274 Comments

Manchin, Sinema, Romney, Collins, Murkowski, etc. generally seem unwilling (to various degrees) to go along with things on grounds of scope (how big) rather than substance (the thing itself). An incrementalistic approach could plausibly get broader support and get us to where progressives think we need to go anyway, but with less social tension and more public legitimacy with the ~70% of Americans who don't pay close attention but generally trust bipartisan small steps over partisan big moves.

Plus if the alternative is getting *nothing* done, why don't progressives just go for the low hanging fruit?

Last summer the Democrats filibustered Tim Scott's police reform bill despite an open amendment process being on the table (Tim Scott and McConnell offered 20 amendments I think?) because the Democrats didn't think it was enough and thought they could get more done in a few months. Now the public energy behind police reform is gone and Republicans are being more wary of reforms to policing. I'd much rather have some kind of weak thing that the GOP was pushing then than a perpetuation of the status quo.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was preceded by the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and Civil Rights Act of 1960.

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Yes, if you are a 'moderate' you oppose big dramatic bills. Moderates like their change incremental. The problem is that the filibuster forces omnibus bills, because a bunch of little bills each have to get 60 votes, but a single big bill can be structured to pass with 50 votes.

Getting rid of the filibuster would allow up/down votes on a bunch of smaller bills, which the 'moderates' ostensibly prefer, but it is the 'moderates' who hang on to the filibuster.

It is frustrating. They hate the omnibus bills because they are too big, and they stand in the way of the solution.

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Jan 19, 2022·edited Jan 19, 2022

I think you're creating a false dilemma. The reconciliation forces an omnibus bill, not a dramatic bill. You could make incremental headway on five different fronts each year with one reconciliation bill, if you were so inclined.

The force that drives the desire to quantum rather than incremental bills is some combination of:

1. The Democrats worry not-unreasonably that they won't be in the majority next year to take the next incremental step.

2. Interest groups clearly have a lot of power in the party, and they're excited and energized by big leaps forward, not incrementalism.

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The problem is that 'moderates' (and Republicans) equate big and dramatic in their rhetoric. It works. People hear how big the onmibus bill is and conclude Democrats are forcing radical change.

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I mean, I agree that there's some element of that dynamic, where someone just uses the topline cost of the bill as a bludgeon, but it's relatively easy to combat if you are in fact pushing incrementalist policies. Lots of ways to say, "Hey, we're doing business as usual plus this, this, and this, and that's all, and you support all of those things," *if that's actually what you're doing*.

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"70% of Americans who don't pay close attention but generally trust bipartisan small steps over partisan big moves" I think this sums up the mood of the country perfectly. But 70 hardly counts cuz of deference to the 30% or disinterest in participating. Dems always want bigger and better yet seldom even demand credit for what they do pass. How anyone in their right mind can think that 'voting rights' is more important that Electoral College Reform right now in the United States is beyond explanation or relying on propaganda not facts.

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Who thinks 'voting rights' is more important than Electoral College Reform? Voting rights is an ongoing battle that has to be fought and is fought with some success. Electoral College Reform is almost impossible to achieve due to defective constitutional design.

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OOPs! I meant Electoral Count reform...you're right about College reform, in another life

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Jon Chait has a good post on this at nymag: "Why Biden’s Losing Fight for Voting Rights Was Still the Best Plan"

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By "last summer" you must mean 2020. You're positing that Dems should have accepted the GOP's weak tea in advance of an election in which they expected to retake the White House and Senate, and burn through their party's political capital on the issue, all while conceding the pretty widely accepted red line on "qualified immunity?" That doesn't sound like a good bargain to me.

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If they had accepted what the Scott's bill, why would they have been unable to come back and add to it?

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My point is that this is a 20/20 hindsight argument. At the time Scott's bill was on the table, Dems walked away because they thought they could get something better nine months later, without burning through moderates' votes on police reform. They tried and failed. It doesn't mean they were wrong to try in the first place.

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This seems to be a major problem to me. Progressives are so convinced that Republicans won't do anything good, AND that they are just one election/presidential speech away from being able to accomplish everything they want.

You see this with people wanting Biden to threaten Manchin/Sinema with all kinds of things if they don't pass the legislation they want.

You saw this in the Democratic primary where candidates talked about all the stuff they would do that never had any chance of happening.

You see it with this police reform legislation where there was no reason not to take what the Republicans were offering and then if you could do more do it, but instead now they walked away with nothing. That failure means they were wrong because that failure was always going to occur.

You see it with the ECA reform where Democrats should take what they can get and if they can pass more later do that.

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On police reform: again, they were faced with taking a bad deal, demoralizing the left wing and giving the moderates an excuse to walk away from the issue with a "win", OR waiting until after the general election to see what kind of margins they might have and going for something bigger. Furthermore, 1) the idea they should have taken the deal is predicated on believing Scott's bill could get Trump's signature and get through the House; and 2) Booker and Bass negotiated a new bill with Scott in 2021, and were close on most everything, including qualified immunity, until Scott backed out due to the opposition of the National Association of Sheriffs, which is basically the law enforcement arm of the militia movement.

It seems to me that you think Democrats should run on policies/priorities, but once elected they should cede control of their agenda to the GOP. Democrats have, for years, advocated for changing federal election laws to nationalize standards, strengthen the VRA, prevent GOP attempts at voter suppression, and end gerrymandering. They had a chance, albeit an outside chance, to do that this year. If they had decided, instead of pursuing their agenda, to drop everything and at the first hint of some bipartisan compromise on the ECA, that would be political malpractice. Its wrong, ethically and practically, to assume that you'll always lose and the opposition will always win. What you're describing isn't politics, it's Stockholm Syndrome.

The Democrats tried on the VRA, and it appears they failed. They continue to be open to pursue an ECA deal if they want, assuming it wasn't a disingenuously offered lure offered in bad faith in the first place.

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Negotiating with the other party to pass bipartisan legislation so that you can accomplish something is Stockholm syndrome?

Again, it's not as if once you pass legislation you can't ever go back. But the assumption that you can't ends up causing you to cast each piece of legislation as do or die, instead of accepting incremental progress.

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deletedJan 19, 2022·edited Jan 19, 2022
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ACA is almost as bad as SSI. All those old ladies wouldn't starve. They could just be standing in line at soup kitchens. \s

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As an elderly life-long Democrat, my enthusiasm for "my" party continues to decline. It seems to me that the current dominant political thread of the party is destructive, anti-liberal, and anti-democratic, leading partisans to distrust and perhaps ultimately to reject the legitimacy of elections. I hope it can regain what I thought were its core values.

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Could you give some examples of why you feel this way?

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ok. One example: I strongly support equal opportunity, but strongly oppose contemporary Progressive concepts that replace this concept with "Equity," which I take to mean equality of outcome. Equity has become such a shibboleth (at least within the academic circles I dwell) that even raising questions such as whether it is wise to replace the goal of equal opportunity with that of equal outcome is dangerous, potentially leading to "cancellation" ranging from mere ostracism among a minority to real consequences ranging from doxing to getting fired. We have moved into a leftist neoMcCarthyism, in which even questioning doctrine is perceived as Evil. The disallowance of rational discussion itself leads to bizarre and pathological positions within Progressive Orthodoxy. "Equity" is one example; over the next few days I'll try to add a couple of others.

