I’m starting a new NRA
It’s finally getting personal with this birthright nonsense, now that I have two children who were born here to a dual citizen and a non citizen. The wife is paranoid enough that she’s fast-tracked her own US citizenship even though we probably won’t be staying here… at that point all four of us will have both (we already got our kids Aussie passports). It sucks… the kids don’t really want to leave, and they have a really wonderful and terrific school that they go to, and we get along much, much better with my own family than we do with hers. But I don’t know what kind of future there is gonna be long term unless things change radically. Maybe they will. I’m trying to put faith in the younger generation over here because they have been taking it up the ■■■■ from 30 years of oligarchy and austerity and are getting fed up (as are a lot of people my age who are no better off financially than we were in our 20s).
It’s getting harder to recognize this place these days. I’m convinced that the movie Idiocracy is slowly becoming our new reality.
With you mate. I had read way back in 2016 (feels like a decade ago, eh) that one of Stephen Miller’s pet projects was getting rid of birthright citizenship (since the vast majority of folks getting it are likely to be of a certain skin color). I remember thinking it was such a laughable stunt. Not anymore.
I am actually no longer expecting the Democrats to win the House on Tuesday. I think the racist fear-mongering in the last week is going to get the Republicans over the line. So, essentially full government control and complete prostration to Trump.
Would LOVE to be proven wrong…
Joseph Stiglitz has been awarded this year’s Sydney Peace Prize, principally for work on the growing inequality in the US which he warns, should be heeded all over the world.
Just some quick statistics that ought give one pause for thought – or, better still, action:
- In the last 40 years, income of the top 0.1% has quadrupled, the top 1% has doubled whereas the bottom 90% has actually declined, in real terms
- Adjusted for inflation, wages of those at the bottom are about the same as they were 60 years ago; and
- 3 people (that’s right, three…) are wealthier than the entire bottom 50% of the US.
It’s a reminder that the flower of democracy is extremely delicate and needs to be watered with far-sighted economic management that aims to minimise the gap between rich and poor, not expand it.
That might start making America great again…
I’m sorry but the Democrats are no friends of the people of America. They run policy on the interests of their corporate donors, not their constituents. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the Republicans retain the house, I’m over here in Canada and the midterms are obviously paid a decent amount of attention and I really see no sign of the Dem’s learning the lessons of two years ago. To me, it’s like getting smashed in the face by your left or right fist - what’s the difference.
What I would really like to see is a few Green or Independent (say Tim Canova) candidates win some seats and really force the Democratic party to listen to true progressives in that country.
If you honestly think the two parties are the same, then you haven’t been paying attention. Some key differences that affect the “people of America”
- One party passed legislation that has helped tens of millions of people get healthcare for the first time, including many poor people receiving it for free. The law gave protection to people with preexisting conditions and in rural areas. The other party went to court to stop it applying to everyone, and then when they were in power went a few votes in the Senate shy of passing a law which would have undone the above.
- One party when in power passed laws that gave tax cuts and stimulus to the poor during the recession. The boost would have been bigger and involved less tax cuts to the rich but they had to negotiate with the other party who put limits on it in the name of the deficit and preferring high income tax cuts. That other party, when in power, despite the economy doing well, pushed through a huge deficit creating set of tax cuts aimed squarely at the rich and corporations.
- One party has discussed ending social security and medicare. The other wants to expand them.
- One party consistently improves the deficit while in power. The other consistently worsens it.
- One party called for the Fed to stop injecting funds into the economy during the recession and keeping interest rates low, warning it would cause inflation (which never happened). That same party is now criticising the Fed increasing interest rates when the economy is strong.
- One party is trying to increase the minimum wage.
- One party tried to get equal pay requirements through for woman. The other party blocked it.
- One party is trying to tighten controls around guns. The other party let the ban on assault rifles lapse.
- One party is trying to clean up its act on male sexual assault and harassment. The other party regularly nominates and supports men who have done this.
- One party wants to introduce a pathway for dreamers to become citizens. The other uses migrants as a fear mechanism to drum up support.
- One party in the name of abortion is reducing access to women’s health across the nation, and supported court action to stop employers covering women’s health items (in the name of religious freedom, despite corporate health care being the only source of health care)
- One party supports worker power and unions. The other party has spent 40 years busting unions.
