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Voter apathy is a civic abdication. There is no other way to describe it.
That is how he begins this column for Thursday's New York Times.

Trust me, please.   This is a column that needs to be read in its entirety, that is not possible to easily summarize or from which one can draw the appropriate extracts.

Blow reminds us of the difference between a Presidentialy election and an off-year like 2010.  He puts it bluntly:

There is an astounding paradox in it: too many of those with the least economic and cultural power don’t fully avail themselves of their political power. A vote is the great equalizer, but only when it is cast.

The strategy here is simple: Break the spirit. Muddy the waters. Make voting feel onerous and outcomes ambiguous. And make it feel like a natural outgrowth of tedium and bickering, and not a well-funded, well-designed effort. Make us subsist on personality politics rather than principled ones.

The greatest trick up the sleeves of the moneyed and powerful is their diabolical ability to render themselves invisible and undetectable, to recede and operate behind a front, one relatable and common. Our politics are overrun with characters acting at the behest of shadows.

Except we now have the advantage of knowing who the shadows are, people such as the Brothers Koch.

This is powerful writing, but it is not close to being the heart of the column.

After telling us that " too many people shrug or sleep when they should seethe" Blow hits the read with a series of 7 distinct reaspns we should be in a rage.

These range from the atrocities of the Roberts Court on empowering billionaires and corporations, the attacks on women's reproductive rights in state legislatures, the rolling back of voting rights and effective disenfranchisement of millions, economic hardship for many, climate change . . . .  you get the picture.

Blow then remarks

But where rage should be, there is too often a whimper.
He reminds us if thoe who are most affected will go to the polls and the public square, they can change the government to something that meets their needs rather than those of the already wealthy in accumulating even more wealth and power. He alludes to Jefferson's notion in the Declaration of the people's power to alter government to something that secures their unalienable rights.

"Democracy is durable, but not incorruptible."   So begins the penultimate paragraph, in which Blow warns us of those attempting to move us, almost imperceptibly from democracy to oligarchy.

Except that we notice.

Except that we can speak out.

Except that we can mobilize.

Except that we can expose the lies and the manipulations, even if those peddling such wares have billions to promote them.

I will live Blow's final line, with its image of a vessel drifting in the direction of a sudden drop, for you to read for yourself.

We have the points of reference to help people recognize what is happening.

We have the capability for righteous anger.

We can, a la Peter Finch's Oscar winning performance in Network, throw open our actual and virtual windows and shout our rage - that we are as mad as hell and will NOT take it anymore.

There are many more of us than there are of them.

The Tea Party took over in 2010 fueled by anger.

That was a false and unjustifiable anger, manipulated by the powerful, fueled by racism and untruths.

We have the possibility for a righteous anger that can turn conventional political wisdom on its heads....

..... if there are politicians willing to stand up loudly for what is right.

We should be in a rage

and whether hot rage or cold fury, we need to come together, with virtual pitchforks and torches, and drive the oligarchs and their minions out of control of OUR country, OUR political system, OUR economy, OUR society.

We should be in a rage.

I am.

What about you?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Make of this what you will (178+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, twigg, bbctooman, HoundDog, Shippo1776, MufsMom, PsychoSavannah, kkkkate, oldcrow, northerntier, Ree Zen, zerelda, bcat, One Pissed Off Liberal, tommyfocus2003, raptavio, jan4insight, boofdah, Alumbrados, Bluehawk, elwior, wader, zozie, hwy70scientist, miracle11, goodpractice, TDDVandy, Mary Mike, greengemini, janmtairy, laurak, Mogolori, eyesoars, Laurel in CA, Mother Mags, annetteboardman, LABobsterofAnaheim, Mostserene1, TracieLynn, puakev, This old man, SaintC, Ellen Columbo, kishik, bobswern, dewtx, susakinovember, begone, yoduuuh do or do not, camlbacker, where4art, thomask, ORDem, oldliberal, trkingmomoe, Jeff Y, basquebob, cuphalffull, MikePhoenix, hannah, k9disc, radarlady, myrmecia gulosa, Denise Oliver Velez, Shelley99, a2nite, HedwigKos, murrayewv, hwmnbn, Floande, Superskepticalman, Jollie Ollie Orange, P Carey, Pat K California, HeartlandLiberal, rustypatina, The Lone Apple, JWR, wxorknot, JanL, ChemBob, Marihilda, rat racer, lunachickie, Maverick80229, Angie in WA State, Raggedy Ann, DuzT, joanil, Gowrie Gal, Patango, leeleedee, eagleray, 207wickedgood, BlueZone, GeorgeXVIII, wordwraith, Iberian, Ian Reifowitz, stratocasterman, Bear, rbird, Dartagnan, wintergreen8694, johanus, seefleur, AJayne, CA Nana, jgilhousen, CenFlaDem, Vita Brevis, nailbender, Joieau, tidalwave1, Dodgerdog1, blueoregon, Paragryne, Onomastic, HeyMikey, Uncle Cosmo, ShoshannaD, ChuckInReno, secret38b, cybersaur, GDbot, skepticalcitizen, NM Ray, Chitown Kev, StevenWells, DeminNewJ, prgsvmama26, keyscritter, Steveningen, zaynabou, Elizaveta, Lefty Coaster, GreenMother, Youffraita, LillithMc, AllanTBG, DEMonrat ankle biter, MKinTN, dagnome, salmo, closerange, poliwrangler, zitherhamster, nytcek, LilPeach, spritegeezer, Heimyankel, eden4barack08, unfangus, amoginesq, BachFan, thanatokephaloides, sendtheasteroid, dewolf99, hepette, skyounkin, penelope pnortney, splashy, thirty three and a third, theskepticarena, emal, raspberryberet, reasonshouldrule, Tangerinegirl20, GirlSwimmingInASeaOfRed, Gwennedd, laffmyao, Lilredhead, kirnerpilstime, SpaK, helpImdrowning, Oh Mary Oh, tofumagoo, wilywascal

    I read the Blow.

    I decided to write.

    If nothing else, read the complete original.

    Then act - with rage, but not blind rage, with fury, with intensity.

    "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it, because what the world needs is more people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

    by teacherken on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 07:55:35 PM PDT

  •  "Rage", "outrage" and even "poutrage" bore me (24+ / 0-)

    What I care about is smart, well chosen action - for any motivation.  I'm continuing to work on registration and GOTV efforts right now.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 08:03:14 PM PDT

  •  Thanks teacherken. Enjoyed this post. (19+ / 0-)

    Sometimes I look at your posts for models of what works in he blogging world.

    Using you as a role model can be surprisingly challenging. Three weeks ago, you tossed out the observation that you sometimes do six posts a day. So I figured, heck, I'm a slacker as I was only averaging three, and finding this was already cutting into my spare time.

    So decided to give it a try. Whoa! this turns out to be a tough schedule to keep. Real life obligations kept coming up.

    So I only reach 28 I think. that first week.

    Yesterday, I did eight, but I'm exhausted, my girlfriend is unhappy, I've missed a week of our TV programs, and even our three cats seem unhappy annoyed for some reason.  

    One happy side effect - incessant obsessive writing keep my mind off of food. In the last 6 weeks I've lost 10 pounds.

    So, I take my hat off to the master. I'm going to have to cut back to maybe four a day, and get my life back in order.

    Keep on truckin'

    "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

    by HoundDog on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 08:14:24 PM PDT

  •  He's Wrong. (20+ / 0-)
    A vote is the great equalizer, but only when it is cast.
    Hard measurements show that it is not when it's cast for a modern conservative. Absolutely, positively not.

    The truth is the vote is only an equalizer when it's cast for an equalizer candidate.

    The continued absence of voters who would benefit from equalizing candidates shows that there aren't many such candidates to vote for.

    There's nothing the poor and marginalized can do about that in a democratic oligarchy.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 08:17:07 PM PDT

      •  Heads they win tails we lose...Its funny that... (12+ / 0-)

        after seeing so many people rise against their governments around the world, we being the original revolutionaries are the least likely to do so now.

