandry is the antonym of philandry, not misogyny.

Discuss

India conducted the largest election ever in the history of mankind. Narendra Modi is the man voluntarily elected as the leader by the largest number of people ever in history.
700 thousand polling stations, 800 million eligible voters, 620 million actual voters. Modi's party got some 300 million votes (guessed by me), but took 66% of the seats.

Repeatedly the Western media describe Modi as a Hindu Nationalist leader. It would be a fair description if it had consistently called Ronald Reagan a Christian Nationalist leader. Modi is very similar to Reagan. Courts business, projects an optimistic message, and does not hide seeking the support of the majority Hindu votes. India is a secular democracy, but the majority Hindu vote is split among many parties, but the Muslim vote is usually intact as a solid bloc. The ruling Congress party openly courts the Muslim vote, but it has enough credentials as a national party to garner a decent chunk of Hindu vote and gets over the top with Muslim support.

There is a place that is believed by Hindus to be the birthplace of Lord Rama, one of the most important Hindu Gods. Ram, Raman, Rama either alone or as a suffix or prefix forms a huge percentage of Indian names. When the Moguls conquered India they built a mosque in that town. Hindus believe the Moguls destroyed a pre existing Hindu temple to raise the mosque. There was a constant clamor by the Hindus to take the site back. In 1990s a huge group of Hindus stormed the site, overcame police barriers, court orders etc etc and tore down that mosque.

There was a backlash all over the world, there were many riots, Bangladesh and Pakistan demolished a few hundred Hindu temples in retaliation. That site is barricaded now. The mob has been prevented from erecting a new temple there, but constantly Hindus visit that town and hold solidarity meetings to show their intent to raise a temple at that site.

In 2002 a group of such Hindus visited Ayodhya and returned by train. A Muslim mob set fire to their train car and some 60 hindus perished. It happened in Gujarat, Modi was it newly elected chief minister, and there was a very large reaction by the Hindus. They rioted and killed some 1000 or more Muslims. Almost everyone accuses Modi of inciting the mob, and ordering the police to stand down, and allowed the rioters to rampage unimpeded.

It does really look like the police stood down. But I do not think it was Modi deliberately acting to incite the mob or ordered the police to stand down. In India the officialdom is very obsequious. The police chief did not know the true intent of the new Chief minister. The police probably assumed Modi would like them to stand down and let the rampage continue.  It is possible the Hindus there have had it up to their neck by the appeasement policies by the previous Congress government, their guy had just  won, so some of the Hindu activists were pumped up, and expected a little blind-eye from the police. Once the mobs start moving, it is difficult to stop or steer them. Such riots are not new to India, it had happened many times, mostly in Congress ruled states and Congress ruled times too. When the Congress party Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated, their gangs went on a rampage in Delhi and killed some 2000 sikhs. One of the largest riots in the history of mankind happened when Pakistan was partitioned from India. Some 10 million people died in 1947, neighbors killing neighbors. Even Gandhi could not stop it, he went on hunger strike, and he was assassinated by the Hindu side of the rioters. It is usually many series of small scale violence against the Hindus, and sporadic very large scale violence against the Muslims. That is the riot history in India.

But since 2002, in the next 12 years, there has not been any serious riot or official police action against the Muslims in Gujarat. Modi seems to be business friendly administrator who does not really want anything to impede the business. He uses eminent domain to take lands from peasants, Muslim and Hindus alike, and gives to corporations. Paradoxically  he seems to be the least corrupt politician in India.