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My guess is that this is a geographical thing. I'm a progressive in Kansas, and here we're just glad when people think equal opportunity is a good thing. I personally like the idea of equity, but I can't imagine myself or anyone in my area ostracizing anyone interested in debating equality vs equity.

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As a recent graduate of a New England liberal arts college, I very much sympathize with this. "Equity" has become metonymy for "Some people deserve more respect than others" in academic circles, and it is extremely annoying and counterproductive and maybe even a little McCarthyist.

But I struggle to see any ways in which this (again, extremely annoying) niche cultural phenomenon is actually influencing Democrats' policymaking. On the other hand, it's extremely clear that anti-democratic and illiberal culture among conservatives is influencing Republican policymaking, which is why I have such a problem with characterizing the Democrats as the anti-democratic and illiberal ones.

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I’m afraid you’re mistaken if you think this annoying silliness doesn’t impact policies, but I don’t want to argue about whether the democrats are more illiberal than the republicans. As a democrat commenting on a site dominated by progressives, my hope is to persuade some of my fellow Boring readers that the Democrats need to clean up their act.

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Would you like to provide an example of a way that this has impacted Democrats' policy in a significant way (i.e., not some random city council earmarking an ultimately insignificant amount of pandemic for Black businesses or something like that)?

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hmmm. I'm not enough of a policy wonk to do a proper job, but (to pick a single example) I was actually pleased by Betsy Vos's countermanding of the Obama-era Dept. of Education ruling against due process in the case of student claims of sexual assault or harassment. I had the notion that due process is a core element of liberal democracy.

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Here are two more examples:

1. Gender. I'm a biomedical researcher; my support comes from the National Institutes of Health (thank you, US taxpayers!). Some 25 years ago it became MANDATORY when submitting a grant proposal (even one studying the structure of a bacterial protein) to include a section in the proposal addressing "sex as a biological variable." This was a heavy-handed effort to increase our understanding of possible clinically-relevant differences between men and women. Since then, an intellectual push by progressive elites, largely unchallenged due to a combination of regrettable apathy and understandable fear, has continually pushed the gender envelope, such that now we see the replacement of the term "pregnant women" with "pregnant persons" in the biomedical literature.

2. Declining respect for democracy. (Note that I consider Republicans more culpable than Democrats, but IMHO no real catastrophe is likely unless the two partisan camps push each other further and further into illiberal madness.) In 2018, Stacey Abrams lost the gubernatorial election in Georgia by some 50,000 votes. She noted that her loss might have been related to her opponent's efforts to reduce the total number of voters, leading her to claim that the election was "illegitimate." So far as I know, no Democrat of national standing has ever publicly questioned the facts of her claim nor the tone of her rhetoric. Along with previous anti-democratic claims like the silly argument that Trump defeated Clinton because of Russian help, this helped to fuel the appalling misconduct of Trump and his supporters after the 2020 election. And now, rather than working with Republicans to fix obvious defects in the laws regulating presidential elections, the Democrats have chosen instead to fight for partisan reforms using rhetoric that inevitably further diminishes public confidence in elections.

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Also interested in specific examples. The Democrats have a bad case of annoying rhetoric and poor strategy, but I have trouble seeing how they are anti-liberal or anti-democratic.

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Jan 19, 2022·edited Jan 19, 2022

I'm an elderly Democrat too. Here are my examples:

1. The BBB, pork barrel for rich mothers;

2. Climate change hysteria, let's litter the landscape with solar panels providing unreliable electricity;

3. Vox;

4. The NY Times;

5. Voting rights hysteria (I've voted 60 years without any more inconvenience than a line); what country are these people in?

6. New York's firing Andrew Sullivan;

7. The criminalization of male/female relationships.

8. Picking dumb fights all over the world, with China and Russia most recently.

Richard's list is I'm sure different. But if you want to know why the Democratic party is sinking like a stone, take my list as that of the median voter and ex-Democrat. And remember, old people vote.

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Not to be overly argumentative, but these all just sound like Fox News talking points to me combined with non-statements.

Fox News talking points: criminalizing male/female relationships (What?), BBB pork barrel (again, what?), climate change hysteria (which, given your followup, makes me assume you might just be Pro-NIMBYism).

Non-statements: Vox, NYT... what about them? You're angry at the Democrats because there's a liberal online news source in Vox?

Finally, I definitely don't know what you're talking about with China and Russia. Democrats didn't start the trade war with China. And they explicitly blocked the sanctions bill on Russia involving the Russia-German pipeline.

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I've never watched Fox News, and have repeatedly criticized height restrictions on new development in my part of Brooklyn, which should be building 100-story buildings. My comment was about what the Democratic Party is getting wrong and why it's bleeding voters, and your comment is going to bleed another.

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If you’ve never watched Fox News then I’m doubly curious why you think the democrats are trying to outlaw male/female relationships. I’ve never heard that sentiment expressed except by fearmongering conservatives.

And I’m sorry, but if your stance is that pushing back against what I see as false narratives will push people away from the party, then we’re in a Catch-22. Either the Dem party is awful and you should leave, or the members of the Dem party are awful for disagreeing with your assessment that the Dem party is awful, and again you should leave. That’s what I’m hearing from your reply.

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I have no problem with argumentation; indeed this seems a useful place for argumentative discussion. My problems in that direction relate to silly ad-hominem attacks and empty rhetoric. I support (to quote Superman) Truth, Justice, and the American Way. uhhh well anyway, I'd like to reach a deeper understanding of truth, at least.

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What I perceived as empty rhetoric was actually why I responded. I don't really have any problem with criticizing the Dem Party. Lord knows Matt does it often enough, and most times he does I agree. What frustrates me are attacks that don't appear to have any basis in reality or that are skewed through what looks to me like a conservative prism.

That was why I went through the full list of items above, because the things that actually apply to the Dem party, like criminalizing anything, don't appear to be actual things the Dem party is doing. And the other parts of the list, like hating Vox and NYT, aren't actually related to the Dem party at all. Vox doesn't control what Joe Biden or Congress does in any way, so why would Vox's existence affect your feelings toward Dems?

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What exactly are the issues that make you consider yourself a Democrat?

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hmmm. For example: I support free speech and conscience. I support equal opportunity for all. I would like to see a reduced Geni with more equal incomes and wealth within our country than we now have. I support multinational organizations dedicated to greater international harmony and understanding. I am concerned about climate change. I am concerned with gross global inequities that lead to profound misery for much of the world's population. I would like to see humans reduce their ecological footprint.

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At this point almost nothing. I would have once said inequality and tax policy. But these don’t seem important to today’s Democrats.

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I live in Kansas, so have zero familiarity with Dem stances on building height restrictions in New York. Does that issue break down into right vs left, or is it something that doesn't naturally fit in party lines?

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Mine is different, but related.

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Very reasonable question. I lack the time and energy to reply now, but will try to provide a list probably tomorrow. Indeed, as pointed out by E Blanco, much of what sets my teeth on edge is "annoying rhetoric," but yes, there are a variety of things that go far beyond that. A problem always is talking about "them," because groups are not monolithic, but I'll see what I can do.

