The Watering Hole, Saturday, November 8, 2014: That Was No Mandate

If you’ve been paying any attention to right wing media this week (and I hope for your sake you’re well paid to do so), you’ve been hearing the “M”-word thrown around a lot – “Mandate.” Conservatives running the gamut from Hannity to Ingraham to Limbaugh to Rove (okay, maybe that’s not the whole gamut; maybe it’s just B-flat to C-flat) have been claiming that the Republican gains in Congress Tuesday night represent a mandate to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as “the reason so many people have health insurance when they couldn’t get it before, or, “Obamacare” for short.) Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, they’ve been telling a lot of lies to make their point.

Writing an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal (I won’t link to it since it’s subscription, but the MMFA article has one), Karl Rove claims that the results proved Americans’ “disgust with a six-year liberal experiment.” Yet just one week before, the very same publication ran a story saying the ACA was not a major issue with voters, and that only eight percent of voters rated it the most important issue factoring into their vote. Laura Ingraham just flat out said the election results indicates that the country hates Obamacare, wants to repeal it and replace it with something else. Again, this is an opinion not supported by the facts. A recent Rasmussen poll indicated only 39% support for repealing the ACA, and the last time I looked, 39% was less than half. Sean Hannity also reached the delusion that the election proved Americans hate the ACA (conservative Americans do, but they hate everything, don’t they?), and suggested that even if Obama vetoes a bill to repeal the ACA, they should try to go after it piecemeal, as if the president won’t notice provisions in all these bills reaching his desk trying to roll back some of his signature legislation. (Logic doesn’t work on Hannity, so he assumes it doesn’t work on anybody else, either.) And Rush Limbaugh tried to claim that opposition to Obama’s policies was the will of the people and that, “There is no other reason why Republicans were elected yesterday.” Actually, Rush, there’s the little-mentioned matter of severe Gerrymandering on the part of the Republicans. If not for that, they could not have won control of the House this decade. It is, in fact, the single biggest reason we need to get Liberals and Progressives to get out and vote every single year, ESPECIALLY in their statewide elections. We need to turn state legislatures blue before the 2020 census so they can redraw the districts in a way that better reflects the will of the people in those districts. Only about 36% of the electorate turned out to vote this year, and low voter turnout almost always favors Republicans.

And that’s another reason this was no mandate. Less than 40% of the nation showed up to vote. You cannot claim that these 40% spoke for the entire nation, or that the results of their votes reflect some misguided notion that Americans want Republican policies to govern. They don’t. If anything, conservative policies (and the candidates that support them) are more of a turnoff to voters than liberal ones. Two states and the District of Columbia put pot legalization on the ballot and it won in all three. Californians passed sentencing reform for non-violent low-level crimes. New Jersey voters passed bail reform, to make sure only the dangerous ones are held on bail pending trial. And voters in Washington “both approved a measure to close a loophole in firearms background checks, and rejected a competing ballot initiative that would have narrowed the state’s gun laws.” These are not policies that a Conservative Congress would support, and it’s difficult to predict how they’ll pass legislation preserving the will of the people in those states, given how much Conservatives say they favor States’ Rights. It will also be interesting to see how a Republican-controlled Congress deals with the will of the voters in the nation’s capital who want to legalize pot given that the Constitution grants the Congress sole legislative authority over the District. Especially since our once pot-smoking president can veto any attempt by the GOP to thwart the People. Assuming he’s not too drunk to do it. I know I’d start drinking after a night like that if I were him.

This is our daily open thread. Have at it.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, October 25, 2014: Five Republicans I Fear Might Win

Courtesy of the good people at Right Wing Watch (a project of People For the American Way dedicated to monitoring and exposing the activities of the right-wing movement), here are five Republicans I fear might win on Election Day (which is just one week from this coming Tuesday.) What’s even more frightening than the mere fact that they won their party’s nomination is that they may end up being members of a Republican-controlled House and Senate. And that would be horrific for anybody in this country who isn’t a white, male billionaire which, last time I checked, was just about all of us.