Most Hindus in India are disgusted by the appeasement attitude towards Muslims by most parties. That is what is generating the support for BJP. The Indian Muslims probably feel their leaders should tone down the rhetoric and let people get along. But the political incentives among the Muslim leaders of India are aligned with striking militant pose, projecting the image of the shield-of-muslims, swords-of-islam etc to be used as bargaining chips with the secular parties. So they are stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Most Democrats in America are close to the Muslims. Muslims are more denigrated, reviled and discriminated against in the USA. So the Democrats naturally support them. But the Muslims have friction with Hindus and this dates back some 1000 years. Accommodating both Muslims and Hindus in the party is very important for the Democrats. The only thing that is keeping Hindus from the Republican party is the open Christian support in the Republican party. If the Republican party makes the calculation to accommodate Hindus on the enemy-of-the-enemy principles, they might make big inroads into the Indian community in USA. Representative Keith Ellison is such a strong and ardent anti-Hindu activist in the Democratic party. Indians are quite upset with his actions. [Deleted four links that were apparently right wing hate sites. Will do new diary on Keith Ellison when I get time citing Indian American sources.] Unless the leadership controls him, there is very real danger of the Democrats losing the Indians. Indian-Americans are dominated by doctors, business executives, small businessmen and they are usually affluent. They would break with the Republicans easily if the Christians accommodate them.

Revison NOTE: deleted links to right wing hate sites,

Discuss

Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 06:54 PM PDT

Time mag piece on Kochs by Rove

by SandersRavilyn

Time mags influential people issue is out and it lists Koch as one of them. It has recruited Karl Rove to write the fawning piece.

By grit persistence and hard work they built a 100 billion -a-year business that employs thousands.
Nary a mention of the inheritance with which they started. I tried to find out exactly what how much they inherited and when. The wiki piece just says they have grown their inheritance by 2000%, an annual compounding rate of 18%. So they must be some super duper managers, right?

I looked up S&P 500 in finance.yahoo.com, it went from 55 in 1960 to 1526 in 2006. A growth of 2774%. Found historical data on Dow Jones too. It went from 615 in 1960 to 12463 in 2006. Growth of 2026%.

So basically for all that "management" these guys did, they might as well put the whole thing in an index fund and realized better gains. Basic truth is, they got where they are due to their inheritance, not because of grit, determination or hard work. Nor are they above average in performance.

Rove will do his best to mythologize about the Kochs. His pay check depends on it. We need to counter this.

Discuss

I will forgive the CBO was using highly abstruse language called Bureaucratese.

I will forgive the Republicans for seizing the report and spinning it in the most damaging way possible for the Democrats.

I will even forgive Cokie Roberts for saying the equivalent of  "in the spin cycle if you are explaining you are losing".

But I will not forgive her for not making a distinction between truth and the spin. It is the job of the journalists to explain the bureaucratese and tell what is spin and what is truth. CBO report says there are about a 2.5 million people who are locked into their jobs solely to get healthcare, if a viable option is available they will retire or go part time. And Cokie calls this explanation Democratic spin and goes on to say "Any time there is a loss in jobs it is difficult to explain". As long as journalists like her do "he said ..., she said ..." and call it reporting, it would remain hard to explain. There will be incentive for both parties to engage in the most devious, outrageous, facts be damned spin. If she and her ilk call spin spin and truth truth there will be some check on the spin meisters.

Looks like Cokie does not know anyone who have saved enough to retire early but postpone retirement because of the high cost of health insurance for the over 59 under 65 population. May be she does not know people staying in full time position to retain health care while they would rather go part time or take a position with a start up or create a company themselves. Again 2.8 million people out of a work force of 140 million,  works out to some 2 out of 100 workers could be in this situation. Is that hard to believe?

She fails to distinguish between the reduction in "demand for labor" and the reduction in supply of labor. 2.5 million people, quitting from jobs that provide health care is unmitigated good for the middle class and the working class. In this particular instance at least, Democrats are telling the truth, Republicans are spinning, and Cokie is failing miserably in her job.

=====
Rec list? Thanks. my first. @ work. So can't follow up.
Back at home. Many have suggesting letting NPR know. This diary is basically
a copy & paste of the email I had sent them earlier.
=
====

Discuss

Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:27 AM PST

Jobs Unlocked, not lost.

by SandersRavilyn

It frustrates me liberals fall over each other talking over each other, all saying the same thing but using so many different terms and making it very confusing to distracted public. It is the blue cup syndrome mentioned by Nancy Pelosi gone on steroids.

