Trump presidency

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KnightExemplar
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:53 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:There are people who voted for Donald Trump, and there is everybody else.


Apparently, "everybody else" wasn't enough. Popular vote means jack shit. You gotta figure out how to court the Donald Trump voters. You know, like how Obama managed to do.

I stand by my "court the Christians" statements. Obama had 28% of the white Christian Vote, while Clinton was like 19%. That differential was literally the election as White Christians are the largest contiguous voting bloc in America. Clinton refused to court the Christians at all, and despite all of the shit Obama got about being a closet Muslim... he actually opened a lot of his stuff with prayers and otherwise was respectful towards Christianity / God in general.

Obama managed to respect the Christian voters without necessarily turning his back on the values he believed in: Gay Marriage equality, overturning Don't Ask Don't Tell, Abortion stuff in The Affordable Care Act, etc. etc.

Just want to add that this whole line of reasoning explicitly assumes that Republicans are not required to compromise.


On the contrary. Republicans voted in their block because Donald Trump won their Primary. Republicans are a more loyal group of voters than Democrats and are reaping the rewards of their victory. And they'll continue to reap those rewards for the next four years.

For a lot of Republicans I know, voting Donald Trump was an act of compromise in of itself. Democrats on the other hand were too busy warring over Sanders issues (even as Sanders threw his entire weight in support for Clinton, the Democrats continued to infight and lose the House, Senate, and Presidency)
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Liri » Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:59 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:You gotta figure out how to court the Donald Drumpf voters.

No, we don't. And I don't think you're going to convince us.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:59 am UTC

Liri wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:You gotta figure out how to court the Donald Drumpf voters.

No, we don't. And I don't think you're going to convince us.


Then good luck winning 2018 or 2020.

Fact of the matter is: Donald Trump converted a lot of Obama voters over to his side. Period. If Democrats don't figure out the trick, then be prepared to lose again.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:03 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
Liri wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:You gotta figure out how to court the Donald Drumpf voters.

No, we don't. And I don't think you're going to convince us.


Then good luck winning 2018 or 2020.

Fact of the matter is: Donald Trump converted a lot of Obama voters over to his side. Period. If Democrats don't figure out the trick, then be prepared to lose again.

Democrats will already win 2018. The question is how to win more. Why do you think white uneducated voters will stick with Trump in 2018? Those people running aren't Trump.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:07 am UTC

sardia wrote:Democrats will already win 2018. The question is how to win more. Why do you think white uneducated voters will stick with Trump in 2018? Those people running aren't Trump.


Its not a foregone conclusion. Historically, the incumbent has the advantage. I think its best to treat it as an uphill battle rather than assuming that Trump fucks up (well... Trump will fuck up. The question is if people will care to vote him out)
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:12 am UTC

[bibliography][/bibliography] that's 2020. I'm talking about 2018. A midterm where Republicans have all the responsibility and no Trump to back them up. Why would uneducated whites vote for the Republicans?

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:15 am UTC

sardia wrote:[bibliography][/bibliography] that's 2020. I'm talking about 2018. A midterm where Republicans have all the responsibility and no Trump to back them up. Why would uneducated whites vote for the Republicans?


Historically, Democrats don't vote during midterms. I'm not quite sure why you'd expect 2018 to be different.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:17 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Its not a foregone conclusion. Historically, the incumbent has the advantage. I think its best to treat it as an uphill battle rather than assuming that Trump fucks up (well... Trump will fuck up. The question is if people will care to vote him out)



I think the point was being made that in 2018 the incumbants seeking re-election do not, amongst their number, feature Trump.

Which is not to say that some of these (and maybe many of their opponents) might not use their own interpretation of the Trump-effect to "be better than the regular swamp-politicians" ... if the Trump-effect syndrome has not yet been fully discredited by the actions of Patient Zero. But it's hard to predict whether acting-like-Trump will or will not have an advantage, two years hence, so that's wide open to unverifiable speculation, yet. And it could go either way.


(I see a response has already happened... Well, poking my schnozel into this, anyway.)

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:18 am UTC

Historically, swing voters lean to the party out of power, specifically the party that doesn't control the white House. We will know more in a few months after Trump starts doing more things.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:20 am UTC

sardia wrote:Historically, swing voters lean to the party out of power, specifically the party that doesn't control the white House. We will know more in a few months after Trump starts doing more things.


Fair point.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Whizbang » Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:40 am UTC

image.png


Not much middle ground here. It looks like the independents and inactive Dems are the meat left on the bone.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Xeio » Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:14 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Fact of the matter is: Donald Trump converted a lot of Obama voters over to his side. Period. If Democrats don't figure out the trick, then be prepared to lose again.

Is there actually data to back up that statement? Clinton pulled basically identical numbers to Obama in 2012 (only about 60k votes less total).

I'm not really seeing any trends where Clinton lost tons of Democratic voters to Trump compared to say 2012, it seems more like Trump gained voters that didn't even vote, and that Dems overall didn't turn out where they needed to. I mean depending on what states you look at it's all over the place. Florida Clinton did better than Obama in even 2008, but the state had its highest turnout than ever and Trump gained more. In PA Clinton lost some votes compared to say 2012, but Trump gained way more than the difference. In WI Trump/Romney's numbers were almost identical, but Democrats just didn't show up giving him the win.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Dark567 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:35 am UTC

Xeio wrote: In WI Trump/Romney's numbers were almost identical, but Democrats just didn't show up giving him the win.
No. A lot of Dems in Wisconsin switched and a lot of traditional conservative "Never Trumpers" didn't who up to vote. If you look at the county splits, especially looking at the Driftless Area.