The five names you don’t want to hear announced as winners on Election Night (or however many days it takes to count up every vote against them) are Joni Ernst, Thom Tillis, Jody Hice, Glenn Grothman, and Zach Dasher. The first two wish to become US Senators (in our government!) and the other three wish to become US Representatives (representing the interests of the very, very rich in the People’s House.) Ernst wants to replace retiring Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and Tillis wants to unseat first term North Carolina Senator Kay Hagen. Over in the House, Hice wants to replace the out-going non-believer in Science (and member of the House Science Committee) Dr. Paul Broun (who once called Evolution and the Big Bang Theory “lies straight from the pit of Hell“); Grothman wants to replace retiring Wisconsin Rep Tom Petri (who won’t endorse Grothman because, as he told a reporter, “Why would I endorse a person who has said that if in two years people said he was ‘just like Petri’ he would be insulted?”); and Dasher wants to bank on his family name (which isn’t his; he’s related to the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty fame) to replace the freshman Republican Vince McAllister.

I encourage you to read about each of these five candidates at the link above. Believe me, if you have any sense of decency as a human being, if you have any concern whatsoever about the extremist Tea Party people taking over our government so they can do the bidding of their wealthy benefactors, or if you have an IQ in the three-digit range, you will not want any of these five people to win a week from Tuesday. If they have the right view on anything, I can promise you it’s probably for the wrong reasons. And talk about extremism. Among them, in various combinations, they support: nullification of federal laws they don’t like, personhood amendments, Christian nationalism, anti-abortion laws, and the arming of school teachers. And I just picked one thing out of each of their platforms. They support many, many more extremist positions. I will be very unhappy if any one of them wins, and I will be downright depressed if any of them win and the Republicans take control of all of Congress because any of them might become the head of a Congressional committee. You should be, too.

This is our daily open thread. feel free to discuss Republican extremism or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, October 18, 2014: Is Stupidity Worth the Price of Religious Freedom?

In an impassioned (if somewhat inaccurate) defense of “speaking the truth,” Senator Ted Cruz (Regressive, NeverNeverLand) completely mischaracterized and fabricated a rationale for a subpoena brought about in a legal dispute over the validity of petition signatures to overturn a Houston, TX, ordinance that hasn’t yet gone into effect, and which could not have been used in the manner he feared even if it did. He’s not the only one doing it. TV personality on his own network and malignant boil on the skin of religious liberty, Pat Robertson, is also making up his own reasons for the subpoenas. The subpoenas in question were intended to find out what instructions were given to signature gatherers organized by five local pastors. Mayoral Spokesperson Janice Evans said, “Neither the mayor nor City Attorney David Feldman were aware the subpoenas had been issued until Tuesday. Both agree the original documents were overly broad. The city will move to narrow the scope during an upcoming court hearing. Attorney Feldman says the focus should be only on communications related to the HERO petition process.” They sought

“all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”

Yes. If all they were after were the instructions given to people gathering signatures, then this subpoena was unquestionably too broad. And so the city has refiled the subpoenas with the focus solely on the petition process instructions. And that’s as it should be.

But what about all the diaper-filling crying by the religious right about what these subpoenas were really about? These are allegedly educated men. Did they not understand the issues involved? Does Cruz really believe this issue had anything to do with pastors being “hauled off to jail for a hate crime because they are speaking for traditional marriage”? Does Robertson really believe that Mayor Parker’s “predilections” were exposed by this incident (the filing of the subpoenas), and that it’s the worst demand by a mayor in modern times? (Robertson must have slept through the Civil Rights struggles of the 50’s and 60’s.) According to the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) (emphasis mine)

…bans discrimination based not just on sexual orientation and gender identity but also, as federal laws do, sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy and genetic information, as well as family, marital or military status.

The ordinance applies to businesses that serve the public, private employers, housing, city employment and city contracting. Religious institutions would be exempt. Violators could be fined up to $5,000.

So even if the law were in effect and the sermons sought by the original subpoenas were legally obtained, they still could not be used to prosecute the pastors under the HERO because they’re exempt. It’s hard to believe Cruz and Robertson don’t understand this. But sadly, it’s easy to believe their target audience doesn’t. They’re counting on their target audience not bothering to take the time to learn the facts about the subpoenas, and so they’re describing them in ways that have nothing to do with reality. (But then, when have Marion “Ted” Cruz or Rafael “Pat” Robertson ever been known to have anything to do with reality? No, seriously. When?) And what are they saying? Some of the stupidest stuff being said today as part of the anti-LGBT movement. They’re claiming that suppression of this nonsensical hate mongering (if that were, in fact, the intent of the subpoenas) is a violation of their religious freedom! And therein lies the problem.