Don't go long winded about "by voluntary reduction in labor supply blah blah blah".

Say something simple first, "CBO report confirms that 2.5 million jobs will be unlocked"
Then explain unlock, "That is, 2.5 million people who are stuck at full time jobs just to get health coverage will be able to retire early or go part time".

Then throw in an line exposing GOP, if the circumstances warrant it, "And you can trust GOP to mislead and lie about ordinary people empowered to go part time or retire early. If people retire early or go part time, the one percenters may have to raise wages to lure them back into working. That terrifies them".

Stay away from quoting the CBO report verbatim. Leave it to the other side to challenge our simple words.

Discuss

Liberal media still has not gotten around to looking at this part of the story. Makes you wonder how liberal the media really is. I wrote this diary at the end of December, as the sign ups were ramping up on the first deadline. Updated some numbers after the second ramp up.

Joe Biden was right. It is a BFD. How big? Let us calculate. It will answer the naysayers who have said, "They can't even get a stupid web site to work!". "Private sector velocity man! This is what you get from Government!".

Of course the stupid government will deliver a 4 oz letter to any damned God forsaken wilderness for 50 cents of so. And the private sector will ask give you a window between  "9 AM and 5PM for the cable guy to show up", "Take six weeks to process your stop-junk-mails request" and stiff you with a 40$ late fee if the check is late by one day. But I digress.

As of today, 24 Dec 2013, the enrollments are pushing some 6 million including private plans and expanded medicare. Given the mix of couples, single parents, singles, and families, it would amount to 3 million accounts that have signed contracts. Each contract is worth approximately 6000$ in premium + subsidies or 9000$ including out of pocket costs, between 18 to 27 billion dollars. Let us be very conservative and value it at 20 billion dollars.

Update: As of April 08, 7.1 million in exchanges, 5 million in medicaid expansion. 12 million people, 6 million accounts. Value of the business referred to by healthcare.gov is 36 to 54 billion dollars, 40 billion conservatively.

Let us go looking among the vaunted private sector and see how many of them have 2
 million account each worth between 6000$ and 9000$.

Amazon. Launched in 1995 it took 13 years to grow up to sales over 20 billion sales volume.

Facebbok does not have 680 million users. Those accounts are its product. It sells their dwell time in the site to advertisers. It has far fewer than 2 million advertisers and has just 5 billion in revenue. And it took forever to grow to this size.

Google Started in 1998, it had ramped up to total revenues of under 12 billion dollars by 2006.

eBayLaunched in 1996, its revenues (not sure if it is the revenue for the company or the total sales volume) reached 7.7 billion in 2008 with 15000 employees. The right number to compare would be the total sales not the revenue to the company.

We can go down the list Twitter, eBay, Reddit, and pretty soon you are in the mySpace, boing-boing, yahoo territory! Fact is there are very few web sites that have 4 million accounts or more. Even dailykos is slowly nudging up to that number, even very popular sites like slashdot and blogspot etc have much fewer number of accounts, and almost none of them have 6 million accounts each with more than 6000$ worth of transactions through their sites.

Even financial and trading sites, credit card sites, bank sites, where the accounts might have transactions exceeding thousands of dollars per year, do not have 6 million such accounts.

Even the few ones that have, may be Schwab.com or Citi.com or Fidelity.com or Vanguard.com did not reach anything like what Healthcare.Gov achieved. between 36 and 54 billion in transactions in the two quarters of launch.

So next time a wingnut blowhard says, "just a web site", let us explain what a BFD this thing really is.

Granted, we could have launched it better. We could have started the income verification and subsidy calculation a few months before the launch. We would have about 4 million people with certificates of eligibility showing what they would lose personally if Obamacare is repealed. We still could show the people in 36 states what they lost because their Republican state government did not expand medicare. We will before Nov 2014. But the site is up and working far beyond what the private sector has attempted or achieved.