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I live in Virginia and the false belief that turnout would help the Democrats was unfortunately clearly overturned when the g o p took back the state house and the house in Richmond. The reality for Democrats is that they made it easier for people to vote and they voted for the Republicans instead of them. I don't know how long it will take for Democrats to finally understand that demographics is not destiny. But that people vote for who they identify with and based on emotional connection.

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In addition, they seemed to run on fear of Trump, when Trump wasn't President and the GOP specifically didn't hold a primary so that they could keep out the "Trumpier" candidate. Democrats in VA did a lot of popular things in the the previous 2-4 years. Yet, almost every Democratic ad that I saw was about Trump. Democrats really need to stop running ads for their base.

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I think Republican attitudes on voter accessibility are more complex than Matt suggests, which might make bipartisan agreement harder to reach.

GOP elites may well believe, mistakenly, that making it harder for working-class people to vote benefits their party on net. So if you provide them with evidence disproving that claim, you may be able to persuade them that voting ought to be made easier.

But rank-and-file GOP voters see any steps in that direction as facilitating "voter fraud", and I don't see how you can disabuse them of that belief without tackling the underlying delusion that voter fraud is a real problem. Republican elites have good reason *not* to challenge the delusions of their ordinary supporters, on this issue as well as others.

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It's not even just rank-and-file GOP voters. People in general seem to have a concern about voter fraud that far exceeds the reality based how easy they think it would be to cast a fraudulent vote. It's only very informed liberals that seem to be aware of how rare it actually is.

TBH I think more election security theater is inevitable, and it should be an area Ds are willing to compromise on.

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I never bought into claims about widespread voter fraud at any point in my life, but working as an election judge during the 2020 election had the dual effect of a) showing me just how hard it would be to enact large-scale fraud, and b) giving me the experience to explain to more conspiracy-minded folk how hard it would be at the nuts-and-bolts level.

It's not that one person couldn't cast a fraudulent vote if they were so inclined and motivated, but the ability to coordinate massive fraud on a level enough to impact an election (AND GET AWAY WITH IT, TO BOOT) boggles the mind.

Usually when I call upon my personal experience to explain to people how unlikely large-scale voter fraud is, they seem to walk away at least a little bit moved off the idea, but I don't know how you translate that to a much larger population.

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I'm curious what an election judge is? Do you mean, a regular judge who...hears voter fraud cases?

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They oversee polling places and ensure that the rules are being followed. I had to deal with one this year because there was a paperwork error where I had some documentation saying that I'd changed my registration to my new county in time and some that said I didn't, so he had to go over the state's voting rules to determine if there was language about my eligibility. In the end, he called the county (which had a superior court judge on a hotline for these questions) to make an official ruling

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My solution would be to issue everyone with a free, mandatory passport at age 17, with free mandatory renewal every 10 years. I can see this solving some other problems besides voter ID.

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deletedJan 19, 2022·edited Jan 19, 2022
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And so?

Virtually every other wealthy democracy also does something similar.

It’s not as if the federal government doesn’t already know of everyone’s existence and most of the details you describe. Hell, my tax return has 100% of the information that appears on my wife’s parents’ Hukou.

What is done with the data is what matters, not the fact that it exists.

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I didn't actually read his reply as a condemnation. It seemed basically factual.

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It’s not, read his other comments.

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I think this is one of those things where statistics aren’t intuitive. If someone can see that it’s clearly possible to cast one fake ballot, then “clearly, it must be possible to fake the whole thing.”

If we did National ID and just made it where you get one ballot per scanned ID, I think most people would feel convinced the election was “secure.” But in the same way that Republicans tend to panic about the harm of easy voting, many on the left feel that ID is oppressive, even though nearly every other liberal democracy uses national ID.

So this is probably one of those things that has devolved into a religious schism and practical solutions won’t help.

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founding

I think national ID is opposed in a bipartisan way, not just by the left.

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What can be done mechanically about an illusion of voter fraud in the GOP voter base though? Even if we audited every election down to the last ballot it wouldn’t satiate that conspiracy theory.

I think it’s very important that the GOP voter base trust this process once again. But the easiest way to secure that would be for the Dems to strike a deal with whoever gets the torch from Trump to dial up a rhetoric of trusting the election process. It might come in exchange with similar rhetorical dial backs from the progressive activist wings.

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Jan 19, 2022·edited Jan 19, 2022

"Even if we audited every election down to the last ballot it wouldn’t satiate that conspiracy theory"

Audits and voting security laws, even if they're theater, do have some impact though. I think it's a trap or a fallacy to say "nothing we do we'll change anyone's mind".

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Jan 19, 2022·edited Jan 19, 2022

I don’t want to say “nothing”, but nothing practical would do it.

The only thing I can think of is to require all adult citizens to man the polls once a decade.

Having seen how many layers of security are involved, how many cross-checks from discrete actors on both sides of the aisle, even in a 93-6 Biden precinct in Philadelphia… I have no doubt that fraud at any scale above the individual is completely impossible.

EDIT: misremembered numbers.

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There is one solution, but I'm not sure it's a good one. Ending the secret ballot system would probably end most of the voter conspiracies. There would obviously still be diehard holdouts, but if you could track every vote back to a named individual, it's hard to fantasize about stuffed ballots or undocumented immigrants voting. Pair that with a PKI signature system for non-repudiation while you're at it and you have a system where fraud is essentially impossible.

Of course, this increases the risk that individual voters, especially ones with voting habits dissimilar from their neighbors, receive harassment significantly. In the current social media environment, I don't think it's viable. Oh, and vote buying becomes a real concern again too. Not great.

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Your idea reminds me of a thought experiment I envisioned awhile ago, where political parties are allowed to openly pay voters money to vote for them.

Once one party offers such an incentive, the other party would feel compelled to match them, and the two incentives would, more or less, cancel each other out. The combined effect essentially amounts to the government cutting every voter who votes a check, regardless of who they voted for, funded by progressive taxation on the rich (since it's the rich that make the campaign donations that would ultimately pay for this). And, unlike the existing progressive taxes, billionaires would actually pay it, to avoid having their side fall behind.

All that said, there are plenty of reasons why public voting records would be a bad idea. In particular, I am concerned about the potential for extremists to use threats of physical violence to force people into voting a certain way, and punish those that vote against them. If done at a wide enough scale, it could lead to a civil war. Given the country's rising political tensions, the mere creation of a way to reliably tell who voted for whom feels way to risky.

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Jan 19, 2022·edited Jan 19, 2022

Yeah. But this could easily help with people being more accepting of their neighbors having different beliefs.

Weren’t the highest voter turnouts of our nation’s history when only men voted and they did it publicly at the local community center while getting bombed? Not saying go back to that but I’m saying this public “With the 400 thousandth vote of the 2024 election Earl from down the block selects ____” could have merits.

Idk. Maybe start with primaries so it’s at least a bro out fest that everyone loves.

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My grand theory is that on matters of governance the Progressives (1st edition thereof) got almost everything wrong.