Image This is an area that has dramatically swapped from Obama to Trump over the last few years and the voter rolls don't make sense to just blame it on turnout.

Also see: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... story.html
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:14 am UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:
Democrats can't really be satisfied with ignoring republicans and being ignored by them. It's not working out well for them. Appealing to more voters may not be a moral necessity, but it is a practical step to getting more balance of power.

If the Democrats pivot right on most of their core issues just to regain power, then what is actually the point? What is actually the benefit to having Democrats in power over Republicans in power if both groups are in a race to the right?


Power follows the electorate. If the whole electorate is moving right, that's...a problem. I don't know if that's the case, though. At least, not on all issues, certainly.

Yeah, giving up principles to gain voter share is rough, but to some degree, the main parties always have to. Parties like the libertarian, green, or whatever can afford to make no compromises, because they're not winning anyways, but they have a fairly small amount of voter share. But, if you have no power, you don't actually get to make those ideals a reality.

Liri wrote:She didn't rack up the youth vote, precisely because she was viewed as too moderate. There are already plenty of young people who refuse to identify as Democrat or Liberal because the terms are no longer far enough Left for them. What, exactly, is the rationale in telling the millions of leftist young people who already declined to vote to "suck it up"?


As a strategy, moving hard left to pick up the youth vote is...rough. The youth vote doesn't turn out much. And you're going to bleed centrist support to do it. At a minimum, it's very risky, and it seems fairly unlikely that they can pick up more than they lose by such a strategy.

Now, sure, you can probably get a candidate that appeals more to the youth than Clinton. Obama certainly did. But party-wide, democrats already tend to appeal to the youth more, so the possible gains seem modest.

LaserGuy wrote:Just want to add that this whole line of reasoning explicitly assumes that Republicans are not required to compromise. I've heard lots of noise being made that Democrats should have tried to be more accommodating to moderate Republicans or conservative Christians or whatever, but never have I heard someone (on the Republican side anyway) say, "Well moderate Republicans should have sucked it up about abortion/tax cuts/climate change/whatever for the good of the country to prevent Donald Trump." No, it's only the Democrats who are ever required to compromise their values, only Democrats who are ever required to make concessions.


Well, no, of course they're not required to compromise. They won. And thanks to Reid's use of the nuclear option, they don't *need* to compromise at all. The current situation is very favorable to the Republicans, so why would they feel the need to change it? They really won't. It's Democrats who need the status quo to change, so it's up to them to figure out an answer. That's just the reality of politics.

sardia wrote:Democrats will already win 2018. The question is how to win more. Why do you think white uneducated voters will stick with Trump in 2018? Those people running aren't Trump.


This seems unlikely. Republicans enjoy a traditional midterm advantage in turnout, and the senate map vastly favors the republicans.

Even considering swing effects, lookin' at the fundamentals, it's going to be a bloodbath for the Democrats. The question's how to change that. Yeah, maybe Trump'll fuck up badly enough to alienate some of his base. But...you're relying on your opposition to do the work for you. And partisanship is really strong. People have a substantial ability to justify previous decisions despite evidence. I don't think that relying on this is enough.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:01 am UTC

The Senate, the democrats will play defense in 2018, with almost no pickups in sight, you are correct. But the rest of the country's state houses, governorship,and Congressional House is all up for grabs.
Tyndmyr, are you saying that the party not in control of the white house losing seats during mid terms isn't a thing? You could be right if Democrats always have the whitehouse and they always lose seats in the rest of the country. But Democrat's mid term weakness is a coalition choice for them. Unless something changes with the coalitions, the lowest hanging fruit is the uneducated white vote.* I'm concerned about the Democrat's longevity going forward since they don't have a real strategy. Being an opposition party allows them to skate by with shakey ideas have them seem validated. Say Democrats run on an insane/extreme platform, they could realistically pick up seats even though their ideas are way out of mainstream solely due to them being an "outsider" again.

*Uneducated whites could stick with Trump and continue to grow more conservative as time passes, or they could bounce back. The data on them is murky, and nobody knows if this trend will continue. That would leave Democrats out of luck in the short term unless the next Obamachrist rises. If white uneducated stay conservative, them the party has to wait for current generation to outbreed the last generation. The other scenario is something fractures in one or both parties, and a new coalition comes together. No idea which groups that would entail.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:21 am UTC

I believe it's a factor, sure.

And possibly one, even after controlling for republican midterm power gains, but I suspect that the large advantage enjoyed by Republicans in midterms outweighs it. End of the day, people showing up to vote more reliably is really hard to overcome. That won't be a factor for 2020, but a bad enough performance in 2018 is worrisome.

We are working from limited examples, of course, and the larger the data set we use, the more questionable the validity of the older stuff is...but Democrats would need to do quite well in 2018 to have a real upset. The Republicans have their largest majority in Congress since the start of the great depression. Even if they bleed a few seats there(which would be a decent showing for the Democrats), and pick up a few seats in the Senate, that probably will not weaken Republican power.

