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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#16301 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 01:48

View PostChas_P, on 2020-September-26, 19:25, said:

If that is, in fact, the case then I'm all for it. But the key words are "registered" and "requested".

If? What on earth would make you think otherwise? You posted:

Quote

But mailing out unsolicited ballots to god-knows-who really bothers me.

Is that something you actually read somewhere? Honestly, it sounds like Russian disinformation about our country.
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#16302 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 06:40

View PostChas_P, on 2020-September-26, 19:25, said:

If that is, in fact, the case then I'm all for it. But the key words are "registered" and "requested".



I am concerned about the integrity of the election. I believe that the standout danger, way ahead of any other danger, is Donald Trump.
My detailed response about getting and submitting my mail-in ballot was my effort to try to deal with this.

Why do I say this?
1. Trump has repeatedly spoken of the fraud possibilities for mail-in ballots. He offers no specifics, he offers no solutions.
2. Trump has said that the only way he cold lose the election is through fraud.

Think about these statements together. If he loses, it must be fraud, the fraud will be through mail-in ballots. If he repeats this often, his supporters will be ready to agree that the results of the election should not be accepted if the result goes against DT.
I am not a conspiracy theorist, I have no history of paranoia, ask you to believe me on this.
I am really worried.

I very much hope that people will vote early. We do not want a long delay in announcing the results, we do not want the system overwhelmed by last minute ballots. We need to protect the integrity of mail-in ballots, and also the integrity of in person electronic ballots. We need this to be done in such a way that when challenges arise, there can be clear explanations of how integrity was assured. If I recall correctly, after the charges of Russian interference came up over the 2016 election, Trump was able to assure the nation that no Russian interference occurred. He said he had asked Vlad about it, Vlad said he had not done it, and so that settled the matter. I am hoping that we will be able to give better assurance than that after the 2020 election.

So my hope is that everyone, Ds. Rs, what have you, takes the possibility of fraud seriously and does what can be done to deal with it. Taking it seriously does not mean making general accusations unaccompanied by facts and unaccompanied by corrective action, just as for the 2016 election taking interference seriously did not mean asking Putin about it and regarding his denial as settling the matter.

There is a danger, and while Trump is not the only danger he is far and away the biggest danger. I believe the solution, part of it, is openness and clarity, this is often the case. Hence my detailed description of how mail-ins work in Maryland.
Ken
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#16303 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 07:58

View Postkenberg, on 2020-September-27, 06:40, said:

There is a danger, and while Trump is not the only danger he is far and away the biggest danger. I believe the solution, part of it, is openness and clarity, this is often the case. Hence my detailed description of how mail-ins work in Maryland.

I think you are looking at it from a logical/commonsense perspective. However, commonsense has left the political arena a few decades ago (and I'm not limiting this to the US context alone).

I think the vociferous supporters of Trump don't use either logic or commonsense. Elections are rigged, because HE said they are. They are only fair when HE wins and says elections were fair.

This is an existential crisis for them; the ENEMY (i.e. Democrats) are out to get them and their way of life.
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#16304 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 09:46

kenberg and shyams:

The danger to the election is far more than Donald Trump; the danger to the election comes from multiple sources because the result of the 2016 election was a man who has attempted to follow Putin's model in creating an oligarchy of which he is head. This is not one man revving up his base. This is the Department of Homeland Security, the Postal Service, the Department of Justice, the Center for Disease Control, the Customs service, and who knows who else all in a coordinated attempt to keep power by any means short of spurring a counter-revolution that tosses them out.

And this is certainly not just an American problem. The distance of Putin's reach and influence has been freed by the internet of limitations; that our own U.S. senators are echoing Russian propaganda is chilling beyond words - are they stupid, in concert, or are they anti-democratic enough to purposefully use those points?

These are not the best of times; these are the worst of times.
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#16305 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 10:15

Yes, but a return note to W and S. What should we do?
S is pessimistic about logic and common sense. That's getting pretty pessimistic.
And W is hardly sounding optimistic.
But still, the question is "What do we do?"

Yes, I know about Nellie Forbush and Cockeyed Optimists. "Every whippoorwill is selling me a bill, and telling me it just ain't so". Nave? Yes, perhaps.
But experience tells me that it is a mistake to put everyone in a box and label it. People surprise you.
So if I acknowledge that voter fraud is a possibility that should be addressed openly and strongly, and worry that the biggest danger is from Donald Trump claiming fraud based on the fact that he lost an election, this being sufficient proof of fraud, then some of one mind will say that I am nave because if DT loses then obviously it must have been due to fraud, and others will say I am nave because no one with a conservative view will ever acknowledge that Trump could actually lose a legitimate election.