The boozing, corruption, backroom deals, and revelry were the grease that lets the wheels turn, not a pollutant.

On social and economic matters they were 90% right and arguably are responsible for having built the modern world, but on governance everything they wanted turns out to have been dead wrong.

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Interesting theory. Can you recommend anything online that's well written and espouses this view?

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And, of course, conservative state legislatures often create rules that make this kind of thing more likely. Are more dems likely to vote ahead of time? Then those votes get counted last, etc.

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As a strong democrat, the more I see of their united governance this time around the less enthusiastic I am about the future of the party. I feel like its a party run by incompetent people which is incredibly frustrating to watch from the outside. I hate the term "sister soulja moment" but Biden really needs to tell the progressive wing of the party to kick rocks or else the rest of his presidency will be a miserable slog

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I think that’s harsh to progressives. It’s really the centrists that have been killing the Biden agenda, no? The AOCs of the world have been surprisingly cooperative in getting Biden stuff passed. We just happen to live in a Senate without Sara Gideon or Cal Cunningham.

I do agree that the Democrats are often just incompetent and disorganized, but that’s part of being an intellectually diverse, big-tent party I suppose.

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There are two different forms of obstruction going on, though:

The "centrists" are blocking programs from going forward, while the Left continues to jack up the rhetoric and the expectations (and the demands). Both of these tactics make it impossible for Biden to come across as a success, because the Centrists don't want to pass what the Left wants, and the Left won't "stoop" to agreeing to whatever the Centrists will allow.

Sure, if the Centrists would just agree to the Left's agenda, we'd be fine, but it goes both ways: if the Left would just recognize what limits exist, and take the half loaf, Biden could be seen as a hero. They're destroying Biden out of their arrogance and vanity.

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So you are arguing that "rhetoric" is a bigger problem than blocking actual legislation?

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It doesn't matter who is "right" or "wrong" in this case - what matters is getting a win out of everyone's position. The Democratic Party is in full meltdown mode because of the blaming and fingerpointing that your question seems to bear out.

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You understand the problem with this theory is that the different groups are rewarded differently, right? Progressive legislators who live in progressive districts are rewarded by pushing as hard as they can against the Overton window. And conservative Dems who operate out of conservative districts are rewarded for seeming to fight against their "too liberal" counterparts.

Personally, I think this is mainly a result of having one party interested in governing while the opposing party is primarily interested in grievance politics. The Democrats SHOULD be acting more like the progressives, while the Republicans should be acting like the conservative Democrats, but because of various rewards systems (particularly those resulting from the filibuster), they're better off simply being the party of No as much as they can.

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Bouncing on some of the comments I saw, I don't think it's just about Progressives vs. Centrists. I think it's establishment vs. Twitter.

The establishment really seems scared to be called bad names on Twitter. Am I correct here? Because, if I am, I can't quite comprehend it. Don't they know Twitter is at best a few tens of thousand of people i.e. nothing in the scope of the US population?

Just do the right fucking thing and if the Twitter mob doesn't like it and think you're just an agent of the white supremacy on par with Hitler for compromising either with the Centrists or with the Republicans on some key topics then screw them. And don't be afraid of being seen telling them to go screw themselves. Trump proved that voters aren't allergic to displays of backbone in pursuit of something your electors generally like (or will trust you on).

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founding

The problem is that the establishment is on Twitter and they are subject to the availability heuristic too. The 10,000 people on Twitter look like a vast majority when you spend your life on Twitter yourself.

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And when those 10,000 people on Twitter make up most of the journalism in the country …

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And no one pays attention to journalists anymore anyhow (except for R voters and Fox News). So ignore the whole lot.

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So... yeah. But, like, are we meant to believe that US congresspeople are so uneducated and stupid (esp. on the D side) that they wouldn't know about the availability heuristic and so spineless/headless as to being unable to counteract it?

I mean, it's fairly easy for me. I barely use Twitter and my feed doesn't seem to have many people involved in pile-ups or controversies. And if they do get in hot water (Kevin Drum or Freddie deBoer sometimes do), I don't have the time to follow...

Still, I don't think it's that hard... Hence why I find the whole thing so surprising.

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All of the journalists and hill staffers and campaign workers and advocacy groups live on Twitter though, so Twitter ends up playing a very outsized role in politics.

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What gets said on Twitter gets amplified, though, so it doesn't stay there. Those 10k people are the "taste makers" for millions of people in politics and journalism.

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And even those millions are barely relevant to the voting public at large. Virtually no one is as interested in politics as us guys.

Which I always found surprising in a way. Why bother voting if you never bother educating yourself about the political issues... but here we are.

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The best counter to this was Biden and the Hyde amendment. Something he was in support of his entire political career, but had to abandon due to his staff revolting on the issue. You can try to ignore twitter views, but if your peers and staff care about the views expressed there then you will end up caring as well.

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I think its more that hard money donations are worried about being called names on Twitter for supporting candidates Twitter dislikes.

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Maybe we should turn off Twitter. As in: stop using it.

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Fair point. That could be that.

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The issue is that the Twitter mob *can be* a very active force in primaries, and the left-of-center interest/issue groups all live on twitter, and the staffers and campaign workers for a lot of elected Democrats live on Twitter.

I like to say/think/remember that "Twitter is not real life", but in the context of politics Twitter is a larger part of real life than it "should" be.

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It seems like a common theme in M.Y.’s posts is pragmatism grounded in data. But does Congress care about pragmatism grounded in data? In the scarce attention world it seems only ideologues run and get elected, so my expectation would be that pragmatism will only decline further.

Matthew, what if anything do you think can or should actually be done to depolarize and generally “turn down the temperature?”

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I think the problem is that “implementing effective legislation” and “winning elections” are goals that sadly do not always align and are sometimes at odds- the politicians seem to only care about the latter, while MY only cares about the latter as a means to achieve the former.

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I would imagine he views part of his job as a journalist to steer public opinion toward pragmatism, and hope that constituencies start pushing representatives for pragmatism as a result.

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Jan 20, 2022·edited Jan 20, 2022

Matt did an interview on his Weeds podcast that can partly answer this. At least, I think it was Weeds. Might be mixing up with another.

Anyway, a major way to turn down the temperature is... to get rid of the filibuster. In areas where that's happened, senators have been far more likely to vote in a bipartisan way. Centrist Supreme Court picks or other presidential nominations get far more votes than almost any politically interesting legislation.

Extending that idea to legislation, we'd be far more likely to see 2-8 republicans sign on to important legislation if they were centrists and saw the legislation as benefiting their states. The minority party would also likely be more interested in participating in the writing of legislation, figuring that if only 51 votes were needed, they could get more centrist policy at the expense of the extreme left or right of the two parties.

edit: And of course, to add to that, we'd get better, smaller bills, rather than these huge trillion dollar monstrosities. Biden could have a roads bill, and a family bill, and 4 or 5 different voting bills that cover different areas of voting issues. And all of them might get a different selection of 51 votes.

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Not Matt but I worry a lot about the same issue. A couple points from my view.

1) There are a few potential points of intervention that seem possible, generally to do with structural reforms that reduce incentives for partisan culture warring. Ranked choice or approval voting, elimination or restructuring of primaries, nonpartisan redistricting boards, that kind of thing. All getting some traction in at least some states and localities. Promote those!