The continued holding of the state houses by Republicans probably also makes recapture of the house more difficult. Sure, sure, everyone gerrymanders, and that's connected to the census schedule*, but there's also ballot access initatives and what have you. I'd wager that Republicans will want to skew things at least slightly towards their demographics in some ways. They certainly have in the past.

Now, fundamentals certainly are not everything, but I think in this case we can't rely on them to get us outta trouble. Coalition tweaks might help. Strategy tweaks might help. Discussing uneducated whites**, how do you think Democrats can win them back?

*Which, incidentally, puts a little more importance on 2020. If nothing really changes, and the Republicans maintain or gain state power consistently through 2020, they get to add some more incumbent advantages as the map gets redrawn again.

**Or working-class whites or whatever. Republican and Democrat terminology sometimes differs here. But the demographic of white, blue collar sorts who are probably low to mid range on income/education.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:01 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:There are people who voted for Donald Trump, and there is everybody else.


Apparently, "everybody else" wasn't enough. Popular vote means jack shit. You gotta figure out how to court the Donald Trump voters. You know, like how Obama managed to do.

I stand by my "court the Christians" statements. Obama had 28% of the white Christian Vote, while Clinton was like 19%. That differential was literally the election as White Christians are the largest contiguous voting bloc in America. Clinton refused to court the Christians at all, and despite all of the shit Obama got about being a closet Muslim... he actually opened a lot of his stuff with prayers and otherwise was respectful towards Christianity / God in general.


Obama didn't court those voters. They despise him and everything he stood for. The difference that you're seeing in the white Christian vote is because more Democrats voted in 2008 and 2012, not because huge numbers of people switched sides. Party affiliation is ~90% predictive of your vote for people who bother to show up. Reality is, turnout was down in 2016, and apparently the people who didn't show up were mostly Democrats. Remember, in every poll you look at, you have to account for the fact that 40% of the population didn't vote at all.

Anyway, if pandering to Christians was a winning strategy to beat Trump, he never would have won the primary, Ted Cruz or John Kasich would have won. Christians love Trump way more than they love the guys who tell them all the Christian stuff. They've already chosen him over people who are way more steeped in Christian culture than Clinton, Obama, or most other mainstream Democrats could ever hope to be.

On the contrary. Republicans voted in their block because Donald Trump won their Primary. Republicans are a more loyal group of voters than Democrats and are reaping the rewards of their victory. And they'll continue to reap those rewards for the next four years.


Exactly. That's why trying to court Republican loyalists is a waste of time, because doing so will cause Democrats to stay home, without actually bringing in any voters from the Republican side. As I said before, there are no moderate Republicans. If somebody voted for an extremist like Trump over a barely-Democrat like Hillary, I honestly don't believe that there's any chance of picking up any of those voters for the Democrats. Or, at least, not without losing ten times as many elsewhere.

Tyndymr wrote:Well, no, of course they're not required to compromise. They won. And thanks to Reid's use of the nuclear option, they don't *need* to compromise at all. The current situation is very favorable to the Republicans, so why would they feel the need to change it? They really won't. It's Democrats who need the status quo to change, so it's up to them to figure out an answer. That's just the reality of politics.


I don't mean at the legislative level, necessarily. I mean at the voter level. KnightExemplar's thesis is that the Democrats need to move hard right to try to steal voter share from the Republicans, but doesn't seem to be willing to accept that the Republican electorate needs to move left at all, even to block an extremist like Trump.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:05 am UTC

If you believe me about the outsiders gaining seats from the party in control of the white house? Run anyone**, and be there to complain about Republicans. If you don't assume that? Now you gotta actually do the hard shit of rebuilding your coalition. Option 1: Lie. The Republicans will/are doing the same thing. so it's no big deal to lie to uneducated whites. Just be ready for the losses later and take the opportunity to build yourself a real coalition. (mandatory voting + paid holidays on election day + election days are only on weekends and always in November*) Option 2, actually walk the talk. You'll have to adjust environmental policy to compensate for all the dirty jobs white people want. It's doable, but honestly you'll have an easier time throwing money at them to do something else besides fossil fuels. You pretty much treat them like Big Agriculture. They get their blood money, their special carveouts in policy, and then we ignore them until next election.

*none of that election in april bullshit that local towns use.

Laserguy, what do you call a uneducated white voter who voted Trump? are they Republican? Are democrats compromising/pandering in vain to go after their votes? Are these different from the people KE is talking about?

**I'm not even exaggerating here. Clinton won a bunch of districts in really red states that defaulted the local seats to Republicans because the Democrats were too inept to people file the proper paperwork. Democrats have this personal ambition problem where they'll refuse to run their best guys because they're afraid they'll lose.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Feb 08, 2017 11:14 am UTC

Whizbang wrote:image.png

Not much middle ground here. It looks like the independents and inactive Dems are the meat left on the bone.


I had a rummage around http://electome.org and various places it jumped off to, looking to see what the three(?) axes were that dictated the groupings might be, but couldn't even find that diagram. Any chance of digging up the site-explanation for the plot? (I'm assuming its tendency towards taking various political-compass positions, in analysis of their language and its focus, but I'm somewhat intruiged as to the nature of the relevent metrics..)