        When the Republicans are in power they get what they want and when the Democrats are in power they still get what they want. At what point do people finally see it is just theater? ~ Me

        by fToRrEeEsSt on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 08:47:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nothing is ever settled. Eternal vigilance is (5+ / 0-)

          needed because nothing is ever settled. Shit keeps coming and has to be cleaned away. People lust for power and have to be stopped.
          For some people it is "out of sight, out of mind," so they have to be reminded to vote.
          Errol Morris did a get out the vote documentary for 2012.

          Some of the participants aren't aware that there are elections all the time.

          by hannah on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 01:47:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think you miss the point that some of us don't.. (13+ / 0-)

            believe we can vote our way out of this since both party infrastructures at the federal level are compromised. We can never vote in enough real representatives to overwhelm the inherent corruption

            If we could get money out of politics we could but we can't get that until we have real representatives.

            The game is designed for us to perpetually vote for the lessor of evils out of fear of worse with neither party truly representing their base or acting in line with their stated principles. Its a trap with head they win and tails we lose.

            No way to flip our way out of that...

            When the Republicans are in power they get what they want and when the Democrats are in power they still get what they want. At what point do people finally see it is just theater? ~ Me

            by fToRrEeEsSt on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 01:57:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  well sadly that is true.... (5+ / 0-)

              on the national level.  So we need to get more young people committed to run things on the local level as candidates.  We need to support this sort of local candidate vs the Koch machine.

              Here is a young man I know running for House of Delegates in West Virginia, Wayne Worth.  

              I think he is the kind of dedicated, independent young person we need in office at state and local level.  I know him because one of my former students is his brother, and now I am Facebook friends with him.  This is possibly a way to harness the power of social networking to make change.

              You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

              by murrayewv on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 03:53:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It is true. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                leeleedee, thanatokephaloides

                Voting is just one of our civic obligations. The others are:

                holding office
                serving on juries
                drafting laws
                providing material support
                enforcing the law

                Since this is a free country, we aren't coerced. Moreover, if we take turns, we don't have to do all of them all the time.
                Elective office is actually not all we may think. There are laws on the books which preclude meddling with administration. There are precedents that have to be met. There are superior statutes which restrict.
                Sometimes it is enough just to be present as an observer and bear witness. That's the role the press is supposed to carry out as the fourth estate, but it has long fallen down on the job. The press has been partisan for a long time --maybe a hundred and fifty years. It's amazing the idea of democracy has even survived.
                The genius of democracy, IMHO, is that power is dispersed over the whole population, only to be brought together in emergency situations. Militarization is a danger, but our military is relatively small and dispersed. Their weaponry only good until they run out of amunition or fuel or experience an electronic glitch.
                Conservatives are more persistent in their antagonisms, but their antagonisms are more often than not misplaced. Look at the TEA Party spinning its wheels.


                by hannah on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 04:12:09 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Civic Duty (6+ / 0-)

                  As a prosecutor, I always state my appreciation, and admiration to the jurors, the citizens who have been inconvenienced and drawn into the jury pool.  I never had the opportunity to be a "Young Attorney".  I finished law school at the age of 46.  But, I never had the opportunity to serve on a jury.

                  Today, there is no draft.  There is very little required of a citizen in our democracy.  That is a shame.  I am proud of my military service.  I am proud to have Veteran's license plates right next to my Obama bumper sticker.  If the right wingers driving down the highway want to curse me for my politics, they can curse me for my service to my country, also.

                  Our nation would be better served if we provided an incentive to vote.  Of course, we could never find a consensus for that, because we have one party today that only survives by suppressing the vote.

                  Voters should select people to represent them in their government. People in government should not select people who may vote!

                  by NM Ray on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 08:26:34 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Many humans are creatures of habit and the habit (3+ / 0-)

                    of civic participation has not had very long to evolve.  Ever since the passage of universal suffrage, there's been a consistent effort to denigrate the process and convince citizens not to participate. The meme that candidats select themselves and are responsible for "winning" election or appointment serves to remove the electorate as an agent.
                    The bridge to the 21st century brought a change. Voter participation has been increasing, but hardly anyone alerted the new, young electorate that voting is actually an annual thing. In the mean time, efforts to thin the electorate have significantly increased. The push-back suggests that the powers at be are very much concerned about the trajectory.
                    Americans don't actually mind standing in line. They do it at Disney World and to get into football games and sold-out concert venues and at Black Friday sales, etc. There's no better way to signal that something is popular than to have people standing in line and getting their pictures put on the TV.
                    Throwing people off the voter rolls is, of course, another matter.

                    Politics is an acquired taste, but it's an avocation that can be pursued year round, regardless of the weather and regardless of the season.


                    by hannah on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 10:09:34 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  So we poop in our pants? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              penelope pnortney

              There is a way to do it. Not permanently, not at once, but there is a way to influence the system to move towards our interests. THere are many examples in other democracies, there are historical examples here. Its very difficult but not impossible. Impossible is to change anything doing nothing. THat's what's fucking impossible.

              •  Err ummm what? Pooping in your pants is... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                optional. So is making sense it would seem.

                When the Republicans are in power they get what they want and when the Democrats are in power they still get what they want. At what point do people finally see it is just theater? ~ Me

                by fToRrEeEsSt on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 06:07:15 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Then we should vote for the lesser of two evils (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              until we're able to get better candidates put forward.  It's easier to clean up after the lesser of two evils, there's less ground that has to be regained, and at least we have a chance of influencing their decisions.  Not voting because the ideal candidate isn't on the ballot is like expecting Queensbury rules to win in a street fight.   If we can't go over the mountain or around it, we need to go through it.  Whatever it takes, so long as we never, ever give up - and I'll admit, I'm real inclined to sometimes.  But the rage keeps me from it, I'll be damned if I'll let the bullies win.  And the point made upthread about eternal vigilance is a reminder we constantly need, because just as soon as we make a step forward, you can count on it that some sociopathic greedmeister is plotting to undo it.

              •  I never said don't vote nor implied it, so... (0+ / 0-)

                not sure what you are trying to say.

                My point is it is very very unlikely we will ever get the system back in order one vote at a time, we are too far down the rabbit hole for that. Absolutely vote and vote democrat because bad is always better than worse. And once you get past the Federal level most democrats are more sincere to the parties tradition position of looking out for the 'common man' (no sexism intended just an expression)

                But if we ever decide we want to truly fix the system we are likely going to have to do something more than just vote for the lessor of two evils hoping one day they magically decide to support the people again.

                Maybe I'm wrong but I think probability favors my point.

                When the Republicans are in power they get what they want and when the Democrats are in power they still get what they want. At what point do people finally see it is just theater? ~ Me

                by fToRrEeEsSt on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 04:24:06 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Essentially (14+ / 0-)

        to the average person, the Democrats are offering you a shit sandwich and the Republicans are offering to take the shit sandwich away from you.  Did I sum it up pretty well?

        29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

        by TDDVandy on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 09:10:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You don't have to vote Goldman Sachs out of (9+ / 0-)

        office on the first try. ALEC and the Koch brothers will do fine to begin with.

        Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

        by Mokurai on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 09:14:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It May Be True But... (4+ / 0-)

        That sort of resignation is too deflating to be useful. Anger and the motivation that comes from it are a much more useful tack to take.

        And as the song and dance begins, the children play at home with needles, needles and pins.

        by The Lone Apple on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 03:53:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  One way is just not to buy stuff (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that comes in packages, that is made with cheap fossil fuel energy, that is easy and convenient and "necessary" to have, to live off the grid, make your own food, shelter, and clothing, make your own tools, remember the lyrics, "the pump don't work cause the vandals stole the handles".

        We were anciently programmed to accept two sovereigns, religion and government, and to that now is added a third, the corporate personhood operating much like the divine rights of kings without any actual power except that we believe what it tells us it can do through its media and advertizing.

        Religion taught us that it owned the rites of passage, birth, marriage, working for a living, death. We either went along with the consensus to believe and to tithe or we were cast out as outlaws, heretics, infidels, not a part of the body.