No one will dispute there are limits to the rights expressed in the Bill of Rights, including the freedoms of speech and religion. There are certain things you are not allowed to say (whether you mean them or not), and there are certain religious practices in which you cannot always engage any time you wish. Because of the danger to lives that panic can cause, you can’t yell “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater, nor can you do it in a church for the same reason. Which leads to the logical conclusion that there are things you can’t say even in a church. Which leads to the question of the dividing line between speech and religion. When does religious freedom cross into the areas of speech where you are not free to roam? And even if it doesn’t cross the line of constitutional protection, how much stupidity are we expected to withstand in the name of religious freedom? And what about the people too stupid to understand the issue? What if the religious message being given is not an accurate reflection of the official religious doctrine? Is it still protected? What religious conservatives think is “pro-traditional marriage” language is often “anti-homosexuality” language, so is it still protected? More distinctly, is it protected speech or protected religious practice? If your religious beliefs lead you to believe stupid and wildly inaccurate things about your fellow human beings, which in turn cause you to say stupid, harmful things to another person, are you still freely exercising your religion? What if the foundation of one your religious beliefs is provably wrong? Are you still free to claim it’s true and that you are justified in your hatred? Are we so caught up in the idea of religious freedom that we’ll allow stupidity to become the prevailing wisdom?

This is our daily open thread. Talk about whatever you wish. Within reason, of course.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, October 11, 2014: This Week in Crazy – FEMA, Ebola, Democracy, and the Anti-Christ

Once again, courtesy of the good people at Right Wing Watch, it appears the bad people of Conservative America are really getting themselves in a tizzy over baseless fears that haunt their every waking moment. Like the long-discredited rumor about disposable FEMA coffins, or the bizarre and logically inexplicable belief that President Obama wants to intentionally infect Americans with Ebola, or criticism of the crazy idea that slashing taxes, especially on highly profitable corporations and very, very wealthy people, will bring economic prosperity if given enough time, or that western civilization will fall because of acceptance of “teh gay” as equals, or IS/ISIL/ISIS hiring Mexican drug cartels to sneak them over the border, or even the delusional idea that there’s proof in the Bible that Obama is the Anti-Christ, or something like the Anti-Christ, which I guess would be like being a particle that was like anti-matter, without actually being anti-matter. They’re scared. Let’s see at what.

In case you haven’t heard, the WorldNutDaily crowd believes that the anti-America Obama is planning on killing off five million Americans, as a prelude to imposing Martial Law all across America. As is usually the case with the Alex Jones Conspiracy-type crowd, the proof starts with a misidentified photo showing something it’s not really showing, which is happening for a purpose that isn’t really happening, all as a prelude to something else about to happen whose only connection to the first thing is that it isn’t actually happening either. In this case, the government is buying a billion dollars worth of disposable coffins because they plan to deliberately infect Americans with Ebola so they can declare martial law (and also, possibly, so we’ll look more like Africa, or because we’re racist) and then take away our guns. Again with the guns. One major problem with this particular example of mentally deranged thinking is that the part about the coffins isn’t close to true.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has a problem. Okay, not just one, but who doesn’t have more than one problem? Well, we’re not state governors trying to run a state under the delusional yet persistent conservative belief that tax cuts pay for themselves. It is simply not true. It wasn’t true when Reagan did it more than thirty years ago, and it isn’t true today. But that didn’t stop Sam from having a Brownback Mountain session with the Koch Brothers and implementing their government-destroying plan. (Remember that David Koch was the Libertarian Vice President candidate in 1980, and the budget Kansas adopted was more inline with what he wants, except that it leaves an actual, semi-functioning government in place.) And now Sam is upset because the media is reporting how badly the economy in Kansas is doing, and he thinks it’s unfair because you have to give it time to work. Except we don’t. We can see where things are going because we have things like math and science and facts and figures, and we can project that in five years, at current projections, Kansas is going to be about a billion dollars short on its budget, which by state constitution has to be balanced. The flaw is in thinking that rich people spend all the money they save by paying less in taxes, and that they do it in ways the average consumer would. But they’re not the average consumer. They make thousands of times as much income, but they don’t spend thousands of times as much on milk, eggs, and bread, or buy thousands of times as many cars or houses. Spending money is what keeps an economy moving. When spending stops, especially government spending, there’s less money to go around, and a downward spiral effect begins. Less middle class spending means a slower economy, which leads to layoffs, which leads to even less revenue for the government, which means even fewer people getting help during times of crisis, which leads to Kansas today. But exposing the truth of that is all a liberal conspiracy to discredit what Sam Brownback and the Koch Brothers think is a sound economic plan.