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Whizbang » Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:24 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
Whizbang wrote:image.png

Not much middle ground here. It looks like the independents and inactive Dems are the meat left on the bone.


I had a rummage around http://electome.org and various places it jumped off to, looking to see what the three(?) axes were that dictated the groupings might be, but couldn't even find that diagram. Any chance of digging up the site-explanation for the plot? (I'm assuming its tendency towards taking various political-compass positions, in analysis of their language and its focus, but I'm somewhat intruiged as to the nature of the relevent metrics..)


I got the graph from https://news.vice.com/story/journalists ... ysis-shows
It says it is a Vice exclusive. I couldn't find a link to the specific study or analysis on electome.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby pogrmman » Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:43 pm UTC

sardia wrote:**I'm not even exaggerating here. Clinton won a bunch of districts in really red states that defaulted the local seats to Republicans because the Democrats were too inept to people file the proper paperwork. Democrats have this personal ambition problem where they'll refuse to run their best guys because they're afraid they'll lose.


This here is a HUGE issue. For my house district, the best the Democrats could put up was a florist with no political experience against a multi-term incumbent. Nobody else even ran in the primaries. For the railroad commissioner, they put up a guy who has run unsuccessfully in many statewide races, who knows little about the energy industry, and who didn't have a campaign website.

The most competent person the Democrats put up in a statewide race was the republican judge who changed parties. He lost too.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Liri » Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:35 pm UTC

Can we please stop talking about elections past and present. This has been going in circles for months and the election thread was closed for that reason.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:03 pm UTC

I don't know, can some people admit that the democrats aren't going to pivot right cause any farther right and we'd be republicans and also that Trump didn't win the popular vote?
I can't wait for this thread to stop re-hashing shit.

By which I mean I am going to start cutting out off-topic posts if you guys keep talking about 'what the democrats need to do to win' from a republican point of view.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:42 pm UTC

Fantastic Idea wrote:By which I mean I am going to start cutting out off-topic posts if you guys keep talking about 'what the democrats need to do to win' from a republican point of view.


If everyone can agree that 2018 and 2020 election posts are off topic, I'll comply. But if you just want to shut down just one side of the argument, I dunno if I can agree to that. I'm not a Democrat, so I guess my opinion on what the Democrats should and/or shouldn't do is completely irrelevant. I can agree to this fact if it helps.

There's plenty to discuss about Trump right now anyway. Betsy Devos was just confirmed. Jeff Sessions is about to be confirmed. The US Court of Appeals heard the case Washington v. Trump last night (aka: Muslim Ban / Not a Muslim Ban issue) and their decision is going to be made within the week. We've got Elizabeth Warren getting rebuked last night during Jeff Sessions's debate.

And that's all in... like, a single fucking day. Plenty of political drama to discuss outside of election-related topics.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Quantized » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:39 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:There's plenty to discuss about Drumpf right now anyway. Betsy Devos was just confirmed. Jeff Sessions is about to be confirmed. The US Court of Appeals heard the case Washington v. Drumpf last night (aka: Muslim Ban / Not a Muslim Ban issue) and their decision is going to be made within the week. We've got Elizabeth Warren getting rebuked last night during Jeff Sessions's debate.


Oh. Are we back on topic now? Oh good. Betsy Devos AKA a problem is now the person in charge of education in the country, and poor Warren was kind of shut down, which is not the greatest. I feel bad for all the "first 100 days" blogs and the such; it's been ~three weeks and there too much to keep track of.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Wed Feb 08, 2017 8:26 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
Fantastic Idea wrote:By which I mean I am going to start cutting out off-topic posts if you guys keep talking about 'what the democrats need to do to win' from a republican point of view.


If everyone can agree that 2018 and 2020 election posts are off topic, I'll comply. But if you just want to shut down just one side of the argument, I dunno if I can agree to that. I'm not a Democrat, so I guess my opinion on what the Democrats should and/or shouldn't do is completely irrelevant. I can agree to this fact if it helps.


If you care, start another thread. Just don't post it in here. Pretty much everyone is sick and tired of this conversation.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Feb 08, 2017 8:30 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:
Fantastic Idea wrote:By which I mean I am going to start cutting out off-topic posts if you guys keep talking about 'what the democrats need to do to win' from a republican point of view.


If everyone can agree that 2018 and 2020 election posts are off topic, I'll comply. But if you just want to shut down just one side of the argument, I dunno if I can agree to that. I'm not a Democrat, so I guess my opinion on what the Democrats should and/or shouldn't do is completely irrelevant. I can agree to this fact if it helps.


If you care, start another thread. Just don't post it in here. Pretty much everyone is sick and tired of this conversation.


Two-way street man.

KnightExemplar wrote:There's plenty to discuss about Trump right now anyway. Betsy Devos was just confirmed. Jeff Sessions is about to be confirmed. The US Court of Appeals heard the case Washington v. Trump last night (aka: Muslim Ban / Not a Muslim Ban issue) and their decision is going to be made within the week. We've got Elizabeth Warren getting rebuked last night during Jeff Sessions's debate.


Take your pick of topics. I've done what I can here. If you stay off the topic, I promise you I won't bring it up. But if someone else brings it up, I'm not going to hold back.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:02 am UTC

Quantized wrote: Warren was kind of shut down, which is not the greatest.