2) But also, even if we can't *make* the culture war simmer down, it's important to present an alternative view of the appropriate goals and processes of government. Times change and eventually the public will get tired of the culture war show and develop an appetite for constructive governance again. Stand ready to meet that opportunity with clear plans and recommendations.

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“The way forward here is to turn the temperature *way* down and have some people sit in a quiet room with experts and work out a list of things that everyone can agree [on]” is The Truth for pretty much everything.

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Yeah “experts” was the only part of that quote that left me with a little heartburn. It would be nice to use “unbiased sources of information” instead but they don’t really exist 🤷🏻‍♀️

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Jan 19, 2022·edited Jan 19, 2022

I think this article does not grasp what voter ID and the Freedom To Vote Act are about. Voter ID is an act of cultural supremacy. It's telling minorities: we can't stop you voting any more, but you still aren't full citizens. That's why Republicans pull stunts like making gun IDs valid, but student IDs invalid, for voter ID purposes.

It is a trap to accept the Republican framing where voter ID is about making people stand in line or fill forms. It is a state act that purposely disproportionally harms certain groups. That's wrong.

I think voter ID is the wrong issue to fight on. It is probably the least outrageous of Republicans' attacks on democracy. Democrats should be highlighting the more straightforward efforts to overturn elections. The insurrection, the fraudulent electoral college certificates, Trump calling officials demanding they find him votes, Trump's video where he says who counts the vote is more important than who casts the votes. But it's better than not fighting at all.

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Jan 19, 2022·edited Jan 19, 2022

Many countries that I would classify as functional democracies have voter ID laws. I don't think that there is anything inherent to voter ID laws that make them incompatible with democracy. (My point is not to argue whether or not voter ID laws are necessary in American states...I think they probably aren't). But what I'm trying to say is that on international standards, voter ID laws are pretty common in democracies. What sets the US apart from these democracies is that there is a substantial part of the population for which there is a barrier to obtain an ID (whether due to cost, bureaucratic inefficiencies, etc). Maybe we shouldn't accept that reality, and make sure everyone has reasonable access to government issued IDs. I never hear anything about this part of the argument.

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Jan 19, 2022·edited Jan 19, 2022

In fact, when I discuss politics with my international colleagues (from Israel, Europe, and Latin America), most are on board with Democratic ideas regarding healthcare, affordable college, childcare, paid sick leave, maternity leave (and are mostly shocked that America doesn't already do these things). But they give me confused looks when I say that Democrats are against voter IDs (they think generally that IDing yourself seems like a basic part of voting). They are equally perplexed and shocked when I explain that many Americans lack government-issued ID and face cost/time/accessibility barriers to obtaining one.

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Several other Anglophone countries share our weird politics around voter ID (and ID generally). The right-of-center governments of the UK and Australia both recently proposed voter ID laws and the debate is word-for-word identical to the debate in the USA (often invoking the USA directly). And it's even harder to get photo ID in the UK than here (where every state offers a cheap ID card through the agency that issues drivers licenses).

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What is it about Anglophone countries that leads to this bizarre voter ID politics?

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Jan 19, 2022·edited Jan 19, 2022

A historically stronger emphasis on personal freedom and anonymity in travel than continental European countries? I mean, I don't know that England or Great Britain *ever* had internal passports and residency registration requirements like you found in lots of places in continental Europe going back even pre-1800.

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It’s not even clear that many citizens lack ID. The old, often illiterate, elementary school educated rural citizens who sometimes did not have ID are aging out

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One constituency where voter ID is an issue is the student population. The typical college student grows up in one state, has a valid ID from that state, but goes to school in a different state.

In theory, the student is supposed to vote from the state they're going to school at, because that's where they are the majority of the year. But, getting a state ID requires going out to the DMV, which is often far away from campus, and college students tend to have much lower car ownership rates than the general population. Some universities even outright forbid freshmen from keeping a car on campus, due to limited parking space.

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Source for the claim that the typical college student is attending a out of state school? Pretty sure the typical college student is attending an in-state public college.

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Yeah that part is probably not quite typical, but you can still have that issue even if you're just in another part of the same state. You may have registered to vote in your hometown and if you don't update that at your new location then you can't vote without traveling a fair distance.

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I wrote my comment kind of fast and, you're right, the word "typical" is too strong. Nevertheless, it is not at all unusual for people to grow up in one state and attend school in another state.

All that said, I am also aware that, this is a small slice of the overall electorate, and there are probably far more students who don't vote because they think politics is broken, or because they're too busy thinking about classes and partying, than because of hassles in voter registration.

In some ways, voter restrictions represent a convenient way for Democrats to deflect blame for failing to mobilize their own voters to someone other than themselves.

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On top of which, most states with voter ID requirements don't allow the use of student photo IDs as voter IDs, even when issued by a public, state-funded university..

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I might have assumed that to be true, but Weary Land posted this above:

"Just to be clear, laws that don't allow student IDs are very much in the minority. There are only 7 states that don't allow student IDs (compared with 35 that have some form of voter ID law). I'm not saying that it's a good thing, but let's not sensationalize it either.

* https://www.campusvoteproject.org/student-id-as-voter-id "

It's possible that some of the 18 states that have "loose" voter ID laws may not accept a student ID, but it seems to be a moot point there as you can vote without one.

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founding

I believe there are 10-15% of urban residents that don’t have ID, because their household can’t afford a car and they don’t travel internationally.

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The question is do they not have an ID because there are barriers to obtaining one?

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Well, if they owned a car they'd make the time to stand in line to get a license. Otherwise they can't be bothered.

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I'm confused by this because ID is needed for other reasons and states have non-driver's license IDs available. So as Briross says, the question is do they not have them because there are barriers, or because they don't care to? In the latter case, my concern about their being affected by voter ID laws goes down.

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Jan 19, 2022·edited Jan 19, 2022

Government IDs are a pretty basic thing to have. You often need one to fly, to open a bank account, to entera government building, to buy Sudafed, and numerous other functions of life. Voting aside, it's a failure that some people can't get an ID (or have barriers to getting one). When I read articles about voter ID laws, I read about examples, such as an elderly woman of color who was born with the aid of a midwife who misspelled her name on her birth certificate, and now she's in a bureaucratic quagmire where it's impossible to get an ID and now can't vote. But I'm thinking to myself, the policy failure here goes way beyond voting! Maybe the solution is to figure out how people like her can get out of this Catch 22 and get a frickin' ID!!

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That’s why the current bill doesn’t abolish voter ID but standardized it so the rules are fair and consistent across states

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Sure, national voter IDs could be implemented wisely. But the Republicans don't care about a reasonable program for implementing voter ID. Always remember that they are not the "good government" party. Their voter ID efforts are aimed at making it harder if not impossible for groups opposed to them to vote (e.g., yes to gun owner IDs, no to student IDs). Why would they ever sign up for a national ID law? It addresses none of their real concerns.

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Yes indeed, the past is another country. The Republicans also loved George W. Bush back in 2002.