- One party is pushing systems to disenfranchise voters across the nation.
- One party supports minority rights. The other supports bans on cross-gender groups, shooting blacks, disenfranchising Native Americans, Latinos and blacks from voting, attacks Jews, demonises the other and supports white supremacists.
- One side supports strengthening environmental controls and reacting to climate change. The other party withdrew from the Paris accords.
- One side of the political spectrum is behind 75% of terrorist attacks in the USA since 2001. The other is behind 8% (Islamic ideology is behind most of the gap between the two).
- One party (at state level) cuts back taxes, then when revenue falls (despite saying they wouldn’t) cuts spending to teachers, government agencies and welfare. The other wants functional government services.
- One party wants to means test and put drug testing restrictions on SNAP and other welfare programs despite evidence they have no impact. The other wants a safety net, and better unemployment cover.
But heh, both accept corporate donations and both have gerrymandering. So I suppose their exactly the same, right?
Do you have any thoughts on the points above? In light of them, do you have any arguments for why the two parties are the same?
Well, sure, but besides that…
I actually think it’s both.
There are progressive democrats that want all of what ants said.
There are also corporately backed “republican lite” Democrats.
E.G. there are plenty of democrats that run on a pro gun platform.
This election might end up being a referendum on this. If the progressives get really high turn out and unexpected wins, the party as a whole might recalibrate the direction they go.
The big change in this election will be the state level races. The Governorships, the state houses of Congress, the local officials. These are what the GOP took control of while the Dems were focused on the White House.
The Dems will be able to undo a lot of the gerrymandering that the GOP did during Obama’s time. They are expected to have governor’s mansions for ~60% of the US population. This is a substantial long term win.
Wow, Ants, that is an impressive and comprehensive list that emphasises the differences between two parties. That said, don’t you think that FOF has a point in urging or preferring an increase in the number of Green / Independent candidates?
While the Dems are definitely better than the GOP, so many of the items on the list could be improved by more progressive voices in Congress. Healthcare, for one, springs to mind and a truly universal healthcare scheme – the so-called “single-payer” (government) proposal – that Sanders championed would be a start.
For whatever reason, the Dems aren’t able to paint a picture as compelling as your list. At least not in a way that strikes a chord with the voters. I guess that FOF’s disillusionment is a product of that failure. To win elections parties need to win hearts and minds and the Dems, possibly because of their obligations to corporate donors, don’t tell their tale with anywhere near the persuasiveness required to match the Republican machine. Or maybe the GOPs storytellers, in both politics and the media, have fewer qualms about playing fast and loose…
A 2 party system, in a fair and equal environment, should naturally gravitate to a 50:50 split of the electorate. If one party is getting 40% of the vote, then they will shift their policies to reach 51%.
What I see happening in the states is a party with far less than 50% support, who instead of changing their policies to match the will of the people, is manipulating the game to keep their ideas intact.
It will be interesting to see how the respective parties (here and in the US) evolve over the next 10-20 years as baby boomer numbers start declining more rapidly and the population majority becomes dominated by the (currently) younger generations.
Republicans destroy the Democrats when it comes to staying on message no matter how polarizing that message may be. Unfortunately, in Trump, they have discovered that as long as you can whip 25% of voters into an angry frenzy, and couple that with all matter of ways to depress the vote, you can stay in power.
Worth a read DM, scary though it is:
THE scene is pure theatre.
A wall slides open to the setting sun, the crowd is whipped into a frenzy and the music reaches a crescendo. A jumbo jet emblazoned with “United States of America” glides past in a graceful landing, before nosing back into view as Simply The Best blares from the speakers. A door opens, and a man with a stiff orange hairstyle waves and walks down the stairs, taking the stage to God Bless The USA .
At times, during Donald Trump’s Saturday Florida rally, I am almost swept up in the crowd’s mania, feeling an urge to clap as the room goes wild. More often, it is wearisome, with the President repeating all the familiar lines — the dangers of the migrant caravan, the US becoming a “sanctuary for ruthless gang members”, corrupt Democrats who let others “steal our jobs”.
The crowd hangs on every word, booing or cheering as the pantomime requires, waving signs and chanting the key phrases: “Drain the swamp!”, “Lock her up!”, “USA! USA! USA!” and even “Space Force!”