Mitch McConnell should be ashamed of himself for crying Rule 19 on Senator Warren. If she had been up there trying to fillibuster by calling a fellow senator's character in to question repeatedly, fine, but holy shit, this was a hearing about how fit Sessions is, and this letter directly applies. This does not qualify as something Rule 19 can apply to if this is a real hearing. What special kind of racist piece of shit do you have to be to stop someone from reading Coretta Scott-King's letter to the Senate regarding someone the Senate has already voted against once?

If reading a letter about him is impugning him, and the Senate previously voted against him after getting that letter, there better be some really great letters of recommendation from much more recent times, or else we all basically have to assume that he's still just as terrible of an idea as he was back then, I imagine.

So, here it all is, for your enjoyment.
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I write to express my sincere opposition to the confirmation of Jefferson B. Sessions as a federal district court judge for the Southern District of Alabama. My professional and personal roots in Alabama are deep and lasting. Anyone who has used the power of his office as United States
Attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens should not be elevated to our courts.

Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.
For this reprehensible conduct, he should not be rewarded with a federal judgeship.

I regret that a long-standing commitment prevents me from appearing in person to testify against this nominee. However, I have attached a copy of my statement opposing Mr. Sessions' confirmation and I request that my statement as well as this letter be made a part of the hearing record.

I do sincerely urge you to oppose the confirmation of Mr. Sessions.

Sincerely,
Coretta Scott King

Statement of
Coretta Scott King
on the Nomination of
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions,
for the
United states District Court
Southern District of Alabama

Senate Judiciary Committee
Thursday, March 13, 1986



Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to express my strong opposition to the nomination of Jefferson Sessions for federal district judgeship for the Southern District of Alabama. My longstanding commitment which I shared with my husband, Martin, to protect and enhance the rights of Black Americans, rights which include equal access to the democratic process, compels me to testify today.

Civil rights leaders, including my husband and Albert Turner, have fought long and hard to achieve free and unfettered access to the ballot box. Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge. This simply cannot be allowed to happen. Mr. Sessions' conduct as U.S. Attorney, from his politically-motivated voting
fraud prosecutions to his indifference toward criminal violations of civil rights laws, indicates that he lacks the temperament, fairness and judgment to be a federal judge.

The Voting Rights Act was, and still is, vitally important to the future of democracy in the United States. I was privileged to join Martin and many others during the Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights in 1965. Martin was particularly impressed by the determination to get the franchise of blacks in Selma and neighboring Perry County. As he wrote, "Certainly no community in the history of the Negro struggle has responded with the enthusiasm of Selma and her neighboring town of Marion. Where Birmingham depended largely upon students and unemployed adults [to participate in non-violent protest of the denial of the franchise], Selma has involved fully 10 percent of the Negro population in active demonstrations, and at least half the Negro population of Marion was arrested on one day. Martin was referring of course
to a group that included the defendants recently prosecuted for assisting elderly and illiterate blacks to exercise that franchise. In fact, Martin anticipated from the depth of their commitment twenty years ago, that a united political organization would remain in Perry County long after the other marchers had left. This organization, the Perry County Civic League, started by Mr. Turner, Mr. Hogue, and others,as Martin predicted, continued "to direct the drive for votes and other rights." In the years since the Voting Rights Act was passed, Black Americans in Marion, Selma and elsewhere have made important strides in their struggle to participate actively in the electoral process. The number of Blacks registered to vote in key Southern states has doubled since 1965. This would not have been possible without the Voting Rights Act.

However, Blacks still fall far short of having equal participation in the electoral process. Particularly in the South, efforts continue to be made to deny Blacks access to the polls, even where Blacks constitute the majority of the voters. It has been a long uphill struggle to keep alive the vital legislation that protects the most fundamental right to vote. A person who has exhibited so much hostility to the enforcement of those laws, and thus, to the exercise of those rights by Black people should not be elevated to the federal bench.

The irony of Mr. Sessions' nomination is that, if confirmed, he will be given life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods. Twenty years ago, when we marched from Selma to Montgomery, the fear of voting was real, as the broken bones and bloody heads in Selma and Marion bore witness. As my husband wrote at the time, "it was not just a sick imagination that conjured up the vision of a public official, sworn to uphold the law, who forced an inhuman march upon hundreds of Negro children; who ordered the Rev. James Bevel to be chained to his sickbed; who clubbed a Negro woman registrant, and who callously inflicted repeated brutalities and indignities upon nonviolent Negroes peacefully petitioning for their constitutional right to vote."

Free exercise of voting rights is so fundamental to American democracy that we can not tolerate any form of infringement of those rights. Of all the groups who have been disenfranchised in our nation's history, none has struggled longer or suffered more in the attempt to win the vote than Black citizens. No group has had access to the ballot box denied so persistently and intently.

Over the past century, a broad array of schemes have been used in attempts to block the Black vote. The range of techniques developed with the purpose of repressing black voting rights run the gamut from the straightforward application of brutality against black citizens who tried to
vote to such legalized frauds as "grandfather clause" exclusions and rigged literacy tests.

