Welcome to the Resistance

Last night I attended the Resistance Forum put on by PA State Senator Daylin Leach. I don’t know exactly how many people attended, but from my vantage point, it looked like well over 500, with the auditorium filled to capacity, SRO. If you’re not from around here, you may not be familiar with Senator Leach. You can read about him here. Here’s what you need to know: Daylin is a progressive, he’s dedicated to his constituents, and he is a truly decent human being. (In the interest of full disclosure, I served on the board of a charitable organization with him.) Anyway, after the jump, the Cliff Notes version of what was discussed. Please feel free to share this post, and contact me if you need a PDF of the information.

The most important takeaway from the evening, for me, was the background of WHY we resist. Yes, there were tactics discussed, but the why truly matters. What Daylin said was that it was less about individual issues (although they matter) and much more about saving democracy (small “d”) because over time, democracies have fallen, and it could happen here, too.  He gave some great markers that should be warnings for us all: the people being chosen to lead us may dismantle the governmental institutions that we rely upon; the suppression of voting rights, a free press, and by extension, free speech. These are things we must stand in opposition to, and things we must be aware of, even if we cannot do anything immediately and directly to stop them.

The Senator pointed out a history of citizen action, of resistance that has worked. He started with the Boston Tea Party, and ended with what the Tea Party began in 2009. None of these actions worked immediately, but all were eventually successful, and honestly folks, we can be, too.

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List of Inauguration Marches and Protests #RESIST

We’re not going to follow the inauguration like we have the past two years. Why celebrate the end of our Nation as we know it?

Instead we will give you info on marches and protests that will take place. Please let us know if you would like us to add an event by emailing us.

January 20, 2016

All Day – DisruptJ20 – Washington, DC

7:00AM – #InaugurateTheResistance – Washington DC

10:00AM – Bridge Together Golden Gate

10:00AM – Unpresidented Inauguration Show with   and

11:00AM – United Against Hate – Los Angeles

Noon – Inauguration Protest at Trump Tower Chicago

12:30PM – Love-A-Thon on Facebook Live

3:30PM – Rise Up & Resist Facism – Portland, OR

Various – Resist Trump – Occupy Inauguration

January 21, 2016

10:00AM – Women’s March on Washington – As of now, there are 281 worldwide marches scheduled. You can find them all here.

 

 

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President Obama presents Vice President Biden with the Medal of Freedom

As we enter the final days of the Obama Administration, this is a perfect bookend to show how truly great both of these men are.

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Easier Said than Done

While November was disappointing, the Democrats did gain seats in the Senate.  As a result, the Republicans only hold a 52-48 majority.  If three Republican Senators vote no on any confirmation or bill, it fails.  We are already seeing signs that the next two years could get very interesting — even if the Democrats are more responsible in using the filibuster than Republicans were.

Right now, the Republicans want to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  The Republicans have never been able to exactly what they don’t like about the Affordable Care Act other than that it was passed by a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress.   For seven years, the Republicans have been asserting the need to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  While the Republicans have been relatively unified on their desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they have never been able to reach a consensus on how to replace it.

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The Supreme Court — Year in Review; Year yet to Come

The big court story of 2016 was the February death of Justice Antonin Scalia.  In an unseemly display, before the body was even buried, the Republican leadership in the Senate announced that they would not confirm any nominee made by President Obama.  However, while they did not make any official announcement about other judicial vacancies, the Republicans’ approach to the Supreme Court vacancy was consistent with their approach to the judiciary in general.  The outgoing Senate only confirmed 22 judicial nominees over the last two years and did not confirm anybody nominated after September 2015 (with the last confirmation vote occurring before the July 2016 recess).  By comparison, in the last two years of the George W. Bush Administration, a Democratic Senate confirmed 67 judicial nominees with the last confirmation vote occurring in September 2008 for a person nominated in July 2008.

At the end of the day, the Democrats lost a golden opportunity to bring an end to four decades of Republican control of the Supreme Court.  A win this past November would have led to a solid Democratic majority for the next two or three decades.  However, the reality is that for the past forty years, moderately conservative Republicans on the court have formed a barrier to the more extreme positions in the Republican party winning on several issues.  As such, controlling the Supreme Court has mattered more to Republican leaners than to Democratic leaners.  (Several conservatives argued that Republicans should hold their noses and vote for Trump to keep control of the Supreme Court.)  At some point, Democrats may wake up and find a court in which Justice Samuel Alito is the swing vote, but we are not there yet.  The Republican stand on the Supreme Court probably made some Republican Senate seats more vulnerable than they would have been, but Democrats failed to explain why control of the Supreme Court matters.  Democratic voters may soon suffer for this failure of leadership.

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Happy New Year

From all of us here at Democratic Convention Watch

 

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The End

This year’s elections saw a lot of unusual, unexpected, and unprecedented developments.  So nobody should be shocked at any unexpected developments when the electoral college meets on Monday.  Having said that, Democratic activists have been barking up the wrong tree by emphasizing the national popular vote.  The reason why this strategy was guaranteed to backfire is the nature of the electoral college.

The electors are not randomly chosen people.  They are local politicians and activists who are nominated by their state party.  In short, they are not the people who are likely to surrender control of the White House to the other party.  By the rules that are currently in place, the Republicans have won the White House.  So while, the Constitution, theoretically, allows these electors to vote for Hillary, practically these electors will not vote for Hillary.

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A New Foreign Policy??

For Democrats and, especially for those progressives who voted for third party candidates or stayed home, the last four weeks have been a reminder that there are significant differences between the policies of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.  The nominees to fill many cabinet positions are people who are either clueless about their responsibilities (Ben Carson at Housing and Urban Development) or actually hostile to significant parts of the core responsibilities of their departments (EPA, Labor, Justice, Interior, Education, Health and Human Services).   The past eight years might not have been perfect for the progressive agenda and Secretary Clinton might not have been pushing as much of the progressive agenda as some would have wanted, but it is clear that the Trump Administration will be working to reverse not just the last eight years, but much of the past fifty to eighty years.

While the nominees for most positions so far seem to be the dream team of the far right, the current rumors for Secretary of State represent a nightmare for even Republicans.  Since World War II, the two parties have shared a common basic foreign policy.  For both parties, the original foreign policy was to contain communism and to promote stability by means of adding even more countries to regional defense agreements.   Within each of the two parties, there was a disagreement about how much we should emphasize promoting human rights and democracy as opposed to seeking to stabilize government willing to work with us on our overall goal of defeating the Soviet Union.

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Audit vs. Recount

Over the last two weeks, there has been much discussion of the recounts requested by the Green Party in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.   Some of this request is based on discrepancies in results depending upon the type of voting technology use, but others think that those discrepancies can be explained by the demographics of the counties.  Historically, the gap in the states in which the recounts are being requested is larger than the typical swing from a recount.

What these requests do demonstrate is the need for a regular and public audit process for the election.  Many states do have an audit or verification process, but it needs to be public.  (One of the few states that do have such a process is Arizona which not only does an audit but requires the counties to submit the results to the state and the state publishes that information on-line.)   Saying that there should be an audit does not however define what a proper audit should do.

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Protecting Democracy

democracy-header1Every day, more nominees. I never thought I’d actually be rooting for Mittens so there will be at least one adult in the room.

If you’d told me that “President of these United States” was an entry-level elected position, I would have laughed.

Who could have predicted that the Weekly World News would have gotten more right over its years of publication than what is shown on most news stations. (At the very end of this post is the best story EVER about the Weekly World News.)

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