        The body politic teaches us that we must render unto Caesar and submit to be taxed, and we must give our votes as well as justification for our governance. These are things we must do to live in society.

        We must work for a living and do what is right and proper, get married have children, participate, buy things, teach our children the value of money see they get a college education, and are properly certified as competent to work for a living and then die and leave an inheritance to see to it we are respected in our dotage.

        So suppose we step outside the system and make it a rule like posting to blogs to evidence our rage, that we break a norm or a more every day, do things we know we don't want to do just because Freedom is a State of Being without Limits and if you are Free to do whatever you want then you are limited by what you want.

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 04:27:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is more manageable for some (0+ / 0-)

          than for others so I wonder what kind of an impact it could actually make.  It's not doable for me, I work 9,000 hours a week (hyperbole alert!) and care for an elderly parent.

          But I think the off-the-grid concept, judiciously applied, has real potential.  I'm convinced that we underuse probably the only power we still have.  We're no longer viewed as citizens, just consumers - so fine, let's marshall that consumer power and use it to our benefit.  I'm a political naif when it comes to strategy but wasn't it texting technology that was used to orchestrate flash mobs and raves?  I'd love to see that concept applied to targeted boycotting, like "starting at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow, buy nothing for 24 hours" - it could work if there's enough lead time that  people can gas up, get bread and milk and hunker down for a "buy nothing" day.  Look at what the Flush Rush group accomplished, look at the Chick-Fil-A (or whatever it is) walk-back from the anti-gay posturing, just two recent examples.  We made them flinch by threatening their Idol - profits.  It would be interesting to see the whole economy just... pause.  Call it grassroots market manipulation.  Or better, "waking a sleeping giant and filling him with a fierce resolve."


    •  So what is an equalizer candidate? (8+ / 0-)

      Because it strikes me that if significantly more people in states where Medicaid was not extended could get up and go to the polls in 2014 to vote, they might make a difference.

      There are a lot of Dems running now that pledge to turn that around and for potential voters who might gain Medicaid coverage that alone is enough to make it worth voting.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 08:44:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That would be a start (0+ / 0-)

        but when your choices are between a far-right party and a center-right party, a lot of people aren't going to bother.

        29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

        by TDDVandy on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 08:56:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can't agree (4+ / 0-)

          I think there is something specific and substantial on the table for 2014 that could have the potential to make many who don't normally vote want to vote:  expanded Medicaid

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 09:34:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But, see (4+ / 0-)

            how many Democrats are actually going to make a campaign issue out of this?

            And, at least on a global scale, there are very few Democratic politicians who would be considered even remotely left-wing.  When the best you can come up with is "let's offer subsidized health care to some more poor people" while other industrialized countries are doing the same for everybody, you're not really offering a choice.

            Essentially your choices are between "kinda-sorta regulated capitalism and a thoroughly inadequate welfare state" and "mostly unregulated capitalism and basically no welfare state," then yeah, you're choosing between center-right and far-right.  You basically have no politicians proposing heavy, New Deal-style regulations on the market, or a vastly expanded welfare state, or even rejecting capitalism outright.  And if that's you, who do you vote for?

            29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

            by TDDVandy on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 10:20:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Here in Florida Crist has made it part of his (8+ / 0-)

              campaign.  When you are a single working mom that don't qualify for ACA and have kids that break arms or get sick once in a while that send you to the ER that you don't have the money for, you are going to vote.  Medicaid expansion is a big issue because it is needed and wanted. There are some important issues that will bring more voters out.  There is a feeling if you don't take voting serious that some right wing nut is going to take it away.  Democrats are putting some big issues on the table like raising the minimum wage, medicaid, equal pay, voter suppression and in some states medical marijuana. There is going to be a bigger turn out in 2014 then there was in 2010.  

              •  And he's one of the few (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                prgsvmama26, raspberryberet

                and dammit, why is that? Why don't you all wonder why more aren't?

                Hell, Charlie's a "turncoat' to hear it told around here. "Not even a real Democrat", they say. Well, fuck if he isn't acting like more of one than some I know who have been "Democrats" their entire careers.

                 Why aren't they ALL doing the same thing?

                This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                by lunachickie on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 05:03:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  There are a lot of people running for office in (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  samddobermann, raspberryberet

                  2014 so how many of us at DK are even knowledgeable enough to answer this:

                  Why aren't they ALL doing the same thing?
                  David Nir maybe.  But how many of us know the position of each state candidate up for election and how they're pushing it?  Christ is making national  press but not every race does.

                  In Pennsylvania for example, the Dem primary isn't until May but all 4 candidates have Medicaid expansion as their number one healthcare issue.  I only happened to know that because I have a curiosity about how my premise might work out in that state.  A little push and we could get a Dem governor and maybe get bluer with the legislature.

                  I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

                  by Satya1 on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 10:26:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  That's great. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lunachickie, raspberryberet

                I've been thinking about Florida too.  So it sounds like something specific on the table like expanded medicaid and minimum wage is generating buzz for a better turnout.

                I guess we don't turn the FL legislature too much, but if any seats are up for election many some will switch to Dem.  Some of those seats lost to Repubs by a narrow margin in the last election 2012.

                I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

                by Satya1 on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 10:03:40 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I'm for organizing. I'm not so worried (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              samddobermann, raspberryberet

              about how Democrat politicians are pigeon-holed.  I care about how specific policies help people, not how they're categorized on some academic spectrum.  ACA is a  historic, major piece of legislation that effects tens of millions of lives for the better.  So I still disagree not only with your premise but the way you're looking at this by use of how you characterize the choices for the voters that I set out to discuss.

              Now this is certainly an important question:

              how many Democrats are actually going to make a campaign issue out of this?
              Let's find out.  Have you looked any up?  But let's not just leave that hanging there without finding out how it stands and without pushing Dems to make it an issue.

              We've got at least 3 states:  Maine, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania that could have significant shifts toward Democrats if we could get some major turnout.

              All Maine needs is to get rid of LePage.  Dems in Wisconsin are promoting the Medicaid expansion.  I'm not sure what is going on in Pennsylvania.  But we should find out before we just shrug our shoulders.

              But one thing is obvious and that is that many voters know which party is more likely to bring Medicaid expansion to their state.  And there is a growing clamor for it and a real trend developing.  There are at least 5 Repub governors threatened by this.



              I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

              by Satya1 on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 09:58:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  For example I will vote for Hillary though I've (6+ / 0-)

            worked against her at every opportunity for decades. If she's the Dem nominee.  The Supreme Court must be defeated, the EPA must be preserved, Obamacare must live on, etc.  I'll be kicking and screaming but I'll have to do it.

            These are real choices.  There's no button we can push that says "Progressive Paradise, Press Here."  Anyone who's waiting for one to appear before voting is not doing what they can, to put it nicely.

      •  Unfortunately (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jobobo, raspberryberet

        There are many people who vote on wedge issues and NOT in their own best interests.  Take those voters in Mississippi, their Governor barred the Medicaid extension and Ms is the poorest state, but they'll vote for him again and his legislature because of God and guns.  How do you get through to people like that?

        I'm in NYC (Brooklyn) and now that the nice weather is just about here I plan on being out there registering voters and engaging them to vote in November.

        Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011) Voting is a louder voice than a bullhorn but sometimes you need that bullhorn to retain your vote.

        by Rosalie907 on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 09:19:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hear ya. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          There are areas of raw ignorance so deep and so "traditional" that change won't come that easy.

          But, there are numerous states where the Repub advantage is quite slim and just a better turnout can change the game.  I'm not saying it's easy and I don't know if many states are getting this kind of messaging out.  Ultimately I'm talking about (probably) historically high turnouts for Dems in midterm elections, so yeah it's a battle.

          But the three states at the top of my mind are Maine, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

          I think the Gov and Senate in Wisconsin could turn blue with some effort here.

          All Maine has to do is kick out LaPage.

          Pennsylvania could change more toward  the blue in the Gov seat as well as Senate and House.

          Arkansas and Iowa could keep/turn Govs blue and gain  one legislation chamber.  (Those two states went with modified expansion schemes.)

