Category Archives: Gun Policies

David Garcia Sees New Voters Propelling Him to Governor’s Office

“Every time Trump tweets, a new Democratic activist is born.”

Candidate David Garcia plans to win the race for Arizona Governor by harnessing disaffected voters, and recruiting a generation of Latinos to become new voters who will support Democrats for years to come.

“To change Arizona and win in 2018 we need to focus on new voters,” Garcia told the Democrats of Greater Tucson yesterday in a rousing presentation. “We have a surge of Democratic energy. It’s incredible. We need to take this unique opportunity to get a group of reliable voters that we have not been able to bring out.”

He cited California as an example of a once-Republican state that is now solidly Democratic. The state’s Latino population boomed in the 1990s and they rejected the Republican hard-line stance on immigration. The state’s immigrant population has elected Democratic candidates decisively in every election since 1992.

Minority voters were a major factor in electing a Democrat to Governor in Virginia this month.

The Latino vote

“Latino voters vote for Democrats 70% of the time,” he said. “They are not engaged and we need to get them on board. The numbers are there to win.”

“Every time Trump tweets, a new Democratic activist is born.”

He cited three ways that he can take the Governor’s office away from Doug Ducey:
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400 Turn Out to Hear Democratic Congressional Candidates

400 Democratic primary voters turned out at the candidate forum at Rincon High School.

400 Democratic primary voters turned out at the candidate forum at Rincon High School.

Illustrating the intense interest among Democrats in ousting Martha McSally from Congress, 400 people turned out to hear five Democratic congressional candidates at a forum organized by the progressive PAC Represent Me AZ.

A show of hands revealed that the audience was made up of primary voters. They showed up on a Thursday evening 10 months prior to the primary, looking for the candidate who can recapture the District 2 seat in Tucson.

And it may turn out that McSally will bail on re-election as she considers running for Flake’s Senate seat.

All the Democratic candidates supported a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, allowing women on Medicaid to use Planned Parenthood, restoring funding for the Affordable Care Act, requiring a background check for gun purchases, and opposing changes to boundaries of national monuments.

As a precinct committeeman, I listened for a candidate who would most interest voters on door-to-door visits. Here’s my take.

Candidates who have been elected to office

Bruce Wheeler is the candidate with the most-clearly expressed platform. He emphasized his support for Medicare for all. “Each one of us knows someone that’s on Medicare. It works, it’s efficient, and it’s cost-effective. It’s already covering the most expensive section of the population, and by making it universal we strengthen it,” he said.

Calling for action on climate change, Wheeler said, “it is an existential issue, a ticking time bomb. Every year we go backwards is robbing future generations of a healthy planet.”
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Amend the Constitution to reform the U.S. Senate

While the U.S. Supreme Court grapples with the question of ending partisan gerrymandering of House seats, little attention is paid to the truly undemocratic Senate where each state, regardless of population, has two senators, the result of the Connecticut Compromise between the large states which wanted equal representation in Congress based on population, and the smaller states that worried about losing autonomy to the larger states. The undemocratic nature of the Senate offended many of the framers but it was necessary in order to obtain ratification of the Constituion by the states. It was a compromise of political expediency that has long since outlived its purpose.

America has developed from a rural agrarian society in 1787 to an urban population overwhelmingly concentrated in large metropolitan cities. This has resulted in the United States now being a non-majoritarian democracy, in which small rural states weild a disproportionate share of political power over the majority living in more populous states.

Population Map

E.J. Dionne Jr., Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann,the authors of “One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet-Deported,” explain this dynamic in an op-ed today, Why the majority keeps losing on guns:

Why does our political system make it impossible even to consider solutions to gun violence? After the massacre in Las Vegas that has so far taken nearly 60 lives and left more than 500 injured, the first reaction of the many politicians who carry water for the gun lobby was to declare it “premature” to discuss measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands.

The “premature” word echoed from President Trump’s White House on down, and those who used it were really saying that Congress would never enact even modest efforts to prevent mass shootings. This is damning evidence of the stranglehold that far-right lobbies have on today’s Republicans, who extol law and order except when maintaining it requires confronting the National Rifle Association.

But something else is at work here. As we argue in our book, “One Nation After Trump,” the United States is now a non-majoritarian democracy. If that sounds like a contradiction in terms, that’s because it is. Claims that our republic is democratic are undermined by a system that vastly overrepresents the interests of rural areas and small states. This leaves the large share of Americans in metropolitan areas with limited influence over national policy. Nowhere is the imbalance more dramatic or destructive than on the issue of gun control.