This will only grow and the link between employment and healthcare would be severed. That would be a very good thing. Very good thing for all Americans.

[Edit 1: Fixed a typo, and added data about eBay]
[Edit 2: Redid some numbers for April 2014]

Continue Reading

I am sick and tired of the coddling of the so called "Job Creators". Republicans push the narrative as though they create jobs out of thin air and they must be wooed and cajoled or they will take their ball and bat and go home. Somehow the Democrats also play along and nurture the narrative rather than challenge it.

Folks, these businesses are job creators the same way hamburgers are hunger creators. Jobs and hamburgers are created to fill a need. Absent the need they won't be created. Hamburgers did not create the hunger, hunger created the hamburger. Businesses did not create the job, the demand for goods and services created that job.  That is the free market, Adam Smith and the invisible hands for you.

Absent the ability to buy the goods and services proffered, there ain't no jobs getting created. If Dewy Cheatam and Howe are not creating the job it will be created by Tom Dick and Harry and co.

There is no lack of capital. Private companies are sloshing with two or three trillion dollars [*1] worth of cash, sitting in the sidelines, without investing because they don't see the demand picking up. Piling tax cuts on top of tax cuts for decades has not solved any problem and has ballooned the national deficit.  

It is high time we start pushing back against the morons who defend the tax cuts for the wealthy by saying, "I have never been employed by a poor person. You tax them, I lose my job". We need to educate him/her, "Yes, you are being employed by lots of poor people collectively. It is the money they pay that pays your salary and your boss' profits".

It is also high time we fight the discrimination against the earned income and preferential treatment of the investment income. How can the blood sweat and tears of ordinary folks be treated worse by our government than the pounds of flesh collected by the Shylocks?

[*Citation 1] U.S. corporates held a total of $1.48 trillion in cash as of June 30, up 2 percent from the previous record $1.45 trillion at the end of 2012.
Add private small businesses, private equity, profits stashed abroad, they are sitting on two or three trillion dollars of money without investing or "job creating".

Discuss

Why:
I have employer provided healthcare. So I don't have to log in. Heard a lot of stories about how bad that site is and how slow it is, glitches etc etc. So decided to take a test drive.

My Setup
I am using a quite powerful three year old computer. (4 processors, 8 GB memory, Win7). I am using Chrome browser, flashblock, adblock installed. No other funny things like NoScript, disabled javascript, etc. Connection is quite good, normally 50 Mbps download, 25 Mbps upload, Verizon FiOS service. But I had logged into my work via VPN and that has crippled my bandwidth to 4 Mbps upload, 2Mbps download. Sort of like a run-of-the mill cable internet connection or very good DSL service. I am very familiar with internet and browsing etc. Would rate myself as an above average user.

First run
Easy to log in. Was able to get to browsing for plans without logging in. Was able to see the general premia for the plans. But won't give me details about deductibles, coinsurance, OOP Max etc. Was able to cut and paste the name of the plan and search for it in Google. Many thirdparty sites have sprung up, who provide concise summary of these plans. That is good. HC.G kept saying, "log in, create an account, see if you are eligible for subsidies" all the time. I know I am not eligible, so I did not care.

Actual enrollment
Decided to actually create a log-in and see what happens. User name is case sensitive, needs a capital letter, lower case letter and a symbol.  What the hell? Then came password. Cap, lowercase, symbol and a numeral too. Need an email. Need to click from email to validate email address. Have to set up security questions.

Then came enrollment, addresses, phone numbers, identity verification etc. Identity verified by past addresses, and current credit cards. So it is clear HC.G is talking to credit reporting companies. It did not ask for SSN. But kept saying you must provide it to calculate subsidy. So it is clear they are cross checking with other agencies for it. That could slow down or freeze the session. But I skipped all that.