          It could give the Dems more political capital in Virginia even though it wouldn't deliver the VA house.

          Maybe with better turnout from regulars plus turnout from people who typically don't vote would be enough to get Dem Govs in Florida and Texas.

          This isn't about getting people to change parties, but to motivate turnout from general election voters and add more from people who've generally given up on voting.

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 10:07:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm very sure LePage will be bounced. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The loathing for this guy is palpable. If you reexamine the results of the previous election, you see that voters were smarter than they were given credit for. The majority wanted "anybody but LePage, but unfortunately the Democratic nominee was so damned weak (gave NO credible message regarding the economic concerns of the state, just canned Democratic feelgood blather) that it became apparent she wouldn't win it. I myself refused to vote for her and voted for the Dem-leaning independent. Eventually it became clear from polling that she was toast, but she had already received a lot of early votes--so LePage had a narrow plurality victory over the surging Independent, with the Dem a distant third. The electorate had the inclination to coalesce behind an alternative, but did so a little too late.

            This year the Dem candidate is Mark Michaud, who is a solid campaigner with demonstrated political strengths, and has been able to hold a Congressional seat in a swing district. I predict the Independent Cutler will get little traction this year, and Michaud will carry an easy victory over LePage. The early polls are bearing this out.

            Battling psychiatric myths with sensible skepticism at

            by candid psychiatrist on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 07:24:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I think, after working for years now on voter (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kristin in WA, raspberryberet

      turnout that he is absolutely right.  I also think he is asking that voters resist exactly what you advocate, black and white thinking.

  •  I've been outraged for decades, but I've given up (11+ / 0-)

    hope of bending our electoral/political system to our will. It has been bent, twisted and wrenched from our grasp. It's going to take something like a serious revolt.

    ..... if there are politicians willing to stand up loudly for what is right.
    But there aren't - except when they're lying for dollars.
    •  It's going to take a further demographic shift (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, rat racer, LillithMc

      of less than 10 points for us to take over several Reddish states and undo their gerrymanders. Then we will have the structural advantage.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 09:16:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We no longer have the luxury (6+ / 0-)

        of time for that.  

        We don't. We need more than "hope" that "elections" will fix this, because we know our elections are essentially compromised. We cannot simply depend on broken tools to fix our broken democracy. That is foolish thinking.

        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

        by lunachickie on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 05:06:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You write as though you think that Democrats (0+ / 0-)
          can't fart and chew gum at the same time
          as LBJ said of Gerald Ford. Of course we have to GOTV and run on the issues this time. We have excellent issues, some of which are getting even better all the time, and the Republicans are doing a lot of the GOTV for us.

          And then on top of that, it gets better over time.

          Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

          by Mokurai on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 12:20:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  ??? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Words In Action

            This just makes no sense to me, but it's been a long day:

            You write as though you think that Democrats...can't fart and chew gum at the same time
            How exactly does my comment convey that?

            This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

            by lunachickie on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 02:23:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm talking about doing two things (0+ / 0-)

              at the same time: working on this campaign and preparing for future campaigns. You dismissed the demographic future as though it means we won't be out working this time.

              Or so I read it.

              Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

              by Mokurai on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 07:47:58 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, it wasn't clear (0+ / 0-)

                in context here, was it? Sorry about that, let me elaborate.

                I believe there will be "future campaigns". But I also believe that we don't have the luxury of time to depend on things like "pragmatism" and "incrementalism" for the current one.

                Blow is right. We should be in a rage and we should still be "crashing the gates", as it were. And we're not really doing that with the intensity required right now. That's kind of what I got out of the article.

                This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                by lunachickie on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:08:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Definitely (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I have strong hopes for this year, because we are running about even so far. Advance polls, even before many of the primaries, put us a little behind in the Senate, with a chance of losing control, and a little ahead in the House, with a chance of regaining control, in spite of the gerrymanders. The Obamacare story is just going to get better all summer and into the fall. And then there is the Republican GOTV effort for Democrats on voting rights, women's rights, trying to cut all safety net programs, immigration, and everything else in sight, even before we get to major unforced errors from candidates that can turn even Republicans in favor of the Democrat in the race.

                  Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

                  by Mokurai on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 03:23:05 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think fucking our way out of the problem (3+ / 0-)

        is a real solution.  If the Republicans weren't an extension of the Klan the political distribution would a whole lot different.  And one day the Republicans won't be.

        Hillary does not have the benefit of a glib tongue.

        by The Dead Man on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 06:12:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You know what V said in V for Vendetta... (10+ / 0-)

    "People shouldn't be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people."

    Let it be so. After all, we hired them. We can fire them just as easily at the ballot box, if we mobilize and organize.

    "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." - John F. Kennedy

    by boofdah on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 08:35:24 PM PDT

    •  My favorite movie (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mostserene1, boofdah, raspberryberet

      Amd statement.
      The other one is Jefferson's about the Tree of Liberty...
      Greece has huge protests because of the austerity that being rammed down their throats, yet this country is so divided right now.
      Many people don't give a shit how many die from lack of healthcare.
      Or that UE benifits were slashed.
      Or that SNAP was definded.
      Many people think the UE are just lazy and sucking off the government's teat.
      Then look at the dtupid people that rage agains 'socialism' but state keep your hands off my SS.
      Or they cheered when the police brutalized OWS.
      I don't know what it will take til people get mad enough to rise up and kick their asses out.
      Look how the the Rethugs have treated the poor and women, yet people still vote for them.

      Nobel peace prize winner Barack Obama did not just pick up that 3:00 am phone call, but, as has been noted, he mostly stayed on the phone making war and sending out drones for his entire terms in office.

      by snoopydawg on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 09:02:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Republicans (and their wealthy owners) are (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snoopydawg, raspberryberet

        very clever - they motivate their base to turn out and vote by stoking the fires of rage - putting hot button issues on the ballot (gay marriage, anyone?), and by leveraging their ability to rat-fuck the elections system to disenfranchise likely democratic voters (yes, I'm talking about YOU, Florida, and YOU Ohio, and all the other Republican states where similar voting obstructions have been enacted since 2010.)

        We need to get Democratic and Independent voters MAD, and MOTIVATED, and VOTING for candidates that can reverse the GOP's recent years of destruction!

        America's LAST HOPE: vote the GOP OUT in 2014 elections. MAKE them LOSE the House Majority and reduce their numbers in the Senate. Democrats move America forward - Republicans take us backward and are KILLING OUR NATION!

        by dagnome on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 09:54:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They ARE afraid! Why do they work so hard to keep (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, boofdah, raspberryberet

      everyone from voting?

      "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

      by merrywidow on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 06:15:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bread and circuses are still too plentiful... (5+ / 0-)

    for people to fully wake up. Eventually congress will stop extending unemployment and when that happens then we might begin to see some rage.

    A fully belly and TeeVee are not what inspires change.

    When the Republicans are in power they get what they want and when the Democrats are in power they still get what they want. At what point do people finally see it is just theater? ~ Me

    by fToRrEeEsSt on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 08:42:27 PM PDT

    •  Um... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jobobo, raspberryberet

      Congress has already stopped extending UE benefits. Many are into the 4th month of destitution in an economy without jobs. You hear some blustering here and there from pols who know it's just noise - before they admit that Congress isn't going to change its tune.

      They used to fear the "Do Nothing" label. Now the GOP embraces it as its reason to be, pols get themselves elected by promising to do more nothing than their do nothing opponents. We the people get the government we deserve, even if it's not the government we want.

      There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

      by Joieau on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 07:22:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think they promise to do nothing though... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        in many cases they would do us a favor if they did. No news is good news and no legislation is good legislation these days.

        When the Republicans are in power they get what they want and when the Democrats are in power they still get what they want. At what point do people finally see it is just theater? ~ Me

        by fToRrEeEsSt on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 08:03:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The get elected by promising to move us BACK (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau, raspberryberet

          towards the fictional 1950's Ozzie and Harriet family life that never really existed for most people!