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Many minority groups disagree with your premise. Hispanics support voter ID overwhelmingly. Whites and nonwhites are not being held to different standards.

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There is a real disparate impact concern. Pretty sure rates of ID access vary

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They do. As do rates of enforcement. "Those" people get asked for their papers more often.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-we-know-about-voter-id-laws/: "Voter ID laws disproportionately disenfranchise minority communities."

http://vote.caltech.edu/documents/84/vtp_wp59.pdf: "Hispanic, male and Election Day voters were more likely to show some form of identification than non-Hispanic, female and early voters."

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While I agree voter ID laws are a solution in search of a problem, and do disproportionately impact black voters, given how small the impact is (0.25% oh black voters vs 0.16% of white voters) it seems like harping on this as specifically “racist” does more harm than good. Look at all the stereotypes these college students rely on to substantiate the claim: https://video.foxnews.com/v/5195355160001/

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Scanning the 2nd one, it appears that both Hispanics and non-Hispanics asked Hispanics for IDs more. Likewise, both males and females asked for male IDs more. Whatever the explanation, it doesn't seem to be a case of "us" vs "them / those people".

Also, just speaking from the perspective of having spent most of my adult life in LA - accurately identifying someone as Hispanic is very often not nearly as easy as it may sound. The same probably applies in NM where that study was done.

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"Voter ID is an act of cultural supremacy. It's telling minorities: we can't stop you voting any more, but you still aren't full citizens."

I bought a pistol a couple weeks ago and had to show ID in order for the transaction to proceed. Was that also an act of cultural supremacy?

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I'm pretty sure that making gun IDs valid, but student IDs invalid, has far, far more to do with making it difficult for college students to vote than making it difficult for minorities to vote since, logically speaking, it has to be much cheaper and easier to get a gun ID in a typical GOP-controlled state than a college/university student ID.

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Do you think discriminating against people based on their voting intentions is OK so long as it's not based on race?

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Jan 19, 2022·edited Jan 19, 2022

Wow, I'm not sure I can see the stadium anymore from the new location of the goalposts.... Anyhow, what you've described isn't actually discriminating based on voting intentions, but anticipated voting intentions based on otherwise viewpoint neutral criteria, which I think under current Supreme Court rulings is probably OK. In any event, unless I missed where a state made ownership of a gun mandatory to get a gun ID, it's still much cheaper (and probably easier) to get one than being an actively enrolled student at a public university or college.

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I think this is a really underappreciated point, that the GOP is passing many of these laws, with provisions like gun IDs and not student IDs, in order to flex their power.

I think the real world impacts are minor, but it's primarily psychological.

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Just to be clear, laws that don't allow student IDs are very much in the minority. There are only 7 states that don't allow student IDs (compared with 35 that have some form of voter ID law). I'm not saying that it's a good thing, but let's not sensationalize it either.

* https://www.campusvoteproject.org/student-id-as-voter-id

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There are legitimate reasons for not allowing student IDs. It is reasonable to want voters to be permanent residents.

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founding

Students are permanent residents.

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Nope! I can confirm that some of them are non-resident aliens.

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I was always really confused by that when I was in college. I didn't feel like a permanent resident the first few years, and California's guidelines made it seem like I wasn't a resident of any state.

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They can be, but aren't necessarily so. I went to school in one state, yet still had a driver's license and continued to receive mail in the state where I grew up.

It's reasonable, in my view, to say to a student who is claiming to be a permanent resident that they prove it by getting a state-issued ID.

Since you did not argue against the idea that it is reasonable to limit the vote to permanent residents, should I take that as tacit agreement?

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But the point of voter ID isn't to prove that you're a permanent resident; you do that by registering to vote. The point of voter ID is to prove that you are who you claim to be, for which student IDs work just fine.

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If a student is a permanent resident they are qualified to get a state ID.

It seems to me, as a purely practical matter, that it is far easier to train poll workers to recognize two or three or six types of government issued IDs than to also require them to be able to recognize any number of different student IDs. That being the case, allowing the use of only state or federal issued ID is a reasonable policy.

To be clear, I am not advocating for requiring ID to vote. In the state of Florida, where I live now, I have to show an ID to get my ballot, but there is a pretty long list of acceptable IDs. (Not only state-issued IDs such as a driver's license or concealed carry permit, but also student IDs and even a credit card.) I used to live in New Jersey where I needed to sign a register that had a copy of the signature from my voter's registration card from years before. A poll worker would then compare the sigs, decide if they were sufficiently similar, and let me in if they matched. I'm ok with either system.

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founding

That would depend a lot on what precisely you mean by "permanent resident". Surely you don't mean someone who has lived in a place for all eternity, and will never leave, which is what the words, taken literally, seem to mean.

I think that what's relevant is that stakeholders be represented in governmental decisions. Residency is a useful proxy for stakeholderness, but the way that municipalities are divided, I think that local employees, landowners, and customers often deserve just as much representation as people who tend to physically sleep within municipal boundaries.

Some people might think that it's not reasonable to vote somewhere if you yourself expect to either die before inauguration, or otherwise move and stop being a local stakeholder. But, for instance, in a college town, we know that there will be entering students next year who will live under the new council and mayor, who wouldn't have had a chance to vote. I think their interests need to be represented somehow - and I think that empowering the previous cohort of students to vote on their behalf is an appropriate way to do this.

I have less of a clear sense of whether a place that is a regular tourist destination should have a way of empowering tourists - it would be weird to say that tourists who happen to visit in November should be allowed to vote on behalf of tourists at all times, especially since it would provide a weirdly perverse incentive for people to time their tourism. (Students usually at least get to participate in basically the same number of election cycles regardless of when they start their studies.)

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"That would depend a lot on what precisely you mean by 'permanent resident'."

It means only not a transient resident. One can only be a permanent resident of one place.

I think your idea of "stakeholders" is completely unworkable.

If a student wants to be a "stakeholder," he can establish residency. That means renouncing residency in his former address, paying taxes, etc. in his new location. That also means, obviously, that he would no longer be a "stakeholder" at his former residency. To make it otherwise could lead to some really weird outcomes that maybe you haven't considered. If one could be a "stakeholder" merely by owning land, doesn't that mean a billionaire could become a "stakeholder" in every city and town in the US by virtue of his wealth if he so chose?

Why we would want to "empower" tourists I do not understand. I recall being at JFK airport years ago and seeing a Saudi (I think) man disembarking with his family: two boys, dressed as you might expect boys to dress, and three women (his wife and two daughters, it seemed) dressed in burkas. In July. You would "empower" that man? Why should the residents of, say, South Beach, want to "empower" these people?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/national/miami-beach-declares-state-of-emergency-in-response-to-large-spring-break-crowds/2021/03/21/27bf207b-10c8-4ce3-97f4-f10737f42aa0_video.html

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This blanket statement is 100% not true. Residency is a multi-factor analysis and attending school in state X alone is absolutely not enough.

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"It is reasonable to want voters to be permanent residents."

You may think it reasonable, but my understanding is that the supreme court says that you can't (see Symm v. United States). Students are allowed to vote in the place where they go to school regardless of whether they reside there or not.

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For the purposes of voting in federal elections, one may only reside in one place.