Donald Trump had the crowd in ecstasy as he touched on all his most popular topics — the migrant caravan, botched ‘Obamacare’ and the theft of American jobs. Picture: Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images/AFP Source:AFP
Mr Trump is nearing the end of his astonishing run of 11 rallies in six days leading up to the midterm elections on Tuesday. He’s the “Energiser Bunny”, according to one onlooker, and it may be his greatest strength. There are dramatic storylines, goodies and baddies, and childlike whimsy. This is why Mr Trump is seen as a president who keeps it real.
“He’s not the status quo of Washington,” Chris Oaks, a 30-year-old sound technician, tells news.com.au. “The divide that we have here in America, I kind of put that off on past politicians.
“He is pro-America, he’s not for the socialism that is taking over the world, in my opinion. He’s pro-capitalism.”
The President draws in his fans here in Pensacola with dark tales of socialism and financial disaster under the Democrats, before painting a beautiful picture of his dream America. The audience can’t get enough.
‘THE RED WAVE IS COMING’
Some in the long queue outside the airport hangar have camped overnight to ensure they get in, while others arrived at dawn for a rally due to start at 6.30pm. There is a festival atmosphere here on the conservative Florida Panhandle, with portable toilets, entrepreneurs selling merchandise from carts, and spontaneous singing from queuers dressed in red, white and blue and slogan T-shirts.
The pop music with a message is key today. There’s Macho Man , Sweet Home Alabama , Under Pressure and YMCA. Mr Trump even sings a few bars of the latter to help us recall the name of his new trade agreement, USMCA (US-Mexico-Canada agreement).
Making an entrance #Trump
It’s the last weekend before the US goes to the polls, and Mr Trump is going full-throttle to make sure the Republicans retain control of Congress. The Democrats may struggle to gain a majority in the Senate, but are expected to win the 23 House of Representatives seats they need for a majority. Even Mr Trump this week allowed for the possibility, insisting it wouldn’t matter. The crowd here is confident “the red wave’s a-coming”.
The President kicked off his mega-run of rallies in South-West Florida on Wednesday, and was back in the battleground state three days later, determined to ensure the rest of the purple state turns as red as Pensacola, on the northwest Panhandle.
Mr Trump needs Florida. The state chose him in the presidential election by a 1.6 per cent margin, but also twice voted for Barack Obama.
It is where the President spends his weekends at his lavish Mar-a-Lago golf resort.
“It’s my home also,” he tells the crowd. “I love the state of Florida and I have to tell you, we love the Panhandle.”
Here, Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum will fight it out for governor in one of the nation’s tightest and hardest-fought races, while outgoing Republican governor Rick Scott and incumbent Democratic senator Bill Nelson face another too-close-to-call match for the Senate.
Mr DeSantis is a man crafted in Mr Trump’s image. The Republican former navy prosecutor has appeared in a TV advert teaching his young children to “build the wall” with blocks and to say “Make America Great Again”.
Barbara Walters from Alabama is right at the front for the Florida rally, ready to get Trump’s signature #Midterms2018
He uses the same phrases, the same style of speech — the President at one point jokes that the gubernatorial candidate has “stolen his speech”.
Mr DeSantis is not the only one. “America is back and we’re just getting started, Florida,” Vice President Mike Pence tells the crowd.
It’s a celeb-packed affair, with boxer Evander Holyfield and American football coach Bobby Bowden also in attendance.
‘THE CHARACTER OF OUR COUNTRY IS ON THE BALLOT’
Florida is also where Cesar Sayoc allegedly put together a chilling plan to send pipe bombs to some of the country’s most vocal Democrats and Trump critics.
Many have blamed Mr Trump’s incendiary statements and tweets for galvanising the suspect’s white-hot fury, and for hate-fuelled violence such as the killing of 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the worst anti-Semitic attack in US history. But the President does not accept culpability, instead pointing the finger at his political opponents and the media.
He tells everyone to turn and insist the media to move the cameras around and show the size of the crowd.
“They never do,” he mocks, as the audience turns, some waving and cheering, some shaking fists and booing. Others are searching for the despised CNN, or their favourite far-right bloggers.
In Florida there is a choice between a Harvard/Yale educated man named @RonDeSantisFL who has been a great Congressman and will be a great Governor - and a Dem who is a thief and who is Mayor of poorly run Tallahassee, said to be one of the most corrupt cities in the Country!