It did ask for affirmation that all people applying for coverage are US citizens and none of them have been incarcerated. I was like, come on, get on with it.

I clicked on "explain this" link and it opened help in a separate tab. I did not realize it. I spent some time trying to figure out why I am not finding anyway to continue the enrollment and why I was trapped in help and usability surveys. Then saw the new tab and went back to  the old tab and resumed. This could confuse some users.

I had to click on the word "SET" in some place. But the cursor did not change to indicate that is a clickable link. That too could confuse some users. Live chat was available in every page. I did not use it.

Then names of people in the family, whether all are applying for the same group or some or going into different plans etc. They have thought about families enrolling their children in low cost plans and allowing elders to choose higher level plans. Good for them.

In full glory:
Then in full glory all the plans in all the levels, the premia, were shown in tabular columns. Can filter out the levels not desired. Summary of deductible, OOP max, coinsurance percentage in the table. Monthly premium in huge bold letters. Chokeful of pages explaining terms like co-insurance, deductible, OOPmax, etc etc. Links to provider directory. There is ability to save selected plans. And to compare selected plans. Gold plans were comparable to what my employer mentioned as healthcare cost in the last year's W2.

Logged in sessions seems to be archived and resumed. Site was not too slow. It did not crash.

Expectations vs reality:
I was quite depressed by all the reports about the glitches and universal condemnation of HC.G as irreparably broken and various estimates of complexity like 500 million lines of code, 56 contractors, blah blah blah. Was sad, such an important project has been screwed up by bad execution. Then there were liberal blogs reporting, "all problems will be fixed by end of November", but almost everyone else was saying, "that site is broken beyond repair". After actually taking a personal test drive, I think the estimate of all bugs being ironed out by end of November seems to be quite reasonable.

Verdict:Lots of good, some bad, nothing ugly.

Please do not blindly repeat, "HC.G is a mess, but the plan is good, the law is good etc". The law is good, the plan is good and the site is, at worst, mediocre. It will be acceptably good soon. Take a test drive yourself and then decide whether it is as bad as it looks.

What we can do to help.
The technology behind it is decent and they can fix it easily. What most techies don't get, I am talking as a techie myself, are user expectations and usability questions. So please help them by telling the user perspective, things that confuse the user, what they can do in the user interface. There is a usability survey in every help page. Take it, write comments and help them improve the help pages.

Discuss

Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 05:04 PM PDT

Cooling off period mooted?

by SandersRavilyn

I got a robocall from my Congressman Tim Murphy running a phone townhall meeting. Was taking some phone poll. Had some people lined up to ask questions. No idea how they were picked. But seemed to be more leaning to the right. One woman thinks Obama got everything he wanted in every negotiation and the Republicans have been caving in on every occasion.

Well any way, he strangely mentioned voting (in the House or in some private GOP gathering) to test the idea of a cooling off period. Just call the whole thing off for a month.

Any one else saying it?

Discuss

I think it is high time Nancy Pelosi offers a deal to the wavering Republicans that breaks the stalemate.

The only weapon the tea baggers have against their fellow Republicans is the threat to defeat them in the primary.  Neutralize this, and they lose their weapon.

Basically, the first 20 or 25 Republicans who break rank with the Tea baggers and vote for a clean CR will get a deal. If they lose the Republican primary the could run as independents and the Democratic party will not run in those seats. Normal elections if they do win the Republican primary.

Some of them would be marginal seats that might come under blue column given a tough fight or in a wave election. But not too many of them. The Republicans really scared of the tea baggers are from seats where Republican primary victory is de-facto election victory.  

For the sake of the country Democrats should be willing to this sacrifice.