But the economy in Kansas won’t matter much if Mat Staver, another contributor to WorldNutDaily whose anti-gay attitude is well-known to conservatives of his ilk, is right. (And he’s not.) He thinks the entirety of western civilization will fall because gay people are being allowed to marry one another. Is it even necessary to mention that facts and history do not bear any of his view on marriage out? There have been countries in Europe that have had same-sex marriage far longer than we, and their societies are still intact, or at least not in danger of collapse due to same-sex marriage. There were people on this continent (North America, for the benefit of my international readers) who were marrying each other long before anyone introduced the concept of an Abrahamic God to them. The concept and institution of marriage does not belong solely to the religious world. There are very important legal ramifications to being married, and more and more people are recognizing the fact that their gay and lesbian friends, people they’ve known to be together for years, are not allowed the simple rights married couples enjoy, such as being the one who can visit you in the hospital and make medical decisions on your behalf. And you know it’s just bigotry against male homosexuals because the people who scream loudest about this are the ones saying, “It’s Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve.” They never say something like, “It’s Adam & Eve, not Ida & Eve.” Never. Maybe some of you have, but when I hear some homophobic bigot use the “Adam & Eve” example, it’s always that’s not two males, never that it’s not two females.

But don’t worry about being forced to get divorced and enter in to a same-sex marriage just yet (thus spreading harmful and serious disease), IS/ISIS/ISIL/Senator John McCain is about to cross our southern border. We know this because two Members of Congress (and what huge throbbing members they are) have said so. Rep Jason Chaffetz thinks so. So does Rep Duncan Hunter. The only flaw in this statement is that it is completely flawed. It isn’t in the least bit true. But why let reality get in the way of a great fear mongering talking point? Why do they do this? Because people who are afraid make poor choices. And Republicans want people to be afraid so that when they go into the voting booth on November 4th, they’ll be so afraid they’ll make the poor choice to vote for Republicans.

But even that may not matter, because the Anti-Christ is here. And he’s none other than President Barack Obama. And if he’s not the actual Anti-Christ, he is anti Christ, and so he’s something like the Anti-Christ. There’s proof in the Bible.

This is our daily open thread (late as it is). Feel free to talk about what scares you, or anything else.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, October 4, 2014: This Week in Paranoia: The Humbling Gay Ebola Gun Grab Anarchy

Courtesy of the good people at Right Wing Watch, we learn what’s got the right wing’s knickers in a twist. From soldiers being sent to West Africa to deliberately contract Ebola (a US Congressman actually said this) to gays trying to recruit your sons (I don’t hear them expressing any concern about your daughters, just your sons) to Obama coming for your guns (again, and for discredited reasons, again) to anarchy over teaching actual American History (because we don’t want to whitesplain it) to America being humbled because of the devastation Ebola will cause (undoubtedly after all those US Soldiers come back with it), the right wing in this country is becoming more and more unhinged from reality. I’d like to know what they’d say about Ebola if they actually understood how it’s transmitted from person to person. I’d also like to know what they’d say if they understood any of the other things they went haywire over lately. BTW, here’s a simple way to tell if you have Ebola: Have you been in contact with any kind of bodily fluid from a person infected with Ebola and showing symptoms? If the answer is “No,” then you do not have Ebola. It’s just that simple.