          America's LAST HOPE: vote the GOP OUT in 2014 elections. MAKE them LOSE the House Majority and reduce their numbers in the Senate. Democrats move America forward - Republicans take us backward and are KILLING OUR NATION!

          by dagnome on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 09:56:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Let's see... (12+ / 0-)

    In 2012, 58.58% of registered voters in Texas actually bothered to cast a ballot.  And that was 43.73% of the voting-age population (I'll grant that some of those are ineligible to cast a ballot.)

    In 2010, just 38% of registered voters, and 27% of the VAP, turned out to vote.  In 2006, 33.64% of the registered voters (26.44% of the VAP) bothered to vote.  In 2002, 36.24% and 29.35%.

    So if 27% of the voting age population is voting, and around 55-60% of them vote Republican, you wind up with a government that represents something like 15% of the population.  And that explains how you get Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, and Louie Gohmert.

    The fact that as much as three quarters of the state does not care is infuriating.

    29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 08:55:06 PM PDT

  •  In our April city council election (13+ / 0-)

    which usually has a turnout of perhaps (if we are lucky) 10 percent, the main issue was continuation of a hard-fought victory to put a non-discrimination code in place.  It was put in place (3-2) and one of the people who had voted for it was up for re-election as was one who voted against it (because Jesus had spoken to him, he said).  There was another very conservative candidate who was against the code, and one who was for its continuation.  So four candidates, two incumbents on both sides of the issue -- two new candidates on both sides, and two seats up for grabs.  The local equality alliance worked hard to let people know about the vote and get people out and I can only imagine that the conservatives who showed up and overwhelmed the sessions last summer with their anger about the abomination that was happening in their home town...  Well I can only assume that they were trying to get their vote out.

    The vote was a higher percentage turnout than they ever remembered for the April election.  It was only 16 percent, but that was shockingly high, and the city wasn't prepared for it.  Vote counting took forever.  But by midnight the results were out and the two in favor of the continuation of the hard-fought non-discrimination ordinance were elected overwhelmingly, by hundreds of votes over the two other candidates (and the incumbent who said that Jesus had spoken to him came in a distant fourth).

    The moral of this story is dual:

            Get out the vote matters, and can make a dramatic difference; and

            The arc of the universe is moving toward justice and acceptance, even in deep reddish-purple rural counties in reddish-purple states.  

  •  The question is, who is outraged (4+ / 0-)

    and about what.  The problem is, the Americans who are most outraged are outraged about the wrong issues and at the wrong people.

    For instance, when I mention stuff on social media like the wealthy and corporations hiding money overseas to avoid paying taxes while aid to poor folks gets cut, or when I mention people dying because their state didn't expand Medicaid, the response is subdued.

    But if I mention that Obamacare is succeeding, my conservative friends lose their shit and bombard me with bullshit.

    As the saying goes, the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.  But I'll take it one further.  A lot of those among the worst are folks who used to be among the best and used that passionate intensity in the service of progress.

    A week ago, my friend who has done heroic work signing up hundreds of uninsured people for Covered California, went to get her car fixed by her usual mechanic.  But when the mechanic guy found out what my friend does, he and his wife (who works at the shop with him) went off on her about how she was using their tax dollars to help moochers and lowlifes, and how it was killing liberty, and other right wing bullshit they'd been spoonfed.

    The thing is, white working class folk like this mechanic used to be the kind of folks who led revolts against concentrated wealth, were the kind of folks who fought for workers rights and the social safety net.  They once followed FDR and Huey Long and John L. Lewis.  But I have to say, most of them are now lost to the other side.

    It's not as simple as saying that liberals and Democrats aren't pushing the right populist buttons or issues.  Many of them simply aren't animated by those issues, in fact many have bought the boss's argument, or more commonly they've been successfully persuaded that the real causes of our problems are liberals, government, immigrants, people on welfare, political correctness, greedy public employees and unions, and especially Obama.  And they're the kind of folk who will go out and take out their outrage on all those things at the ballot box this fall.

    Economic reform in this country has historically been driven by the white working class.  Many, not all mind you, but many are no longer on the side of reform but of reaction.  How or if they can be won back, I simply do not know, but I do believe we need to keep trying.  Eventually the demographics may create a majority big enough to make real reform possible.  But the task for reformers will be much more difficult and reforms will be much further down the road without those upon whom reform has historically relied, the white working class, by our side.

    "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

    by puakev on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 09:49:28 PM PDT

    •  How they can be "won back" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, cybrestrike, raspberryberet

      That will happen when the damnable propaganda spigots are turned off.


      This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

      by lunachickie on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 05:09:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you mean Conservative propaganda spigots (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        those won't be so easy to turn off, being fueled by unending streams of right-wing billionaire money, and vested corporate interests.

        Now, indicting and convicting oligarchs like Charles and David Koch would be a good start!

        America's LAST HOPE: vote the GOP OUT in 2014 elections. MAKE them LOSE the House Majority and reduce their numbers in the Senate. Democrats move America forward - Republicans take us backward and are KILLING OUR NATION!

        by dagnome on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 10:00:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  X2 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      nosotros no somos estúpidos

      by a2nite on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 05:40:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Puakev, what did your friend do? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      How did she fight back when she had the opportunity to do so? Did she ask questions as to whether he had health insurance? They probably did not. Did she point out that the ACA was to help people like him? Did she point out that non workers already had access to Medicaid but that working folk with to little for insurance were getting some help? Did she ask if he went on the web to look at the exchanges? At what was offered?

      Too many of us crumple at signs of opposition or attempt to lecture, to give "facts." Asking questions is much more effective.

      "They" can only be won back one person at a time and not by throwing up our hands and discussing ad infinitem their failings.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 02:42:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Afghanistan had a higher voter turnout... (3+ / 0-)

    ...even under the threat of death from the Taliban.

    credit to The Daily Show for that tidbit.

    I'm a blue drop in a red bucket.

    by blue drop on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 10:41:18 PM PDT

  •  This is not the first time that a diary of yours (0+ / 0-)

    has left my speechless. Thanks Ken.

    You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment.

    by MikePhoenix on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 01:31:56 AM PDT

  •  Disagree; their rage was appropriate just misdir- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raspberryberet, Words In Action

    ected. Evil greedy rotten rich got bailed out; we paid. It helps them that they are anti-everyone bigots. Makes it easier for the evil rotten republicons to do nothing & get away with more evil.

    Evil is winning because good people are doing nothing & others vote for it.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 03:00:01 AM PDT

  •  I forgot; what I want is something (3+ / 0-)

    that can't be advocated here.

    OTOH, more Americans have to act like citizen & not consumers in a dystopian market. I know we have power because evil rotten Rs are taking our votes away & using other means to destroy us. We don't need terrorist to destroy America; we're doing a great job alone.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 03:09:33 AM PDT

  •  I'm Going to Suggest Something Incredibly Radical (9+ / 0-)

    Democratic candidates should run on things people want. Propose a platform that people are interested in. The voters will come.

    Berating non-voters because neither candidate has said anything that appeals to them will not work.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 05:03:59 AM PDT

    •  The Fact That It Seems So Easy (7+ / 0-)

      And that virtually no Democratic Congressional candidates will do it indicates to me that there is something else going on here:

      Our bigwigs would rather lose elections than allow Democrats to sully the Centrist credentials of the party with scary ideas about protecting Social Security or increasing spending to create new jobs.

      "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

      by bink on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 05:06:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Many people here have been saying this for years (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cybrestrike, raspberryberet

      The problem is that you can't think of things as 2 parties: one populist Democratic party and one pro-business Republican party.

      The pro-business side dominates many aspects of even the Democratic party.

      Before we can even get to your wonderful, "incredibly radical" suggestion, we have to take back the Democratic party.

    •  Not radical enough (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias, raspberryberet

      What is more important--or at least as important--is that when they run on what people want and win, that they make serious efforts to enact that once they get into office.

      The Democrats won wave elections in 2006 and 2008. But when Barack Obama was elected he put in place people comfortable with the general contours of the Reaganomic consensus, people cozy with big banks. He let the previous administration off the hook for its criminality. He ditched his promises of transparency. The Democrats in Congress--despite depending massively on union backing to win elections--let the Employee Free Choice Act fall by the wayside.

