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I want to thank Jeb Bush for running for president and for being so terrible at it

We live in an time when it often feels as if there are no consequences.

After losing two wars, a financial crisis and a concerted effort to prevent a recovery, Republicans now hold more elected state and federal offices than any time since the Great Depression. Instead of preventing gun deaths, the gun industry profits off them by raising the specter that universal background checks will somehow lead to confiscation. The gun lobby has prevented researchers from even looking into “the basic questions” of gun violence and gets a heads up from the Centers for Disease Control whenever the government agency is about to publish any study related to firearms.…

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It’s very weird to see Republicans get exactly what they deserve

Backlash over Ben Carson’s anti-Muslim smears forced the Detroit-born neurosurgeon to twist and spin. But his refusal to apologize is winning him donations and crucial support.

“I wouldn’t expect those remarks would hurt Dr. Carson in Iowa,” Steve King, Iowa congressman and the GOP’s Pope of Xenophobia, said. “I think they help him.”

King is probably right.

Republicans crave exactly the kind of bile that they don’t need and reward their candidates and entertainment complex for squeezing it out for them. Call it Bartlett’s law: “Any Republican who can win the White House can’t win the nomination, and no Republican who can win the nomination can win the White House.”

Of course, this feels like wishful thinking and one thing we can’t afford as we face the most important election of our lifetime is wishful thinking.…

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GUEST POST: More voter turnout leads to more progressive policies and 4 other things you need to know about voting

This guest post comes from Sean McElwee — a research associate at Demos and an excellent follow on Twitter. Find out more about Sean, his work and what his research into voting uncovered about Michigan by checking out his first guest post for Eclectablog.

In my latest report, Why Voting Matters, I argue that nonvoters are more progressive than voters, and that higher voter turnout would dramatically change democracy. Though I’ve aimed to make the report relatively short and accessible (16 pages, and no academic language, I promise) I’ve laid out the core points below:

  1. Turnout Is Heavily Skewed By Race

In 2014, turnout among non-Hispanic whites was 46 percent, compared with 40 percent among Blacks, 27 percent among Asians and 27 percent among Latinos.…

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Debt-free college, ending private prisons and the millions of other things we should be talking about instead of Trump

After a sluggish debate that forced him compliment job destroyer/new GOP favorite Carly Fiorina’s looks and deliver a scorchingly white low-five to Jeb Bush, Donald Trump got back into the groove on Thursday by suggesting that he may be willing to build a wall around American Muslims in case they try to make a clock or something.

“That’s my question. When can we get rid ‘em?” a questioner at a Trump event in Rochester, New Hampshire asked after politely suggesting that the President Obama is a Muslim just like that gall-darned Reverend Wright.

“We are going to be looking at a lot of different things.…

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GUEST POST: Why Michigan should be proud of our voter turnout — but we’re only halfway there

This guest post comes from Sean McElwee — a research associate at Demos and an excellent follow on Twitter.

If you haven’t already, check out Sean’s work on Salon, Rolling Stone, his own blog and various other publications. You’ll see that he has a gift for lucidity and a healthy obsession with improving our democracy by increasing voting, dispelling economic myths and decreasing the influence of big money.

This post draws on his research into voter turnout with an focus on the state of Michigan. He identifies where we’re succeeding and what needs to be done to drown out the distorting effects of big money and gerrymandering in our state.

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This should be the GOP’s worst nightmare come true

And it could be Democrats greatest nightmare, too

How did Mitt Romney end up losing more of the Latino vote than John McCain who lost more than George W. Bush?

It mainly comes down to one utterance of “self-deportation” in one primary debate.

Sure, there were other utterances that involved him saying he’d have vetoed the DREAM Act and planned to reverse President Obama’s executive action that protected undocumented people brought to this country as kids. But deigning to use the word “deportation” aloud was probably good enough.

Growing up in Los Angeles, I watched Pete Wilson successfully demonize immigrants to win re-election and, he hoped, position himself for the presidency.…

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Jeb Bush wants to be more conservative and crueler to the middle class than his brother

When it comes to our economy, we have one massive problem that’s like a black hole sucking in all hope of rebuilding the middle class: Only the richest are getting richer.

From the year before Ronald Reagan was elected to the year before George W. Bush left the White House, the only income gains for most Americans came from working longer and harder. Meanwhile the richest 1 percent had more than doubled their average income, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

And the richest .01 percent quintupled their income from just over $4 million to $24.3 million a year. Double the furthermost right bar to get a sense of the tremendous gains being sucked in by just 1 out of 1000 Americans.…

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ZIMAGE - Donald Trump - Flickr - Gage Skidmore

Why conservatives love ‘low-information candidates’

A “low-information voter” has come to mean “anyone not smart enough to vote the way I do.”

The discernment is not usually made on facts, since we all choose which facts to focus upon. Voters are not generally rational actors making perfect decisions, no matter how much we like to pretend we are.

For instance, I know studies have shown that for the last century, the economy — in terms of job growth, stock market gains and alleviating inequality — has done better when a Democratic president is in office. So I think that’s why I’ll vote Democratic for president. In reality, my tendency to vote progressive has more to do with my belief that my freedom depends on widespread opportunity and prosperity.…

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The GOP just tied its fate to Donald Trump and that’s exactly what it deserves

On Thursday, the chairman of the Republican Party — a man who presented a report that called on the GOP to take a new, less-Republican tone toward immigrants — stood on stage with Donald Trump and got him to pledge to support the Republican nominee in 2016. Meanwhile the other Republican candidates did the same thing, knowing that Trump is leading his nearest competitor by a factor of two.

Recognizing that they cannot win the most important election of our lifetime without the block of nativist voters now enthralled with the billionaire, Republican donors demanded a suicide pact in hopes of circumventing a third-party run.…

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We’re looking forward to your support of the Iran Nuclear Deal, @SenGaryPeters

The nuclear deal that United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China made with Iran is the epitome of giving peace a chance. Rejecting it would set us on a likely path to war. Accepting it gives us the hope of preventing Iran from ever gaining a nuclear weapon without a tragic, wasteful military conflict.

Of course, the agreement doesn’t remove any possibility of war. Iran could violate the deal, triggering a multilateral response. Sanctions should snap back and that could easily escalate to armed conflict. Basically, we’d be where critics of the deal want us to be today by rejecting this deal — except we’d have much of the world on our side.…

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