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It always has been and continues to be a shitty argument.

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I did so elsewhere in response to another of your posts, and from past experience any and all elaboration will be blown off, so no.

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Progressives don’t get this. Remember how the pandemic temporarily paused when people were mass protesting (also looting, rioting and shutting down roads), but the rest of us couldn't eat a meal with friends outside. Progressives have a credibility problem.

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Again, protesting is a fundamental right in a democracy, and it's specifically protected in the Bill of Rights. Extra care should be taken when restricting such a right, even in an emergency, compared with something like eating at a restaurant or whatever. It's the governments' prerogative to make reasonable and tailored restrictions during a public health emergency, but things like voting and protesting are so fundamental to a democracy that I think that they have to be handled with extra care...

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A better example are the cases of progressives in California, New York, and other places restricting religious services due to the pandemic. That is very clearly a violation of rights.

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Progressives tried it with church too. Supreme Court ruled against CA that tried to restrict a clear constitutional right. So yes they have different standards for different activities. Progressives use the constitution when it helps their arguments and ignore it when it doesn’t.

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As far as I'm aware, the lockdown protests were at no point broken up or prevented, even the one where folks broke into the statehouse (Michigan?). Yes, people were mad about them on Twitter. There wasn't any actual difference in ability to protest though, was there?

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They weren't objecting to the vehicular protests occurring; they were objecting to the opinions being voiced, as you note below.

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founding

I don’t remember this. This seems to be a weird right wing fantasy version of June 2020. No regulations were changed, just some Twitter people twittered, as they are wont to do.

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Yes, eating indoors is just as fundamental to democratic society as the ability to vote.

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Picture yourself immigrating to a new country - which sounds worse, a place that wouldn't let you vote or a place that wouldn't let you eat in public? I'm not sure there's a clear answer.

From a standpoint of individual rights I'd say they are pretty equal. Forbidding people to eat at private restaurants is a pretty big deal. I'm pretty sure the right to eat in whatever restaurant you wanted was a big deal during MLK's civil rights movement.

Whether it's more essential to democracy functioning is your own framing.

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It's pretty stupid to just hand wave ignoring the public health concerns right now while we engage in this intellectual jerk off session.

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Can you explain? Is there evidence that vaccine passports are preventing Omicron from spreading?

I don't really consider it a jerk off session. But if this is a waste of your time why are you here?

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founding

Don’t hand wave the public health concerns - ask whether they need to piggyback on an ID requirement.

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I’m going to take the DeBoer tack: “what the fuck do you want us to do that we’re not already doing?”

No one is willing to articulate that because the stringent lockdown measures they long for are despised by 90% of the population and they know it.

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A temporary public health restriction on indoor dining during an emergency is not the same as widespread discrimination in restaurants against an ethnic minority

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Of course, but as I said below, the more situations the Democrats find where ID laws are useful, the more their original argument against voting ID laws is weakened

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Right, but I'm responding to the argument that seems to say the right to eat at a restaurant is trivial while the right to vote is infinitely more precious. But if we had a way to see the revealed preferences I don't think they would reflect that.

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And shoes, goddamnit! It's shoe-is to require shoes in restaurants! \s

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No I'm sorry. It's the government's prerogative and responsibility to make reasonable and tailored restrictions during an emergency to protect public health. We can debate whether or not restrictions against unvaccinated people eating indoors at restaurants were tailored, reasonable or effective. But you won't convince me that temporary, limited emergency restrictions on congregating indoors during the Covid19 pandemic is the same as voter suppression

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founding

There should be a way to enforce these rules without relying on ID. Why not just trust people that the vaccine card they show is theirs, or ask for a signature if they can’t show ID?

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Are restrictions on indoor dining temporary? Do they expire on a date certain? Do they expire if cases fall below a certain level? Airplane mask mandates remained in place even last June when infections were low

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And we're still taking our shoes off at airports

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When infections were "low" back in June, 2000 people were still dying each week

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Jan 19, 2022·edited Jan 19, 2022

NY is using ID in an attempt to mitigate the deadliest pandemic in a century

Republicans are using ID to hassle people they don't like

The fact you can't see the difference is on you

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So you're either saying that D-led Vaccine passport's will have a racial impact, or agreeing that they voter ID laws have no racial impact. It can't be both.

Anyways, the other aspects of your argument don't hold water either. States, nations and governments have tried dozens of major tactics to control the pandemic, some more effectual and some less. Vaccine IDs and passports certainly fall into "less effective, less scientifically-backed" category.

If you think the pandemic is more important than elections, fine. I don't know how to compare them, it's like saying a healthy heart is more important than non contracting ebola. They're not comparable things in other words.

But in either case, the same tool is being applied. It can't be racist harassment in one case but a race-neutral public health intervention in the other

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I'm not sure what vaccine passports have to do with race.

But even allowing that. Any time anyone does anything, there are negative unintended consequences. You have to make sure there's a benefit that overcomes that cost.

In the case of vaccine passports, there's at least a logical basis to believe there is, though people disagree whether it's true or not.

In the case of voter ID as practiced in the US, there isn't a real benefit. You'll never seen a single Republican say "since imposed voter ID, we've reduced voter fraud by x thousand in this district". Because that's not what it's about. It's about harassing groups conservatives don't like.

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founding

If vaccine passports are structured in a way that they need separate ID, then they have whatever racial impact voter ID laws do. If we could have structured vaccine passport laws not to need a separate ID, that would avoid the problem.

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The U.K. has done it. The U.K. government is on the verge of falling over garden parties so if they can, the mighty USA should be able to as well

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In the case of voter ID there's at least a logical basis to believe there is, though people disagree whether it's true or not.

That's why most developed-world democracies have voterID laws. Briross explained that pretty well elsewhere in this same thread. At the very least, it gives an appearance of basic security, since I need to show ID at so many other "less important" places.

With regard to a vaccine passports: Any time anyone does anything, there are negative unintended consequences. You have to make sure there's a benefit that overcomes that cost. You'll never see a Democrat say "since we imposed vaccine passports, we've reduced cases by x thousand in this district"

Now I'm not accusing Dems of racist intent when implementing vaccine passports, but as I've been told many times by progressives: "impact, not intent" is what matters. And there's large white-black vaccine gaps in most of the country:

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-data-vaccines.page

https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/us-vaccine-demographics.html

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If you're determined to ignore the fairly obvious purpose of voter ID as practiced in the US, I can't help you. If Rs wanted to promote voter integrity, they could give everyone IDs. That's not what they're doing.

I'm not familiar with the details of the NY scheme. I doubt that you really believe NY Dems are using it as a tool of harassment against groups they don't like. But if they are, it's bad and they should stop.

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Vaccine passports absolutely will have a racial impact, but that doesn’t invalidate them as policy.

So long as a voter ID mandate is accompanied with availability requirements that attach to/threaten state transportation funds, it’d be perfectly legitimate policy.

If the democrats were committed to fixing the problem they’d deny the Republicans the whole line of attack by writing a bill mandating voter ID standards nationwide, but requiring states to provide free non-driver IDs through DMVs and setting service standards. Federal transportation funds are massive cudgel and would ensure compliance; there’s no state in the union that can function without them.