Professional Misanthrope Michael “Savage” Weiner (“Savage” is his phony name; his real last name is Weiner) actually believes that President Obama is sending 3,000 troops to West Africa in the hopes that at least one of them will contract Ebola, bring it back to the US, and infect the entire country. I am not making that up. And he must have convinced Rep Louie Gohmert (Orc, Middle Earth) who thinks this is part of the president’s problem with political correctness. I am not making that up, either. And then Ebola will turn everyone gay. Okay, I made that last one up. But I’m not the only one making things up about teh gay.

Paul Cameron, known for making shit up about gay people, was a guest of “Pray In Jesus Name” host Gordon Klingenschmitt (no friend to the either the LGBT or Reality communities), and he made the extraordinary (i.e., totally bullshit false) claim that “Homosexuals, from the get-go, as long as we have recorded history, have used the molestation of boys as a way to recruit to homosexuality.” He then goes on to spew, what I have no doubt are, made-up statistics (his leitmotif, which means, literally, “light more teeth”) to support his pre-conceived bigoted notions about gay people. “So this is a tremendous recruitment tool,” he said. “If a gay can get to your son first, the chances are about 50-50, as near as we can tell, that your son is going to be a practicing homosexual to some degree.” He feels it’s very important that your sons avoid having a “homosexual experience.” Ironically, Cameron was forced to perform oral sex on a man when he was four years old (he says.) Does that mean there’s a 50% chance that Paul Cameron is gay? Some people would say Yes.

Apparently out of any new reasons why Obama wants us all dead, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy and former (thankfully) Judge Andrew Napolitano resurrected the discredited claim that the United Nations is coming for your guns. Napolitano also tried to vomit out the lie that more guns makes us more safe. Actual studies have proven this wrong. It’s thinking like this that really puts our nation in danger. Obama’s choice to be Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, believes that gun violence is a serious health issue. The NRA disagrees, of course, so his nomination is being held up. So thanks to the same party that thinks our nation is in great peril from Ebola, we have no Surgeon General to guide the nation through this health crisis (which isn’t a crisis yet at all, and likely won’t be.) Oh, and because Obama is taking away our guns, more of us are going to be beheaded. In this country. Because it happened once.

And one can’t help but think beheadings would be on the rise if we were in a state of anarchy, which right-wing darling and presidential I-think-I-wannabe Ben Carson believes is the direction this country is headed. And because of it, he won’t get to run for president because Obama will cancel the 2016 elections. He’s also joining the chorus of ill-minded people denouncing the new Advanced Placement US History curriculum, because it isn’t patriotic enough. Growing up, I wasn’t taught the truth about American history. The times when our nation did not live up to its ideals, when it didn’t seem to know right from wrong, they were glossed over. It wasn’t until I got older that I learned about things like the Tuskegee Airman experiments, the genocidal treatment of the Native Peoples living here before white Europeans showed up and claimed the land for themselves, and the numerous times our government deliberately overthrew democratically elected ones elsewhere in order to prop up a ruthless dictator who would grant US corporations special favors. I already knew Slavery was bad. But the right wing would prefer that our students be taught only the good things about America, not the bad things that eventually made it possible to do some of the good things we did.

Yet Glenn Beck thinks that because of all the bad things we’ve been doing, and continue to do, our country is headed for a “massive humbling.” That we are going to be brought down. And the beginning of that “massive humbling” may already have happened. With one case of Ebola.

This is our daily open thread. Finally. Feel free to discuss Ebola, gay recruitment, anarchy, guns, late posts, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, September 27, 2014: F-R-C! See the Real Kooks!

Well, it’s that time of year again. Time for self-identified Conservative Christians (an oxymoron, since Jesus could never have been mistaken for a conservative) to gather together and show the world all the hate in their hearts. Yes, it’s the Family Research Council’s 2014 Values Voters Summit, where the elite will never meet, nor the smart start to take part (according to one of their featured speakers). [Courtesy of the good people at Right Wing Watch. A project of People For the American Way dedicated to monitoring and exposing the activities of the right-wing movement.]