Florida is the perfect embodiment of a deeply divided America, with Mr DeSantis and Mr Gillum a personification of each side.
Mr DeSantis has painted the Tallahasee mayor as anti-police and made much of his acceptance of tickets to Broadway show Hamilton from a group including an FBI agent. Mr Gillum, who could be Florida’s first black governor if he can capitalise on a wafer-thin lead in the polls, denies any wrongdoing and is not under investigation.
But Mr Trump has seized on the opportunity, calling him “a thief” and mayor of “one of the most corrupt cities in the country”.
On Saturday, he called Mr Gillum “a radical socialist” who “will tax and regulate your jobs into oblivion” and “end all borders”, warning: “When you have people camping out on your front lawn, remember Gillum has people come in.”
Republican candidate for governor Ron DeSantis at the Florida rally. Picture: AP Photo/Butch Dill Source:AP
Outgoing governor and senate candidate Rick Scott. Picture: Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images/AFP Source:AFP
Barack Obama with Florida Democratic nominee for governor Andrew Gillum, left, and incumbent Senator Bill Nelson. Picture: Rhona Wise/AFP Source:AFP
On the other side, Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama have been issuing their own warnings as they campaign for Mr Gillum and Mr Nelson in Florida.
“The character of our country is on the ballot,” Mr Obama told a crowd of 4000 in Miami on Friday. “In the closing weeks of this election, we have seen repeated attempts to divide us with rhetoric designed to make us angry and make us fearful, that’s designed to exploit our history of racial and ethnic and religious division, that pits us against one another to make us believe that order will somehow be restored if it just weren’t for those folks who don’t look like we look, or don’t love like we love, or pray like we do.”
Everyone will be watching this election. It has become a debate about what America stands for, and how it exists in relation to the rest of the planet. Gender, class and race are paramount.
“I’m not calling Mr DeSantis a racist,” said Mr Gillum in his final debate with his Republican rival on Wednesday. “I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist.”
Thomas Brown, attending with his 17-year-old son, says he used to vote for Mr Obama, until he realised, “Presidents say things, and don’t do it.”
Mr Brown, one of the few African-Americans in the crowd, isn’t concerned by accusations of racism, and is impressed with Mr Trump’s effectiveness on unemployment and undoing the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“He’s no worse than anybody else, judge people by their actions,” says Mr Brown. “He seems to care about America, and when America does well, we all do well.”
What a night, crowd hanging off Trump’s every word. Seems like he’s a rockstar here, but will it be reflected across the state on Tuesday? Most of these people are convinced it will #midterms2018
TRUMP’S GREATEST TRICK
Mr Trump is hoping the great trick he pulled off in 2016 can be repeated, using a tried and tested method. There are always new talking points — birthright citizenship and the unfair treatment of Brett Kavanaugh, for example — but the repeated sound bites and catchy refrains work.
What’s more, they trust his record on employment and the economy is all the evidence they need.
“He’s one of us,” says Sandra Miller, from Mississippi.
But that’s just it. Billionaire Mr Trump is, if anything, awkward in his displays of empathy. “Take care of the person!” he tells security when an unwell woman needs to be helped out of the crowd.
His words of sympathy over the recent hurricane are also typically odd. “It was a bad one, that was like a giant tornado, that wasn’t a hurricane that was like a 50-mile wide tornado, incredible,” he tells the crowd.
Perhaps that awkwardness, his stumbling over words, is what makes him relatable.
“Nobody’s ever seen anything like that, but you are great people and we are with you one thousand per cent,” he adds. “In just three days, the people of Florida are going to elect Rick, Scott and Ron DeSantis to protect jobs, defend your borders and continue making America great again we’re just days away from one of the most important elections of our lives.”
There’s one other vote that may be even more important to Mr Trump — the presidential election in 2020. He has never stopped campaigning to win that second term.
“We will never surrender!” he declares at the end of the rally, channelling Winston Churchill as the emotion reaches fever pitch. “We bleed red, white and blue!
“Our new theme — we could probably do it now because we’re so ahead of schedule — is Keep America Great.”
The room rings as the crowd joins in with his refrain
Scary. Effectively so. We are beyond help.
Think that happened in Bavaria recently, with the Greens taking a swag of the votes in a relatively younger demographic.
As in location? San Francisco.