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Las Vegas now the deadliest mass shooting in American history

Sunday night, a lone gunman on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip opened fire on a country music festival, killing at least 58 people and injuring at least 500 others in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

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The Washington Post reports, Gunman in Las Vegas kills at least 58, injures 500 more in shooting rampage:

The gunman, identified by police as Stephen Paddock, age 64, was later found dead by officers on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said during a news briefing Monday.

The massacre marked the nation’s latest outbreak of gunfire and bloodshed to erupt in a public place, again spreading terror in an American city transformed into a war zone. The carnage in Las Vegas surpassed the 49 people slain in June 2016 when a gunman in Orlando, who later said he was inspired by the Islamic State, opened fire inside a crowded nightclub.

Lombardo said investigators could not immediately identify a motive, leaving no clear answer as to why a gunman killed at least 58 people and possibly more. He also said an additional 515 people were injured, though he did not specify how many were wounded by gunfire or injured in the chaos that followed.

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Pandora’s Drone

By Michael Bryan

Note: This is a think piece that has been languishing in my drafts for some time. I am publishing now in order to see what, if any, feedback readers may have, not in response to any current events, although it does briefly touch upon the terrorist attack in Charlottesville in my last revision.

In a complete reversal of American norms before 2001, Americans have come to expect that our foreign, sub-state political foes will be dealt with by assassination. That might seem a shocking assertion, but the policy of targeted killings of those identified as enemies of the United States by drone can only be euphemized, not denied. Bush and Obama placed such assassinations at the heart of our military strategy against those groups and individuals seen as a terrorist threat to America, and regardless of who the President might be, that tool will not be disposed of unless its use is wholly rejected by Americans. Given that no great outcry or mass movement has yet denounced the continued use of drone assassination in our foreign policy, it seems very likely to continue. In fact, Donald Trump has re-authorized the CIA to carry out its own drone strikes, lowering accountability and reporting requirements in place under Obama, when only the military was empowered to carry out lethal drone operations.

Our desire for the perception of safety and demand of bold action by our leadership against possible terrorist threats has swamped any scruple we may once have held against merely murdering our geo-strategic enemies. We have always killed in war, but killing specific people, and all persons believed to be members of designated organizations, anywhere they may found, even in countries we are not hostile to, is a new thing entirely. But no modern politician will run the risk of being accused of not having done everything possible when the next mass casualty attack on American soil comes, as it inevitably will, therefore a tactic that began as an expedient use of a new technology in a crisis seems to have become the centerpiece our de facto anti-terrorism strategy.

Americans seem to have decided that extra-judicial state murder, even of some American citizens, is justified in our fight against terrorism. Despite the fig-leaf of “due process” of review within the executive branch that was constructed around the practice by the Obama administration, targeted drone strikes and so-called signature strikes on suspected terrorist activity are extra-judicial executions, pure and simple. We may hide behind the fiction that we are “at war” with some ill-defined terrorist organizations and thus those killed are “enemy combatants,” and any innocents killed as a result are unfortunate “collateral damage”, but this only semantics. Since we are not going invade Pakistan, or Somalia, or Yemen, or Syria, or (re-re-re-invade?) Iraq, or any of the other failing or weak states where terrorist cells might find sanctuary, in order to end the threat of these sub-state organizations pose to our security, we are going to continue to fight these “wars” with proxies, intelligence assets, and drone strikes. We will continue to make targeted killings, i.e. murder, a key component of our foreign policy.

My point is not to suggest an alternative, or even to suggest that the policy is necessarily wrong or immoral. There may be no more effective, more politically acceptable, or more morally inoffensive alternative. My point is to question what effect this will have on the evolution American political culture, and on the normative behavior of governments visa-vis their own citizens – including our own toward us.

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The NRA’s False Choice

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com

I’ve been taking a bit of a break from writing, but this article written by Marine officers (there are no former Marines) is just too “on target” (please pardon the pun) not to share. I have nothing to add other than I agree entirely, especially with these two sentences:

“Indeed, true patriotism is not partisan, and the love of country and exercise of Constitutional rights is not the purview of any one group.”

“We renounce the false choice presented by the NRA that Americans need to pick a team between the First and Second Amendments.” Continue reading