Another thing the Democrats in gerry mandered districts to do is to vote in Republican primaries. If they have to register as Republicans to do so, they should do it too. Given the level of gerry mandering Republicans have done, it is enough if 20% of the Democratic voters to turn up in Republican primary to defeat the tea bagger. We should not play games and try to win it for the Democrats by making the raving in the mouth lunatic fringe Republicans with the hope we can turn the district blue. Tea baggers are lot more dangerous than the run-of-the-mill Republicans and let us defeat one enemy at a time.

Goal should be plain and simple, make these Republicans lose their fear of tea party
in the primaries and we will have a working coalition to govern the country again.

Nancy could even promise Democratic votes for speakership if this break away caucus decides to challenge Boehner. Let one of them who have lost the fear of tea party and insulated from it become the Republican speaker.

No point in allowing the stalemate to continue. Offer a deal when we are strong. Let us not do the same mistake tea baggers did by overplaying our hand.

Discuss

The Republicans are talking about using their control of state legislatures to skew the playing field in the electoral college even more than it is now. As it exists now, California gets one electoral college vote per 615,000 people. Wyoming gets one electoral college vote per 164,000 people. A Wyoming vote counts 3.6 times as much as a Californian vote in the Presidential politics. And they want to skew it even more.

We (especially Rachel Maddow, ref: last Friday show) need to understand, Republicans will not be shamed. The Florida and Virginia seem to backing away, not because they are shamed. There must be something else in play. It is the same Virginians who redrew the district lines on MLK day when one state senator was absent and adjourned in memory of Stonewall Jackson on MLK day. They? Shamed? come on.

They would not listen to appeals of fair play. In their mind such appeals smell of weakness on the other side and it only whets their blood lust. They fold when you stand up to them. And bite the hand if you extend it in friendship. We see it in the difference in negotiations and results between 2011 and late 2012.  

And just because they say they are not interested in it, it does not really mean they are not. Remember how Ohio rammed down the anti-union laws? So that is not it either.

But it does not mean all is lost. There is reason for many Republicans to oppose the plan. As true Randians the Rep-rep's re-election takes priority over helping the national party to capture the White House.I discussed it in my last diary.

Lobbying the Rep-reps and explaining why it is not in their interest the Redmap electoral college is best done in private. Just like our wonderful Democratic senators killed the filibuster reform silently behind the scenes to preserve their individual powers, the Rep-reps would like to work behind the scenes without leaving fingerprints. The Obama For America database can come in handy. They should re-run their resource allocation algorithm under the redmapped electoral college rules, identify the most vulnerable Rep-rep for a campaign refocus to their districts. "psst, Congressman, would like to see how many volunteers are going to be redeployed from Cleveland to your distict?"

But what can be done publicly? Where should we redirect media attention? What kind of rank-and-file Republicans who would be opposed to this redmapping? Which among them would re-evaluate their positions?

I think all voters and interest groups primarily in small states are persuadable. The argument, slightly long, goes like this. Imagine the scenario where the Democrat gets some 3.9 million more votes, like Obama, and 51% of the national popular vote, like Obama, and lose the electoral college by some 6 or 12 votes. What would be the public reaction! There will be such a hue and cry. That might provide enough wind in the sails of National Popular Vote compact.  Wisonsinites would get one vote each not the 3.5 votes.

So we should make a very strong and public push for the NPVc. The more media coverage that idea gets, the more the small state groups will sense their personal peril. The small states, and the special interest groups that get their pound of flesh through the power of small states, all would see the danger to themselves in redmapping the electoral college. They will apply enough pressure behind the scenes and some pressure publicly and stop it.

Let us be practical. This is a more realistic and pragmatic way to stop the Republican power grab, than pleas for fair play  or trying to shame them. Our strategy should be based on simple observable empirical self evident truth: Republican legislators are rational people driven purely by self-interest. Much of their rank-and-file may be willing to accept lots of personal sacrifice, but their legislators, nah.  