      Say what you will about crazy right wing Republicans. But when they win on crazy they go all out to enact crazy.

      When the Democrats win on sanity, they get into office and shrug, resigning themselves to being on the defensive.

      •  Oh crap. We have a lot of good Democrats (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        in office: those in the Progressive Caucus and those in the Black Caucus. But you don't support them; you don't even give them lip service. You slime them.

        You imagine criminal lows into being and then castigate people for not acting on them when there are not real criminal laws that fit their behavior. You refuse to pay attention to the battles undertaken and won. There have been a lot of successful actions against the big traders.

        You aren't realistic about things like checkoff for unions. They did try but could not get enough commitments to bring it to a vote. But you damn them all. You don't have words of support for the good guys.

        Praise for acting as you want goes a lot further than slamming the whole group for the wrong ideas of some.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 04:00:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've been asking that same question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    here.  I was a child of the 60's and we were enraged and took to the streets.  I agree - I only hear a whimper.  We all need to be enraged and we all need to GOTV in 2014.

    If you acknowledge it, you can change it.

    by Raggedy Ann on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 05:04:49 AM PDT

  •  I'm so angry I'm running for precinct exec (5+ / 0-)

    Despite knowing nothing about the process.

    My opponent is a Republican who was handpicked by our local Democratic party.

    Our country is so messed up right now that Democrat / Republican doesn't even describe things.

    There are the candidates of the wealth (many) and a few progressive voices (the few)

  •  Choices (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, cybrestrike

    What to do? Scott or Crist? A republican or a republican-pretending-to-be-a-democrat? Which guy that I actively worked against last time should I vote for this time?

    Ya, to hell with that.

  •  Because when both parties are bought and paid for (5+ / 0-)

    there is no choice involved in voting -- unless you're lucky to be able to vote for a Warren or Sanders.  Otherwise, even if voting for a "lesser" evil, those same rich bastards keep on winning no matter who you vote for.

    Hillary does not have the benefit of a glib tongue.

    by The Dead Man on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 06:07:33 AM PDT

    •  You say that and support Hillary? (0+ / 0-)

      You obviously don't know the difference. What about those who are working their hearts out in the Progressive caucus? Their budgets? Did you talk them up or are you sit damning them from your high perch.

      Hillary's hand was on all that conservative legislation that got passed in the coPresidency of the Clintons. You know, NAFTA, DOMA, DADT, deregulation of financials, no more welfare etc. Her votes for wars and Patriot act and NCLB and so on.

      Her deep background was conservative Republican; she was a Goldwater Girl for pete's sake.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 04:12:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  YES! the GOP is terrified of mass voting, so those (0+ / 0-)

    people who don;t think their vote means anything, look at how hard they are trying to make sure you can't vote? !

    THAT ought to be motivation

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 06:13:21 AM PDT

  •  It should be clear (0+ / 0-)

    that the whole effort from the Rs and the Kochs is based on this calculation. Only half or less of the pop vote. The two prong attack then should be make even less people vote (disenfranchisement has gone to the roof), squeeze the lemon of the always voting populations by making them permanently afraid and outraged.

    Meanwhile the Democratic party has centered in get out the vote, and has been outflanked on the access to voting. There should be a proposal or even presidential action in voting and voting rights for federal elections, as much as possible. We should also pursue enfranchisement and making voting easier and also give people clear reasons on why they need to vote. Say it clear; this guy is coming to get your Obamacare your Medicare your Medicaid. This guy wants to give ANYONE the right to force ANY religious believes upon you when you shop, go to hotels, restaurants, receive treatment, buy medicines...

  •  Wisconsin has very high turnout (0+ / 0-)

    in presidential elections, we're regularly second or third in terms of percentage of people voting- over 70%. But Midterms, we barely hit 40%. and that's the difference between having a dem governor, state senate and two dem senators, and having the rs run the trifecta. I think voting needs to be mandatory- like in Australia. if you need an id just use your drivers license. you have ' donor' on there, why not have it say 'voter' as well? then all you need to do is present your drivers license and you can skip the extra cost of getting a specific id. voter fraud is almost nonexistent, you'd have to fool the poll workers  and do all sorts of stuff, just to spend 5 minutes filling in a few bubbles.

    •  And for those without drivers' (0+ / 0-)

      licenses? That is the first way of limiting those who can vote.

      Don't you get it??? That is exactly what the Repubs advocate. You need a birth certificate for that.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 04:19:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  all people would be provided ids, regardless if (0+ / 0-)

        they drive or not. i dont drive and i have an id. rather than limiting voting, you provide everyone an id , regardless if they drive or not, as a public service.

        •  Those states are requiring (0+ / 0-)

          a certified copy of the birth certificate. It cost me $15 a copy to get mine.

          Furthermore for women they may need to get their marriage license because of the name change. That also costs.

          Did you have to show those? The states requiring ID for voting requires those. When I got a driver's license I didn't need that.

          Then they  require you get the ID at the MVD office but there are only one in a county and the hours are limited. Look at the requirements of those states who require government photo ID (but not college ID) in order to vote.

          Fake voters are a figment of the right wing imagination that you seem to support. There have been mistakes in registrations but that is not the same thing and doesn't affect the vote.

          I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

          by samddobermann on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 10:48:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  not at all sam. I am well aware (0+ / 0-)

            voter fraud is non-existent, and that what Republicans are doing is odious. I support making the voting easier, and if ID must be required that one ID serve as proof of  person. In other words, the same Id you use for your drivers license ALSO serves as proof of being a registered voter.That is far cry from what the Republicans are doing, which is basically serving as a poll tax, by denying student ids and requiring copies of a birth certificate. I don't support that at all. I support expanding Early voting, which Wisconsin has curtailed twice under walker. The longer the early voting period, the more people get their votes in, the shorter the lines on election day. added to that is increased voting locations, so you don't have 5 hour waits in places like Milwaukee or 9 hour waits in Miami.

  •  Most people aren't political junkies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I agree with Blow and thank the diarist for sharing this.  But I'm not sure how many people (even "traditional" democratic voters) know who the Koch brothers are.  

  •  Civic engagement begins in the family. (0+ / 0-)

    In my family, we are taught there is no more important civic responsibility.  Perhaps this is because of the hard history on both sides of the family tree.  We were also taught to engage others at every opportunity to encourage voter registration, to encourage working with others for the betterment of our community.  I was lucky in that it was reinforced through my public school education (though the school system didn't realize they were creating a progressive... ) It is the duty of everyone to help create the social attitude that not voting is not acceptable in a democratic society.  The shirking of that responsibility is nothing more than shifting the burden to those who do remain engaged to do the heavy lifting to protect the rights of those who do not vote.

    “The aim of mankind should be to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”--Edith Hamilton (1867-1963)

    by cinepost on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 06:56:36 AM PDT

  •  It isn't just apathy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Another reason why there isn't rage is that, on anything other than abortion and gender issues, strong, emotional criticism from the left is politically and socially unacceptable in the United States.  That's why such criticism often is presented in the form of humor, by people like Jon Stewart.  But this isn't funny.

    A terrible beauty is born. --W.B. Yeats

    by eightlivesleft on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 07:04:31 AM PDT

  •  Elegant, But - (0+ / 0-)

    When the Democratic Party offers little more than warmed over neoliberalism and "me-too" Republicanism - one cannot get too upset at those who would rather watch a rerun of "The Lucy Show".

    Worldwide, the left has been in retreat for a generation - offering few new ideas and fewer challenges to the rapacious political and economic spirit of the early 21st century. Should one really be surprised?

  •  Thank you. Excellent column. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. Marx

    by Marihilda on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 07:41:14 AM PDT

  •  ken, Thanks for all you do. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, StevenWells

    You are an inspiration to the Kos Community!

    We must vote.  We must blog.  We must demonstrate.  We must be active wherever we are.  

    Speak out.  Occupy.  Demonstrate.  Never give up.

    Remember that Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina voted 90% for FDR and the Democrats in 1936.  The South will vote for economic policies that help them, but southerners have to be convinced that the GOP is stringing them along with their moral policies.