Well, I don't think I am being nave. The fact that some are beyond reach does not mean that all are beyond reach and that discussion is useless. If it is all useless we might as well all write it off.
"Let's break out the booze and have a ball / If that's all there is". Peggy Lee
Ken
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#16306 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 10:36

View Postkenberg, on 2020-September-26, 08:01, said:

How are they counted? Well, I don't know. But then I have never known in ay election I have voted in. I had an experience in college, definitely at odds with the care Passed Out cites. I worked various jobs, some long term, some very short term. Somehow I learned that there was a one day job delivering ballots from one place to another and I did that. The votes were cast in location X, they were counted at location Y, I was a college kid with a car who took the ballots from X to Y. I suppose they were boxed in some reasonably secure way but for 45 minutes or so I was in sole possession of them. I suppose I could have done something, but of course I was trying to make a buck, not influence a vote.

In my experience in Upper Michigan, all of the stiff paper ballots were read by optical scanners, so there was no need to transport them elsewhere to be counted. After the count was complete, though, the ballots were boxed to be stored in case a manual recount was needed or a candidate disputed the results reported. After the serialized stubs come off the unmarked ballots, the main control is that the number of ballots boxed has to match the total number of detached stubs. The boxes of ballots are closed with a seal bearing the signatures of the representatives of both major parties as well as the count of ballots in the box. I'd be surprised to learn that Minnesota failed to use a similar method when ballots were transported to be counted.

I'm not saying it's impossible for someone to open the box of completed ballots without breaking that seal, but it would be quite a trick to do so undetected. And even then, if the count varied upon opening the box of ballots, that would also trigger a tampering alert.

Expanding a bit on this, it is not uncommon for the number of completed ballots to be a bit less than the number of detached stubs. In that event, a reconciliation report explaining the reason for the difference is written and signed by representatives of both major parties. For example, the optical scanner rejects ballots with errors, the most common being over-voting (voting for two candidates for one position or, say, for three school board members when only two positions are open). The error message from the scanner identifies the error detected, giving the voter the option to request and complete a new ballot. The rejected ballot is destroyed and that fact noted on the reconciliation report. The voter can also choose to leave the ballot for manual counting with the absentee ballots after the polls close. In that process, the poll worker tallies only correct votes, skipping the over-votes.

Sometimes a person shows up to vote and does not appear on the list of registered voters for that polling place. In that case, a poll worker calls around to find the correct location for the voter, not always successfully. The voter has the right to insist that the registration list is incorrect and to demand and complete a ballot. In that situation, the completed ballot is treated as a provisional ballot -- to be counted later (if needed) should the voter prove to be correct. Those provisional ballots, too, are accounted for on the reconciliation report.

Writing this down reminded me of an incident I witnessed working an election. A voter got quite upset at the scanner rejecting her ballot for an over-vote. After a poll worker explained the problem and her options, the voter chose a new ballot. When she completed it, the scanner also rejected her second ballot for an over-vote. Instead of putting her ballot in with the absentees, she loudly cursed a blue streak and tore the ballot into tiny pieces as everyone looked on. Another item for the reconciliation report.

By no means do I contend that voting procedures are 100% foolproof. When you have hundreds of millions of folks voting, some things will go wrong. I've seen poll workers who, despite their training, exhibited a lot of trouble following detailed instructions. I've read of isolated cases of pure fraud.

Nevertheless, I feel confident in saying that the folks who designed the procedures to make sure that absentee ballots go only to registered voters who've requested them also put the same effort into the procedures for counting those votes. The folks who work polling places are local citizens, and civic-minded ones at that, in my experience. If the votes counted at the polling places don't match those later reported for those places, someone will blow the whistle.
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#16307 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 11:41

Yes, it would not surprise me if I learned that there were some safeguards that I was unaware of. It was in the late 50's so technology was somewhat limited.

Possibly the best safeguard was hiring me or some similar undergrad. We were doing the job strictly for the bucks. Pick up the ballots, deliver the ballots, get the cash. Nothing else was under any consideration at all.