Discuss

[Update  1: one talking point to small Red states]

We are all following the story of how gerreymandering allowed the Republicans to maintain a 33 seat lead in the House despite getting 1.1 million less votes. And we are also alarmed by Republican attempts to use the Redmap strategy to divvy up electoral college votes by congressional districts in the key swing states to tilt the playing field against the Democrats.

Many diaries and postings here urge the readers to call urge the legislators to desist from such rule changes. Rachel Maddow reported yesterday that Florida and Virginia are definitely backing away from Redmap, and PA, Ohio and Wisconsin are going slow and only Michigan seems to be seriously considering it. She thinks Florida and Virginia have been shamed into staying away from it.

Well, folks, Republicans play hardball. They don't get shamed. It is the same Virginia that rushed a bill on the inaugural day when a Dem state senator was away. They can't be trusted, not all of us are Harry Reid. Fool us once shame on you, Fool us two hundred and eighty five million times, shame on Harry Reid.

So what gives? My take is, there is a conflict of interest between helping Republican
party win the White House and the individual gerrymandered Republican rep winning
re-election.
.

When we call the Republican Rep in these states to go against this Redmap plan we
need to explain it to them in no uncertain terms. No point in begging for fairplay or decency.  What are the dangers to the Republican Rep?

Fear of nationalizing their district race. Right now the Presidential race volunteers spend most of their time and energy in the strongly blue areas, increasing the turn out and hoping to win the statewide vote. If all that effort would only get them just a few electoral votes, they would reduce the efforts in those districts and focus on your gerrymandered district. Imagine, Republican Rep, OFA is going to reduce efforts in Cleveland and reallocating the resources to your district. You want that? The

Republicans are more vulnerable to re-focused campaigns. Thanks to Redmap, the blue districts are impregnable to Republican campaign efforts. These districts are +D20 to +D30. So all these things to reduce voting hours, reducing polling stations, voter-Ids, roll-purges and all the tricks in the trade are useless against the Blue districts. On the other hand, my dear Republican Rep, you are in a district with just +R5 to+R10 advantage. Almost all the election work and registration drives in the blue districts will stop, and all the freed resources are coming to your district.

Do you want gerrymandering become the top issue?. If gerrymandered maps are affecting local races, state races, most of the other states look at it as spectators. But if your gerrymandered map affects other states and their ability to elect the President, this would become a national issue. There will be serious legal challenges. There will be serious lobbying at state level. Your maps will come under a microscope. Next time the maps are drawn, it could not be easily done behind the scenes in a hush-hush manner. There will be legal challenges. Courts will be dragged in. If you are not able to rush it through, deadlines will be missed and courts will eventually draw the districts. See Texas and Tom Delay.  Do you really want to attract that level of scrutiny to your Redmap project next time around?

Your re-election or winning the White House, which is more important? Folks let us remember to the true reason why Filibuster reform failed. The individual Democratic senator is more interested in preserving his/her enormous powers to play dog-in-the-manger. They want to preserve it so that, if/when they become the minority they still can wring campaign ransoms from their hostages. That power is more important to them than advancing the agenda of the White Hose. The same dynamic will play in the Republican party. The Republican Reps are more interested in their re-election than helping their party win White Hose. We need to explain this in clear terms to the Reps so that they understand it and back away from Redmapping the electoral college.

Electoral college system would collapse.. If the Presidential elections produce a result where the Democrat gets 3.8 million more votes, 51% and still lose to one with 47%, the public reaction will be overwhelming. Making electoral college irrelevant would not require a constitutional amendment. Just as redmapping is a state right, National Popular vote is also a state right. There will be enough political will to get the National Popular Vote compact to pass.  In one fell swoop all the small states, red or blue, would become irrelevant and just 10 big states will decide the President. The electoral college system is meant to give more power to small states. If the Republicans abuse it, they risk losing it all to National Popular Vote compact.

Conclusion:

So Democrats in these states should call the Republican Reps, write to them and explain why it is not a good idea for them personally to redmap the electoral college. This is likely to be more effective than begging for decency, fair play etc.

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