The actions taken by Mr. Sessions in regard to the 1984 voting fraud prosecutions represent just one more technique used to intimidate Black voters and thus deny them this most precious franchise. The investigations into the absentee voting process were conducted only in the Black Belt counties where blacks had finally achieved political power in the local government. Whites had been using the absentee process to their advantage for years, without incident. Then, when Blacks; realizing its strength, began to use it with success, criminal investigations were begun. In these investigations, Mr. Sessions, as U.S. Attorney, exhibited an eagerness to bring to trial and convict three leaders of the Perry County Civic League including Albert Turner despite evidence clearly demonstrating their innocence of any wrongdoing. Furthermore, in initiating the case, Mr. Sessions ignored allegations of similar behavior by whites, choosing instead to chill the exercise of the franchise by
blacks by his misguided investigation. In fact, Mr. Sessions sought to punish older black civil rights activists, advisers and colleagues of my husband, who had been key figures in the civil rights movement in the 1960's. These were persons who, realizing the potential of the absentee vote among Blacks, had learned to use the process within the bounds of legality and had taught others to do the same. The only sin they committed was being too successful in gaining votes.

The scope and character of the investigations conducted by Mr. Sessions also warrant grave concern. Witnesses were selectively chosen in accordance with the favorability of their testimony to the government's case. Also, the prosecution illegally withheld from the defense critical
statements made by witnesses. Witnesses who did testify were pressured and intimidated into submitting the "correct" testimony. Many elderly blacks were visited multiple times by the FBI who then hauled them over 180 miles by bus to a grand jury in Mobile when they could more easily have testified at a grand jury twenty miles away in Selma.

These voters, and others, have announced they are now never going to vote again.

I urge you to consider carefully Mr. Sessions' conduct in these matters. Such a review, I believe, raises serious questions about his commitment to the protection of the voting rights of all American citizens and consequently his fair and unbiased judgment regarding this fundamental right.

When the circumstances and facts surrounding the indictments of Al Turner, his wife, Evelyn, and Spencer Hogue are analyzed, it becomes clear that the motivation was political, and the result frightening-- the wide-scale chill of the exercise of the ballot for blacks, who suffered so much to receive that right in the first place. Therefore, it is my strongly-held view that the appointment of Jefferson Sessions to the federal bench would irreparably damage the work of my husband, Al Turner, and countless others who risked their lives and freedom over the past twenty years to ensure equal participation in our democratic system.

The exercise of the franchise is an essential means by which our citizens ensure that those who are governing will be responsible. My husband called it the number one civil right. The denial of access to the ballot box ultimately results in the denial of other fundamental rights. For, it
is only when the poor and disadvantaged are empowered that they are able to participate actively in the solutions to their own problems.

We still have a long way to go before we can say that minorities no longer need be concerned about discrimination at the polls. Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and Asian Americans are grossly underrepresented at every level of government in America. If we are going to make our timeless dream of justice through democracy a reality, we must take every possible step to ensure that the spirit and intent of
the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution is honored.

The federal courts hold a unique position in our constitutional system, ensuring that minorities and other citizens without political power have a forum in which to vindicate their rights. Because of this unique role, it is essential that the people selected to be federal judges respect the basic tenets of our legal system: respect for individual rights and a commitment to equal justice for all.

The integrity of the Courts, and thus the rights they protect, can only be maintained if citizens feel confident that those selected as federal judges will be able to judge with fairness others holding differing views.

I do not believe Jefferson Sessions possesses the requisite judgment, competence, and sensitivity to the rights guaranteed by the federal civil rights laws to qualify for appointment to the federal district court. Based on his record, I believe his confirmation would have a devastating effect on not only the judicial system in Alabama, but also on the progress we have made everywhere toward fulfilling my husband's dream that he envisioned over twenty years ago. I therefore urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to deny his confirmation.

I thank you for allowing me to share my views.




The New York Times, Sunday Magazine, March 14, 1985.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Liri » Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:22 am UTC

At least they provided, "Nevertheless, she persisted."

Selecting a "worst Cabinet nominee" from a lavish offering is a task, but I wonder if the Dems should have been using more of the capital they had to fight Sessions rather than DeVos. Of course it's easy to say that in retrospect after DeVos got in, but one could also argue they should have fought her even harder than they did.

Scott Pruit might be the scariest long-term choice.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:29 am UTC

I think they picked DeVos because she had the most constituent recognition and the dems saw her as the easiest one to stop.

For all the money she's spent buying influence, she's now known nationally for not being qualified for her office. Good job, Betsy.

I wish Democrats had blocked every unqualified nomination he suggested. But oh well.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:03 am UTC

Fantastic Idea wrote:I wish Democrats had blocked every unqualified nomination he suggested. But oh well.


I mean, what's the best case scenario? Trump appoints acting heads for the entirety of his administration?
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:06 am UTC

Best case scenario involves a plane crash, a time machine, three rubber ducks, and none of this ever happening.

Or he can shuffle through his possible choices getting confirmation on none for months and we have Acting Directors who were mostly appointed by Obama and 45 does nothing but watch TV and whine. that's best case. it'd never happen, it'd just be nice, for people who like clean drinking water and laws against insider trading and other things we're going to lose under 45.
The democrats have tried to delay like, six of the confirmation votes. They might just do it for all of them. Senator Schumer named 8 that were being blocked because they were controversial people and they needed to be properly vetted.
Jeff Sessions was confirmed, so now we have an AG who was too racist for the fucking 80s.
Now we can forget about any plans to increase voting rights for marginalized groups, I suppose.
Now that Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republican run Congress is taking cues from the whitest, malest cabinet since the Reagan administration, the President is someone who's been charged with having racist business practices, and they all realized that Bannon is right and racism is cool again and it scores votes- how safe are the voting rights and civil rights of non-white Americans right now?
(the answer is 'not very')
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:15 am UTC

Thesh wrote:
Fantastic Idea wrote:I wish Democrats had blocked every unqualified nomination he suggested. But oh well.