    We must vote.  And, we must organize.

    Voters should select people to represent them in their government. People in government should not select people who may vote!

    by NM Ray on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 08:35:09 AM PDT

  •  What enrages me more... (4+ / 0-)

    ...than the items on Blow's list - about which I was already enraged - are some of the responses right here: ...the elections are compromised...both parties are bought and paid for...blah, blah, yadda, yadda...

    Sure, there are plenty of reasons to be discouraged and cynical, but there are none - absolutely none - for doing nothing but useless gum-flapping.

    Will your election choices this year be limited to just a small turd and a larger one? Then suck it up and go with the smaller one for now. If more had done that in 2010, there might never have been a Speaker Boehner and two dozen states refusing the Medicaid expansion or passing voter restriction/union-busting/reproductive-health-limiting bills, for instance.

    Nobody gets off the hook. If all we've got for the time being is crappy and crappier, I'll go with simple "crappy" every time, if only to keep us from "crappier," which is merely the first step in the direction we supposedly want.      

  •  Women and people of color (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There should be a 90% vote for Democrats by women and people of color.  Assume at the federal level the vote is corrupt due to the power of the 1%.  Locally younger candidates from any party who speak like those of us at DK will hopefully attract votes.  We know Democrats and urban areas are shoved into large districts in red states so it is easy to give them long lines, few machines and ballots and perhaps even fix the vote.  Registration is going to be Jim Crow.  We are facing fascists on the right.  They are power-drunk with their massive advantage.  Force them into mistakes and over-reach.  Forget the "false equivalencies".  Without some influence on the political system, the slim thread of democracy will disappear.  Once enough "people" are in office, they can work from within to restore morality, integrity and democracy again.  

  •  a challenge to readers and to teacherken & charles (0+ / 0-)

    teacherken and Charles when you are able to give a reason why individual stories, stories like mine, and people, people like me, take every action, vote in elections, and when help is critical, it's not there, even in the form of reading and signing a petition to get that help, I think you have the answer to why people abdicate.

    I haven't abdicated, but people who've been in my circumstances and worse, we've experienced the absolute power of absolute wealth and its abuse, and others look away-people who could help and don't-

    people like senator kay hagen who reprimanded me for bringing what she thought, incorrectly, was a state issue to her-or the nc attorney general's office who simply, and i do mean simply, thought it was a case of me "not being happy with the laws in nc"

    teacherken and charles please check back tomorrow to see how many people have read and signed my petition at here

    all readers will have their answer to why people abdicate, or not-i will provide an updated posting, meg

  •  what people feel is not irrational (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    I spend enough time on right wing sites to know that they're every bit as disillusioned with their party and politicians as we are with ours, and the weird thing is how the complaints are the same.  Wall Street and the Fed really are destroying the economy to make themselves rich, Israel really does dictate our foreign policy to us, the NSA really is the Stasi reborn and the only freedoms we have left are the ones the powers that be haven't found necessary to take away yet, politicians really are a bunch of corrupt fools who'll do anything for money and do nothing but pander for votes, and shadowy forces really are corrupting the culture from top to bottom and turning people into dumb, scared, terminally dependent serfs.

    The belief that the system just doesn't work anymore is truly bipartisan, and while RWers have the luxury of advocating radical transformation and violent overthrow, we don't.  We have to leave the ball in the government's court because at the end of the day we want a strong and activist state (so long as it's liberal) ... while RWers have the luxury of believing that a strong and activist state is unnecessary and is inevitably liberal.

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 10:21:53 AM PDT

    •  They also... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...allow themselves the luxury of not acknowledging - or even realizing - to what extent the state is already strong and activist in decidedly un-liberal ways.

      But then, people often fail to notice things that don't bother them.

      •  they acknowledge it and approve (0+ / 0-)

        If anything, they think the state isn't going far enough to combat alleged minority perversion and criminality, the toxic mixture of underachievement and entitlement that supposedly transcends race (and sex), and the liberal identity politics and victimology that created and continue to legitimize them.  At the same time however, a lot of them think that RW activism is ultimately self-defeating by trying to strengthen the state - "How can bigger government fix problems that were caused by big government?" - rather than strengthening "the culture" and protecting and expanding the citizen's right and duty to enforce standards.  Hence their disillusion with politics.

        Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

        by Visceral on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 11:00:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, I guess it depends... (0+ / 0-)

          ...on how they define "problems that were caused by big government."

          And upon which of them are doing the defining.

          •  they're actually pretty consistent on that point (0+ / 0-)

            "Big government" causes all America's problems - from promiscuity to asset bubbles - by systematically severing socioeconomic cause from socioeconomic effect, be it in the name of equality or in the interests of the rich and powerful.  The smaller government gets, the less power it will have to enable rich and poor alike to reap where they did not sow as well as insulate rich and poor alike from the consequences of their actions.

            Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

            by Visceral on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 11:22:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I know that's the claim... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              ...but going back to my original point, there are numbers of areas in which they're perfectly happy with "big government" solutions - those "perversion(s)" you mentioned; stricter controls on voting and reproductive health/choices; federal supremacy over state laws addressing pollution, workplace safety or manufacturing standards; and so on - but they either convince themselves these aren't their hated "big government," or rationalize they're serving "greater freedom" or some such.

              •  yes, they belive they're promoting greater freedom (0+ / 0-)
                or rationalize they're serving "greater freedom" or some such.
                This shit only makes sense when you begin with the same assumptions that the conservatives themselves do.  They believe that liberals have by and large succeeded in locking everyone into a system that explicitly serves the interests only of liberals' favored demographics - blacks (the more ghetto the better), women (the more "independent" the better), GLBT (the more flaming the better), etc. - with unlimited funds and zero expectations or consequences, which are returned back to liberals as votes.  Thus the conservative project is seen from inside not as an attempt to defend and expand Straight White Male privilege, but rather to abolish the privileges claimed by these other groups and in particular claimed against SWMs - the classic "reverse discrimination".  The exercise of state power to discriminate against and deprive these groups is likewise perceived as instead diminishing state power to subsidize and promote them.  Fence sitters see these groups losing rights and resources that they had but they don't know that those rights and resources were artificial to begin with .

                Freedom in this context means A) no legal obligation to serve or indulge these groups, B) no legal and more importantly no social consequences for not doing so, and C) not being taxed or otherwise disadvantaged in order to "empower" them with welfare and affirmative action.

                Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

                by Visceral on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 12:20:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Reminds me of an old song: (0+ / 0-)

                  "Two Different Worlds"

                  Every time I hear a conservative describe what they understand as "liberal thinking," it... I was going to say "bears no resemblance to what I or any other liberal/progressive I've known actually thinks" (and sometimes it doesn't), but I've gotten the version you describe as well... I'll say in this case it's more like a distorted, funhouse mirror reflection of it.

  •  Voter suppression (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LillithMc, Words In Action

    With the Republicans implementing voter suppression in many states should tell all of us something. They are afraid that people are going to vote and if the majority of the people did vote no Republican would be employed in most of the states they now control. Why do you think the Republicans, with the blessings of the US Supreme Court, are doing everything they can to suppress the voters? They know that if you can't beat the voters at the polling place then cheat them at the polling place. The Republicans are aware of the fact that even some conservatives are pissed off however they can control them however they cannot control minorities and women. Therefore, implement unconstitutional voting laws. Why not, this US Supreme court has validated that the Constitution was wrong when it gave every citizen the right to vote. This is the most corrupt US Supreme Court since the last 100 years.

  •  Rage takes energy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    The oligarchs understand this well.  In the middle ages, the peasants had far better reasons than we do to feel rage.  Occasionally it would flare up, and they would march with pitchforks.  Some minor noble would pay the price for everyone's misdeeds.

    Then the peasants would go back to their normal lives, doing the work they understood, living the way they always had.  Their righteous anger was spent, and it was simply too hard to keep it flowing for a long time.