Ken
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#16308 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 12:21

View Postkenberg, on 2020-September-27, 10:15, said:

Yes, but a return note to W and S. What should we do?
S is pessimistic about logic and common sense. That's getting pretty pessimistic.
And W is hardly sounding optimistic.
But still, the question is "What do we do?"

Yes, I know about Nellie Forbush and Cockeyed Optimists. "Every whippoorwill is selling me a bill, and telling me it just ain't so". Naïve? Yes, perhaps.
But experience tells me that it is a mistake to put everyone in a box and label it. People surprise you.
So if I acknowledge that voter fraud is a possibility that should be addressed openly and strongly, and worry that the biggest danger is from Donald Trump claiming fraud based on the fact that he lost an election, this being sufficient proof of fraud, then some of one mind will say that I am naïve because if DT loses then obviously it must have been due to fraud, and others will say I am naïve because no one with a conservative view will ever acknowledge that Trump could actually lose a legitimate election.

Well, I don't think I am being naïve. The fact that some are beyond reach does not mean that all are beyond reach and that discussion is useless. If it is all useless we might as well all write it off.
"Let's break out the booze and have a ball / If that's all there is". Peggy Lee


I appreciate your point of view. Let's take voter fraud. Is it possible? Certainly. Is it possible on a scale large enough to tip a national election? Highly doubtful if not near impossible is my understanding. I can't say I "know this personally", but everyone who seems to truly know this stuff says it can't happen. I believe them. I would bet they could explain the how and why it can't happen - the mechanics of it. I highly doubt anyone in the Trump camp can do the same, i.e., explain the mechanics of orchestrating a nationwide fraud against a single candidate for president.

I am concerned, though, about those states that do not have a paper trail with their voting machines, and I still am not sure how secure they are and how much ammunition the Russians have to use against voter registration rolls.

Ken, you ask, what do we do? I think it is critical first to acknowledge where we are - especially those of our generation and those bordering our generation. News in our time was to be trusted for the most part. CBS, NBC, and ABC challenged one another for viewers, but their news departments were not profit centers. Newsprint and paper were cheap as were the daily newspapers. Information moved a little more slowly, and corporate profits were not dependent on capturing someone's attention right now before another outlet grabbed them with a similar blare of instant-gratification news.

I'm not sure there is anything to be done other than adjust - and that adjustment will take generations, and in which direction that adjustment goes will depend on who is leading the cause. It will take redefining and remodeling public education to instill critical thinking skills as a primary tool, and then teach civics and government as requirements for all. It will require a slow and deliberate repudiation of the type of religious beliefs that paint science and knowledge as enemies to faith. But most of all it will take empathy and care for our fellow man.

Everything that IMO would lead us out of this morass seems to be antipathy to the free-market right wing. I do not know how to get them back. Change is a personal journey; hopefully, as they age they will understand that we are all in this life together, that all of us have similar needs, and the only real security comes when everyone has their needs met. Life is not a zero sum game.

Probably most of all, though, is that we need to re-learn the value of delayed gratification.
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#16309 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 12:28

View Postkenberg, on 2020-September-27, 11:41, said:

Yes, it would not surprise me if I learned that there were some safeguards that I was unaware of. It was in the late 50's so technology was somewhat limited.



Somewhat? Posted Image
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#16310 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 12:36

+a gazillion to passedout for his last post. Calling out trolls is such a thankless task.
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#16311 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 13:54

Let's speculate a little on how the election might be at least somewhat influenced by the write-in ballots. As you will see, it seems this is more likely to favor Trump than to favor Bien.

Could I sell my ballot. In theory maybe yes, in practice no. Sell it to whom? How do I find a buyer? How does a buyer find a seller? No, to do this on any large scale at all, and really even to do it on a small scale, is going to lead to severe legal trouble. That's out. Not just for me, it's just out.

Could there be some sort of mole at the place where I turn my ballot in? Not really. Only if they are very careless. This can be done securely.

So this sort of fraud I think would be very hard to pull off.

But let's now look at influence and intimidation.

Suppose Dick and Jane have grown up since their days with Spot the dog and are married. Dick favors candidate A, Jane favors candidate B. It would be nice if each could cast their ballot as they please and then, if marital peace demands it, lie to their spouse. But if each can demand to see the other's vote there could be a problem. Yes, it could go either way.. If Jane really wants to get Dick to vote for B, there are various promises that she might offer. But life being the way it is, my guess is that far more often when one or the other does not let his/her spouse vote in peace, no bribes, no threats, it will be Dick who bullies Jane. And, being a Dick, he is not apt to be bullying Jane into voting for Biden.