I mean, what's the best case scenario? Trump appoints acting heads for the entirety of his administration?


Best case scenario?

Democrats put up a stink a bit longer before the Senate rules are changed (aka: "Republicans go nuclear") and get rid of the Filibuster (for confirmations at least)
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:31 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:I don't mean at the legislative level, necessarily. I mean at the voter level. KnightExemplar's thesis is that the Democrats need to move hard right to try to steal voter share from the Republicans, but doesn't seem to be willing to accept that the Republican electorate needs to move left at all, even to block an extremist like Trump.


That seemed to be the left's argument, yes. It appears that, by and large, the right does not share your view of Trump, and does not feel obligated to embrace the left.

So, yeah, the election results pretty much put the nail in the coffin of that idea, if we're looking at actual numbers. This argument turned out to be fairly unpersuasive.

Exactly. That's why trying to court Republican loyalists is a waste of time, because doing so will cause Democrats to stay home, without actually bringing in any voters from the Republican side. As I said before, there are no moderate Republicans. If somebody voted for an extremist like Trump over a barely-Democrat like Hillary, I honestly don't believe that there's any chance of picking up any of those voters for the Democrats. Or, at least, not without losing ten times as many elsewhere.


There's moderate everything. I mean, they may even describe themselves as independent, yet have a significant tendency to vote Republican. Or Democrat. There's a labeling thing there for folks that are more moderate, as terms like Centrist or Moderate appear to have become less popular. They may not wish to identify with either party, even if in practice they still vote for one. Such a person might be more open to considering swapping.

But yes, it's hard. It's powerful, though. If you convert a loyal voter to your side, it's twice as helpful as motivating someone from the base to turn out. And it's likely to have effects year after year, and the opposition has to make the similarly harder effort to win them back. It's a long term strategy.

pogrmman wrote:
sardia wrote:**I'm not even exaggerating here. Clinton won a bunch of districts in really red states that defaulted the local seats to Republicans because the Democrats were too inept to people file the proper paperwork. Democrats have this personal ambition problem where they'll refuse to run their best guys because they're afraid they'll lose.


This here is a HUGE issue. For my house district, the best the Democrats could put up was a florist with no political experience against a multi-term incumbent. Nobody else even ran in the primaries. For the railroad commissioner, they put up a guy who has run unsuccessfully in many statewide races, who knows little about the energy industry, and who didn't have a campaign website.

The most competent person the Democrats put up in a statewide race was the republican judge who changed parties. He lost too.


That is unfortunate. Platform can't really compensate for really, really terrible candidates(an issue also often faced by third parties). Maybe more party support staff for smaller races might help? At least with issues like "doesn't have a website" or "didn't file election paperwork". Won't fix everything, but if you're screwing up the really basic stuff like that, winning isn't even really something to consider.

Fantastic Idea wrote:I don't know, can some people admit that the democrats aren't going to pivot right cause any farther right and we'd be republicans and also that Trump didn't win the popular vote?
I can't wait for this thread to stop re-hashing shit.


Pivoting happens in politics a great deal. And it's something that can be done now, not a last election thing. Discussion of the popular vote...well now, that IS something about the past election, not the current scenario, and ultimately, it doesn't change anything.

I am also not Republican. Nor should one point of view be off limits simply because you dislike their side. If you wanna call it quits on the whole conversation, cool, but that particular objection seems odd.

Honestly, not too worried about Betsy Devos. Yeah, she seems like a political hack pick, but...every administration has a giant pile of these. And at least Dept of Education is mostly fairly removed from the reality of local school administration. Honestly, not a bad agency as a candidate for trimming money/power from, if we're being critical. Probably unlikely to do much of anything of note, but that's really just politics as usual, not anything terribly apocalyptic. Vouchers are reasonably unimportant in the end. If you judge them from the standpoint of educational outcomes, they're almost irrelevant. Mostly, this is a battle over educational labor unions, and the power they wield.

Liri wrote:At least they provided, "Nevertheless, she persisted."

Selecting a "worst Cabinet nominee" from a lavish offering is a task, but I wonder if the Dems should have been using more of the capital they had to fight Sessions rather than DeVos. Of course it's easy to say that in retrospect after DeVos got in, but one could also argue they should have fought her even harder than they did.

Scott Pruit might be the scariest long-term choice.


Democrats need focus, not to oppose everything. They got close with DeVos, in fairness. That said, it seems like they're panicking over everything, and lack coherent focus on the worst of Trump's excesses. This is probably partially due to the pace with which Trump is pushing relatively major stuff out. Things like the immigration mess steal focus. He's inside their OODA loop, and until they realize and adjust, they lose.

Fantastic Idea wrote:Now we can forget about any plans to increase voting rights for marginalized groups, I suppose.


I am not certain what you expected Republican priorities to be, but...no, not this. This was always unlikely. They don't vote Republican, mostly, so they will likely be of little interest to Republicans.