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Your logic doesn't hold. Voting is a your fundamental right in democracy. Eating indoors in a restaurant when you're unvaccinated during a pandemic isn't.

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This is true, but gun ownership is also a constitutional right in the US. Do you think that identifying gun owners (including licenses but also including whether you have to show ID to buy a gun) is unconstitutional?

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Wait, are you telling me it's not just a bunch of morons in red hats? \s

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At the time of the founding, anyone with a shilling could go to a local tavern most any day of the week. Only white male property holders over a certain age could vote, and there were only one or two elections a year. If I had to chose between never voting again and never eating out or drinking at a bar, I’d chose not to vote.

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Your idea here seems to be that ID-based can, in fact work, and don't have a concerning racial element. Following that logic the only difference of opinion between yourself and the republicans is which situations they should be applied in.

Or I could interpret your comment as saying ID laws are essentially inconsequential, and therefore there's no problem in applying them to eating at restaurants despite whatever disparate racial impacts they may cause.

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"Voting is a your fundamental right..."

No it's not. The ability to vote is restricted in all sorts of ways that actual rights are not.

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Disagree. The fifteenth, nineteenth, and twenty-sixth amendments, which guarantee your right to vote, are just as much part of the Constitution as the Bill of Rights. Also, the Bill of Rights comes with plenty of restrictions. You can own a gun, but not a tank.

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Those amendments clarified the boundaries of voting rights. We do not circumscribe the right to be free of government establishment of religion by age. If I visit another state I do not lose my right to peaceably assemble or to trial by jury of my peers, but I do not have a right to vote. (That some states continue to violate our 2nd Amendment rights is a notable exception.)

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The amendments I cited actually start with some version of the phrase "The right to vote shall not be denied..." Your claim that voting is not an "actual right" is disproven by the very language of the Constitution itself.

And many of our rights come with restrictions based on age, place, and time. You can't yell fire in a crowded theatre. You can't wear gang apparel in a school. Minors have no right to a trial by jury. The list goes on and on....

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Interestingly enough, it only took one repetition.

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In Minneapolis apparently you have to show proof of vaccination to participate in our upcoming Democratic caucus!

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I honestly have no idea what Dem leadership has been doing lately. They seem to be delighting in making members walk the plank just to show donors/activists/extremely online people that they "care".

The debt limit process was a debacle. They knew they were never getting Republican votes for a clean increase and instead made everyone vote multiple times to increase it, seemingly just so Republicans can run ads decrying that "Bob voted 15 times to raise the debt ceiling. Vote Republican and restore fiscal sanity." Then once they got the workaround rather than extend it out past Biden's first term, they just did it to get past the midterms. So they ensured they'll do the whole song and dance again only probably from they minority.

I have no idea what they hope to accomplish by forcing a vote on the filibuster other than pissing off the only Dem who is going to win in WV for the foreseeable future. I suspect there are also other Dems that don't want to get rid of the filibuster and have been happy to let Manchin and Sinema take the heat for them and don't want to have to go on the record.

But mostly if you are going to force a vote on the filibuster it needed to be immediately after they got the majority not over halfway through the term when they are going to lose the majority in a few months. At least then there would have been some upside.

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I think Dems are basically in a bad spot where all the hill staffers and campaign people and advocacy groups are getting angry and basically preparing to turn on them. The only way to deal with that is maybe to make a very public showing of trying to fulfill their requests (a big compliant that certain people like to make is that Dems don't "fight" hard enough").

So doing all this bizarre dramatic stuff is certainly going to piss off Manchin, but it might also be staving off a disastrous midterm where the right, the center, *and* the left decide they want change.

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Is there really much evidence though that huge numbers of people are going to “turn” on Democrats this midterm? I mean there’s always an amount of non participation and switching to the other party which is why the President’s party does poorly. I just don’t think there are signs that it’s out of the ordinary at this time.

I also don’t see how making a big show about something you know is going to fail is helpful for keeping people fired up. It’s far more likely to make them more discouraged and resentful than letting it die in peace.

Finally, if these people really believe that it’ll be the end of democracy if Democrats don’t pass this bill, I find the logic that then they are going up sit out the next election to ensure Republicans come to power to be more than a bit of a stretch.

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"I find the logic that then they are going up sit out the next election to ensure Republicans come to power to be more than a bit of a stretch"

I never said that those people were going to be logical.

And having the bill die in peace might in fact be what those groups would actually prefer, but they've all convinced themselves either that bullying Manchin will work or that they want to see the Dems go down swinging fighting for the bills.

None of this is any good at all, but here we are.

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Basically, everybody needs to calm down.

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Jan 19, 2022·edited Jan 19, 2022

I think an underrated aspect of the “trap” is that a bipartisan compromise on “saving democracy” would imply that not all Republicans are out to destroy it.

Based on Biden’s recent speech that seems to be the primary (only?) Democratic messaging point headed into 2022. Bad to muddy the waters.

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Which is sad because it's a dumb strategy. Voters have moved on from Trump's antics and January 6th. I really don't think the median voter cares that much, and concerns over "dangers to democracy" are most salient to staunch partisans, who of course blame the other side. Turning down the temperature was a big part of Biden's pitch, and while it won't solve all of democracy problems, the ECA is a good start. I'd love the John Lewis Voting Rights Bill and anti-gerrymamdering stuff to come up, but I'd certainly take the ECA over ineffectual flailing that's doomed to fail and will only appeal to a base that's already mostly bought in to Democratic fears.

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Yeah, I’m not sure how ECA reform is a “trap” when it’s not like any other voting reform is really on the table at this point. Though, I suppose if we don’t reform the ECA, VP Harris can throw out the electoral ballots in 2024 and declare Biden president again! Many reputable lawyers, such as Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, agree!

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I think the Democrats shouldn't mind if their Voting Rights stuff does not pass. It gives them an easy sour grapes excuse for the future to explain why they lose an election and why the winner is illegitimate. See Stacy Abrams for an example.

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The reason to support measures that at least Republicans THINK will increase turnout is to get to the point closer to the point) where campaign efforts to increase turnout of "your" party's ("white" or "non-white" identity" voters is useless. (Everyone turnout-able is already turned out). We ought to striving for campaigns in which Democrats are trying to persuade voters that a child tax credit, or higher immigration, or taxing the rich to reduce deficits, or investing in zero CO2 emitting energy production is a good idea and Republicans are trying to persuade people of the opposite.

We ought to want this not only because we think that's a better way to get to our preferred outcomes, but also it's harder to get mad at each other over substance than over symbolic issues like CRT, "replacement," or supposed hostility to Christianity.

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My understanding was that the Democratic Party pays Marc to lose lawsuits and set bad precedent, not to dictate their legislative strategy.

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Marc actually wins a lot of lawsuits. I think the main issue is that he isn't necessarily an expert on anything outside of that, so he doesn't know what the heck he's talking about re: the ECA

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He actually wins lots of lawsuits, though the stats were skewed by beating the likes of Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani. He's a very good lawyer. He's a terrible communicator and political strategist. Regarding his recent comments, I wish he'd understand that sometimes the best course of action is to STFU. Yeah, it's a "trap."

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