So there could be some problems. We have to hope Jane is resourceful enough to vote as she sees fit.

The more I think of tis, the harder it is to see ow write-ins can favor Biden. Or at least how they can unfairly favor Biden. Write-ins will allow some who otherwise would find in very difficult to vote to do so. But even there, if indeed it is people of my age who go for Trump (I really need to talk to those people) we are the ones who could be most reluctant to go to a crowded area to cast a vote.

So" Write-ins should increase the vote, and if Jane wants to vote for Biden she might have to stand up for herself. Not always easy. Time to get rid of Dick.
Ken
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#16312 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 14:20

View Postkenberg, on 2020-September-27, 13:54, said:



The more I think of tis, the harder it is to see ow write-ins can favor Biden. Or at least how they can unfairly favor Biden. Write-ins will allow some who otherwise would find in very difficult to vote to do so. But even there, if indeed it is people of my age who go for Trump (I really need to talk to those people) we are the ones who could be most reluctant to go to a crowded area to cast a vote.


Ken, this is another one of those situations where you might want to do some actual research rather than engage in idle speculation. There's been a whole lot of reporting on this, almost all of which suggests that we should expect to see a massive blue shift as the returns come in.

https://www.cbsnews....rolina-florida/

Quote

As of September 2, 618,842 absentee ballots had been requested for the November election in the state. By comparison, at this time in 2016, just 37,576 voters had asked for mail-in ballots. In 2020, 326,281 of those requests more than 52% have come from registered Democrats.

Just 98,6000 have been requested by Republicans, or less than 16%. Democrats have outpaced Republicans in absentee ballot requests in all but two counties across the state. Another 192,036 unaffiliated voters 31% have also requested absentee ballots.

This comes as a new Monmouth poll this week finds one in four North Carolina voters saying they're at least somewhat likely to cast their ballot by mail this year. This included 41% Democrats, 27% independents and 13% Republicans.


Quote

Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, more than one million Democratic voters submitted applications for mail-in or absentee ballots as of Thursday, or about 68% of all applications. By comparison, only 24% of total requests 388,356 applications came from Republicans in the state.

Alderaan delenda est
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#16313 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 15:36

View Posthrothgar, on 2020-September-27, 14:20, said:

Ken, this is another one of those situations where you might want to do some actual research rather than engage in idle speculation. There's been a whole lot of reporting on this, almost all of which suggests that we should expect to see a massive blue shift as the returns come in.

https://www.cbsnews....rolina-florida/




But has there been research on the point I was making? My intention was to address this: Suppose Dick and Jane go to vote. Suppose Dick favors Trump, suppose Jane favors Biden. In a properly run world, this results in one vote for Biden, one vote for Trump. But if they do mail-ins, might it it work that way? And if so, is it more likely that Dick will bully Jane into voting for Trump. or that Jane will bully Dick into voting for Biden? Of course we could say "Oh of course it is equally likely either direction" I claim to be at least reasonably non-sexist, but if someone is going to bully someone, I think that far more often than not it will be Dick bullying Jane.


I am glad to hear that the Dems are taking a big lead in mail-in ballots and in particular I am glad to hear that this is being done early. But my speculation about D and J was to think of ways in which a persons vote, given that he votes, might be affected by whether s/he votes in the privacy of a booth or in a manner that someone close, spouse or other family member, might have access to see it.

It seems that any illegitimacy, such as bullying, is more likely to favor Trump than Biden. The simple reason being that Trump is a bully and so presumably attracts the bully vote.

Casual conversation suggests that supporters of Trump, having ought into his rhetoric about fraudulent mail-ins, are going with the in-person vote. So the research is not a surprise. But it was not exactly what I was getting at.
Ken
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#16314 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 15:59

View Postkenberg, on 2020-September-27, 15:36, said:

But has there been research on the point I was making? My intention was to address this: Suppose Dick and Jane go to vote. Suppose Dick favors Trump, suppose Jane favors Biden. In a properly run world, this results in one vote for Biden, one vote for Trump. But if they do mail-ins, might it it work that way?