KnightExemplar wrote:Best case scenario?

Democrats put up a stink a bit longer before the Senate rules are changed (aka: "Republicans go nuclear") and get rid of the Filibuster (for confirmations at least)


Yup. Super easy with Reid's precedent. If you can change the rules with a simple majority, then the minority party has fairly little power to obstruct. The idea that the Democrats can meaningfully oppose everything is flawed. They have very little leverage here. They could, perhaps, have focused entirely on one person, and the closest they got with that was DeVos, but they didn't quite get there. So, probably they will stop nobody. Maybe they could have focused more and stopped...one.

But they certainly couldn't have broadened focus and stopped more. Pretty much the only leverage they have banks on Republican dislike of changing the rules. Which...yeah, that might exist, but if pushed too hard, they totally would. Killing or weakening the filibuster is probably not in Democrat interests right now. This won't be the last fight with Trump. Gotta conserve something.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Chen » Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:44 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Best case scenario?

Democrats put up a stink a bit longer before the Senate rules are changed (aka: "Republicans go nuclear") and get rid of the Filibuster (for confirmations at least)


I'm pretty sure the democrats already changed that rule in 2013 with Obama's nominations. There is no more filibuster on presidential appointments except for the Supreme Court which is why there hasn't been any actual filibustering over these nominations. There have been other steps, like not showing up for certain panel hearings thus not meeting quorum, but no actual filibusters.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:08 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Best case scenario?

Democrats put up a stink a bit longer before the Senate rules are changed (aka: "Republicans go nuclear") and get rid of the Filibuster (for confirmations at least)


I'm pretty sure the democrats already changed that rule in 2013 with Obama's nominations. There is no more filibuster on presidential appointments except for the Supreme Court which is why there hasn't been any actual filibustering over these nominations. There have been other steps, like not showing up for certain panel hearings thus not meeting quorum, but no actual filibusters.


Yeah, and even then that only worked for one day before the Senate rules were changed. I'm not entirely sure what people expect from a minority party.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:00 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Pivoting happens in politics a great deal. And it's something that can be done now, not a last election thing.

No I know that, except it doesn't happen half as much as people suggest that it does.
Every pundit said Trump was going to pivot to less-fascist policies. He uh, did exactly not that. Now I can't wait to watch Jeff Sessions make voting harder in this country for black people, his favorite activity!
Unless we think Jeff, Betsy, various Steves, and Tim are all gonna 'pivot' to be less self-serving and obtuse? You say every administration has a pile of hacks, this administration has LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE. There's nothing not to focus on. Everything he has done needs to be undone and we aren't even a month into this garbage.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:16 pm UTC

Fantastic Idea wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Pivoting happens in politics a great deal. And it's something that can be done now, not a last election thing.

No I know that, except it doesn't happen half as much as people suggest that it does.
Every pundit said Trump was going to pivot to less-fascist policies. He uh, did exactly not that. Now I can't wait to watch Jeff Sessions make voting harder in this country for black people, his favorite activity!
Unless we think Jeff, Betsy, various Steves, and Tim are all gonna 'pivot' to be less self-serving and obtuse? You say every administration has a pile of hacks, this administration has LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE. There's nothing not to focus on. Everything he has done needs to be undone and we aren't even a month into this garbage.


Yeah. That's what losing an election looks like. You don't get the guys you want into the positions you want. In any case, Trump won the election and therefore gets to pick policy for the next few years.

Honestly, Jeff Sessions is one of the better picks, because at very least he has attorney experience. Which is more than what can be said than like... every other pick. A lot of the attorney general job description involves not just policy, but a lot of day-to-day leadership and groundwork. Ex: Picking which cases the US Government focuses on (ex: Muslim Ban), as well as leading various intelligence agencies (FBI). Its the chief lawyer position.

Jeff Sessions got grossly different policy ideas, but he's actually qualified.

In contrast, we've got Betsy "I don't know crap about public schools", Dr. Ben Carson leading Urban Development, etc. etc.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:19 pm UTC

Actually shitstain, my side 'lost' an election before, back in 2000 when the supreme court gave the win to the loser, and then when he got reelected.
This kind of tearing down of the government didn't happen. Not to this extreme extent. But back then the Senate still contained some people who thought 'Jeff Sessions is too racist for this position' so maybe they were making better decisions.
Sure, Dubya was an idiot and he was manipulated by fascists, but he made some effort to govern.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby WibblyWobbly » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:24 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Honestly, Jeff Sessions is one of the better picks, because at very least he has attorney experience. Which is more than what can be said than like... every other pick. A lot of the attorney general job description involves not just policy, but a lot of day-to-day leadership and groundwork. Ex: Picking which cases the US Government focuses on (ex: Muslim Ban), as well as leading various intelligence agencies (FBI). Its the chief lawyer position.

Jeff Sessions got grossly different policy ideas, but he's actually qualified.

In contrast, we've got Betsy "I don't know crap about public schools", Dr. Ben Carson leading Urban Development, etc. etc.

Being a lawyer certainly isn't enough to give Sessions a pat on the back and carte blanche, but your point is fairly well taken, what with DeVos, Carson, and let's not forget Secretary of Energy nominee Rick "Wait, I'm in charge of the nukes?" Perry. That last one continues to scare me to no end.


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