    Modern rage is similar.  The collective "we" feel anger at all the misdeeds of those in power, and we rise up to change it.  But typically only a few minor leaders fall, and our energy is spent.  We go back to our lives -- and nothing is really changed.

    If you can somehow overcome that apathy, you might change things.  But there is so much rage nowadays, all the time, that it simply tires out the masses.  How do you march all the time and still feed your family?

    The power brokers are very good at draining and misdirecting that rage.  They understand very well that a weary mob never raises pitchforks.

  •  Political awareness is unevenly distributed across (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the country, and within districts.  Lots of "us" are angry, and some of "us" have been that way for a long time.  But how am I supposed to communicate to people in West Virginia whose drinking and bathing water has been poisoned by lack of effective government regulation that they need to start voting against the interests of the coal industry?  See the recent New Yorker article on WV for more.

  •  This strikes a blow right to my heart (0+ / 0-)

    I know a lot of people who go along in their little world ignoring the fact they have the power to change the world.  It is angrifying and heartbreaking.

    I've seen it quoted here and Gandhi had it right: "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

    "All it takes for evil to flourish is for one good man to do nothing."   That has got to stop.

  •  Blow's lament falls short. (0+ / 0-)

    Suppose that everyone did vote.

    Who would they vote for?

    Our election system is a gigantic lie machine. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are filthy with dirty campaign contributions from large corporations and the ultra-wealthy, putting out campaigns so pervasive that they brainwash the American public into believing that no other legitimate candidates exist, boosted by constant coverage on corporate "news" media that magnifies the so-called "Streisand Effect" to its theoretical limit. First-past-the-post voting virtually ensures that even if there are a few dissenters who vote third party, those parties can never win and those voters will be lambasted and ridiculed by their ideological Big Two neighbors, who will blame them for making it harder for their precious candidate to beat the other one.

    Election after election, most of us lie to ourselves, pretend our chosen Big Party isn't so bad and if they can only win the next election everything will turn around. We tell ourselves this lie even though we know that both parties are dirtier than Satan's ass, even though we know that year after year we're lied to, sold out and forgotten about because the people we elect to do our work in Washington are too busy paying back favors to the people who got them elected and angling for a cushy post-career sinecure to do the job we elected them for.

    No wonder there's so much voter apathy. Even people who can't exactly explain how they're being abused can still tell when it's happening, and they know voting doesn't matter if it just keeps putting the same useless crooks in office.

    What we need isn't just a surge of voters. What we need is a surge of radical, highly-informed voters, dedicated to making the nearly impossible happen by an act of unprecedented unity of vision. We need a surge of voters who demand progress more than they fear it.

    Instead, we just have us... and the democracy we deserve.

  •  I was born liberal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Even as a baby I thought my mom was an idiot! I taught myself to read before I started kindergarten with the help of a Mickey Mouse phonograph and a phonics record and no help from my mom since she could not read. When I offered to teach her to read, she said, "Why so I can waste all my time reading like you?"

    In first grade I watched the anti segregationist hold a 'parade' outside the playground fence while holding the hands of my 2 best friends. They were burning the mayor in effigy, though I didn't understand at the time, I knew what they were doing was wrong. Oh, those 2 friends? One just happened to be the only black child in the whole school!

    As an adult, I met my kindergarten teacher again while searching for a preschool for my daughter. She was happy to see me and showed me a Polaroid of 2 little girls in angel costumes with their arms thrown around each others shoulders, one black, one white. It was me and my friend.

    She told me how she had hung that picture in her classroom just to piss off my mother who had gone to school to tell them to keep that little N away from her kid.

    I didn't know that at the time either but I knew my mother didn't like black people, I just didn't care.

    As a teen I spent my weekends taking care of handicapped kids for free so that their parents could spend time with their other kids. Mom didn't like that either and threatened to cut off my allowance, I just didn't care.

    I left home at 16 and put myself through college, something that my mother said was wasted on girls, I became a special ed teacher, that really pissed her off, I didn't care.

    So many grown people vote republican and others give them a pass because they say they were raised that way... NO... I knew better at 6 years old, I knew right from wrong no matter what... they know better... they just don't care!

    So sometimes doing the right thing means you have to "just not care." Sometimes it means you have to turn against friends and family and sometimes it means you have to rage!

    Get out and vote, it is the smart thing to do.


    •  You sound like you were an (0+ / 0-)

      amazing child!  I'll bet you are pretty cool now, too.

      Spending all sort of time complaining and trash talking that all politicians are the same and all are bought is not going to lead to any change but it will block any sort of improvement.

      We were a lot better off when we had a house majority even if we had to put up with the blue dogs than we are now from our 2010 abdication and the resultant Repub takeover in the House and many States.

      There is a difference in the parties despite what the sozzled cynics have to piss out.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 12:16:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Vote by Mail is the solution (0+ / 0-)

    Oregon has been using 100% Vote by Mail for years. People in other states should demand access to this process.  

    For those who choose not to vote by mail, the ballot box could still operate. They could arrive with their mail-in ballot, or the process could prioritize a ballot box submission over mailed in ballot.

    Each person then would have the right to go to the Elections Office after any election to verify which process was used (to prevent fraud). Oregon law allows you to go to the Elections Office to verify that your mailed-in ballot was received and counted.

    BTW, Ohio Republicans are currently trying to suppress voting by refusing funds to districts that allow Vote by Mail.

  •  The One Thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    All of these outrages are brought to Americans by blind acceptance of our ridiculous electoral process.  We don't need campaign finance reform.  We need to rethink the very concept of privately-funded elections.  Perhaps if we start using that verbiage, people will respond.  To many voters, "campaign finance reform" means "they want to raise my taxes".  "Privately funded elections" has a more dangerous tone, and rightly so.

  •  The Pseudo-Democracy of Elites Must Die (0+ / 0-)

    if we are to build participatory technocracy embracing

    --proportional representation [no more winner takes all]
    --public financing of campaigns
    --abrogation of gerrymanders
    --strict term limits
    --excrypted ballots & voter-IDs
    --stiff penalties for vote-suppression  
    --restoration of 'Eisenhower' fair tax rates
    --green/labor/consumer majorities on corp boards of directors, as per Germany 1955 - 2014
    --stiff regulation or nationalization of banks

    Adam Smith himself said capitalism w/o regulation strangles markets & ensures oligopoly…quod erat argumentum.

    •  pseudo democracy, or how we became like Russia (0+ / 0-)

      I think public financing of campaigns is the only way to go. It could be far less expensive, in every sense, than elections are today.
      Also, I think capitalism is eating itself alive, because they are doing a lousy job of self policing. The lap dog regulatory agencies are just a drain of tax money and may as well be abolished. Class action law suits would work far better than the regulators.
        Unfortunately, the only way to end the oligarchy, is to NOT vote for the people that spawned it. Since a vote for a democrat or republican is supporting the oligarchy, patriotic Americans must vote for non-republicrats. They know what's going on, but it is against their selfish interests to fix it, so, throw the bums out!


    I completely agree with the views expressed by Charles M. Blow in his recent "New York Times" op/ed piece. However, I think the principle reason for the electorate's "eh" attitude of "Why should I go to the trouble of making the trip to my local precinct's ballot box, when my vote won't matter anyway?" is obvious. These apathetic voters are CORRECT in thinking that their vote doesn't count because anybody with the sense God gave a goose knows that the big bucks from large corporations and wealthy individuals are what's fixing elections and corrupting the political process nowadays. Americans' most precious right to participate in fair and open elections, where one person equals one vote, is fast disappearing. Gee thanks, Supreme Court...FOR NOTHING.

    •  apathy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tigger Too

      I agree that it seems as though the vote counts are made up. It wouldn't be all that surprising considering how self serving they are. But what else is a citizen to do, other than outright physical revolution?    I guess you could fight by closing out any accounts at the too big to fail banks; and not buy products of companies that cause harm to the people such as Monsanto (gmo foods that they refuse to label), or the big telecoms for enabling the surveillance state, or the energy companies that fight against anything that will diminish their grip on energy, etc. I already do  these things, but am not religious about it. It feels good to hit them in the pocket book, where they will feel the most pain.

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