But it’s also the place, for reasons that defy conventional logic, where Republicans who one day hope to be the legal occupant of the White House (or a self-serving Member of Congress) feel they must go to solidify their conservative credentials, which is really ironic since there are precious few true conservative values expressed there. Oh, sure, there’s all the gay-bashing Islamophobia one could ever hope to see, but that isn’t true Conservatism. It might be considered Christian Conservatism, but as I said before, that’s an oxymoron. If there’s one thing about Christianity that this Atheist knows for certain, it’s the Golden Rule: Treat other people the way you would like them to treat you. (It also happens to be my own personal guiding principle in life. I just don’t need a fear of going to Hell – which not everyone believes in, including Jews – to make me follow it.) And while I have personal doubts about whether or not the Biblical character known as Jesus actually existed, I’m pretty sure the person described in that book (or in most versions of it) would not say the kinds of things they say at the Values Voters Summit.

For example, there was Bishop E.W. Jackson (the “E.W.” stands for “Everybody’s Wingnut”), who falsely claimed that the Bible defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. Actually, if you read it carefully, that’s not what it says. There’s plenty of polygamy going on in the Bible, including with that of the first King of Israel, David (probably not his real name.) So it is factually incorrect, an important point if you wish to express a valid opinion, to say that marriage “has always been defined” as being between one man and one woman. You don’t even have to go to the Bible for proof. The people living here before the Europeans showed up and screwed everything up had a very different view of marriage. For one thing, it didn’t involve God. For another, it didn’t involve monogamy.

Then there was former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee dropping the huckaboom on the attendees by telling them that the reason Mitt Romney lost in 2012 was because Conservative Christians stayed home. The only problem is that opinion is not supported by the facts. Even Ralph Reed’s organization had polling data that showed exactly the opposite. And they were the only ones who noticed. But why let pesky things like facts get in the way of a good talking point. Or a talking point, anyway.

Then there was former half-Governor Sarah Palin, the woman who tried to be one grumpy old man’s heartbeat away from the presidency. (Do you know who she is?) Palin tried to make the point that…that, well…you know, it’s hard to figure out what point she was trying to make. She seemed more concerned with throwing out standard right-wing insults (Alinsky!) than she was with making a coherent statement. And, like so much of the right wing media, she had to get her digs in on what has become known in conservative circlejerks as the “latte salute.” And like so much of the right wing media’s trash-talking, this was a non-scandal (along with all the other non-scandals Palin rattled off.) There is no requirement that the President do anything in return when a military person salutes him. In fact, presidents didn’t even bother returning salutes until Ronald Reagan started doing it back in the early eighties, and that’s probably because he forgot he wasn’t in the 1st Motion Picture unit anymore. Seriously, it is not as big a deal as they are making it out to be, but that’s because they’ve got nothing, not even the values they claim to have.

Which brings me to one simple question about the “Values Voters Summit”: Whose values? You see, when it comes to defining morality (which, I’m sure the attendees at the summit didn’t know, Ronald Reagan said you can’t legislate), conservatives add more things to the definition than liberals, and give them equal weight! According to Dr. Jonathan Haidt’s studies,

…morality is not just about how we treat each other (as most liberals think); it is also about binding groups together, supporting essential institutions, and living in a sanctified and noble way. When Republicans say that Democrats “just don’t get it,” this is the “it” to which they refer.

Liberals tend to value fairness and equal justice much higher than conservatives, who value all those things listed as equally important. This would explain why Conservative Christians think only Christians should have First Amendment protections, or that only Christians have morals that matter. This is just self-referential opinion, confirmed by other Conservative Christian sources. It’s also a bunch of hypocrisy, since there is nothing “sanctified or noble” about gathering together and bashing the morality of more than half the country.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to talk about the loonies at the VVS, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole: Tuesday September 23, 2014 Environmental News and Food Politics

So the climate march was big, almost 400,000 in New York. Will it change anything? Did 500,000 marchers stop the Iraq war from going forward? Well the UN Secretary marched in this one, but I’m afraid climate change will be addressed locally for the next who knows how many years. Nothing will change in Washington. We need  Democratic presidents to continue to be elected until the Supreme Court can be changed, so that gerrymandering can be legally ceased, and this the balance of power (one person = one vote) can be restored. Right now Republicans hold a hugely unfair advantage in many rust belt and mid Atlantic states because of the way districts are drawn at the state rep level and the congressional level. I weep when I think of how long it will take for our political apartheid (marginalizing Democratic majorities) to be rectified. This will be a 50-100 year war, I am afraid. The stakes are high. The powerful never relinquish willingly.