I have no research to offer on this, but I remember as a kid asking my mother how it went after she and dad returned from voting. She winked at me and said "Oh, we canceled each others votes, as usual." :)
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#16315 User is offline   sharon j 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 16:24

I'm getting nervous about the outcome. I live in a retirement community (55+) in Arizona. In the past, Arizona has been labeled as a Republican state. But lately, I have read that it is turning blue(er). However, when I drive through the community, Trump for President flags are popping up all over. I've seen only one Biden for President sign. I just hope this doesn't reflect the outcome in Arizona. We really need to get rid of Trump not only for the sake of this nation, but also because I'm not sure my health will survive another 4 years of a Trump presidency.

I'm also very surprised at the support he is getting from these seniors. Many of the residents here are transplants from other states. Most are from Midwestern states. Perhaps that's why?
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#16316 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 17:41

View PostPassedOut, on 2020-September-27, 01:48, said:

If? What on earth would make you think otherwise? You posted:


Is that something you actually read somewhere? Honestly, it sounds like Russian disinformation about our country.


You're right. Only five states are sending out unrequested ballots. Colorado, Hiwaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. My bad. Sorry.

#16317 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 18:16

View PostPassedOut, on 2020-September-25, 19:42, said:

So far as I know, absentee ballots go only to registered voters who've requested them.

Apparently, there are five states who have a history of sending out ballots automatically to registered voters, and five additional states are doing it this time: https://www.reuters....l-idUSKBN2622SZ
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#16318 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 18:22

View Postsharon j, on 2020-September-27, 16:24, said:

I'm getting nervous about the outcome. I live in a retirement community (55+) in Arizona. In the past, Arizona has been labeled as a Republican state. But lately, I have read that it is turning blue(er). However, when I drive through the community, Trump for President flags are popping up all over. I've seen only one Biden for President sign. I just hope this doesn't reflect the outcome in Arizona. We really need to get rid of Trump not only for the sake of this nation, but also because I'm not sure my health will survive another 4 years of a Trump presidency.

I'm also very surprised at the support he is getting from these seniors. Many of the residents here are transplants from other states. Most are from Midwestern states. Perhaps that's why?

Based on the signs I've seen driving around Georgia Biden is coming in third behind Trump and boiled peanuts. :)

#16319 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 19:01

View PostChas_P, on 2020-September-27, 17:41, said:

Only five states are sending out unrequested ballots. Colorado, Hiwaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

I was wrong for sure. (Thanks for the link, Helene.) And it is up to ten states now because of Covid.

They are not sent out to "god-knows-who," but surely the registered voter list includes folks who've moved or died, so security on the receiving end becomes important. I looked briefly for some information on the security issue, and found this: Election officials in both parties have put in place safeguards. And they work.

Quote

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, oversees the elections in one of the nation's leading vote-by-mail states.

"I think it's good when the public questions any form of a voting system, but people should have confidence in it because election administrators are always trying to build in security measures that balance out that access," she said.

Like other states, Washington requires that voters sign their absentee ballot and that the signature matches the one on file with a voter's registration. If the signatures don't match, the voter will be contacted and alerted to the discrepancy.

Election officials receive annual training from the Washington state police on the best practices for signature verification and how to spot differences. The ballots, Wyman said, go through multiple levels of verification — meaning three or more checks from "our more experienced signature verifiers."

Fraud have been almost nonexistent. She pointed to the 2018 election, where her office detected about 140 instances of fraudulent voting out of roughly 3.2 million ballots cast.

"Is it perfect? No," Wyman said. "Is that rampant fraud? No, it's not."

As usual, I'm pleased to have had my error corrected. Evidently things do change as time goes on. Thanks Chas and Helene.
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#16320 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-September-27, 19:02

View Postsharon j, on 2020-September-27, 16:24, said:

I'm getting nervous about the outcome. I live in a retirement community (55+) in Arizona. In the past, Arizona has been labeled as a Republican state. But lately, I have read that it is turning blue(er). However, when I drive through the community, Trump for President flags are popping up all over. I've seen only one Biden for President sign. I just hope this doesn't reflect the outcome in Arizona. We really need to get rid of Trump not only for the sake of this nation, but also because I'm not sure my health will survive another 4 years of a Trump presidency.

I'm also very surprised at the support he is getting from these seniors. Many of the residents here are transplants from other states. Most are from Midwestern states. Perhaps that's why?


For reasonable people, there is no way to explain or understand Trump supporters just as there is no way for reasonable people to understand how Mussolini stayed popular for so long or how everyday Germans hailed Hitler as the leader. See, reasonable people don't wallow in self absorption to the exclusion of other people and other peoples' welfare.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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